Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Well, I managed to finish that book...

I finished the Poisonwood Bible! Truly, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I actually found that I enjoyed it, once the story got beyond the terrible, preachy father. It was a good story - long, drawn out, can't say I enjoyed all of the threads of the four daughters, but I am glad that I read it. I was a bit worried in the beginning, but the book started rolling once I got about 1/3 of the way through. Okay, saying that, sounds like I was pretty determined to get through the book...

Followed that one up with a glorious, fluffy, escapist read and now I am reading a novel called Fiela's Child which is another good book (Thanks Cher for some good reads over the holidays, just what I needed).

The holidays blitzed by - it is a lot of build up for a few days. Our Christmas was lovely, the kids were spoiled, and it was really neat watching Brandon explore Christmas this year. Some great food, and then some not so great food. I think the dinner I had at my sister in laws has officially turned me off of turkey. Nothing like watching the bird get carved and then noticing that it is raw in the middle... and then eating two hours later and just thinking.. wow, that ham looks really nice!!!! Last big dinner was at my mom's, it went over okay (noisy! which is good, considering my mom's side would only get together between 4 and leave by 7:30 in the past) but my scallop potatoes tasted good, but needed a lot more time in the oven.. nothing like cooking for 16 and trying to judge cooking time...

Since I have discovered a great crock pot stuffing recipe that tastes as good as in the bird... I think a few beer can chickens on the barbie and crock pot stuffing are the way to go. Avoid that turkey hangover, and too many leftovers, and well, half my family can't really eat it anymore so.... hello chicken!

Between Ken and I we were pretty low key for each other this year, although he did spoil me a little more than I spoiled him... except we are going to VEGAS BABY!!!!! we will be there for about 48 hours in a few weeks and we will run and play and go go go!!!!! It was a total surprise (I knew we were going away, just not where) and I think it will be really cool.. PARENTS GONE WILD!! HAHAHHAHAHHAAH.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A different thought

So, I have been contemplating Christmas Cards.

I have usually sent them out, and last year was the first year I had truly missed sending out cards in a long, long time. I felt bad about it too, but it just wasn't happening last year. We didn't get a lot of the cards last year, and some folks are moving to a mass email-letter, and some folks are moving to a donation and an email. It's all good, it is the thought that counts. I think it is important to reach out to people at this time of the year, touch base, see what is up.

I think I will always send out some kind of card, whether it be a picture, or a computer generated card with pictures in it... but I don't think I will do the mass send out like I did this year. In some ways, I half view this year as an experiment, see how many Christmas cards we get and go from there next year. There are some folks you just send them too and don't expect one in return (like your 94 year old gram) but some folks ... well... you start to wonder whether or not those relations who never send you one still need to get one.

I have an address list I keep, and track who I am sending them too, it does help year to year, but I am not sure what I am going to do next year. Do I want to send out a lot of cards and only get a handful? Or, do I send the cards out to the people I really want to and say screw the rest?! Time will tell - I guess what somewhat holds me back from not sending out cards is that I love getting them. I think they brighten up the year, knowing you are remembered. Like my philosophy with the lights, it doesn't matter how sophisticated they are put up - we are bringing light to the darkest time of the year and I can appreciate that.

Just frittering

It has been a strange week. I think I jinxed myself with the last post. Yesterday everything just seemed to head south at times, and fast. Brandon was trying. Connor didn't nap enough at times. I was just cranky pants all over the place. The house felt like it was just chaos. The house felt too small, and like we have too many things, and there are too many things I don't want to get rid of. It feels like I got so far with getting ready for Christmas and then I stalled out.

Today fared a little better. Brandon got his new orthotics, and 4 hours later, and two trips to get new shoes that fit properly over said orthotics, and we are good to go. They seem so much bigger than his last pair.. my baby is already growing too fast and he is only three!!!! I was so grateful for my dad's helping hands I treated him to lunch. I am learning that I am much more of a holistic healer than going for traditional medicine. I think there has to be a balance between both, and that you need to do whatever proactive you can to create the best outcome. Not always easy though. Some days you just need to regroup.

It just being quiet now helps. Frittering away on the computer, finishing up a few cards, sending out bits and pieces of mail. It is amazing how some days you totally own your corner of the world, and some days it feels like everything is scattered around you and you have it all, you just don't really know where it all is. I am sorry if I am not making sense - it isn't that the last days have been terrible, they have just been trying. I think that collectively we have cabin fever and need to get out. I thought we could get out and feed some ducks today, but when you are out for the 4 best hours of the day, it doesn't happen. I think I may create some kind of adventure for tomorrow..

On another note, just finished the book Midwives by CBojalian and I really enjoyed it. I am not sure what I expected, but this wasn't it. I actually finished it up in three days, which seems impressive after how long I struggled with WH! It was a quick read, not exactly profound, but a page turner nonetheless. I would not recommend reading this if you are pregnant right now... it does deal with a home birth that goes awry. I am now moving on to the Poisonwood Bible.I am a little leery about this one because a dear friend said it was like watching paint dry and she really didn't like it, but I am curious... I went back to this old post and have since then knocked off 4 more books off of the list and PB will make it 5...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

On the path to being somewhat organized

After the chaos of the last few Christmas' ... this year is starting to feel almost tranquil!

Damn, it is tempting to list off what I have done so far!! I just finished WH. It was a good book, in a way, and I am sure that you could publish theses on it in either psychology or English. What a sad, melancholy, strange book. Yea, interesting, lots of symbolism, lots to dwell upon and reflect on what means what, and what exactly are shadows of the author herself. Reminds me of my old Eng Lit days, reading books and searching for hidden meanings so I could pontificate upon and sound like I actually knew what I was talking about.

Out tree is up, we ended up picking up the first one we looked at. I still made Ken and the boys wait while I looked at a few others, just to be sure, but we have a magical tree and it was pretty reasonably priced too. The great snow of late 2009 didn't happen. Things were looking pretty white about 7pm last night, but things rapidly turned to rain by 9pm. Although the white stuff is nice on weekends, I am glad that we have not seen a repeat of last year. There are limits to how much snow we need down here on the coast.

It's strange, it feels like I have a few moments today. The last few weeks have been busy - amazing how much preparation goes in to celebrating the holidays! It's also felt satisfying to get to all the bits and pieces in the weeks before instead of the hours and days before things are to be together. It's nice not being in a panic, there is something to be said about being organized. Yet another difference that evolves when you have two kids... you have to be more organized, and take advantage of the quiet times. I just seem to be better able to pull everything together now than I was 3 years ago.

Friday, December 11, 2009

feels like being back in school

I am currently reading Wuthering Heights. I am not sure what I expected, but it isn't quite what the reality is turning out to be.

Although I was an English Lit major (honestly, at the end of the day I value my Humanities degree way more than my English degree), I found some of the classics a trial to read. Which is ironic, because I love to read. Whether or not they are classics, some books are a slog to get through.

I have had WH on my shelf for years. Hell, probably close to a decade. For some reason that escapes me (more in the sense that I have had the chance to read, usually before bed) I have been reading voraciously the last few months. So, I have gotten through many of the unread books that have been waiting for such a time on my shelf.

I really struggled through the first 100 pages, and I am surprised at how bleak this novel is. I guess I had one set of perceptions of what I had an inkling WH would be like (more Jane Austen'ish I suppose) but it isn't really panning out to be what I expected. The story is moving along, and I am interested, but I am also a little perplexed. It is a strange read, and it certainly isn't a fast read, where I can't wait to read what action is going to unfold on the next page. I don't know how I will feel about it once I have turned the last page, but even the characters don't seem to have a lot going for them - the narrators seem to the most kind, where many of the protagonists are just antagonistic and not really nice people to know. I guess my sympathies for the lead characters has not really been aroused to this point.

The jury is out.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Baking

My last post got me thinking, that and my current streak of domesticity...

What do you do for Christmas baking? I will reveal the selfish part of this, I am looking for some new ideas. The Chocolate Crinkles are new for me, and yes, will be added to my repertoire. A twist on those is to add peppermint instead of vanilla and you have a whole new, fabulous cookie.

I usually do some shortbread, butter and mincemeat tarts, some sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, haystacks... but I think it is good to branch out, add a few new tricks to the old recipe bag. Any suggestions? Definitely open to them!

Life repeats itself with slight twists

It's funny looking back in to your own personal history of posts and seeing where you were at a year ago, two years ago, etc.

