Friday, December 24, 2010

December Days - 24

I have been anticipating today's advent activity for a while now: "Go snowshoeing".

Since we have no snow, we drove up to Cypress Mountain this morning (home to all Olympic snowboard and freestyle skiing events) and although it was pouring rain, it was great! I got my Christmas present from Mike a day early - snowshoes of my own! The boys all rented, and off we went!

Here are Mike and Ethan on the trail:

And Jack was mostly in this position:

We never made it to the cabin that was only 1 km from the start of the trail, due to a 6-yr-old whose nickname is Molasses, but even in the downpour it was fun.

We were soaked, but stopped for a quick burger (eaten in the car because we can't take boys into restaurants dressed only in underwear) before going to my parents to see them, my brother, my cousin, her dad, her husband and her beautiful baby daughter. We had brought clothes to change into and enjoyed an afternoon of visiting, gifts, treats, and drinks.

Now it's just about time for nestling them snug in their beds, so I wish you all visions of sugarplums and a very Merry Christmas! xoxoxoHOHOHOxoxoxo

December Days - 23

Today's advent was a cop-out, I admit. "Eat treats and drink egg nog" - well, duh! I've been doing that EVERY day! But 2 days before Christmas when I worked all day, well it had to be simple. So after dinner Jack enjoyed a candy cane, Ethan and I had shortbread and Mike had an egg nog. Then all was good, advent fulfilled and off to bed!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

December Days - 22

Yey! Today's activity was ice skating!

Over the Christmas holidays, one of our local arenas has daily public ice time for only $2.50 each. Stick and Puck for ages 5-12 at 11:30, then Family Skate at 12:30. Perfect!

They had a blast!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

December Days - 21

Jack was pretty disappointed when today's Advent Activity was "Christmas shopping". Hey, sometimes you just have to stuff the necessary things in there, too, you know? But he was choked. So after work, instead of dragging them out shopping, we got cozy with blankets and pillows and watched the Survivor finale that we recorded on Sunday.

Jack's quote as we watched the finale: "Next time you make fish, I will eat the fish. Because I want to be Survivor, so I'd better get used to fish."

Ethan's quote: "Yeah, they'd better vote him out. He is such a threat! ...pause... What's a threat?"

Not exactly a Christmas activity, but quiet family time nonetheless.

Monday, December 20, 2010

December Days - 20

Today our advent activity was to "Wrap Presents". I've already done a bunch, but it was time for the boys to wrap each other's, and one to Mike. They also needed to wrap a friend's birthday gift (more on that later). While Mike was in NY last week, I hauled the folding table up into our bedroom and made Wrap Central in there. It's the only room with a door, and I needed secrecy (obviously). I almost got caught with secret gifts last year, and I wasn't about to have a repeat.

Back to Wrap Central - it's awesome to have it set up and ready all the time! It has been SO convenient! Mike was a little "surprised" to find the setup, but it is working well for me!

The boys went to Victor's party today, and both of them wanted to look handsome for the occasion. I had to capture the cuteness on camera! The photo shoot started out well...

but it quickly degenerated into general horsing around (as usual!)

Ah, these animals!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

December Days - 19

This morning the boys were excited to see that as day 19, we were going to see the movie "Tangled". I have wanted to see this movie since it came out, and I was determined to fit it in over the holidays. I had heard that this was a movie that really was a "G" rated movie, unlike some of the other supposedly kiddie movies that scare my poor Ethan. Jack's all over them, but Ethan hates movies with bad guys or anything scary.

It was great! Not a girly movie, not a boyish movie, just a great kids' movie with enough funny banter for the adults to pick up on too. Kind of reminded me of Cars that way! We didn't see it in 3D, although that's supposed to be even better, but the idea of 3D really freaks E out. He made me double-check the theatre number so he knew it wasn't going to be in 3D before he walked in the door.

The three of us all really enjoyed it - take your kids for sure!

December Days - 18

Today's advent activity was "Christmas Train" but I'm afraid we didn't get to the train today. Mike and Ethan went out for some Christmas shopping while Jack and I wrapped some things and did some crafts. Jack painted my face with a candy cane on one cheek and a snowflake on the other, and I did the same for him. I so wish I had taken photos!

Later, Susanna, Jim and Victor came over so they and Mike could catch a repeat performance of Jack's recital. Jack had decorated brown bags and I'd popped popcorn for the kids' bags. We'd got out hot chocolate and marshmallows and Mike made coffees for the grown-ups. Susanna was a good sport and also got a Jack-designed candy cane on her cheek. I was waiting to see which cheek Jim would offer up for painting, but luckily it was time for Jack's performance. He did well, and then Ethan got in there and hammered on the keys a little as well.

Mike and I went to out annual Christmas party afterwards - our fantastic Secret Santa exchange with all of our good friends. We've known most of these friends since the early 1980's, so when we buy for each other it's usually pretty special. This year was no different - it's awesome to see how much thought goes into each gift as we buy for a specific person in our group.

We may get to the Christmas train on Sunday, but I haven't told the boys just in case we don't manage to fit it in. If so, I will post pictures!

December Days - 17

"Take a Jingle Bell Walk".

We do this every year: grab our jingle bells and our Santa hats and take a walk around the neighbourhood. There may be some singing involved also, but usually we just walk and jingle. It brings smiles to people's faces and it's a bit of peace amidst the hectic.

