Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tis The Season To Be Cranky...Fa La La La La, La La La La

Crankiness abounds...chalk it up to pre-Christmas anxiety? I'm not sure, but it's been a weird 24 hours...

It started last night at the kids' Christmas concert. I had arrived early with the kids to get them to their classrooms, and went to the gym to await Mark and Ty's arrival at 6:30. Waited, waited, waited. Kindergarden kids came and went. A poem. Grade One's (Keegan's class) came on, and still no Mark and Ty. I was LIVID! Finally they show up, right after Keegan spoke his line. I whisper angrily, "What the hell?!?" Mark tells me he is too mad to speak right now. Uh-oh...

Turns out that Ty had broken into the office while Mark was in the shower...(sidebar here...the office is locked...he moved an 80 lb bench, opened the doors where the furnace is, and slipped between the furnace and the desk to get into the office...). Mark had been working on a duplication project for a client for the past few days, involving two stacks of DVDs of 150 each, one in English, one in French. Ty mixed them all up. AND, jammed 6 DVDs into the drive of my computer. So...rage on Mark's part? 100% understandable...My rage...evaporated. He won that round.

Earlier in the week, I had made roughly 60 Santa cake pops (see photo) for the kids to take in for their class Christmas parties this Friday, and for Ty's party today. Ty wakes up this morning with a fever of 102.1, so he obviously didn't go to school, and now I have 20 spare Santas. Mark was planning on taking Ty to his concert, so he was home. I had a hair appointment. So, he stayed home with Ty, and I went off to get my hair done, with 10 Santas to share with the customers. When my appointment was done, I had missed my bus by 5 minutes, and had to wait 25 minutes for the next one. While waiting for the bus, there was this insane woman chanting rhymes at people with malicious intent, like some psychotic female Dr. Seuss...Mirror Mirror on the wall, shouldn't you be at home watching your kids...maybe I'll pay them a call...Creepy-ass shit like that. Kripes. Glad she wasn't on my bus! Came home rather late. Mark was cranky. He went to work.

Throughout the day and evening, gave away the other 10 Santas...Went to get the boys from school. Ty still feverish. By 5:00, Phoenix and Keegan were at a playdate, Mark still wasn't home from work, and Ty's fever had jumped to over 103. Mark had got stuck in a work meeting (where apparently crankiness was an UNDERstatement) and didn't get home until 6:00. Went to pick up kids. During the making of dinner, Phoenix and Keegan were at each other's throats, and I lost my temper. So now, I was cranky, the kids were cranky, and Mark was cranky. Right after dinner, Mark left for the clinic with Ty, and I sent the boys to their room for quiet, harmonious play out of my earshot. Kids went to bed. Mark came home with Ty, and typically, the doctor said it was viral, plenty of fluids, blah, blah, blah humbug.

Sent Mark off to bed, and went for my nightly walk to Tim Horton's for my steeped tea. When I got there, the staff was all pissed off because the city workers outside had been flushing the water mains since 5:30, so there was no tea, no hot chocolate, no lattes. I tried to keep the peace, and ordered a rare coffee, (which I am enjoying immensely).

Whew. Weird cranky-ass day. Oh, did I mention that (according to the Toronto media...and the Weather Network) we are in for what they are calling, Snowmaggedon? So, now I face the prospect of the last day of school for the year being a snow day, and me being stuck with 40 more Santa pops. Now, that is a thought that makes ME cranky...I hope it holds off until they are already in school, and the damned things have been handed out to the class...)

I hope tomorrow is a day of jolly tidings instead...

Friday, December 12, 2008

It's Not December Unless We Are All Sick

I was looking through some of my previous years' December posts, and in each one, my house in under siege with illness. And, like all other years, we are again ailing over here. The Norwalk virus has invaded our home. Mark Monday, Keegan Tuesday, Ty Thursday, and Phoenix today. So far, knock on wood, I have avoided getting it, but I am not without my own tales of physical woe...I have strep throat, and an ear and sinus infection...and after spending 4 hours coughing my guts out this evening, I'm thinking bronchial pneumonia is about to rear its ugly head again this year...

That being said, I have fallen behind on my Christmas to-do list. This week was supposed to be my baking week...but seeing as I spent the week cleaning dairy-based vomit out of carpets, this plan has fallen by the wayside. This evening, in desperation, I bundled all of the kids in the car (with a barf-bag for Phoenix) and went supply shopping, so I now have all of my ingredients to start the baking as soon as I am in a germ-free state.

However, I am almost finished with my Christmas shopping, so that is one chalked up for the plus side. This is our year for the entertaining, so I am hosting Mark's family for Christmas Eve, my Dad and 2 brothers for Christmas dinner, and my other brother and his family on Boxing Day. Trying out a few new recipes; should be good times, as long as we all have our health back on track.

