Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Strawberry fields forever

It was a week and a half ago that I was home with the kids and we drove out to the berry farm only to find out that the "Open" billboard they had up in town meant "Open for us to pick and sell to you", not "Open for pick your own". When I went back to face the kids, who were still in the car, with that news, Liam promptly burst into tears. He was really upset. I felt awful for having gotten him excited about the trip. I felt stupid for not having called ahead. And I promised him we could go back one day when they were open.
So yesterday morning, I called the farm to inquire about pick your own. And though it had only been ten days since our first trip out - the farmer hemmed and hawed with me, said they were open but that the season was pretty much over and that pickings were slim. So to speak.

Liam and I had just had a conversation a couple of days prior about our favourite desserts, and he listed strawberry shortcake as one of his. That, plus his disappointment at having not been able to pick berries during the first go-round, were all I needed to make the decision. I didn't care if we laboured for an hour just to fill a quart. We were going. When we got to the farm, there were several other people there picking, and I was pleasantly surprised by how easy the picking actually was. We were there for maybe 45 minutes and came home with 4 quarts. The kids were awesome berry pickers. They did a great job of only picking the ripe berries. Mallory exclaimed "Look, Mommy! I found a red one! I'm going to pick it and put it in my basket!"... with every single berry she picked. And after every two or three berries, she said, "I am a great helper Mommy, aren't I?" She was like a very cute and adorable broken record. There was an elderly woman picking in the row next to us and I'm sure that she was either blessedly deaf or else had the patience of a saint to put up with nearly an hour of that. While Mallory was napping yesterday afternoon, Liam helped me whip up a batch of strawberry shortcake (one of my most favourite desserts ever, too). We got Chad to stop at the grocery store on his way home from work to pick up some whipping cream and we cut and sugared some berries to go with it all. The kitchen smelled awesome and the dessert was fabulous.But at the last minute, Liam decided he would rather have a Freezie for dessert instead.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Woot! Found it!

Are these not the cutest things ever?And here's Liam, eating a copy of John that I brought home for him. He thought that was the funniest thing ever. :)

Where the hell are the cupcakes?

On Saturday, we threw a bridal shower for my sister Katrina, who is getting married in less than three weeks. I have spent the past twenty minutes scanning my photo folders on the computer, looking for a photo I took of the cupcakes at the shower, which were just the cutest things ever. But it's nowhere to be found. I am freaking out - I loved that picture!
Until I find it, I guess I could make do with some photos from our trip to Mitchell's Bay on Friday...

Or talk about the fun morning we had picking strawberries today (I don't have to go back to work til Thursday! Wahoo!)...
Or, I could even complain about how the fabric I ordered to make blinds for my office arrived today... but it's the wrong fabric. So much for getting those done while I have a few days off. This is what I ordered...But here is what arrived...Anyway, I have a bunch of shower photos to post, but I am running out of bandwidth here on Too Many Cooks and I have also hit my monthly upload limit on Flickr (since I still haven't gotten around to upgrading to the pro account). I will get the photos posted to Flickr on July 1 for sure. I will try to post a few more here, too, soon... just as soon as I can find that cupcake shot to lead off with.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I am going to be at the movies a looooot this summer

This trailer is not really doing it for me, even though Rachel McAdams is my favourite actress. But you know what? This was probably the best book I ever read. Well, top five, anyway. (Much better than the Twilight series - that's saying a lot, you know?? :) ) So there is no way I will miss it when it comes out.

The Time Traveler's Wife

A typical bedtime

Here's the most visually interesting piece of video footage you will ever see: the floor outside of Mallory's bedroom door.

Next time I film this stunning vista, I will be sure to vaccuum first. Sorry for the gross bits of flotsam and jetsam strewn about.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Not yet

Between a Happy Friday, the weekend, a few scheduled days off and a stat holiday next week, I have a stretch of six days off work coming up (yee-haw!) This got us to wondering whether it would be a good time to start potty training Mallory. We trained Liam while I was off work on Mallory's maternity leave, and having a few days to just hang around the house and really focus on the task at hand made it go pretty smoothly. We definitely want to repeat that this time around.

