Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Please sir, I want some more

A couple of months ago Hugh said, "have you ever noticed that Tristan sounds like he has an English accent when he talks?"
"Uh, no." I said very disparagingly.
"Seriously listen to him he totally has an accent."
"He does not."
"He does."


Anyway, I didn't think of it again until we were in Vernon for a wedding in November and about 3 different people said, "Oh how cute, Tristan sounds like he has an accent." He doesn't exchange his 'r's for 'w's which is sort of classic accent sound in a kid or switch his 'th's for 'f's and try as I might I couldn't hear it so I just nodded and smiled, yeah, cute.

Then 3 weeks ago we had our parent/teacher conferences at preschool and at the end the teacher said, "By the way we were just wondering...We've never met Tristan and Ava's dad and we were just wondering if Tristan has an accent because his dad is British or something." Seriously people! There is NO ACCENT!

Last Friday for my birthday a good friend watched my kids so Hugh and I could do dinner and a movie. During the debrief when we went to pick up our sleeping babes Heidi, who knows better, asked, "Is there any chance Tristan is from a British prep school?"
Here in redneck central? Not to my knowledge.

I guess as all the kids were getting ready for bed there was a little disagreement over who was going to get to sleep in the magic bed aka the hide-a-bed. Finally Tristan pointed imperiously to the spare room and told Heidi's boys, "you, you, you," (also he has a slight stutter) "you, you, you, can go sleep in your father's room."

Fine. I admit it. I play tapes of Dicken's while the kids are sleeping. But only for Tristan.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Happy Birthday to me

Having a December birthday is interesting. On one hand I love it - the lights, the sparkle, the celebratory nature of the season. On the other hand I don't love it - it's parties that are not for your birthday and presents that are for under the tree.

Last year was my favourite birthday that I can remember. I turned 30 and we met my very dearest friend Michelle and her husband in Calgary for a weekend of shopping, dining, Stuart Macleaning, and giggling - all sans children, oh except for Sebastian who was two months old and still nursing. But he was so easy it was like having no kids - one night we were 4 hours at dinner and he slept in his carseat under the table the entire time without so much as a squeak. That was a great birthday and I give Hugh much kudos for coming up with the idea and making it happen. It completely makes up for my birthday the first year we were married.

That year we had moved to Vernon from Fort St. John 2 months earlier. Hugh was just starting as a youth pastor and I had been working retail for about a month so we were quite literally poor as church mice. That year we went out to Kelly O'Briens (had to take advantage of the free birthday dinner of course) and Hugh handed me a nicely wrapped parcel that turned out to be a pair of black gloves which I needed and appreciated. A few weeks later I was at an outdoor event of some kind with our new church trying to get to know people, wearing my new sueded black gloves - not real suede, sueded. There's a difference. Anyway it was snowing and with my gloved hands I had brushed the snow off my face throughout the evening. Can you see where this is going yet? When I got home and went to wash my make-up off I saw, to my horror, my face was covered in black, almost camo-like streaks. Awesome.

Now I get that we didn't have much money and I was truly grateful for the gloves, well until the dye came off on my face, but it really rankled when 6 months later for Hugh's birthday he got an xbox. It only took him 6 years to make it up to me. I'd say I got some good mileage out of that one wouldn't you?

This year I'm turning a very anti-climactic 31. We're not doing anything elaborate to celebrate like last year but I am going out for dinner and then to a movie with my husband who I will get all to myself; and since we haven't been out on a date without our kids since last year at my birthday that feels like a real gift indeed.

Hugh was quick to mention that we didn't go out for his birthday this year and that it would be my turn to do some making up. However if the movie tonight turns out to be boring maybe we'll do some making out - I think that should cover it don't you?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Life may now resume.

I have officially worked the Twilight fever out of my system (mostly). I've finished the books. I've read the leaked copy of Midnight Sun online. I've read everything on the Stephenie Meyer website. I've seen the movie and I've watched all the youtube interviews with the cast I can handle.

A few thoughts about Twilight...

1. Book 2 "New Moon" was my favourite of the official series.
2. The 264 pages of "Midnight Sun" (Twilight re-written from Edward's perspective) was my favourite of them all and I really hope Stephenie Meyer finishes it.
3. Book 4 has a very bizarre plot twist which I'm still not sure how I feel about.
4. The word "russet" was so overused in the books potatoes now make me twitchy. Surely there's got to be another description for reddish-brown!
5. The movie was disappointing. The special effects of the superfast running scenes were so terrible several rows (ours included) burst out laughing.
6. I loved Rob Pattinson as Edward even if the emo angst was a trifle overdone. And by trifle I mean extremely.
7. Although I appreciate the efforts brunette actress Nikki Reed put in to transform herself into a blonde (even bleaching her skin), visually the casting of Rosalie was very disappointing.
8. Kristen Stewart (Bella) is PAINFUL in interviews. I was actually squirming in agony watching one.
9. The casting for the bad guys was great! I am not at all surprised that Volchok (The O.C. kills Mischa Barton's character off) makes a great vampire.
10. As cheesy and overdone as this movie was at times I can't wait for "New Moon" to hit theatres.

Now back to reality... Isn't Christmas or something coming soon?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

As I was making dinner yesterday...

"Ava let's play the vampire game. I'll be the vampire."

"But I want to be the vampire too, Tristan!"

"Maybe we could both be vampires?"

What? Vampire? Where on earth....? I know I've been obsessed with Twilight but they can't possibly... They're only 4!

"Hey Tristan I have a good idea! You can be the vampire and I'll be the werewolf."

"Yeah! Yeah Ava! That's a great idea! I want you to be the werewolf!"

Crap! Crap! Crap! After all the grief I have given Hugh over the video games thing after Tristan started playing "killing"! How on earth did they pick this up? I'm glad Hugh's not home to hear this. I will never live this down...

"Tristan who should be the Mummy King?"

"How 'bout Sebastian be's the Mummy King?"

What? There's no Mummy King in Twilight.

"Oh yeah! Great idea! And let's sing the song too!"

Song? There's a song? What song?

"Weeeeee're youuuuuu're baaaaackyard friends, the backyaaaaardigans....and we'll probably sing a song and we'll maybe dance along..."

Of course! The Halloween episode where Mad Scientist Tasha invites Werewolf Tyrone, Mummy King Uniqua, and Vampire Pablo to Austin's surprise Monster Ball birthday party. Looks like I can still be self-righteous about the video games after all.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Can't talk for long...

I've fallen in love. His name is Edward Cullen.
And he's a vampire.

I'm reading the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer right now and it is fantastic! I don't mean it's exceptionally good literature, it's no Pillars, but it is completely captivating. I actually have not been able to function while reading this. On Friday when I dropped the kids off at preschool I ignored all the Christmas-type errands I could have (should have) run and raced home to throw myself onto the couch and start the first book. I read furiously for two uninterrupted blissful hours and since then the obsession has only gotten worse. It was with an almost physical pain I made myself close Book 3 today. I can hardly bear to leave Edward but I probably should clean house, get dressed and cook at some point right?

Have you read them? Heard of them?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

No one said I had to be reasonable

Why does it irritate me when my kids ask to brush their teeth in the morning?

Seriously. Why?

I have dentist issues. I want my kids to have good teeth. I am a complete nazi about nighttime brushing. So why do I try to brush my own teeth on the sly, hiding in case they see me and ask to brush theirs too? And why does my heart sink when one of them walks into the bathroom while I'm brushing?

