Saturday, January 29, 2011

Alright teeth, come in already

If it isn't a whinge about sorting and letting go, it must be a little whinge about teething. Damn, it is getting old. I was so glad once we started Connor out on real food, and once he cut his first tooth... now I can't wait for those incisors to finally cut.. get those four up, and then the 2 year old molars, and we are laughing.. that is until the next milestone.

When you are pregnant, you don't realize that you trade one milestone for the next, and then one worry, for something different. Kids make you appreciate that things evolve and change all the time, regardless of whether or not we want it to.

I can't believe we will have one kid starting kindergarten this year. Woah. It also looks like we won't be completely firm in what school the Don will be in until the fall rolls around. It seems we are on the waiting list.. and I can't really ask where we are on that list, until after the 4th. Waiting sucks. Right up there with teething.

Today I also learned my youngest is not so good at feeding the ducks. He wanted to throw himself in the lake to catch those ducks. It was a misty morning, not really raining, damp and cold. Cabin fever has struck, so I figured just bundle up and head out. I will post a pic or two tomorrow... but my little guy was covered in mud because he really wanted to get to those ducks. He would lay on the ground, and laugh, and then try to crawl under the fence so he could get closer... Our big walk this morning was all of 100 metres - a little feeding, a little child herding, and honestly, a little bit of fun even if it gets old picking your child up repeatedly and putting him back on the right side of the fence. It is all about the little joys.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


When I mentioned that I was reading this book at work, a fellow bookworm told me I was in for a good read. Since I am following it up with a book that she recommended, she laughed and said I was in for a great month of January books.

This book did not disappoint. This is one of my bookclub books, and other than knowing the title, I didn't know what this book was about before I cracked it open. The Help... I didn't expect it to be truly about the "help" down south, during the time of Martin Luther King...

What a great book - when I finished this in the wee hours of Sunday morning, I wondered, what do I read next? I grabbed a few of my normal escapist books, and well, they just didn't seem to measure up so I waited until I got back to work on Monday to pick up the book I had started there (In the Woods, by Tana French... which will appear here in a week, give or take). This is one of those books that isn't wrapped up all pretty and complete, it leaves you with some questions, and wondering how things are going to sort out. This is a story of people, about and without colour, what life was like in the 60s, life in Mississippi... I could keep listing tidbits of what this is about but truly, what a great book.

This is told from three main perspectives: Aibileen, Minny, and then Skeeter. Aibileen is an older black maid whose son has recently died, Minny a younger black maid with a sassy mouth and problems at home with five children, and Skeeter is a burgeoning writer that questions race relations, her own position in her white society who doesn't seem to fit in to her old world anymore. It is beautifully interwoven, and feels like it captures a bit of an essence of the time. Reading a book like this I wonder it will be like when I read about the 80s or 90s as my formative years and how they are treated in retrospect in novels...

You will laugh, you will perhaps shed a tear, but what a profound novel. One thing (of many) I will take away is the idea of planting positive thoughts in the minds of our children - telling them that they are kind, and smart, and that they are loved... simple, and yet can form such a solid foundation. I do this most of the time anyways, but when you think about it in a way to reinforce their being, and their potential... powerful stuff. This book is peopled by characters I will remember, and I would wholeheartedly recommend this book as a worthy read... I am sure it will make the top 5 reads of 2011.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I needed a new hat...

Rolling out my latest knitting project, a hat for myself. I took a pattern I found online and then reworked it for my own purposes... I think it turned out pretty good! Next on the list... viking hats for the kids :D

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bringing out my last knitting project

Over the last few years, it seems that my knitting has focused on baby blankets, dish clothes, and hats. Months ago I had meant to post about the latest baby blanket - and here it is. Much thanks to Kelz.. I have discovered a place to get amazing, incredible, and very reasonably priced wool. It is beautiful to work with, and the colours are beautiful. I prefer to not knit in acrylic, etc, and favour wools and cottons. This is a good weight, and not itchy!

This was a pleasure to make. When I make a baby blanket, I pick a knitting pattern I like and just go for it. I eyeball the size, and then decide when I am done when it looks "just big enough". Seems to work for me!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

and now it snows.

We had an anticlimatic snow day last week, where we were told it would dump, and then it would warm up and rain. Which it did. I think that for the month of January we are well over 20 cms /200mm/lots of inches of rain... gotta love living in a rain forest! Snow was briefly mentioned for this morning, but it was to be a mild flirtation with the white, wet stuff. No accumulations were mentioned. Well, it was an interesting drive in to work this morning, and I am glad that I have a 4x4. Nothing like going uphill in 4 high. Everything is white, is a beautiful winter wonderland out there and days like this wish I actually had a smart phone that could take pictures.