We have been talking about this with Mallory for a while, and bought her a cute set of princess underpants a while ago. Academically, she knows that she will start doing her pees and poops in the toilet and can wear her underpants when she does. But although they say girls train earlier than boys, I wasn't entirely convinced that she is ready for taking the plunge, and when I asked Cindy her opinion, she concurred. Although Mallory sometimes asks to sit on the toilet at home (where she never does anything, mind you), she always turns down Cindy's offers to do the same. Cindy said she would support whatever we choose to do, but I am in the camp that says I would rather spend another couple of months in diapers and make sure that she is good and ready, instead of forcing the issue when she's not and frustrating the heck out of all of us as a result. Not to mention the added benefit of keeping the carpet free of pee stains for as long as possible.

The worst disappointment of the entire deal is that we have been using the same diaper pail on our house since Liam was born, and I have had it with that thing. It's plastic, so it cleans up well on the surface, but no amount of soaking it in bleachy water will get rid of the stink anymore. I was starting to feel bad about Mallory's room always smelling like a bathroom stall when I had the brainchild to at least move it down the hall to the laundry room, so that she is not breathing that stink in all night long. We are so close to being done with it now that I have no intention of going out and buying a replacement, but trust me when I say that it should have been kicked to the curb long ago.

So I'm guessing now that we will wait until a long weekend in the fall to revisit the idea of potty training... starting on a Friday night when we get home from work, perhaps, and hoping that by Tuesday morning when Mallory is back at Cindy's house, she is 80% of the way there. And we will have some assistance from Cindy with that last 20%, this time around. That is not entirely a bad thing, either. :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Class of 2023

Last week, we finally got our first glimpse of Liam's school as prospective student and parents. Since we were out of town when they ran their orientation night in May, we set up a time to go in and meet the principal and get a little tour. I had a list of questions at the ready, and though the principal was very nice and more than willing to answer them - I still feel like I know nothing. I mean, I know now how bad the weather has to get before the kids stay in for recess (-18C) and what the school's policy is on peanut products (tolerant but discouraging if there are no allergies in that classroom; zero tolerance if there are allergies in class), but I still feel like I know nothing about school. Liam will be in a JK/SK split that follows an AB schedule, meaning it is full days either Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday plus every other Friday. For about two weeks, the school was going to switch to a 1-2-3-4-5 plan so that there would be an equal distribution of music and PE classes (meaning that they number school days 1 through 5 and around again, so a student could be a Monday/Wednesday student one week and then a Tuesday/Thursday student the next if there was a long weekend). But there was so much backlash from parents trying to make daycare arrangements that they quietly switched back. Thank goodness - I don't have enough mental capacity left to try to follow something like that!

Liam is more than ready for school. There will be an older boy at his daycare this summer, who he will enjoy playing with immensely, but through the school year he is the oldest one there some days and aside from Luke, who is only 1, Liam is the only boy. He is ready to be with kids his own age and older, and from the way we have seen him drawing and tracing letters at home, he is eager to take on the academic side of things (which will not be all that intense - it is only JK, after all).

I was also happy to get details on the staggered start. The first day is an hour-long one-on-one between Liam and his teacher (with us in attendance) and thankfully, that interview does not have to happen when school officially starts on September 1. Things seem to pick up fairly quickly after that - it sounded like there was just a single half-day after that before full day classes start. Class size is capped at 20 and there are 4 classes at ICRPS, which is a fairly large public school. We know of one (!) other student who is starting JK at that school in September, and since there are 4 classes... the odds of them winding up together aren't great. I'm sure once we get into things, we will realize there are more kids there that we know. And Liam will meet tons of new ones.

I am hoping to get an early-out-of-the-gate start on things like PTA. I want to be involved in my kids' school, so I'm hoping I can get over my own jitters (but I won't know any of the other parents! What if nobody will sit beside me?) and get involved.