Mike got back from New York today and it was the last day of school so there were a lot of activities to squeeze in. But it was a good day, capped off with a really great get-together with the girls in Experience Club. We try to experience new fun things together, and for the past couple of years instead of exchanging gifts we sponsor a family for Christmas. So Friday night we got together, made pizzas, wrapped the gifts we'd bought, packaged the food and boxed up all the clothes. After everything was assembled, we dressed a couple of the husbands up as Santa and an elf (not Mike; he would have died) and they drove us around to see Christmas lights. We saw some amazing displays! We got out at a few of them to walk through the light displays, and "Santa" was a big hit with the kiddies. We were laughing as he posed for photos and handed out candy canes - it was awesome and both he and the elf were great sports. This definitely needs to be a tradition, and I'd like to involve the kids a little more next year. They gathered the food items with me, and knew we were giving our old car seat to the family, but I'd love for them to be involved in the wrapping and assembling. Without spoiling the whole Santa thing, though.

Anyway, thanks to Shannon, Jenny on the north side, Breanne, Jenny on the south side, Sonia, Jas, Tracy, Santa Kris, Elf James, and everyone who donated to the family. Awesome!

December Days - 16

I'm behind again - what a crazy, busy week! Ethan said to me at the end of school on Friday, "Isn't it great? Now we can do NOTHING for the whole of holidays!" And I was still in full panic mode. So I looked at him wild-eyed and barked: "Not. Yet."

This time of year is definitely chaotic. I absolutely LOVE seeing everyone, whether it's catching up for coffee, going out for our Christmas lunch at work, or seeing all our friends in the evening. But there is always so much preparation that goes into each event that I don't end up sleeping more than 5 hours a night. You know it's stupid crazy when you find yourself cutting evergreen boughs in your yard at midnight, by the light of a headlamp, so your boy can make his Christmas centrepiece at school.

However, the good memories are invaluable, so I do cherish this time of year. Which brings me back to the advent calendar: Day 16 was "Sing Christmas carols".

This was not a throwaway instruction - I do love the Christmas carols, and the fact that 103.5 plays nothing but Christmas music from mid-November through the holidays is very exciting for me. Almost as exciting as falling asleep to the fireplace channel (which I will have to remember to PVR so I can fall asleep to it year-round)...

The kids and I had a good time carolling here and there today. I would not have chosen "Gloria" as sung top volume by Ethan at 7 am, but who am I to judge? I hope he didn't notice me trying to snort my tea so I could get the caffeine faster.

The day was capped off by Jack's first ever piano recital. He's only been playing for 7 weeks, but he really enjoys it and he's doing great. The recital featured 16 or 17 of his teacher's students, from Jack (age 6) to a few teenagers. He introduced himself properly:
and stepped up to the piano. He carefully arranged his music sheets, and did a great job of Jingle Bells. Deck the Halls was a little rockier, as he got all the notes right (except for one at the end) but was a little off on the timing. He slid off the bench and gave a deep bow, muttering "hippopotamus" so he would remember to bow long enough. It was precious! I was videotaping for Mike as he was in NY all week, so Ethan was in charge of the still shots:

Then they both behaved like 2-yr-olds while the others were performing, and the precious illusion was shattered. Ho-ho-home to bed for naughty boys.

Friday, December 17, 2010

December Days - 15

"Read the Night Before Christmas" was our day 15. The boys LOVE this story! They know it by heart now, but still love to read it!

Also, they have these really annoying bears that recite the whole story. They're the ones here with the open books on their laps.

What's annoying is that they like to play them together, except they never sync them properly, and one's voice is dying, so really it's just plain torture. I much prefer to just read the darn book!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

December Days - 14

Given the fact that the storm we'd had the night before meant a leaky skylight and a grand total of 2 hours of sleep for me as I laid out buckets, moved the piano, got out the ladder, toweled puddles up, tarped the TV etc. I didn't much care what the Advent Calendar for the 14th said.

"Christmas Concert". Oh, phew - an easy one. Today was one of the afternoon concerts and since I was at work, my parents came to watch the boys perform and then took them home to play until dinnertime. I will have photos tomorrow as I went to the concerts on the 15th. My parents loved it and said they performed beautifully.

My little angels!

December Days - 13

"Make Christmas Crafts".

This advent was disappointing to the kids. They pointed out that they had done the snowmen as a craft (since we had no snow) and done the tree as a craft (since I got back too late to get a real tree), and did we really have to think of another craft???

My kids are not that into crafts, clearly. So when they suggested that the crafts they did in school that day should count, I was in full agreement. Here's Ethan's gingerbread house. Keep in mind that he is in Grade 3, not Kindergarten... remember I said they're not exactly crafty? He had been picking at it already, though.

Jack did something at school for his big buddy. He was pretty vague about it, but given his skill level I would say it's something like a marshmallow on a stick, called a snowman.

And anyway, my kitchen looked like this still after the shortbread-baking mince pie-making royal icing-mixing kafuffle from earlier. So I was happy their crafts had already been done.

December Days - 12

Today was also a bit of a fail. The Advent Calendar was to "Get a Christmas tree". Although we've had our two fake ones up for a while (correct that, we have three fake ones up including the one on my nightstand), we have an annual tradition of going to our friend Shannon's parents' place for a Christmas tree. I would LOVE to have a real tree every year, but Mike and Ethan would suffer dramatically and allergically if we did. But we often get a small one at Shannon's and stash it somewhere unobtrusive (like outside).

