Friday, December 20, 2013

Hello Kitty Hula Girl.

The other day, Husband took the girls grocery shopping with him.

As with any other time he goes shopping, on his way out the door, I reminded him that if he saw any socks for Kee, he should buy them. Two sets. Because there are only three pairs in the house that she'll wear. I've tried many different kinds, sizes, and colours, but she will only wear size 9 ladies' Hello Kitty ankle socks.

So. As they passed the lingerie department, Kee broke away and ran towards a rack yelling "BOOBY COVERS!" She then pulled down a bra, held it in front of her and started dancing, exclaiming "LOOK, DADDY! I'm a HULA GIRL!"

Then he died of embarrassment.

But he did find the socks, so totally worth it.

*No husbands were harmed in the production of this post.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

All I Want For Christmas...

So. The kids are off school, starting on Friday, for two weeks.

Two weeks.

*sigh* I love my kids, I really, really do. Ask anyone. But TWO WEEKS is a long time to be stuck in our apartment with them. Because I know that we won't go to the library every other day like I think we will. And I know that playing in the snow will last about 10 minutes before someone gets a handful in the face and starts crying. And I know that by week two, we will be watching Barbie's Magic Christmas (or something. Is that a thing? I don't even know anymore.) for the third time because we've already watched the only other two movies that everyone can agree on twice already.

Every year I ask for the same thing for Christmas: peace and quiet. I have a 5 year old and an 8 year old, so we all know that's one present I won't get for at least another 13 years.

But this year, I got an early Christmas present that means I can at least sit off to the side while they watch their high pitched cartoons, and watch something I might actually enjoy on my iPad. Like The Walking Dead, maybe.

Much swankier headphones than I need. But I love them.

You probably didn't know this about me, because it's a very unimportant fact, but I hate ear buds. Really hate them. I actually stopped listening to my iPod because I hate them so much. They're awkward, they fall out, and they make my ear holes (there's probably a technical name for that, right?) sore. So I am pleased to report that my new headphones are really comfortable to wear. They even fold up and have a carrying case, so the old iPod may make a reappearance.

I didn't get the noise cancelling ones**, so I can still hear the kids well enough to assess whether I need to pay attention to whatever it is they're yelling about, but they can't hear the zombie groans or shooting.


*While the "Beats by Dr. Dre" headphones were provided to me by Staples Canada, the dislike of high pitched cartoons is entirely my own.
**But I may spring for them later. ;)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Lessons From My Daughter.

I have a tendency to give up. I don't like confrontation. I don't like making waves. I don't like disappointing people. And most of the time, I just forget about what I wanted and take a back seat to avoid those things. Somewhere along the line, the tendency to give up has turned into a tendency to talk myself out of things before I even try. And I didn't realise it. Not really, anyway. At least not until last night. When I realised I was also doing it to my daughters.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about Beege. She is such a brilliant kid. She's funny, and insightful, and unique. She's eight now*, and it's time to start preparing her for the wonders/horrors of puberty. I've worried about her fitting in, because I've never felt like I fit in anywhere. It's a lonely feeling, and like every other bad thing, I want to spare her that.

But really, she's fine. She's more resilient than I ever was. She stands up to bullies, and if she thinks something's important, she makes sure that you listen. She's sure of who she is and what she likes, and I've realised that she is going to find people to fit her, she's not going to worry about fitting herself to anyone else.

Beege and Kee like to watch TVOkids. And every time they bring up the phone number, Beege wants to call in. She always knows the answer, or has something interesting to say about the topic, and she wants to share. I used to let her. But she never got through. And at some point, I started telling her not to bother because she wouldn't get through anyway.

If I could use a time machine, I would use it to go back to the first time I said that and punch myself in the mouth before I could get the words out.

Last night when she asked if she could call, I was in the middle of making dinner. I started to say no, as usual, but instead "Go ahead," I said, and couldn't help adding, "but you probably won't get through."

She called the number and sat there patiently, holding the phone to her ear and looking very serious. I told her to hang up after a few minutes, but she told me it was ringing, and she would wait. Then someone finally answered. She got on the air. She told the hosts about Claude Monet, and that she liked his paintings of Water Lilies. She told them that she also likes to draw and paint.

And she was so happy. I wish I'd taken a picture of her face the moment she got off the phone.

How many times have I told her "no" to something because I thought she might get hurt? Because I thought she might be disappointed? How many times have I prevented that look on her face?

I admire her so much, and I want to help her become whoever and whatever she wants. And that means letting her feel disappointment. Letting her try things that might not work out. Letting her discover her own limits, and not forcing mine on her. Especially when mine are crap.

*Her birthday was on Friday. I'm still in shock.

Friday, November 29, 2013

I'll Take Good Care of You!

This morning, I woke up feeling bad. Kind of awful, really. Like sea creatures were staging an epic battle in my stomach.

As the owner of an iffy gut, I'm used to the randomness of digestive roulette. Most days are perfectly normal, and then some days, it would just be better to stay in bed. There's nothing to be done but wait it out.

Of course, I don't get days off from this gig, so I got up and made breakfast as usual. I got their clothes ready for them, made sure they had everything they needed for the day and packed their backpacks. I sorted out the jumbled winter gear in the hallway to make sure everyone had the right amount of mittens.

And then I lay down on the floor.

Within moments, Kee had brought me a bucket, covered me in her blanket, and drawn me a picture to cheer me up while she's at school. Beege offered me the use of her softies. They also worked out a schedule of who would look after me when (around school attendance and bedtimes), and agreed that maybe Beege should tuck Kee in tonight if mummy's not feeling better.

In the middle of all the fights about bedtime, and wearing socks, and clearing dishes, and homework, and too much TV, and why it's not a good idea to wear a sundress today, and why cookies are NOT supper... it's easy to get bogged down thinking that I'm doing a really, really crappy job as a mum.

Luckily, they always remind me I'm not. Every time one of them pats my hand when I'm not feeling well, or tells me all they want is hundreds of hugs for their birthday, or is delighted by someone else's happiness, they remind me.

Because as I see it, the most important job I have as a mum is to help them grow into good people. And I'm obviously doing something right. 

I'm feeling much better. The fresh air from the walk to school, and a cup of hot tea seem to have done wonders in settling the beasts.

So I guess the real question is this: If I milk it just a teeny bit, does that make me a terrible person?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Grandma Wins Christmas.

Beege is a very practical girl. The first time I ever let her pick out her own winter boots, she picked out some "with thick treads for walking on ice, and a string I can tighten so the snow won't go in."
But, like every other kid at school, even she gets dragged into fads sometimes. Despite the complete ridiculousness of "Silly Bands", and the fact that they serve no purpose other than clogging the vacuum, she wanted them to trade with her friends because everyone else was.

So when Rainbow Looms came out, I figured it was only a matter of time, and sure enough...

Beege: Mummy?
Me: Yeah?
Beege: Remember when we talked about fads? And how sometimes, there's no real reason why people like something except that everyone else does, so you have to think about it and decide for yourself whether or not you should bother with it?
Me: Yeah?
Beege: Well, I've observed a new fad called Rainbow Looms.
Me: Okay.
Beege: I would like it even if no one else did.
Me: Sure.
Beege: I want one.
Me: Right.
Beege: For my birthday.
Me: Uh huh. 
And I'm totally for Rainbow Looms. I always like toys that you actually DO something with. They can even be said to be educational; patterning, following directions, grouping and sorting, small motor development, and the band refills can be used as incentives to help her get through her tedious OT work. I was planning on getting her one, actually.