In other news, Phoenix and Keegan both had good report cards and are happy in school. Ty is trucking along at preschool as well. Yesterday, I went to bat for Ty, and finally got him on the (year-long!) waitlist for a psychoeducational assessment, the purpose of which is to determine the extent of his developmental delays, obtain any possible diagnosis, and get the necessary services in place. My optimistic goal was to have him enter JK in the fall next year, but I can see now that it is just not going to happen. Sadly, once he enters the school system, he would lose a lot of the services he is currently getting through the region, most important being his speech and language therapy. Ty is 3 1/2 years old and is still pretty non-verbal. He has what they call self-motivated speech, meaning that he will only say something when he wants something. He will not engage in conversation, but will request things that he wants. We are constantly working to improve his spontaneous speech, but it has been a long, hard road so far.

Ty has also moved into his demon phase. I know, you are thinking, well what phase was he in before? Have you not likened him in the past to Stewie Griffin? Well, as bad as things were before, I now see that that was pie compared to what he is like now. He's just what my mother would have called "a going concern". You know, things like climbing bookshelves, hoisting himself ON TOP OF the refridgerator, general chaos and destruction...his cuteness is his saving grace. It's a true survival tool of his species...just let me live though this year. Hopefully, being 4 years old will be calmer. Ha. Ha ha ha.

I have a bit of a new obsession these days. Well, two really. The first is knitting. I have become a machine for knitting all sorts of little knitted stuffed toys. They are fun to do, and keep me occupied while I am watching tv at night. Which leads to my second obsession: DVD box sets...

In the past few months I have burned my retinas watching Entourage, Prison Break, Smallville, the Tudors, Lost, and most recently, The O.C. The problem with having multiple episodes at my disposal is that I do the "oh sure, just more more episode" thing, and end up going to bed at 3:00 am. No wonder I'm sick....I used up all of my energy stores on teenage tv angst...

That being said, I am going to go watch an episode (okay, maybe two) of The O.C. before coughing my guts out for another night. Hoping that the drugs kick in soon, and I can get back to a normal (ish) life...

Sunday update: Damn....caught the Norwalk virus after 2 of impending death...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Lot Has Changed In 11 Years...

11 years ago today, I was dressed in my wedding finery, trying to convince my mother that a smile would photograph better than a nerve-induced rictus. She regretted not accepting the Ativan that my mother-in-law to be had offered her...

Until later that day, I was still living at home with my parents and two of my brothers. I had a room with a twin bed, pictures of Mikhail Baryshnikov on the walls, and a hutch full of penguins. I had stuffed animals hanging in a hammock in the corner...a doll crib bedside the bed with my preemie Cabbage Patch kid, Lucille Claudia...and a cheesy romance novel on my bedside table.

My brother's old room was stacked with items for my new married life, gifts from wedding showers...Tupperware, Corningware, bowls, dishes, measuring spoons and cups, bedding, cookbooks and on and on.

11 years ago, I was a 112 lb size 6 (oh, how I miss those days!), and working for SunLife Financial. I worked in the health claims department under a cruel manager(I won't name names, but...oh, what the hell. CRYSTAL!) who I really hope has got what she deserved, and is now sitting in her own personal hell being poked by devil's minions with razor-sharp pitchfork tines...oh, but I digress. I wore Braemore suits to work, and my hair was Laboratoire Garnier's shade of Red Penny Auburn, not to mention about a foot longer than it is now...I wore contact lenses instead of glasses.

My social life took place at my friends' apartments in Toronto, or at pubs that served $2 beers on Thursdays. I did not have children. I did not volunteer for Healthy Snack days or field trips. I did not spend my hard-earned cash at the Children's Place, but rather on books by the pound at Costco.

My stomach was still able to accomodate 4 cups of coffee a day, and my life was not spent on the internet. I didn't have a home e-mail address. There was no blogging or Facebook. On weekends, I slept until the late afternoon, with no guilt.

Mark and I spent the summer camping in a tent, and staying up around the fire, drinking and telling jokes with our friends...and my canon camera carried 35mm film instead of a memory card.

I did not own furniture, or appliances. I spoke to my mother 100 times a day, and had breakfast with her 5 mornings a week. After the wedding, what is now Ty's room became the office, the boys' room was the spare room. We had new furnishings. All that lay ahead...was our future.

And 11 years later, the office is in the corner of the basement, our billards room is now the toy room, sleeping in on a weekend is something to look forward to in a decade to come. 11 years later, I have three boys, I work from home, and I volunteer at my sons' school. I make cakes, and Hallowe'en costumes, and knit sweaters for Webkinz.

Is this where I thought I'd be in 11 years? Not exactly. Am I happy with the way things turned out? A few exceptions, but I'd say yes. I wish a little more work would come my way...I wish I could see my friends more often...most of all, I wish that I could still call my mother 100 times a day.