Well, sigh, I didn't get home from Seattle in time to go to her tree farm. So the kids made Christmas tree pictures instead. And Jack was so proud of his that he cut it out carefully and made it into an ornament to stick onto Madame's card. Ethan was way more careful about the shape of his, but less interested in colours or making anything out of it afterwards.

Either way, I guess we got a Christmas tree of some sort accomplished!

And I did get back in time for Ethan's hockey game, which was awesomely exciting! It was a fantastic game and Ethan did great. They were playing an undefeated team, and although our team controlled a lot of the play they were unlucky with their shots. It ended 3-2 for the other guys, but was a highly entertaining game nonetheless. And the heaters were on in the stands (which is always a huge bonus!)

December Days - 11

ARGH - I'm behind! I will catch us up...

December 11 was "Bake cookies". This was a good plan in that I scheduled this for a Saturday. Except - Mike and I ended up going to Seattle, as he was flying out of there for New York early on Sunday morning. We thought we'd do a little Christmas shopping on Saturday, stay near the airport and then I'd come home in time for hockey on Sunday. Great plan but it meant ditching the kids so secret shopping could occur! That also meant that Susan was surprised to find herself pestered to bake cookies because they HAD to; it was in the Advent Calendar!

The kids also forgot to tell her that we had cookie dough already in the freezer, so she stopped and picked up some Christmas sugar cookie pucks and they baked those. All in all, it worked out!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

December Days - 10

It is hard to "build a snowman" without snow. This was our dilemna on Day 10 of our advent calendar. So we got creative!

Ethan's all about the traditional snowman, whereas Jack doesn't exactly play by the rules. But you knew that already, right?!?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

December Days - 9 = hours of entertainment and an easy-out for a Christmas activity on a busy work day. That was our December 9th advent!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

December Days - 8

The Wafer family Christmas tradition is to watch A Christmas Story. Nothing says Christmas to me like "You'll shoot your eye out!"
Day 8 of our advent calendar was to watch A Christmas Story. Was this for me or for the kids? You decide...

Also please note to Ethan's left: the array of Christmas tree ornaments that get re-decorated on a daily basis. Tonight I vow to finish the tree and restrict all future re-decorating and re-distributing of ornaments...

Deember Days - 7

Today was the day we were slated to deliver poinsettias. Actually, we had already distributed them this weekend to those who had ordered them through the kids' school. They were very beautiful, although I suppose I should think to water them one of these days!

Monday, December 6, 2010

December Days - 6

Our Advent Calendar told us today to visit Santa, and although we saw Pere Noel last Wednesday and Santa yesterday, my boys informed me that neither one of those was the REAL Santa - HE comes to Semiahmoo Mall and we needed to go get our annual picture with him.

It's so great getting their picture taken there. There are no line-ups, Santa chats with the boys for about 10 minutes, and he gives them a magic apple, and they always take a great picture because they're with the real guy, NOT just any helper in a suit.

And on another note, I got to Target today and got a few things knocked off the list. Bring it on, Christmas - I will be ready for you!

December Days - 5

On Sunday our advent told us to go to a Christmas Party - so we did! It was our annual children's Christmas party at work, and the kids had a blast! There were bouncy castles, balloon animals, face painting, games, cookies and Santa with presents!

Can you believe how big the boys are?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

December Days - 4

Advent Activity for December 4th: "Groceries for Food Bank"

We just assembled some extras we had around the house; we'll give more later this month! And we did get a star on our tree today, but not without a little effort!

Friday, December 3, 2010

December Days - 3

Today was "Decorate for Christmas"

I wish I had an awesome picture of them on a ladder putting the star on the tree, but no. It was a busy day capped off with a birthday party so we only decorated a little and the tree is still star-less. But I must share a very sweet picture of Jack flaked out after his exhausting day today! (It's hard to be good and he was on his best behaviour at school)

Now c'mon, Santa. Surely this boy is not on your Naughty List?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

December Days - 2

The beauty of creating your own Advent Calendar is that you can stack the deck - I know what days I'm going to be working, so I stuff the easy activities into those days, when I know I'll have only about 30 minutes with the boys before bed.

Today was "Letters to Santa":

For Jack! Everything has an exclamation point!
Dear Santa Please! 2 Jango Fett Lego! Jack Lego (not sure; does this exist?) 3 Beyblades. Blue! 2 Walkietalkies! 23 Bakugan!
Love! Jack!

Ethan's a little calmer, but there are some unexplained arrows and very unnecessary apostrophes.
Christmas Wish List: Camera, Basketball, Beyblade's and Battleset, Bakugan, (DS) Video game's and Kinect, Laptop, Sudoku (Travel)

Love these boys! Now if only they can behave long enough to actually receive presents this year...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December Days - 1

I'm back! It's been a while since I've been here; I know, I know.
I thought I'd bust back in by reporting on our December activities. Every year, we do an advent calendar like a lot of families. In ours, there are pockets with a strip of paper in each. Every day has something fun to do for the Christmas season!

December 1st: Go to Pere Noel Event.

This is an annual event put on by our local chapter of Canadian Parents for French. This year was the best year yet! There were games, crepes, hot chocolate, cookie decorating, an angel craft, balloon animals, face painting and of course a visit from the big man - Pere Noel himself!