Do you have any weird pet peeves or am I alone in the crazy?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

An unintended entendre

This morning while I was getting dressed (at 11:00. Oh the life of a stay-at-home-mom. It's all sleeping late and bon bons and Bailey's in our coffee.) Ava wandered into my bedroom and since I noticed she was still in her jammies I asked her to go get dressed. Several minutes later she came back wearing a princess dress and a crown, having raided the dress-up box for today's ensemble.

"Mom! Look! I'm a princess!" she said as she put the lid of the toilet down and hopped on. As she settled herself onto the toilet to watch me do my make-up she was struck with a startling realization, "Hey Mom! LOOK! I'm sitting on a KINGS CHAIR thing!"

Uh, I do believe it's called a throne.

Monday, November 17, 2008

And it goes on...

I have done many disgusting things as a parent. Things I never thought, as I gagged on the sound of someone eating a banana near me, possible. For instance, I have voluntarily held out my hands to catch my childs puke because nothing else was handy. Pretty remarkable considering I once vomited into a friend's sink after watching her baby spit-up during her post-nursing burp. However, nothing I have done in the past in terms of grossness compares to yesterday.

Yesterday I scooped poop out of Sebastian's diaper with a plastic spoon smaller than the nail on my pinkie finger and smeared it into a small plastic container until it reached the fill line halfway up. And then I did it again.

Actually in the interest of full disclosure, Hugh did. Both times. Because apparently I haven't completely lost my gag reflex.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The last 30 days by the numbers

4 - hours I spent sitting in a walk-in clinic with Ava who was diagnosed with Strep throat.
1 - hour I spent at my doctor's office to discover Ava's Strep throat was, in fact, not Strep.
3 - the number of kids in my house who got hand, foot and mouth disease.
12 - days in a row spent inside my house with kids who were quarantined.
1 - day spent in the great white somewhere before round 2.
7 - the next set of days I did not smell fresh air while my kids succumbed to Fever #2 one after another.
1 - day that my husband called in sick because he too got some wicked cold/flu thing.
400 - fervent prayers that everyone would be better for our trip to a wedding in the Okanagan.
10 - hours it took us to get to Salmon Arm which everyone was miraculously better for.
13 - hours we were in Vernon for the wedding.
10 - hours we were in Kamloops visiting family friends.
6 - times Sebastian puked on our way to Kamloops.
0 - changes of clothes I had on hand for him.
2 - pairs of jammies I bought in Kamloops.
2 - times Sebastian puked in Kamloops.
1000 - more fervent prayers that no one else would be sick for the drive home.
12 - hours it took us to drive back to Medicine Hat in which no one else was sick.
4 - storage units we bought from Ikea when we stopped in Calgary. Toy clutter begone!
2 - roadside pee stops.
1 - roadside poo stop. Say no more.
1 - time Sebastian threw up the night we got home.
10 - hours it took me to put together the storage units using pictoral instructions, a phillips head screwdriver and that damn allen key!
3 - more times Sebastian has thrown up in the last 4 days.
2 - the amount of times Hugh threw up yesterday
3 - the amount of times I threw up yesterday.
0 - the amount of times Tristan and Ava have thrown up...SO FAR.
1500 - more fervent prayers that they do not get sick now too.

How have you been?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Then again, maybe not

Being a parent myself now, I appreciate my mom at a whole new level. I recognize the sacrifices she made so that I did not have to go without. I am thankful for the boundaries she set for me and I realize they were truly put in place for my protection. I understand in a whole new way that my mom was never out to get me, no matter what I believed as a teenager, and that she never once made a decision without agonizing over if it was the right one, only wanting to do the best job she could and not having the luxury of a crystal ball to tell her if it was the right one. I appreciate this because now it's my turn to agonize and set limits and boundaries and wonder if I'm doing any of it right or if I'm scarring my children for life.

So it was with great delight and surprise, after wiping Tristan's hands and face after lunch a few days ago, I heard him say "Thank you Mom. You take good care of me." I scooped him up into a great big hug, and rained kisses down on him while he giggled, my heart full and soaring, he gets it! All the things I do for him, he gets it! He appreciates it! I let him down to go play and savoured the deliciousness of that comment for hours in a happy little bubble of joy and fulfillment.

Sometime later that day I saw the kids playing together on the floor with a talking My Little Pony that Ava got for her birthday and I stopped to watch. This pony comes with a stethoscope, a thermometer, a medicine spoon and a box of kleenex and was currently sneezng up a storm. After much bossing from Ava and negotiation from Tristan one of them finally got to wipe the poor pony's nose with a special mini kleenex. Just as I was about to commend them on their kindness I heard the pony say, "Thank you. You take good care of me."

Friday, September 5, 2008

Things I have learned planning Tristan and Ava's 4th birthday party

1. I do not like the taste of icing. I used to like it. Until I had to ice 6 cakes in the shape of balloons. It's shocking how much icing you end up ingesting while doing this.

2. How to do a proper crumb coating so you don't get cake bits in your icing. After doing it wrong and getting cake bits in my icing.

3. My kids have more friends than I do. 17 of them are coming to the party tomorrow.

4. My oven is not level. The front of the cakes came out significantly higher than the back which made my "balloons" very lopsided.

5. How to make paper kites. I made 19 of them for the kids to decorate tomorrow during the party.

6. Hugh needs a deadline to make him go gang-busters in the yard. He's been working every night after work until dark to get the underground sprinklers hooked up and buried so we can set up the trampoline we and the g & g's bought the kids. Sprinklers are done, unfortunately there is a large pile of fence boards in the way.

7. I am all about the easy way out. We're doing a Teddy Bear Picnic themed party so I googled teddy bear cakes and how to make them. ARE YOU KIDDING ME! As if I'm going to that kind of effort. Twice. I decided to use stuffed teddy bears holding the ribbons up to cakes in the shape of balloons. Cake and a present all in one place - what could be better!

8. Tristan and Ava have a much sharper level of awareness than I have previously been used to. This morning I brought down the Care Bears that I bought for the cakes. (I was looking for old-fashioned teddy bears but this is what Wal-mart had, GOOD ENOUGH!) I was hiding them behind this huge board when Ava said in a singsong voice, "Oh Mo-om! I think I see Care Bears in your hands!" So much for that.

9. The dollar store is cheap crap heaven on one hand and parental purgatory on the other. "Keep your hands on the stroller and stop asking me to buy one of everything we see. No, you don't need a book light as YOU DO NOT READ!"

10. Despite how chaotic and insane it's going to be I'm looking forward to the party itself. And not just the part when it's all over. This might mean I'm crazy. But crazy or not, Tristan and Ava are 4 and it's time to celebrate!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Hoodwinking 101

If you have ever taken care of children not your own (who speak in sentences) you know that in the absence of the people who know kids will basically try to get away with murder using the tried and true line, "But Mommy always lets me!" Like, "But Mommy always lets me get the water myself!" or "But Mommy always lets me have 2 cookies!" Their genius is they ask for things that fall just this side of the maybe line. It's not like they're asking for 10 cookies, that would be an automatic no. But 2? Well maybe they really are allowed two cookies and maybe they really are allowed to press the button for the water on the fridge. Then again, you think as the water is pouring onto the wood floor, maybe not.

My sister Jane moved to Vancouver at the end of May but had to come back for a wedding. One morning, during the week she was here she kindly let us sleep in. Although that may not have been intentional since it's sort of hard to pretend you're still asleep when the kids have jumped into your bed to cuddle, asking, "Abbey are you awake? Are you awake now? Are you awake yet? Oh AAAAABEY!" while also laying on your head and kicking you in the back in a nice staccato rhythm. Whether she just needed to remove herself from arms (or feets) reach or whether she thought food would help tame the beasts I don't know; at any rate Jane hauled herself out of bed to make the kids breakfast, specifically toast.