Last December our lives were chaos. It was a Fall of mixed blessings, and the best thing to come from everything was our little guy named Connor and ultimately Brandon turning a few corners and moving forward in his life and gaining much, much more mobility. This year has not been about as much change - yes, we have welcomed another child, but I think as a family we have had some more time to just get used to life as we know it, now. I am not sure if that makes sense, but during my first maternity leave, so much happened - this time around, things are happening at a different pace, we are not first time parents, and I can speak for myself, I am enjoying the journey a little more.

I am not altogether sure what this week will bring. I feel the urge to make some lists and figure out what needs to get done in the next few weeks. We don't have a lot of things on the go, we aren't terribly booked up, and it is kind of nice to feel like we can just allow the coming weeks to unravel as they will.

The weather this week is supposed to be outstanding. My goal will be to get out and enjoy it - although I think that will mean a lot of layers for all of us. I can hear the gusting wind and there is a real bite in the air.

Amazing though, you post pretty much every day for a month, achieve your goal, and then drop off of the wagon. Us humans are so goal oriented, it is funny.

I discovered another evil cookie recipe.

Chocolate Crinkles. Totally addictive.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together cocoa, white sugar, and vegetable oil. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the cocoa mixture. Cover dough, and chill for at least 4 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into one inch balls. I like to use a number 50 size scoop. Coat each ball in confectioners' sugar before placing onto prepared cookie sheets.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Let stand on the cookie sheet for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Just because

Me and My boy.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

so many little bits

Funny after posting just about every day for a month, you start to get in to a habit, or on a roll.

Few things happening in the sporting world. I will leave the big one alone, the price of fame - where does privacy even start? Does the public need explanations? Sad commentary about public consumption and public lives.

Ah yes, but the really interesting stuff for me has always been in hockey. Ovie being himself, and then that poor guy with the cut leg (some place I never went mentally when I played, scary stuff when skates come up). The really bizarre incident was the slash that happened in a Panthers game a few nights ago. After not getting his man, Panther Ballard takes a wicked slap at the net and nails his goalie, Vokoun. Not only does he not check to see on his goalie, whom is bellowing out in pain and flopping around on the ice, but he takes another whack with his stick and succeeds in breaking it on the goal post. W T F ?? I think this is a play that should be reviewed by the league. Scuttlebut indicates that because they were on the same team, nothing happens. I think that it is BS. That swinging stick was vicious, and Ballard did not even stop to check in on the guy whom obviously went down as a result of said swing. A move that was not classy, made him look like a complete ass, and well, when a player acts that subconsciouslessly, and doesn't think, oh yeah, they should be suspended by the team. Behaviour like that should not be condoned by no action, even if was team mate on team mate. It was a vicious slash.

Canucks won tonight - which was nice. I still think the starting Olympic job isn't going to Bobby Lou though..

Hmm, what else? I should be sleeping. I am tired, my eyes hurt, but sleep isn't coming. ARGH!

So, I think I will order my Christmas pictures. Why not?!

I took the boys to the Reifel Bird Refuge today... What an awesome experience. There are no, and I mean no anorexic ducks here. They are all fat. Verrrra healthy ducks and geese. Verra friendly ducks at that. I was hoping to see some snow geese, but we could only see them on the shoreline from a distance. But hear them we could - especially when the flock would take flight and move around, the cacophony of sound could be heard from miles away. It was enchanting. A beautiful fall day - I should have gotten an earlier start to our day, but alas, kids happened so we spent an hour in rush hour traffic coming home. I do not miss that.

We did see sandhill cranes, lots of mallards, coots, widegons, black-crowned night herons, chickadees, and swallows, and I do not know the names of the other birds we saw. A great place to go walking, some blinds to hide in, some towers to see from. I packed some food and some seed, and we made a real day of it. Brandon got tired and I had to carry, coerce him to continue a few times. Connor was pretty good too for a bumpy ride in the stroller. We have Nej's stroller from her first born and let me tell you, that stroller takes a lickin and keeps on tickin. 11 years old and the stroller is still a kick ass piece of kid machinery - I have taken it everywhere and Brandon can even perch himself off the back and hold on while I push! What is amazing about being a mom, is what you learn to do because you have to. Like pushing a stroller, feeding a kid a bottle, and holding the other as they try to feed the ducks, while trying to take some pictures.

After two weeks and 20 cm of rain, it is amazing what a beautiful place it is we live in when things dry out. Tomorrow I may haul out the Christmas lights, or dream up somewhere else to go and enjoy the sun in.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Day 30.

I made the thirty posts, just not one every day. Looking at the years worth of posts, I did manage to post more in November than I did the first few months of the year! I just lamed out and borrowed a naming convention for the day from a dear friend... it was just way easier than coming up with a snappy title today, there are none floating around.

I like NaBloPoMo... being able to look back and see what you did for a month, or didn't do as the case may be. Christmas is around the corner, and I am busy making my lists - what gifts to buy, baking to do, stretching that all mighty dollar as far as we can.

Mondays are my scattered day - I find that it feels like I am frittering away time, picking up after the weekend, feeling a bit aimless. Today we made some sugar cookies, and I am going to tidy up a bit, maybe get the laundry put away, and well, that's about it for excitement.

Went to a first birthday yesterday. What chaos. There were so many little kids, made me grateful I don't do daycare. O M G !!!! Little ones, a few B's size, and a few bigger kids. Then all the adults. Lovely party, but almost too many people inside and lots of noise.

On a total aside, it seems many of my favourite authors at some time delve in to an Egyptian book/theme. It's amazing how intriguing all things Egyptian are. When I visited Egypt in 1999 someone said to me that once you taste the Nile, you will be back. I believe that. What I saw whetted my appetite for more. I didn't make it much farther than Cairo and there is so much more to see.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lazy Day.

A little cleaning. A little organizing. A little life with no plans.

Sounds like a little slice of heaven today.

Morning is getting to a slow start, and I am sitting here nursing my egg nog latte. I am starting my coveted copy of the Echo in the Bone from the Outlander series and it is a rainy day. On the deluge scale, since I started paying attention again, we have had 170 mm of rain in the last two weeks, and more on the way. Last week the weather forecast predicted a lot of sun for this week. They were wrong.

Aside from odds and sods, it is nice to have a huge agenda for today. The weeks seem to be going just too damn fast. My baby is 5 months old already... the half way mark for my leave is coming up!!

Black Friday

I slipped up again, and this post that floated around my cerebral regions never made it to the blog yesterday. I was damn tired. I wasn't in the mood to post. It just didn't happen.

So, two will happen again today. I have also come to appreciate that NaBloPoMo is thirty posts in thirty days, and I can do that! I just don't know about the posting every day.. LOL

I got an evil email from my favourite outlet mall stateside. They were opening for BF at midnight. This meant I could go shopping and leave everyone at home (and hopefully asleep, which turned out to be wishful thinking, sorry hon), and not have to deal with traffic! My favourite kid's store had EVERYTHING 50% off. I also had a coupon for another 20% off, and they were giving an extra 10% off for BF. My niece even agreed to come along with me! At 10:30, Ken checked the border line ups. Shit. Over an hour at one, and 45 minutes at the other. He thought I was nuts for heading down, but I was now a mom with a mission. I chose the hinterland crossing (woo woo, a 5 minute wait, good call).

So, after picking up my niece and heading east, we made excellent time to the outlet malls. I was grateful to have her company as I fought the urge to turtle in the kids store. The prices were just ... er... awesome?? Of course, the coupons weren't as good as a layered 80% ... they did the 50% off first, and then took the other discounts off. They even had wooden toys on sale!

Between the two kids stores, ticket prices were just shy of $400. Including taxes, I spent about $130!! TALK ABOUT DEALS! I even got a birthday gift for a friend's 1 year old (I had to ask someone about girls clothes, I understand their pants, obviously, but those shirt/dress things you wear with tights, that was news to me!! Guess who only has boys??), and a cool shower gift for my cousin's baby, 3 really cool puzzles, Christmas jammies for the boys, and a bunch of clothes. I scored. I got my MIL partially done, and a few new shirts for me. I also got some Tillamook cheese (best cheese in the world, especially their pepper jack) and some lime diet pepsi.

Heading home was fast. I love night driving. It just seems rude once you are back on our side of the border and the speed limit drastically drops. It feels strange.

I left the house at 10:45, and made it home at 5:00 am. Of course I was too wired up to sleep, and happy that Brandon now is set until summer. His pants aren't floods anymore. Connor, well, he has the hand-me-downs, but he has some cool new clothes too. Now it is just toys for the boys. The deals were good. I was able to get in, get out... life was good. I survived on about 2 hours sleep today.

I did have to ask my niece about what is the big deal with C0ach. I don't get it. At 3am they still had a line up outside of their store about 40 deep of people waiting to get in. W T F ??? I guess I am just not that cool.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I finally have it!!!