Lastly, if you tune into any Mom-versation type discussions, online or otherwise, you will inevitibly hear the debate over what is appropriate attire in which to drop your kids off at school. There is one school of thought that says that pajama or yoga pants and a t-shirt are OK for that time of morning (i.e the just-rolled-out-of-bed look), and another school of thought entirely that thinks that moms should be putting some effort into their appearance even for school drop-off. One mom board I visit had a raging debate over the wearing of kitten heels to school (the argument being that flats are frumpy and what is so hard about putting on a nice pair of kitten heels to show your kids that you care?) Our tour of the school was scheduled for 8:30 a.m. and the number of kitten heels I saw on parents coming and going was astounding. I think I know which camp ICRPS falls into. Looks like I'd better brush up on my wardrobe before September.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Godchild or Godson? Needing to learn a whole new vocabulary here.

Yesterday, we were in Toronto for my nephew Thomas' baptism. I had a brief panic attack when we hit around Milton, thinking I had misremembered the time of the service, but in the end I had the time right, and all was well.Actually, all was not well. Chad and I are Godparents and we were supposed to hit the front of the church with Steph and Mike, but we missed the cue. Or there was no cue. Or something like that. Well, at least we were there.After the service there was brunch (during which Mallory insisted that she wanted pizza, which is not a very brunch-like thing to have, but I ordered it and shared it with her anyway, and it was very good).Then back to the house for cake and presents, and to let the cousins play with each other a bit. Liam and Mallory are both pretty enamoured with (of?) Thomas. Though they are both quick to state that they do not want any new babies in our house.We did our Father's Day celebration on Saturday night. The kids had some gifts and a card for Chad. The card (which plays "I Wanna Be Like You" from the Jungle Book) was a big, big hit with the kids. Actually, by the time Chad got his hands on it, it was in pretty bad shape from all the manhandling it had already received. It still plays the music, but only if you stick your finger through the flap and trigger it manually.I have photos from our early Father's Day celebration floating around on a memory card somewhere. I have been neglectful in organizing my photos like I usually do, and I am starting to get bogged down. I think I will devote one evening this week to Memory Card and Hard Drive Cleanup and CD Burning Night, to get everything sorted, share files that I promised I would share, etc. A little bit of spring cleaning, if you will. (Not tonight though... tonight, I will be watching to see what the Big Announcement is on Jon & Kate... please, just split up already. There is no point in continuing the charade.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Friday, June 19, 2009

At the playground

I took the day off work today. Cindy's daughter is graduating from Grade 8 so they did a spa day together. Me, I took the kids to the playground (after a false start; I told them we were going strawberry picking and got all the way out to the farm, only to find out that pick-your-own does not start until Sunday. I promised them we would go next week and stopped for a treat at Tim Horton's to make up for the mistake.)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Party time

On Saturday, we threw a baby shower for (Darin and) Jennifer, which was a lot of fun. I am very excited to have a new niece/nephew/cousin on that side of our family. And I love having an excuse to throw a party. We went with an Asian theme, which isn't the norm for baby showers I suppose, but it was fun to do something different. The invitations went out with 'Year of the Ox' stamps on them, the favours were chocolate-covered fortune cookies in takeout boxes, and the party game prizes were an Asian cookbook and jasmin-scented soap. Aside from the fact that after making all that food, I am totally sick of soy sauce and am not sure whether I will ever be able to eat it again... all is well. Just kidding. I adore soy sauce and ate leftover Asian noodle salad for lunch every day until it finally got old enough to skeeve me and I had to throw the rest of it out. And even then, I was sad to do it. (Seriously, check it out: The best salad, ever. You'll see why I was so sad to let it go.)The weather held and we were able to pull it off outside... thank goodness! We could have accommodated everyone inside, but not without a ton of work once the outdoor setup was done. According to the invitations, the party ended at 3, but our last guests left sometime between 9 and 10 p.m. So overall I'd say that it was a success.