They had a fantastic time but ate WAY too much sugar. When Jack's balloon sword popped, that was our cue to leave! Off to bed to rest up for another December fun day!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Only One

In my house (and perhaps in yours) there is a certain inequality. Before it drives me completely insane, I'm going to blog it out. In my house...

I am the only one who cleans the toilet. And yet...
I am the only one who never misses the toilet
I am the only one who changes the paper towel
I am the only one who does the grocery shopping
I am the only one who volunteers
I am the only one who notices the need to do laundry
I am the only one who takes the bottles to the depot
I am the only one who tidies the garage
I am the only one who tends the garden and planters
I am the only one who dusts
I am the only one who changes the sheets
I am the only one who gives medicine
I am the only one who cuts the boys' fingernails and toenails
I am the only one who commutes to work
I am the only one who bakes
I am the only one who decorates the house
I am the only one who buys kids clothes
I am the only one who shops for birthday presents
I am the only one who....

Wait, this is beyond depressing. You know I could go on, but why bother? It's as futile as trying to get the boys to pee in the actual toilet.

Keep Calm and Carry On.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Feeling pretty low today.

But... just when I was feeling my worst, the doorbell rings and there's a friend with a pick-me-up flower bouquet for me. Then I check my mailbox and there's a thank you card from overseas. Then I receive an email from an appreciative co-worker.

Things will improve!
(Thanks Shelley, Thea and Liz - I needed you today)

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Year of Tamsin

Today was the first day of the Year of Tamsin!
Every Friday this year, to celebrate a little mom-freedom now that Jack has started all-day school (big Grade One, baby!), I am going to do whatever I want!!! No errands, no housework, only the things that I want to do!

What that meant today was crawling back in bed after taking the kids to school, reading a book and watching Regis and Kelly for an hour. Then I went to Kim's for a muffin and a cup of tea. Then I came home and vegged out, surfing the internet for nothing in particular. Then I went for a run with some moms from school as a grand finale for the first day in the Year of Tamsin.

All in all, it was a good day, but I am planning some more exciting days for this year! I have a few partners in crime lined up and we will have some fun - at least between 8:35 am and 2:35 pm!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I'm Away

It's weird being away. I am in Calgary for 2 nights, working at our office out here today and tomorrow. I went to the airport by myself, got on a plane by myself, got picked up by a chauffeur and town car by myself (it was cheaper than a cab - honest), stayed in a hotel by myself, used the exercise room by myself, ordered room service by myself, took a cab there and a cab back by myself, and am now sitting here in my hotel room by myself.

It's awesome.

And also weird. I don't know if I've spent this much time alone in a long while, and it hasn't even been 17 hours by myself (and 7 of those were sleeping hours and do not count). It's very quiet, but also fun! I'm going to exercise again! And have a bath! And do my nails! And get some dinner! And watch TV! Yippee!

But I'll be home tomorrow night, in time for Ethan's hockey evaluations Saturday, and a picnic with work on Sunday. And I know I'll love all that too. But for now, I will revel in the silence and absorb the zen, in the hopes I can drift back when I'm immersed in chaos again.

In the meantime, look at these grown-up boys:

Look at ME! I'm in Grade Three!

Hey! I'm not excited AT ALL to be in Grade One!

No matter how much fun it is to be by myself, I'm still looking forward to getting back to those boys! - T.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Was NOT blog. (Sorry) Was having too much fun in the sun!

But I'm back, now, and LOVING the fact that both boys are in full day school now. I did the extended version of my Happy Dance this morning, and even made a few other moms dance with me. As one person pointed out, 8:35-2:35 is enough time to get drunk and get sober. (Oh wait, that was me pointing that out). And I would NEVER. I'm just sayin'. What I meant was that was enough time to do 5 loads of laundry.

It will be a great year for them in school, I just know it. They are in Grades One and Three this year, and their classrooms are right beside each other, and I'm loving it! Pictures of my two handsome creatures to follow soon.

Happy September!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I Am English

Sadly, England's quest for the World Cup has just ended. But I have thoroughly enjoyed watching all the soccer games the last couple of weeks, and I'm excited to watch a few more. If Brazil and the Netherlands meet in the quarters, that will be a good game, and Argentina should progress through and give this young German team a run. I'm happy to see Ghana do well, too. What I liked about the England-Germany game today was the lack of diving - the South Americans and Africans are Bad in that regard. Or Naughty, as the English announcers would say. And don't even get me started on the Spain-Portugal match - I won't be able to watch that one because I'll get too irate. And Japan-Paraguay is just not interesting to me. If the English had actually continued playing the match after they were robbed of Lampard's goal today, it would have been a treat to watch. The Germans played well; textbook passes and good runs. They deserved it. Sigh.

Whether it's the amount of soccer I've been watching lately or the fact that I am completely green with envy over my parents' upcoming 2-month vacation in England, I really really really am feeling desperately English lately. (It also could be my glowing white legs making an appearance during the brief episode of sun on Friday - you can't get more English than MY skin tone) I've been craving English foods, and wanting an English vacation more than anything.

I took the boys to our local British import shop the other day; just before Father's Day actually. Ostensibly I was there to get Scotch Pies and Bangers for my dad's father's day present, but *somehow* I walked out of there with about $50 in chocolate, crisps and biscuits. Ethan is now a fan of Jammie Dodgers - I have created a monster!