After a few months of waiting, just because that is how it worked out, I finally have my new cutlery set. When I saw this pattern a few years ago, I fell in love with it and we finally splurged and bought service for 16. Hopefully that should do us for a long, long time.

I love it. It is so shiny, and heavy! It filled up the cutlery part of the dishwasher, and I can't wait to pay forward our old cutlery! Bye bye mismatched sets and helllllo pretty, matched cutlery!

I feel pretty stoked, I like our fiestaware dishes, and I like our cutlery. Now I just need to do something about our glasses. They are not high on my list. I find it oddly comforting when you get the kitchen pieces you have been coveting. Alternatively, when you are able to upgrade from the hand-me-down pieces you started with to the types and patterns that you want.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

too late or too early?

It is after midnight, the house is quiet, and I have been photo and video archiving, for lack of a better term.

This year we had our hard drive roll over and quit. We were lucky and were able to salvage our photos. Taking some sage advice from a techie friend, we bought a second bigger hard drive to run the computer. The old hard drive would be used for storing things like photos, vids, and music on. Of course, this is in theory.

The new drive quit on us in May. So we lost all of our photos from January through May. It was frustrating as hell. The hard drive was under warranty (oh joy) but to recover the photos, the experts wanted THOUSANDS of dollars. I miss them, I think we have some DVD movies recorded from the pictures and videos, and well, who has that kind of cash for a mission that may fail?

Started again in May, and well, we hit the ground running. Me finishing work, birth of Connor, chaos that ensues with two youn'uns.

I am sure I have mentioned this before, but I have taken a few records management courses in my day. One of my projects for my mat leave (yes, I am still a geek and I revel in it!) is to organize our photos, and systematically label and back them up, as well as our videos, etc.

Bloody hell. What a project it is. Tonight alone I just spent the last three hours working on it. It has been strange, nary a peep from any of the boys!!! Our computer filing system went to hell over the summer, and I have been sorting it out, moving files, deleting duplicates and triplicates. The good news, the end is in sight. The bad news, it's been a lot of work. I need to buy more blank DVDs, but I am feeling better knowing that everything will be properly backed up, and we now have a system for storing our photos, etc on the computer that if the hard drive rolls over again, we are safe. We may lose a few weeks worth of photos, but, I have developed a system. Yes, it is a work in progress, but, it will work.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Nothing profound, but here are some cute pics


I am sitting here staring at this blank slate, and I am not coming up with much.

When in doubt, post some cute pictures of the boys...


Monday, November 23, 2009

Pumpkin Script.

The cookies are pretty good. Definitely not the same texture as a chocolate chip or peanut butter cookie, but it tastes pretty good. They are different, and sometimes different is good especially since the rotation of staples around here is oatmeal chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, ginger, peanut butter, the occasional banana bread, and then rice crispy squares. I am definitely open to suggestions - now that I know how to do sugar cookies well, they come out for holidays, as will the gingerbread cookies in the coming weeks.

I think they do need the icing to kick them up the extra notch, but all in all, a good adventure and I think we will make them again.

Funny, I almost think you need to be feeling a little adventurous sometimes when it comes to cooking or baking. But when you think about it, what are the risks? A bad meal? Oh well. A bad batch of cookies you don't make again? Once again, oh well. I am not sure why it has taken me so many years to just get beyond the tried and true and strike out in new directions.

A cup and not a can....

Well, I am not sure if we have just experienced a kitchen disaster or not.

It is another rainy fall day, and what better thing to do than to make cookies. B and I whipped up some sugar cookie dough, and it is now chilling in the freezer.

I then decided to get adventurous, and try out some pumpkin cookies that I have had my eye on. The dough tasted pretty good (I taste test, as does my big dude) and all was looking well. Until the dough went from looking pretty good to pretty damn sticky. Yup. I read the damn recipe wrong. It asked for a cup of pumpkin and not a can. In recipe terms, there is a big difference between 250 ml and 398 ml.

Ahem. So, I added more flour. Then more flour. I got it on both our noses I added so much. I continued to stir, and we have more or less gotten beyond the sticky stage, and then I tossed in some more of the spices, and I threw the mess in to the oven. I think it may be okay - the dough has potential, but if I make this again, I will make note, a cup and not a can.

If I get the chance, I will add a post script on the fate of these cookies, but I won't be making any promises. In case you are so moved to try this out on your own, I have graciously supplied the recipe I am using, thank you all recipes.

Pumpkin Iced Cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls; flatten slightly.
3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies, then drizzle glaze with fork.
4. To Make Glaze: Combine confectioners' sugar, milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add milk as needed, to achieve drizzling consistency.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sneaking a post in...

It is amazing how dampness at +5 is way worse than a dry cold at -5.

Well, our Lions got trounced today, and I made an amazingly decadent chocolate cake for my mom's birthday. There is something to be said about being able to bake. I am starting to plan what I am going to do for Christmas baking this year. It seems like time is just flying by. Christmas is already next month! Connor is almost 5 months old. O M G !!!! We started rice cereal this week and he is gobbling it up. I waited until Brandon was exactly 6 months old before I started, but well, we had a few other things going on at the time so waiting until the 6 month mark with B seemed prudent at the time, and he also got a lot more formula than Connor ever has had (luck of the draw and it seems the breastaurant is much more productive this go around).

I figured that Connor was just seeming to need a little more and was waking up more during the night. So, away we have gone with the rice cereal. Next up, oat cereal and then 'naners. It seems to have happened so fast. That baby stage is so quick. Brandon seems so tall, and so articulate, it's hard to remember he is only 3, or is it already 3?

Parenting is as much an evolution as watching your kids bloom. You too start out a wee babe in the woods, not knowing a damn thing about how to parent, guide, coach, and for yourself, when to count to 10 before you blow your own stack. It is like the sea, in all it's moods. I wonder some times what other mom's do with their days at homes with their loved ones. How they structure their day, and what activities they make sure they do. Like reading, and teaching crafts, how much and what kinds of tv isn't the root of all evil. I guess you could call it finding your parental compass. I do and don't spend a lot of time talking to other parents about this, I am both a loner, and a social person. I do find I observe when I get the chance, seeing what other folks are doing, and what we are doing, and what rings right for me, and us. Funny, I didn't see this ending up as a post about parenting and yet here it is.

I think what is happening (or happened) is relaxing in to the role of mom. I am glad I didn't wait until 6 months to introduce food. I like to think my pediatrician had it right, as he answered a question of mine about kids and what time is right with just a simple "just use common sense." Now how common is that? That old fall back from the scientific method: observe, reflect, try, try again, summarize, alter a little, breath, and have an apple a day... LOL

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A deluge.

Well, I can honestly say that I was an arts major, and not a math major. I had the realization that we are hitting about 8 cm or 80 mm of rain since Monday. I erroneously posted that we were hitting about 220 mm the other day. Oops. Ah yes, I remember that, to go from centimeters to millimeters you times by 10, not a 100. Okay, maybe if I would have applied myself more, I would have been a little sharper at math.

We have had some pretty blustery weather this last week - nothing like catching up on a few months worth of wet all at once. Quack, quack.

It felt like a Saturday today, grocery shopping, and I went and bought some crafty stuff. Finally got frames to hang a few pictures of Connor... take out Chinese and a few movies. A good way to end the week.

What is hysterical is how B can get C laughing. Our parental attempts pale in comparison to the big brother's attempts. There is nothing like the sound of a child's laughter. Laughter that is authentic, genuine, and just full of mirth. It is a pretty cool thing.

Friday, November 20, 2009

looking at the closet

It was one of those I went looking for something to wear and ended up just feeling completely dissatisfied with most of my wardrobe. I didn't really add a lot of new items since Brandon was born, between learning how to be a mom, switching jobs, and just adjusting, and then with the discovery of Connor, there really wasn't much point of investing in a lot of new clothes.

Now, it seems like I have a lot of work tops, and some work pants, a few pairs of pants that have saggy ass and gape-y ass happening, and a lot of plain cotton shirts. I have a few older sweaters, and a few sweatshirts ... it feels like many of my shoes are dated, and for the first time in decades, I am really glad to have a pair of hiking runners (a lovely pair of Vasques which have really grown on me, I don't look down and see torpedo feet).

I think over the next year, I would like to slowly allow my wardrobe to evolve again. Not that my style has changed that much, I need some funkier and fun clothes, and some casual clothes that aren't plain cotton tees. Not that I don't love my v-neck tees, but really. I need more. Some casual pants that aren't stretched out yoga pants that fit at 9 months pregnant, or the lounge pants I have pretty much lived in 24-7 being at home. I want new shoes too.

