Thursday, August 30, 2007

Camping Our Way

I'm feeling a little bit guilty. What will happen the day our boys go camping with other people for the first time and they realize that what they have been doing up until then is pseudo-camping at best?

We set up our tent in Summerland last weekend for a brief 2-day trip. That's about all Mike and I can muster for our annual camping duty. Once we were all set up, Ethan said, "So when can we go to dinner?" See, the thing is that we prefer to eat at Boston Pizza in Penticton rather than cooking over a fire or even using our Coleman Road Trip deluxe stove with griddle plate and 42" legs. We watched part of the Ironman while we ate, and it was so busy that we weren't done until after 9 pm. The boys got their cookies for dessert but were not allowed to eat them as it was too late.

We all went to sleep in the tent as soon as we got back to the campsite, and although we didn't get much sleep through the night (I swear there was a mouse somewhere near my head), both of us were sound asleep when Jack woke us up by saying "Can I have my cookie now?" Ethan snored a while longer then we all wandered down to the showers. We had quite a relaxing day - Mike signed up for next year's race (with a 3-week opt-out option), we had coffee, went and played at the park, had a picnic, played baseball and frisbee, went to the beach and swam in the lake, read magazines, and made our way back to the campsite. We embraced the camping spirit a little by roasting weenies and marshmallows, then washed up and went to bed. Packed up in the morning before the 9:15 sprinklers started, and headed home. Phew - safe for another year!

Besides our camping excursion (can you really call it an excursion when you sleep on a queen size air mattress and use Calvin Klein sheets and duvet?) there is nothing much else to report this week. We got some clothes for the kids for fall, and I think we're ready for this Kindergarten thing. Next week you'll hear how the first days of school go!

Bye for now - Tamsin.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Time-Out Kids

When last I posted, Jack had lost 17 toys in the Flasher Wars. He now has zero toys left in his room. That's right - zero. My patience is wearing thin. Jack challenges me with every passing moment. He doesn't care one bit that his toys get taken away, or that he doesn't get to sleep with Blue Blanket when he misbehaves. And honestly, it's pretty frustrating. I have a premonition that he will be the Time-Out kid at preschool.

Ethan self-imposed a time out on the weekend. Jack was in trouble for throwing a ball in the house and hitting me hard in the head, so he was occupying the Naughty Mat for 3 minutes. Ethan decided that since he had WANTED to be the one who hit me with the ball, he'd better sit there and think about what he COULD have done. He found his own Naughty Corner and used his 4 minutes to create a song. It goes a-little somethin' like this:

"I am so Naugh-TEE,
Oh, I am so Naugh-TEE,
I am so Naugh-TEE,
Yeah I am SO Naughty."

Maybe that's the trick with Jack. Maybe I should just wait for him to decide when he needs a time out??? Yeah. Pfthht.

I think he's too smart for his own good. The other day, Jack slammed Ethan's door, which caused the baby gate behind Jack's door to crash down and jam Jack's door shut. We were all on the "good" side of the door, but still I had no idea how I was going to get in there. After trying for some time I figured I would have to crawl out Ethan's window and in through Jack's. The dilemma here is that if the children witnessed me in this cat burglar manoeuver they may take it upon themselves to try it sometime. So I thought again, and eventually by using a long twisted thin stick and sacrificing the skin on most of my fingers, I wedged and levered the baby gate out of the way enough to get my hand in there and get the door open. Well, later that night when Jack and I were fighting again, he decided the way to keep me out was to wedge the baby gate against his door. So he did. I did what any sane mother would do - I broke his door down. Well, the handle anyway. And the baby gate now resides in the garage.

We had my company picnic last weekend, and although it was raining, the kids and I had a great time. We mini-golfed a million times, took part in the relay races (egg & spoon, bean bag toss, ring toss, and sack race), and had great BBQ food. Also, I got to see a bunch of people I hadn't seen in ages, so all in all it was a lot of fun.

On Friday night I dropped the kids at Grandma Sugar's for a sleepover and I went to the movies. I saw Stardust, which I LOVED! It reminded me of Princess Bride - funny, sweet, magical. I had taken the kids to Susan's because I was volunteering at the Crescent Beach Triathlon. It was a good race, and I got experience body marking, crowd and car control, directing athletes as they came out of transition, and last but not least transition security to ensure nobody walked off with one of the athlete's bikes. I was happy to help out in all areas, as I am trying to build my sport volunteer portfolio in preparation for the Olympics. The more I volunteer, the better my chances at getting a good gig during the 2010 Winter Olympics. I will need more winter events, but I can get in on some hockey tournaments this winter and hopefully some other sports too.

Wow, I just thought ahead about how I will be AWOL as a mom for 2 weeks at least during the Olympics. Ethan will be 7-1/2 and Jack almost 6. I think I just shocked myself silly. Anytime I think ahead like that I can't even imagine what life will be like. Before I had kids, I always heard people say "they grow up so fast" but honestly it has really hit home for me now that I'm a mom myself. I guess I should be more positive. I have good kids and although I am frustrated (a lot lately) every difficulty proves itself to be just a stage.