But after 11 years, my husband and I still love each other, and I can't even think of living out my life with anyone else at my side. So, to you Mark, I wish you a very Happy 11th Wedding Anniversary...and I hope to celebrate many, many, many more.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

It's All An Illusion

Hiya! During one of my net-surfing sessions, I came across a new (to me) style of knitting, called illusion or shadow knitting. It's really cool. From a top view, the piece looks like stripes. However, if you look from a angle, you can see an image knitted into the pattern. The pattern is done with purl stitches and stand out from the knitted stitches...I recently finished my first shot at this, a dishcloth with a hidden picture of candy corn (in the Hallowe'en mood, I suppose...:) ). Now I am about to start a more ambitious project, which is the Batman Beyond logo scarf...wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Recent Conversations

Recent conservations:

1. Between myself and my husband, as I am sorting laundry to be put away...

Him: Your hair is a little flat today. I just noticed.
Me: What are you trying to say? You hate it?
Him: It's just...flat.
Me: Oh, so it's like a "Carol Brady thing" going on? Is that what you mean?
Him: No. I was thinking more...Liza Minelli...

(Following scene deleted as I give Mark a pelting with rolled up socks....)

2. Between myself and my husband, as we are getting dinner on the table...

Him: I'm going away for a guys weekend.
Me: Oh. Really.
Him: Yep.
Me: Well, that's okay. I was thinking of shipping the kids off to your mother's for the night anyway.
Him: Oh yeah? So you can do...what, exactly?
Me: I thought I'd invite all of my girlfriends over and we could have a 80's chick flicks...have naked pillow fights...
Him: I could come home early. With the camera...

3. Between myself and my son Keegan, age 6, after school.

Him: Mommy, can we stay at the park to play for a while.
Me: Sure, honey.
Him: Thank you Mommy! I love you so much!
Me: You're welcome. I love you too.
Him: And you're so beautiful!
Me: Thanks sweetie.
Interjection from another school mom: How much do you pay him?

4. Between myself and another friend, who is also a mom

Her: Do you ever want to list your kids on E-Bay and give them to the first bidder over $5.00?
Me: No.
Her. (pause...) Me either.
Me. I'd want at least $100 each, so I could buy some new boots and a purse.

5. Between myself and a friend, discussing the past weekend

Her: What did you do yesterday.
Me: Went to church. Went to my aunt's for dinner.
Her: You went to church? What was the occasion?
Me: (after deciding it would be hypocritical to be offended by the question). Free brunch after the mass.
Her: You're going to burn in hell, you know.
Me: I'll pack the extra SPF when I go.

6. Between me and my son Keegan, discussing his latest piece of artwork...

Me: That's a nice picture Keegan. Is that you swimming?
Him: Yes. See the waves?
Me: Yes. What are all of those squares in the sky above the clouds?
Him: That's Heaven.
Me: And the squares?
Him: Where the angels live. Like where Grandma stays.
Me: Ah....headstones. Gotcha.
Him: Grandma watches me from up there while I'm swimming, to make sure I don't get drownded.

7. Between me and Ty, in the bathroom.

Me: Come on Ty. Go pee in the toilet like a big boy.
Him: Pee!
Me: Yes! In the potty! Don't you want to wear underwear like your brothers?
Him: Yes.
Me: So, go pee in the potty!
Him: thanks.

What about you? Any interesting conversations lately?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Trials and Tribulations of Summer Living

Well, the last time I posted, I was marvelling that it was only 5 days until the end of school, and here we are at the end of July. This summer has flown by! We have been keeping very busy. The kids had a week off of school and then went off to camp for a week. Another week off, and we went to the cottage, this week off, and we go camping. Another week off and the kids are back at camp.

The good news is that Ty got accepted into the CIP program, so he is there 3 mornings a week for six weeks this summer as well. It's nice to break up the summer, and keeps the kidlets from being bored.

I was full of ambition at the beginning of the summer...I was going to have the kids doing math and reading and writing everyday to gear up for the fall and I have to admit that I've fallen down on that one big time. Well, there's still August...right?

Last week we spent near Huntsville at our friends' cottage. The weather was decent; I got my typical sunburn (and resulting lecture from a friend) and of course was eaten alive by insects. It was all good. Spent the week with my sister-in-law and her family and had a lot of fun.

This is not to say that the vacation was without disaster. Oh no. Lots of little ones, actually. Broken glass, crayoned walls, ripped-off hinges were the least of them. The biggies were Ty discovering a nest of leeches, and being covered with them from toes to knees. I lost count at 37, but I am guessing there were up to 60. Bring on the salt! He wasn't bothered by them, but I tell ya, those little suckers make you bleed like a pig!

The biggest crisis occured shortly before this, when Keegan called from within the cottage that he was bleeding. I thought maybe he had a nosebleed, or that a leech had gotten to him too, but no. When I got inside, his foot was covered in blood. When I mopped it up, the top of his foot from toe cleavage upward 2 inches was splayed open like someone had taken a fillet knife to it. Eeps! (To this day, we nor Keegan have any idea how this cut happened).

We took him to the ER in Huntsville. Lovely place, by the way. Very friendly staff. I think they all moonlight at the hospitality office..."Oh, vacationing? How lovely. How are you enjoying it so far?" etc... Anyway, triage was speedy and we were out in an hour. The doctor was prepared to do stitches, but because he had been in the lake, there was a possibility of sealing in bacteria if they stitched or glued it shut. So they just used cloth tape stitches (steri-strips) to close it and told us to keep it dry for 5 days. So much for swimming. Luckily this happened the day before we left. I took the bandage off today, and it looks pretty gross still, so I'm taking him the dr's tomorrow to get it re-looked at.