And then... because this site is supposed to be all about my kids... here is a super cute shot of Miss Mallory, in her party dress and waiting for our guests to arrive. She found my shoes and was having fun traipsing around in them, even if they did clash terribly with her outfit.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The one where Crushie finally makes an appearance

After a few weeks of not having much to say, I am suffering from blogging backload - wherein I have several noteworthy things to post and am having a hard time getting them all trotted out in a timely fashion.

This is one of them. Crushie came to live with us more than a week ago, and I am just now getting around to telling this story. Chad helped Liam fish him out of the creek one Sunday afternoon, and when I came outside to see what they were up to that day, I found an old dishpan filled with some rocks and murky creek water, and a baby snapping turtle swimming around inside. By this time Chad had already taken Liam on a field trip to the pet food store where they dropped $13 on a bottle of turtle food. (Finally, the idea of receiving an allowance and the opportunities that it presents are being driven home to Liam!) I gave Chad the stink-eye when I saw the turtle food. I thought we had a 'catch and release' policy in place and that our common vision was that Captain is more than enough pet for our household right now. But when I asked Liam about his plans to return Crush to the creek, thinking it would happen within 24 hours or so, Liam gave me a crestfallen look and told me it wasn't in the stars.

Crush lived with us for a little more than a week, and I have to admit that it was pretty cute to see how excited the kids were about him during that time. The dishpan stayed in the garage overnight, and each morning the kids would run out the door yelling "Crushie! Where are you, Crushie?" and try to catch him up on the big rock (when they came close, he would usually slip into the water). Liam fed him morning and night, and put the dishpan out in the sun when we got home from work each night so Crush could restore some body heat. Every few days, Liam replaced Crush's dirty water with some slightly-less-murky fresh creek water. I started to worry about where Crush would live when the snow starts to fly.

When we had our party last Saturday and there were other kids present, Liam became even more proud of his new pet. The turtle was a big hit that day, despite my fears that we would be infecting the entire younger generation of the Roberts family with salmonella. (I had to haul Mallory off to the powder room in tears a few times that day after catching her playing in the dishpan water.)

I was just coming to terms with the fact that we had a new member of the family when I left for Burlington on Sunday morning, and when I got home that night the back door of the garage was open. I assumed the kids were playing outside so I went out to the patio. There was Crush's dishpan, but Crush was gone, and a two-foot-long garter snake was in his place. This is when I nearly had my heart attack, thinking that the boys had brought home yet another new member of the family. As it turned out, the snake was made of rubber, but Crushie is indeed gone. They took Crush back down to the creek while I was away that day and set him free. The last time they saw him, he was buddied up with another little turtle his own size. I'm happy to think that he is back with his family, even if that is a very sugar-coated and entirely untrue take on turtle life. And I'm hoping it will be a while before another reptile joins our family.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Life happened

They say that life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. For the past few months I have been thinking of doing an 'official' two-year-old portrait of Mallory. I waited for the weather to warm up so we could do it outside. I debated between several different outfits. I tried to scout out a location. I kept mulling over all of these things in my head.

And then it was Saturday. It was 8 p.m. She had been running around with a gaggle of kids at our house all day. Her hair was windswept. Her party dress had gotten soaked and she was changed into this old t-shirt. She hadn't had a nap and it was past her usual bedtime, so it was crazy that she was still going as strong as she was. She was running through the flowerbed in front of the house, and I happened to have camera in hand. Snap. Totally unplanned: a new favourite was created.

One day I will be on my deathbed, and my entire life will flash before my eyes. When that time comes, I know I will remember her exactly as she is right here - even if it's not for another fifty years.

I like this one, too. This expression is totally her.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Normally my rule is to process images in the order in which they're shot, but this weekend, I worked backwards. For whatever reason, I have Sunday's images done and not Saturday's. So we'll start there...

On Sunday I travelled to Burlington to attend a shower that my sister Katrina's future in-laws/extended family threw for her and John. I left the kids home with Chad because they were (as predicted) utterly exhausted from Saturday's events (details of which will come later). It was a nice day... good weather, delicious food and a few kid-free hours which, while I missed them, can be nice in their own way, too.