Although I went off of on more of a tangent than what I anticipated, I did try a few things on. Yes, everything fits, but you know when you look at yourself in the mirror, and the first thing that comes to mind about your outfit was "what was I thinking when I bought that??" I must remember, just because it fits, doesn't mean it looks good... I am way better at that now, however, there are a few pieces I think I am ready to let go of and go splurge a little at the outlets eventually.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

the Gruffalo


If you are looking for a book(s) that you can read over and over and over again... look no further than here. We have this one, and the Gruffalo's Child and they are so much fun to read. This is what kids books are all about!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's a funny thing...

Character growth. Funny about this, it tends to hit you in the back of the head when you least expect it. I have found that sometimes I tend to be like a younger self that wrote a million lines "I will think before I speak." I think I have always said first, and sometimes thought later. Or it was the act of verbalizing an idea, or a flitting thought, that truly helped give wing to new ideas, thoughts, growth, as it were. I don't think I have changed that much - I still make verbal gaffs, I still stick both feet in my mouth at times, and I still end up saying some pretty brash, but honest stuff. Ironically enough, I think I can also come across as pretty naive and gullible at times too. I think it is part of me - part of how I learn. I think sometimes I am in my own head too much, and it does help to have conversations with girl friends, to think some stuff out, or even to sort out your head space at times. I also find this blog a good place to unravel thoughts, since many a time I pound away at this keyboard and I am not all that sure of what direction I am going to take. And yes, I do love stream of consciousness, LOL.

I also think it is good when I get called on stuff, even if I end up moving verbally backwards, or sideways, or it causes my face to go red because I know I was just an ass, or not thoughtful, or perhaps not all the way to the station with my thought, this stuff makes me grow. I see moments like that as an opportunity to learn something more about myself for my journey, and pony up and talk about it. Gets me further in this life.

It really has felt like we have traveled the gamut of appointments this last month. They are a bit stressful to go through, even if you know in your heart of hearts that everything is going well. It is weird telling the next chapter of your story to the professionals, over and over again, because specialists send each other carefully typed out letters, and don't always talk. I am really finding that the specialists do help, but it is the grassroots level that brings me the most peace and understanding with everything Brandon has been through. They truly get to listen to my questions, and support me, and help guide me through all this, and then I can guide the rest of my family to the best of me too. Sometimes it is overwhelming, sometimes I really have to concentrate on what they are saying to me, because there are so many unknowns, they have to tell you some of the what ifs, and you have to bring yourself back down to your universe and figure out what works for you, and the reality that you know. But the concentrating part is hard - for those reasons, and for the birds that flutter around your stomach and the ringing in your ears that calls back previous visits and previous words, and it is all part of processing.

I think I am finally processing and verbalizing parts of what we have been through with my language, and not bottling it all up. I know I was somewhat more closed over the last few years, but I really needed to be to get through the curve balls life was throwing at us. I think in admitting vulnerability there is also strength. I also feel that life has come full circle with our family of four, we are a very strong unit and I look around and feel pretty content, which I think is a product of what we have been through, what we are, and how we all are together, which is pretty damn cool.

So today's post is a bit of a stream of consciousness, much like the rain that has started to fall again. Speaking of which, we had about 220mm the other day!!! I have a personal weather station that measures this stuff for me. See, if I did all over again, being a weather gal would be fun...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rounding the corner of the month

I love coupons. Between coupons, and watching my bills, I pretty much saved $27.50 today. It wasn't even a big shopping day, just got lucky on a few things.

There is something to be said about being an aware shopper, and know what is and is not on sale. There is also something to be said about checking your bill before you get home so when you find the wrong price you don't have to drag your ass back to the store to get your money back (and free item, which is the big store's policy). I have let this one slip a few times, and this time around, I figured, screw it, I want my $4.50 back!!! I only bought the damn item because it was on sale!!! I have taken to scanning my bills because I do remember prices - once a grocery store cashier, always one at heart.

Speaking of which, every now and then I have cashier dreams where I am working in either my old store, or a slightly changed version of that store. Wandering around the produce, walking down strange aisles... dreaming up those UPC codes. I still remember bananas, 4011. And green onions, 4068. Come'on!! It has been well over a decade since I quit that job...

But, that brings me back to coupons. Buying bulk. Watching sales. You kind of half to. Why pay twice as much when you don't need to? Yes, I seem to lose hours in the grocery store, wandering around, looking at what is new, and yes, checking out the prices of things. At least I have two good shoppers, and well, that free cookie from the bakery goes a long way with my dude.

Monday, November 16, 2009

as promised, a second round

It seems that more often than not, Mondays are becoming the general clean up after the chaos and different routine of the weekend day. I have taken to not really planning anything for a Monday, I just don't seem to have the will, or the follow through.

Looking back just a week, man did it fly. Too many doctors appointments, even if they were just follow ups and check ins. Got our laundry done today, the house looks pretty good, and I even managed to clean up part of my linen closet so I can see what I have. Funny how it is your stuff, and you can still be surprised when you discover what you have squirreled away in corners.

My gram turned 95 yesterday, and I would have liked to have been able to go over to the island for a visit. Now that we have two kids, it is a little harder to just go. We kind of need our car. Taking our car, excluding everything else makes it a $2oo return trip for the ferry. Have I mentioned lately that this sticks in my craw?? It is hard justifying going over for a day, Connor is still young enough even if I went solo I would bring him along for the ride, even if I went over as a walk on, which I still may do in the coming weeks, I really don't know. I find it mentally strange that she has not met my second son, and yet, even if she did, she may not remember meeting him. Or visiting with me. Her mind is starting to slip - she is still pretty healthy physically, but I think because she is in a care facility, and does not have to be responsible for anything, it aids her in mental slips because she is not interacting with people, or getting out and doing stuff. She isn't really the captain of her own ship anymore. I have met a few really with it 90 year olds. If the body is willing, it is so important to feel important as you age, and I think to keep up with walking. Bodies need to be in motion, and we need to be connected to other people too.

Okay, enough ruminations for now. The boys are pulling on my pant legs.

Ah, the irony,

I finally put things to order for the month of posts, and then things go to hell in a hand basket.

About noon, our power went out, and then partially came back on. Half our house had power, half did not. It was really random - our fridge worked, but not our stove. Some lights came on, some did not. It was the same through the whole house. We called Hydro, and apparently our area had power issues because of a tree down, and that power should be restored by 4. Needless to say, by dinner we still had the same issues, called Hydro again, they said to turn off the power to the house for 5 minutes, turn it back on, and see if that helped. Nope. Although the mood lighting was cool, we still only had half a house (thankfully it is really mild with the current pineapple express going through since the heat was not on) with power. The hydro guy came, and apparently we have two lines coming in to the house. One had power, one did not. Okay, makes sense. Well, it turned out that a fuse on the breaker went, so we found an electrician to come in this morning and make things right. The heat is back on, and I wish I could charge what he just did for a five minute fix. On the other hand, I am glad it was just a fuse. We have an old house that I am sure one day really does need a rewiring.

As soon as I declared I was truly in this NaBloPoMo thing, for the third time, I missed a daily posting. Once again, I will aim for two posts today, catching up in spirit.

Otherwise, yesterday was pretty decent. I made cinnamon buns. Damn, those things are gooooooood. Addictive as hell. It's funny, on my first mat leave, yes, I made all of Brandon's food, but I did not get all that creative in the kitchen... this time around is another story. I still stick by my story that second time around and I am way more zen and content. I had a second kid to truly find my bearing as a parent... I ran in to an old coworker on Saturday and she thought I looked really happy, and YOUNG!!! Woot! We also watched the football game, and some racing, and well, with the power out, it threw the rythym of the day off.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A day of sorts

I think I will officially add my name to the NaBloPoMo ranks. I have been making an honest effort to post everyday, and although I have faltered twice, I have been pretty good so far about making good on my attempt to post every day.

Now, before you go and get your shorts in a knot my dear friend, Nej, yes, I went back and corrected the date on that first post - the one I put in a time warp to go back a day so I started on the first... yes. I sucked it up and made it the second, with two posts on that first day, which was on the second. I also missed posting yesterday, which I made up for by posting a moment ago, and this is officially today's post. So, even though I have missed two days, I have made posts for every day of the month of November.. so far. Nej, you were right. I really couldn't go get myself a badge unless I did it straight up. So, here it is. Me, in all my glory of just making a good attempt, stumbling, dusting myself, and moving on ahead.