You'd think this whole thing would make me pretty happy. An inexpensive birthday gift that I already know she wants? Something I was planning on getting her anyway? Sign me up!

Except... my mum beat me to it. She already got them for both girls for Christmas.

I'll probably get her some socks or something.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lowered Expectations.

This morning, we were late for school. Again. I know, I know, I've complained about it before, but honestly we live across the street! If anyone's going to be on time, it should be us!

Today, no one got up. Kee climbed into my bed for a snuggle and when the alarm went off, said "I don't want to get up yet. I need snuggles." For some reason, that sounded fine, and I hit snooze. Next thing I know, it's 8:00. Crap.

Then Beege just would not get up. At all. She claimed her nose was too snuffly to stand up. 8:15.

Then Kee wouldn't get dressed. Then she wanted to wear a sundress. Then she wouldn't wear socks. Then she had to wear specific socks. Then she put them on her hands instead of her feet. 8:36.

Beege thought it would be a good time to start a new book. 8:42.

I'm not sure what happened in the next few minutes because I realised that even though I had already done dishes, put in a load of laundry, made lunches and packed backpacks... I was still in my pajamas.

As Beege was putting her boots on, I was zipping up my coat, and Kee was doing a puppet show with her mismatched socks, we heard the bell ring. 8:55. Late. Dang.

So we jogged over to school and signed in at the office just as O' Canada started.

I can't help but feel like a bit of a failure when we get there late. We live across the street!!

But today, as I trudged down the long hallway to the exit, I saw something that made me feel a little bit better.

There are pants in the lost and found. And not just one pair, either.

We may be late, but at least we all know where our pants are.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I Need a Minute.

10:32am. Usually at this time, I'd be scrambling to finish up whatever I was doing so that I could change back into my "real" clothes* and get ready to pick up Kee from school.

But today? Today, I have spent the morning surfing the web and am just now sitting down to write.

The best thing happened this morning. First of all, I got the kids to school on time with minimal yelling.  (A change from the past two days, I assure you.) As we got to Kee's lineup, her best friend appeared, and she went running over to her. I approached more slowly.

You see, I haven't had a shower in three days. Oh geez. No, it's four. The water temperature isn't stable here when the laundry is going, or the dishwasher is running, or someone's flushing the toilet, or someone's having a shower upstairs. And I don't like to have a shower when Husband's not home in the evenings, because inevitably one of the kids will interrupt me midway through with some kind of emergency, and I'll be reminded by the stiff mass of my hair the next morning that I never actually rinsed the soap out. And so, I had a favour to ask.

"Do you suppose you could pick Kee up for me today, and I'll meet you at your place a little later?" I asked hopefully.
"Oh, thanks so much! That would be great. I've got a couple of errands, and I'd really like to have a bath."
"You know what? Why don't you just meet us back at the school when it's time to pick up the big kids?"

And then I cried. Just a little. Which freaked me out a bit, so I'm writing off the errands, and just spending the day goofing off.

First, I changed back into my pajamas. Then I danced wildly around the living room while laughing my head off. When I'm done here, I will have that bath. Then I'm going to watch Tootsie, at the volume I prefer, while sprawled over the entire couch and hogging the blankets. And hopefully, I'll remember to go pick up the kids.

*Yes, Mum, I do change back into my pajamas when I get home from dropping the kids off at school. Don't look at me like that.

Monday, November 4, 2013

And Now We Are Old(er).

Last weekend was my birthday. As some of you know, I've been kind of down on birthdays for the past few years (my own, anyway). So this year, I decided not to leave it up to chance.

Contrary to my almost sloth-like demeanor, I used to be quite an  active person. I enjoyed hiking, camping, swimming... even some team sports. But since highschool, I haven't done any of that kind of stuff. And I've realised that it makes me kind of sad. So what I chose to do was this:

I think this one was about 30' up?
Treetop trekking in Horseshoe Valley*.

It's made up of a series of obstacles (they called them "games", but I'm sticking with obstacles), strung up at varying heights in the trees.

When you get there, they strap you into a harness, hand you a helmet, and give you a short training session on how to safely navigate the course. Then you're pretty much on your own to make your way through the trees. There were barrels to cross, things to crawl though, logs to balance on, and even some plain old fashioned tight ropes.

We spent a good three hours swinging, climbing, zipping through the trees. Despite the rain and the chill, it was AWESOME. The people who work there were unfailingly nice, and I had a truly amazing time.

I've already decided I'm going back next year.

But I'm thinking I'll wear gloves.

*The one we went to was near Barrie, but they've got several locations in Ontario and Quebec.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

That Was Rude, Martha.

There has been a lot of crap floating around getting people's dander up on the internet this week.
Let's start with The Martha Stewart thing. She doesn't respect bloggers. She thinks that we are untrained, and shouldn't be talking about things we don't know. We publish "untested recipes". We are not experts.

Well, I suppose, in a lot of cases, she's right.  When I post a recipe, I've only tested it in my kitchen, thought it was tasty and that my friends might like to try it. When I post about a craft, I'm showing you how I did it, and that is all. When I tell you about my kids, I'm mostly venting. I am certainly not trained to tell you about anything. I also never claimed to be. (And just so you know, Martha, the editor at Vogue was not trained as an editor.)

I'm actually not offended so much by Martha slagging bloggers as I am surprised. One would think that you'd recognise that there are an awful lot of us, and your business sense would stop you from potentially alienating a huge market base. Or at least that you'd exercise better manners. That was rude, Martha.

Our lack of expertise doesn't make our voices invalid. Just as your lack of training didn't stop you from becoming the head of a multimillion dollar multimedia empire.

Then there's the Matt Walsh Stay at Home Mom Thing. I am a stay at home mum. It is sometimes a thankless job and, I do think, a very important one. Mums who work, in the traditional sense of an outside paycheque, are also doing an important job. When you have a family, you make all kinds of sacrifices in all sorts of ways. We all love our kids. Can we leave it at that? I am wonderful, you are wonderful, she is wonderful too. It's not a competition. Let's move on.

And of course, the "Hot Mom" Thing.  Maria Kang is a fitness enthusiast. She says that she posted this photo to be inspirational, and I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt and believe her.

There are detractors who think this is fat shaming, and there are the "you go girl!" supporters. This woman works out 5-6 days a week, and she's proud of the body that her hard work has attained her. That's great. Good for her! Just like if I work really hard on a quilt and post a picture of it. No, really. Why is it different? (Except for the fact that no one is going to feel goaded by a quilt, of course.)

If she wanted her inspirational message to be clearer, maybe she should have said "I did it, and you can too!" or something along those lines. It would have worked out better for her. "What's Your Excuse?" is a bit inflammatory. Physical beauty is an area where most women are sensitive. When you post something on the internet that seems to imply that the only reason any of us are walking around overweight or frumpy is because we're not trying hard enough, that's going to get a reaction. I think that it probably just didn't even occur to her.

So here's the thing. Just because someone is defending stay at home mums, doesn't mean they're saying anything bad about working mums. Just because someone is proud of their body doesn't mean that you should feel bad about yours. Martha being rude though, there's just no excuse for that. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

More Than Words

Is anyone else having a hard time putting their Blissdom Canada experience into words? I've been trying since I got home to write this post, and nothing was coming out. So bear with me, this may be messy.

