Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Sacrifice

It's amazing what you will do - or not do -for your kids. I am not talking about giving your son the strawberries that come so infrequently from the garden so you only get a sniff as it passes by or sacrificing most of the peas the come from the same garden. No I am talking about the camera dipping, falling down the stairs sacrifice. Let me explain. On Sunday we went to my parents' house to celebrate a number of birthdays. My parents set up their kiddie pool and no birthday with kiddie pool is complete without water fights and my brother putting me in it. I was smart enough to take my iPhone out of my pocket, but I had my camera in my pocket for all those photographic moments. My son and my niece (who was just itching for her dad to put me in the water) started to splash me and then run away. So I ran after my guy and scooped him up, telling him I was going to drop him in head first. Sadly, I lost my balance and thought 'I am actually going to drop him head first and either break his neck or drown him' so I turned and landed in the pool, saving him but taking my camera for a swim. My camera - and card - is still sitting in a bag of rice drying out. I just pulled out the battery this morning and am charging it and, fingers crossed, the camera will turn back on. But more importantly, I am hoping my pictures can be retrieved. Then last night, my son got out of bed and was showing me a hole in his thumb. He apparently pulled out a sliver and I wanted to make sure he got it all out. So I picked him up and started to go down the stairs. I missed the bottom step and rolled on my ankle. I rolled somehow in mid-air, landing on said ankle but somehow saving my guy. Pre-kids I would have cried my eyes out, likely issued the rarely used swear word and been a mess the rest of the night. I did not cry last night, I merely asked my husband what my ankle looked like and suggested it was likely broken. And then, as I was lying on the floor, I made sure my guy was OK, looked at his boo-boo and listened to him tell me about his cheek, which he claimed he hit on the way down despite the fact the bansiter in question is on the other side of the stairs. While I did sit with my foot up, I also helped put our son back in bed and will carry on with my day today. Just call me camera-less limpy. PS - Is anyone else having troubles with spacing in blogger? I have put in double spacing and it's still one graph.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Bad News

People. It's 5:32 a.m. Tuesday and...it's dark outside. Noooooooooooo! A week ago, I am sure, at 5:32 a.m., we missed the sunrise. How could it be getting darker later in the morning already? Summer, I love you. Please stay, don't end any time soon. iPhone update Ok, I love the phone. I admit it's kind of nice to be at the forefront of technology for a change. And the phone is a lot of fun. So far I haven't become addicted. I don't look at it when I am with my guy, I don't spend my entire work day texting people and I don't often carry the phone on me. So far so good. One question, iPhone users. When you download your photos, are they upside down? In the camera role they are going in the right direction, but when I put them on my computer, they were all upside down. I took the time to flip them in a photo editing program, but when uploaded them to blogger, they were upside down again. Suggestions?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Welcome to the Now

I like my cellphone. It works. I know how to use it. I can, if I actually wanted to, send text. It makes phone calls to let my family know I am home or call people to let them know we will be late. Yesterday, my husband bought me this:
I also like this phone. It's too early to say whether I love it, but I think it will also serve its purpose - it allows me to text, which I did more last night than I have ever done in my life, make phone calls to let my family know I am home or call people to let them know we will be late. However, it also looks like it will be lot of fun. The Days are in the now. Look at us go.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Thank you, Canada, for having a birthday

It was Canada's 145th birthday on Sunday, which means it was a long weekend for us.
And Mother Nature treated us well - blue skies and hot temperatures the whole weekend long. Saturday was soccer and on the way home we stopped at a garage sale and then did an inpromtu beach visit. The boys went in in their shorts while I stayed out taking pictures. We had to pull out guy out of the lake not because he was done climbing on rocks or jumping off the dock, but rather because his teeth were blue and his lips were chattering.

Saturday night there was a walk after bath and campfire were my guy discovered he liked our cooked marshmallows, particularly when they were wrapped in a graham crackers and chocolate.
Sunday there was a Canada Day party, but E.'s favourite part was not the hot dogs or cake - he didn't eat either - but the bouncy castle that had a slide at the end. As I was standing at the ladder ensuring he and the other little kids didn't get squished by the bigger ones - and the pillars that came knocked the children, big and old, over - I didn't see him go down the slide, but Jamie says he had a blast.
Sunday night, E experienced his first firework display in our frontyard and he loved it.
Monday included two trips into the lake in front of our house and backyard fun.
E. wasn't the only one Tuesday morning that wished the weekend was still here. I hope your Canada Day was fantastic, and Happy Independence Day to our American neighbours.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Goodbye Freedom