When I got home I was regaled with stories of all the things they had done that day. They went for a picnic and a hike in Rondeau, met up with Maggie on the beach and played with her for a while, got to buy a souvenir each at the Rondeau store and then had Happy Meals for dinner. (So much for getting some rest, huh?) I wouldn't be surprised if they start wishing that Mom would go out of town a little more often.

Unfortunately, Liam's souvenir that he chose was a big rubber snake, and when I came home and found it floating in a pail of water outside the back door, I about had a heart attack. But that's another story.

The full set of shower photos from Sunday is posted on Flickr - link in the sidebar. (Don't you hate it when people do that? At least you do if, like me, you choose to blog or catch up on blogs rather than take a coffee break at work, and your company's security team has blocked your Flickr access...)

Oh, and one more thing: check out this video footage of an aggressive blackbird in San Francisco, and then apologize to me for thinking I am crazy.

Damn bird

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The weekend

This weekend it was all about showers: baby......and bridal...Thank goodness I am going back to work tomorrow. I need some rest!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

They give me flowers.

I think I will keep them. :)

Right now we are getting ready for a big party at our house this weekend. We are throwing a baby shower for the new little Cook cousin who is on the way. No photos for now, even though our house is overrun with shower supplies, because I don't want to ruin the surprise. Not that we are straying from the tried-and-true food-plus-gifts shower formula, but I want to leave some of the fun intact for Saturday. Luckily, tomorrow is one of our Happy Fridays. I'm thinking we have a lot left to get done!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


On the weekend, Megan was kind enough to drop off a Fisher Price Loving Family minivan that she found at Value Village. She knows that Mallory has a Loving Family dollhouse and that I am collecting bits and pieces to go along with it. Well, I was. Most things we have came from eBay and I am getting sick of paying more to ship an article than it cost to buy it. I check the toy section of Value Village for these pieces whenever I am there, too, but I have yet to spot anything. Maybe my eyes just aren't as good as Megan's.

Anyway, she brought this van over while the kids were asleep, and when they woke up I showed it to them. And what followed next was that all heck broke out. Mallory wanted to play with the van because it was part of the dollhouse (very obviously so - it is turquoise and pink, just like the dollhouse) and Liam wanted to play with it because it has wheels and can be zipped around the house. Much fighting and many tears ensued.

The following morning, I went grocery shopping, and Mallory decided to come with me. She wanted to bring Liam's Spiderman wallet with her. Good for her, for figuring out that a trip to the grocery store requires a wallet. But she made the mistake of telling Liam she wanted to take it. Liam didn't need the wallet up to that point but of course as soon as she showed her interest, he suddenly very much needed to play with the wallet, too. I tried reasoning with him that Mallory had let him play with her van and so he needed to let her play with the wallet. Of course, there was no reasoning with him by that point, so I handed Mallory the wallet and we made a beeline out the door and left Chad to deal with the hysterics. Sorry, Chad.It is not always this way at our house. Lately, the kids have been becoming very good little buddies. It is happening more and more often that they are playing with each other instead of coming to us and asking us to play with them. On the weekend there was one fairly long stretch where they were giggling away about something in the playroom and having a ball together. Last night they made a great tag team watering plants together. Liam would fill Mallory's bucket for her to let her in on the action, and then he enjoyed squirting the hose on his own for a bit while she ran off to empty her bucket. He was doing a great job of helping his little sister when she needed him to, and appreciating the fact that as the big kid, there are things he gets to do that she can't. I am a little bit sad for Mallory when I think of Liam going to school in the fall, and her being left at Cindy's without him. I think she is going to miss him. Then again, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Maybe a bit of separation will help these two to appreciate each other more when they are together again.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Not the message I want to send anymore

I'm running again. Don't get too excited, now; I'm only a couple of weeks into my old mainstay, so it's not like I'm ready to qualify for Boston. But my knees aren't in agony when I head out any more, so hopefully I have reached the point where my body once again accepts this as being normal.