Last year, my experience was not fabulous. Part of it was definitely on me, as I found it really hard to put myself out there. I was uncomfortable, I felt rushed, and I almost came home halfway through the day.

This year was not like last year at all.

First of all, I took my own advice from last year's conference. I wore comfortable clothes, and brought a number of options. I stalked got to know some people in the months before the conference. I took pictures! And though I missed talking to some sponsors, and didn't make it to Power Hour, I'm not beating myself up for it*.

As I said, I stayed at the hotel, and I think that was the best decision I could have possibly made. I had a couple of awesome roommates in Katie and Elan. I was able to go to the parties with the backup plan of hanging out in my room reading if it was too much. Just having that option made me so much more comfortable; I only ended up hiding out by myself for about 15 minutes the whole weekend.  (Also, the room was LOVELY and I had somewhere to keep all my extra pants.)

There were  people that I was looking forward to seeing again (Christa was the very first person who talked to me last year, and kept me from running back out the door, and Tara, I met at the welcome breakfast.), as well as people I was looking forward to meeting in real life for the first time (Looking at you, Shannon!). If you're thinking of attending something like this, take to Twitter! Join a facebook group of attendees, and find yourself some people! It's much easier (for me anyway) to walk into a room knowing there's someone in there who already wants to talk to you.

Socially, I think I did much better. More comfortable in a more laid back environment, with a place to hide if need be, I found it much easier to say yes.

When Kyla dragged me into a lineup, I said yes. When Julie offered me some wine, I said yes. When Lesley urged me to try on a dress from Rent Frock Repeat, I said yes (although that might've had a little to do with the wine). When Sunshine sat down beside me and started a conversation, I put my phone down and got to know her. I enjoyed the wine, and the dress, and - lord knows - the conversation. I'm happy to say that I met some pretty interesting new people, who I'm already looking forward to seeing again next year (if not sooner!).

The conference itself was also better. Spreading it out over two days the way they did made everything more relaxed. We didn't have to storm through a crowded room between too close tables to try and make it to the sessions we wanted. There was time (and space) between them. The sponsors (who were awesome) were also more spread out, allowing people to actually enter their space and talk to them, rather than trying to be heard over the teeming crowd behind them.

Basically, I had fun.

Blurry and fun... pretty much sums it up.

I'm really glad that I took notes though, because I'm realising that I don't remember much other than that. Now I just need to go sort through them, and put some of the great ideas I picked up into use.

*A Special thanks to anyone who's putting up links to their talks and sessions!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

And Now, a Rambling Post About Blissdom Canada 2013.

Okay. So. Last year, if you recall, I went to a Blogging conference called Blissdom Canada. I was extremely nervous, I didn't know anyone, I kept tripping on my pants, and I almost came home in the middle of the day. I stuck it out though and I learned some things, met some people, and it was good.

Next week, I'm going again.

This year I'll be staying at the hotel (got some roommates, even!), so I'll have somewhere to hide if it gets overwhelming, and just having that option makes me feel better already. Also, because I'm staying over, I'm going to make it out to the parties! One of my goals for this year is to try and socialize more.

I'm not going to worry so much about my clothes. I will try and look neat and approachable, but not dwell on it. Last year, I ended up borrowing "businessy clothes" from a friend and was thoroughly uncomfortable in pants that were three inches too long. I've decided that it's more important (for me, anyway) to be comfortable than to be wearing nice pants. So please, don't look at my pants. Especially if you have something against yoga pants. Because I may be wearing some.

This morning, I signed up for the micro sessions I'll be attending*, so I can stop worrying about one thing at least. I've been having dreams about everything that could possibly go wrong (forgetting to bring pants, not being able to remember my room number, going to the wrong hotel, throwing up, etc...), but hopefully that will all be out of my system by next week.

The one thing that's already better about this year over last year is I'm on Twitter. The only reason I signed up for Twitter at all in the first place was because your twitter handle** was a necessary field to register for the conference. THIS year, I've been on Twitter for a while and have been able to connect with a few people, so I'll have some friendly faces to look for.

Now I just have to remember to bring pants.***

Blissdom Canada

*Growing An Engaged Social Community with Chris Read, Finding Your People How to make bloggy friends (and why it really matters) with Kyla Cornish, and Blogging & Etsy with Tara Kolesnikowicz. In case you were wondering.
**@JustMumBlog ... there's a nifty little button up there on the right...
***And yes, I do realise I'm overly focused on pants.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Phone Gnomes.

Yesterday evening, I got a facebook message from my mother. "Can you have Beege call me, I'd like to talk to her about our butterfly project.*" Sure.  I thought it was sort of odd that she just didn't call Beege herself, but we do most of our communicating over facebook these days, and maybe she hadn't wanted to call because it was close to Kee's bedtime... so I told Beege we were calling Grandma, and went to the phone.

No dial tone. Hunh. Very odd.

So, after an evening spent unplugging and replugging our phone (still nothing), checking the phone on Grandma's phone line (the phone was fine) and even taking it to the demarcation point** to make sure that was working (it was), we had no idea what was wrong. The phone could have been out for days. I hardly ever call anyone, and it's usually only telemarketers (or my mother in law) that call us, so we just didn't notice.

So we called Bell and organised a repair visit.Which, of course, I'm unhappy about. I was going to have to wait at home today from noon until five in the afternoon. Did you catch that? I was going to have to.

Five minutes ago, the phone rang. It was Bell testing the line. I thought perhaps they'd done something on their end. They said no, and suggested that perhaps a phone had been left off the hook, and someone had finally hung it up. We only have the one phone, so I know that's not it. The phone line appears to have spontaneously fixed itself.

I'm grateful that I won't have to deal with repair people, but I can't help wondering what was wrong in the first place, and whether or not it will decide to stop working again.

The only explanation I've been able to come up with is gnomes. 

*Beege and my mum are going to plant a butterfly garden to attract monarchs, as Beege is interested in studying them.
**Apparently where the phone line comes into the house has a fancy name.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Cross Country Running.

In grade one, Beege decided that she wanted to be on the Cross Country Running Team. (Capitals, because it's a big deal.) Unfortunately, she couldn't join until grade two. So she had to wait. She finally hit grade two, and sadly, the teachers were on work-to-rule, so there was no team for her to join.

This year, activities are resuming, and finally, she gets to be on the team. Which is awesome. I'm all for encouraging sports for the girl who can spend three hours reading in the exact same position. Especially non-competitive, everyone-can-join, sports. The perfect gateway sport.

There is one thing that sucks though. She's seven. So her getting up early and getting to school for the practices means that I have to get up early and get to the practices. Which means that I have to get Kee up early and drag her to the practices. But that's okay. We can do this. Three times a week. Sigh.

Day 1: The girls were up, I was up, breakfast was eaten, people were mostly dressed. Lunches/snacks were packed. Things were looking good. I should have known. Turns out, we were going to be getting ready to leave the house exactly when Husband is getting ready to go. Usually, we'd still be sitting at the table, groggily eating our breakfast, and the fact that he was taking the time to shave wouldn't be a problem. Today, however, there were four people trying to use one bathroom at the same time. But we got there. Almost on time, even.

Day 2: I had to constantly remind everyone that it was a Cross Country day and we had to leave earlier. Every five minutes, Beege would zone out, I would remind her, and she'd resume getting ready at weird, cartoonish, hyper-speed. Until she zoned out again. Repeat. Kee, who normally dresses herself with no problems, chose today to decide that socks hurt her feet (and scream about it). Husband stayed out of the way though, so we managed to make it almost on time.