Friends and family have suggested just sealing all three kids in a bubble and be done with the stress, but that's all a part of raising three boys, right? Right?

So, no sooner have I unpacked, done 1549 loads of laundry and put it all away, than I have to start all over again to go camping this weekend. For Ty's sake, I hope this lake is leech free!


On a separate note, I can't say that I ever really look forward to August anymore. Not only is it the anniversary of my mother's death, but also her birthday, and the memories, the sadness, and the never-ending longing to see her, come back with full force. Maybe all of the crazy child behaviour is just their loving way of distracting me?

And soon enough it will be September. Ty will be in 5 mornings a week at preschool, and Phoenix and Keegan will be in full-time (grades 3 and 1 respectively). The sad part is that with all of this "free" time I will have, my husband is sure to expect that I actually get some work done around here, instead of lounging around, reading romance novels and eating bon bons like I believe he thinks I currently spend my days...stay tuned.

Hope your summer is and has been sunny and happy, and that no traumas big or small have befallen you. Take care.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


What's that you say? Only 5 days left of school? Kripes! June seems to have snuck up on me this year...May was such a busy month that I think I left my brain somewhere back on the 31st.

What's new...hmm...well, my baby boy is turning 8 tomorrow! I cannot believe it. Cliche though it is, it just seems like yesterday when he was born...sigh. On Saturday, the Reptile Party Guy is coming over with a slew of creepy critters to entertain the troops. I really hope the weather holds so we can have it in the backyard. I actually kind of looking forward to the party; I think it will be pretty neat to touch and hold snakes and lizards and stuff.

Next week, as I mentioned (in shock!) is the last week of school. Report cards etc...I have a busy summer planned for the boys, so hopefully I won't get too many of the "Mommy! I'm bored!" cries. They have a week off, then Phoenix and Keegan are off to a week of camp. A week off, then the cottage for a week, a week off, then more camp, then two weeks off and school! Doesn't sound so bad that way.

Exciting development! Ty got into the summer session of CIP (Community Intervention Program) which is a short term, intensive intervention program for preschool children who attend child care and are experiencing significant challenges with social and communication skills
that may impede successful inclusion. A small group of children attend six weeks for three half day sessions delivered by a multidisciplinary team of professionals. Child care staff and parents receive opportunities for training and information sharing during the sessions. Keegan attended this program and it worked MIRACLES for him, so I am hopeful for the outcome for Ty.

The goal is to get him using more spontaneous speech, and build on sentence length. He starts in mid-July, and goes for 6 weeks. I was very happy to get him in the program, because otherwise, he would have had a 2 month break in service. This way he keeps to routine a bit, and is still enjoying the social interaction of his peers.

This summer we are renting our friends' cottage near Huntsville. The kidlets are really looking forward to it. So am I. It's nice to get away from the same old routine sometimes. We are also planning a bunch of day trips, and camping weekends, assuming we ever get back on track with the weather.

We've had so much rain lately! Major thunderstorms, brilliant lightning shows, tornado watches, and on Monday, a hailstorm, with fallout the size of marbles! All of these weather occurances seem to happen at 3:01 pm, just as the kidlets are getting out of school.

Speaking of school, apparently this year they are not holding a graduation service for the SK kids. This really pisses me off, and I know I'm not the only parent of a 6 year old to feel this way. We've all been telling our kids that they are graduating into big kid school and now, no ceremony. Word is, the teachers don't want to do one extra second of planning that they don't have to. It's the first time I can remember in the last 8 years that they haven't done it, and I think it SUCKS. I may have to go lay the boots to the administration. Stay tuned.

Well, I guess I should go finish my baking. I'm making cookies for Phoenix to share with his classmates at school tomorrow for his birthday. Next chore: his reptile cake!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

It Really Was An Accident Waiting To Happen...

12 kids. Two 8 year olds, and the rest ranging between 5 and 6. Throw a 3 year old into the mix. Add astonishing amounts of hyperactivity, 5 pin glow-bowling, blaring music, and general uncoordination, and you've got Keegan's 6th birthday party.

Just getting them organized was a nightmare. Shoes, getting them to decide if they want peach juice, apple juice, Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Orange Crush or 7-Up. And then giving them more choices in the arena of chips: plain, salt and vinegar, nacho, ketchup, BBQ, cheesies or sour cream and onion.

Then trying to shift them all into three lanes for bowling. This was more difficult than you might think, especially because I wasn't able to put names to half of the faces.

And when you see them actually bowl...yipes! Three kids with crushed fingers because they refused to listen to the 500000000000 times I told them not to put their hands near the ball return. One kid with a bruised foot from when another kid dropped his ball. Of course, this wouldn't have happened either if they had listened when I told them 500000000000000 times to sit down on the bench when it wasn't their turn to bowl. And my personal favourite: the kid who got a rapidly speeding ball to the crotch when he thought it was a good idea (despite my 5000000000000000000000000 warnings NOT to) to straddle the ball return. It took one hour to get through 6 frames of bowling.