The trick to it, I found, is that I really, really am a morning running person. I just can't go at night. For the longest time I swore up and down that I was going to go running every single night, and then the lure of the TV/computer/housework/phone/sewing machine/project du jour/bed proved too much, and I didn't do it. Finally one day I decided to set my alarm earlier and really, really try to make a point of getting to bed earlier, too, and it seems to be working for me. Life lesson number 47: go with the flow. You'll be much more successful that way.

But I've hit a roadblock.

We live on a fabulous greenbelt. There is a beautiful trail around the creek, and it runs right past the back of our property. A loop of this trail is the perfect length for a pre-work morning run. And here comes the kicker: there is a red-winged blackbird who has built his nest somewhere along the creek.

Somehow, I managed to live for 34 years without knowing how aggressive these damn birds are, but now I know all too well. Every time I get to a certain spot on the trail, this damn bird swoops down at me. They flap around your head and even peck at you if they get brazen enough. I have never been one to be afraid of birds - I never really understood that Hitchcock movie - but now, they totally creep me out. Even just walking down the street. Any time I catch a robin or a sparrow out of the corner of my eye, I have this involuntary startle response. It's crazy.

The beauty of the trail behind our house is that it's a loop. Up one side of the creek, down the other side. So on the return trip, I get attacked again. I know it's coming, I brace myself, I do some speedwork to try to zip through the danger zone as quickly as possible. I turn my iPod off so I can listen for the caws that warn that a strike is imminent. But my heart still races every time I approach that area, and the bird never lets me off the hook.

When we wander down to the creek after dinner with the kids, we never have this problem. At that time of day there are so many people coming and going that the bird just sits and screams from a treetop. It's only during the mornings when I pass two or three other people on the path, tops, that I get his undivided attention. Chad is still running, and he heads out at night. He's never had this problem. Either there are still enough people out, even after dark, or else the bird has retired for the night. He's probably resting up so he can come after me bright and early the next morning.

I know this all sounds ridiculous. I started running when I was 14 and I just turned 34. In those 20 years of running, I have been attacked by dogs. I have come across snakes. I have been hit by a car. But I have never been bothered by a teeny, tiny little bird. And now I can't even walk down the street without ducking whenever anything moves. It's exhausting, this irrational fear of mine.

Lest you think I really am insane, Time magazine reported on this phenomenon at this time last year. So it's not just me. At first I was incredulous that I have made it through 20 years of running without this ever having happened before, but I guess there really is a difference between city streets and the marshy area around the creek. Territory makes all the difference.

So this morning, I gave up. I ran down my street and turned at the corner and ran past Liam's school, almost all the way to the grocery store before turning around and heading back. It was a much less scenic route. I missed the ducks and geese and the shade of the greenbelt. I still had my heart in my throat for the majority of the run, wondering when I was going to be viciously attacked from behind. But it never happened. I spotted a few red-winged blackbirds, but I think I was far enough from their nesting areas that they weren't on the offensive.

So I think I have figured out a work-around and have a plan in place to continue my running until the baby blackbirds have flown the coop and Papa Bird reins in his aggression. But it does make me rethink this cute little birdhouse that Chad just hung up in the back yard for me a couple of weeks ago. Now I am all afraid that a red-winged blackbird family will move in, and my own back yard will become off limits. I should have listened to Chad. He tried to talk me out of the birdhouse, but I wouldn't listen.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Have mercy

Mallory continues, most nights of the week, to lie awake and talking for some time after we put her to bed. Most nights this is less than half an hour but last night, it was almost 90 minutes. She also continues, most nights, to have me out of bed at least once or twice. Last night it was twice, and Chad went in for the third shift. When I was up with her the first time, she gave me her "It's too windy outside my window!" line. She's used that one once before, when we were actually mid-thunder storm and it was a valid excuse. Last night was quiet and still and altogether not too windy.