Day 3: The girls got up fifteen minutes early. Beege dressed herself and made her breakfast. They both did a remarkable job of getting up and getting themselves ready to go. They even cleared their plates and made their beds. Hair was combed, teeth were brushed. We had time to spare! Of course, it had been raining all night, and looked like it might rain again. So we didn't go.

We'll get it right next week. I can just feel it.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Overheard at the Dinner Table.


KEE and BEEGE are sitting at the dining table, eating their supper. KEE stares at BEEGE. BEEGE pointedly ignores her, and concentrates on her apple slices.
Kee: Beege?
Beege: (looking up) Yeah?
Kee:What's your teacher like?
Beege: She's nice.
Kee: Is she a vampire?
Beege: (indignant) What? No! She is NOT a vampire.
Kee: Does she have a shadow? Because if she doesn't have a shadow, she might be a vampire.
Beege: If she was a vampire, she wouldn't have been on yard duty.
Kee: Oh. That's true. (pause) Does she blink?
Beege: Of COURSE she blinks. Everybody blinks.
Kee: Zombies don't. She could be a zombie. I think she's a zombie.
Beege: She. Is not. A zombie.
Kee: Well, you should probably be careful at school, just in case.
Beege:  ...
Kee: I'd like to be a zombie. Everybody would be scared of me. I would be a good  zombie though, I wouldn't eat any brains. I'd be like Mozart.


*I've met Beege's teacher, and she seems lovely. She is likely neither a vampire, nor a zombie. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Camping: The Final Installment.

Just so you know, camping wasn't all bad. We did have some very nice days, and above all, the kids enjoyed it. I think they even kind of liked the excitement of running through the rain in the middle of the night. (When I asked them to draw a picture of one of their favourite things we'd done during the summer, Kee came up with a picture of me sleeping on the floor at Grandma's.)

The girls baked some cupcakes with Grandma.

We had a big bucket of glow-in-the-dark beads...

which we used to make key chains.

We played with a lot of these toys.

We had a fire every night, despite the rain.

I've only got pictures of the first day though because when I yanked everything out of the tent to dry it out and move it, I somehow managed to put my bed back in on top of the camera and didn't see it again until we were packing up to leave.

And now I can get back to writing about important things, like the fact that Beege chose her fall jacket based solely on the fact that it looked "perfect for detective work."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Camping. Night One. Part Two.

Day 1.

When we last left our heroine, she was finally settling down for the night, after many (MANY) visits to the bathroom. The children had fallen asleep, each holding one of her hands, and as she extricated herself so that she could read a bit of her book before dropping off, she congratulated herself on a good day.

Later, as she put her book away, she heard the sound of gentle rain on the roof of the tent and smiled. Ahh... nothing like a gentle rain to lull one to sleep. She closed her eyes.

The wind picked up. The rain started to sound like pebbles beating against the tent. Her eyes flew open at the first clap of thunder. She crossed her fingers and lay in the dark staring at the ceiling of the tent, and hoping against hope that... drip.


Don't worry, it'll be fine. Just a little drip.


The storm howled outside, and she felt blindly around her in the dark to see where that damn drip was coming from. She found the source, just to the left of a peacefully sleeping Beege. Improvising in the dark, she threw down a plastic bag and covered it with a towel, hoping it would both dampen the sound, and sop up the water.



This one sounded like it was coming from the other side of the tent. She groped blindly around again until she stuck her hand into a large puddle forming on Kee's sleeping bag. She pulled her groggy child up to share the twin air mattress that she had been hoping to have all to herself. Fine. It will be fine.



This one was coming from right above her. She pulled Kee in closer to get her out of the way of this new watery intruder.


As she felt the water drip steadily onto her forehead, she felt tears prickling her eyes. Feeling defeated, she woke the girls and explained that they needed to move. She put their coats on them, making sure to cover the blankies clutched in their arms, unzipped the tent, and pushed them out into the night.

"Run, girls, run!" she exclaimed, grabbing their hands and urging them through the pelting water.

They blinked in the dimly lit kitchen, and let their mother lead them, still groggy to the couch. After settling them both in and covering them with their blankets, she scrunched up a stuffed dog to use as a pillow and laid down on the floor. Thank heaven for backyard camping.

Day 2.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Camping. Night One. Part One.

As you know, we were "camping" in my parents' backyard. Totally hard core, that, I know. But we did have to walk around the house and tromp through the kitchen and living room to get to the bathroom. So, in an effort to keep from having to run back and forth from the house all night (even though they both sleep through the night at home), I didn't give them much to drink in the evening and left getting ready for bed 'til the last possible moment.

After all the tooth brushing, toilet using, and grandma hugging, we finally settled into our tent at about 9:45*.

I suppose this was kind of inevitable.

Luckily, after the fourth time dragging myself through the house with one or both children, they finally settled in for the night.

But, gentle reader, that is not the end of the story.


*This process started at 8:30. Ohmygod.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Off We Go!

Well, today's the day! You can tell how long we'll be gone by looking at the weather forecast - looks like it's going to rain from the second we set up our tent 'til just before we take it down. Woo hoo.

The kids are packed, transportation is arranged, we've got loads of food, and a selection of activities. Husband has stocked the cupboard with ramen noodles and made exciting plans to play "scary" video games while we're gone*. Now if I can just get it together and pack my own stuff, we'll be all set.

*I've told him he should also feel free to listen to music with swearing, watch something other than cartoons, and dance around in his underwear if he likes.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Camp Woodchuck: Take 2.

If you were around last year, you may recall something I did with the girls called "Camp Woodchuck." It went so well that the girls were asking when we would do it again on the way home. So, we're getting ready to do it again on Wednesday.

Last year, I went a little loopy, making buttons, notebooks, banners... I may have set the bar a little high for myself. I'm trying not to go quite so nuts this year, but I can't help it, it's who I am. Give me a theme, and I really wanna run with it. So I'm making them some activity pages, planning a scavenger hunt, some glow-in-the-dark games, and some crafts.

I fixed the sign!

We were lucky to have beautiful weather for their first camping trip ever. This year, it's looking like rain, so I'm trying to come up with activities that will keep us from going crazy being cooped up in something even smaller than our apartment. All I've got so far is reading aloud and a couple of card games - Any ideas?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hey, Santa - You Hiring?

The kids are well aware that we've been trying to find a house. Kee wants me to make sure that wherever we end up that her room is "as cute as a button", which seems to mean pink. Beege would like to sleep above ground. (As would I!)

Every once in a while, we indulge in talking about our imaginary house. What the yard will look like, what the rooms will look like, what colour we should paint the walls... sometimes we even go as far as drawing pictures of our pretend house.
The other day, I asked them if they could live anywhere, where would it be? They thought about it, and they both answered the same place. The North Pole. Kee would like to live near Santa Claus, and Beege wants to live near polar bears.

We explained that we might not see Santa Claus, even if we lived next door, because... well, magic. And that polar bears can actually be pretty dangerous, so we might not want to live all that close to them.

But the more I thought about it, the better the idea sounded. Only if we're living in Santa's magical village though - like the one in Santa Baby*. It would be a big wooden house, with a lovely fireplace going all the time. I wouldn't be overheated all the time, and there would be snowshoeing, we'd drink lots of hot chocolate, and make snowmen every day.

