Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Boys Prepare for Halloween!

We’ve been busily preparing for Halloween – the kids are SO excited! We've hit the pumpkin patch in the pouring rain, and carved up some spooky jack-o-lanterns. Jack is going to be a Jack in the Box, and Ethan is Chef Linguini from the movie Ratatouille. Every morning the first thing Ethan says is “5 days until Halloween” etc. What a huge bummer it’s going to be for them when I confiscate all the candy! We usually have to take half of his candy away because of the peanut thing, then we stash the other half and dole out one piece every now and then. Before long, incredibly they forget about the candy and all leftover stuff goes into the Treat Box. The Treat Box then only comes out on special occasions and we add Christmas candy and then Easter candy, and various goodie bag candy before I purge it midsummer. I just tossed all last year’s Halloween leftovers!

The speaker I went to last week suggested that one of the main problems with raising boys is not talking to them regularly about sex. He said to start a weekly tradition of asking them “what questions to do you have about sex this week?” At the age our boys are at, he said the appropriate question would be “what questions do you have about your bodies this week?” So I thought I’d try it out in the car on the way home from school today. Ethan was very excited to ask his first question and here it is: “How many beats does your heart beat in a minute?” It’s not exactly what I was expecting, but okay. Ethan swears it’s 3, for the record.

After the pouring rain last weekend, we have had a beautiful fall week. It's been cold, but we've had sunny days and we've actually got back outside for walks and playtime. I love the colours of the leaves and we have a new chant as we walk through the leaves: "Rustle, crackle, crunch. Rustle, crackle, crunch." Alas, as per usual, the boys catch on to something and repeat it to the point you wish you'd never said anything. I now will avoid leaf-lined streets for a while until they forget the little chant.

Jack and I were watching Ethan’s swimming lesson last week. He was sitting on my lap singing – honestly, I wasn’t really paying attention to what he was saying. All of a sudden the lady next to me started choking on her muffin. I was alarmed and I asked if she was ok. She said “Yes, but WHAT did your son say?” He was singing this song he had learned at preschool:
Photosynthesis, photosynthesis
Carbon dioxide, water and light!
Photosynthesis, photosynthesis
Add a green leaf and cook it just right!
He was all wrapped in a towel since he’d just finished his own lesson and he looked about 2 years old, tops. So when I realized what he was singing I started to laugh and said “I just love his preschool!” She said “Uh, yeah, I would too!”

Jack’s preschool is a Christian one, so he’s become quite interested in all things pertaining to God. So much so, in fact, that he has named a favourite car “God” and his navy and white blanket must now be referred to as “God blanket”. During a recent discussion with my friend about what teddy bears etc. our kids take to bed, Jack pipes up with “I sleep with God!” Ah yes.

I got to see my friend Nancy this weekend. They were evacuated from their home in San Diego due to the wildfires, and so she and the kids came home to her parents’ place in Langley to wait it out. Troy stayed in the San Diego area, but out of the path of the fires. Thankfully, they have now been repopulated and their house is safe. I was also happy for the fact that Nancy, me and Jen got to spend a few hours catching up on Friday night – it’s been ages!

That’s it for tonight, Mount Laundry is calling my name!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Autumn and Apples

It’s been 10 days since I’ve blogged! I had to pull out my calendar to remember what we’ve been up to! Last week, we went apple picking in Fort Langley. An old school friend has an apple orchard, and she let us piggy-back onto a school tour. She was great – taught us all about apple planting, growing and picking. We went out into the orchard and picked about 3 bags of apples. Gail then invited us in for tea and we had a very nice visit, catching up on the last 20 years or so. She has 6 children and is expecting her 7th! Kudos to her; everything seems to run very smoothly around her house. I can’t imagine what would happen if we multiplied our two-kid chaos times three. In fact, it makes me feel a bit nauseous to think about it. I’m quite happy to stop at two kids!

On Friday, we had a whirlwind apple-kitchen day to use all our delicious freshly-picked beauties. We made an apple pie, apple tarts, apple turnovers, caramel apples, dutch apple cake and of course apple sauce. All in the space of about 5 hours. I threw everything into the freezer, with the exception of the caramel apples, so I wouldn’t be tempted.

Last weekend was fun – we had Jack Day on Saturday. Way back when Jack turned 2, Ethan was 3½ and all the attention showered on Jack caused a little setback in the Ethan potty-training schedule. We soon realized that E. needed a little attention and so we created “Ethan Day”. He got special time alone with Mike in the morning and alone with me in the afternoon, and voila! Potty training back on track. Flash forward to today, Jack’s 3½ and Ethan just celebrated his 5th birthday and got all the attention. Guess who started peeing everywhere again this week? After Jack Day (which was really just a couple of hours at the park with us while Ethan hung out with Grandma Sugar) we seem to be ok again. And on an even better note, Ethan has held true to his word and has been wiping his own bum for 15 days now. I had told him that the bum-wiping free ride officially ended on his 5th birthday, and he’s been cool with that. I’ll be buying toilet paper more often (kid isn’t exactly stingy with the TP) but I’m feeling pretty good! Jack’s only once every couple of days, but Ethan’s a thrice-daily kind of a poo guy, so it gets a bit much.