When Liam used to wake up at night, he would grumble and cry a bit and, after a minute or two, settle himself back to sleep. He never got out of bed. And we could tell that his cry was an 'I'm-not-really-awake' kind of sound. When he was really and truly awake and needed some attention, he sounded altogether different. Mallory, on the other hand, is out of bed the minute she wakes up, crying on the floor and sobbing "Daddy! Mommy!" under the crack of her door, louder and louder until the words become incoherent and she's just a blubbering mess. She makes herself sound so desperate.

I am altogether too much of a sucker for this girl. I am totally enchanted with Liam, too; don't get me wrong. But he pulls at my heartstrings in a much quieter and less obvious way. Mallory is more of an extremist; she goes through the highest highs and the lowest lows. Whereas Liam has settled into the routine of a 4-year-old boy, Mallory is still changing every day. Her new thing is to saunter nonchalantly up to you when she wants attention, turn and look at you over her shoulder, and deadpan, "Oh. Hello." And then she will act like it's a huge coincidence that your paths crossed. Every day when she gets dressed she gives herself a satisfied "I look pretty!" declaration before trotting down the stairs for breakfast. She is zany by day and when she needs me by night, well, she is awfully convincing at making it seem like she needs me. I'm sure she doesn't, really. But this certainty only seems to be with me during daylight hours.

And so, I suffer. 10 a.m. rolls around and I feel like I have already put in a full day. Every day I fervently hope that tonight will be the night we make it through with no disruptions. So far, I've been wrong every single time. I still have my old copy of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child kicking around (that is one baby item I will never list on Kijiji!), and also a copy of The Happiest Baby on the Block or some such thing that I never read all that much when my babies were babies, but which may prove beneficial now. It's time to dig it out and face the sleep issues head-on. The poor, overworked bags under my eyes will thank me for it.

Friday, June 05, 2009

On my sh!t list

Last night I was out watering the garden when I noticed that my two-week-old fiberglass urn has a huge puncture/crack on one side. Let me remind you that these urns were $65 each and since the whole idea is to have a matching pair - that's $130 worth of wrecked urnage. (Because I scooped the last two urns in the store, so there is no going back for a third urn to replace it.) I was home alone at the time and narrowed the culprits down to two likely sources. Number one, it could have been Chad with his lawnmower or weed whacker. This didn't seem likely though, as the urns are on the patio, and, well, Chad has enough grass to cut just staying on the lawn - I doubt he's running around the patio to log extra mileage. The other culprit and the one who is indeed guilty is Liam, or perhaps more accurately, Liam on his ATV. Man, I knew that thing would be trouble. A few weeks ago I caught him mowing down my newly-planted hydrangeas. I told him not to do it again, yet a week or two later I found one of the main stems of the plant snapped off at the base, and I'm assuming he was too close to it again. And now, the urn. To put the icing on the cake, Chad witnessed the destruction and then rotated the urn so that I would be less likely to see the damage, afraid that I would get on Liam's case about it. So I've spent the past couple of weeks being duped. I don't keep an actual physical list of the grief that Liam has caused us so there are likely things I am forgetting about now, but I do know that in addition to having ruined a souvenir snowglobe from our first trip to Chicago, and the cell phone he dumped into the bathtub and killed, he is also responsible for the demise of my urns. *sigh grumble grumble sigh* The ironic thing is that I used to have a pair of cast iron urns, and I sold those off when we sold the old house. It isn't lost on me that if it had been a showdown between Liam and the cast iron urns, the urns would have won.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

An addendum to yesterday's post from Chad.

"You should point out that Liam went through 2 different blue markers and 2 brown markers then finally a brown pencil crayon to finish because things kept running out. Also he told us exactly how to draw the arms and legs based on how he wanted to use his stickers and he coloured in the people and hats and faces, all we did was make some arms and legs really."

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


The theme of Henry's birthday party a few weeks ago was construction machines: dumptrucks, backhoes, and diggers of all kinds. Henry sent his guests home with a sticker sheet featuring all of these machines. Bright and early the next morning, Liam got up and started this creation. He drew in a field of dirt, applied some of the stickers, asked Mom and Dad to draw in a few construction men around them, then coloured in the rest of the dirt field and finished the sky. Voila - here is his creation. I am especially impressed with this one. It's up on the bulletin board now, and I think it might be a keeper.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

I will be going out on November 20th.