There would even be great job opportunities for me! I can't imagine a better job than full time toy-making. And the husband could work on the elves' tracking and computer systems. It would be great!

It's bigger than it looks. 4 bdrm, 2bath, workshop and den.

We told them that we'd think about it, but that it's really not the kind of place that you just move to without a real reason. And that "Santa's toy maker" is probably the kind of job that you've got to be recruited for, rather than just applying.

For now, we're still looking in Ontario.

*Which I watch every year, 1 - because I love even the stupidest Christmas movies around, and 2 - I love Ivan Sergei. Judge all you want.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

You Learn Something New Every Day.

Take the past couple of days, for example. I've learned that...

1. Brandishing a white board while making angry faces is just as effective as yelling.

2. Even though I can't talk, there is still yelling going on around here, so it's not just me.

3. I'm not very good at charades.

4. If I don't yell back when they yell for me, they will eventually come find me to ask whatever it is they wanted to ask. I will never be yelling back to them again. (Unless, perhaps, one of us is in the bathroom, asking for toilet paper.)

5. I talk a lot more than I thought I did. If nothing else, maybe I'll learn some brevity.

Hopefully this won't go on much longer. The kids are already finding ways to take advantage of it. The big one's done doing whatever it was I didn't want her to do by the time I finish writing it on the white board, and the little one has "but I can't read!" to fall back on.

Although I suppose it is kind of fun to use the "bad guy" and "queen Elizabeth" voices in the text-voice program, I wish there was one that I liked a little better. I wonder if there's someone I can contact about recording an "exasperated mum" option?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Literally Wordless Wednesday.

You know how I've been saying for a while that I yell too much? And how much I hate it? And that I wish I could find some way to get them to stop and listen without yelling?

Well, the universe has provided me with an answer.

Yesterday, I may or may not have yelled at someone very loudly, because I may or may not have found them "doing magic tricks" in the toilet. There may have been a plunger involved. I also may or may not have lost it on someone who thought it was a really great idea to tackle her sister and shove her under a bed.

Last night, I noticed that my throat was a bit sore. This morning, I can't talk.

Today, I will be communicating with the kids through a system of pictograms, charades, and a text-to-voice program Husband set up on the computer before he left for work.

I'll let you know how it goes. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Of Meat and Movies.

While my kids were away, the other thing I did was watch a butt-load of stuff on Netflix. You know, things that no one wanted to watch with me, or that I didn't want to stay up late and watch but wasn't kid friendly.

I ended up watching: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (which was excellent if you like quiet emotional movies), Horrible Bosses (which was sort of funny, in a mildly disgusting way - think American pie. Only more Stiffler and less Jim.)*, Easy Virtue (which was just awful), and some Portlandia (which was quietly awesome).

I also watched documentaries: Vegucated, Food Matters, Food Inc., and a few TEDtalks on nutrition**.

If you've been here for a while, you know that I've made some half-hearted attempts at being a vegetarian. Mostly for health reasons. And it's never really worked out. Wave a bacon cheeseburger under my nose, and I tend to forget.

After watching these documentaries, I'm giving it another shot. Not only that, I think it's going to stick this time. Along with the vague feeling that "vegetables are good for me", I've got a strong sense of outrage to back me up.

I (and I'm guessing most people) have no idea what goes on at meat producing farms. To be more accurate, I've just never really thought about it. We're so far removed from where our food actually comes from - that steak in the store has no connection to the picture of the cow on the milk - that it doesn't bother us. You think "farm", and you think green pastures and happy animals prancing around.*** I won't go into the animal treatment, because it just hurts my heart every time I think about it, but the documentaries are great - Vegucated especially - if you want to get an idea of what I mean. The environmental implications of producing meat on such a large scale are pretty frightening too.

I'm not going to be overly loud about it, but I am going to stop eating meat. I'm going to nudge my family in that direction too, because it's better for all of us in so many ways.

Typically, my kids have toast or cereal for breakfast. So, of course, the day after I made this decision, Beege asks for sausage for breakfast. And when I said we didn't have sausage, she asked for bacon. And when I said we didn't have bacon, she replied "don't we have any breakfast meat?" No. No we don't have any "breakfast meat".

It's going to be a gradual process.

*I didn't realise it at the time, but Steve Wiebe is in this movie! If you haven't watched The King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters, you totally should. 
**Jamie Oliver's was particularly good.
***There is such a thing as "ethically produced meat". But no matter how well the animal was treated in life, there's still the fact that it was born and raised specifically to be killed and eaten by people. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Monday, July 15, 2013

To Clean, or Not To Clean?

Last weekend, Husband took the girls away to visit his mum, leaving me blissfully alone for almost two whole days. I had planned to do a lot of cleaning on Saturday, be able to relax all Sunday, then welcome them home to an organised and tidy home.


Instead, I set up a huge table in the middle of the room and made some shorts and a dress for Beege, and the top for the baby quilt I'm making for my imminent niece-or-nephew. (Which, if I may say, is going to be just lovely.)

I did manage to get all the sharp/delicate/hot/pointy things put away before they got home, but just barely. I'm going to have to get him to take them away again sometime this month, because the house is still a sty.

(And I have a new quilt I want to start.)

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Connecting The Dots: A Review.

A while ago, I wrote a post about going to see a Bobs and Lolo show on Family day. I was totally thrilled when Bobs and Lolo actually read it, and offered to send me a copy of their new CD to review. I agreed, they sent me a copy*, and we've been listening to it every day ever since.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again: I love them. They make music for kids that is educational and enjoyable for both parents and kids. They perform a variety of different styles on this CD, and I can honestly say there's not a single song that I don't like. Although, I might be a little embarrassed to be caught singing "Poo Poo" in the lineup at the bank. (Incidentally, one of my kids' favourite songs - what is it with kids and poop?)

As well as the new CD, they've got a new show, "Sing, Dance and Play with Bobs and Lolo", airing on Treehouse! To find out when you can catch them, check out the Treehouse website.

*Ages ago - I'm a terrible person.

Friday, June 21, 2013

A Picture Would be Good Here.

It happened again. I let it get away from me. Let me fill you in on my recent, not so successful, blog writing attempts.

Day 1: Make tea. Sit down at computer. Log in to Blogger. Promise myself that I'm just "checking in" on Facebook. Play Farmville... Realise I have to go pick up Kee.

Day 2: Make tea. Sit down at computer. Log in to Blogger. Notice a backlog in my reader. I'll just take a quick look at some blogs... Realise I have to go pick up Kee.

Day 3: Make tea. Sit down at computer. Log in to Blogger. Remind myself to check my email to see if that email came yet. Click a link in an email... Realise I have to go pick up Kee.

Day 4: Make tea. Sit down at computer. Log in to Blogger. Remember that I was supposed to look at something for someone on a Pinterest board... Realise I'm late to go pick up Kee.

You can see where this is going, right? On the days that I've actually been able to sit down at the computer for more than ten minutes, I've been disappearing down the fascinating rabbit hole that is the internet. Two hours goes by SO quickly when you're not really paying attention.

So it's been a while since my last post*.

Today, instead of checking on my goats or looking up how to applique circles, I came straight here. And that seems to be the (admittedly obvious) trick. 

A myriad of wonderful things have happened this month. Kee turned five (ohmygod). The girls were flower girls in my cousin's wedding (so cute). My husband got me the BEST anniversary present ever** (not a mug in a basket). We went to the annual fun fair and it didn't suck (I stayed away from the class baskets).