It's official. School is over for another year.
It has been more than 10 years since I have sat in a classroom, longer since June signalled the end of another school year and the beginning of summer freedom.
Yet here I am, saddened school is over, not for the kids who will enjoy a summer of fun, but for the idea that in eight short weeks - we all know how fast summer disappears - my guy will be heading off to school.
How did this happen? How did my baby turn into a school-age boy already?
Time has had a funny way of speeding up since my guy has appeared in my life and while I have embraced - and enjoyed - all the ages and all the stages, I am scared and sad about this new chapter called school.
The part of me who still mourns the end of summer at the close of the Labour Day weekend is sad for the start of school and the end of freedom for my son.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lions and elephants, oh my

Kruger National Park is one of Africa’s crown jewels. A wilderness area of massive proportions where you can see unspoiled landscapes and Africa’s incredible wildlife. You will meet some of the friendliest people and experience wild, open spaces that have disappeared from most of the planet. It’s an amazing natural resource that everyone should have the opportunity to experience.”

So begins Warren Cartwright's book Self-Guided Safaris in Kruger National Park (www.selfdrivekruger.com/). The book is designed for the iPad but can be purchased for both the kindle and kobo.

I saw the iPad version of the book and it's amazing. It is an interesting read, full of fantastic information, interactive maps and breath-taking photos. I loved the map that offered a moving view on just how far away South Africa is from my neck of the woods and the photo galleries that showed not only the animals that Cartwright has photographed during his trips to the park, but also the birds and reptiles.

In this book, Cartwright gives you a great overview of Kruger National Park – what to expect and how things work - tips on how to spot game and the different things you can do while at the park including golfing, enjoying a braai (a South African barbecue and an experience Cartwright suggests you try at least once) and swimming at one of the many rest areas.

Personally, the idea of getting out of my car and walking through the park to get up close with lions and elephants – regardless of whether you are with a trained and armed guard - made me feel rather sick. Note to self, I will not be doing that tour, nor the one where you can bike the park. And if I ever have the opportunity to go to Kruger – and this books makes me really want to do so – I will stick to driving, with my windows rolled up.

Cartwright wrote the book to give people all the information they would need to organize a self-guided trip to Kruger National Park, which is often a cheaper and more rewarding way to go than an organized tour group. With a self-guided trip to the park, you get to choose where you want to go and for how long you want to stay. You dictate the choices of your entire trip.

In the end of his introduction, Cartwright says: “Over the years I have come to fall in love with South Africa – its people, their culture, the wildlife and its wild spaces. I hope that through this book many more of you can come to experience this amazing place, and venture off to explore it.”

Cartwright has traveled the globe and seen some exotic and beautiful locations. South Africa has called him back over and over and when you read this book and look at the pictures, you can see why.

Visit www.selfdrivekruger.com for more on the book. Visit http://500px.com/WarrenCartwright and http://wcpportfolio.com/#/0 for more of Cartwright's spectacular photos.

Note: Warren Cartwright is my brother, but the opinions are mine and are not influenced by the fact we come from the same gene pool.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The fairies didn't show up

We had another great weekend.

We had a sleepover at Nana and Popa's Friday night. Saturday morning we hung out at my parent's house where my guy went to the park, played with a giant Frisbee, caught a variety of caterpillars and picked up leaves. Saturday afternoon saw us attend a local fair with a jumpy castle, police and fire trucks, sno-cones and other activites.

Sunday was the day to catch up on all those things I didn't get done Saturday - tidying up, cleaning the bathroom and laundry.

Sadly, when I woke up this morning, the laundry fairies didn't fold the laundry or put it away. Maybe next week.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Welcome back, wonderful strawberries

The signs are up - strawberries are red, juicy and ready.

Oh, strawberries, how I love you. Well we appreciate you, California strawberries, particularly in the deep of winter, you just can't compare to an Ontario-grown strawberry - different sizes, juicy dripping down your fingers and never knowing if this one will be super sweet or unfortunately sour.

This year, our garden strawberries are producing more than last year, although not enough to keep us all fed with the red goodness, and my guy always wins when deciding who gets the freshly picked one.

But I vow I will be going to a field this week and either picking my own or having some picked for me.

Welcome back, strawberries. I am so happy to see you.

PS - Sorry for the lack of pictures. I ate the three strawberries on my counter before I thought to snap one.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Random Thoughts Monday

- It's been said of the people who claim they can't swallow pills that that inability is all in their heads, that there is no physical reason they can't swallow a pill, particulary small ones.

That may be, but I have a small pill lodged in my throat and I threw up the other one.

- My stepdaughter graduated from college on Thursday, earning herself a spot on the Dean's List along the way. She is likely moving to Ottawa, Ontario, in September with her boyfriend, finding work and completing her degree online. I am proud of her and excited for the new journey she is about to take.