I also should have stayed up the extra half hour and finished off the hat I am knitting myself... but it was my book that drew me in. I seem to be having a bit of an insomniac week - I have been short changing myself sleep every night. This means I am having more than my usual one cuppa joe a day too... (when I can justify it because I am that tired)

Ah teething, how I love thee. Connor's eye teeth are so .. close!! You can see the pointy outlines, and his hands are in his mouth all the time, and he is a wee bit cranky. Just cut the damn things. Teething sucks.

I am off and running in a ramble.. so the infinite wisdom of the folks in a self-regulating board censoring the lyrics for Money for Nothing. Are you kidding me? Really, I don't drop those kind of f-bombs, or n-bombs for that matter... but going back 20 years to a classic song and recommending that it is no longer played?? Give me a break - there are so many way, way more offensive words/lyrics out there than to target this one... really?

Yet one of the reasons I smack my forehead on occaison. That and some local politics... like the Vancouver mayor who blithely watches the petting zoo close at Stanley Park and then spends millions on other projects... really? there is a role of a place for kids to get in touch with a little bit of nature, especially in the big city! You want a green city where people care? Nice when it isn't a foreign concept and these kids can feel and touch and interact with these animals and maybe realize us humans aren't alone...

Ramble, rant, what is the difference?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A day of one's own

Yesterday I more or less reached that point where I really didn't have much reserves left in the tank. Lack of sleep, busy days, the grind of the last few months finally caught up to me and I took a day off for me. Funny I feel the need to say yes, I did feel like hell and I don't think I would have contributed much if I would have gone in to work so I feel justified in my sick day.. does the head ache count? the bleariness around the edges? the overall exhaustion??

It was glorious to do nothing. Well, I did do a few somethings - I parked my ass on the couch and I caught up on some CSI Miami episodes... and I ate popcorn, read some of my book, had a shower, and I watched Eat, Pray, Love. I also starting knitting myself a cap, and frittered the day away until I had to go and pick up the kids from their respective care centres. It was awesome. I needed it.

It helped unfrazzle my nerves, shake off the headache, and just do nothing to more or less help refocus my energy. It is ironic how hard it is to give permission to one's self to not be so busy, or to be doing something "constructive". In the moments before I went to pick up the boys I did a quick "tidy up" so it didn't look like I was a mini-hurricane that went through the house on my much needed day of rest. There is something to be said about not having to say anything to anyone for a day, to have a few hours to do nothing but be, or to do pleasureable things (like rest, read, watch mindless TV) for some time to just recover for lack of a better term.

Being a full-time working mom is a balance, and sometimes it tips one way or the other and yesterday and taking some time off (without anyone around) helped put it somewhere back in to the "I can deal with this" stage again... it feels like I have knocked a few things of the to do list, and I finally got out the last of my Christmas cards... not everyone got one this year, and I have mixed feelings for next year, what I will do. For the amount of cards we send out, there is a solid few we always get... and even this year that number seemed to dwindle. I couldn't imagine not doing cards... will have to see what we will do next year, if it is cards, or a family letter, or what feels right.

Still no word about the k-kids.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Normally I graze at my desk, and then take off for a walk on my lunch, but today, work has been totally nuts. So instead of getting out for a walk on my lunch and blowing off steam, here I am, scarfing back food and frittering away time on the web. Okay, I may get a chance to pick up a book... but it just seems that when I stick around, the time just goes by way too quickly.

I am experiencing the joys of the hurry up and wait and do we have space for my kid in the k-kids program so he can go to the elementary school of our choice. I hate that we have to wait, and that there is a huge unknown factor right now.

Yes, he has a space in our catchment area, but we have been operating under the assumption that since we are "in" in our daycare/preschool close to my work, that it makes sense that we should be "in" for the next level. I have learned, that is not the case. We are looking at a 10-20% chance Brandon will get in to the kingergarten program here, so you need to help us out and do the k-kids dance. Not that the school here is better than close to home, it just makes life so much easier if he is up here, and then our before and after school care is sorted, and then eventually Connor will come on up here, and join the toddler and all will good.

Then I know we don't have the chaos of changing schools when (not if) we move...

FKUC. Registration for kindergarten is Feb 8th. I hope we get good news before then. If not, we register and start looking elsewhere... the part that sucks is that our home daycare is close, but not close enough to the elementary school and already does before and after school care but at a different elementary school. Life was looking a little simpler than it does now. Fingers crossed it all sorts out in our favour.

Part that sticks in my craw is that you think that once you are "in", you are "in". The fact that there is this chaos and level of uncertainty sucks. They should be way more up front about this when you sign your kid up... especially since they force a graduated start in the beginning only to turf them out in the end if there isn't enough space..

/end rant

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Three weeks since the last book and two in one day..

Margaret Horsfield
Cougar Annie's Garden

This wasn't quite what I expected when we talked about reading this for book club, but I am really glad that I have read it. If you are interested in learning a wee bit more of this truly interesting character from west coast history - do take a gander at this website for a little more information.