My kids eat alot of toast and they always ask me to cut the crusts off and I always say no. Not because I actually care if they eat their crusts or not, I don't like eating my crusts, I just can't be bothered cutting them off and figure they can eat around them.Yes I am that lazy.Now Jane has spent almost as much time with the kids as I have and she knows this routine so her automatic respnse was negative when they first asked. But she had been gone for 3 weeks and Ava, eyes shining, head nodding and conviction throbbing in her voice was saying, "But Mommy ALWAYS cuts the crust off!" When Hugh got downstairs and saw their crustless toast he laughed "they got you did they?"

Unlike the time she picked the kids up from preschool and Tristan asked if he could drive.
"Abbey can I drive?"
"Because you're a kid and kids aren't allowed to drive."
"Because that's the rule."
"But I don't want that to be the rule!"
"Well it is, so hop into your carseat."
"But I want to DRIIIIIVE!"
"But. you. are. not. going. to."
"Tristan quit arguing! You are NOT DRIVING."
"But...But...But...Mommy always lets me!"

Let me repeat, the key to success is be believable.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

In which there is adventure, nudity, and friendship

I have a good friend, Heidi. I met her through the Twins n' More Club here and she and I instantly connected. She is a true kindred spirit and I've never waved her off without having laughed till I cried at least once in the hours spent together. Heidi is always up for an adventure and is the kind of person things just happen to and happen around so she always has the craziest stories to tell. If you ever come to visit and meet Heidi make sure you get her to tell you the story of the Newfie she met while living in New Brunswick who moments after introducing herself to Heidi began talking about her "veegoina".

As I said I met Heidi through the twins club so obviously she also has twins - a set of boys who are only six weeks younger than Tristan and Ava. She also has a six year old daughter, who along with Sebastian we consider the bookends to all our 3 year olds. She is the kind of mom I always thought I'd be and she consistently inspires me to be more creative and spontaneous in my parenting. Heidi is the mom who makes pirate swords with cardboard and tin foil and plans treasure hunts. She will set up a store in their basement and takes her turn as the cashier...and she actually loves it! She's the one who said to me on the phone one evening, "Oh, the neighbourhood kids all got their jammies on and are here for story time so I better get to the playhouse." She has a strict dance in the rain rule and everytime it rains she and her kids run outside for a moment of magic. A while ago we were driving down some back alley when I saw a cheetah-print footstool sitting beside a dumpster and Heidi loves animal prints. "Stop the van! I said to Hugh, "I need to get that stool for Heidi!" There are very few people I would consider giving something I got from a dumspter as a gift and even fewer people who would love getting it.

A few months ago while both our husbands were working during the annual city festival, Spectrum, we decided to take our gaggle on an adventure together. Because the festival was happening in the downtown core where parking is next to nil, the city was offering free bus rides all weekend and we thought it would be a fun adventure to take the bus and check out the festival. We met at Heidi's bright and early on the Saturday morning. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and the children were doing little happy dances of joy and so we walked (the kids skipped) a few blocks up the street to catch the bus at our neighbourhood MAC'S. All was sweetness and light and thrilling adventure until we had been waiting at the dodgy bus stop for 20 minutes and the kids began getting restless. I wonder if we should have checked the bus schedule," Heidi said.
"It's free bus rides all weekend for Spectrum, they must be running the buses pretty regularly," I said. "I'm sure it'll be along any minute."
30 minutes passes and the kids are complaining about being hot and thirsty so we pull out the large ziploc of goldfish crackers and bottles of water that we packed for just such an emergency though frankly we had not expected to need it so soon. We carefully ration the water because the last thing we need is to be stuck on the bus and have someone announce they need to pee. And you know they only tell you they need to go when they absolutely cannot hold it for one second longer. At this point no other passengers have shown up at the bus stop, which is the main stop in our area of town, and we are seriously wondering if these city buses even exist.
45 minutes and every child but Sebastian has been in some form of timeout or another and I'm feeling like if I have ask my kids one more time to stop putting stuff from the ground in their mouths I am going to LOSE IT!
55 minutes and suddenly people are coming from every direction to catch the bus and hope is revived in our listless little ones who all jump off the bench to see who can be the first one to spot the city bus which must be arriving momentarily...
10 or 15 more minutes pass and apparently it really is mostly the crazies who take the bus. We have now officially waited for the bus in the hot sun with 6 kids, most of whom are at an age not typically associated with patience and long attention spans, for over an hour. Finally, to a chorus of the shrillest excitement the bus arrives and as I manhandle my stroller onto the bus Heidi casually mentions the long wait time to the driver.
"Oh," he says, "that's because on Saturday mornings untill 11:00 it's dial-a-ride."
Dial-a-ride? Dial-a-ride! Please tell me if there is any another city you can call for a bus like it's a cheap taxi.

As it turned out the bus ride ended up being the highlight of the Festival and minus a brief hour where we walked through a street or two we spent the entire day riding the bus and the kids were so thoroughly entertained and so good that Heidi and I had the unheard of wonder of an almost entirely uninterrupted conversation. Who knew a bus ride could be such bliss?

When we did first get off the bus downtown we figured since the kids did drink all that water at the bus stop and we had been fortunate up to this point the first thing we needed to do was find a bathroom. And since it was incredibly busy because of the festival we ended up with all eight of us and my stroller crammed into one bathroom in Tim Horton's to take turns peeing. We quickly developed a system and because I was jammed between the sink and my stroller I was the hand-washer and Heidi was the pant puller-downer and back -upper and the toilet hopper-onner and -offer. You know you're good friends when....I thought as Heidi wiped Ava's bum and hopped her off the toilet. Then it was Tristan's turn. Why does one of them always have to have some sort of neurotic issue? A few weeks earlier Tristan had been sitting on an automatic flush toilet that flushed, very loudly, while he was still on it and he now refused to pee sitting down in any public toilet. No matter how much I assured him this one wouldn't flush by itself and wouldn't be loud Tristan stood in front of the toilet with his hands over his ears. That is not the best place to have your hands if you are a boy standing in front of a toilet with your pants down. Which I think he realized because he started shouting, "Mom! Hold my penis! Hold my penis!" But I was wedged between the sink and the stroller and the lineup of children. I looked at Tristan. Heidi looked at Tristan. We looked at each other. Then Heidi, my friend of the crazy stories shrugged her shoulders and reached out.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I may not be an Olympic athlete but...

We've been watching the Olympics with our kids.
They loved the Opening Ceremonies - Ava loved the drummers and kept asking if we could just watch that and Tristan spent almost every moment between each section of fireworks asking when the next ones were coming. So we really enjoyed it....

As for the events, they love the diving and think every replay is a new dive, could care less about the gymnastics unless the people are falling off things and can't tell the difference between the men and the women in the swimming.

The other day I pointed out that there was a Canadian in the swimming so we should cheer for him because we're Canadians to which my kids responded, "NO! NO! We live in Medicine Hat!" This prompted a discussion on country which is not as easy as it sounds when your kids think the house they live in is Medicine Hat. I'm not sure where we are in our local Starbucks drive-through but as my kids have very passionately argued, it is NOT MEDICINE HAT! I'm still working on my arguements for that so I kept it simple, Medicine Hat is a city in the country of Canada (I wasn't touching provinces or territories with a 10 foot pole!) and therefore we are Canadians. The end. Because I said so. I dare you to argue.
After pondering that idea for awhile Tristan looked and me and said, "Mom, you are a fabulous Canadian."

