Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Genetics Strikes Again!

It's always amusing for me to see what features, traits and mannerisms each of our kids get from Ken and I.  Kaycie has Ken's lips.  Knolan has my nose.  Kaycie rolls her eyes up and to the side like I do when she's thinking.  Knolan rubs his nose just like Kenny.

One thing's for sure, though.  Their accident prone genes came from their mama!

In the past 36 hours alone, Knolan has already chipped his front tooth while cruising around the only room in our house that is completely baby proofed, and Kaycie came home from school with a fat lip and the bridge of her nose swollen because she wiped out while she was walking.  Knolan has managed to infuriate himself by hitting himself in the face with a toy, and Kaycie, who has the advantage of more years under her belt, has also previously somehow run into a tree, tripped herself with her own feet many times, and - one of my favourites - come running to me in hysterics because she got her arms folded back on themselves and trapped in her shirt sleeves. 

Thank goodness that playing "Medical Centre" seems to distract Kaycie long enough to stop the tears, and fortunately, cuddling is still an effective treatment for Knolan's injuries.

I had hoped that I could pass along my love of music, or my mad spelling skills to my children - and maybe there is still time and room for those traits to take root.  But for now, I can see my clumsiness in them plain as day, and all I can do is batten down the hatches.  I'll be honest... I do fear for them a wee bit if they have truly inherited this part of me.

I've always been accident prone.  At one point I was seriously considering whether I needed to get tested for some sort of spatial perception disorder, but eventually, I settled in on believing that there was just constantly too much going on in that little ol' noggin of mine and that I needed to learn how to focus a little harder on what my arms and legs were doing when they were in motion.


I think back on my various wonky mishaps with fondness.  Ah memories...

  • There was the time I stabbed myself in the hand with a steak knife while trying to separate beef patties.  All I remember is a spurting fountain of blood and a trip to the emergency room (and a lecture on using knives to separate frozen hamburgers!).
  • In related news, there was another time that I jabbed a pencil tip into the palm of my hand and it stayed there.  And so did a little dot of graphite... for at least 8 years!
  • I also managed to flip my entire bicycle up and over myself one day when I was biking along and a plastic bag full of who knows what dangling from my handle bars got caught in the spokes of my front wheel.  As I picked myself up and dusted myself off and dragged my mangled bike home, a kid walked up to me and said, "Are you ok?"  I thought it was sweet of them to be concerned, but I was quick to reassure him that I was just fine.  And I was, until he slowly said, "Are you sure?  Because you are totally covered in blood."  Then I looked down at my shirt and saw blood everywhere and touched my face and it was coated in blood and I immediately burst into tears and went running for my mom.  (Moms make everything better!)
  • There was also the time when I jumped up in the air and landed completely splits-style (think Mary Lou Retton!) on the suspension bridge that joined two parts of  the play structure in our school yard at recess.  I am seriously surprised I didn't break a limb that day.
  • Hmm... oh yes!  We were forbidden to slide down the bannister in the house we grew up in.  Although I still maintain to this day that I was NOT going to slide down the bannister, but I was merely trying to cool off my leg by laying it along the railing because it was hot in the house (*eye roll*), I did manage to flip over one side of the U-shaped bannister, grab hold of the far railing before I fell to my untimely demise, and hold on for dear life until my parents excecuted a perfect tag team rescue.
  • I walked full tilt into a tree once on a school field trip.
  • I ended up with a face that apparently "looked exactly like Donald Duck" in university when I played on a soft ball team.  Cause of the duck face?  I was the relay player catching a ball being thrown in from outfield.  The last thing I remember before I was cracked in the teeth with the ball as it passed in front of the blinding sun was, "Wow... that looks like a solar eclipse!"
  • I was rewarded with an extensive WSIB claims process after I managed to completely wipe out at work after my sweater got tangled on a cubicle wall.
  • I fell face first on the sidewalk outside of one of my previous workplaces and tore my pants as I was walking in to meet with my old boss and my thesis advisor to propose a published study with them.  I was mortified.
  • I had to go to a job interview with a scorch mark on the palm of my hand after the end of my hair dryer kind of exploded in my hand.
  • And... my piece de resistance:  I slammed my own head in a car door.  I think it could have happened to anyone, but Kenny begs to differ.  It was all very innocent, really.  He and I were on a road trip and he didn't feel very well.  We stopped at a convenience store so I could get him some Gravol or something, and as I held the driver's side door open with my left hand, I leaned my head into the car to ask him if he wanted something to drink while I was in there, and when I was done talking to him, I slammed the door shut before I managed to pull my head out of the way.  I don't think I'll ever forget the look on his face when he realized what I had done!  By the way, about a year later, it must have been such a proud day for Ken's parents when they happened to hear their daughter-in-law describing the whole embarassing incident on a call-in show on weird self-inflicted injuries on CFRB 1010.
Now that I think on it, we might be smart to start wrapping most of our house in foam and bubble wrap.

For the safety of the children, of course!  LOL

Thursday, November 3, 2011


They say that certain amounts of stress are good for you - that there is good stress that drives you to succeed and good stress that is a crucial component of the fight or flight stress response.

I think I definitely have a fight or flight response.  I would also argue, however, that I have a third response.  I think my response 'toolbox' contains a fight response, a flight response, and a fashion-a-new-alternate-reality response.

I think my husband would back me when I say that night waking hallucinations, talking in my sleep and what my mom would probably call "extreme open mindedness"  play a key part in how I process stress.

Poor Kenny has awoken to me sitting on the edge of our bed, halfway between the worlds of wakefulness and slumber, doing things like chairing work meetings, talking about lasagna, pointing out insect infestations, grabbing at falling babies... the list goes on and on.  He's even had early morning chats with me when he thought I was awake and engaged until he heard me give some sort of ridiculous answer to his question like, "Yeah, my bonus is going to be at least $500 thousand, so our mortgage payment should be fine on Friday."  Umm... I work for a nonprofit organization.  :-)

I really freaked him out one night when I kept pointing in the corner saying there was a man standing there.  Poor guy.  Once he's freaked out, there is no sleep in sight for him.  Meanwhile, I generally drift right back to Sleepytown and don't even realize what's happened.

Recently stress and I have become reacquainted.  In the last month I have gone through a laundry list of stressors:

Annual large scale nationwide fundraising event at work?  Check.
Separate health scares for me, my mom, my dad and my grandmother?  Check.
Everyone in our household gets a cold?  Check.
Mom gets pneumonia?  Check.
Son screaming, coughing, teething for 3 nights straight?  Check.
Daughter diagnosed with asthma?  Check.
Daughter gets ear infection?  Check.
Son driven by a frantic me to hospital gasping for air at 3am?  Check.  (Croup, thank goodness!)

Needless to say, I'm starting to wonder if there is an end in sight! 

But, I will say that I have been entertaining myself by observing my reaction to all of this stress.  For example, I would say that I responded with the "fight" response when Knolan recently started wheezing and gasping for air.  Poor Kenny had to just do his best to do exactly as I said or risk me freaking out.  When your kid is in peril, it's amazing how the most mild mannered of us can turn into momma bears!

I observed a "flight" response when we were all sick and I just couldn't handle it all anymore and sent my kids to daycare and just hid under the covers with a box of Kleenex, my precious, precious Tylenol Cold tablets and a bowl of chocolate ice cream.

My "fashion-a-new-alternate-reality" response finally reared its strange head a few times during the last 2 weeks of this insane month.  Kenny has reported a few odd conversations he's had with me during the night, and I have noticed that I've had to literally shake my head and wake myself up a few times over the last few weeks when I caught myself sitting bedside re-setting my alarm clock for crazy waking times like 3:11am.  I vaguely recollect that one of those times I thought I had a conference call at 4am.  Um yeah... I do a lot for my employer, but I think I'd draw the line there!

But fashioning alternate realities isn't limited to my sleeping hours, and I guess I can say that it isn't limited to times of stress either - it's just exacerbated when I'm stressed!  I was a bit of an odd kid, and I think some of that has lasted well into my adult years.  I recall one span of a few months where I had myself basically convinced that I was the only person with a tongue.  I kept trying to sneak glimpses into people's mouths to reassure myself that yes... other people had tongues too.  So weird!  I went through another phase where I was uncertain about mirrors - I basically kept trying to catch my reflection not doing what I was doing.  Likely a result of too many episodes of Twilight Zone or something like that (and at the risk of opening myself up to ridicule, I'll confess that I was at least 16 when this was going on!).

