Monday, July 30, 2007

Random Haiku

A disjointed look at our week through very poorly written haiku:

Ethan's cut split.
Poo on glue!
I advise a stitch should it happen to you.

Sea to Sky Highway
Potentially fantastic road
RVs please stay home.

Slicing through sunset's water
KitKats, kayaking with the girls.

Black flies draw blood
Wearing bug spray would have helped
Silly golfing man.

Grandma and Granddad get home.
Boys go nuts to see them!
Kisses and hugs.

Picnics with Preschool friends
Food and laughter at the park.
Giggling kids need sleep.

Farewell to the Rodeo
You brought my babies home
Sniff Sniff I loved you.

Wedding plans for Briana
Details galore
Only 12 sleeps to go!

Until next week,

I've been tagged - here are my random facts!

I was Tagged from my friend Cathy's website, so here we go.
The Rules:
1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
2. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog (about their eight things) and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

The Facts About Me
1. I am scared of the dark. I am scared of movies about being scared of the dark. I am scared of talking about being scared of the dark.
2. I have personally seen a number of ghosts/spirits in my lifetime. Hence I am scared of the dark (see #1). I could tell you stories that would make the hair on the back of your neck stand up and make your eyes water. But I won't, because I would hate to make you scared of the dark too.
3. During the last few seconds of every shower I take, I turn the water up to scalding hot and close my eyes. This is often the only true relaxation I get in a day!
4. I am NOT a super mom. Please don't call me that. I am human and this mommy job is tough work. I am just doing my job the best that I can and hoping like hell they turn out ok.
5. I am a nerd. I have always been a nerd but I have only been able to admit it since I turned 30. I embrace my nerdiness.
6. I hate making beds. It is the worst chore in the entire household. I avoid changing sheets for way too long. It's gross, really.
7. I have never coloured/highlighted/dyed my hair. As you may expect, this is becoming more and more noticeable the older I get. However, I am actually quite happy with the ways things are.
8. My favorite foods are nachos and pie. There are lots of healthy things that I adore, and I love to try foods from all over the world (as long as they meet my criteria of being either vegetarian or chickenitarian), but honestly I prefer nachos and pie to anything. Oh, and chocolate too - but did I really need to even say that?

So that's me in a nutshell. I am not going to tag anyone else just because I hate to put the pressure on anybody. If you feel like carrying on, please do - and let me know!

Monday, July 23, 2007

A glued-up face

As the mother of boys, I need to somehow obtain a stronger stomach. So if any of you have any tips on how to acquire this, let me know. I need to be more resilient to farts and other mysterious odours, bugs and creepy crawlies, conversations about penises, and above all - visits to the ER.
We've just returned from the ER with Ethan's face glued together. No stitches this time, just some topical anesthetic and glue to hold the cut together. He and Jack were racing around the table in the dining room (just something to do I guess) and he slipped and cut his upper lip and mouth on the corner of the hanging shelf in there. The Screams! The Blood! The Drama! The Speed record attained on the way to the hospital!

Jack brought Ethan an ice cube from the freezer (um, nice try, Jack, but we need a little more this time) while we tried to keep the cut together, stop the bleeding, get Ethan and Jack dressed. OK, and me, too - I admit I was still in my pj's at 10:30 in the morning. We soaked through a couple of towels but the bleeding was under control by the time we got in the car. Ethan was a little more in control by then, too. He's a little phobic about doctors, so he was screeching just a little. Jack was scared and crying, too, still attempting to stick an ice cube on Ethan's face and very upset because he wanted a drink of water right now.

After that, the ER trip was quite uneventful and we were in McDonald's by 12:00 (Ethan's pick). He was very brave while the doctor tended to him. I didn't even need to lie on him to hold him down this time. I was picturing sedation for a stitch or two but luckily he did a fantastic job of listening to the doc. And Mike was there throughout as a calming force. The guy actually likes seeing things like stitches (he got to remove mine from my biopsy and he was ecstatic) so he's definitely good to have around, even if the boys do want their mommy.
As always, I am now suffering from post-traumatic stress.

In a crisis, I am the girl to have around - superhuman strength (toss that car aside? - Sure!), the ability to instantly assess the situation and bark appropriate orders to all concerned, the capacity for piling the whole family into the car in 25.3 seconds (including remembering to put on a bra). After the crisis is resolved, however, I become a puddle of nauseousness, a trembling indecisive mess. I imagine everything that could have gone wrong and with an internal dialogue J.K. Rowling would be proud of, I write a script in my head of doom and gloom and scare myself silly. I come back to myself bit by bit, but only with a strong cup of tea coursing through my veins.

The boys are watching a video now - this is all I am capable of providing as a mother at the moment, even though the trauma could have been so much worse. And speaking of J.K. Rowling, I was up late last night finishing the last Harry Potter, so maybe fatigue is a factor here too. (Loved the book, though!)

I had intended to talk about bike camp, YMCA camp, and our other activities in the past week but I am a little shell-shocked from this morning so I'll keep it brief. Ethan did well at Pedalheads, but as his instructor noted, he is stubborn, and is perfectly capable of riding without training wheels when he decides he wants to. I know he had a great time, though - to quote the E-man, it was "a million times fun"!