Monday, July 28, 2008

And this is where I call home?

So I've been on a small blogging hiatus...

Sorry about that. We had Hugh's parents for a week and Grandpa Don got to meet his newest grandbaby and then a week later the Elliott's came for almost 3 weeks of laughter and adventure. I have a few posts up my sleeve that I'll try to get out in the next little while plus the one I was writing and going to finish the next day....ahem.

Until then, I was reading through the classifieds today and came across this ad:

2 large wagon wheels, in excellent shape.
Small animals tattooing kit.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I just finished a new blog entry and my server kicked me off the internet. When I restarted I discovered my entry is nowhere to be found. Stupid autosave. I'll try again tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Proof that there's just no point in colour-coding

A couple of weeks ago while the kids were in preschool I went to the Superstore to pick up a few things. Normally I hate using those precious hours for something as mundane as grocery shopping but I weighed it out and decided it was worth it to skip reading in Starbucks so I could push just one cart to get my groceries.

As I was wandering leisurely through the produce section, (oh the leisure of one cart!) an older gentleman stopped me so he could peer into the carseat. "Oh!" he says in the same tone of voice I must have used the first time I tasted chocoloate, "Oh! Look at her! She is just gorgeous! And look at that red hair! I am such a sucker for baby girls. We should have had mittfuls of girls but all we had were boys. I just love baby girls and then when they have red hair...Oh! Oh! Oh! I just can't get enough! She is so beautiful!"

I looked at my red-headed baby dressed in blue from head to toe. I looked at the earnest face of the sweet old man.
And I said, "Thank you."

And he wasn't even wearing this....

Poor Sebastian. Poor last baby.

This bib is sort of like that really old pair of granny panties that are in my drawer. When those are the only underwear option I have, the laundry situation is getting pretty desperate. But seriously why is this bib even allowed in the pile as a last resort? It's not like my laundry day underwear is men's briefs!

I guess it'll be just one more thing he can add to his list of "things I will need to talk about in therapy".

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Please tell me there's a light at the end of this long dark tunnel

Potty training Tristan has been a nightmare. Nightmare with a capital "might as well put a bullet in my brain".

Ava was easy. One day she decided she was ready and that was it. She stopped wearing diapers, had one accident and then was potty trained. It was so easy it was ridiculous. Except that she would not, I mean WOULD NOT sit on the toilet in public bathrooms. I would have had more luck selling beef-on-a-stick to a vegetarian. And if the toilet seat was BLACK? And then IF I FLUSHED? For months, six of them, I carried around a portable potty seat wrapped in a plastic bag should the need for public bathroom peeing arise. Lord that was irritating.

Even more irritating? The fact that Tristan has been potty training for over a year and yet I cannot say with confidence, yes he is successfully potty trained. He started off well. One day he came upstairs and said, "Mom! Take off my diaper I have to pee!" And then he hopped up on the toilet and peed. And that was that. He didn't have an accident for 2 days, even during a 5 hour drive to Banff to meet my parents so we could go to Mexico kid-free, and we thought "wow, who knew potty training could be so easy?" And we practically wrenched our arms out of their sockets patting ourselves on the back. When we picked them up a week later, Tristan had been put back in diapers due to all the accidents. Hindsight is always 20/20 and in hindsight what I probably should have done was just leave the diapers on until Tristan decided he was ready again. Instead, the minute we got home we took the diapers off and said you're potty trained now so pee in the toilet and you'll get a jelly bean. Which worked beautifully until he got bored of the jelly beans. I'm not sure which is worse, changing diapers or doing laundry every other day because Tristan has peed through all 15 pairs of his underwear. Again.

Since then I have literally tried everything. I've tried stickers, candles, and balloons and pretty much every bribe I could think of, which would all work until he got bored of them. I tried bathing him everytime he had an accident to make peeing his pants more inconvenient than just stopping play to pee in the toilet quick. But after 6 baths in one day with no results, I quit. I took away his pants and underwear and he went au naturel with great success, not a single accident! But, A) that's sort of awkward at playgroup, and B) he played with himself all the time and, I know it's all normal and part of development and everything but quite frankly, it just weirded me out. So, at my wits end, I even tried making it a discipline issue.

He can tell his therapist all about it in 20 or 30 years.

Finally, after being at it for over six months I tried diapers again. After wearing one for an hour he took it off to pee in the toilet. Success! Or so I thought. The next day we were back to the pant-peeing and I felt like going back to diapers would be giving up and I. Was. Not. Giving. Up. Especially after HE. HAD. BEEN. POTTY. TRAINED. Dammit.

In September they started preschool and here's something interesting, Tristan never pees his pants at preschool. So WHY GOD WHY can I not get him to take himself pee on his own at home? After every accident (or "on purpose" I can't decide) we always have the same talk.
"Tristan you have to be the boss of your body. You have to go to the bathroom BEFORE you pee in your pants, okay?"
"Okay Mommy."
"I want you to show Mommy what a big boy you are and pee in the toilet NOT your pants. Do you understand."
"I understand Mommy. I will pee in the toilet NOT my pants."

Today we were at the park for our Twins Club playdate when Tristan was inflicted with sudden hearing loss. At least I assume that's why he kept taking off his shoes when I had just asked him to keep them on and throwing his hat on the ground when I had just asked him to leave it on. I was faced with a decision. Engage in a battle of the wills and likely end up going home or leave it alone and get some real honest-to-goodness, I-really-am-a-human-being-not-just-a-mom conversation. I opted for the adults but on the way home I said to Tristan, "You were not a very good listener today. You need to obey Mommy the first time I ask you to do something. Yes, Mom?"
"Yes, Mom."
If this happens next time we will just leave, no warnings. You have to obey Mom, understand?"
"I understand."
"Okay. So what will you do next time?"
"I will pee in the toilet, NOT my pants."

Monday, May 12, 2008

I'm here...heavily sedated, but here

Just a quick little note to let you know that we've moved, we're mostly settled and I'll post some pictures once we're all done with head colds, throat infections and pink eye....and you should see the kids!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Is there anything more dejected-looking than empty nail holes in a wall?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Chit n' chat, This n' that

The other day Hugh brought me home an N-64 with Mario64 and Diddy Kong Racing for games. I was ridiculously excited about this. I am not a gamer by any stretch of the imagination but I love Mario and would love to re-own the original NES system and the original Mario games. Duck Hunt anyone? I think Hugh bought this for me partly to foster my own love of gaming and therefore cut him some slack and partly so he can slum it without looking bad to the xbox game snobs, ("I know, I know, but it's my wife's.") As much as I have been loving playing Mario again it's (confession. gulp.) getting old fast. That feels sacriligious even to say but shhhh...I'm kind of bored of it. (Tristan loves it though, "Mom, the boy is jumping!")

I could be packing. In fact I probably should be packing as we are moving in 1 week and 1 day but there's just not enough pressure yet for me to get it into gear. I've done my daily email/blog/facebook ritual and there was nothing to divert me for more than a few minutes (thank you DJ for your Schnai Day blog). All my stuff for the Twins Garage Sale is done, I've overdone Mario and I have absolutely nothing to read so I'm at loose ends right now. I should be enjoying this time but actually I'm kind of bored. I don't even have The O.C. to relieve my boredom. I finished the third season (spoiler alert) where they kill off Mischa Barton in the finale and let me tell you they could not have done it in any less dramatic or anti-climactic way! It sort of killed my obesession actually. I'm not sure how it's possible to have a main character die and it be boring but they managed it. I will rent the fourth season because I'm a bit OCD that way, like when assorted candies are before me and I either have to have one of every colour/flavour or none at all, and since I've seen some of The O.C., I now have to see them all - but it won't be until after we've moved. So.....

