Wednesday, March 30, 2011


1. A Milestone: It is March 31st.

In one day I will be celebrating one year of blogging. One year of cleaning. One year of organizing. And one year of taking pictures of things I didn't think I'd ever take pictures of, namely my laundry basket and, well, my mess. I used to be very private about that kind of stuff.

On Friday, possibly Saturday, I will post pictures of each room as it stands today. Cleaning day is Monday around here, so you will see each room as it looks when it is lived in. In it's natural state. With just a little bit of chaos thrown in for good measure, because chaos is the natural state of this home. The only thing that has changed over the last year is that chaos is so much different. It literally means a few papers here and there, or a book not on the bookshelf. Nothing like it was a year ago.

2. An opinion: I made the worlds best french toast today. I just wanted to tell you.

3. A story: I spent this week downloading music for my kids. Then I got the bright idea to put it all on my husband's IPod so we can take it with us where ever we go! Super idea if you ask me. It just plugs in to my stereo in the car, we have a special adapter cord doodad just for an Ipod. Perfect!

Only problem is, apparently when you try to load music on to an ipod from a different computer than the one it is authorized with, you first have to transfer all the purchased music and then delete all the music on the ipod. My husband had about 300 songs on it. And while I did stop and think for a minute before I deleted everything, I really didn't think it would be THAT big of a deal.

I also forgot to tell him.

And OF COURSE, that day he wanted to go for a jog. With his fully loaded Ipod.

He was gone for maybe three minutes when he came back up the stairs asking what the heck happened to his music. Why was he listening to Tom Hanks sing Hot Chocolate from the Polar Express? And then I remembered and disclosed everything. He walked away muttering something about the kids taking over everything.

Yes, well, welcome to my life darling. I can't even pee on my own. When the kids start banging down the door when you pee, then we can talk. Until then, you get no sympathy for me.

4. A Triumph: Little Man's second trampoline class was on Tuesday. It went so so so well. He just walked in to the class, took the instructors hand and had an amazing time. No tears, no screams, not even a "Bye Mom!". And he learned a lot as well. I'm so relieved to see that he takes instruction well. You can see the determination in his little face that he wants to do exactly as she tells him. I'm a super proud mama.

Now I just need to figure out how to get him to stop turning my house in to a gymnasium.

In conclusion: I'm super happy today because

1. A year of learning new cleaning techniques are done. My toilets and kickboards have never been cleaner.

2. I had yummy French toast for breakfast.

3. I have a wide variety of music to listen to in the car with the kids, and am not limited to one cd of Curious George/Jack Johnson music.

3B. I now have an idea as to what to get my husband for Father's Day. What says love more than an Ipod you don't need to share with your kids???

4. I have a happy gymnast in my house.

My cup runneth over,

Monday, March 28, 2011

Life is a Highway

Little Man has really been in to listening to music lately. So I have been downloading songs from his favourite movies from ITunes. One of his favourite soundtracks is the Disney CARS soundtrack. Specifically, Life is a Highway. The kids really get in to that song, dancing, playing guitar, singing at the top of their lungs.

During the past week we have listened to this song approximately 356 335 225 times and I have realized two things that concern me greatly.

One: My babies are growing up way way way WAY too quickly. This is them rockin' it out to Life is a Highway.



Little Lady dancing and singing. It really surprises me that with her toddler vocabulary you can actually tell what she is singing when she sings to this song. She has pretty good pitch for her age.

Ooops, got a bit dizzy there.

Two: It pains me to say this, but I just this week realized that my children will associate Life is a Highway with Rascal Flatts and NOT Tom Cochrane, who sang the song originally. I came to learn this in the car over the weekend, when Little Man asked to listen to Life is a Highway, but not the silly one. I asked him what he meant and he said he didn't want to listen to the silly one that I made him listen to on the radio last time we were in the car. After telling him, totally exasperated, that the "silly" one is the REAL Life is a Highway, and letting him know how popular that song was when I was growing up, he, my four year old son, asked me to play the "real Lightning McQueen one", not the silly one.

Sigh. I don't think he was even listening.

So Rascal Flatts it is. With a little bit of Tom to mix it up again to help little man understand the roots of the song.

Until he is old enough to appreciate Tom though, I've got this happening at my house.


I just hope he doesn't hurt himself!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

A conversation...

The other day, first thing in the morning, as the snow fell hard and fast, and the wind blew cold and frosty, and I was still in my pajamas, I had this conversation with my little man.

Little Man: Mama, can we go outside to play in the snow?
Me: Oh Alexander, it looks very cold and blustery out there.  I think it is a bit too cold for me today.
LM: Oh, that's ok Mama, you can wear a hat and mittens.
M: Yes, that's true, but Monkey, it's snowing.  SNOWING.  Mommy doesn't really feel like going outside today. I want spring back again.
LM: Hmmmm (long pause) I know!!!!  I want to go play in the snow, and you want to stay inside, right?
M: Yes, that sounds right.
LM: Ok well, then we will go outside this morning and you can just go with it.
M: Just go with it?  Monkey, where did you hear that from.
LM: I don't know, my brain I guess.  But you can just go with it.  When it rains, we go with the rain in our rain boots.  In summer we go with the sun in our sun cream and sun hats.  In fall... um, well we go with the leaves but we don't need any tection (protection) from those and in WINTER we go with the snow in our SNOW BOOTS!  You have GREAT snowboots Mommy.  They will keep your feet nice and warm.
M: Will they now.
LM: Yes, they will.  Now go eat breakfast before all the snow melts.  Spring is coming you know.  It might come while you eat breakfast.