Anyway, while I was at my parents' house recently I think that the stress in my life lately created the perfect foundation for another one of my weirdo moments.  I was at my parents' house to help them out after my dad had been rushed to the hospital with chest pains (he's fine, phew!) on the same day that my mom was still suffering from pneumonia AND had a medical appointment at a hospital in a different city that she needed to find a way to get to.  I did my part to help them get through that day and stayed overnight to make sure they had someone to count on if things got worse overnight.  I woke up much earlier than Mom and Dad the next morning, and I didn't know what else to do besides cook.  So, when my parents eventually woke up after their tour of southwestern Ontario hospitals, they found me in the kitchen with their counters covered in muffins, coffee brewing, and soup ingredients everywhere.  I kind of feel like it looked like I'd snapped, but I was honestly just trying to use my time there wisely and do something that would help them get through the next few days while they were both recovering from different things.

What they didn't know, though, was that I had just had the strangest moment!  I would argue that it was because I was feeling so stressed out and not thinking straight, but anyone who knows me well might counter-argue that I'd have a moment like this on the best of days.  This is where my mom's "extreme open mindedness" theory comes into play.

When I went to the basement to look for soup ingredients, I opened the chest freezer and was face to face with the weirdest looking bag.  It was kind of frozen/stuck to some other stuff in the freezer and I wrestled with it until it came loose and set it aside while I looked for chicken and frozen corn.  Once I found what I needed, I went to put the bag back and I noticed another weird looking bag.  They were white bags, so you couldn't see what was in them, but they were long and kind of weirdly bent.  I found myself trying to figure out what on earth was in these bags.  They were too big to be pork tenderloin... what were they?!  Art projects?  no.  Paint rollers?  no.  Frozen compost?  no.  Cookie dough?  Please, please, please be cookie dough!  no.

Then, before I realized what was going on in that poor, vulnerable little brain of mine, a thought drifted into my head 2 seconds before I realized what was in the bags.  I wasn't really seriously considering this option, but there is no denying that this thought fleetingly popped into my head.  It was kind of like a stream of dozens of options were scrolling through my head, and this just happened to be one of them.

For an instant I thought:  serial killers? 

Yup... that's right... I went there.  What kind of daughter lets that thought cross her mind!?

Thankfully, I suddenly realized they were fish from my dad's fishing weekend up north.  I quickly abandoned my plan to sneak out the basement window into the backyard, grabbed the chicken and the corn and headed upstairs.

I didn't feel relief because I wasn't seriously considering the serial killer option, but I did have a big nerdy laugh all by myself about it.  I probably needed one at that point!

I, of course, couldn't resist telling my parents, and although I caught a glimpse of shock pass over my mom's face before she broke out laughing, they fortunately thought this was pretty funny, and figured it would be a good story to share with Dad's fishing buddies.

So, I really, really hope that my son's trip to the ER is the grand finale to this latest string of events - it will feel good to get back to a normal routine and normal thought patterns.  :-)

I have to wonder, though... am I the only one whose brain works like this?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Kaycie Sez... The Halloween Edition

Happy Belated Halloween!  I've been on a wee bit of a hiatus, but thought I could ease back into my regular blogging.  Hope you get a kick out of these little quips we heard Monday evening as she and her brother enjoyed a beautiful Halloween night:

Upon hearing the doorbell - "Oh my! More customers!"

When we rang the neighbour's doorbell and the dog came to the door along with our neighbour - "Ooooooh!  That's a lovely wolf you have there!"

After a little girl dressed as a rooster walked away from our door and down the street, Kaycie shouted out after her at the top of her lungs - "I sure do like your shoes!"  (the girl had great chicken feet on!)

As we walked past a fake graveyard - "If you are a witch and you go in there, I hope you know that you will turn into the slimiest goo you ever saw." (it's worth mentioning that Kaycie and I went out as witches. LOL)

And, I may be risking future embarassment for my little noodle, but it was pretty funny when she grinned widely and declared - "I just had a witch toot!"

Hope everyone had a Happy Halloween! 

My extremely talented nephew, Ben, carved this awesome Batman pumpkin!

Friday, September 16, 2011

RIP Lolita... we think?

Oh life.  It sure has its ups and downs, doesn't it?  Everything can be going along smoothly and then out of nowhere, life taps you on the shoulder and whispers, "Sorry to catch you off guard, but here's something for you to deal with.  Toodles!"

That's how I felt when I tucked Knolan into bed one night not too long ago and then went to feed our goldfish, Lolita, while Ken was reading stories to Kaycie in her room before bedtime.  I grabbed the container of fish food and went to feed the fish when I saw her laying motionless on the bottom of her fishbowl. 

My heart felt a pang.  This was Kaycie's pet.  The childcare provider she stayed with every day for 2 years had given her Lolita as a special gift, and Kaycie really did love that fish.

It popped into my mind that maybe she was just sleeping.  I reached out and gently jiggled Lolita's fishbowl, hopeful that maybe she was just dreaming away.

Nope.  Poor Lolita just floated softly with the rocking of the water.

I quietly walked upstairs to see if Ken was done putting Kaycie to bed.  I met him in the hallway, and just as I opened my mouth to tell him the sad news, he said, "I know... Lolita, right?  I noticed she was gone earlier tonight, but I thought Kaycie might handle the news better in the morning."

So, the two of us sat down that night to think about how we were going to help our little cutie process the sad news.  We figured we would tell her in the morning, keeping all of the emphasis on what a great pet Lolita had been.

Lolita's death did not come as a big surprise to Ken or to me.  She had been around for a long time, and even my mom was unconvinced that Lolita was the same fish we had got years ago - she was certain that we were trying to pull one over on her with a stand in for the original goldfish!

So, off to bed we went with heavy hearts.  I know... So dramatic!  I know she's just a fish, but this was our little girl's fish and we just didn't know how she would handle it.

The next morning we steeled ourselves to tell her the bad news.

First thing I did was chicken out and called my mom - the retired social worker - for advice.  Surely she had come across this kind of thing before!  She would know how to handle this!

Mom - ever the caring professional - asked me a battery of questions related to Kaycie, her relationship with Lolita, her level of connection with animals, what our plans were for the day, how long Lolita had been dead, etc.  It kind of sounds funny as I write it, but at the time I was literally hanging on her every word, and nodding my head enthusiastically at every bit of advice she shared.

So, we armed ourself with all of Mom's good advice (best things I learned were not to flush the fish and not to dispose of the fish without letting Kaycie know, as this can lead to weird associations with the toilet and paranoia about more important people and things in her world disappearing on her) and slowly walked into the living room where the kids were playing - Kaycie blissfully unaware of the devastating news we were about to share with her.

As Ken sat down and started to fashion a makeshift coffin for the impending funeral, I pulled Kaycie up onto my lap, put my best soothing, maternal arm around her and decided I would just cut to the chase.  Like ripping a bandaid off.  Yeah... that would be best.

"Kaycie, honey."

"Yes Mama?"

"Are you having a good day?"


"Are you having fun with your brother?"


... Ok, bandaid plan not happening!!

"You've been good friends with Lolita for a long time, right sweetie?"

Slow nodding.

"Honey, Lolita died last night."

Big, questioning eyes suddenly looking right at me and then at Ken. 

"But sweetie, Lolita had a good long life and you were such a good friend to her.  It was just her time to die.  We could have a little funeral for her and we could bury her in our garden if you want - you could even say a few words about her and sing her a little song if you want. Would you like to do that?"

Kaycie nodded and said, "I would say to her that I love her, and that she is a beautiful fish, and that every person in the world - even the tiniest tips of all the rice - love her with all their hearts."

I looked up just in time to see poor Kenny hide behind his coffin as his eyes welled up and I couldn't help but picture a character in a Mortal Kombat video game delivering their final crushing blow as the electronic voiceover bellows, "FINISH HIM!!!" 

Then Kaycie says quietly, "Can I see her?"

I quickly gave her a big hug and assured her that she could go see her and then we would have our little funeral service for her.

We began our sombre march up the stairs to the family room.  The silence was so unnerving as I held her sweet little hand.

We walked through the door into the family room and walked over to Lolita's bowl where she was happily swimming away.


How the hell had this just happened?  Was this for real?  What was going on?

Then I noticed the little blue eyes looking up at me with bewilderment. 

Ok... My mother's crash course in pet bereavement did not cover what to do in the event of fake death!!!  What had just happened here!?!

Scrambling for something to say, I finally blurted out, "That silly Lolita!  She tricked us!"  Luckily, Kaycie thought this was great and burst out laughing and then smushed her face up against the bowl, saying, "Lolita, you little trickster!" in a high-pitched falsetto voice.

It was at this point that Ken walked  into the room with his lovingly handcrafted coffin, took one look at Lolita, rolled his eyes and with defeat in his voice groaned, "Oh for the love of God!" and without stopping did a U-turn and left the room.

So, we had a miniature coffin and a funeral service all planned out, but no dead fish!  I swear, these things seem to only happen to us!