What's new with you?

Saturday, April 19, 2008


We ran our garage sale yesterday (Friday) from 12-6 at my friend Dawn's house. She, my friend Heidi and I all put our stuff together for one enormous sale. Heidi has a set of twin boys and Dawn has a set of twin girls and all our kids were born within 8 weeks of each other. Crazy hey? The sheer volume of clothes to be sold was unbelievable. At one point someone walking around the 6 racks and 3 tables of clothes said, "Wow kids are sure spoiled these days aren't they?" Then we told her there are 9 kids and 3 sets of twins between the three of us and her mouth literally dropped open.

Other items I was selling: a patio bistro set, 3 shinto bar stools, stroller, high chair, 3 years worth of girls clothes, and random household/decor items. It was 14 degrees above, the sun was shining, sales were good and it was crazy busy right up until we shut the doors at 6:00pm. Congratulating ourselves on a job well done, I took Starbucks orders for the next morning and went home to dream of sugar plum fairies and money trees.

This morning I woke up to A BLIZZARD! Blowing snow and a temperature in the minuses. Bloody Canadian weather. They say standard fare for Canadian conversation is the weather and I think it's because here in Canada Mother Nature is bipolar and our days depend on whether or not she's taken her medication.

After a flurry of phonecalls we've decided to raincheck it and try again next Friday. Next Saturday is our Twins N' More Club Garage Sale so anything that doesn't sell by 6:00 on Friday will just get packed up and taken to the school. We move in 1 week and 6 days. With all this garage sale-ing when am I supposed to find time to pack?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

My first time

Garage Sales (ger-ahge? ger-age?) are seriously a lot of work.

This had better be worth it...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Conversations in the back seat

"Tristan, you're my bestest, bestest friend."

"Oh Ava....I know I'm you're best friend."

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The grown up version of the big kid bike

As I mentioned before we have been looking at a lot to build on. We actually put an offer on a house that was up to the drywall stage and cabinets and lighting had already been ordered, they countered and all we had to do was accept it and sign the papers and it would be ours. But I hated the cabinets and really did not like the lighting and figured if we're going to build I should really be able to get what I want, and in the end we didn't sign. So then we looked at another lot in the same area that ground was just being broken on. This meant we would get in early enough to pick everything - siding, cabinets, lighting, flooring, tile, casings...everything. But it did not feel right so we took some time to think about it before making an offer. And in the midst of taking some time to think about it a crazy thing happened. We sold our house. Which was not even listed.

Our realtor (J) has a father who is also a realtor (G). G said that he had a client who was looking to downsize from a 2-storey house and wanted a duplex unit like ours and did J think we would want to show ours and take a look at theirs? He called and we did. So last Tuesday night G showed our place and J showed theirs. They loved ours and we quite liked theirs and in fact thought it would be perfect were it not for it being completely on the other side of town which would mean changing preschools for the kids and I LOVE the preschool they are in. So we thought about it and basically decided it's a great house but too bad it's in Crescent Heights we'll pass. But then they wanted a second showing of our house on Thursday night and did we want to view theirs again at the same time? I actually didn't want to because we had decided against it but figured since we had to be out of the house anyway, why not?

On a second viewing I loved the house even more. Very charming to look at, double detached garage at the back, wide lot, paved back lane, rv parking for our camper, big deck, great layout, 200 extra sq. ft than we currently have (and when we're used to a living space of 18 ft x 19 1/2 ft it feels enormous!), big kitchen, window over the kitchen sink looking into the backyard so I can see the kids while they're playing and not have to leap over a balconey an entire storey above them to get to them if there's a problem (I have a love/hate relationship with our walk-out basement in our duplex), 2nd floor laundry, huge master bedroom, room for a fourth bedroom in the basement and a really good price...So why don't I want it again? We're driving home from the viewing and J gets a call from G. The other people have put an offer on our house and it's an incredible offer in a very saturated market but it's subject to us buying their house. So do we or don't we?

We did! And we're swapping houses May 16th! Isn't that so crazy?! Welcome to our new house and the first time we will be fully detached.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Redneck is his native tongue

Last week a letter was delivered to every household in Medicine Hat and the nearby town of Redcliff. It was written by a local realtor and too good not to share.
Note: all spelling mistakes are copied exactly.


I would like to take this opportunity to introduce ourselves. We are CAMHPFT standing for Citizens Against Medicine Hat Police Force Terrorism.

It is time we as the general public take a stand and get our Police force back on track because as it stands more of the General Public are afraid of the Police Service and their continued bad actions and are afraid and humiliated by their experience with the Medicine Hat Police Force.


i. Harassing Ordinary Citizens on a daily basis
ii. Handing out 10's of thousands of dollars worth of photo radar tickets from an illegally parked van
iii. Bulling and Beating our Youths on a daily basis
iv. Bulling and Beating our Average Citizens for no reason
v. Constantly using excessive force for everything from Seat Belt tickets to Speeding
vi. General Harassment of our Citizens
vii. And much much more, what's your story?

This Police Force should be renamed:

"Goons with Guns - Collecting Taxes Violently"

I Often wonder if Ben Laddin trained our Medicine Hat Police Force - Hospitals full of beat children as a direct result of Police Bulling.

We are Asking you the General Public to not be afraid, to come forward, let us know if the Medicine Hat Police Force Humiliated and Abused you?

Do you feel you or anyone in your immediate family has been Humiliated or Abused by the Medicine Hat Police Force?

__ YES

Do you feel there should be a full Public Inquiry into the Medicine Hat Police Actions done by Outsiders, not our local Police Force?

__ YES

From the day you launch your complaint the Police Force has 45 days to investigate the situation, costing nothing to you the Law-Abiding Citizen, but maybe getting the "Goons with Guns" off of our streets restoring Safety to the General Public.


I think if we do sell we should use him as our realtor since he is so obviously intelligent and just so concerned with our Youths and Average Citizens and all the Bulling that is apparently happening.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Not about to quit my day job

Our DVD player broke. We bought it for $30 a year ago so we figure we got our money's worth but it has been highly inconvenient for me during my current O.C. obsession. Since Hugh made me promise I would not inflict this obsession on him I asked him to set up our DVD player and an old tv in our bedroom. As a rule of thumb I am dead against a tv in the bedroom but all normal rules have been suspended for The O.C. Anyway our nightly routine after the kids have gone to bed has been for me to disappear upstairs to watch The O.C. in bed while Hugh takes over the main floor studying for his final apprenticeship exam, playing x-box "when he just can't study anymore" and immersing himself in March Madness basketball which I made Hugh promise not to inflict on me. It was all working perfectly until our DVD player broke.

Technically I could use the xbox and main floor tv to watch The O.C. but that means breaking the first commandment "thou shalt not inflict The O.C. on thy unwilling husband" and seriously cutting into all the "studying" and March Madness watching that he is doing. In the spirit of compromise I pulled out the laptop and cuddled up next to Hugh on the couch to watch a couple of episodes. I thought he should be grateful that I wasn't taking over the main tv and I had headphones on so he wouldn't have to hear it. But apparently silent wasn't quiet enough for him to study and the moving picture kept distracting him and he almost watched for a minute so I was banished back up to our bedroom. After pouting slightly Hugh offered to set the laptop up for me while I changed into my jammies so I didn't have to waste any of my precious O.C. watching time. He grabbed the headphones for me even though I was going to be upstairs and when I protested because how can he possibly hear it when we're separated by an entire floor? he said, "trust me the sound is way better with the headphones." Fine, whatever. I snuggled under my blankets and put on the headphones and as the theme song played I thought the sound really is better with the headphones.