Food! Hotdogs. 80% of the kids only ate the wiener. Another 10% took one bite and said they were full. The other 10% said that there was no way they were eating that, or drinking that. ( some sensory issues going on. Okay, I get it).

Then there was the creepy Yoda Cake. (Forgive me as I sidebar here to tell the story of the cake. Keegan had asked for a Yoda cake for his party. I had visions of gateau grandeur. Instead, I ended up with a Yoda head on a platter, whose facial attachments and ears were too heavy for the cake and despite having a box of toothpicks inserted throughout the cake, continued to fall off. (That's a lawsuit waiting to happen, actually...). I asked Keegan what he thought, and he said it was really creepy and it would scare all of his friends. "But thanks for trying Mommy."
So, cake part two. I cut the head in half so I had two half-spheres of cake. Made one into the head, the other into chest and shoulders and made up a jacket to lay on top. Trimmed down the protruding eyes and nose, and reassembled. Keegan's reaction was non-committal. At this point, I thought, screw it! Why am I stressing out for a bunch of kindergardeners?)

Ok, so I bring out the cake, the children were delighted (to my satisfaction, they all knew it was supposed to be Yoda) and Keegan blows out the candle. I then tell them I am going to cut the cake. Then, and I kid you not, they en masse started chanting, "KILL YODA! KILL YODA! KILL YODA!" Little barbarians, every single one of them.

After it was all over, and we were taking the loot to the car, I had that bizzare ringing deafness, akin to post-concert experiences.

Don't get me wrong, over all the party went well, the kids had a blast, and other than the myriad of bowling ball related injuries, there were no tears or tantrums. But I for one, would recommend that bowling parties be saved for those 7 and up. Maybe 8. Make it an even 10. And only invite 2 friends.

PS. I really want to hunt down and maim the parent who invented loot bags. I took a page out of my friend Christy's book, and decided to give the kids Chapter's gift cards instead of crappy dollar store toys that would break before they even got home. As I was handing these out, tucked into thank you cards, I kept hearing, "This is it? This is the loot?" Sigh. You just can't win. One month of rest until Phoenix's birthday party. And I'm going to need it.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy 6th Birthday Keeg-a-Roo!

Oh Keegan, my Keegan. You are 6 today. And as luck would have it, you are sharing your birthday with all the moms out here on Mother's Day.

I cannot believe how fast 6 years have flown by. You are growing like a weed! And you are so smart, with your reading and math, you blow me away. You are also so sweet. Not a day goes by where you don't make me smile with your adorable phrases in passing, like, "After you, your Highness!" or "You are lovely. You are the most beautifulest mommy in the whole world!"

When I see all that you have accomplished this year, I feel so proud. You are popular with the boys and girls alike, and always have a gang of pals around you. When I think of how you used to play off in the corner by yourself, it warms my heart to see you not only engaging in play, but inviting the shyer kids to join in too.

You have moved away from the world of Thomas the Tank Engine, and Pokemon, and have fallen headfirst into the land of LEGO, Star Wars and Indiana Jones. You are my joy, and you should be very proud of all that you are and do. Your enthusiam for new things makes me enjoy and appreciate my world all the more.

Happy Birthday Keegs. I love you!



Wednesday, March 26, 2008

This Saint's For You!

I also posted this on my book review blog...but in case you don't read that's some interesting reading:

From kindergarden to grade 13, I went to a Catholic school. In school we had religion classes, and when we were being confirmed in grade 8, we had to pick out a saint in whose name we would be confirmed. So we spent the better part of a week poring over books of Catholic saints, looking for divine inspiration...then the girls in the class discovered that our teacher, Mrs. Kelly, was confirmed with a male saint's name, Saint Frederick.

After that, of course, all of the girls (or most of them anyway) leaned toward boy names, including myself. (Saint Robert). I had long-since forgotten what he was the saint of. I always told people that he was the patron saint of sarcasm...but for years I've been wanting to buy a book of saints. Today I found a great one! "This Saint's For You!" by Thomas J. Craughwell has detailed information on "300 heavenly allies for architects, athletes, brides, bachelors, babies, librarians, murderers, whales, widows and you". And St. Robert? Turns out he is the patron saint of catechism teachers. Hmm. Who knew?

Cruising through this book has given me some new saints to pray to though, geared especially to me:

St. Expeditus: The Patron Saint of Procrasination (Feast Day, April 19). In art, he is often depicted trampling on a raven that is labelled "cras", Latin for "tomorrow".

St. Martha: Patron Saint of Those Stressed by Guests. She is a good pick for this, as who would be more stressed than the woman who served dinner to the Son of God?

St. Bonaventure: Patron Saint of Bowel Disorders. As a sufferer of IBS, I now know who to pray to in times of abdominal distress.


St. Marculf: Patron Saint of Skin Rashes. I am also the queen of brutal eczema, so this is a good one to know as well.