So, we decided to carry on with our day, and Kaycie elected to move Lolita's bowl into the kitchen where we could keep a close eye on her.  We cautioned her that Lolita might be sick and to try to understand that she might not be alive for much longer.  Kaycie turned our kitchen into a visiting centre for Lolita and positioned dolls all around her bowl to keep her company and plastered her fish bowl with heart stickers.

Then the doorbell rang.  My parents had been on their way to visit us when I called them that morning, and despite my best efforts, I hadn't been able to reach them since our bizarre discovery to tell them that Lolita had faked her own death.  "This should be interesting," I thought to myself as I opened the door to let them in.

When we opened the door, my parents got right down to Kaycie's level, spoke to her in soft comforting tones and asked her how she was doing.  I felt so guilty for finding so much humour in this little scene.  When Kaycie declared, "Lolita is ALIVE!" the confused look on my poor mom's face was priceless.  To their credit, my parents were lovely to Kaycie, and although it might have been fun to let the confusion linger, I offered up a quick summary of our morning so that everyone was up to speed.  Then Kaycie invited Gramma and Grandpa to come visit Lolita alongside the ever vigilant Belle, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and the roller skating girl from a Happy Meal of days past.

Anyway, to make a long story short, after a few more days, as we suspected she might, Lolita finally did meet her maker.  Kaycie presided over an awkwardly sweet memorial to Lolita, and Ken and Kaycie picked out a special rock to mark her final resting place in our garden next to the hosta.  And we learned a lesson about how resilient kids (and goldfish, apparently!) can be - at the end of Lolita's memorial, I asked Kaycie if she wanted us to sing a song, and she said, "No Mom... it's just over, so let's go have a snack, ok?" 

I'd say our first of what I'm sure will be many life lessons for our kids went pretty well!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Kaycie Sez...

Kaycie has been sharing all sorts of bizarre thoughts on anything and everything lately, but I haven't been remembering to jot them down.  Here are some I have managed to remember:

Sang this to me to the tune of some kind of lullaby with a whacked out ending:  "Today is a great day....  We will all use paint cans...  And laugh and skip...  YOU'RE FIRED!!!"

On our way to swimming lessons from the back seat of the car:  "Mom, if you loved me you would get this giant meteorite off my lap."

On my way out the door to work one morning:  "I love you Mom!  Have fun at your workshop!  And never ever forget to come home!  And don't forger to buy me a purple drink!"

After I told her I loved her:  "Well.... I like you, Mom."

Happy Friday to you all!

Friday, August 12, 2011

An Update and a New Blog Post: Mothra vs. Kenny!!!

Happy Friday!!!

First of all, an update for those of you who have been wondering if my train story has come full circle yet.  Well, it has, and I was tickled pink yesterday to discover that Annabelle's mom had left us all a message of her own in the comments section of the original blog post!  Thank you again for all of your messages.  There is so much good in this world, and you can all rest assured that you've made a difference for at least one person.  Yay for you!!

Also, my blog statistics are showing a huge spike in readers from Ireland, so welcome to Annabelle's mom (and yes, I also hope we'll run into each other again!!  I'll keep my eye out for you on the train.) and to those I can only assume are her friends and family back home! 

And now, after all that excitement and positivity... back to blogging!  :-)

We had the most wonderful day yesterday visiting with my best friend Marlaine and her husband and kids at my parents' house yesterday - they were visiting from out of province - and it was capped off by us all going to a fishing derby organized by my parents' church.  We met up with my brother and sister and their families at the derby and we all had a great little get together.  The weather was awesome, the hot dogs were plentiful, and thanks to her new fishing rod from Kenny, our daughter did not 'hook' anyone with her aggressive casting style.  Really, watching her fish is a pretty spectacular thing!

I am also a proud auntie when I say that the only fish that was caught yesterday was kindly caught and thoughtfully released by my niece Janaya.  She not only is a promising angler, but she was one of the best dressed attendees!  (she was very proud of her outfit yesterday, which featured a necklace she had made "all by herself".  love!)

So, you would think that after we had long hugs and bid our family and good friends good-bye that we would have milked all the fun out of one day that we could.

Oh no... we like to finish our days off with pizzazz around here!

Kenny and I drove home separately because he could only join us halfway through the afternoon and therefore had his own car with him.  So, he got home before me and the kids, as I had to stop for gas on the way home.  By the time we arrived home, he was already upstairs, jammied up and in bed with the laptop.

I quietly brought the sleepy kids and our bags inside, had Knolan on my hip and had shut the front door when I turned around and saw our cat Chloe acting kind of like she was short circuiting.  Then I looked up to see what she was looking at just in time to see a giant, really huge, gross looking moth land on our front hall wall.

Ewww!!  I am not good with bugs.  I really should blog about the time a spider dropped down on a web right in front of my face while I was driving.  That had drama written all over it!  But have no fear, this moth definitely delivered in the drama department!

There I was with a spazzing cat, Kaycie, who started squealing and running around looking for a cup and some construction paper (she's clearly been watching my no-fail bug relocation technique!), and Knolan, who has likely never seen a moth before, and who was practically stepping on my face trying to get at the moth with his arms flailing like a zombie.  All the while, I am trying to be super smart about this, and I am - with my one free arm - running around the downstairs turning on and off a bizarre sequence of lights trying to lure the moth to the front door.

No such luck.  Probably only entertained the neighbours with my seizure inducing light show.

I asked Kaycie to go get her dad to come and help us with the moth since our house is such a mess right now that I didn't want to set Knolan down for fear of the many, many choking hazards strewn around our main floor - remnants of my crazed and frantic efforts to leave the house on time yesterday for our visit.  I am a messy lunatic when I am trying to leave the house with the kids!

So, off she went to find her dad while I tried to keep track of the moth.  I am kind of shocked at the reaction that bugs and other critters bring out in me.  I was so freaked out by this thing that I was clearly not thinking straight - as evidenced by my use of Knolan as a human shield.  That's right... I am pathetic... every time the moth took flight, I ducked and hid behind my 13 month old's head for protection.

How embarrassing.

Anyway, Kenny, arrived on scene and I showed him where the moth was hiding in the kitchen.  I have to say, I was particularly pleased to see Kenny suddenly recoil when he poked his head into the kitchen and found himself face to face with the moth.  It really was grody.  (sorry lil' moth!)

The series of events that took place next are kind of hard to explain in a blog.  Not the actual events themselves, but the overall feelings of hysteria, frustration, giddiness, feline instinct, wonder, disgust, panic, relief, rage, testosterone surge, anger, and then comic relief that we all experienced as Kenny tried to best Mothra.  Here's my best stab at it:

He tries to 'shoo' the moth out. 
He tries chasing it through our main floor. 
He almost has it near the front door and then Chloe attacks it. 
Chloe starts gnawing on moth, I freak, Kaycie screams, Knolan stares, Kenny tries to rescue the moth, Chloe retreats. 
Moth flies free... at my head. 
I release blood curdling scream and duck behind infant. 
Ken bellows, "Are you serious?!" 
I commence passionate speech about my life long fear of bugs.
Kaycie laughs hysterically.
Moth flies toward front door as Kenny lunges and swats it to the ground.
Moth is probably praying for mercy.
Kenny tries about 5 zillion times to pick up the moth.
Kenny finally gets the moth in his hand, whips the front door open and releases  Mothra into the wild while slamming the door behind him.
We all breathe a sigh of relief.
We all freak as we see Mothra fly up towards the ceiling.  What?! Wait!  It's a new Mothra!
Kenny tries to swat Mothra the Second, resulting in moth excursion to the upstairs.
Kenny implodes.
Chloe takes chase.
Mothra the Second comes back downstairs.  In cat's mouth.
Kenny rescues Mothra the Second.
Mothra the Second flies free and Chloe attacks.
Kenny rescues Mothra the Second again, manages to scoop him and runs for the front door.

And then the most crazy part of all...

Kenny swings the front door open, throws Mothra the Second into the dark night, and then rips my wreath off the front door, hurls it into our garden and slams the door shut.

He looks at me and says, "Those moths love that stupid wreath!"

I burst out laughing while Kaycie peers out the window into the night to see where the wreath landed.

I totally wish that life had a "re-play" button.  I would have loved to have watched that all transpire.

So... that was the epic battle of Kenny vs. Mothra(s).  And it was the perfect ending to a perfect day.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Doing Something Wonderful: The Back-up Plan

First of all, I must say a huge, gigantic 'thank you!' to all of you for leaving your messages of support for the woman I met on the train last week.  I read them all and got teary-eyed every time I heard that little 'ping' on my phone alerting me that another message had come through. 

I was honestly hoping for 20 messages.  I thought that if we could get about 20, that we would have accomplished something kind of special.

Well, we currently have 111 messages!!!  Wow!  They are all uplifting, they are all touching, and many of them even made me giggle a bit.  Who could ask for more?!