Several hours and three or four episodes later Hugh walked into our bedroom carrying a glass of water. He glanced at me, walked to his side of the bed, put his water glass down, looked back at me again and said "you know those headphones work better when they're plugged in."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

a glimmer

I had a good mom day today.

Before I had kids, when I thought of what it would be like to have kids, I imagined myself as a certain kind of mom. I thought I would be creative, spontaneous, fun even. Unfortunately the reality falls somewhat short. For instance last weekend I thought it would be fun and creative of me to dye Easter Eggs with the kids. So I hard boiled a dozen eggs, Googled egg-dyeing and came up with an oh-so-simple yet beautiful idea from Martha Stewart. That right there should have been my first red flag but this was supposed to be completely fool-proof. You mix a tablespoon of oil, a tablespoon of vinegar and a tablespoon of food colouring in a glass and then fill the glass with enough water to cover an egg. You dip the egg in, bring it out and voila a beautiful marbleized egg. In theory at least. I just ended up with oily eggs. And a tension headached from yelling at the kids to STOP TOUCHING EVERYTHING! So I fed Sebastian, gave myself a mini timeout, washed off the oily eggs and started over with rubber bands and food colouring mixed with hot water and an apology to the kids for yelling. It ended with 7 eggs and a cocktail.

But today was a good day. I took the kids to Winner's to return sunglasses and browsed through the breakables without anything being broken. Then to celebrate I took the kids to Starbucks for a hot chocolate. While we were there the kids found it highly entertaining to walk things over to the garbage can and drop it in. Bizarre and slightly gross but peaceful so I didn't complain. First they walked over their stir sticks, then they each asked for a "Starbucks napkin", specifying for me in case there were some non-Starbucks napkin options, which they promptly got up to throw in the garbage as soon as I set them down on the table. Then Ava was done her hot chocolate and threw away her cup and then Tristan, who, I'm guessing, was so caught up in the garbage-throwing frenzy threw away his cup even though it was still half full. I closed one eye and braced myself but since he didn't collapse in a puddle of tears and floppy limbs when he realized what he'd done and since this was the first cup of hot chocolate that wasn't drawn like a magnet to Tristan's pants, I didn't even care.
"Where do you think all that garbage went?" I asked the kids.
"Down. Down into the BIG hole," said Ava.
"What do you think is at the bottom of the big hole?
"A fire breathing dragon!" said Tristan.
"Really? A fire breathing dragon? What do you think the fire breathing dragon does down there?"
"Burns up all the garbage!" said Ava.
"And eats it too!" said Tristan. Pause. "Mom, can we see the fire breathing dragon?"
"Can we?" asked Ava.

On just about any other day if you saw me lifting my children and putting them head first over the garbage can you could rightly assume that I was seriously considering stuffing them into it. But today? Today we were looking for fire breathing dragons.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sort of like Seinfeld

This is basically a blog about nothing.

I have started to write several blogs over the last few weeks, been interrupted and lost my inspiration or, more accurately, forgot what I was going to write about. One had something to do with Ava and bossiness and I was going to to try to be funny and heartwarming all at the same time but danged if I can remember the specifics now. Then I was going to try to emulate DJ with a "blog by the numbers" but could only come up with 2 numbers and now I couldn't tell you what either of them were. Since numbers were proving too diffcult for me (math never was my strong suit) I decided to try a "true or false blog" a la Michelle. Again 2 lines. Again can't for the life of me remember what they were. And so I have nothing. A whole lot of nothing.

Since I haven't been blogging what have I been doing with all my spare time you may wonder. The answer? Nothing. Well that's not technically true I have been watching a lot of tv. Those 3 nights of American Idol each week pre top-12 were getting gruelling. Thank God for the PVR and never having to watch another commercial. I no longer watch anything when it originally airs so that I can watch it later and fastforward the commercials. I think commercial watching is officially against my religion.

Anyway, now that Idol is down to 2 nights I was feeling sort of lost with all my free time so I decided to rent the seasons of The O.C. which has become my new guilty pleasure. Lame I know. Like the balding 40-year-old guy cruising main street in his hot rod with Dance Mix '96 blasting through the open windows. Now The O.C. is no 90210 but dang if I can get that theme song out of my head or stop wondering if Summer will forgive Seth and if Ryan and Marissa are ever going to be able to make it work. Now technically, (spoiler alert), I know that Marissa gets killed off at the beginning of the last season because I saw one episode once, so I know they're a sinking ship no matter what but maybe they'll get to have some happily ever after moments in between all the brooding and before she "moves on to other projects". And there's always Seth and Summer who I'm holding out hope will be the ones that last and be together forever. You know?

So with all this tv watching the blog has been suffering and for that I apologize. Now I'm only just 4 episodes into Season 2 so I can't promise that I will be all that regular in my posting but I will try to resurface every once and a while and let you know that I'm still alive.

Oh and the other thing occupying me these days is we're trying to decide if we should sell our house. We currently live in half of a duplex and we have the opportunity to build again - a fully detached home. Who knew the definition of bliss would include 4 walls completely all your own? We've been looking at a lot and talking to a builder and it's all very exciting but there are a few things we have to work out first before it's a go. Not to put the cart before the horse or anything but in my mind I have already chosen cabinets, flooring, tile, lighting and paint. So if it is a go I have a good idea of what I want and I will post pics of my findings.

If not? Well then we'll just have to wait until the right lot comes up and I will keep dreaming. That is if I can spare any brain activity from The O.C. and all that watching and wondering.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Conversations at the Breakfast Table

"Daddy can I have some more milk?"

"Tristan, come on! You waited until I sat down to ask so, no. You have to wait."

"Hey Tristan, let's play a game."

"What Ava, what?"

"I'll be grumpy and you ask for milk."

Friday, February 8, 2008

Revival hits the Cyr household

Ava does not like ketchup.

She doesn't like it on hotdogs (just mustard and cheese please) and she doesn't like it on KD. She doesn't like it on her plate to dip chicken, or anything else, in and she certainly doesn't like it on scrambled eggs.

Tristan does like ketchup.

He likes it on hotdogs (just ketchup please) and on KD. He likes it on his plate so he can dip his chicken, carrots and broccoli into it. He likes it on stew and roast beef. He likes it on scrambled eggs.

I know this about my children, so when I give ketchup to Tristan I never ever give any to Ava. Yet every single time I pull out the ketchup, like for KD, Ava says in a high-pitched, squeaky, panicky voice, "But I don't like ketchup!"
And every single time I say, "I know you don't, but Tristan does. The ketchup is for Tristan." And I look at her and think, how long have I known you? How many times have we done this? I know you don't like ketchup. You didn't like it yesterday. You didn't like it a year ago. You don't like it today. You won't like it tomorrow. I GET IT!

Ava does like cheese. Every kind and any kind. She is a cheese fanatic. I think she would marry it if she could. She'd have to be a polygamist but I think she'd be willing to risk the law for her love affair with cheese of every shape, size and kind. She even loves, and asks for, blue cheese on a regular basis. What three-year-old wants a blue cheese sandwich?

