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!