So, as it turns out, I had to work late yesterday, and so I couldn't take my usual train.  Not good for my random act of kindness campaign!  But, I decided I could use my afternoon break to zip down to the train station to see if I could find my Irish mom and her little cutie patooties.

So, I trundled off to the station when the time came - my packet of messages in hand to give her.  I was getting nervous the closer I got.  Do you ever have self-doubt?  Even though you all inspired me with your outpouring of support, I still found myself worried that I might not know what to say when I found her, or that this whole project might embarrass her in some way. 

Despite my anxiety, I waited on the platform, looking for her. 

And she never arrived. 

Maybe my sister is right.  She could have taken an earlier train.  Maybe one of her girls was sick and she couldn't go yesterday.  My gut tells me that she purposely wasn't on that train because of that man's thoughtless actions.
And the kicker is that I watched him sitting in that accessibility car the whole time I waited on the platform.  Clearly he is no more worse for wear after last week, but yet my Irish mom has likely been scared off this train for good.  Not fair.

So, I have a back up plan.  I want to repect her privacy, so I won't detail it here, but I will keep you all posted on how it goes.

And if it doesn't work, I may just have to count on fate to reunite us!

Wish me luck, and thank you again for your unbridled care and compassion for a complete stranger.  That alone is pretty powerful stuff.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Let's Do Something Really Wonderful

I'm just going to come right out and ask you to help me. 

I am so full of anger and sadness right now and I really need to channel this emotion into something uplifting and inspirational.  I truly believe we can do something transformative if you will help.

So, if you are willing to take a moment to help me reach out to someone who really needs it, then please read about my commute home from work today and then decide whether you will take a short moment to help me do something really wonderful.

I know most of you read my blog and carry on.  But today I'm asking from the bottom of my heart for you to read today's post and then leave a comment.  And then forward a link to my blog to anyone else that you think would be willing to help me out.

I want to collect as many messages of support as possible for a woman I met on my train ride home from work today.  This is why:

I got on the train today just in the nick of time.  I usually sit much closer to the front of the train, but today I must have been running behind, and I only got as far as the accessibility coach - the designated car for people with mobility issues and people with strollers.  I didn't expect to get a seat, but as I walked on, I saw an empty spot beside a sweet little girl.

I noticed her mom and her sister were sitting across from her with a third little baby girl in a stroller.  I quickly asked the woman if she minded if I sat with them, and she gestured for me to sit down and said something along the lines of, "as long as you can handle the shrieking" and with a smile she explained to me that her 11 month old daughter had just learned a new sound and was practising it with verve!  I smiled and assured her I could tune out just about anything with 2 young children of my own at home.

I settled in and pulled some reading out of my bag for the trip home.  Within minutes, I felt a sweet little leg resting on my knee.  I peeked over my paper and saw the little baby resting her foot on my leg.  I couldn't resist a smile and a short game of 'peekaboo'.  I got some simply beautiful smiles - heart melting ones!

Next thing I knew, the little girl beside me couldn't help giggling about her sister using me as an ottoman and before I knew it, my seatmate and I had become fast friends.  Well, the oldest little girl who was sitting across from us was not one to be left out and she jumped right into the conversation - no holds barred.  The two of them delighted in telling me their names, asking me what my name was, telling me where they were going, telling me where they came from, and asking me how to spell my name.

It was exhilarating.

I often find the train ride to and from work to be depressing - train cars full of people quietly trundling to and from work - day in and day out.  These sweet little munchkins were the absolute highlight of my day... and it should be noted that I had a cupcake today!  (I need to cut SOME of my anger with a bit of humour!)

These two girls - Jasmine and Molly - were beautiful both inside and out.  They proudly showed me the barrettes and elastics they had chosen together to wear that day.  They both nearly exploded with pride as they demonstrated that they could do up their shoes themselves.

Their mother and I got chatting as well and I found out that they had just arrived in Canada from Ireland a month ago and she and her husband and 3 girls were doing their best to get settled in, adjust to a new country, new surroundings... new everything!  On this particular day, this woman was taking Jasmine, her eldest daughter, to her Irish dancing class.

I didn't bother to tell her that I've had my daughter for 4 years, have never moved, and it STILL took me 4 years to enroll her in swimming lessons.  This woman was instantly amazing in my eyes.  Here she is in a new country, managing 3 young girls on her own during the day, and she has managed to get her child signed up for dance lessons in under 4 weeks!  I was in the presence of an extraordinary woman.

The girls were particularly interested in my non-Irish accent and in my fascination with their vernacular.  For example, Molly - the 3 year old - said to Jasmine, "can I please have that lil' gal with the purple hat?"  She was referring to one of the three little dolls that Jasmine had pulled out of her bag to play with - her eye on me the whole time to see what my reaction would be to her dolls (I of course made a huge deal about how cute they were!).  It was subtle, but the word 'gal' is just not one that most 3 year old girls that I know would use.

The girls and their mother seemed pleased to be able to explain to me that Jasmine had a different Irish accent than did Molly or her mother because Jasmine was raised in a different part of the country than her sister.

The more I listened, the more they wanted to share.  The girls oohed and ahhed over the townhouses along the railway line, remarked many times that I was funny, pored over pictures of my kids while memorizing their names, and gave me their separate versions of what the plane ride from Ireland to Canada was like.  Apparently when you are Jasmine and you are 6 years old, the trip goes like this:

"I didn't sleep one bit all the way here.  First of all, we left Ireland and flew 10 minutes to England, and then we flew 8 minutes from England to here."

Apparently if you are 3 years old and your name is Molly, you sleep the whole way.  :-)

The whole time, I chatted away with their mother and did my best to help her keep the kids occupied while she attended to her youngest.  Little Annabelle, "Belle" for short, was a normal 11 month old baby, shrieking regularly to test out the new sound she could make.  Her mom was making a never ending effort to keep Belle quiet.  She had several soothers on hand, a continuous supply of Cheerios, a bottle and some toys, and used everything in her arsenal to be respectful of the other passengers and keep Belle as quiet as she could.

If you are a parent, though, you will know that this can sometimes be a completely futile endeavour.  Especially when they are learning to communicate, babies can be especially persistent and definite about their desire to 'talk'.

We got chatting about how hard it was to keep babies quiet, and she shared her observation that in Canada it seems as though the expectation is that babies should be quiet, while in Ireland, people are generally more accepting of babies and children, and to have young ones chatting and babbling away in public is simply not a big deal.  All the while, she gently reminded her girls to keep their voices down and did her best to keep the baby distracted.

I commented to her that I was pretty certain that most people - even if they find the noise level irritating - understand that sometimes you just can't help that babies can be loud.

And then it happened.

A man behind us loudly huffed and rattled his paper and commented for all to hear that, "This is ridiculous! Why don't you do something."  To her credit, my new friend (and it's such a shame that I never did learn what her name was) stood up, looked him in the eye, and asked, "What would you have me do?"  He just loudly sighed.  She went on to ask him, "Would you prefer I clamp my hand over her face?" to which he said, "That would be a good start".

She sat down, while I sat there in complete shock.  I had never witnessed anything like this.  My mind was screaming at me to turn around and say something to him, but I was just stunned.

Just as I turned to say something to her, another woman behind her stood up and said to him, "This is a child friendly train, and if you don't like it, maybe you should leave."  Then she looked at the mother and said loudly, "I support you."  Thankfully, there was some soft clapping and nods of agreement around us.

I turned briefly to look at the man, and then turned back to say something to the mother, only to find her in tears. Her lip was quivering and she was quietly dabbing her eyes with a tissue.  She quietly cried as I reached over and touched her knee, tried to reassure her, and asked her if she wanted me to go talk to him.  She shook her head, but couldn't talk.  I was just about to turn around to congratulate this neanderthal on reducing a mother of three small children to tears when Jasmine and Molly started to ask questions and try to comfort their mother.

Jasmine asked me, "Why did that man yell at our Mum?"  Molly looked at me with worry and asked, "Is that man angry at our Mum?  Does he not like Belle?"

Jasmine rubbed her mother's shoulder quietly and kept asking her why she was crying.

Then Molly looked at me with a quivering lip and asked me, "Will they take Annabelle from us?"

The tears instantly streamed down my face.  I didn't dare confront this man for fear of upsetting these sweet little girls any more, but I could barely see straight from rage.

This woman had just as much right to be on a train as anyone else did.  She was in the accessibility car - exactly where she should be with a stroller and young kids.  She couldn't move to a different car - he could.

Anyone who has been a parent, or has spent any amount of time with small children must know how completely draining it can be when you are caring for little ones.  And travelling with them in public practically requires a strategic planning document!

But this woman isn't just a mother (and that alone is reason to show some empathy), but she is a person, and I firmly believe that we are all just people stuck together here on this big ball of dirt hurtling through the sky.  NONE of us is better than the other, and we are all deserving of compassion and empathy.