Tristan does not like cheese. What 3-year-old does not like cheese? He doesn't like cheddar in any of it's ages. He doesn't like mozzarella, colby, monterey jack, gouda, swiss, brie, or blue cheese. He doesn't like it grated, sliced, melted, on crackers, as strings or prepackaged. Well, technically he does eat two kinds of cheese. The orange powder on KD, which does not qualify as cheese in my opinion, and parmesan cheese. But I'm pretty sure he'll eat the parmesan because Ava renamed it "sugar cheese" and he thinks he'll get the same kind of rush he gets from smarties.

Tristan is almost violent in his dislike of cheese. If I make my kids sandwiches for lunch they each get half but I make it as one, putting mayo on the bottom piece of bread, slice of deli meat, cheese on Ava's half and mustard on Tristan's half. I cut it down the middle and voila! Custom sandwiches. However if even the smallest sliver of cheese from Ava's side ends up on Tristan's he goes into apoplexy. His face goes beet red and the veins in his neck begin to bulge out as he screams "BUT I DON'T LIKE CHEESE!". Which is said with the same panic and revulsion I felt when I discovered a spider crawling on me once, "omigosh! omigosh! where is it? Get it off, get it off, GET IT OFF!

Tonight at supper, in the middle of an I-found-a-tiny-piece-of-grated-cheese-in-my-chicken-wrap meltdown, and in the middle of my sighing-because-can't-you-just-eat-one-miniscule-practically-invisible-piece-of-shredded-cheese? Tristan stopped and said, "Mmm, I think I like cheese."
Pardon me? The world just tilted on it's opposite axis for a moment, what was that?
"Can I have some cheese for my wrap? I like cheese! I do! I like cheese!"

So I'm standing at the counter, grating cheese for Tristan, reeling from this sudden exhilirating discovery, when Ava joins in shouting like it's church camp and everyone is getting saved so she might as well too, "AND I LIKE KETCHUP!

Thursday, February 7, 2008


I seriously need some blogging material. Until then...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Turns out I actually was a hooligan

I used to be a thief.
A lifter. A pilferer. A purloiner.
I stole.

We were living in the Yukon, in Whitehorse, and I was 9. On Wednesday's after school I took a city bus across town to go to a dance class. On the way home I had to stop at The Bay to change buses. I always had half an hour to kill before the next bus came and instead of waiting around outside in the freezing cold I would wander through The Bay spending most of my time browsing in the candy section.

In the months preceding Christmas they had the most amazing candy; large plastic candy canes filled with Smarties, lifesaver storybooks, boxes and boxes of After 8's and Pot of Gold. Week after week of walking up and down those aisles I became filled with a deep longing. I wanted a lifesaver storybook. I longed for boxes of After 8's I needed a Smartie-filled plastic candy cane.

And so, I took them.

My bedroom closet became a veritable candy store of bootlegged items. My sisters would come and look in awe at my closet, "Wow! where'd you get all this?"
"My friends" I would casually reply. I honestly do not remember feeling any sort of guilt about stealing. The only niggle of concern I ever had was that my mom would find it.

I stole candy from The Bay on a weekly basis but I was never caught. I did have one dicey moment though. I was wandering through a bulk candy section that had rows and rows of hard candies all colour coordinated which, come to think of it, is probably what inspired me to arrange my closet by colour later on in life. It was absolutely beautiful. It glowed with a soft pulsing light and I believe, yes I'm quite sure, I even heard faint strains of the Hallelujah Chorus filtering down from the Heavens.
I. had. to. have. one.

Directly across from the candy a cash register stood on a counter and there were 2 ladies standing behind the counter chatting away. This was going to be a trickier lift than the unsupervised aisles of boxed chocolate and required some careful manoeuvering. I slipped off my left mitt and walked slowly up and down the aisle staking out which candy I wanted to take. Up. How about that blue one? Down. Maybe I want something lemony? Up. But I do love licorice babies. Down. There that one! The candy I settled on was hard and pink and glossy. On the next turn up the aisle in which my left mitten-less hand was closest to the candy I slowly grabbed the pink candy by the crinkled end of the wrapper and slipped it into my right mitten. At this point, the ladies conversation, which I had not noticed before, caught my attention in its absence. I knew they were suspicious of me. I could feel their eyes burning into the back of my head so I grabbed a candy at random and turned with my brightest, most innocent smile and said, "excuse me please. How much is it for one candy?" With heart racing, I handed over a penny and walked trembling back out to the bus stop. The pink candy was still clutched tightly in my hand hidden inside my mitten. I ate two candies on that bus ride home. And the pink one? It tasted like victory.

After that incident I avoided that candy counter like the plague. And then, after Christmas I decided to put an end to my life of crime. I realized if I kept it up it would just be a matter of time before I got caught. And besides, all the good candy, like the Smartie-filled candy canes, were gone so there wasn't anything I really wanted.

I wasn't hit with the urge to steal again until I was almost 11. We had moved to Smithers, BC, well Telkwa to be more precise, a few months after I turned 10. I had made some friends in the elementary school and life was just fine. One of the things us kids would do for fun in Telkwa was go down to The Store and buy a chocolate bar or popsicle. You know you live in a small town when you can refer to The Store and no one asks "which one?"

Anyway, I was having a sleepover with a friend and we were bored so we set off for The Store with a dollar in our pockets. I need to point out here that I actually had money with me and what followed was not an act of desperation. I think it was boredom. Or maybe I just wanted to show off and prove to my small town friend how worldly I was. (Notice that I came from Whitehorse and thought of my friend as small town?) Whatever the reason, just before reaching the store I told my friend I was going to steal my chocolate bar instead of buying it. Before she could say a word, we opened The Store doors and walked in. I pulled some of the same moves as before in The Bay, wandering up and down the aisles picking up and putting down items, as if considering and then rejecting them as not worthy to spend my dollar on. I also dropped my money in view of the ladies working to divert suspicion and prove I was not some hooligan. Finally, I slipped a Wonderbar into my coat pocket. No sooner had I slipped it in then I was accosted by the lady at the till, who I was sure had not been looking, and accused of stealing. Had I had my wits about me I would have realized that you cannot be accused of stealing until you actually leave the building and I would have shown her my money and said I had put the chocolate bar in my pocket by accident pretending to be shocked and embarassed by the whole misunderstanding. But I didn't think of that until much later that night when I was tossing and turning and writhing in guilt-induced agony on my friends water bed. To this day I hate water beds. I equate the rolling of that bed to the rolling of my guilty stomach that night. And why was I in such agony? Not because my morals were bothered. No, I was in agony because I had been caught and I had to go home the next day and, before the store called, tell my parents what I had done. I dreaded the punishment I was sure to receive.

After that experience I never stole anything again and never even wanted to.
Until yesterday.

Yesterday I was at the Superstore. All the groceries from my groaning cart had been scanned and paid for. I finished bagging the last bag and went to put it into the last free spot in my cart. I stopped. Lying there was floss, deodorant, and Winnie-The-Pooh toothpaste. My face flushed, my heart pounded and I glanced up in alarm. Oh no! It's just like the candy bar in the pocket all over again except this time it really was an accident! I looked around expecting Superstore security to be converging on me. But actually no one was paying me any attention at all and the girl was already in the middle of ringing in someone else's order. And then I was caught in a dilemma. Do I just take them? I am already through the line. Do I leave them? No, I really need them. Do I pay for them? Which means waiting in line again. I decided to take them. I picked them up to throw them in a bag when the morals I had had beaten into me (semi-literally) when I was 11 reared their head. I just couldn't do it. Taking things is W-R-O-N-G. I paid for them.