So as I was watching - what else - World Cup the other day, Jack asked if he could have a Flake. I mumbled distractedly in the affirmative and off he ran. Are you familiar with Flakes? Delicious, but the messiest chocolate bar ever as it's a jumble of flaked chocolate that essentially explodes into crumbs as you eat it. At half time, I came into the kitchen and there was chocolate everywhere. Piles of little pieces of chocolate all over the table, floor, and melted onto various parts of Jack's body. In fact, the net weight of the chocolate we swept up seemed to be more than the amount of grams listed on the packet, so I'm not really sure how much actually got inside Jack. Lesson learned: pay careful attention when the word "Flake" is mentioned.

Somehow, after all my cheese and Branston sandwiches, tea and shortbread, my pants miraculously don't need a belt anymore. The dryer must be shrinking the waistbands. Hm.

World Cup, Wimbledon, Tour de France starting up next weekend - all on the heels of the Olympics to boot - this is a fantastic month for sports. Those are all my favourites to watch!

The boys have a day and a half left in school, then we are on to summer fun starting June 30th! We're going camping after Canada Day (just a little, enough to placate the boys and not so much that us grown-ups go crazy) and have lots of outings planned around our local area. Now we just need the weather to cooperate!

I was very excited the other day - Jack was sick and home from school. Not that his being sick was so cool, but only going to the school twice in one day rocked - 8:30 to 2:30 without being interrupted by a Kindergarten pickup was awesome! It gave me a taste of what it's going to be like in the fall, and I like that taste A LOT. I got SO much done, and Jack is such a good little patient that he is easy to take care of when he's sick. He's better now, and we are looking forward to visiting my parents this afternoon for Greek Day in Kits. Ooh, the food we will consume!!!

It may even take away a few English cravings... or maybe not. I'm not sure what will cure my homesickness for a country I only lived in for the first two years of my life. Whenever I am in England I feel Home. Even if they see me as Canadian through and through - and I love Canada - I am English at heart. I asked for a plane ticket for my birthday but I'm not holding my breath. I will just turn my sights toward enjoying Canada Day on Thursday (but the red I wear may secretly be for St. George).

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all daddies out there. Especially to Mike and to my own Daddy.
I promise not to poop in your lap anymore, Daddy. Sorry about that.

Also? You may laugh at the look now, but in the seventies my parents were killer fashionable. Check out the boots. I'm not lyin'.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Tempus fugit

Hello June, nice to meet you. I am "super happy" that you want to just fly right on by. Do you think you could have paused a little on the one and a half sunny days we have had since February??? I'd like you to stick around a little while, but only if you're going to keep bringing the sunshine. thank you.


These boys have broken me.

No, really. I think my toe is broken. Still not sure EXACTLY how it all went down, but one moment the three of us were happily walking on our way to get a slurpee, next moment we were all TKO'd on the sidewalk. Jack skinned his knee, Ethan twisted his ankle and his 67 pounds stomped down with the other foot onto my poor toe. We're all blaming Jack, but really with no just cause. Even Jack says it's his fault but doesn't know how or why.

But like the trooper I am, we hobbled on to the Slurpee store.
Then I very seriously considered calling Mike to come and get us. I didn't think I would make it home with a potentially broken toe, down the hill, in flip flops. I did in the end, but it took a whopping 45 minutes to limp home. Sad, sad.

I am icing my toe now but man, is it ever burning in pain under there! Luckily I just got a pedi this morning (on a whim when I got done photocopying at the school) so my toes look awful pretty. They don't exactly FUNCTION, per se, but they look good. Until the bruising sets in.

Countdown to end of school: 9 days
Time is a-flyin' by!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Commercial Boy, Part 3

I was away last weekend with my girlfriends. I was going to say that Mike went out with his boyfriends on Saturday night, but that doesn't sound quite right. What? They're friends that are BOYS! What's the problem? .... So ANYWAY he went out with the GUYS on Saturday and needed to sleep a little later on Sunday morning.

But of course he had two boys who bounced in early morning. He mumbled to them to go do something, and so they did. They read through all the weekend flyers and did a little selective cutting. Here's a sample of what they plastered onto Mike's face as he slept:

Inspired by their ingenuity, Mike took them to trade some old games for this new one. Trouble is, when I got home on Monday I found he had traded MY Guitar Hero for THEIR game. I am upset.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sometimes you just gotta...

You just gotta get away sometimes, you know?

Because how can you appreciate sticky kisses unless you experience a night without them?

Because how can you appreciate exuberant joyful noisiness unless you experience peace and quiet?

Because how can you appreciate crazy busy routines unless you experience a morning when you don't HAVE to get up for anything?

Thanks to Chantal, Ivana, Kim, Marzia and Megan for our Manning Park retreat. And in fact, there WERE a few sticky kisses, lots of exuberant joyful noisiness and definitely some craziness. But also a ton of relaxation, great food and great company. Two nights away and much appreciated! Now I promised not to post pictures here so I won't. But oh boy, am I tempted!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What was I thinking?

Mothers should know better than to stick their hands into returning lunchkits without looking.

Really. We should know better by now.

Going to wash squished fruit off fingers and pick it out of fingernails now...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Commercial Boy, Part 2

Home from Costco with a large load. Jack askes me as we unpack the mega-Chips Ahoy package:

"Is that a national brand?"