Brandon finished up with his swimming lessons, and we celebrated with some A&W. I was told that he wanted a cheeseburger. And fries. And ketchup. And something to drink would be nice. It is cool as your kids age, but also a little crazy at how fast they start to string along ideas.

I see popcorn in my immediate future. That and the cross-over episodes of CSI. I can't think of anything else prolific to say at this time, except perhaps it is amazing how much B loves the movie Cars. He has a great appetite to see it again, and again, and again. And somehow, watching his reactions, as he remembers more and more, well, it is kind of magic the joy he gets out of watching his favorite characters come to life.

One to make up from Friday

It's been a bit of a rough week, and I must admit, I thought about sitting down and getting a post out yesterday, but it never happened. So here it is. I didn't even manipulate the dates to show that I made it in before the day ended.

A pear cider did happen as I played some Wii with my man, but that was about as exciting it got. It was one of those days that with the sun shining, I found that my mood was buoyed and life was moving along again.

I've also been back on a good book reading streak - I just finished a Turow book, The Burden of Proof, which was excellent, and I am reading a Lescroart book, The Motive, which is also a pretty decent read itself. It's funny, it does matter to me about having a good book on the go. I am holding on to An Echo in the Bone. I don't want to rush it. Book seven of the Outlander series, and it sits cherished, and signed, on the shelf. Soon.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A few call outs

One of the many things I have learned since becoming a mom, is the joys of receiving, and of the joys of paying it forward.

I am so grateful for all of the hand-me-downs that land on our doorstep, especially those from my favorite Kitten Whore. Even if I don't use all the clothes, and pay some of them forward, they are all a part of the great chain of moms helping out other moms, no strings attached. It is a cool thing.

I had a brainwave today about how I could pay something simple ahead. Another friend, having fun resolving her own time line issues, paid forward some formula to me, and then some coupons. I added to said coupons, since ultimately they were not brands that I use, and today, I dropped the lot off at the maternity clinic to my buddy there. She knew whom to pay them forward to - some of the coupons were $10 off a can of formula, which is nothing to sneeze at. We were also able to pay forward a bassinet that we had borrowed back in the day, to a truly deserving mom-to-be.

Speaking of which, holy batman does formula cost. If you go for the better kinds, or the "upper" ends of formula instead of the one that meets all the basic health criteria, you are looking at $30 a can. For some moms, that is one can a week. I am grateful Connor gets mostly me, because a can will last about 3 weeks. I watch for whatever coupons I can find for my brand, but it is not cheap. Thank god for the girls.

Connor's got a cold, bordering a croupy cough. Damn, that was almost an alliteration. So I am keeping my eye on him, Brandon also seemed to have a harder time coordinating his walking this afternoon - causing my heart to leap in all sorts of crazy directions. Seems to be sorting itself out, but me thinks he is going through a growth period again and it playing havoc with his muscles...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembering

This morning, as images of wars past flitted across the screen, I wondered, what do I tell my sons about war? About peace? These are not easy questions. Kids fight. Adults fight. But wars, and peace, how do you truly talk about it. There isn't really an answer, you just stumble along with these kinds of topics and find your own way in talking about it. Like sex and religion, there are no easy ways to lay it all out there.

I do think we need to talk about these things, and not bury wars and skirmishes in the past. I think much of wars are caused by fear, fear of the unknown. Part of breaking that down is being open to learning about new things, and new people.

It wasn't an easy morning. Brandon had a follow up appointment with his orthopedist, and yes, he will be getting new and improved super boots to help with his walking, he has officially outgrown the old ones. I hope we can arrange to have the extended coverage to pay as it happens and not wait to be reimbursed. *SIGH* Those boots aren't cheap and I am so grateful our plans cover the cost otherwise I am not sure how we would creatively finagle it. Yes, there is a little more tone right now in his hamstrings, and yes, we have to keep an eye on it and make sure we keep up B's range of motion. It seems certain doctors give me a fair bit of latitude right now about when to come in again, and are trusting my judgment on when it is time. Not only that, but being open to any questions or concerns. By that time in the appointment, I have already peppered them with a lot of questions, and then I wonder, am I missing anything??? Should I be asking even more, why at this stage are you looking me in the and eye and saying, just call if you have anything else - that is where doubt creeps in. A mom's instinct is pretty accurate, and I think we have things in hand. We have a good support structure around us.

It's (almost?) scary - that unknown. Working as hard as I can to keep Brandon limber, and moving, and improving his range of motion. It's hard holding it all in at times. I come off so strong and confident, and at times I am a trembling leaf that is just trying to stay stable in the wind. Big picture, Brandon is doing really well. What does the future hold? Who knows. For me, moments of strength and weakness. Moments I want to cry and make it all better - and I can't. All I can do is my best, be supportive, work with him, and enjoy him. My son is such a treasure and he is a wealth of strength with his quiet fortitude and oh so funny sense of humor. He humbles me.

One day I would like to think there is a book in me about our experiences, something that will help guide other parents who have to go through this. If there is no true book of how to be a parent, there is really no book of how to handle it gracefully when there are a few more hurdles in the way for your child. Chin up, take life on, and just learn how to laugh, and love as much as you can, and for me, be as honest as I can. I stumble, I fall, I make gaffs, I am not perfect. But I am trying, at the end of the day, that is the true accounting.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Not the outcome I expected.

Until today, our mobile, internet, and home phone have all been with the same company. Our mobile has been going to hell in a hand basket for the few months. In a ten minute conversation, our call is dropped about three times. Sometimes more, sometimes less. We have a fairly decent new smartphone, and we are version numero two on it, so I don't think it is the phone, it is the network. We signed up for a three year contract back in the day and are just over our first year in. I have been with said company since 2002.

Well, they finally got the phone we want, on a new network, and they wouldn't deal. They would give us a $200 credit off of a new phone, but that was it. I tried some negotiating, but there was no room. I mentioned we have everything with you guys, and that didn't help. I was dealing with the "loyalty" tier of their customer service, and frankly, I got more customer service on their "lowest" end. I was disappointed, I figured they would try to keep our business, or in their eyes, I guess call my bluff. Well, we spend a lot of money a year on those three services. So before today's call, I had started to do some research, and I was finding some better deals. So this phone call ended up having a lot riding on it.

The CSR's kept coming back to the fact we were only 14 months in to our current contract and that they weren't really getting much from us to give us the new phone at the current rate for a new three year contract (which I would have happily signed up for again, and paid perhaps a little more than asking price with the three year contract to recognize we were getting out early) and that the $200 discount off the phone was quite generous.

Looking at the plans from other companies, and from what we pay now, we could actually end up saving the cancellation fee for breaking our contract over the next year. Plus, when looked at what perhaps switching our home phone and 'net over would also save, I felt like I actually had some bargaining room for the mobile.

Nope. The phone call was anticlimatic, and I found myself ready to make the switch for all three, not the outcome I expected. I told the CSR, well, I guess we are done then. After hanging up, I switched out phone and 'net, and well, we are now going to save between $50-60 A MONTH. The only thing is, we can't call 1-900 numbers. Damn. Can't call the psychics.

Now the ironic part. Said company called tonight to see if I wanted to get their digital TV. I laughed, I asked the guy on the phone if he was serious.. he was like, why, and I told him my story. Needless to say, I told him he wasn't making a sale tonight.

So, on we move. New email addresses to come, new cell phone number to learn.

It is like in the 90's when you had to switch long distance plans to actually get the better deal. Now you have to be willing to move and switch companies to get the deals. It looks like the timing was good. Adios old company, and on with the new.

Monday, November 9, 2009

damn old cell phones.

Did you know you can actually recycle your old cell phone??

I didn't!! We are currently really displeased about our cell service, which could spill in to other areas in terms of making decisions on what providers we go with in future for cell, phone, internet... and I wonder why it took looking through the Virgin website to find this site and to discover how I could unload all of our old cells... I am going to be having one of those hardball playing type conversations with the highest tier of their customer service soon, and well, I am prepared to switch if I don't get my way.

Maybe I am just an ignoranus, but I didn't know about this service. I try to do my best when it comes to recycling, but didn't know there was one for used cells. I am surprised that this isn't front and center with the other service providers, it is responsible...which is a small reason why I do like Virgin.

Amazing how disposable this technology has become. It is brutal. Speaking of which, we switched out our new headset and went from Vtech, to a refurbished Uniden, to a Panasonic. Yes, I bit the bullet and bought the better phone. After having the cheaper ones crap out way too damn fast, and the batteries continually die, it will be interesting to see how these ones hold up. Joy! But back to cell phones, yes, technology is changing really fast, but it would be nice if a cell phone could last out your contract.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A three year old's taste buds...