This poor woman could not regain her composure for the rest of her trip.  She could not utter one more word to me or to her children.  I felt like I could feel her heart breaking and her faith in people dissolving.

Jasmine and Molly asked if I thought people didn't like Belle, and I said as loudly as I could muster through the tears, "No... she's just perfect.  You're all just perfect."

When they got to their stop, the woman was finally able to say, "It was nice to meet you," and she and her children left the train.  As they walked past the man, he just laughed at her.  I couldn't even compose myself to say one word to him.

One moment I was having the most life-affirming, uplifting moment I'd had in my life.  People from different corners of the world connecting like old friends.

And the next, the two of us are in tears, and the children are completely confused and scared.  Something is seriously not right in this world if that's how some people think they can treat others.

I got off the train at my stop, walked to my car, got in and burst into tears.  Partly with shame that I couldn't bring myself to stand up to him, and partly in empathy as a mom who had just seen a fellow mother's spirit completely decimated.

As I sat there, I knew I wanted to do something to restore this woman's spirit.  To assure her that not everyone is a complete boor in Canada.  To comfort her in some way and help make sure that every time she gets on that train that she doesn't have to think about the man who would have her muzzle an infant rather than disturb his train trip... that instead she could think about all the people out there who can relate to her, and who can empathize with her, and who support her.

So, that is why I am asking you to PLEASE leave a message of support, or empathy, or understanding, or even just a virtual hug for this woman.  You don't even need to leave your name - you can leave a message anonymously.  Just scroll down to where it says "Post a Comment" and leave your comment in the box below (if you don't see a box, then click where it indicates the number of comments left on the post so far). Then just click on the drop down menu and select 'anonymous' if you'd like, or if you want to leave your name, just select 'name/URL' and type in your name (you can ignore the URL part - just leave it blank).  Then click "post comment". 

And then, if you are inclined to do more, think about asking others to read this and do the same.

I am going to wait for her on the accessibility car next Tuesday and hopefully I can show her that there are still some good people out there who think she's doing a great job. 

So... let's see what we can do in one week.  I have never done anything like this before in my life, but I have also never before felt more strongly about something. 

This life is tough enough... let's do something really wonderful together.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday Memories: Smurf House

Hi all!

I haven't completely disappeared off the face of the planet.  I've just gone back to work.  Any spare time I had before has all but vanished for now, but I am slowly figuring out how it was that I carved out any time for myself before my maternity leave when I was working full time.  It's a challenge, but it can be done!

Anyway, I've just whipped up a short and sweet Monday Memory for you - and I think after this my family may quietly just start disavowing any knowledge of my existence - or at least start denying that we're related.  LOL

You see, it's just that with all the publicity lately for the new Smurfs movie, I have become somewhat nostalgic for the good old days when my sister and I were younger and watched the adventures of those blue little guys.

The good old days when we had rooms right across the hall from each other.

The good old days when we'd stay up all night talking and goofing off.

The good old days when she'd attack me, pin me down, analyse my nose and declare that it looked exactly like a Smurf house.

Yes... ever since then, I can't look at my nose without thinking of Smurfette's cute little Smurf house.  Or my sister.  :-)

So, I'll let you be the judge.  Does my nose look like a Smurf house to you?  (I can't believe I'm doing this, but I really, really wanted to post something new and this was all I could think of!)

my nose...
Smurf houses! (Via)

My nose...
A Smurf House! (Via)

Oooh!!!  I'll put a poll in the top right corner of my blog page to keep track of the results!

P.S. Is it obvious that my nostrils are asymmetrical?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Have You Hugged Your Hairstylist Today?

I've just got a bit of a mélange (thank you,!) of stuff today, so it's not all about my hairstylist.  I just thought I probably shouldn't call today's post "Awesomer Day, Part 3".  Even I am gettting bored of that title!

That's not to say that I haven't been having more awesome days... because I have!  It's been wonderful having such wickedly good weather every day of this week to go along with the awesome days... and the awesome days just can't be stopped!

Take yesterday, for example.  After getting my brows shaped and my feet gussied up, I was ready for the grand finale to my mini-makeover.  I got my hair cut and coloured. 

Now, I know this is commonplace for most women my age, but for me, this is some big time pampering.  I am terrible at scheduling regular hair appointments, so getting my hair cut, let alone styling and colouring, is a significant event!

So, I went to my hairstylist Franca's house, where she has just moved her business.  She is renovating her entire basement to be this super chic salon with an entire wall dedicated to coffee.  I squealed a bit when she told me her plans.  The wall will have a machine that makes cappuccinos, lattes, espressos, coffee... possibly small talk... who knows!  It's going to be a strong lure to keep bringing me back - maybe even on a regular basis!

Anyway, I told Franca that she could do whatever she wanted to my hair, but I had to look unbelievably fantastic when she was done with me. 

And she totally did it!  I had to take my glasses off for the whole cut, colour, highlights, etc, and when she was done and let me put them back on, I literally gasped when I looked in the mirror.  I had a complete spaz out and couldn't stop gushing about the transformation.  I even jumped up and hugged her!  And... the best part is that she did it in a way that will only require touching it up every 6 months!  Yes!

Even the guy who was there drywalling her basement basically couldn't believe how beautiful I was.  Well, he said my hair looked nice... but I could tell he really, really meant it.

So, I skipped out of her house feeling high on life (possibly hair dye fumes?  drywall dust?) and headed out for the shopping centre near my house to get some "back to work" clothes.   I couldn't very well call this a decent transformation without new clothes!

On the way, however, I saw a sign that made me giggle:

The other side of it said, "Does your cat PUKE? Let us help!"  Not much more normal, but it certainly helped me make sense of it all!

Which reminds me - I never did post this next picture on this blog.  I saw it a month or two ago while I was out and about:

"Lady doctors"?  What decade are we in again? 

Anyway, after I snagged a picture of the puke sign, I was off to shop for clothes.  Now, usually, clothes shopping doesn't rank as one of the top things I enjoy doing, but this time it was different.  I think it's partly because I've lost a wee bit of weight recently, but I think it was also because I finally took my mom's advice and tried on things I didn't think would look good on me.  Low and behold, I had an enjoyable shopping experience and bought some nice clothes!  I even got a great deal on a pair of tan pants - 15 dollars!!! 

Then, I dashed off just in time to pick up the kids.  While I was picking up the kids, my cell phone kept ringing and texts kept coming in.  Once I got the kids buckled in the car, I looked at my phone and realized it was Ken's parents.  I called them and they said they were all at Ken's sister's house, and would we like to come over for Chinese food and a swim in their pool?

Uh... yes!  Julie's house was an hour away, but at that moment, that was but a minor obstacle.  :-)

Ken and I did a mini-scramble to get swimsuits and diapers and bottles and so on packed into the van, and off we went!  I had a nice relaxing evening watching the kids enjoy the water (I wasn't about to chance getting my awesome hair wet!) and chatting away with everyone.  It was a whirlwind visit, but so worth it.  The kids slept sooo well that night, too!

The only thing that could have made the day any better would have been new shoes!  Which I got this morning!  Woo hoo!

I am so grateful for every minute of this past week.  It's been nice to take some time to rejuvenate and indulge myself a bit.  I highly recommend it!

And now I am planning to enjoy every minute of this weekend.  I am also planning on forcing Ken to sit through one of my fashion shows as I pick out my "first day back" clothes.  Feels like the first day of highschool all over again!

I'm such a nerd. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Awesomer Day - With Dramatic Crying Fit!

5 more days until I'm back at work.  But who's counting, really?

All I know is that this blog is serving to be a wonderful tool for procrastination.  I have giant decrapification plans for today, but spreadsheets be damned... I'm not going to have much time to blog starting next week, so I'd better soak it up while the going is good!

Plus, I had an awesome day yesterday that rivalled Monday's awesome day, and I must share!  Be forewarned, though.  If any of you thought I was cool, composed, and had super modern, excellent taste in music, you may be in for a surprise.

First item of business for Tuesday was - look at spreadsheet.  So, I pulled up my spreadsheet and it said that I was to spend the morning organizing the linen closet and the afternoon cleaning the utility room.

Second item of business for Tuesday was to formally disregard the spreadsheet and go find some place to get my eyebrows shaped and a pedicure.  So, off I went to the last place I had a pedicure, walked right in and asked them if they could take me immediately.  And they could... joy!

I plunked myself onto the torture table and endured my annual eyebrow waxing/threading.  I realize that it probably makes no sense to do this at all if you aren't going to maintain it more than once a year, but as my friend Ashley always says, "whatev".  I had forgotten how torturous threading is.

The next part was the only dark shadow on my second perfect day in a row.  The esthetician leans over me and says, "I think we should do above your lip next.  It's kind of long in the corners."  