"Yessss..." (I know where this is going - I can sense the commercial about to start)

"Did you know that there is a cookie with more chips per bite than the leading national brand?"

Sigh. And if you could just hear his little voice saying it, you would die. He talks in the words of an adult sometimes, but he has the squeakiest 2-year-old's voice in a mini 6-year-old body. He is still "firsty" for something to drink, and sometimes he "wides" his scooter.

Also he calls me "Hey Mister Mummypants" which makes me crack up Every. Single. Time.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Year/Month/Week/Day of Me

I found out something VERRRRRY interesting today. A friend of a friend sent her youngest to Grade One this year, just as I will do in the fall. This whole year, she has celebrated the Year of Laura. She drops the kids at school and then... DOES WHATEVER SHE WANTS. ALL DAY. NO GUILT.

This woman has spent entire days playing Wii by herself at home. She's enjoyed wine and Oprah. She has done anything she wanted to. She hasn't worried about what she SHOULD be doing. She has only done what SHE wanted to do that day.

I was speechless. I literally sat there with my mouth open like a fool. YOU CAN DO THAT???? What an unbelievably awesome concept. So immediately I thought about sending Jack to Grade One next year. It should be the Year of Me!!! And then next-to-immediately I thought how it could never work for me. Tuesdays and Thursdays are out because of work. Could I conceivably do what I wanted, guilt-free, three days a week from 8:35 - 2:35?

Clearly the answer is no. It's all because of that stinky guilt-free clause. But I think I should definitely work a Day of Me in there somewhere!!! September, here we come!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Commercial Boy

(I am replacing the paper towel roll)

Jack: Mummy, is that Bounty?

Me: Why yes, it IS Bounty.

Jack: Did you Know there is a Kitchen Towel that Soaks up Spills Better than Bounty?

(That was an actual quotation. Of Jack. And apparently of the commercial. To the letter.)

Ethan: Yeah, it's called Scott Towels.

(And I didn't even think they watched the channels that have commercials. Obviously I am an awesome TV supervisor.)

And then later:

Jack: Mummy, I don't want to be Jack any more.

Me: No? Who do you want to be?

Jack: You can call me: "Commercial Boy"!!!

Well, ok then. Commercial Boy it is.

Friday, April 30, 2010


Taxes are done with hours - HOURS - to spare. It is clearly time to celebrate writing that gigantic cheque to the government. America's Next Top Model and wine. Classic entertainment.

Monday, April 26, 2010

They certainly do boost my self confidence

Jack: Mummy, why do ladies have to wear necklaces?

Me: They don't have to; they just wear them because they're pretty.

Jack (looking at my neck, rolls eyes): Well, not THAT one.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

House Rules

Mike was trying to fix our router today. Not exactly news-worthy except for the fact that his battle with the router prompted this addition to the House Rules posted on the fridge. And on the front door, and on each of the boys' doors. Ethan edited all four copies! The boys (and especially Jack) are behaving horribly lately. I have no idea where we've screwed up so badly, but I'm at the end of my rope. We'll see how these House Rules go. I'll update soon on the parenting fail.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

And Again, I Spoke Too Soon

Remember last week, when I posted this?
"Jack is also performing well in class, and I admire his teacher to no end for keeping the Silly in check for 2-1/2 hours daily. Also, I may be jinxing myself here, but we are now in April and we haven't been called to the principal's office YET on account of Jack's behaviour. Please keep your fingers crossed that my kindergartner can hold it together until June."



Not even two days later, I'm beckoned over at Kindergarten pickup. RUH-Roh, as Scooby would say. Turns out Jack was so disruptive in class that he had to work in the hallway. So, not quite the principal's office, but he's on verrry thin ice.

So me and Madame, we talk to Jack. Does he understand what it means to work in the hallway? Yes, he says, it means he's closer to the bathroom in case he needs to go. NNnnnooo, we say, it means you have been too naughty to stay in class. It means you are not being fair to the other kids if you don't let them learn. It means you need to behave a lot better in school because school is a place to learn. Oh, OK, says Jack.

But has he gotten it? Really? I don't think so. So I get Ethan to talk to Jack. Ethan takes it very seriously and closes me and Mike out on the other side of the kitchen door. We try to eavesdrop but all we can hear is: Do you understand, Jack? I SAID Do you understand?

Ethan comes out and says, Well, he didn't get it the first time, but I think he gets it now. I DID have to ask him twice though.

And he rolls his eyes in a conspiratorial co-parent kind of way. Boys. What're you gonna do? Right Mummy?



Just to completely switch tracks here - I know I'm late to the party, but I love Glee! If you're not watching it, you should be. It cracks me up!

Monday, April 12, 2010


I have eaten almost a whole box of Girl Guide cookies while watching PVR. It happened to be Jamie Oliver and his Food Revolution. I think I have missed the point.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring 2010

Happy Easter everyone!
I would like to start a new chapter in our lives called: "No Excuses". I'm not going to make any more excuses for why we can't fit something into our schedules, or why I need to sit down with a(nother) cup of tea. We are a busy young family and we have REASONS why we can't accommodate everything. NOT excuses. So there.

I am also not going to accept any more excuses from the young 'uns.

I'm sorry, but WHAT broken arm, Mister Jack? If you can somehow scale the fridge to access the candy contraband on top, I am NOT going to believe you when you say you can't pull the sheets into place on your bed. Not rocket science, kid.