That last line he says while he watches out the window, very intently, as if Spring is going to jump out and eat the snow as it falls.

Geez, we can only hope.

BUT, there was a point to this post.  The point is, that while he didn't really get what the phrase "go with it" means, he did bring up a valid point.

Sometimes, as parents, we really do need to just go with it. 

Instead of thinking about how much we don't want to get up in the middle of the night, go outside in the snow, climb up to the slide for the thousandth time at the park, eat spaghetti for breakfast or make a mess and build a huge pillow fort in the living room you just spent 30 minutes cleaning, we need to just go with it.

Because if you think about it you will have so much time to sleep when they are older it will make you sad thinking about it.  There will be many years coming where you will have to fight with them to go shovel the snow for you.  The memories you are making at the park will last a life time.  Especially the ones where you end up making a fool of yourself.  And that pillow fort in your living room? THAT is going to help your child build their imagination and transport them to a different world. 

And maybe, just maybe, they will be totally captured by its fun, and play with it just long enough for you to read a chapter or two of a book, enjoy a cup of tea sitting down, sort those pictures you meant to put in an album, or even just go pee without someone talking to you through the door

That's my dream anyway.  The bathroom one.  Forget the rest. I just want to pee without an audience.

So enjoy those moments when you'd rather be doing something else.

Because while you are complaining and moping, you might miss something good.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Oh the Trauma...

Little Man had his first trampoline class today.

This was his first big boy class where I didn't participate with him.  We have done a few other classes where we both participated, but not many.  I'm not really one to force him to participate in something he doesn't want to , and he hasn't shown any interest in anything before, so other than family music classes and a mom and tot gym class, we haven't done much structured activity in his four years of life.

So today was a big step.

He loves to jump on our small exercise trampoline (isn't like we use it for anything anyway) so when I asked him if he would like to go to classes where they will teach him different tricks and jumps he was very excited about it.  I took him with me when we signed up, showed him where it would be, went to watch one class before the start of our own classes, all to prepare him and get him excited about it.

Well, D-Day was today and he was a bit confused as to how he felt this morning.  He was really wrestling with the fact that he wanted to go play on these massive trampolines and the fact that he knew it would be just him and I'd be in the waiting area.

I should note that the waiting area is fully visible from the gymnastics area, and the trampolines are right in front of it.  There is a half wall with windows on top so we can watch if we want.  So while it is separation, it isn't total isolation.

Well, we got there and the nerves kicked in and when it was time to go through the door to the mats, Little Man freaked out.  There isn't a nicer way to describe it.  I have NEVER seen him react that way to anything.

He screamed at the top of his lungs.

He tried to hit me.

He was shaking with either fear or anger or both.

Luckily, the teacher there was an angel sent from heaven because she took him, told me to close the door and motored him through, all the while letting him hold her hand and giving him frequent hugs.  An angel I tell you.

He cried for about the first 20 or 25 minutes, and then she told me to sit on the bench just inside the door so he could see me better, I gave him a quick nose wipe and pep talk and when he went back he was calm, but still holding on to Suzi, the instructor, for dear life.

And then he did it.

He jumped on the trampoline, holding her hand at first, and then on his own.  And his eyes just lit up.  He was totally in love.  Especially when they moved on to the running trampoline (not sure what that thing is called but it is long and narrow and the kids hop like bunnies across it and then tumble and flip off the end on to some big smooshy mats).

Finally, class was over (I say finally because by little lady spent the whole time saying ME TOOOOO and I was a little tired of hearing it) and Little Man, well, he just hadn't had enough yet.  That's what happens when you cry for 25 minutes.

So we'll see how next week goes.  I really wish they had two classes a week so there wasn't so much time between, but we'll see what happens.

One thing I really wasn't prepared for was my reaction.  I knew there would be problems, that there would be tears, but I honestly didn't ever expect that behaviour.  I have never seen him try and hit someone and scream like that.  And while I wouldn't say I felt guilty (he's four, I really feel it is time for him to start separating from me, even though it breaks my heart), I did feel so bad for him because he was really scared.

And I will also admit that I was fighting tears for the first half of the class because of his tears.  And then I was fighting tears right at the end because he was so very proud of himself and so excited about how he did.  Basically, I was a mess right there with him, just not that he could see.  I was all smiles and encouragement when he looked over. I know that as parents, we need to encourage children to leave their comfort zones and step in to the unknown.  I know that this experience, in the long run, is good for him.  And I know that this will help him get over other fears and anxiety he has.  But still, all I wanted to do was scoop him up and make it all better.  I can't help that reaction, I'm his mommy. 