I thought I was the only one who could detect my girl-stache!  Mortification set in, and then I quashed my impulse to roll to the right off the table and out the front door.  Then I said, "do it".

I don't love the whole "OMG" movement, but OHH EMMMM GEEEEE!  That hurt sooooo bad!  I will never do that again. 

Anyway, back to awesomeness.  Once that ordeal was over with, it was time for the pedicure.  I leaned back into the massage chair and dipped my feet into the bath and closed my eyes.  Ahhh.  Why is it again that I don't make time to do this more often?  I always kind of thought those massage chairs were tacky, but yesterday I found myself mentally assessing whether I could pretty one up with throw blankets and clever lighting enough so that it might look ok in our family room.  Conclusion - no amount of disguising will ever make these chairs look nice.  

Oh.  There was a second dark shadow on the day.  I was jolted out of my bliss by a flash of pain when the esthetician cut my foot!  She was very apologetic and polysporin/bandaged my toe right away, but now I am finding myself slightly obsessed with changing the bandage throughout the day - I've heard bad things about infections from pedicures.  Keeping fingers crossed that it will be fine.

OK... I now realize I am not doing a great job of making this day sound awesome.  Trust me, though... it was.  I was out without kids (I love them so very much, but doesn't change the fact that free time feels sooo good!), my feet looked pretty, my face would look pretty as soon as the redness subsided, and I had the rest of the day ahead of me to spend as I pleased.  This day was going excellently!

When I left the salon, I decided that since the weather was stupendous and since I might not get this chance again this week, that I would do the one thing that was 100% guaranteed to make me happy.

I decided I would grab lunch for the road and go to see the Forks of the Credit.

Now, I have been trying to see the Forks of the Credit for my entire maternity leave, but due to some road construction, it just never happened.  I had kind of resigned myself to the fact that I just wasn't going to get to see them this year.  Then I forgot about them.  In that moment, I was so happy that I remembered them because I instantly got that feeling of anticipation.  I was so excited!  And free!

So, I grabbed some lunch and jumped in the van.  Full tank of gas... bonus!  I always feel like a rich person when I realize I have gas.  Rich people probably never jump in the car late for something and see the fuel gauge on "E".  They probably never ask their mechanics if there is some sort of super-safe, cheap, work-around solution to your rotors being burnt out either.  :-)

I kid, I kid.  I have functioning brakes. 


Anyway, the sun was shining, and the trees overhead were making those awesome moving shadows on the hood and windshield as I drove along.  I was smiling to myself and soaking in the scenery as I headed toward the Forks.

Now, I should say, I wasn't exactly sure what the Forks of the Credit were.  I'd just heard people talk about them, and I knew there was a windy road there, so I figured I'd like them.

When I got there, I wasn't disappointed.  It's not like there was some hidden majestic mountain there or anything, but it was just a really beautiful, scenic drive.  Some of the bends are so sharp that it literally feels like the road is going to cross back over itself like a loop!  I saw beautiful hills, pretty riversides, an old guy wrestling a dog at the visitors centre... it was wonderful.

And then suddenly the past year washed over me and I burst into tears.  This was it.  My year with my kids was over.  I was crying gigantic, fat, rolling tears all over the steering wheel. 

You would think I might pull over and just have a good cry, but no.  Not me.  I was determined that I was going to enjoy my much anticipated trip through the Forks.  So, I just drove slowly, crying and pulling over to let people pass me while I took in the sights.  I even oohed and ahhed to myself through the tears.

Why am I like this?  Oh well, who cares.  I like me.  :-)

Then I thought to myself, I should drive back through this road again and just turn on the radio and find some peppy music and have my last memories of the Forks be positive.  So, I turned the van around, and headed back into the scenic drive, flipping through the stations.

And then "Orinoco Flow" by Enya came on the radio. 

And I started bawling even harder all over again.

Picture the ugliest cry you've ever had.  Then picture yourself driving through hairpin turns listening to Enya.  It was ridiculous.

I should mention that the reason I started crying even harder is a bit complex.  It's because when my brother was very little, he LOOVED this song.  I have wonderful memories of him pretending to bang giant drums to the song, and he thought it was just the most beautiful music he had ever heard.  So, this made me nostalgic, which usually makes me weepy, which compounded my perfect storm of emotions, resulting in ugly crying.  :-)

So, I had now done two complete runs of the Forks bawling like a baby.  Perfect!  I wouldn't have it any other way.  In fact, it was very cathartic.  By the time I was all cried out, I was very satisfied with my trip and decided that it was time to cap it off with some retail therapy.

So, I headed out of the Forks and found this:

Umm... it was as if someone designed this store just for me on a day like this!  And what is that white thing out front!  I would kill for it if only I knew what on earth I would use it for!

Inside was a treasure trove of lots of neat stuff (truth in advertising!).  Like this:

A skunk feather duster - so weird!
And this:

Where on earth would you put such a giant silk lantern? 
I ambled around the store for a long time.  My phone ran low on batteries, or else I would have had many more pictures to share.  There were pieces of furniture there that I would have loved to take home with me, but I decided to restrain myself a bit. 

I decided that I should buy myself a pair of earrings to commemorate my cathartic trip to the Forks.  I also couldn't pass over these cute monkey chopsticks for Kaycie, who has been dying to learn how to use chopsticks ever since she saw the movie "Ponyo".

My purchases are lovingly displayed here on one of the new placemats I bought on Awesome Day #1.
I think the earrings are just right.  They are kind of earthy and they kind of look like hairpin turns. 

After my trip to the store, I decided to head home.  I got in the van and decided I needed more music on the trip back to civilization.  My husband will know just how gleefully overjoyed I was as I cruised over a hill, looking into a blue sky with puffy white clouds overhead, and turned on the radio just in time to hear the start of "Wild Horses" by Gino Vannelli.

I told you I wasn't cool!  :-)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Awesome Day

I know that it's my crushingly superior sense of humour that keeps bringing y'all back to this little ol' blog, but sometimes an awesome day trumps the funny ones.

Like yesterday!

I had the greatest day yesterday.  I can't even think of one exception to the greatness!

I have less than a week left to my maternity leave before I head back to work, and so I've been trying to be a bit strategic about how I use my last few days.  I've been easing the kids into daycare while I'm home so that I can be around to help with the transition, and now they are both there full time, leaving me with some time to myself before I head back to the daily grind.

I was a complete nerd and did up a spreadsheet (those of you who know me personally likely know of my addiction to spreadsheets) detailing how I would spend every morning and afternoon of my 'me' days for last week and this week.  I had glorious plans of dejunking the house room by room.  I also made detailed plans as to how I would relax and pamper myself.

So far, as is the case with 99% of my spreadsheets, I have drifted quite a bit from my plan.  I am proud to say that I have caught us up on our laundry, cleaned our closet, half cleaned the kids' rooms, almost finished cleaning the basement, and purchased the placemats I have been meaning to buy for 3 years.  None of this was according to my precious spreadsheet, but I don't care.  I think for me it's the thrill of the plan... follow through is overrated.  :-)

BUT... one thing I did execute to perfection was Monday!  With bonus activities!

My friend Cathy emailed me last week to see if I wanted to use some of my pampering time to go to brunch and a matinee with her on Monday.  Unbeknownst to her, I had labelled Monday on my spreadsheet:

 "Morning: shower and clean kitchen, take kids to daycare.  Paint toenails.  Afternoon: go to movie."

It's like she could read my mind!  I was thrilled, of course, and immediately agreed.

And now that it is Tuesday and I am reflecting on my day yesterday, I almost wish that yesterday was Friday, because it was a perfect day.

I woke up, went downstairs and realized that MY HUSBAND had already cleaned the kitchen.  Yeeeessssssss!!!!!!!  I kind of puttered around haphazardly, packing the kids' bags, getting their breakfast ready, and then lazily went upstairs to get them.  They were both in the BEST mood!  I love when they are in a good mood in the morning, because mornings with cranky kids are soooooo demoralizing.

Then we piled the kids into the car and went to drop them off at their child care provider's house.  Now, there is a big back story to this, but to make it short, things were awesome when I first started taking them, then Kaycie got bit in the eye again and I kept her home for one day, which threw Knolan off and he screamed all morning at daycare and has never been the same since.  Mornings have generally been Knolan crying as I pass him off, and Kaycie declaring that she thinks she'll just stay home with me (despite the fact that every single day when I pick her up, she is bubbling over with excitement about how much fun she had!).

But not Monday!  We dropped the kids off and Kaycie was thrilled to be there, and Knolan took one look at Kanwal (our childcare provider) and smiled at her and happily sat in her arms and waved as we left. 


Then I went home, showered, painted my toenails, (so far, my checklist was filling out nicely!) and jumped in the van and headed downtown for my brunch/movie date.