And Ethan, you are too smart for me to accept the fact that you forgot to mention you had homework. Just because I'm not home until late Tuesday nights doesn't mean you get a "bye" in the dictee practice. Pull out your Agenda and show Daddy, you big 7-yr-old, you. Even though he can't speak French well, he can still help you.

Big breath.

OK, so the past few weeks have been lots of fun. Spring break was perfect this year. The two weeks with the kids came at the perfect time for me, having just returned from Whistler and the month away. It was awesome to reconnect and spend time with them without having to yell at them to get them out the door to school. Somehow, it's not so stressful when you're getting them to shoe and coat themselves prior to going to a playdate. Or visiting the new baby girl cousin. Or going for a walk to the beach. Still, after spring break is always the time that I start looking at summer camps in earnest. I realize my limitations, and full-time entertainer for two months to two active boys is WAY beyond my skill set.

We are all looking forward to summer camps and camping with the cousins, but also the last few months of school are very exciting for the kids. They are both doing well at school. Ethan is a natural student and does great in class. Jack is also performing well in class, and I admire his teacher to no end for keeping the Silly in check for 2-1/2 hours daily. Also, I may be jinxing myself here, but we are now in April and we haven't been called to the principal's office YET on account of Jack's behaviour. Please keep your fingers crossed that my kindergartner can hold it together until June.

Last week he got in trouble for kissing a girl and making her cry. I am SO not making that up. She is a lovely girl, and she is a special friend to Jack, but she didn't welcome the smooch in class. Madame spoke to the class about boundaries and who/when it is appropriate to kiss, and hopefully it stops there.

Ethan struggles with public perception. By that I mean that he is always afraid of looking silly in front of others. He will now sing at Christmas concerts, and speak in front of the class, and even perform in the class plays in front of parents. He is confident in front of us. But sometimes, he decides that something will make him look dumb, and he digs his heels in and will NOT participate. It happened last week with dancing in gym class. Usually it's things like Crazy Hair Day or Pyjama Day that he won't do. But he is doing way more this year than he has ever done before, so slowly we are working with him through his public confidence issues.

I pranked them on April Fool's Day by freezing their toothbrushes in a block of ice, and then demanding they brush their teeth NOW or we'd be late for school. It was awesome! And the whole point was to prove to Ethan that pranks can be harmless. He had been anxious to go to school that day in case people pranked him. He relaxed after he realized that pranks can be funny, too. It only took a few minutes to thaw the toothbrushes out!

Easter was fun. And by "fun" I mean that they woke us up at 6:30 to hunt for eggs, then demanded candy every 2 minutes before giving up by lunchtime. Jack also picked the lock on the bathroom and peed in the toilet right beside my head as I tried to relax in the bath. They do not understand privacy and are truly puzzled when I say I would like to have a bath by myself. Jack says, "But Mummy, you will be BORED without me!" Yeah, right. They repeated their egg hunt about ten times during the day. They re-hid every egg in the exact place they had found it, and then re-found them with great excitement. They also took great delight in messing up every room just as I had finished cleaning it prior to my parents and brother arriving for Easter dinner. I had to leave the house mid-afternoon on a 45 minute time-out because it is certainly not cool to hate everyone in your house on Easter.

Dinner was yummy and the eggs looked pretty. And today, we relax.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Leftover Paralympic Pictures

I like to call this picture Ears 1 and Ears 2. LOVE what the giant hats do to those ears! The boys wore these giant red foam stetsons at the Paralympic Ice Sledge Hockey game to support Team USA. They really were too cute! We also checked out the cauldron that day:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pics from Paralympics

Here are some of our photos from the Opening Ceremonies of the Paralympic Games Friday night:

On Saturday, we went downtown Vancouver to check out the pavillions and attractions that we didn't get to experience during the Olympics. Unfortunately, the line to hold Olympic medals was still about 3 hours long, so we opted for Canada House, Manitoba House, BC Hydro House and Robson Square. No free Ziptrek for us, as the wait was still quite long and Jack's broken arm and small size would have excluded him from the fun! However, we did go down to Waterfront to see the Paralympic cauldron. The camera died at that point so Mike took a couple of photos on his phone. We'll upload those soon! From Waterfront, we rushed off to our Ice Sledge Hockey game at the brand new UBC Thunderbird Arena.

Fun Fun Fun! What a great event! The athleticism and dexterity of these guys was so impressive! It was a fast, hard-hitting game. I would like to see any NHL player try ice sledge hockey. Man oh man, I was exhausted just watching them! Ethan and Jack were cheering loudly for USA, and they ended up beating Korea 5-0. Our two little cuties made it onto the Jumbotron as they were wearing giant red foam stetson hats that said USA on the sides! Fame... They were pretty pumped!

And today? We hung out in Home Depot for hours. The spring is inspiring us to get cracking on a couple of minor home repairs, like fixing the ugly doorbell. Well, at least it inspired us to go out and purchase some of these fixit thingys. We'll see how fast we actually get them all done!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Opening Ceremonies - Paralympic Style

Last night, I took the boys to an absolutely amazing event - the Opening Ceremonies for the Paralympic Winter Games. Vancouver 2010 continues!!! Susan came with us, and all four of us enjoyed the night immensely. I have a TON of photos, too many to download right now, but I hope to post some of those later.