The thing that gets me now is that he doesn't want to talk about it.  At. All.  He stops me from talking about it when I mention it to my husband, he didn't want to share his news with his Oma, he doesn't want to talk or think about it at all.  Which I will respect, but I do hope he is just processing and that he starts to talk about it in a few days, because I am really proud of the way he pulled it together and participated at the end.

And I hope, dear heavens, I hope, that next week goes just a wee bit smoother than this week did.


Friday, March 18, 2011

In the Depths of my Freezer

I have a dirty little secret.

Now, I'm all about full disclosure here.  You have come along with me this year as I turned my mess in to a home.  Please don't judge me for what you are about to see.  Believe me, I've judged myself plenty over this one.

It all started, I'm ashamed to say, almost three months ago.  I had make a big huge pot of vegetable soup, and while I was putting some in the freezer, one of the containers opened and spilled a bit.  I started to clean it up and then heard "TO INFINITY AND BEYOND" being yelled from my livingroom.

Hearing this means one of two things.  My little man is attempting to fly like Buzz Lightyear, or he is about to catapult something in the air in an attempt to make it fly like Buzz Lightyear.  Either scenario, not so good.

So, long story short, I left the mess. I forgot the mess.

The mess froze.

I did think of the mess every now and then, but usually when I was right in the middle of something and didn't have the time to empty the freezer and give a good cleaning.

And then my fridge got a smell.  It was totally unrelated to the soup frozen on the floor of my freezer (some alliteration for you), but I've had a hard time getting rid of said fridge smell. We couldn't actually trace it back to a food.  Nothing was spoiled, nothing had a naturally strong smell.  Not quite sure what's going on there, but I cleaned and scrubbed  the fridge last week. Yesterday, I did the freezer.

Oh. My. Goodness.


Wanna see??


The yellowy stuff, that's the soup.  The other ickiness spotted around the freezer, I have NO clue what that stuff is.  Well, other than totally and unacceptably gross. 

Wanna see closer?

Soup, with bits of what seems to be bread crumbs?  Not sure, still gross.  Very VERY gross.


 And this?  This is just the gross stuff that has no name.  I am seriously so ashamed that I let my freezer go this far.  That's what happens when you have an over stuffed freezer.  Be warned.  Well, not really.  I'm sure most people clean their freezers much more frequently than I do.  Is that hair? Oh my...


I got my little man in on the job.  This is him at the very very very start, before he got a good look at what he was going to clean.


Then he looked in and said, "Mama, that is yucky!"


And him hard at work.  I swear he loves to help me clean! And he has so much fun it makes me actually not mind it too much.  Kind of.  This job just really grossed me out, so I really couldn't find much fun in it.


I forgot to take after pictures.  Mainly because my little man was having so much fun it took a little while to get him out of the freezer so I had to get the stuff back in quickly.  But it is clean now.  Unfortunately, the smell still resides in my fridge.

I currently have sections of today's newspaper folded up on each shelf to try and soak up the smell.

But that is a totally different post.

I have to go take a shower.  Those pictures make me need one.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Book Review - Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella


If you like Sophie Kinsella, one of her more recent books, Twenties Girl, delivers.

Twenties Girl follows Lara on a crusade with her dead aunt to find her aunt's necklace, something she apparently needs to cross over to the other side.  Of course, in classic Kinsella style, the hit many bumps and kerfuffles along the way making for many laughs and chuckles though out the book.

I love Kinsella's style of writing, very honest and clear cut, often allowing her characters to say the exact things that we keep in our heads.  It is a good read, simple to follow with no confusing plots or characters.  Not to say that her characters don't have any complexities, but you understand the personality behind each charater right as they are introduced.

It is always so easy to create a picture in my head of the characters Sophie Kinsella creates.  Her descriptions are detailed, but leave enough for your imagination to finish it off on your own.  Actually, her ability to describe her characters is one of the things that totally turned me off the Confessions of a Shopaholic movie, because Isla Fisher isn't anything the way I thought Becky was.

As a true fan of the Shopaholic series Kinsella pens, Lara is a character cut from the same cloth as Becky Bloomwood. I find her to have the same off the wall schemes, often resulting from the growing list of lies she finds herself telling.  At first, I did find it hard to separate the two characters (Becky and Lara), because of their similarity, and I often had to remind myself that I wasn't reading a Shopaholic book.  I went straight from Mini Shopaholic to Twenties Girl and I think I should have taken a bread with a different author because of the similarities.

Over all, a great read and if you like rom-com-chick-lit, this will be a book for you.


Hello all!

With the help of my wonderful friend Karen from 3garnets2sapphires  I am now able to offer email subscriptions to my blog!

What are email subscriptions you might ask? (I did)

By subscribing to my blog, you will get an email each time there is a new post, eliminating the need to come and check to see if I have graced you with my boundless knowledge and endless humour. 

All it takes is three easy steps!

1. Type your name in the subscriptions box over there on your right and click subscribe.

2. A new screen will pop up. Type in the crazy word and click confirm (this is to prevent spam).

3. Check your in-box for an email from FeedBurner and click on the link to confirm that you and not your evil double did in fact want to receive email updates of my gibberish.

Presto!!  You can now follow me where ever I go!