Not quite a coffee table book, not quite a biography, not quite a historical piece, and not quite just a non-fiction account of Cougar Annie and the Boat Basin region of the west coast of Vancouver Island... this book is many things, and although I stalled out midway through the book, I am really glad that I have read it. It felt like something I would have read in school - but I enjoyed it far more not being forced to read it for marks!

Having lived near the coast all my life, and spent many days up the Sunshine coast and on Vancouver Island, I could appreciate the story that this book had to tell. It wasn't as much about Cougar Annie as I thought it would be, but it is a real blend of her history, the history of the time, a story of survival, and a story of how the land has been used and abused, and then revered over time. You can learn a lot about the history of the west coast by spending a few hours reading this book and enjoying the beautiful pictures, and appreciating the fortitude and strength it took for Annie to live and thrive in this environment, and the garden that she tended for a lifetime. Hard not to admire someone with the kind of grit and survival instinct that Annie had - very practical, very wily, very much an interesting character.

Different things struck me as I read this book - memories of my grandparents when they had a store in Pender Harbour, how invasive broom is, wandering along and my picking my way along the rocks along the shore, the smell of a boat on the water, herring and dogfish, the wonders and rhythms of being close to the ocean. Then the wildness of the land, of trying to tame it and bend it to your will, the desire to carve out a garden and not always succeeding (hell, I see that in my own backyard)... this incredible place we call home. The North American west is truly like the wild west in many ways, and reading this helps you appreciate what BC is beyond the borders of the GVRD and this crazy woman - how she survived - and having had two kids in hospitals, I couldn't imagine having had most of my kids at home, literally isolated in the middle of nowhere.. gives you a different kind of appreciation for what hard work truly is.

A snow day

We got a snow day! Got the call from the phone tree moments after checking out our website to see I had a day off on my hands. What an unexpected pleasure. There are days where they should shut us down and never do, and then days where we do get shut down and I am just grateful and gleeful. Today felt like a bonus - time to spend with the kids, fritter away from time, make playdough, watch some tv with my hubby, read... and now, stay up way too late because I am over-tired.

A mere 12 days in to the new year, and I am finally finishing off my first book.

It felt like it took forever to finish, even though I was enjoying it. You can tell when the kids don't go to bed at a reasonable time when my chances to read go down to the tubes. So my first book to note for the year -

John Lescroart
The Hunt Club

A far better read than his first novel, Sunburn, which I turned a few pages of. I really enjoy his novels and his characters, and reading about San Francisco - of which I have a new yen to visit again sometime in the next decade... I think that Lescroart is more cerebral, and his writing style appeals (as a legal thriller) to me far more than a Grisham does. This book introduces a few new characters to the mix of Hardy and Gltizky, and it was a little jumpy to start, but once I was in, I thoroughly enjoyed it. A good break from reality.

I was just itching to get this one finished today, and I was relieved when I finally did. You know when you reach that point of no return when you are reading a book where you just want to finish the damn thing and move on? I was there this morning, so it was a bit distracting and I was glad my youngest had an early nap and my elder enjoyed some cartoons until I finished the book off with a flourish.

Monday, January 10, 2011


I can't really call it a "new years resolution" but one of the things that I am working on is just trying to stay on top of things around the house.

Things like doing the dishes right after a meal, or picking up more things as you go along and not walking around them, or not leaving the house looking like T0ys R US exploded all over ever square inch of carpeting (getting the kids to clean up before bed in other words)... I am learning that it is all about time management. Getting things done, making those lists, and unless I am totally done, not letting things slide until I am looking at a good 4 hour clean up on Saturday morning.. because frankly, that sucks.

I am so not a perfect housekeeper, and I will never have a house where you could eat off of the floors (and that isn't neccessarily a good thing for your immune system, we need some dirt, dammit) but I have come to an understanding at last why it does help to spend a few minutes in the morning tidying up, or sweeping more often, or choosing to do the dishes right away rather than letting it go (which is what I used to do, and then you face a mountain of dried dished the next morning) ... damn, yet another sign I am not a kid anymore. As if this latest batch of kids in post secondary wasn't bad enough!!!

So if my theme for the last couple of years was learning how to let go of things (getting pretty good at it now), this year's lesson is all about management.

I started off calling this post "a smoother morning" only to realize I didn't even mention that this morning didn't suck. Got the boys fed in a reasonable amount of time, dressed pretty good, and even to daycare without much fuss, and then walked in to work with a minute or two to spare! Tonight we are going to aim to get our youngest to bed earlier than ever.. we seem to be getting his nap time all wrong and he ends up over-tired and won't go to bed at a reasonable time.... will see if that helps...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

For the person on your list that has it all...

Is this not a great gift idea for a burgeoning teenaged boy?