I have pictures of a lot of these things. On my good camera. Because it takes better pictures than my handy camera. Unfortunately, I've also lost the cable that allows me to get said beautiful pictures off the camera and into the computer where I can upload them to enliven my blog posts.

Which means I have to find it. Which, in turn, means I have to look in the most unlikely of places and (hopefully) clean as I go. Which could take a while. A very long while. I mean, seriously, you should see this place. Dammit, I need to post a picture.

But I promise (you and myself) that I will be writing more regularly. Hopefully, with pictures.

*Thank you for all your support, by the way. I love you guys! :)
**Requires pictures.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Some Hard Stuff.

I'm a generally positive person. I can find the goodness and beauty in almost anyone. I can easily forgive others for their mistakes and misunderstandings.

But I am mean to myself.

I have a voice, a constant running commentary in the back of my head, telling me I'm not good enough.

It sneers at me when I put on a movie for the kids because I just can't stand to play Candyland one more time. When I try on a pair of pants that doesn't fit anymore, it tells me how weak-willed and lazy I am. It supposes that my husband might leave me for someone more interesting, more attractive, or who can at least manage to get dinner on the table. It tells me that I can't call myself an artist or writer, because what I do isn't "real" art. It tells me that I'm not good enough. Or smart enough. Or brave enough.

Most of all, it tells me that I deserve to feel this way.

I am going to stop listening to that voice.

I'm going to try to hear, instead, the quiet voice that breaks through sometimes and tells me that I'm okay. The one that tells me I've done a good job. The one that tells me I'm funny and kind. The one that tells me I am doing the best I can. The one that says my children know how much I love them, and feel safe and secure. The one that tells me my husband loves the person I am, no matter what package I come in. The one that tells me I create beautiful things.

I'm going to do that for me, and I'm going to do that because there are two little girls watching me. I see myself in them more every day; in the turn of a phrase, or the tilt of a head. And I want to see people who are capable of being proud of what they are, instead of drowning in feelings of inadequacy because of what they feel they aren't.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Apple is Sitting Next to the Tree.

So, you guys know that I make stuff. Every once in a while, I try and get the kids interested in one of the crafts that I'm doing. Not (only) because people are generally calmer and quieter while doing crafts, but because I like to have things that we can enjoy together. And I just can't grasp Pokemon. I've tried. I just can't.

A while ago, I got Beege a kit to make a stuffed animal. She showed absolutely no interest.

Then, recently, she decided that we should have some mummy/daughter sewing time, and pulled it off the shelf again. The kit included a large bear for the kid, and a small matching bear meant for her doll. Because she's awesome (and because a certain someone squealed "Is that one for ME?"), she decided to make it for her sister. 

Introducing "Kee Lily Stuff", and "Cutie".

It was such a success* that we decided she could, and should, design her own stuffie.

I don't think she quite gets how proud I am of her.

*With liberal sprinklings of mummy "help".

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Nine Years is Willow and Pottery.

I am not the easiest person to live with. I'll admit that. I'm a little flaky, I don't like to clean, and I am not the most organised person you'd ever meet. I'm a tiny bit of a hoarder. Maybe. I don't clean out the fridge as often as I should, and I avoid putting out the compost whenever I can help it. Because it smells, and drips, and it's just gross.

And look, I'm not saying Husband's a saint or anything, because he leaves his stubble in the sink, and keeps turning the pillow around the way I don't like it, he is constantly on his iPhone, and he looks like he hates me before he has his coffee in the morning. (That was seriously a problem when we were dating.)

But, nine years ago, he decided that he'd like to be stuck with me forever, and I agreed.

So I'd like to say thank you to the guy who has been putting up with my crap for the last fourteen years. He is kind, and patient, and loves me even when (maybe especially when) I don't feel like I deserve it.

All of that stuff that I said to you, nine years ago... still true today.

Except... you know, I'm not a man.

Love you, Sparky.

Monday, April 29, 2013

There We Go!

Here I go - cluttering up the desktop again. So nice to see my little folder with all the pictures in it. Here is the picture of the baby quilt I made. The first quilt that I ever made, start to finish, all by myself!

Something so satisfying about a fresh quilt, flapping in the breeze.

The back is a solid blue cotton.

For those of you interested in these sorts of things, it's machine pieced, and hand quilted. I'm not ready for anything fancy, and the pattern is pretty busy already, so I just stitched in the ditch along all the grid lines. Then the back looked a little plain, so I picked out a few of the larger stars and quilted around them to add a bit of interest.

It turned out pretty well and now I can get it out of my house, and covering a baby, where it belongs!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What's New?

Alrighty. No focus at all today, so let's just have a chat, shall we?

Beege is doing much better, thanks for asking. A lot of her welts turned into bruises, so she kind of looked like we were beating her with drumsticks for a little while - I assure you, we were not. She's back at school, where she belongs, thank goodness. You know how when your kid is sick, you'll do anything to help them feel better? Fetch books, bring water, let them eat lying on the couch, watch copious amounts of inane television? Well, she's just getting past the stage where she thinks I will still let her do those things. I will not. Yesterday, she made me take her for a walk around the neighbourhood holding a sign that said "Save the Earth", and was very pleased with the one lady who smiled at her and wished her a happy earth day.

Kee? She's doing fine. She didn't get sick with the vomits when B did. She seems to have decided that it's a really good idea to start screaming when she doesn't get her way. First, she looks at you to see if you really mean no. Then she makes this horrible exasperated noise that is akin to a moose's final death throes*, then she throws herself on the floor and full out wails. It's a little draining.When she's not screaming her head off though, she's charming and lovely to be around.

Husband is doing well. Very busy at work. Our anniversary is coming up - nine years (of marriage, anyway). Luckily, he doesn't follow those lists of what you're supposed to give someone on anniversaries, because I don't want any pottery, or willow. That's... what? A mug in a basket?

I'm okay too. A little .. sad? Maybe "bewildered" is more the word. I'm tired, and I'm unfocused, and I just want quiet. Which is nearly impossible to get in my house. I've been trying to focus on finishing any projects that I've already started. I've got a horrible habit of starting something, and then getting excited about something else before it's done and just moving on. I finished my first ever quilt! It's a baby quilt, and just squares, so not too difficult, but I did do it by hand, so I'm kind of proud of it. I'd post a picture, but Husband "fixed"** the computer last night.

That's about it... nothing very interesting going on over here. But considering the past few weeks, maybe that's a good thing.

How about you guys? Anything exciting happening to you?

**Which seems to mean "hid all my files and changed everything so I don't know how to use it."

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hang In There, Kid.

There's been a lot going on around here lately. Mostly to do with Beege.

Three weeks ago, I sent off a relatively healthy child to a play date. When my husband went to pick her up, she was lying face down on a couch, with a fever. It looked like strep throat to me, so Husband took her off to the doctor.

Despite Husband telling the doctor that it was likely Beege would have a bad reaction to Amoxicillin, that's what was prescribed. Why did we think she would have a bad reaction? Well, I am allergic to Amoxicillin. My sister, nephew, aunt, cousin, and grandmother all have bad reactions to Amoxicillin. It was just a hunch. Whenever we explain this to a medical professional, we are told that "drug allergies don't run in families." I think they are wrong.

Anyhoo. The Amox did the trick, and she was right as rain in a couple of days. Great. Until day 7 of her 10 day prescription when she broke out in a rash. Back to the doctor. Who said that it "could" be a reaction to the Amox, and if she was itchy, we could give her some Benedryl.