There is another way to subscribe if you'd like to follow me with the feed reader of your choice.  That is the box directly under the email subscriptions box on the right hand side.  Simple choose your choice from the drop down menu and my feed will show up where you need it to be. 

Thanks again for the support! 


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Curiouser and Curiouser...

Do you ever have those moments when watching your children play and you wonder...

"Hrm, is that normal behaviour?  Or is my kidlet really odd..."

I get those a lot when watching my Little Man play.  He is so vibrant and colourful when he plays, and he re-enacts things he has read in books and seen on tv.

This is my little man.


Looks pretty normal here, right?

Looks like he is just sitting on a pile of blankets on the couch.

This is actually what he is sitting on:


We have been reading stories about farms and he is fascinated by the chickens.  So he turned himself in to a chicken.  The blanket is his nest. He needs to keep the eggs warm.

I'll just step back now.  Apparently I'm too close to the eggs.


See?  This leaves me wondering... normal behaviour of a child with an exceptional imagination?

Or weird.

But then I'll turn around and he'll be doing something like this:

And I know the answer.

Mama Hen

Saturday, March 12, 2011

What have YOU been doing?

Because I'm all out of ideas.

What in heavens name have you been doing with your little ones during this horrible end of winter, beginning of spring snow-rain-snow-slush-rain-snow weather?

Because we have done A LOT.

There is one thing that the kidlets don't like all that much.  And that is weather that you can't go out and play in.  And there aren't many days that go by where we aren't outside for at least a few hours, no matter the weather.

But these last few weeks, the parks have been wet, soggy and muddy.  As is our back yard.  And front yard.  And balcony.  And porch.  And... well, you get the idea.

So we've been doing a lot of stuff indoors.

We have created obstacle courses, made paper hats, boats and airplanes, rebuilt our megabloks construction sets in to every configuration possible and then some.  Baked cookies, loafs, brownies and cupcakes, alphabetized our DVD collection (hey, it's educational), danced, discoed, shimmied and shaked.

We have cleaned, sorted laundry (again, educational) made musical instruments out of recycling, made caterpillars, flowers, spiders and buttons out of egg cartons, taken home so many boxes from the grocery store my husband thinks we are moving somewhere.

We go on play dates and to the library.

We've started watching Disney VHS tapes.

We have done everything I can think of doing, and I am an ECE.  You'd think the ideas would be endless.

Not so much.

Inevitably, we end up outside, after ten minutes of my attempting to figure out what outdoor clothes they will need.  Usually, it ends up looking something like this: winter hat, boots and mitts, fleece sweater and rain coat.

And we walk with our umbrellas to jump in the puddles, make some snow balls and kick the slush.  As fun as all that is, we do eventually end up back inside staring at each other, wondering who is going to make the first move.

Please help me out here.

What have YOU been doing?


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My Kitchen Must Have

I have never been a fan of the "must have" item.

I know that Oprah, Rachel Ray and all those other materialistic gurus are always telling us what we NEED to have to make our lives easier, more fun, more efficient etc.

I have only one must have item in my kitchen.

This beauty:


This is my super huge measuring cup.

It's really big.


Yes, that reads EIGHT cups.  Or two Quarts.  Either way, it holds a lot of stuff.

It is also made of glass.  Very thick glass.  And has a nice deep, lipped spout.  See?


And it comes with a super tight lid.


You may wonder what a person would do with such a large measuring cup.  Well, I originally bought it to easily whip up a few days worth of formula for our little lady.  But now, I'm finding the uses endless.

We use it for mixing batter for cup cakes and pancakes.  With the spout, you can easily pour the batter in to cups or pans without the dribbles and have less to clean with pancakes because you don't need a spoon to scoop the batter.

The other plus is that it fits perfectly in my mixing stand so I can mix it all up and don't have to hold the mixer.  I'm lazy like that.

We also use it for cooking rice in the microwave, straining stock from boiled chicken (we never had a bowl big enough and always had to use two), and making batches of chocolate milk. If you warm the glass before, you can easily melt chocolate without it burning.  Add milk, stir and presto!

It is also wonderful for putting bread in to rise.  I warm it up for 10 minutes in a 150 degree oven while I'm mixing the ingredients, coat it with some oil and then place the bread in.  Because our house is drafty, it is really hard to keep glass at the right temperature for rising, and I don't have glass bowls thick or big enough for a loaf of bread.  This fixes both problems perfectly!

AND, big bonus here for us butter-fingered people.  It is pretty much indestructible.  I have dropped it on the wood floor a handful of times and the only thing damaged was the floor.

The best part?  It is only $7.00 at Walmart.

Can't beat that!


Monday, March 7, 2011

Let's Talk Weather

It's March.

People have been complaining about the weather all winter long.  It has been a typical Canadian winter here, cold, snowy, windy and snowy.

I really don't know why we are surprised every year.  Really, we live in Canada.

But where I usually enjoy the cold weather, the snow, the windchills, this year, I have joined the masses as belly ached about the weather.  Last winter, it was so warm we were sitting on a patio for St Patrick's Day.

It hardly seems fair, this years winter.  It actually has me feeling a little bit blue.  Here is a recap of what the weather has been doing lately.