Although Cathy has a better poker face than I do, I think we were both giddy at the prospect of a few hours of kid-free girl time.  I was practically bubbling over, but as you know, free time tends to do that to me.  :-)  We had a relaxing brunch on the patio at High Park with PERFECT weather.  It was so relaxing and it was great to catch up with Cathy AND be able to finish complete sentences (*usually when we get together, we have my two kids and her twins, which is always lots of fun, but as is the case with small children around, often results in fragmented conversations.  LOL).

Once we were done, we realized we had a bit of time to kill before the movie, so we went to IKEA to browse.  I hadn't been to IKEA in a long time.  It used to be one of my favourite places to just gawk at both the merchandise and the people.  I bought some plates for the kids and some napkins, but I have now made a mental list of about a bazillion things that I want to go back for.  That's the problem with IKEA... everything there just screams at me to take it home.  Regardless, I was sooo blissful just perusing the displays and chatting away with Cathy (who scored some good buys, by the way!).

By the time we were through the store, it was time to go to the theatre.  We went to see Horrible Bosses (if you watch the trailer, just be forewarned - it's not suitable for work or children), which turned out to be pretty funny.  Jennifer Aniston seemed to break out of her romcom mold and was pretty good (but very orange, as Cathy pointed out!), and Colin Farrell was almost unrecognizable thanks to some kind of latex make up, or wig, or something... but hilarious.  Was also happy to see Jason Bateman in something again... why isn't he in more movies?

Anyway, we laughed our way through that and a bag of popcorn and then headed home.  As a small sidenote, when we got to Cathy's house, we were unloading her IKEA haul, when I heard someone playing the clarinet.  I realized it was coming from an open window of a house close to Cathy's.  I looked at her, and she explained that whoever it is practices at least twice a day and that it is starting to make her and husband, Rob, a little batty.  Apparently Rob is particularly bothered by the fact that, despite the continual practice, this person is not getting any better.  :-)

So, our date ended there, and I gave Cathy a hug and was on my way.  When I got home, I relaxed for a bit, and then went to pick up the kids.  Pick up was also dreamy!  Yeeesssss!!!  For the first time, Knolan wasn't desperate to escape Kanwal's home when he saw me.  He was just smiley and happy and content to wait until I got Kaycie's knapsack on her back.  Kaycie was also thrilled to recount the day's adventures for me.  I was all smiles driving them home and then it dawned on me.   The only way this day could get better was if it ended at Red Lobster!

Well, Ken hardly needed any persuasion at all, so we all piled into the van and headed out for dinner.  Of course, our fashionista daughter decided that if we were going out for dinner, that her outfit would just not be complete without the pink cardigan sweater that Gramma had knitted for her.  There was no point in arguing with her that this didn't make sense during a heat wave, so we just let her wear it.  She looked kind of cute anyway.

I am happy to report that dinner was a huge success.  It's a bit of a gamble taking kids to a restaurant close to their bedtime, but we had a great time!  Knolan was sitting close to another baby his age, and the two of them kept trying to hold hands and play peek-a-boo with each other through the whole meal.  Kaycie entertained our server with answers to questions she didn't ask (for example, the server asked her what she'd like to drink, and Kaycie replied with, "Well, you see... today we went to the park, and I met a dog named Molly!).  At the end of the meal, I asked Kaycie if she'd like to share a dessert with me.  Well, I might as well have asked her if she'd like me to buy her a thousand ball gowns... she nearly exploded with excitement.  I have never seen her so full of glee and gratitude... it was adorable.

And the dessert was....  tres mag-ni-fique!  *dramatic finger kiss*  It tasted wayyy better than if I would have eaten it by myself.

So, after we said goodbye to the lobsters and to Knolan's new friend (Kaycie called out, "Goodbye what's your face!"  Slightly embarassing!), we headed home to put the kids to bed.

When we got home, we remembered that a package had arrived for the kids from my friend, Marlaine, in Winnipeg.  The kids were sooo anxious to see what was inside.  We tore into it and found a Jumbles stacking set for Knolan and a book for Kaycie.  The kids were immediately engrossed.  Ken and I got a kick out of how quickly Knolan was able to spread his stacking toy across the entire room!

Our post Red Lobster package frenzy!

We could have played for hours, but it was bedtime.  While Ken took Knolan to his room, I happily laid in bed with Kaycie when we got upstairs and read her favourite books to her, and then we both fell asleep snuggling like bunnies.  Heavenly.

Now THAT'S a great day!

Annnndddd... when we woke up this morning, we discovered that we managed to grow one cute little strawberry.  I was starting to lose hope, but it feels like today just might be another great day!

There it is!  Our pride and joy!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Gramma = Alien?

My poor little girl's eye is swollen shut... again.

I brought her indoors last night at the very, very first sign of bugs, but I guess that wasn't soon enough.  She woke up around 4am crying and Ken went in to see what was wrong and found her with her eye swollen completely shut.  It's about 5 in the morning right now, and she can't sleep, so I thought I would let her hang out in bed with me and watch cartoons.  In the meantime, I figured that while I've got the time, that I would document all of the completely bizarre things she's said since she woke up.  She must have woken herself up out of a deep sleep because she's been saying some really wonky things!

When I went in to see her, she showed me her eye and said:

"Mom, I had the craziest dream.  There was this alien, Gramma, and she used the future.  She was on the lawn, with some bacon, and took some air and threw it at a dog."

I honestly had to look away and bite my fist to keep from laughing!  She seemed so distraught about her eye and the dream that I didn't want to make her feel worse by laughing at her.  I'm sure Gramma will be thrilled to hear that she starred this dream.

So, we moved her into bed with us, and I went downstairs to get her some medicine for the swelling.  Fortunately, she has been referred to an allergist for her reaction to bug bites, but that isn't until later this month, so in the meantime our pediatrician has prescribed Kaycie something to use whenever this happens.  Tonight is our first time using this prescription, so I hope it helps.  My fingers are crossed!

When I came back to bed, Ken said to Kaycie, "Tell Mommy what you just said to me."  Then she looked at me with her one good eye and said, "It is night-o-clock right now, but soon it will be day-o-clock."  We just had to smile about that one... it was cute!

Fast forward to daylight hours, as I actually did get some sleep, and now we're all puttering around the house getting ready for Ken's sister's birthday party.  Kaycie wandered into the kitchen when she woke up and looked at me (again with her one good eye... poor girl!) and pointed to her good eye and said, "This eye's brother is sick."  How can a kid with an itching swollen eye still manage to be so sweet?!  Then she points to her swollen eye and says, "This eye is sick, and his brother is worried about him, so he is keeping him company."

I love her so much.  Then she came over to see Knolan, and he took one look at her and pointed at her eye and burst out laughing.  At least Kaycie thought that was funny... thank goodness! 

Anyway, she seems to think that the remedy for her swollen eye is to go give her Auntie Julie a pretty present with a pretty bow on it, so we'll go with that. 

And some Benadryl!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Kaycie Sez...

Quick and dirty today... have lots to do!!!  Here you go:

When I called upstairs to see if Ken and Kaycie wanted hot dogs for dinner, Kaycie came barrelling full tilt down the stairs and said:  "Yes, please Mommy!  Woo hoo!"  Then she said:  "Mommy, Mommy, Mom... can I have this orange thing called 'meat' in mine? ...and a bun?"

When I asked Kaycie if she could go pick up the bottle that Knolan had dropped on the floor, there was a long pause and then she said:  "Sorry Mommy.  My hands are full."  When I looked at her with that "mom" look, she said:  "See?  One hand is holding my shirt, and the other hand is holding my belly."  (To her credit, she actually had been holding her shirt and belly the whole time.)

A police officer drove up in front of our house while Kaycie and her friend Bella were riding their bikes and stopped to ask me if I'd seen someone with a description he provided me that the police were looking for.  After he and I finished that little exchange, the officer told the girls how happy he was that they were wearing their bike helmets.  Kaycie could barely contain her excitement and awe that a real, live police officer was talking to her, and burst out with:  "I'm going to be a grown up when I grow up!" and did this bizarre little jig while she was telling him this.  The officer was so super cool... he just gave her a slow motion thumbs up and a nod of the head, and then he drove off while maintaining his thumbs up pose.  :-)

The Kaycie Dictionary

Ridictable:  We believe this may be a hybrid of "ridiculous" and "dispicable".  Used in a sentence:  "You are simply ridictable!!"

Show up:  She thinks this is how you say "show off".  Used in a sentence:  "That girl running around is just being a show up!"

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Bathroom Incident

It's the weekend!  So far mine has been fabby-doo... hope yours has been too!

It's a rare occurrence that our son Knolan does something that's easy to blog about, so when he does, I get chomping at the bit to share.  So, here's a little bathroom tale to add to your weekend reading list.