Listen, there is a helpful saint out there for all of you...
Parents of Disappointing Children? Pray to St. Matilda
Physically Unattractive? Pray to St. Germaine Cousin
Sore Throat? Pray to St. Blaise
To Find a Husband? Pray to St. Andrew

There's hope for us all...

Looking for a saint? Drop me a line and I'll look it up for you...

It's Nice To Hear Something Good For a Change

I was volunteering at the boys' school this morning. On my way out, I ran into Keegan's kindergarden teacher. She stopped to tell me so many nice things about Keegan that I am sure my face lit up like a Christmas tree.

She told me that she is amazed at the difference in Keegan since September. She said that he is very attentive to his work, that he listens, and is so eager to learn. She said that he has learned to tune out the noise of the classroom to focus on his own tasks, that he helps the junior students with problem-solving, and is the first to volunteer at circle.

She told me that when she was working with him today, she was going through a list of "sight words" (which is the words SK students should know when entering Grade 1) and he read them all. He sounded out another list of words as well, and wrote them down without complaining. It seemed, I think, like a bit of a miracle to her, but I assured her that Keegan has been working very hard at home, and that a little positive reinforcement goes a heck of a long way with Keegs.

That is one of the greatest things about Keegan: if you show enthusiasm for something, he gets excited about it too. He is so eager to please, and beams with pride at all of his accomplishments. I am having a very proud Mommy moment... :)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Flat Stanley!

Well, Phoenix had a great March break with Flat Stanley. Stanley was out in the blizzard with the snowblower, built towers with Lego, and measured his height in Lego bricks. He would have enjoyed the Starwars and 80s Toy Expo, but sadly, he was forgotten in the car...

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Lazy, Lazy,Lazy?

No, just busy, busy, busy...

This is my excuse for being lax in the way of blogging. In truth, I forget that not everyone I know is on Facebook, and therefore do not have minute to minute updates of my crazy schedule.

In case you were wondering, my trip was AWESOME! We truly could not have picked a better place to go. Weather was gorgeous, food was almost too good, and we went on three great tours.
The night before we left, I stayed at my friend Kristin's place, since she lives nearer the airport, and we had to be there 3 hours before (read: 4am!). We decided that there wasn't much point in going to sleep, so by the time we arrived in San Salvador, we were running on 48 hours of no sleep. But, as soon as our luggage hit the room, we were in our bathing suits and off for a swim, drink and snack. I think we took a nap before dinner. Needless to say, we went to bed early that night, but were raring to go the next day.

We went to the orientation deal, where they tell us about the resort, and about all of the different tours that they offer. After booking our tours and our a la carte dinners, we were going to go play in the ocean, only to discover that the tide was out, and daily remains so until about 3 pm. So we lounged by the pool, sipped our drinks and read our books. But when the tide came in? Woo hoo! 8 to 10 foot waves that knocked us onto our asses! It was a blast.

The next day, we went on our first tour, which was the Mayan route. We saw lots of Mayan pyramid ruins and a few museums with wonderful pottery finds and tools. Our next tour was the coffee tour, and this was by far my favourite. We went to the coffee plantation in the mountains, saw the coffee trees, and the greenhouse where they have the baby grafted coffee trees. We also saw 3 monoliths on the only private archeological site. Next we went to the factory where they process the coffee (that you drink at Starbucks!). It was like being in a 3 hour episode of "How It's Made". We saw production of coffee from berry to green bean. We also got to sample some, and it was sooooooo good. Bought some coffee there, as well as coffee bean jewellery which was pretty neat.

Our third tour was the Culture and Crafts tour. We saw a beautiful church, and lots of open-air craft markets where we spent the remainder of our spending money.

The rest of the time at the resort was spent relaxing, reading, eating, drinking, and dodging those huge waves! We were all reluctant to leave, especially since we came home to snow, snow and more snow. (Props to Kris, who saved my ass on the way home by packing light. I was 5 pounds over, and she was 5 pounds under, so I got to take her weight limit for my luggage. Thank GOD! Or else I was looking at a $50 overage fee.)

And speaking of snow, holy crap! I don't know what we are going to do if it snows again. Where to put it? Our yard already looks like Whistler. Some guys are coming tomorrow to install the chair lifts.

The good and bad of it: March Break. The good? I don't have to make lunches at 6:30 am. I don't have to harass the kids into their snowsuits for the school run. Homework is a leisurely thing. We get to hang out with Flat Stanley (more about that later). I get to do fun stuff with the kids, like LEGO land, Chapters craft afternoons, and playdates that include the moms.

The bad of it: It's March break. Which means that for 7 days, I have to keep 3 kidlets from killing each other for 14 hours a day instead of 5. I don't have any alone time. My living room floor is ALWAYS covered in both LEGO and Thomas the Tank Engine (and friends!).

But hey, you know me. Mrs. Optimism, right? Ha ha. Yeah, I know, my maiden name will always be Miss Sarcasm...