At times, Brandon has been what you could call a picky eater. I really have not tried to cater to his eating whims, but sometimes it comes to "picking your battles".

Brandon has liked hamburger, and has slowly been okay with roast, but has always turned up his nose at steak and bacon.

Well, that changed this weekend. My son now loves bacon. It being's my DH's birthday, we had steak. I made Brandon a piece of chicken, which has always been a favorite of his, and well, he didn't want it. He wanted steak. Bloody hell. So, he got some of my amazingly marinated and nicely cooked steak. Lucky dude.

I will be making chicken noodle soup tomorrow.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Carts of Darkness

We try to catch a show about the Northwest when we can. There are interesting travel tidbits, and arcane Northwest (north and south of the border) insider knowledge (places, people, etc) that get showcased.

Last night, the focus was on a local film maker from the North Shore, and his tale. After a hiatus from film after an accident that left him paralyzed, his latest work is called "Carts of Darkness". A really unique look in to poverty, and freedom with a wet coast flavor. We haven't seen the whole video, but what we have seen, is really compelling. You can check out the NFB website for shorter clips... but what we saw was a real jaw dropper.

Friday, November 6, 2009

My new BFF: the slow cooker

Knowing I have to go back to work once again when my maternity leave is over next year, I am trying out some new routines to help me out when I know every week is going to be a bit of a time crunch.

The difference between one and two kids comes down to time management. You need to be that much more organized to orchestrate your family lives.

In my attempt to be proactive, I have become friends with a slow cooker. AKA the old school crock pot. I must say, there is something to be said about having your dinner done at 8 in the morning, and all you have to do is wait. If you are home, stir a few times, but other than that... not too much. I am quickly becoming a little enamored of this time saver...

So far, I have tried a beef stew, butter chicken/red curry chicken, and today, I am going for pulled pork. I saw how it was done on Thanksgiving, and I am a little excited. Dinner is already ready, I have some of those buns you throw in the oven to warm up, and a prepackaged coleslaw package. Viola! I could even manage this dinner after a long day at work... I am definitely open to any suggestions that may be out there....

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ruined by a good book.

I am having a hard time reading fluff and formulaic writers.

Fancy that.

In the last few months, I have picked up a few stellar reads, and I willingly admit, I am also on a bit of a Rankin kick as well. I have also picked up a few not so stellar reads. I zipped my way through an Johansen book, and it struck me I had read this book by her, with a slightly different twist and different names before. It made me a little sad, I used to really enjoy her books. I guess I shouldn't have followed that one up with one she wrote with her son... a thread of a plot, and just so out there, I could not do it. Shelved. It will be paid forward. I just want a little more from my books right now - even just a little more plot and character development... maybe not real, but not so far fetched either.

I am reading a Turow book, the Burden of Proof. I have read a few of his books, and they are different. Really good plot development and different characters. They are flawed, and their stories are really quite interesting even if on the surface, they don't appear to be.

I am sitting on the new Gabaldon, I am not sure what exactly I am waiting for, but I will jump in to that one at the right time. I am also sittong on the new Brown... that too I am holding off reading until I am in the mood. I am not sure why I am waiting to read these two, especially with the Gabaldon, I waited so long for the next one to come out that I don't want to rush it. Some novels you savor, and with the exception of the Fiery Cross, Gabaldon's are personal favorites.

Speaking of which, any recommendations of some good reads??? I am currently in need of some.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

N1H1Nooooonsense

With the exception of our wee dude, my family has been vaccinated against the nasty flu going around.

I do not like how the media attention has created a form of hysteria about this flu. I am nervous. I am really glad we've had the shot, especially for Brandon. Once you have kids, it really isn't about you anymore, and having held the big B through a flu as he puked all over me, again and again and again, I want to spare him this nasty go around. It does not help he has an underlying medical condition, so to speak. Of course, the day before we were to get the shot, the boys both had some cold symptoms happening. What I am getting back around to saying is that I don't normally like to get these kind of shots, but, I felt I had to this year, that it would be irresponsible not to get it. That every newspaper headline except today screamed out the panic (thank you big O for being a different news topic, 100 more days to go until a new type of chaos on the wet coast) for how many days running doesn't help. Nor do the images of people standing in line for hours and hours.

I talked to our pediatrician, Ken talked to his doctor, and I talked to mine. None have ever seen a flu hit young people like this one does. They all whole heartedly recommended we all get it. With my doctor, he was concerned, and was happy to give me the vaccine, which is a first (I have avoided the other rounds, I'm healthy!). It's hard to go against that kind of advice, even if I am a little begrudging about doing it.

Now, that being said, the shot I got after Connor's birth for having the RH - factor was worse than this one! Connor was a rock star for his 4 month old shots, and is now sleeping peacefully. Brandon is tearing apart his sandbox, and for that I am happy. Three year olds are pretty full on. I feel like he has been cooped up the last few days and it is good to see him blowing off some steam.

Wow. Lookee that. I think I can officially join the ranks for NaBloPoMo. Woo woo! Of course, I say this now...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Whatever works.

So maybe, I worked some magic when I realized November had already started and I was hoping to do a little NaBloPoMo again this year.. I missed doing it last year!

It seems that all of the information management courses I have been to is starting to sink in. Either that or having two hard drives roll over and quit in the last year has also been a good motivator.

I am finally making the time to organize our photos, and other various CDs and mixed DVDs we have laying around. When you can buy a 100 blanks for under $30, it is amazing how they breed and lay around creating more shiny discs.

Our original organization method isn't working anymore. I have devised an easier way to keep track of all of our photos chronologically. Of course, I got there after putting together all the photo discs we had everywhere. Some loose, some in sleeves, some in binders, some shoved in spindles, some just, well, somehow they got themselves found. It feels like a huge job. I also want to get some more photos printed out, and just stay on top of it. I have made the end of the month official organize the monthly photos, do the labeling, the archiving, and then the backing up time.

Now I have to figure out how we will print and have some for future. I think it is really important to have something, and not just a bunch of discs in order. There is something to be said about having photos (or books for that matter) in your hand. To see them, to feel them. My mom is going through her photos too, and she was looking to throw out a few of the older books because they had the sticky pages that ruin photos eventually. I was horrified when I saw what pictures she was leaving behind, and that made me appreciate what those photos meant to me as a kid, growing up, and being able to refer to them. You don't remember everything, and some memories are constructed around the images that exist from your youth, so I guess that is the other motivation behind getting our photos organized. Our past. Our images. Organized in a way that makes sense to us. Our favorites.

I have 2006 pretty much done, and 2009 looks good. 2007 and 2008 look like more work. I enjoy it - it is also just having the time to think, and just get'er done. I look at all the backup discs we have, and so many are partial, and with the old organizing system. I am glad we have the back ups, but I will reburn after I finish off the new chronological system so it is easier to see what we have, and find it, when we want something.

Then come the videos!! What have I gotten myself in to? Ah yes, just in case. I couldn't imagine my hard drive rolling over again and not having the photos especially backed up. Lots of memories buried in our computer. Phew. Damn wordy for nearly midnight.

Monday, November 2, 2009

And why isn't she performing for the big event?

Not that I need to take much issue with how Olympic performers are being chosen, but after seeing Susan Aglukark in a nice, intimate concert, I can't help but wonder why her music and her message has slipped past the organizers??? Hello, strong Canadian woman who does a lot of work supporting her communities??!!!

For our second night in as many nights, Ken and I got a date night. Aglukark is a nice storyteller, has a great backup band, has a beautiful singing voice, and put on a good show. She sings in both Inuit and English, and her songs have simple but profound messages (and stories) to tell. It was cool, she even opened the second half of her set up to questions before she launched in to the rest of her music. It was a really nice night.

Halloweening

Well, that was October. Somewhere along the line, I have really come to embrace the month of October. From Thanksgiving, pumpkin patches, the coming of Autumn, Hallowe'en, and all the rest, I just really enjoy this month as the seasons turn.

We've had a cool weekend so far, even if I felt a bit wiggy yesterday for a while. We saw Flogging Molly at the Commodore on Friday night. They were just awesome. I had a Guinness, got to hang out with my man sans kids, and got to enjoy the night out in an adult establishment. Not many costumes until we got out and wandered out on to Granville, and the show was just kick ass. The opening band was full of long 80's hair and enthusiasm and may be good in a few years, the second band, old school punks from Winnipeg were great... and then Flogging Molly. They were just awesome. I jumped around. I bounced around. I enjoyed my position to the side of the stage at the edge of the pit. Ahh. I needed that. The music was just pumping - loved it when they played Rebel of the Sacred Heart, Drunken Lullabies, and the Devil's Dancefloor... and all the others too. Lots of energy, the band all wore cheesy costumes, and one of the best concerts I have seen in years...