Knolan and I both had appointments with our doctor downtown this week, so I took the opportunity to set a meeting with my boss while I was down there to talk about my return to work post maternity leave.  After my meeting with her, my friend Hilda and I had planned to go for dinner.  As we were on our way out, Hilda noticed a distinct 'essence de Knolan' wafting through the air.  So, off I trucked to the office washroom to freshen the little guy up.

Upon entering the washroom, it suddenly dawned on me that office washrooms don't generally have an infant change table - and our office washroom was no exception.  So, I elected to put my change pad down on the countertop between the sinks to change my little stinker.  The set up looked like this:  (*Make note of my letter legend... that will come in handy later.  Also, sorry you have to scroll so much to see it!)

So, I lovingly begin to change Knolan's diaper - which, incidentally, is packed to the brim with the source of the 'essence'.  Wonderful.  And of course, he is completely preoccupying me with his most recent developmental milestone... that would be his insistence on jamming both his hands between his bum cheeks.  I am such a proud mama.  *sigh*

As I try desperately to control the situation - neither wanting to drop my poor baby on the floor, nor to sully the office washroom countertop - Knolan decides to investigate that shiny silver box on the wall to his right (In the "A" position in my diagram).  As he reaches out to caress this new shiny toy of his, I hear a little "wrrrr" sound, and look just in time to see this silver box dump a big puddle of liquid hand soap all over his arm.

Apparently the soap dispenser in our office washroom is now one of those handy automatic ones!  Well, if you are a fan of the philosophical concept of cause and effect, you're gonna love the chain of events that this soap dispenser triggered!

As the soap dispenser exacted its revenge on Knolan at point A in the diagram, I reacted by freaking out and whipping him - complete with soap-coated arm and essence-covered rear - forcefully to the right.

This put his head directly under the newly automated faucet at position "B" in my diagram!!! 

Poor Knolan's big ol' noggin was soaked by the instant stream of water that hit his head.  Of course, this made him kind of spaz out and start flipping his soap arm around while he attempted some sort of death roll that would put a crocodile to shame!  All the while, his crap covered diaper is just barely clinging to his little butt... thankfully!

And how do I react?  Oh, I whip him forcefully to the LEFT (under the faucet labelled "C"), which triggers a blast of water that soaks his feet and shoes instantly.  Of course!  At this point, even Knolan has succumbed to shock (which effectively put an end to the death-rolling... woo hoo!), and I just burst into maniacal laughter because I just didn't know what else to do!

After I managed to pull myself together and stop thrusting Knolan under automatic washroom features, I somehow managed to actually change the diaper and dry the poor kid off.  I dutifully cleaned up the puddle of soap, and wiped down the counters, and soon enough it looked just like an innocent bathroom once again, as opposed to the venus fly trap for babies that it actually is!

Oh well... it made for a good laugh when I came out of the washroom and told Hilda what had happened, and now I have a great story to tell Knolan when he's older.

Am I the only one that this kind of stuff happens to?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Monday Memories: A Veritable Buffet of Memories!

Hello!  It's late, late Monday evening, so I say this still counts as a Monday Memories entry.  :-)

After a big party with our families at our house to celebrate little Knolan's upcoming first birthday I have spent the bulk of today successfully ignoring the remaining dishes in the kitchen, doing only the bare essentials to keep my children alive, and avoiding getting dressed for the day.  I almost made it through the whole day in my PJs until I got a burst of energy at 5:00pm and decided that I would take Kaycie out to the back yard until Knolly woke up from his nap.  In hindsight, I probably could have worn my jammies... it's not like my neighbours haven't seen me in them before! 

Anyway, after a big day of doing nothing (and feeling guilty about it too... why is that?  I work my butt off round the clock most days and on the one day I decide to give myself a rest I'm finding myself feeling guilty!), I figured I had no reason that I couldn't squeeze in some blogging time.  So... here I am! 

I've been meaning to write about several particular memories, but never seem to be able make them fill a whole blog post because I am fuzzy on the details.  Then I had a brainwave and decided I could just share an abbreviated version of each memory and slap them all into one master post!  Genius!  I think they will still be funnier in my mind than I could ever make them in writing, but I'll still have a giggle putting pen to paper, so in the end it's all good.  And as I share these memories, if anyone of you out there reading these happen to know me and can recall more accurately what happened in each case, I'd be glad to know so that I can update my notes for posterity.  :-)

1.  My Brother and the Witness Protection Program:  I remember one time one of the kids in the neighbourhood was giving my brother - who was probably about 9 at the time - some serious hassles.  I am, as I warned you above, kind of sketchy on the details, but I seem to remember that my brother and his friends built a go-kart one day, and this neighbourhood kid had come by and stolen it, or wrecked it, or something like that.  Anyway, those details are not important.  The part of this story that will stay with me for eternity was the moment right after I found out all the details of what happened.  It was when I came across my brother standing in our driveway, livid and frantic about this go-kart.  He was explaining to me in rapid-fire style how this neighbourhood kid had messed with his go-kart.  He was using wild hand and facial gestures.  He was furious.  He was also a sweet little boy who had been slighted and I wanted more than anything to be there for him.  To be the reliable older sister who took him seriously and righted the wrong.  As he wrapped up his summary of the situation, and completed his closing commentary on go-kart-gate, he looked at me and with the most serious and indignant look on his face loudly stated, "... and I have a garage full of witnesses to prove it."  And with that, he dramatically punched in the code to our garage door opener, and the garage door opened to reveal about 10 kids all standing there with their arms crossed over their chests all gangster style.  It is the single greatest memory that I have of my brother.  For a moment, I was so in awe of how he had coordinated this awesome reveal... and then I can't be sure, but I likely burst out laughing. 

2.  Sanctuary! Sanctuary! (extra geek points for anyone who recognizes this Simpsons reference):  I remember I was standing out on our front lawn and I think my sister and our babysitter Valerie (or was it Stacey? I hope it was Valerie because I know she reads this blog!) were there too.  Anyway, I was probably about 10 at the time, and my sister and I had been good friends with a couple of guys in our neighbourhood for years and years.  On this particular day, we were just standing around on the lawn when we happened to look down the street and we saw our two friends come tearing around the corner on their bikes with a look of fear on their faces that would make you think that nothing short of Godzilla was hot on their trail.  The two of them sped their bikes up on to our lawn and basically doubled over with exhaustion.  I seem to remember something about my sister's favourite pen getting broken being part of the explanation of what came next, but it doesn't really matter.  What matters is that as the two of them were frantically trying to tell us in between wheezes and gasps for air what was going on, we all heard shouting and a thundering noise that got louder and louder, and looked up just in time to see a huge, angry, screaming mob of 10 year old boys also come tearing around the corner.  And when I say mob, I'm not talking about 4 or 5 kids... these two friends of ours had managed to anger a serious amount of kids!  Like dozens of kids!  I recall the mob coming to a stop at our property and that there was lots of shouting and fist shaking going on with our babysitter sort of stuck in the middle.  Unfortunately, I can't say that I remember what happened after that, but I'm pretty sure our babysitter would have been justified in asking my parents for a raise after that!

3.  The Head Angel Ruins Christmas:  I remember one year for our elementary school Christmas concert I was picked to be the head angel - entirely because I was the tallest girl in our class.  One day, during our dress rehearsal, me and the choir of heavenly angels were hiding in our places behind the giant projector screen waiting for our big reveal.  As we were waiting, I got a little chatty - as I am VERY prone to do.  I was chat, chat, chatting away and kind of forgot where I was and put my one hand on my hip and the other hand out to lean on the wall.  Except it wasn't a wall... it was the projector screen.  And I completely fell off of the bench I was standing on and pushed the screen forward and knocked over the GIANT Christmas tree that our custodian had spent an entire day putting up.  I really pride myself on keeping this blog family friendly and swear-free, but I must say... I got in a s***load of trouble that day.  :-)

4.  The Pickle Bomb:  Late one night while I was in university, I was sleeping soundly when I realized that there was a bomb in my room that needed to be contained and subsequently diffused.  I dutifully sat on the bomb - thankfully it had a warning alarm that had woken me - and waited for the right moment to attempt to diffuse it.  Then I heard a muffled voice coming from my rear screaming, "Kirsten!  Kirsten!"  It was only then that I was able to partially wake myself up from this bizarre sleep walking episode and realize that I was sitting on my phone and my sister (who had just called me) was screaming through the phone trying desperately to get my attention.  Once I was able to wake up enough to realize what I'd done, I knocked a whole wall full of pots and pans off their hooks while stumbling into walls doubled over with laughter trying to explain to my sister what had just happened.  What made the whole thing more hilarious was that I had a giant pickle phone at the time.  It basically looked like this:

Aaaannnddd.... I think I'll end there.   Ending this post on a pickle bomb just feels right, somehow.  :-)