- I grew up in a small town and when I was younger, the next biggest town, about 10 minutes away, had shops but if we wanted something specific, we had to drive at least 40 minutes to find a mall. I now live in a small town and after 10 years, the biggest town, about 15 minutes away, has most of the things I am looking for. In fact, I just finished Father's Day shopping without having to drive 40 minutes to the largest mall.

- That same bigger town also allowed me to find work sandals I like. It's really a shoe miracle as I have tried on about three dozen pairs and disliked them all.

- On the note of shoes, those sandals are called Taos. My sister-in-law called them surprisingly (for me) girly, while I call them comfortable, functional and practical, offering me the ability to wear them both casually and for work. The perfect pair of shoes.  Visit www.taosfootwear.com/ for details.

- Summer is here. I am excited for the heat and the relaxed atmosphere it brings, but sad as my guy is registered for kindergarten, has attended a welcome to kindergarten program and has visited his potential classroom twice. September will come faster than I will like.

- The kitten ate my cord for my camera. You can't leave anything out for this cat.

Monday, June 4, 2012

All That is Old is New Again

I was mentioning to a friend that when it comes to children's toys, everything that was once popular, at some time, becomes popular again.

My older brother knew all the dinosaur names when he was a kid and now my guy and his friends enjoy reading dinosaur stories and wearing dinosaur clothes. My younger brother had a collection of Transformers and, thanks to the movies, many of this generation of kids are playing with Bumblebee and his friends.

The same can be said for girl toys - Barbies, Hello Kitty and Disney princesses were around when I was a kid and now my niece is playing with them, too.

My husband commented it is rare to find Lego or other building block sets at garage sales, likely because people save these collections for their grandchildren.

Enter another sick day Friday. My guy was again at home and we pulled out some of the old stuff - Knex, Ker-Plunk, Sorry and marbles. We played with Tinker Toys and Jacks - all that is old is new again.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Fun Sick Day

Tuesday I kept my guy home.

We had both been up most of the night before because of his new hacking cough. I know how those first day of colds are - they are awful. So when I suggested staying home with mommy for the morning, he jumped at it.

We had a busy few hours. We coloured, we made dinner, we talked with Papa on Skype, we had a tea party complete with my grandmother's fine china and snacks (you can't have a tea party without snacks you know) and we made goop.

Goop, which I remember making with my aunt when I was a child, is actually a science  thing, or so I discovered by reading A Girl in a Boy House. Non-Newtonian liquids, or goop, was a hit at our house Tuesday, and we played with the cornstarch and water mixture for some time.

We then went outside where we played on the slide, went high on the swings and then came inside to make the requested chicken noodle soup. It was an action-packed morning. Not bad for a little boy too sick to go to daycare.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

If You Know or Have a Boy

If you have a boy - whether it's a grown man or a little guy you are raising - then you need to read Raising Boys in a New Kind of World by Michael Reist.

My mom gave me a copy of this teacher's book for Mother's Day and by the time I read a chapter, not only was I hooked, but it gave me several ah-ha moments, both for dealing and understanding my son and my husband. It also made me a fan of same-sex schools.

I am only a quarter into the book, but some fascinating details:
- Boys are a year and a half developmentally behind girls.
- Most boys are thimble listeners, which becomes a problem when their mothers - or their teachers - are not and saturate them with information. The boy stops listening and misbehaves.
- Boys do not like eye contact. So telling your boy  to look you in the eye to ensure he is listening actually causes your boy not to listen.
- Boys like space. Boys who are "disruptive" should actually sit in a horseshoe shape at school so they can look into space in the middle and should near a door or window.
- Boys like to move. So when you are talking with your son, or a teacher is talking to a boy student, allow the boy to walk around and not look at you. They are listening, they just need to do so in a different way.
- Boys have a fight or flee response, which is why when women are angry and want to talk it out, men will retreat. So it's actually best to leave our men alone after a fight and let them have cooling off period.
- Boys zone out where nothing is said or thought for periods of time. (He mentioned women, on the other hand, go to sleep with a problem and wake up with a solution.)
- Men like lists and are not able to multi-task. Women know this, of course, but we often forget it when dealing with the boys in our lives. The author mentioned that the Internet was created for men and likely by men. With the Internet you can only do one thing at a time. Even drop-down menus only allow for one task at a time. He said if a woman invented the Internet, you likely would have multiple screens up at once, doing multiple things.

Visit www.michaelreist.ca/books/raising-boys-in-a-new-kind-of-world for information about the book and its author.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Friday, May 25, 2012

...And I broke down

I don't believe in ironing.

I believe clothing should not wrinkle and when it does, I believe in the de-wrinkle function on the dryer or the hang-it-up-in-the-bathroom-while-you-shower method.

If something really requires ironing – say before a wedding –  I am often with my mom and, since she is ironing, any way, I add a piece or two more to her pile (or she is disgusted and just does it).