Halloween was fun - Brandon was an alligator, and Connor was Tigger. Too cute! We did the mall thing (not really my cup of tea but was good for Ken's mom to come out with us) and then some trick or treating around our hood. Can't say there are a lot of kids in our area so it was more get a little candy and chat to our neighbors for the token time a year.. friends were over, and we hung out for the night. It was cool - next year, maybe some fireworks.

We are getting it together to go to another concert tonight.. I can't believe that we have tickets for two concerts in three days and that is almost the same amount of concerts that we have been to in three years... gaining the extra hour hasn't really helped today - Brandon was up early, and our schedules seem just a little off.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Shedding.

Ah yes. I remember this. A few months after your babe makes it's grand arrival ... your hair starts to fall out. When it is as long as mine, lovely hairballs that you get to vacuum up. Joy.

It started off a miserable day, and then the wind chased the rains away. It has turned in to a beautiful day - and I am busy cleaning. The usual Monday chaos. Plus, my book club gals are coming over, so I am using a little bit more elbow grease than usual. Ah, who am I kidding, some weekends I just go on strike when it comes to housecleaning and then come Monday, it is time to bring order back to chaos.

We have been reading a book that I would recommend highly as both an inspirational read, and one that has made me kick back and reflect on a few things. We are reading Three Cups of Tea, an autobiographical book about a fellow named Greg and how he is working to bring change to world, a little bit at a time. I think this is a really important book because it focuses on what one person can do, and how much a little kindness can mean. Whether it being nursed back to health, or brining education to poverty stricken folk. I am not going to have this book done before we meet, and although I borrowed a copy, I have picked up my own copy to have on the shelf, to be read again one day, and perhaps loaned out to a few people as well to "spread the word". It is enlightening to read a book about Pakistan and Afghanistan, about it's peoples, and how one man's vision to reach out has had a grassroots, significant difference. I think that is where it is all about, living honourably, reaching out when you can, truly recognizing the delicate web we all live in. The driving force behind the book and the movement, Greg, is inspiring in his humility and drive, as well as his passion. His passion for life, to better the plight of those for others, his love of his family, and even his approach to life in general is unique and makes for a thoughtful read. This also puts a different slant on what has been happening in the middle east, perhaps helping someone like me be a little more understanding.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Music...

I love autumn. I love the colours, I love cold and crisp mornings, I love how the seasons shift. This year, I am even happy to see the rain (I won't say that too loud). I love Hallowe'ening. I like getting dressed up, carving pumpkins, scaring myself silly, and honouring our dead.

Strangely enough, all the bands I have wanted to see for a while are in town in the next few weeks. We have tickets to see Flogging Molly at the place with the bouncing floor. I can't wait. I see a Guinness in my future, and a lot of jumping around to their crazy celtic, punk rock sounds. I can't wait.

Then, ZZ Top is also coming to town, but out in the Bible Belt. All told, two tickets are pretty much $200. I hummed. I hawed. Could we drop that much to see ZZ Top? I have wanted to see them for years... Could I justify spending that much to see one band play? Especially knowing I would get that much more show in a smaller venue a few weeks earlier? Nope. I couldn't do it. Those tickets are too rich for my blood. Or I am just too damn cheap. I have a hard time justifying dropping $200 for a concert. Ain't happening. It isn't even a FESTIVAL!!! So bah.

And now we are going to check out Susan Aglukark. I happened to notice her concert in the weekly series, and mentioned it to my DH. Ken has been a fan for years, and she has a beautiful voice. Her songs tell stories. I just laugh because I want to see the crazy celtic punk rock band, and my hubby wants to see the culturally rich storytelling singer. We make one helluva team I must say!

Two concerts in a week - and a whole lot of hallwe'ening, now that is a rare and unusual event...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Transitions into a ramble

Well, the last month has just screamed by.

Being a parent is a huge learning curve. Sometimes that curve is really steep, and at other times, it is a gently curving slope.

In the last month, Brandon pretty much dropped his afternoon nap, Connor's routine is continually evolving, and I am trying to figure it all out and get in time to get the house organized, and maybe eventually find time to get some physical exercise in again (the Wii helps, but it has been off for a while now.. I was SO GOOD in July and August.. that afternoon was so lovely... and now it is so gone.. )

It was hard letting the afternoon nap go - that was my time. I found that was when I got organized, did bills, cleaned up, read a little, did a little exercise, caught up on the net, let my mind just drift... I haven't quite figured out this stage yet - how to sort out "quiet" time for Brandon, and find some time for me in there too. Our routines are shifting - now that the weather is turning (although what is up with the mild nights, I think we are all ready for a colder night and a better sleep, but it isn't happening) I am trying to organize indoor activities and a schedule that works.. definitely a work in progress.

Speaking of work in progress, that describes me. You have to laugh at yourself sometimes, but all I can say is that I am trying to be the best me I can be, but sometimes it feels like I fall flat on my face. I worry that I come off too strong, or too hyper, or just "too much". I am learning how to give myself more processing time, that not everything has to happen yesterday. I am learning more about pacing, although I am not there yet. I am learning more about character arcs, mine. Ken and I are a good balance to each other because we meet somewhere in the middle about all this and I think we have a lot to learn from each other.

I wonder about my communication skills - for some things I am a rock star. Talking about some stuff, I am a wee babe in the woods and you would think that I couldn't talk my way out of a paper bag. *SIGH*. It seems like when it really matters, it is so much harder to articulate yourself. Just because I am over edu-macated doesn't mean I can always get the right words and meaning across, my heart is in the right place even if the rest seems to be lagging behind.

Then there is talking to my mom and my brother. I just don't get why it has to be so difficult, and for such similar reasons. With my mom, it is like she is such a convoluted thinker, it is hard unraveling what she is trying to say, or where her head is at. With my brother, he is so wrapped up in his own life, I don't think he gets what as ass he comes off as. I was trying to tell him the other day that I think we need to sit down and have a talk about how we are talking to each other because I don't like feeling frustrated or pissed off after talking to him, and it always seems like he is ready to shovel it at me, like it is always me that is failing without any pause to see what he is doing, and the impact his words and actions have on those around him. Lashing out and then immediately apologizing doesn't really cut it as a long term strategy.

I get it, I am not perfect. I can think of countless examples of when I say the wrong thing, my face is arranged wrong, the wrong reaction comes out, even when I am struggling to find the right words to say and already both my feet are sticking out of my mouth...(yes my dear hubby, this also means sometimes how I try to communicate with you and how I am not always the best communicator, I am trying, and am sorry for when it seems my wires get crossed). It really seems communication skills goes down the toilet when it comes to my bro, and then my mom. Or vice versa. I want a better relationship with them, sometimes it hurts this feeling of disconnect - how we talk to each other is just brutal sometimes. I am not all that pleased with where it is at now, truthfully it isn't that bad, but it isn't that great either. I don't feel particularly close to either one of them, I feel like I need to treat my brother with kid gloves on, and with my mom, tread lightly because she always seems to be "so stressed out", and her short term memory sucks, especially when it comes to keeping me in the loop of what is going on in her life, and our extended family's lives. Change isn't a one way street in how we talk to each other. We need to meet somewhere in the middle, and be open to growth and not just finger waggling. My bro likes to point out I am busy. Well, yes I am. I have two young kids and I like to spend time with my hubby. Shocking. He doesn't have these commitments, therefore it is easier for him to come to me, but he doesn't want to see it like that because for him, it is never him, it is always someone else. I really try to avoid that, and look inside first, and then expand that awareness out.

Well, this is a post that is more cathartic for me than anything else. A ramble, a derailed train of thought. I don't even know if this post arrived in the station.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Nudisms, to the Whys.

Welcome to life with a three year old.

With toilet training came the nudist phase in Brandon's life. I knew it was coming, and it has been amusing. Sometimes he is partially clad, sometimes not.

Now, we are moving through the nudist phase and in to the "why's".

Our conversations are interesting.

Hey mom, why are we having pasta for dinner?
..Well, because we all like it.
Why?
..It tastes good, and it is good for us.
Why?
..Well, pasta has carbs, and tomatoes are really good for us. You also like burger meat, which is helpful to get protein.
Why?
..protein helps build muscle and you are getting really tall.
Why?
..Because your mom and dad are tall.
Why?
..That is how genetics works.
Why?
.. Because the sky is blue.
Why?
..Because that is how the light is being reflected and how the light is translated in to our brains.
Why?
.. That is how it is.
Why?
Why?
Why?