I guess I have really and truly given up my life of crime. I'm sure my kids will be very relieved not to see their mom hauled off in handcuffs.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A conversation with Tristan

"Help me mom! Help me!"
"What are you doing? Leave your shirt on!"
"No, off!"
"I sneezed and I have bless you all over me."

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The weird? Or the WONDERFUL!

I was tagged in a "7 weird things about you" blog. Here goes:

1. I do not like eraser marks or whiteout on my paper. If I make a mistake rather than erase or white out, I start over with a fresh sheet of paper.

2. Like Chey, who tagged me, I am also a counter. I count how many times I swallow while drinking a glass of water, how long the water runs for as I fill my tea kettle, the number of steps I'm going up. I pretty much count any repetitive motion. And, if writing a list doesn't work to put me to sleep, I count. Not sheep or anything just saying the numbers in my head.

3. I cannot go to bed without brushing my teeth. I can go to sleep without a problem wearing make up but no matter how tired I am I cannot sleep without brushing my teeth. And I always have to pee after brushing my teeth. If I pee first then brush my teeth I cannot go to bed until I pee again.

4. I never listen to music at home. With the exception of Christmas music in December. Otherwise the only time you will here music on is if Jane is over or if I'm in my van.

5. When I eat toast or sandwiches I eat in a circle eating all the crusts off first. If for some reason I forget to do this, and *gasp* take a bite of the centre of the sandwich first, I do not eat my crusts at all.

6. I cannot stand having closet doors left open. I can't leave the house if the front entry closet door is open and I can't go to sleep if our closet doors are open in our bedroom. Sometimes, first thing in the morning I will take a minute just to lie in bed and look in satisfaction at my closed closet doors.

7. I've always wanted a mitre saw. Just imagine all the things you could do with a mitre saw! I could make my own picture frames, I could cut new trim for our house...the possibilities are endless.

Well, that's some of my strangeness. Let's see how weird DJ is. (I know he's weirder than me!)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

There should be champagne involved

Today is our 8th Anniversary.

I don't know what on earth we were thinking getting married in January. I mean I know I originally was thinking I wanted a winter wedding, and I'm still glad I had one, but January 8th? This is not a great date and I'll tell you why.

First off, December is an expensive month - groceries, presents, cards, decorations, outfits for Christmas parties...The list of what you can spend your money on in December is limitless. PLUS, my birthday is in December. The first year I was with Hugh for the double whammy he gave me a pair of black gloves as my birthday gift. For his birthday the following June he got an x-box. A little unbalanced don't you think? To top it all off, the gloves he got me were really bad quality suede that left streaks of black dye across my face if my hand came in contact with my skin. Which I only realized when I got home after an evening spent outdoors talking to mostly strangers. Thank you very much.

Secondly, December is busy. By the time you finish celebrating Christmas - with family, friends, office parties, etc. you're exhausted. And then you have to do more celebrating on New Years Eve. Perhaps if we had gotten married just before Christmas or in between Christmas and New Years we would celebrate it more often but as it stands by the time the holiday season is over we are partied out, celebrated out, broke, and exhausted. And then our anniversary comes up before we even have time to turn around twice. As a result our anniversaries have always been very anti-climactic.

We didn't even really go on much of a honeymoon, just to Jasper for 3 days, because we had to move to Fort St. John a week after our wedding day. Jasper + January that year = so cold your nostrils stuck together when you inhaled outside, so we promised ourselves we'd go somewhere tropical on our first anniversary. Fast forward a year and where were we? Not on a cruise, not on a beach, not drinking drinks with paper umbrellas in them. We were hauling the heaviest shelving unit known to man up two awkward flights of stairs in our apartment building and we were fighting. I couldn't tell you now what the fight was about. All I remember is that once we finally got that blasted thing into our apartment the rest of the night was spent in huffy silence.

The following year we decided to "do something." But it was still not tropical. Instead we had the brilliant idea to go to the West Edmonton Mall. In January. In our car. It was actually a lot of fun but on the way home we wanted to visit some friends in Calgary and we spent the entire drive from Edmonton to Calgary in almost total silence with our knuckles white on whatever we were gripping. I have driven in a lot of snow but it was nothing compared to the absolute white-out conditions of that road.

Anniversary 3 I don't remember at all. I'm sure we went out for dinner or something but it was obviously pretty unremarkable. Anniversary 4 would have been equally unremarkable had I not gotten pregnant with our twins. That's not the sort of thing you forget.

Anniversary 5 our twins were 4 months old and we had only the window between feedings to go out. We decided to go see a movie. We went to see "The Incredibles". At 4:30pm. Talk about romance! I think we were so exhausted that the thought of sitting through dinner and trying to hold a coherent conversation was simply too much effort. Staring in silence at a screen of pretty moving colours was much more appealing.

Anniversary 6 came on the heels of the year from hell where we suffered two major losses in our family, resigned from pastoring at our church, pursued a career change and decided to move to Alberta all within a few short months. Surviving, not celebrating, was our priority that year.

Last year, Anniversary 7, we spent apart because Hugh had gone to Calgary for 8 weeks of school and I stayed in the Okanagan to bounce between our families and try to survive 8 weeks of single parenting. Hugh left on January 1st and to try to distract myself from feeling "poor me, poor me" I decided to reorganize my parents bookcase. It's a beautiful piece of furniture with great books and decorative items that just needed a little tlc. We rearranged the books according to size and colour and I moved the objets d'art around to give it more balance. I felt very satisfied with myself at the end and we had come across some great finds like some old books of mine from childhood and a wonderful book about the Yukon River and a book of Yukon poems by Robert Service. We even found a beautiful pair of pearl earrings right behind John Irving's book "A Prayer For Owen Meany". My mom and I both thought they were a gift for her from my stepdad that he had forgotten to give her at Christmas. There is usually always one gift in our family that gets forgotten about until turning up in some unlikely place.

Anyway, the day of our anniversary my parents gave me a card that Hugh had left behind for me. Can you believe the forethought? In the midst of packing up 2 months worth of stuff, plus getting everything bought, wrapped, and packed for Christmas, plus getting everything finalized for school, Hugh had thought of our anniversary and bought me a card. In advance. I was highly impressed. In the card he told me he would call that night with info on my gift. In addition to all the forethought required for the card he had even gotten me a gift! The only other time Hugh and I have exchanged gifts on January 8th was our wedding day. I was even more impressed and, since I absolutely love presents, very excited. When Hugh called me that night he said, "okay I've hidden a gift in your parents house. Walk over to the bookshelf. Now look for a book. It should be on the left side. It's called, 'A Prayer For Owen Meany...'"

Of all the things Hugh thought I might do between the 1st and the 8th of January, reorganizing my parents bookshelf wasn't one of them. My mom and I had both meant to ask Jay about those earrings but had forgotten about them and since I didn't know they were for me I was still surprised and very touched at the effort he went to in arranging it all in advance. And as if the earrings weren't memorable enough, I was also pregnant.

Which brings us up to this year. Anniversary 8. This year Hugh is on the couch recovering from a vasectomy. (No more anniversary babies for us!) And I am on the couch recovering from another day with 3 year old twins and a 3 month old baby. We didn't exchange gifts and we didn't even get each other cards. And frankly it doesn't even matter. We have beautiful, happy, healthy kids and we have each other. And that is all we need.

Although I am still hoping for a Mediterranean cruise. Maybe next year?