Tomorrow I'm going for session #2 of Ty's speech therapy block, while Oma minds the other two. Tuesday I am hopefully having a kid and mom playdate. Wednesday we are off to LEGO land. Thursday to Chapters...not sure about Friday...maybe Maple Syrup Festival on Saturday at either Bronte or Montsberg. And Sunday I'm taking Phoenix and Keegan to the 80's Toy Expo, so that should be fun.

Now. About Flat Stanley. Ever heard of this fellow? He is a book character created by Jeff Brown. To sum it up, Stanley Lambchop is a boy who is flattened when a bulletin board falls on him. He survives and makes the best of his condition. He is turned into a kite by his brother, nails some art thieves by posing on a museum wall, and can be mailed to his friends.

In 1995, Dale Hubert, a third-grade school teacher in London, Ontario, started the Flat Stanley project, where the kids involved make their own "Flat Stanley"s and document the things that they do with him. Phoenix has to do this with his Flat Stanley during March break, take pictures of F.S. doing different activities, and bring the pictures to school after the break and talk about their adventures. So far, Phoenix's F.S. has been snapped playing with LEGO, and snow-blowing the driveway. Will post pictures at the week's end.

In other news, it is once again Roll Up the Rim to Win time at Tim Hortons. My friend's husband won a GPS. I have won a coffee and a "donut". And, wait, let me roll up my rim here to see if I won anyting....and...hey! A coffee! Sweet. If I win the GPS, I plan to strap it to the stroller and take off to the wilds with Ty. Right now, I'd be happy to win a loaded Tim's card to pay for my nightly caffeine habit. Happy drinking everyone!

On that note, I am off to bed. Even though there's no school for Phoenix and Keegs, Ty still goes 3 mornings a week and tomorrow is one of them. Regardless, he is up at the crack of my crack so I have to be up with him, lest he should wander about the house, in seek and destroy mode. Hope you all have a good week, and I shall return with our photo essay of the adventures of Flat Stanley.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Time's A-Tickin'

In only 9 days, I will be outta here! My friend Kristin and I have booked ourselves a girls' vacation. One week, all-inclusive, and guaranteed no shovelling of snow. We are off to San Salvador, El Salvador, where this upcoming week, the weather will be sunny, with highs between 30 and 33C, and lows around 18C at night. Pretty sweet.

As the Queen of Procrastination, I have surprised even myself at the amount of pre-planning I have done for this trip. I cleaned out my drawers and closets. Tried on a bunch of summer stuff, and put in a haphazard pile, all of the clothes I intend to pack. I bought a couple of new shirts, a pair of shorts, some capri pants, and 3 new bathing suits. I have sunscreen and chapstick. Cameras locked and loaded to go. And most importantly, I have written up a Husband/Father Survival Guide for the week I am gone, as Mark is taking the week off to be Father of the Year while I am away.

I was surprised at the amount of stuff he needs to know; after all, they are his kids too. He lives in the same house as we do. As my friend would say, God is in the details. Like what time school starts. When it ends. Which days they each attend. Pizza Day. Dance-A-Thon. Library days. Spelling homework. Reading logs. Writing practice. Language therapy. Medication. How to operate the washing machine, and dryer. All of these big and little things and more. It's enough to make one's head spin. My friend Darra said that seemed like too much work to even leave the house.

I say, girlfriend, it is worth it. Take the time, to take the time out. So needless to say, this will be a very busy week for me, getting everything ready to go, not just for me, but for the FOUR boys I am leaving behind.


On a separate note, how often do you do laundry? I seems, no, it is the reality, that around here, I put the laundry away, and fill up the baskets again. It is never-ending! I am doing laundry as I type! (Okay, well, the machines are, but I have to load them, and fold or hang you know what I mean).

Speaking of laundry...have you seen the new Gain commercial? The one where the guy puts on a shirt, and spends minutes smelling and stroking it, until his wife walks by and looks at him like he is some kind of freak? Well, recently, after a static-cling-induced rage of my husband's, I bought some Bounce dryer sheets. Today I washed towels, and threw one of these in. I got out the shower a while ago, and spent a creepily-long amount of time smelling my towel. So soft, so fresh! I guess the Gain Guy and I have some bizarre connection. And that really weirds me out.


Yesterday afternoon, I took a rare nap. Not planned, just passed out on the couch, with the back-of-the-mind assurance that Mark was home for the day, and was watching the kidlets. It was such a nice nap. Nice dreams accompanied said nice nap. Until Ty Superfly Snuka, in a rare moment of top-rope aerialist flying attacks, body-slammed me from the end of the couch. He laughed until he peed himself (which he didn't care, mom will change his diaper anyway) and I counted broken ribs. Kripes! (Mantra of that day? "Children are a blessing. Children are a blessing.")