We got to the stadium just after 4 pm. We got through security quickly (Jack didn't beep so they didn't make us un-sling his arm, thank God) and found our seats inside. The boys were thrilled to be in such a gigantic venue. It was a magical atmosphere just walking inside! We all got a kit on our seats that included a coloured poncho, white pompoms with flashing lights, a gold flashcard and a beautiful keepsake book about the Paralympics, along with song lyrics and basic instructions on the audience role in the ceremonies that night.

At 5 pm, they started to teach us when to use our pompoms, when to use our flash cards, when to sing and when to dance. The idea of the dance was to get all 60,000 of us dancing at once, thereby setting a record for being the largest "flash mob" ever. It was all very cool! Ethan kept us in line, making sure we all did the right things at the right time. (That boy LOVES rules)

We ate hot dogs and chips and made a couple of last-minute bathroom runs (Sorry to everyone in row LL for the number of exits and entrances by this frazzled mom) and then the ceremony started. Watch it at 2 pm today on CTV if you get the chance; it was awesome!!!

Highlights: Almost too many to mention! But I'll try: Tributes to Rick Hansen and Terry Fox, the Breakdancers, the Extreme Wheelchair stunt artists, the Quebecois rock band that entered on giant motorcycles, and of course the athletes. The crowd was super supportive of every one of the 40+ countries that entered. The four of us cheered the loudest for Andorra, USA, Great Britain, and of course CANADA! When Canada entered at the end, the crowd went absolutely WILD.

I kept thinking to myself that I had only paid $20 each for these seats. I just couldn't believe the quality of the show!

The boys got tired around 8:15 and I'm pretty sure Jack would have been happy to leave, but we had to wait for the lighting of the Paralympic flame. It was very impressive! It took a while to get all the spectators out of the stadium. It's a little nerve-wracking to watch your children get crushed behind people who don't even realize they're there! And Jack's one-armedness complicated things too, as he's very awkward to carry at the moment. But of course we got out safe and sound!

And today, we are heading downtown to catch some Paralympic vibe and check out some of the Pavilions and activities in Vancouver before attending Ice Sledge Hockey this evening. The boys are SO excited to see ice sledge hockey, and I must admit that although I bought the tickets for them rather than for me, I am certainly swept up in their enthusiasm for this sport. It looks very exciting! Ethan and Jack will be cheering for the USA today in their game against Korea. They will be wearing their giant red foam stetsons, so I'll be sure to get photos of that!

If you get the chance to see some of the Paralympics, I highly recommend it. These athletes are so inspiring in so many ways! The party continues in Vancouver and Whistler...

Monday, March 8, 2010

On the Mend

The full birthday story:
Jack's sixth birthday started out like this! Oh, so very happy! We went bowling and out for pizza with Ethan's hockey team to celebrate the end of the season. They had a great time! From there, we went straight to Jack's party. This year, we were having it at the Great Escape. It's a giant indoor adventure playground, like a Chuck E Cheese on steroids. Jack really begged to go there for his party, and I obliged because I thought it would be easier than trying to pull together an at-home party in four days once I got back from Whistler. All I had to bring was cake and goody bags! So I cut a cake into a rectangle, iced it white, and took 5 minutes to throw some candy on top. Voila! A Wii controller - the kids loved it, and it was easily the easiest cake I've ever done! We only had a total of 8 kids at the Great Escape, including Jack, Ethan, Liam and Kieran. It was manageable with 4 of us adults to supervise! The kids took off, climbing, playing, sliding. They were all red and sweaty within 10 minutes. Within 30 minutes, though, the older boys came running to tell me that Jack had hurt his arm on the slide. Rob and Mike were right there and brought Jack back to the party room. It was pretty obvious his arm was hurting badly. We got some ice, but we couldn't even touch it.

We decided he needed to go to the ER. We got all the kids back to sing Happy Birthday to Jack and have cake before he left. The little man couldn't even eat a marshmallow. Look at this picture, doesn't it break your heart? I made him a sling out of my sweater. Mike took him to the ER, while I stayed and waited for the other moms to come and pick up their kids. Of course, I hadn't taken cell phone #s, so I had to wait 90 minutes before we could go! Luckily, Ethan, Victor and I were all able to fit into Briana and Rob's van with Liam, Kieran, and all their Ikea shopping too! We went home to wait for news from Mike.

He phoned about an hour later to tell us that Jack had indeed broken his arm - a clean break just above the elbow. He got his arm set in a temporary half-cast, to allow for swelling, and we'll have to get a new cast on Friday. Jack didn't even take anything for the pain until we made him take some Tylenol at 8 pm. Nearly 5 hours on a broken arm with no pain medication!!!

He had a rough night the first night. Every time he rolled over, he woke up crying. I brought him into our bed at midnight. We didn't sleep much until 5 am. I'd given him Tylenol again at 4 am, and he finally slept from 5 until almost 9 am. But he was feeling good enough the next morning to play with Ethan and his cousins. We walked to the beach and saw Grandma and Granddad in the afternoon. He was in good spirits. A little Advil before bed, and he slept well last night. Today we got him a better sling and even managed a bath! He's looking forward to going back to school so that all his friends can sign his cast. He is SUCH a trooper!

Spring? Is that you?

At the beginning of February, I left my house in the midst of winter, and came back last week to this:Forsythia
You might think that Spring is here, but today the sun shone, then it rained, hailed, snowed, and the sun shone again. We'll see if these flowers mean that winter has passed!