Last weekend, we were doing this:

See how happy he is? My little man LOVES the snow and welcomes each snowfall with joy.



My little lady is more of an observer than a do-er.  She takes the broom on purpose.  She knows she can't do anything with a broom.


She decided to go to the back.  But would only walk in the tire tread.  It took ten minutes.

This past Saturday, we were doing this:

All decked out in their new (bought that day) rain gear, we headed out on Saturday night for a very exciting walk in the rain.  My little lady had a nervous break down when we got home because she wanted to sleep with her umbrella.



The next day this happened:


Yeah, I'm not any happier about it than you are, son.


Mr. Man decided to take matters in his own hands.  See that old dead weed?


He is planting it. 


He needs spring.  His words, not mine.


 My little lady wouldn't even get up off the flower bed edge this time.  She is never really all that impressed when it snows, so this was even more unpleasant for her.

March is so fickle.

Can't wait to see what April brings...


Thursday, March 3, 2011

I wouldn't be me if...

My husband often tells me I'm weird. 

I think HE is the odd ball, but they say it takes one to know one so that line of argument fails quickly.

Regardless of who is the odd one in the relationship, I am always well aware of my... shall we say, uniqueness? For example:

1. I need to brush my teeth before I shower. 
Even if I take a shower in the middle of the day, I have to brush my teeth first.  Not sure why, just do.

2. I can't sleep with cold feet and have to have a hot water bottle on them each and every night. 
Even in the summer. Even when we camp. 

3. Bathroom water tastes better
 This one totally freaks my husband out because he is a plumber and did the plumbing in our house and knows FOR A FACT (he always accentuates those words when explaining this to me) that the water in the kitchen is from the exact same pipe as the one in the bathroom because they share a wall.  That may be, but the bathroom water tastes better.  He has even gone so far as to do taste tests with me, or says he filled my water bottle with bathroom water and is then totally freaked out when I know it is kitchen water. 
I'm weird like that. 
I just know.

4. When I leave the house with the kids, I need to do a run down. 
 By run down I mean, seconds before I leave the house, I need to do a verbal check that I have everything I wanted to take.  Right now the run down is mostly hats, mitts, scarves, Kleenex, lip balm etc.  And I have to see the kids to make sure each one has everything on they are supposed to have on.  I THINK this stems from my background in child care, when I had a boat load of kids to take outside and get ready, but I could be wrong.  All I do know is, when my husband helps us get out the door, the whole process is messed up and I end up running in the house ten times getting things we forgot.

5. I can't eat in dark settings. 
When we were out for a romantic dinner when we were dating, I had to ask for more candles on our table so I could see better.  It isn't because I'm worried about what is in the food, or that I'm paying very much attention to my food at all.  I just need light.  Lots of it.  Needless to day, candle light dinners aren't a frequent occurrence in our house.

I'm sure I'm not the only one here with odd behaviour.  Don't we all have little things that make our spouses love us more and more each day??





Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Book Review: The Kings Speech by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi


After seeing the movie The Kings Speech, I was very interested to find out more about King George VI.  I came across this book on Amazon  and was excited to see it was a biography on not only the king but of his speech therapist Lionel Logue.

The book was a great read.  It was well paced with a very good balance of anecdotes and history.  Enhanced with sections of pictures (which is my favourtie part of reading historical biographies) Logue's grandson searched through Logue's personal diaries and archives, pulling together a book that gives great insight in to the lives of both the king and his long time friend and therapist.  Both lives are followed chronologically, starting with the birth and childhood of each and going through with a good amount of detail to the end of Logue's life.  Excerpts from letter's written to the king by Logue and vice versa give the whole book a very personal feel and light and easy reading.

I really liked the fact that at no time did I want to "fast forward" through bits.  Often when reading biographies I find the authors tend to put in too much detail and it becomes some what repetitive and cumbersome.  I often skim read those bits to get back on track with the story.  This book is short and sweet and very direct.  It moves well between the lives of the two men, intertwining the story when their lives touched each other, and efficiently filling in the details of their lives when they were apart.

In the acknowledgments, Mark Logue touches on the fact that the book was written during the time span of a year and that it was quite rushed.  It was sometimes noticeable in the writing that it was pulled together quickly, and from time to time there were inconsistencies, but nothing that ruins the story or flow of the book.

Overall, an excellent read.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Digging Through My Past

Our basement is a mess.

It is a mass of stuff that we either don't need right now but want to take up north, don't have space for right now but still want to keep, don't need and don't want but have been too lazy to do anything about and, if I'm being totally honest, there is some stuff down there that is still in the box it came to this house in.

We have lived here for 6 years.  I know.  I know.  Unpack already.

I'm faced with two problems when it comes to those unpacked boxes.

The first one is I don't remember what is in these boxes.  I obviously don't need or value what is in those boxes if I haven't opened them yet, haven't needed what ever is in them.

The second is that I need to do something with what is in the box.  But in order to do that I need to OPEN the box.  And I'm afraid if I actually open the box I'll want what is inside.

And trust me, the last thing I need upstairs is more stuff.