Why's test your patience. You can also come up with some pretty good answers too. You can also come up with some pretty lame answers as well. See previous conversation for blatant examples.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Lussier Hot Springs


When in the Rockies... seek out Hot Springs. Since my first trip to Fairmont with Ken, I have discovered the joys of visiting the local hot springs. First trip back in 2003 we went to Radium, which is beautiful, and this trip I wanted to taste what it was like to experience both a rugged and undeveloped springs, and then what Fairmont was actually like.

Talk about extremes. Lussier Hot Springs was breathtaking. Unfortunately it was just too cold to keep Connor outdoors, so Ken graciously took him to the van whilst I plunged in with Brandon... man, I reflect on some of things these two have already experienced.. and they aren't five!!


It was cold, there was snow on the ground, and you are 18km down a logging road on route to a provincial park. I figured there wouldn't be many folks around, but there was a steady stream of people coming and going. Talking to folks, I figure it takes a bit more a curious soul to travel to a place like this, and a bit adventurous too. The first pool is really hot, the middle pool, it is quite nice, and the lower pools are cooler (sounds like a nursery rhyme). Being me, I did fling myself in to the glacier fed river and then run back in to the pools - it was awesome. Talk about feeling alive! Brandon found the hot pool too hot... so we stayed in the middle pool. I could have stayed there all day - next time hopefully both kids are of an age we can take them both in, or that we can leave the kids behind with family, and Ken and I make an outing of it...

Just beautiful though...an experience that will really stand out for me!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

So what shade of brown is that guinness?

I must quote an old, dear girlfriend with whom I have seen many years pass. Like a few others where we weren't always on the same page at the same time, we seemed to keep a thread alive until we were back on the same page again.

Last night, with my bookclub babes, we were talking about the past, and she said, "you know you are in a different stage of life when you are no longer talking about the beautiful shade of brown that your guinness is, rather, the rather earthy shade of brown that your kids movement was."

Yup. She nailed it. What? Spare time and money to kick back and drink beers until the wee hours of the night? I used to do that?? Me? Really??!! It seems like a lifetime ago - now, in the middle of diapers and the end of toilet training, nightly wakings for feedings, and budgets, and reading books, and playing with cool toys. Yeah, I wouldn't trade it for the world. Everything in it's own time, and I am glad I have the fuzzy memories of the past to give me some chuckles, but really, the here and now is pretty damn cool and I feel pretty grateful.

Sometimes you hear an old song, or see an old face, or even just chat about where you have been and where you are going, and you realize that you have been many different selves, or shades of yourself with a core you. Time marches on, no matter what moment is now.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Now I have to wait?

I just finished reading two most excellent books, Steig Larrson's first two books from the Millenium series - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and then The Girl Who Played with Fire.

The third book won't be translated from Swedish until next year. May in fact. Nothing like finding a few really good books and then having to wait almost a year until the final book will be released. The other unfortunate part is that Larrson passed on 5 years ago, so the series is done with 3 and what apparently originally slated to be 10 books...

I raced through the first book, and then savoured the second book a bit more, knowing that I would be waiting for the final installment, and just really enjoying the read.

These books were great, well off the beaten track, interesting plot, keeps you guessing, the characters are well drawn out, and the social issues revealed in the course of the books were pretty interesting as well. I feel bereft that the books are done - picking up my Deaver just isn't on the same level.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Unnerving.

After a great holiday, and decent border experiences, we arrived home to discover that the fridge got turned off. Bloody hell.

You're tired. Your kids are tired of being cooped up in a moving vehicle. Your cats are clinging to you because you finally got home. It's your parents 40th wedding anniversary and you are making dinner. Your youngest needs to be breast fed, and everyone needs to go the can. Your fridge is off, and the meat had melted and there is water and crap on the floor. And then the funky smell of food going bad. It felt like a bit of a catastrophe. Something to be said about being a team with your spouse. Ken tackled the roast and the bulk of cleaning the fridge, and I dealt with the kids. Well, kid. Brandon was having a nap, and thankfully, he continued to sleep once we got home which really helped us just to deal with the mess. Connor was a bit out of sorts, understandably after being in total chaos on the road as an almost three month old!

We lost pretty much everything. The fridge stuff, the freezer stuff. I had stockpiled a bit knowing we would be on a budget getting home from a holiday, and it's just all gone. I don't think neither of us knew how to react. I think we did a damn good job holding it all together. Just frustrated. More than likely Brandon was playing in the fridge and moved the dial, I could have also left it off when I used the microwave and turned off the fridge to not overload the circuits, yet regardless of the finger wagging, the end result was still the same.

We have a beautifully cleaned fridge. Shopping wasn't an option yesterday. It's hard to think of the bits and pieces you need to replace, or what you actually keep in your fridge. Ken's mom came with me today and I was grateful for the help, especially since Connor's routine has been off. Brandon stayed and had a cool day with my dad. It truly takes a village to raise kids, there are moments when you just need helping hands.

The empty, clean fridge, the thing is, it's also unnerving. We have never had an empty fridge, for me, not since I moved out years and years ago. It's strange looking in and not seeing milk, or eggs, or anything beyond margarine and ketchup and mustard. Shopping was a strange experience, trying to figure out what you needed again to create a good base, and then what you would just get in later shops, the more specialized products you don't use all the time. It is a bit strange when you have nothing in there - we had lots of dry stuffs, but your fridge.. I feel much better now that we have food again. The dial will be covered in hockey tape. Hockey tape is right up there with duct tape.. more uses than at first expected.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mt. St. Helens



Well, we originally intended to come home on Saturday. On a whim, we decided to stay another night and see Mt. St. Helens.

Wow.

It's amazing what sits in memory, and what comes back. I was only 7 when St. Helens blew, but I still remember... and seeing the landscape wasn't what I expected. Yes, I have google-earthed the area a few times, and yes, the area around the eruption/blast zone was about what I expected, what I felt after seeing St. Helens was surprisingly though- I felt. hope. The vegetation is lush once you are away from the immediate area around the mount, and it is beautiful. Where getting to Rainier is a twisting, old growth lined road, the road to Helen is a gently rolling road with some incline. It is visually strange seeing so many trees the same height, and the noble firs were gorgeous to see as a grove and not as a Christmas tree. Nobles are very symmetrical, so interesting to the eye as you speed by.

We had some terrible weather at the top, got soaked a few times. Although, weather on mountains moves pretty fast, so we stuck it out and ended up with some pretty good views of the mount. Never did see the whole thing, but we did see the glacier that is forming, and most of the outlying areas. The devastation 30 years later is unreal. Seeing the green on the slopes, and seeing the rebirth is uplifting and reminds you of the cycles of life. We will be back one day to see even more of the mountains.

Must say, traveling with the young ones isn't always easy. Dealing with food, bathroom trips, breastfeeding in the van, and then when Connor would cry, and cry, and well... cry until he would fall asleep. When you take away the routine, life does get a little crazy. All in all, the boys were troopers considering that we covered about 1500 kms in 4 days...





Friday, September 18, 2009

Mt. Rainier

Today was a surprising day. NW Trek was a good zoo and we ended up seeing most of the animals that they had on site. A lot of space, in the woods, a very Pacific Northwest type experience. In some ways, not as many animals as I would have expected, but very nicely done. Also nice to have a 2-1 from going to Point Defiance the day before. One advantage of the zoos/aquariums stateside is that they are so much more reasonably priced... $15 per adult to get in, and that includes the 45 minute tram ride to see the "prey" type animals (moose, elk, deer, mountain goats).

After the trek we zoomed back to the scenic railway. Instead of billing itself the scenic railway of Mt. Rainier, it should have read, "nice, two hour trip through trees, going away from Mt. Rainier". Not what we expected, a bit of a bust. Being on the train was nice, and we sat in an outdoor car... made me glad we also had a 2-1 for this! The highlight was going over a trestle bridge, but of course, that would be when Brandon had to go to the loo. Verrra interesting helping yer kid go on a moving train in an old school bathroom. One for the books!

It was disappointing though - we really wanted to see Mt. Rainier. After the train, it was time to drive. Mt. Rainier was calling us. It was beautiful. Something to be said about seeing a huge mountain on it's own. The rockies are amazing, but you almost get a bit jaded because everything is majestic. There is something to be said about seeing a mountain close up, being in the meadows, gazing up at the peak. We will be back. There are some amazing places to stay, and I would love to see all of the park. We would have been better off just spending the day cruising the national park rather than the railway. Live and learn.


Christine Falls, on the route to Paradise (area close to peak where you can stay in a fancy lodge)

view of Mt. Rainier