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


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


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.


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.