You might ask why the box isn't labeled.  Well, you see,  I had moved four times in as many years when those boxes were packed.  I was totally sick of the entire process at that point and didn't label most of the boxes that were packed.  Because we did all the moving on our own, we just moved room by room, each load getting dropped off in the appropriate room.  In the end, as moving goes, there are always stragglers laying around the house, things that didn't really fit in any one room and things that didn't get put in the correct box.
At the end of the day, those boxes didn't get labeled.

They just got dumped in the car and then dumped in the basement with the rest of the stuff we didn't immediately need at the time.

I'd ask my husband to open the box, but then he'd have to come in to the basement.  And then he'd see the mess I made of the mess that was already here.  And then he would start with one of two speeches.  Speech number one is that we should take all the stuff to the dump and be done with it once and for all.  Speech two is that we need to move to a bigger house.

To which I would say "Why, so we have more room for more stuff in boxes I haven't labeled?"

He wouldn't see the humour in that comment.  At all.

So I'm just dealing with the box on my own by putting it underneath a box that IS labeled.  It is full of music cassettes.  HA!  Never going to use those again, but totally can't throw them out yet. How could I possibly throw out my Tiffany and Cindy Lauper tapes????  I'd be lost without them.  Really, I would.

Getting back to the point, I'm cleaning the basement.  And it really has been a lot of fun.  I found a big box of school stuff that my mom had been saving (yes, I get the pack-rack gene from my mother).  In this box I found a binder full of stuff I had written.  Not essays or assignments, but actual stories.  I fancied myself a writer back then, and spend hours in my room writing tales and poems of teens and children, the lives they lived and the challenges they faced.

I even entered one of them to be published in the school literary magazine.  It was a short story, that eventually I turned in to a long story, despite the negative feedback I got from the English teacher who read the submission. Apparently it wasn't realistic enough to be fiction, what ever that means.

I wanted to share the prologue with you. I was really big on prologues and epilogues, not sure why.  But I remember working so hard on this one particular story, and being so proud of the final result.  So here it is, the prologue.  I am writing this exactly as it is on paper, even though I really want to go in and edit it so it sounds better. So while you are reading, please remember this is the writing of  high school student :)

I've been having this dream for as long as I can remember.
It starts with me walking down a long hallway lit by only a few oil lanterns hanging from hooks on the wall.  A door at the end of the hall opens as I approach it. 

The room I enter is large, with big heavy curtains lining one side and mirrors lining the other.  

As I walk in and look around I notice people scattered around in small groups.  I can't see any of their faces, even though I'm trying hard to pull them in to focus. 

At the end of the room I see one man stand and start to talk, but I can't understand what he is saying.  I can feel the tension rise in the room as everyone turns to look at him.

He seems to be talking to one person in particular.  A boy standing off to his left, and while I can't actually see his face, I know that I know him.  I feel a rush of adrenaline when I notice that the boy seems nervous and unsure of what to do.  He starts to walk towards me and I try to ask him what is going on, but he doesn't respond. My breath quickens as I realize my entire body seems to be disconnected from my mind. 

The boy gets closer and I start panicking.  I try to call out for him to stop, but my mouth is frozen.  It try to run but my body doesn't respond.  

Suddenly, all I see are flames and pain paralyzes me. 

A pain that takes my breath away and ultimately pulls me awake. I'm always screaming when I wake, and can physically feel the pain I felt in my dream.  The pain is so real, it takes me a few second to realize I'm awake and another few minutes to recover.

I don't know what this dream means, or why I have it so frequently.  All I know is it feels very real and I always wake up with a feeling that it is somehow a part of my future. A feeling that it is a part of my soul, even before my physical body has been through it.


Ha, I chuckle now when I read all the dramatics.  I think this story was my favourite because it is about magic, love, betrayal and action, and the heroine is smart and honest and has a real connection with her family.  My other stories were more down to earth stories about every day people.  What ever the reasoning for making this my favourite, I got 13 chapters written for this one, the longest story I had ever written.  I didn't actually finish it though, because I started college and got busy, so I don't know how it ends.  But I still have this crazy connection with the main character, as if I know her.

Ah well, memories of my youth! 

I think I'm going to go and read the next few chapters, to see if I can remember how I wanted this thing to finish.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Full Moon

Today has been a day and a half.

It has been filled with children laughing, crying, screaming, pouting and whining.  Lots and lots of whining. 

It has been filled with mommy laughing, crying, wanting to scream, sometimes yelling, and whining.  Yes, I found myself whining back a the kids. 

Not as a way to show them how annoying it is.  Not as a way to show them how hard it is to understand them when they whine.

Nope. The sad fact is they, my children, have totally infiltrated my brain.

I have heard the whine so often I have mistaken it for an appropriate way to communicate.

I have heard the whine so much that I heard it when no one is speaking.

I have heard the whine so much and I found myself so tired and frustrated, that I, in fact, started whining when my children asked something of me.

I'm not proud of this.  And when I caught myself, I stopped.  But still.

It has not been a good parenting day.  At all.

And then a friend on facebook posted a picture of the full moon. And it caused me to wonder.  What power does the moon have over behaviour?

We say it over and over again when faced with odd behaviour or occurrences.  "Is there a full moon tonight?"  "Must be a full moon."