But recently, I have noticed a number of my articles of clothing were looking a little too wrinkly, even for me.

And last night I broke down and ironed.

I think I might need lessons. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dear Blog,

Dear Blog,

I have neglected you these last two months and for that I am sorry.

Life has become quite busy, both at work and at home, and I am having trouble finding time for you.
I do miss you. I miss the interaction with other bloggers and I miss the comments you generate.

But do I miss you enough to continue? Sometimes I think yes and other times I think no.

I see your value, the importance of you. I miss the commitment of not only writing, but also reading. I enjoy the reading, the learning what other people are thinking and how their lives unfold. I find it fascinating to get that inside of people’s lives.

But the time, dear blog. My time with my guy is limited and I want to spend every free moment with him. My time at night is even more limited and do I choose my husband or do I choose you?

So for now, dear blog, I believe I will try to pay you – and others – more attention, but I don’t think you’ll get as much love as you once did.

I do hope that is OK.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Goodbye Ice Rink

This wonderfully warm weather meant we said goodbye to our ice rink.

And hello to playing outside without snowpants, mitts and hats.

And we have been practicing letters.

What have you been up to?

Monday, March 12, 2012


Why do we still have daylight saving time? According to a quick Internet search, the reason the government decided to change the clocks was to save energy - originally candles.

I am all for saving energy, but I also like consistent sleep.
Let's create a petition for the same time all year long.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Catching Up

It’s taken four years, but I finally saw the first three Twilight movies.

To be truthful, I did watch the first Twilight movie with my stepdaughter likely after it came out on DVD, but I think I remembered more of it this time.

I enjoyed them. And of course, it makes me want to read the series over again.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Weekends are a Wonderful Thing

Maybe my mom was right. My mom said you need to work in order to appreciate vacations. Maybe a weekend is the same thing.

Weekends at our house – whether we have plans or we don't – are always a wonderful thing and maybe they are that way because we try to jam in so much quality time.

Or maybe I just like weekends.

This weekend it was a stay-at-home, no-plans type of weekend and as such construction continued at our house.

Last week, my husband took down a wall that separated our dining room from our kitchen making our open-concept house more open. This weekend, he started to build us an entranceway closet.

What Viceroy homes have in high ceilings and views, they lack in wall space and storage areas. As such, we usually throw our jackets on my hope chest, which is handy, but annoying.

Now we will have a place to hang out jackets, and hide our shoes, right when we walk in the door. It's a wonderful thing.

We also had time to have a tea party using a real tea set, courtesy of my Grandmother, and of course cookies. Our guy had his first “real” tea, non-caffeinated herbal tea. Usually I make him a “tea” of lemon juice, honey and water. E enjoyed pouring in the milk and sugar.

We went for a walk in the ice and played some hockey, then came back and went on the teeter-totter and swung on the tire swing. The night before we had a campfire with toasted hot dogs and raw marshmallows and then slept out in the shed. It was like a summer weekend, but with snowpants and mittens.

What did you get up to this weekend?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Have you Seen Birds? (Title taken from a fabulous kid's book)

We saw Robins yesterday.

Not just one, but a handful flying, playing, singing and chasing each other through the trees and in the puddles.

And while I am happy to see and hear these beautiful birds, I worry. The Robin, and the red-winged blackbird, are signs of spring.

And while I would love for spring to come, I am worried that winter will offer it's final blast and I – and the Robins – won't like it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Our Weeks in Pictures

We have had a fun two weeks. Here is our life in pictures:

Sleeping in the clubhouse

My brother- and sister-in-law slept in the shed the night of my husband's birthday last week and since then we have done it twice. Our guy would like to do it nightly.

Skating competition

My guy had his first skating competition last Saturday. He was announced; skated by himself (including going backwards, jumping and turning around); waved and blew kisses to his fans; and then stood on the podium to get his first-place medal. It was fantastic.

Skating on the lake

While the warm weather didn't help our backyard rink, it made the ice on the lake beautiful. We spent several hours on the ice both on sleds and on skates.

My brother and I had a race. I had a 20-foot head start and he skated backwards. He won. I was proud I stayed on my feet.

Registered for kindergarten

My guy was registered for kindergarten last week. It might have been the kindergarten room filled with toys, the gym and the stage or the playground, but E talked about his school for the rest of the weekend.

New furniture

My parents, aunts and uncle gave us my grandmother's dining suite, which includes this beautiful hutch. It is now full of my grandmother's dishes and Harley mugs.

Goodbye, beautiful bowl

My good friend, AC, gave me this bowl – which always reminds me of the bowl from Anne of Green Gables - as a wedding gift. There has been a crack in it for years but last week the bowl gave out. Goodbye, beautiful bowl. I miss you.