The next day, when her entire body was covered with welts, and her face looked like a swollen red balloon, Husband took her to the hospital. Where they said "someone said this could be an allergy?" and prescribed her some nice steroids. It took three days of steroids and continual use of Benedryl to get her looking normal again.

Then, on Saturday night, as Husband and I were settling down to watch a movie at 10:00, who wanders out of her room? It's Beege. With a bucket. Because she's just ejected what looks like a gigantic ball of wet snot from her body.

She threw up for two days. Now she's done with that, but she's going on day two of not eating.

She looks shrunken. This has been THREE WEEKS of sickness, grossness, and discomfort for her.

I'm seriously considering a plastic bubble.

Anyway. Hopefully, this will be the last of it. But while I'm been sitting around, worrying that maybe all of this is a recurrence of her HSP, I'm making her a little present.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Find the Frog.

I have seen absolutely no signs of spring yet. There was that one day, where everyone was wandering around in shorts because it hit a balmy 10 degrees, but now it's back to freezing with flurries. And I miss nature. So here is a picture of some nature that I took last summer. Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

She's a Very Busy Lady.

Last weekend, Beege lost another tooth. This one, she lost while trying to unscrew the cap of a plastic milk bottle with her teeth. While it was a little loose, I think that it was meant to hang out in her face a little while longer.

Which was actually perfect, because when the Tooth Fairy forgot to come to our house that night, it gave her a much better excuse than "I got caught up watching The Walking Dead, and then the Talking Dead. Boy, that Chris Hardwick is hilarious."

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bobs & Lolo: A review.

I don't know about you, but some children's music makes me want to rip my ears off. It's unfortunate, but a lot of it is so peppy it's manic and/or it speaks to children like they're idiots. When Beege was a baby, I made it my mission to find something that she would love and I could stand.

Enter Bobs and Lolo.

I first stumbled upon them on Treehouse TV, and I fell in love. Not only are they easy to listen to, but their songs are educational. They've got songs about everything from the water cycle ("Raindrop Pop"), to provincial birds ("Honk for Canada"), to healthy eating ("Snappy Snacks"). They manage to be upbeat without being hyper, and Husband the musician is very impressed with their musicality. I listen to them sometimes when the kids aren't home, and am not the least bit embarrassed to find myself humming any of their songs in the lineup at the grocery store.

We were lucky enough to be able to go to one of their shows over the Family Day weekend in Whitby this year, where we got to meet them and found that they are just as lovely as their music.

The show was great, despite some technical difficulties in the beginning, the kids danced around up at the front, and I wasn't the only parent who was singing along with every song. We went to their second show of the day, and I'm sure they were pretty exhausted by the time they got to the meet and greet, but they were still energetic and made a point of having a little chat with each child.

I only have one complaint, and that is that they sold out of their new album "Connecting the Dots" before I got to the merchandise table.

Monday, March 18, 2013

She's Perfect! Except...

Well, as you know, Kee roped me into making her a mini version of myself. The idea being that she would have a mommy to hug when she needed a bit of extra comfort, even when I wasn't around.

So I spent a while designing a doll and making her. I modeled her shape on Kee's baby doll, and dressed her just like me. I lovingly hand stitched every little piece of her. I made sure there were no poky, itchy, or scratchy bits so she'd be nice to cuddle. I stuffed her to just the right firmness; floppy, yet sturdy.

And Kee loves her. She drags her all over the house and has slept with her every night since she got her. She thinks she's just perfect.

Except that the doll "Mommy" doesn't hug back.

I think Kee overestimates me.  Just a little.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mini Me.

Kee has a number of things that she MUST have before she'll go to sleep.

It started out as one blue blanket. Then it was two blue blankets. Then it was two blue blankets and a doll named Baby. Then it was blankets, baby, and a stuffed dog named Charlie. The latest addition is a giraffe that my friend brought back for her from Africa. Which is small and hard to find, so, perfect.

The other thing is me. Every night, I snuggle her in and sing her a song or two after all of her other bedtime stuff has been taken care of. Which is fine. Unless I'm not here. Or she's not here.

I'm not even sure how it came about at this point, but I somehow got roped into making her a Mummy doll. That looks like me. But is squishy like her Baby. *sigh* I think it may have even been my suggestion. And she jumped right on it, because now she won't have to miss me when she sleeps. Which may curb her habit of getting into my bed for a snuggle a few times a night? I live in hope.

So anyway. I started making her this doll. It's actually going to be super cute, if I do say so myself. It's going to be wearing black pants, a white t-shirt, and a blue hoodie; which is sort of my uniform.

When I showed it to Kee, she said "why are the legs black?"
"Well, honey, because Mummy wears black pants."
She looked at me, puzzled.
"What? What's wrong?"
"She should be wearing different pants!" 
"Why? I wear black pants almost every day." Now I was puzzled.
"No you don't!" she insisted. "You wear pajamas."
 I looked down at my flannel pants with the skiiing penguins on them. Oh.

I finally convinced her that since this mummy wasn't going to have snowpants to cover up her jammies, I should put her in black pants in case Kee wanted to take her out of the house. Because I never wear pajamas out of the house if people will be able to see them.

You gotta draw the line somewhere.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


It happens almost every night.

4:37am, my eyes pop open, and I am immediately, irrevocably, awake.

I've no idea what wakes me up, but there I am.

My mind starts racing, followed by my heart. I lie awake, trying desperately to slow everything down so that I can get back to sleep.

I check the clock. I get up and go to the bathroom. I check the clock again. I lay down and try to regain some of my stolen blankets. I sigh. I check the clock again. I play tetris in my head. This reminds me of when Beege was a baby. Which reminds me that neither of them are babies anymore. I wonder what they will be like when they are grown. I wonder if I can keep them safe until they get there. I wonder if I can let them go. I wonder if they will come back. I wonder if I am good enough.

The good thoughts are getting eaten by the bad ones, and I try to distract myself.

Eventually, I start writing in my head.

Text appears across my eyelids as though I'm typing it on a screen. The letters disappearing and reappearing as ideas change shape. I can tell I'm starting to fall asleep when the words become animals. They start wiggling off the page and confusing the issue. Middle of the night brilliance; lost in the jungle.

Every sound pops my eyelids back open. And if I don't shut them again quickly enough, my heart starts thumping, and I need to start the whole process over.

Fast forward to 7:37. I am supposed to get up now. This is when people are supposed to be up. I have things to do. GET UP!

I hit snooze now, and fall back into a deep slumber. I register the pale morning sunlight, and avert my eyes as I sink back into the pillow. My body is so heavy that it feels wrong to try and move.

Monday, February 11, 2013


Beege has really gotten into Pokemon lately. I don't get it, but she loves them. The show, the video games, the books; all of it. She talks about it incessantly. I'm trying very hard to pay attention, because I want her to know that she can talk to me about anything at all... but it's just so boring.

Anyway. One day, Beege came out of her room and asked what an "arch nemesis" is, because some Pokemon guy has got one. "Well, an arch nemisis is what someone might call their very worst enemy. Someone who is constantly causing them trouble."

Kee was sitting on my lap during this discussion, and once Beege had gone back to her room, she turned to me and said, very seriously, "I have one of those, Mummy."

His name, is Baxter.

I first heard about him on the way home from school one day.