After Jack Day, Mike and I left the boys with Grandma while we went to a surprise birthday party, and then dinner at Aaron and Marzia’s with them and Kim and Gene. We had a great night, and stayed out – wait for this – past midnight! Yes, it’s true. We got home around 1:30. We then had a delicious brunch at the new Irish pub in Langley before picking up the kids.

We’ve decorated for Halloween now, so we are in the midst of glorious orange and black tackiness at the moment. Our piece de resistance this year is a large spider web we spun on our porch, stretching over the bench. The kids are getting excited for Halloween but I have a lot of work to do still on their costumes. You’ll see pictures once everything’s done there.

The last thing to report on is a speaker I heard this week. His name was Barry MacDonald and his talk was on Boy Smarts. He was a very good speaker and he had a lot of good and interesting things to say on parenting boys. My favourite was Ethan’s comment when I told him where I was going that night – “But Mummy, you already KNOW how to be a parent!” Sigh – I wish that were true.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Ethan becomes a 5-year-old!

The big news for the week, is of course, Ethan's fifth birthday! He had a perma-grin from the second he woke up until he fell asleep that night. He loved his presents from us, and as often happens, the gift we picked up as an afterthought was his favourite! He is now in the Transformers/Lego stage of life, which Mike is ecstatic about (big kid). He also still loves Cars and his favourite gift was the Cars carrying case I picked up at the last minute.

How cool for him - his class went on a field trip on his birthday. They went to the Fire Hall which he really enjoyed. He then handed out some goodies to his Kindergarten friends and got to pick whatever he wanted for lunch. So to Wendy's we drove and ordered up our hamburgers. Grandma and Granddad came by for tea and brought a very cool wooden castle and some knights and horses to fill it up. We made some cupcakes and headed off to swimming lessons. Grandma Sugar came for dinner (E's request: spaghetti and meatballs) and they spent the rest of the night racing the Hot Wheels track she brought. He went to bed a very happy little man.

Friday was quiet, which was a good thing as Saturday was Ethan's party at Science World. They had called me to warn me that their sponsor Telus was making that Saturday a free to the public day. That meant that it was crazy busy, but luckily our party was in a private room. They did a science demo for the kids, served them lunch and did cake and presents. The host was great and the kids had a blast. We met the parents in the lobby afterwards and some of us went back into Science World to play. We only lasted half an hour before we were overwhelmed by all the people and piled into the car, happy and exhausted. Ethan got a lot of board games and books for his birthday (do they know this kid or what?) so we spent the rest of the day playing everything.

Sunday was Thanksgiving, and I took the boys to my parents' house at 5 pm. Unfortunately, Mike's allergies were still bad from the previous weekend so he had to miss a huge turkey dinner with all the trimmings. And two kinds of pie!!! My parents have a cat, and Mike had been at Eliot's the night before where the dog had sent him over the edge. The dinner was very good, but I did have to rush my dad to the clinic after an unfortunate knife-sharpening incident. There are easier ways to get out of washing the dishes! Ben had to carve the turkey, with my dad coaching him along the way. I think he did a pretty good job! The kids were a little wild and we failed to impress the two British ladies who were staying at my parents. They were very nice about it but I was cringing at what they must think of the naughty Canadian boys. The "highlight" of the night was Jack ditching his pyjama pants and streaking past the proper ladies sipping their tea, screaming "Naked Boy!" at the top of his lungs. We left very quickly after that.

Gramps and Connie came by yesterday to bring Ethan a couple of Transformers (and one for Jack). That night, Ethan came downstairs after bedtime to tell me he was feeling sad but he didn't know why. I offered hugs and kisses but he said that wouldn't help. I suspect that he was upset at the end of his birthday! It was so cute, a couple of months ago I asked him why he never wanted to throw a coin in the fountain for a wish any more. He said he had stopped because his wishes never came true! I asked what he was wishing for, and he wouldn't tell me at first, but eventually consented to whisper in my ear, "I wish for my birthday to come sooner". Poor kid, I can't help him make that wish come true. So when it was done for another year, he was understandably sad.

But, we have Halloween to look forward to, and then the two month hype before Christmas. So he'll get over it soon enough!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

In Shock

Ethan cleaned his whole room yesterday, unprovoked and just "as a surprise for Mummy" who was laying down with a headache. It was spotless!
Thank you. You can close your mouths now and return to what you were doing.