5 pounds of glorious gummy bear...

A close second is their gummy worm.

I could not imagine.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Helps me through the day

Damn, is he cute or what??? So the hat doesn't fit... who cares? Must say, I cannot wait for those eye teeth to come through. Teething sucks. 8 more teeth to go.

You may have guessed, a short term goal is to post more. It is early yet.

I am also going to steal a page from the KittenWhore's book and start listing/reviewing all the books I read this year. Technically I have already read one, but I am not going to count it because after 50 or so pages, I started to skim read it since it just didn't pull me along. It was Lescroart's first novel, Sunburn, and although it is amazing to see how far he has come as an author, this novel did nothing for me. Which was surprising, since I really enjoy every thing else he has written! Good to know... and it is in the pile to head back to the used bookstore.

On a similar vein, interesting how some authors seem to peak out and get really repetitive, and others ripen like a fine wine. I find that Lescroart is like that fine wine... but that Reiches, whom I read the whole lot as quickly as I could... seemed to peak out and plateau (although I will still read her next novels, just not in the rush or priority I would have previously).

Monday, January 3, 2011

More unexpected sun

We have had a stretch of sunny days and it has been wonderful. I love cold and crisp and blue skies.

Hard to believe that this is it for the 2010-2011 Christmas Season. I have been off a whole bunch of days it seems, and some real extremes of experiences.

Christmas was good - but I think I will resolve to do things differently next year. I still haven't mailed out of my cards/photos, and we have made the decision to keep our lights up until at least February. Why not, I say. I will aim to shop earlier, and wrap when purchased and maybe just keep a list. Cram-wrapping one night for 3-4 hours sucks when you work full-time. Baking needs to be done earlier, in smaller batches... spread out the visiting, and just try to pace all of it out better. All in all things went well except we blew our budget and Brandon and Ken got hit with really nasty, awful flu bugs. Which really sucked since that coincided with our trip to Vancouver Island.

I really like Parksville - the family playground there rocks, and there is just a great vibe when you stay near the beach and just go out and walk. Nice to have a place to retreat to when visiting family too. Had a great visit with my aging gran.. we had a good laugh (since she has had one foot in the grave for the last 20 years) since we always say "good bye" when I told her "really, this isn't goodbye, with your karma you are going to make 100!"

Coming home was a bit off - ferry line ups, sick husband, really messy kitchen that didn't improve for a few days... ah, the joys of the season! I was really glad to have the day in between loved ones being sick to just chill, and walk the beach and go to the park... it was nice. The last few days have been good too - the plunge, the birds, the park today... damn if I don't have to go to work tomorrow again. Hard to believe it will be another 6 months before a good sized break...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sandhill Cranes

I think we will make a yearly tradition and head out to the Reifel Bird Sanctuary at some point of every Christmas Holiday. It is such a great counterbalance to Christmas festivities...

Waited for the world to warm up a bit this morning and then the four of us headed out. There is not quick way out here, so it makes for a nice drive. Finally got smart and just brought snowsuits for the boys so they wouldn't get too cold and away we went! I was surprised at how busy it was there, and the range of peoples. I was also suprised at how few times people bunched up on the trails and it felt like there were "too many" people.

We didn't really see any snow geese this time (too bad), but we did get to see the 8 sandhill cranes, which are a really cool bird. Their warble is unique, and they are quite friendly and graceful. Saw many many water fowls, and Connor gladly chased the ducks down. Such a different experience than last time - it helped having Ken along with the extra pair of hands (and that it was a family outing) and that Brandon and Connor can both walk. We brought the wagon along just in case, and it was nice to have so we didn't have a lot of whining from tired kids who didn't want to walk anymore.

I enjoy this winter wonderful - different colours (all earth tones), the brisk fresh air, and the variety of the wildlife that you can chance to see. We even saw an owl driving home!! I think I have only seen owls in the wild twice (once in Ladney and once in Yellowstone).

I must say, those are some damn healthy birds they have there! All plump and verrrrra happy!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Years, 2011

Penguin Plunge 2011

It would appear that there is no need for the traditional bucket of ice to be poured in to Rocky Point... this kind man is clearing off the boat launch for us slightly crazy souls.

I was really and truly shocked. Brandon did the plunge with me! He didn't even cry! Apparently telling him he could have fries (with ketchup, mum) and a burger was all the motivation he needed to chin up when I carried him in with me.

It is still a great way to ring in the New Year... This was swim #8 for me, and in the beginning, English Bay and the Polar Swim was the best.. and then a few times out in Deep Cove... but you know, there is something to be said about doing your yearly dunk in your own community and to be only about 10 minutes away from home instead of 45... This was the first year it truly felt like a polar dip with the ice on the water - this was a bit unexpected as it is tidal in this area!! lots of people watching, and a good vibe.

Happy New Years!