I haven't ever really put much thought in to the saying until today.  Seriously, I thought the day would never end, and now that it has all I can do is feel guilt about the mistakes I made today.

Playing over all the times I yelled, whined, had no patience,  was short, or was just plain too tired to even respond.

I totally forget to remember the times we laughed, giggled, danced, made paper hats, snuggled and read books together and when for a walk in the glorious weather we had today.

But the fact that there was a full moon has actually made me feel a bit better about their behaviour and mine.  It is a comforting thought that there was something else at play here today.  That there was some stronger power that took over our brain and heart and caused them to malfunction.

It was the moon's fault.

I'm going to take that to bed with me tonight and remember all the fun times we had today. 

And then I'm going to pass out from exhaustion and hope that I don't have to go through it again tomorrow.

Because that would just blow my whole full moon theory to bits.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Five Things I just Don't Get (part three)

Here we go again!

1. Skinny jeans for babies.  Really?  Is that necessary?

2. The tv show Toddlers and Tiaras.  This is like Toddler Jersey Shore.  Seriously, the drama is unreal and the parents are worse than the children.  And what in heaven's name is putting children in fake teeth, make up, extensions and heels teaching them?  Many moms say it isn't any different than a child using her mom's clothes and make up and playing dress up.  Uh, the difference is  when she plays dress-up she isn't required to perform what is often very adult like dance moves and wake up at 4am just to have her hair put in. 

3. All the hype surrounding the George Clooney movie The American.  That is two hours of my life I am never going to be get back. 

4. Why Torontonian's can't just suck it up and deal with the weather we are dealt.  Really, we look like fools to the rest of the country when we whine about our weather. 

5. The children's tv shows Waybalo and The Wot Wots.  I cannot for the life of me understand what these characters are saying.  Neither of my kids watch it, but I have been found watching it trying to decipher their babble in to something that is near English, and I can't.  Every so often I catch a word here or there, so I know they are TRYING to speak English, but most of the time all I hear is Charlie Brown's teacher on helium.

And that's my beef for today!


Sunday, February 13, 2011

But Mommy! ...

Lately, the people who reside in our home have been a little lax when it comes to taking care of their property and making sure things are returned to their spot.

These people include everyone buy myself.  After all, I found places for everything, I know where everything goes.

Part of the problem is no one is willing to actually LOOK for their stuff.  They more glance around and if it isn't within immediate view, I hear "Mommy!  I can't find..."  or "Marina, do you know where....?"

Many may automatically assume that because over the last 10 months I have reorganized the house in to chaos.  What good is an organized house if no one knows where the stuff is?

Well, I covered that.  Everything is either labeled, alphabetized, or, as is the case for the filing cabinet, it comes with list of things that are in there and where to find it.  I've covered all the bases to make this household flow as easily as possible.

Plus, things don't go missing until they have been taken away from their homes anyway.

Earlier today, my Little Man had been playing with his new favourite toys.

These are them. (Please take a moment to revel at my superior grammar skills :) )
Their names are as follows: Turtle, the turtle. Hammy, the hamster. Woof, the dog. Rhino, the rhino. And Bob, the horse.

I don't know why the horse gets a name, or why he chose Bob. I don't ask these questions because they usually come with long winded answers that are so long he forgets what the question was.

And these guys are small.  They make Little People look big.  Case and point:

Little Man carries them all over the house.  Problem is, he sometimes forgets where he left them and then asks me for help.

After a week of hearing people ask me where stuff was, I was a bit irritable.  So when Little Man told me he couldn't find his animals I told him he should look for them.

"But Mommy, there is a big mess on the floor!"

"Well, if you clean it up then you"ll find them."

"But Mommy, they are small animals, it is going to take FOREVER!"

"Mister Man, if you can make a mess, you can clean it up."

"But Mommy!  I'm just a little boy!  See, I'm only this tall!  And my hands are very small!"

And then he does this:

And then I laugh.

And then I see this:

That's my Little Lady, dressed up like Rudolph and trying to catch the blinking light from the nose.

And then I laugh.

And then I'm laughing so hard that I have to sit down because my monkeys are being monkeys.

And then while I'm sitting there I absent mindedly start tossing toys in to bins.

And then I come across Little Man's animals.

He is happy.

And I've been fooled.  They tag teamed me.  I'm totally out numbered.

So just to keep things even, I give them each a swiffer and wet cloth and tell them to clean the floors.

Only difference is, they think cleaning the floors is fun.

Sneaky little buggers they are.

Just think what they can get me to do when I'm old and senile.

Oh my.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

For the Love of Reading


In addition to watching way too much television at night, I have also picked up another hobby of mine.


Well, maybe it isn't actually a hobby, but a past time?

Regardless, I'm reading again, and I'm loving it.

The interest was revitalized by the Twilight Series of books.  I literally read through those faster than I could turn the pages. It was just the thing I needed to pull back in to the world of books. I read the whole set twice, right after each other and then started on the Harry Potter books.

It used to be that I never left the house without a book to read, and I'd often have more than one book on the go.  A small mass bound paperback to take with me when I was out and about, theme or genre didn't matter.  A fiction book.  And I always have a non-fiction historical book at arms length.