Well, I suppose that I should go and fold the next load of laundry. Even though it is 10:30 at night, and the kidlets are asleep. And husband is in bed watching a movie. Sigh. How long till that vacation again?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Death By Toddler

A conversation I had today with Ty, after opening his bedroom door to discover that he had taken every single one of 500 wipes from the container, rolled it into a ball, and stashed them all over his room:

Me: OH..........MY..........LANTA! TY!!!! Are you trying to torture me?
Ty: Yes.
Me: Well, don't do that Ty. It's not nice to torture your mother!
Ty: Okay.
Me: Never do this again, got it?
TY: Alright.
Me: I mean it.
Ty: Okay. Alright....I yuv you!
Me: (sighing) I love you too...Are you going to go for a nap today...without destroying your room?
Ty: No.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Rage Beyond Rage, plus a bit of Despair

Today I am feeling rage beyond rage. In past postsI have talked about my son Keegan, and how he has been struggling for years now with a language delay. He was in a pre-school speech and language program, which did wonders for his language development, then was promptly kicked out upon reaching the school system. The "wise" reasoning behind this? Because apparently students receive these services through the school board and they can't "double-task".

So, at the end of June last year, I sat in a room with a bunch of teachers and therapists etc., who told me that they were going to apply on Keegan's behalf to enter a program that is one term long, called the early language development centre. Then I was told that because he didn't spend a JK year at the school, he was not elegible for the centre in September, and they would reapply for the February-June session. I was supposed to hear one way or the other by Christmas break. I didn't. I called the school today, and apparently, they received "rejection" letters yesterday, and Keegan was one of them. No reason was given in the letter. And apparently, if I want more answers I have to call the school board.

All of his assessments, from the developmental pediatrician, to his speech pathologist, to the educational assessment psychologist all agreed that Keegan has a language delay that puts his language 2 years behind where he should be. If he does not receive intervention at school, he is at risk of a learning disability by the end of Grade 1. So, here we are.

I was so counting on him being accepted into this program. Everyone was telling me that he was a perfect candidate, and now he gets nothing. Rage. Beyond. Rage. the thought of having to carve a new and difficult road outside of school for his learning opportunities. Eff.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Holiday Round Up

Well, it has been quite busy around here since I last posted. December was a very chaotic month. I was mostly consumed with the planning of my father's 70th birthday party, which took place on the 16th.Those of you who are local may remember that day as "The Arrival of the Snowstorm From Hell." So, my planning of the party, which was supposed to have 70 attendees, with a rented hall, and a boatload of food, ended up being myself, my husband, my kids, two of my brothers and about 10 die-hard family members and friends. The weather definitely put a HUGE damper on the entire affair, but for those that did make it, we all had a good time. Just a little defeating to spend so much time planning, and have it ruined by weather. Sigh!

So with my energy being wrapped up in all that, I found myself with less than two weeks to go to Christmas, and no baking or shopping done. Needless to say, time was of the essence in those remaining days and I was a whirling dervish of activity. As usual, I was stressed to the max and fretting all the while, when, in the end, everything turned out beautifully. This was aided and abetted by the fact that most of the Christmas entertaining was out of my hands. We had a fabulous Christmas Eve dinner and present-opening bonanza at my sister-in-law Ela's place. Christmas morning brought breakfast with my Dad and two brothers, and another round of presents. Then we made our way to my Auntie Cathy's place for an amazing dinner (and yes, more presents! Kripes!) Boxing Day was my entertaining day with my brother and his family coming out for the day.

I thought we were done, but it didn't really end there, which is great too. We got to see a lot of friends, and spend time with family, as the kiddies were off for another week, as was my husband. Tomorrow I have put aside as a day of ultimate vegging, before starting back into the school and homework routine.

We were lucky enough (knock on wood) to have escaped any major illnesses over the holiday, unlike many of my friends and their families who were visited by the Grinch in the form of the Norwalk virus. Not the way you want to lose weight, from what I have heard. I am glad to hear they they have all crawled back into the land of the living. I hope the New Year brings good health for everyone! (Oops, too late. Just got off the phone with my friend Kris who thinks she either has Norwalk or food poisoning from take-out souvlaki. Hugs (from a distance, mind) Kris!)

In other news, I am slowly creeping back into the working world, with proofing and copyediting jobs being thrown my way. It is nice to get back into that scene, and to realize that I have not put any of those skills into the mental recycle bin over the years.

With the advent of the New Year, many people have asked me if I have made any resolutions. I told my friend Shane, "Only to not make any resolutions!", but that is not really true. I think we all see the beginning of a new year as an opportunity to make a new start, and to try to develop some good habits that have fallen by the wayside. I am going to try to get on the treadmill, and am seriously going to put energy into giving up my greatest vice of all. CHOCOLATE. I think I would gross you all out if I told you the amount of chocolate I consume in a week. I honestly believe, if I eat half-way decently, and give up the chocolate, I could lose 20 pounds in a month. So, there's my goal. On February 7, I will let you know if I made that forecasted target.

The other thing I am going to try to do, is to devote a minimum of 1-3 hours a day to my writing. Only I can make that time, and I really want to get back to it. Excuses only go so far.

So, to be a cliche, what are your resolutions? Any? Stubbornly none? Broken them already? Let me know in the comments, and keep me posted on your progress. Let us all be inspirations for each other.

PS. Oh yeah, my other resolution? To get to bed before 11:00 pm on week nights. We'll see how that and the 1-3 hours of writing fall into place together.

Take care.