"So how was your day, honey?"
"Fine. We played in the gym."
"Yeah? What did you play?"
"Freeze tag."
"Was it fun?"
"Why not?"
"I was frozed the whole time! Nobody unfreezed me! Even, even, even I called them, and they didn't, because that BASTER told them not to!"
For a second, I wondered where she'd heard the word "bastard", as it's not one anyone in our house uses, and I'm pretty sure that they don't use that kind of language on TVO kids.

Then I realised, she must mean Baxter. Every other day, I hear how THAT BASTER has done something else. He wouldn't let her sit with Amy. He told the kids at recess that she was a princess who "stoled" something and they should all be police and chase her. He told her that carrots were a "yucky" snack.

All, apparently, unforgivable things. 

The root of the problem appears to be Amy. Kee decided very early on that Amy was her very, very best friend, and that she wanted to be with her all the time. So did Baxter.

We've talked about it a bit; how he's not her enemy, and that they could both play with Amy, and that if they really can't, maybe they should try taking turns playing with Amy.

But there is this perverse part of me that keeps thinking that, if she has to have an "arch nemisis", how perfect it is that his name is  Baxter.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Good Bones.

He groaned a little as he shifted and settled. He couldn't help it these days. It was getting harder to ignore, especially in the winter when he could feel the wind cutting right through him; he was getting old.

He can feel his neighbours eyeing him. Wondering why he's still hanging around. Out with the old and in with the new, as they say. He's seen the neighbourhood change over the years. Getting more posh by the day.

Now everybody just wants the newest version of everything. Coming out with new versions of every damn thing before you've even learned to use the last one. Used to be that people would fix things when they broke; now they just give up on them and throw them away.

There used to be more like him; not terribly flashy, but solid. Dependable. Oh he knows, he looks a little worse for wear, but does that really negate him completely?

He's seen so much. The stories are there to be told, if someone would just stop to listen.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Please Do Not Feed the Animal.

You know those signs at the zoo? The ones that remind you not to feed the animals? Those are there because even if they're not really hungry, if you throw something tasty down to them, they'll eat it. They're on a strict diet, those animals, to make sure that they are getting what they need from their food.

Everyone who's ever tried to lose a bit of weight knows that it can be hard to try and control what you're eating. It's especially hard when you're someone who has trouble saying no to that cupcake, cookie, or second helping of pasta. Even harder when you're worried that you might offend someone.

I'm very polite. I like to make people happy. I like to let them know that I appreciate the things that they do for me. I eat the food they make.

A lot of times, the conversation goes like this:

Well Meaning Friend/Family: I made cookies/cake/muffins/bread! Would you like some?
Me: It looks delicious! I'll just have a small piece.
WMF: Oh... come on, I made a whole plate/cake/dozen! You'll love it! Have some more!
Me: No, really, I'm sort of trying to eat healthy...
WMF: *laugh* It's not going to kill you!
Me: Well, I'm trying to lose a bit of weight actually and...
WMF: *scoff* Oh please! You look fine! Here, have another one/bite/piece!
Me::Oh. Uhm... thanks. Okay.

So I need to tell you something: I need you to let me say no.

It doesn't even matter why it is that I'm trying to eat healthier. Whether it's because I've grown out of my only pair of real pants, or because I just want to feel better, or because I want to be able to run around after my children without yelling at them to stop because Mummy can't breathe - I want to eat healthier, and I need your support.

I know that you're offering these treats out of the goodness of your heart, because you know that I'll enjoy them. I really do appreciate that.

But please; Stop feeding this animal.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Somebody Liebs Me!

I've been given the Liebster award, by Sarah at backtomycountryroots's Blog! Thank you, Sarah!

As with most of these things, there are a few things I've got to do:

“The Liebster Award is for bloggers with under 300 twitter followers and the rules of the award are that the nominee must link back to whoever awarded them, write 11 random facts about themselves, answer the 11 questions from the award giver, and then nominate another 11 bloggers and make up 11 questions for them to answer. It’s a great way for new and undiscovered bloggers to meet new people, get more followers and find some blogs that they want to follow.”

So, first things first, eleven random facts about me:

1. I really like cheesecake. The feeling is not mutual. I have to make sure that I've got nothing planned the next day if I want to eat it, in case it tries to kill me.
2. I spent a lot of time as a child hiding under tables.
3. I got my nose pierced in my first year of university, as a present from my brother. The very first night I had it, I got it caught in the sleeve of my pajamas while getting ready for bed. I had it until Beege was born and then got rid of it because she was fascinated by pulling at it.
4. I hate doing dishes with the fiery passion of 1,000 suns.
5. There are piles on every single surface in my house. I'm hoping to change that.
6. I'm currently listening to "Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5. This is unusual.
7. I love making jewellery, but I don't really wear it myself.
8. I should really be doing laundry right now.
9. The first dance song at my wedding was "I Wanna Grow Old With You" by Adam Sandler, featured in the Wedding Singer. Which, in my opinion, is the most perfect first dance song ever.
10. I like having nice things, but I don't use them because I'm worried I'll wreck them. Which is totally ridiculous, I'm realising, because they're just things after all, and what's the point of having them if I'm not going to use them?
11. I'm planning to cut my hair super short and dye parts of it purple. At some point. Again.

11 Questions from Sarah at backtomycountryroots's Blog:

  1.  City or country? I would love to spend winters in the city and summers in the country if I could. I like snow and all, but I also appreciate snow plows and clear driving surfaces.
  2. Flowers or chocolates? Definitely flowers. They cheer me up, and I can't eat them.
  3. Sun or snow? Snow, actually. I wrote sun first, but the more I thought about it, and realised I don't like sweating, or shorts, or sunburns, the more snow felt right.
  4. What couldn’t you live without? (appliance) My kettle. Nothing is comforting like a hot cup of tea.
  5. Whats the first thing you do when you get up? Pee.
  6. Whats the last thing you do at night? Pee.
  7. Whats your favourite band? It depends on the situation. Lately, I've been listening to a lot of Bruno Mars.
  8. What star sign are you? Libra. We are apparently "Loyal, kind, and quiet."
  9. Do you have any pets? I had a lot of pets growing up, but none at the moment. Something about wiping other people's bums for the past seven years has put me off of other things whose crap I'd have to look after.
  10. If you could come back as an animal what would you be and why? A cat. They have it made.
  11. What is your favourite past time? Reading. I'll read almost anything. Sleeping is nice too.

11 Questions for my nominees:

1. If you could learn any one skill overnight, what would it be and why?
2. What music do you listen to when you're feeling down?
3. When's the last time you were stupid happy?
4. If I gave you a t-shirt with a picture of bacon on it, would you wear it?
5. In your opinion, what is the perfect food?
6. Go to a party, or stay home with a book?
7. Who would you most like to be trapped in an elevator with?
8. Do you watch the news? Why, or why not?
9. Servers start singing Happy Birthday to you at a restaurant: Do you cringe and endure, or sing along?
10. Name a singer/song that you're embarrassed to admit you love.
11. If you could be doing anything right now, what would it be?

And Finally, my nominees:

Shannon at Truthfully
Jodee Rose at Da Cheeseblarg
Rae at Not Just Clutter
Jenn at Elemental
Jen at My Adorable Small Town Life
Tasha at Awesomesauce and Other Experiments
Tara at Don't Lick the Deck!

[edit: It has been brought to my attention that a couple of these people may have a few more than 300 Twitter followers. I'm okay with that.]