Jack was apparently the cutest kid at YMCA camp - all the camp leaders (strangely named Sandman, Cookie and Strawberry Shortcake) commented on how gentle he was when they washed the "babies" in the bathtubs. They posted pictures of him around the room powdering and diapering the babies. Who knew he was so good at that? Maybe because he spent so bleeping long in diapers? He had fun at the camp but can't wait until bike camp for him next year.

Grandma "Sugar" treated us to a movie on Sunday - we all went to see Ratatouille. 5 admissions = $50 + food. No wonder we don't take the kids to the movies ever! It was a fun movie - better for Ethan's age than Jack's, but they both still liked it.
Signing off for this week - I think I need some more tea. Or maybe a Gin and Tonic. ;-)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Jack Speaks Zulu and Ethan Becomes a Star

Several years ago, while attending a grand opening ceremony in Soweto, South Africa - with a large number of local dignitaries present, no less - my fellow travellers and I got a fit of the giggles every time they spoke in Zulu (or was it Xhosa? - both are clicking languages I think). So immature, I know, but it was a combination I think of jet lag, hunger and dehydration. I am now reminded of this every day as Jack has taken to clicking instead of speaking English.
I think his interest in language (or disinterest in English) stems from the news that Ethan is enrolled in French Immersion, starting in September. Jack first adopted "Spanish" as his language of choice while staying with my parents for the weekend in early June. He would utter an unintelligible phrase, and then helpfully translate for them: "That was Spanish for 'pass the milk, Grandma'"! And on it went.
Now he clicks. All day long. I am constantly giggling (still haven't gotten over it, I guess!) He clicks faster when excited or extra mischievous, and there are different sounding clicks for yes, no, and other basics. For instance, "cluck" with an eyebrow raise is yes. "Tlick" with a frown is no. Then there is the general under-clicking, like muttering, that occurs while he is concentrating on a drawing or a puzzle. He cracks me up.
I took the two of them to Fort Langley the other day to visit the Fort. I hadn't been in years (they actually gave me an Ambassador pass at the gate as a former resident, so I can bring other guests back for free) and we had a fantastic time. I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun the boys had panning for gold, watching the blacksmith pound metal and the cooper make barrels. Ethan was disappointed at the gold panning, but only because he was expecting treasure to pop out of his pan, like a gold crown or a necklace or something. After watching a couple of trains rumble by, we stopped by Driediger's on the way home for some blueberries.
Rhonda Driediger is a friend of ours, we ski together over the winter, and the boys love to visit her farm and pick berries. When we were there for strawberries earlier in the year, I think the boys ate more than I bought! Jack swore up and down that he hadn't eaten any, but if you take a close look at his face you will notice a red goatee that would suggest otherwise. I sent Rhonda the pictures from strawberry picking, and she added an adorable one of Ethan and his bucket to their website. So here's the address where you can view the budding star! Driediger Farms website
We went bowling today, which was a hoot. They had bumpers in the gutters so we could avoid a score of zero on most turns. I still managed to bowl only a 92 - 3 whole points higher than Ethan, who has never bowled before in his little life. Jack could barely roll them all the way to the end, but still managed a respectable 79 points. They prefer bowling on the Nintendo Wii at home, though!
The boys are off to Pedalheads bike camp (Ethan) and YMCA camp (Jack) again tomorrow morning. More on that next post! Signing off from soggy Surrey - Tamsin

Thursday, July 12, 2007

California Dreamin'

If I heard "You're crazy" one more time, I think I would have screamed! OK, so maybe driving to California from BC with a 4-1/2 year-old and a newly potty-trained 3 year-old was a bit ambitious, but you know something crazy? It was great! I'm not saying that I'm a big fan of 22-hour car trips in general, or especially boys who eat beef jerky and are then confined in the same odorous vehicle with me, but Ethan and Jack were fantastic travellers for us. I'm proud to report that we never even needed a DVD player to entertain them on the trip. Yes, we stopped in every public restroom between Los Angeles and White Rock (mental note: never give the boys Jamba Juice before a car trip again), but we travelled the old-fashioned way - with car games, rest stops and crafty back-seat activities. Oh yeah, with GPS, iPod, air conditioning and Starbucks too.

We left early Saturday morning on June 30th, and after navigating through the border, we were soon on our way. We stopped quickly in Birch Bay to pick up the radar detector (a necessity) and for Jack to pee (equally necessary). We had a Car Bingo game started pretty quick, and we handed out maps to the kids to track our progress. Then we started the license plate game and before we knew it, it was lunchtime. Mike was very excited to find a Baja Fresh for our first meal on the road. I think we screamed into the parking lot on two wheels. We had Subway for dinner - the first of many Subway trips - somewhere in Oregon and made it to a Comfort Inn an hour north of Sacramento, CA to stop for the night.