Why so many books at a time?

Have you ever read historical non-fiction?  It can tend to get a little dry.  So when I get sick of reading about which ever royal, president, prime minister or other notable person the book is about, instead of just putting the book away, I start reading fiction to ease my brain a bit.  And then after a few nights, I typically go back to the history book, rotating between the two of them for a few weeks until both or done.

It used to only take one week for me to read two books of average length simultaneously. Now I fall asleep too quickly.  Kids do that to you.

I have been consistently adding to a list on my CrackBerry books that I want to read.  And the list is starting to get long. So long in fact my husband it thinking about suspending the use of my debit card and blocking Amazon and Chapters from my computer.

Luckily he hates the computer and wouldn't know how to block sites anyway.  The debit card thing though, that could happen...

I have actually had so much fun reading that I was thinking of joining a book club.

A club where readers go to be with other readers and talk about characters and life experiences and drink wine.

But I don't like being told what to read. 

Or how long I have to read it. 

And I don't really like analyzing books so much it isn't even the same book I read in the first place.

So no book club for me.

It'll just be me and my book list for the next... well, I've got no time line.  Reading should be about escapism and connecting with characters.  It shouldn't feel like homework! So no rules!

Here is my book list to date.  They are in no particular order.  Books marked with a double asterisk are ones I have read already, but want to read again.I'm a sucker for reading books over and over again.

*Emma -Jane Austen
*Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mum (this is a HUGE book) - William Shawcross
*Harry Potter books 4-7 (I will admit that I stopped half way through the fourth book and then the movies came out, and I never went back). - JK Rowling
*PS I Love You - Cecilia Ahern
*Twenty Something - Sophie Kinsella
*Black Heels to Tractor Wheels - Ree Drummond
*The Land Girls - Angela Huth
*The Stone Angel - Margaret Lawrence
*My Life in France - Julia Child
*The Ideal Wife - Gemma Townsend
**Bridget Jone's Diary - Helen Fielding
**The Edge of Reason - Helen Fielding
*The Last of the Crazy People - Timothy Findley
*Diana - Andrew Morton (I'm on a Brit kick)
*Pride and Prejudiced - Jane Austen
*Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Friend - Christopher Moore
*The Host - Stephanie Meyer
*The first Sookie Stackhouse book, I can't remember the name or author right now.

Can you believe I have NEVER read a Jane Austen book?  I didn't realize this until yesterday when I was reading though my list.  I wonder if I've been missing anything...

I'm currently reading The Kings Speech by Mark Logue and just finished reading Mini Shopoholic by Sophie Kinsella.  She cracks me up she does.  So much so that I have been banned from reading her in bed at night because my husband needs his beauty sleep. 

The King hasn't been cracking me up so much, but if you like bio-history books, you'll love this one.  So good. 

I should probably number the list.  Next time.

Do you have any books you could recommend?  I'm up for suggestions! 


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Happy New Year?

Talk about delayed :) 

I know I KNOW, I never call, never write.  I'm a fair weather friend. 

I can't even say I've been terribly busy. With the kids so young still, I tended to do most of my posting at night after they had gone to sleep.  I'd curl up on the couch beside my tv watching husband and type away. 

But then we started to do something every. single. night.

It all started during a date night.  We went for dinner and a movie. My lovely husband had two weeks off at Christmas, so we went during the week.  We had the whole theater to ourselves because we purposely picked a movie that have been out forever so we didn't have to sit beside strange people. Well, I picked a movie that have been out forever so I didn't have to sit beside strange people. Yes, I have issues. And I'm not ashamed to say it.

We saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One. Little did we know this was just the beginning. It just snowballed from there.  We did it as soon as we got home and then started doing it every night. We even talked about doing it while the children were awake. 

So what was it we were doing?

We became addicted to watching the Harry Potter Dvds.  From beginning to end (well, sixth year) we watched the saga that is Harry's life.  And when it was all over, when there were no more DVDs to watch, no more bonus features to devour, we felt like listless.  We knew regular tv just wouldn't cut it anymore. 

So we moved on to Eli Stone.  Let me tell you, it is a shame the writers strike happened because it really derailed Eli and I think it had real staying power, had it been on regularly enough to keep its followers.  We hadn't even seen the second season because it was jumping around so much.

We are now working our way through Alias. 

And while it may not sound like we are bonding all that much, sitting staring at the boob tube, watching tv together has opened up lots of conversation, laughter and tears (I cried like a baby when Sirius Black gets killed, Jordan Whetherby finds out her unborn baby is perfect, and Sydney Bristow finds her fiance dead in his bathtub), which inevitably ends in more laughter from Peter because he doesn't get how a tv show/movie can upset me so.  Good thing he hasn't watched "PS I Love You" with me because I think there were only a few minutes of that movie that I WASN'T crying.

So we are busy reconnecting, relaxing and generally getting to know each other again. 

The only down side is that my husband likes to eat while he watches tv.  And then I eat.  And then we both started to LOOK like the couch.  So we started exercising. 

But that's a whole different story :)


AKA Couch Spud.