Yours humbly until next week,

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Family Wedding and a Family Fight

Jack and I had our first real fight yesterday. I have made a house rule - I think it's reasonable - that penises are only allowed out while in the bathroom. Otherwise, they must "keep the mouse in the house". I am tired of being flashed every time I turn around. You would think that I had told him he had to sleep on a bed of nails every night from now on. So right after I've informed them of the new regime, he pulls it out of his pyjama pants. I tell him that every time he exposes himself outside of the bathroom, I will take a toy away. Jack stands there in gunslinger stance, hand on his "holster". If he had spit tobacco out of the corner of his mouth, I wouldn't have been surprised! He then went into a routine of pull it out, tuck it away. I got madder and madder. There are now 17 toys in my closet. At one point I said, "That's four toys gone; want to make it five, Jack?" He replied, "Yes, and six after that." Ethan couldn't stop giggling. I didn't win; I just left the room after 17. For all I know he is still up there exposing himself.

We spent last weekend in Victoria and Sooke for Briana and Rob's wedding. It was a beautiful day, and everything went very well. I took the boys over on Thursday night, and on Friday we were joined by M&D, Mike, and the Cowdens. Briana and Rob spent the day in Sooke with Rob's family getting everything ready while I was in charge of the 4 little boys. We had a good time playing outside, building Lego and playing Candyland and Bingo. When reinforcements arrived mid-afternoon, I dashed downtown to solve some last-minute bridal party underwear malfunctions and to buy a new pair of shoes to go with my dress. Don't ask.

We all went to dinner at Boston Pizza - how happy were they to see a party of 14? and then the Lehns and the Cowdens went to the Marriott and had some apple martinis before calling it a night in our nice hotel rooms. Ben and Renee arrived to their hotel sometime that night. I met Briana at the hair salon bright and early with Starbucks in hand, and afterwards we went to get ready in my hotel room. Bit by bit (and according to the detailed schedule drawn up by none other than yours truly - quelle surprise!) everyone found their way to Three Acres, the property in Sooke. Briana and I snuck our way into the cabin to hide from Rob and before long, we started the wedding ceremony. It was a lovely outdoor setting and the ceremony was very nice. Rob rowed Briana away in a small boat up the coast to the reception site at his parents' home, while we walked the path joining the two properties. The reception was full of good food and moving speeches, and 315 photos later (Mike was responsible for the photography) Briana and Rob drove off to start their honeymoon. As we were all exhausted, we drove back to the hotel and crashed after dinner.

The morning after the wedding we dropped Mike at the Clipper to ferry over to Seattle. He flew to Houston that afternoon, and he'll be in LA after that. This is a 12-day trip, longer than usual, and I feel the summer slipping away! After he gets back, we'll take the boys camping for a few days and then school will be upon us before we know it!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

crazy nothing

You know those weeks where you feel like you have been running all day every day, yet at the end of the week you sit down to write - oh, let's say a blog or something - and you realize you actually have nothing to show for your week of chaos?
Yeah, it's been like that.

Ethan was in Dora and Diego camp all last week, just from 9 - 11:30 every morning. He had a great time, with new adventures every day. They did in fact manage to retrieve the swamp water from Swiper the fox, so if you were at all anxious about that, have no fear. The last day was Fiesta Friday, complete with Dora sprinkler set up outside, and we continued our fiesta when we got home. I had created a treasure map of the upstairs, and there were 4 books hidden. They each found two books, and had a pretty good time hunting. I realize they are still only 3 and 4, but I fear they may have inherited their father's sense of direction rather than my own infallible one. Maybe I should enroll them in Orienteering next so they can learn to read maps a little better! C'mon now!

My major accomplishment this week was finding shoes for myself for Briana and Rob's wedding. Great score at Aldo! It ranks as an accomplishment because I tackled the task with both boys in tow. Again following the treasure map theme, I got a Guildford Mall brochure and circled all the shoe stores we needed to visit. Ethan's job was to cross them off once we'd been there, and Jack's job was apparently to run out of every store at the precise moment I'd tried on a pair of shoes. If you've ever wondered how fast you can kick off new shoes and bolt barefoot down a mall, I have a boy I can lend you. It's great fun.

We got a lot done on Saturday, washing the decks and completely cleaning out the garage. This is a chore that seems to pop up every six months. It frustrates me to keep doing the same thing over again, but it is supremely satisfying to bring order to the chaos, and to get rid of the spiders...
After such a hard day's work, we took the boys to the Vancouver Canadians baseball game on Sunday. It was a "nooner at the Nat", which inexplicably is held at 1:05 pm. The boys were PUMPED to go to the game, but when they started asking when it would be over and it was only the bottom of the 2nd inning (look at me and all my new baseball terminology!) I got a little worried. A short trip to the bouncy castle, 4 messy hot dogs, and a bucket of popcorn solved that. Ethan especially was very excited about the game after that. One player hit a home run that cleared the back wall, and Ethan yelled "OUT OF THE PARK... YESSSSS!" It was too cute. Unfortunately, we spent the rest of the game trying to figure out where we had parked the car in relation to where the ball had soared over the wall. Would we be greeted with a beautiful baseball-shaped dent as a souvenir? Luckily, our car was unscathed which meant we could enjoy a nice BBQ at M&D's (aka Grandma Kittycat and Granddad) after the game. Excellent food, and a chance to catch up also with Carl, Ben and Renee.

E-man has been working through the "prep for Kindergarten" materials, and although I think Ethan is already at quite an advanced level, the one item on our list that NEEDS to be accomplished before September is "teach kids to wipe own bums". Now that Rabbit is out of diapers, I'm just so done with other people's crap.
And on that lovely note, I am signing off until next week, where I will bring you a recap of the wedding and our trip to Victoria for the event. Have a great week! - T.