On Sunday, we woke up to our complimentary breakfast and set the GPS to take us to Santa Barbara. (In N Out on the way there - woo hoo!) Two major Jack events marked the day - I will forever have the unerasable image burned into my mind of the poo accident I had to clean up in the hotter-than-Hell public restroom. I am actually too scarred to even describe it, so please just picture the worst and multiply it by 10. The other Jack event was a little voice saying "Hey, what's this?" just before he yanked the door handle open while we were going 140 km/hr down a hill next to a semi. I contorted myself around from the front passenger seat to grab the door behind me but just trying to open the door enough to slam it shut properly with that much wind resistance was a struggle, let me tell you. Needless to say, the child locks are now activated.

Our hotel in Santa Barbara was the one we always stay in - the Best Western Carpinteria. Love it! We arrived around 4 pm, and had enough time to cool off with a swim in the hotel pool before heading down to dinner at an Italian restaurant and a stroll on the beach at sunset.

The boys were very excited because Monday was Disneyland!!! We got to the Disney Hotel in the early afternoon but our room wasn't ready. It was a terrible experience! Mike was off in Guest Services trying to sort everything out, while the boys and I were waiting in the lobby. Jack and Ethan were sitting on the couch watching cartoons when all of a sudden Goofy strolled over and sat between them. Poor Ethan. He was absolutely terrified! So there I was, consoling a quivering blubbering little man, trying to keep an eye on all our bags and spot Jack through the swarm of tourists climbing over our things to get at Goofy. I was worried someone was going to have to pee and then what would I do with all the bags? Then the phone rang and I couldn't see Jack and I was pretty close to panic! When the crowds parted I could see Jack sitting peacefully on Goofy's lap, still watching TV.

We finally got our room (thumbs down on the room), dumped our stuff and got into Disneyland. The boys thought it was great but man, was it hot. We did Teacups and Pirates, Matterhorn and Autopia, Buzz Lightyear and Rockets. The wait for Nemo was 3 hours long so that was a no go. The kids were going strong until about 9 pm. Back at the dingy room, they watched a bedtime Disney story on TV before finally crashing around 10. Mike went to see what Downtown Disney was all about and I ate chocolate.

We got up at 6 am to change rooms and get into Disneyland an hour early (that was a cool benefit of staying there!). Luckily we ate breakfast in line for Finding Nemo, and got to see that ride with only(!) a 40-min wait. Highlights for the kids were Splash Mountain and Pooh's Hunnypots - it was lots of fun. Hot again! We left the park at lunchtime to go eat, make a Costco water run, swim in the pool and recharge. We hit Disney's California Adventure from 4 to 9 pm, and did a little shopping on the way back to the hotel. This room was much nicer, and as a bonus we got to see the special 4th of July fireworks as we walked back. The boys were exhausted and crashed pretty quick!

On the morning of my birthday, we said goodbye to Mickey and the gang and made our way to our next hotel in Santa Monica, stopping for Robek's Juice and a croissant from Champagne's. After stashing our stuff at the Holiday Inn, we got to Dan and Heather's around 2 pm. It was 105 degrees and counting! We wasted no time in immersing ourselves in the pool, where we spent the next 5 hours floating and catching up with Dan, Heather, Wade, Barbara and Julie. The kids got to play with Jackson and Lillie and it was a lot of fun. We BBQ'd for dinner and they served me a gigantic fantastic chocolate birthday cake!

On Thursday Mike went into work, so the boys and I met Tina for coffee and bagels in Manhattan Beach, then met Lisa for lunch at Ruby's. We chilled at the hotel before picking Mike up and meeting Hugh and Meryl for dinner. It was great to see everyone again! It had been 2 years since I'd been back! Friday started out as a laundry day, but we then spent a lot of time on Third Street, at the beach and the playground. I then took the boys to their favourite place - Santa Monica Airport - where we spent 2 hours watching the planes take off and land, having snacks and playing at the park. We got to see Russ and Ruth after work with their son Max (Jack's age), then we went to Yuriy and Renata's to see them and their daughter Natasha. Another late night with an 11:00 bedtime for all of us after checking in to the Marriott in Woodland Hills.

Mike and Dan hit the golf course on Saturday while the boys and I relaxed with Heather and the little Snows. It was perfect, but too hot to take Lillie outside so we stayed in the A/C. Catherine's wedding wasn't until 6 pm so we drove to the hotel to get ready before driving to Simi Valley. The wedding was beautiful! Catherine looked awesome, and the ceremony was short but heartfelt. Johnnie looked good too, and we got to see Catherine's parents again, as well as share the dinner table with Stephanie and Bill, Kyle, Tanner and Kate. That was a lot of fun! Ethan and Kate busied themselves with taking pictures of everyone and everything, and the night ended late again. E would not leave before getting at that wedding cake!

We started our drive home the next morning, and again the kids did great. We just made it into Oregon before finding a hotel, and got home around dinner time Monday night. Ethan and Jack were so jazzed to be home even though they had such a good time while away.

About 15 loads of laundry and 3 rounds of bug-scrubbing-off-the-bumper later, we are back in the swing of things, having returned to an uncharacteristic BC heat wave! Many more summer adventures await!

Our Blog Premiere!

So I have finally decided to bite the bullet and create a blog of our own... hopefully it will be an easy way for us to communicate with all of our far-flung friends and family! I hope to post weekly, so check in from time to time for family updates, daily life details and other exciting events!