This is so embarrassing. The acting is laughable. The script is hokey. Kristen Stewart drives me crazy (and I don't mean that in a good way). So why am I so excited to see it??

Heck, I am even getting a kick out of the fan-made trailers. This one came out a few months ago, long before the official trailer. It's a mix of clips from the first movie and stand-ins portraying the storyline of the second. It's pretty impressive, if you ask me.

Long before that though... I am going to see this one with my book club. It was a selection of ours a couple of years ago, and we are all dying to see it translate to film. The ending was totally changed for the movie - that has my curiosity piqued.

I got a shot today, and my arm is killing me. No more typing.

Monday, June 01, 2009

This time, it really was our kind of town

We spent last week in Chicago, on a whim Chad had a few months ago. He suggested the idea of going and then backed that idea up by finding a ridiculously cheap hotel room. ($79 a night! For the Sheraton, steps away from the Magnificent Mile!) How could I say no? We packed the DVD player and almost every one of the kids' movies into the car and off we went. Seven hours later (which included one missed exit and one extended lunch to let the kids burn off some steam), we were there.

[I didn't announce this trip in advance because really, who wants to advertise that their house is empty? - though if anyone shady is reading, I must warn you, it's equipped with an alarm system. So you'd best stay away.]

I love Chicago. So many fun things to see and do there. And it's very kid-friendly, which is super-critical to us at this point in our lives. We spent our first full day at the Shedd Aquarium. We spent our next day at the Children's Museum. And the next day at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Of these, we only paid to get into the aquarium - the other attractions are free. We shopped a lot the next day - not free, but fun! We ate lots of Chicago-style hot dogs (topped with lettuce, tomato wedges and dill pickle spears) and Chicago-style pizza (not to be confused with deep dish, though that's exactly how I would describe it. Chad made the mistake of saying 'deep dish' as he ordered and the pizzaria owner nearly hung up on him.) We also ate lots of Garrett's popcorn, which no trip to Chicago would be complete without. Good thing the store recently closed its Mag Mile location and has yet to open the one taking its place. If it weren't for the hike it took to get it, I could easily have consumed a bag of it a day.

Last time we were in Chicago, it poured rain the entire time. This time, it was only sunny one day... but though it was overcast for the rest of the trip, it didn't rain. I only got soaked once, when I went out shopping after the kids were in bed. It was a thirty-second walk to Ann Taylor and Kenneth Cole... there was no time to be lounging in the hotel room when the stores were still open! I came home with some amazing things. It's just as well that I don't live there, or a much larger chunk of our household income would be spent on shoes and clothing, I'm sure.

Mallory settled down a little - and I mean, a little - after her speed-addict impersonation the first night. On the second night, Liam started to cry when we put him to bed. "Mallory is too noisy!" he wailed, right as she launched into singing Rockabye Baby to herself and saying something about a booger in her nose. I let him fall asleep on the bed beside me - which took all of thirty seconds, the poor thing was so tired - then moved him over to his bed (next to the crib) later. Mallory's chatter didn't disturb him at all after that, though it lasted for nearly as long as it had the first night.

The next time we are all slated to share a hotel room together is the night before Aunty Katrina's wedding. I am nervous enough about Mallory making it through the day without embarrassing us as it is, and I was banking on her having a good night's sleep to help her get through. Now, I'm not so sure that will happen, but what can I do? Smile and apologize profusely, I guess.

I uploaded our trip pics to (one of) my Flickr account(s), which you can access through the badge on the sidebar. Commentary is only done on half of them. I had to whip through the second half of the upload first thing this morning, before I left for work. There's a monthly upload limit on Flickr and I hit mine last night. Good thing the calendar rolled over this morning. Methinks it's time to upgrade to a paid account without so many constraints.