the best age

I really struggled for a post idea tonight. I even googled “blog post ideas”, and wow. There are a LOT of sites devoted to giving people ideas for blog posts. My favourite was this one. A few of my favourites from the site:

  • Ten things you can’t do anymore. (I might actually use this one in a future post.)
  • Host a carnival. (WTF?)
  • Write down every random thought that comes to mind. (Tempting…)
  • Promote world peace; make concrete recommendations to get there. (I’m sure me and my four readers can achieve this one.)

But I had another idea. I went back to my NaBloPoMo post from this day last year to see if it would give me any ideas. And it did. I think back to a year ago when Amy was still nursing and we were changing diapers every 90 minutes and it was a huge scramble to get out of the house, and I don’t miss it. Sure it’s still a (somewhat smaller) scramble to get out of the house and we’re still changing diapers, and Elliot has meltdowns and Amy doesn’t like to get dressed in the mornings, but for the most part I love it. I love the phrases that come out of Elliot’s mouth, I love the interactions I see between the kids and I love how Amy hams it up for us.

Just tonight I jokingly asked Elliot to put Amy to bed for us because Greg and I are both feeling under the weather, and he agreed. But he told me he couldn’t put her into her crib — we’d have to do that. About half an hour later Greg and I had both forgotten this conversation, and Greg put Amy into her pajamas. Elliot came into the room and was very disappointed that he didn’t get her into her jammies. So we got him to put her sleep sack on, and she stood perfectly still while he did it, and then he read her a book. We read a couple of more books together and then once she was in her crib, Elliot sang to her the “good night song he learned from daycare”, all by himself. He was the last one to walk out of her room, and he gently closed the door behind him.

A good friend of mine who has a young teenage daughter once told me that every age has been her favourite age so far. I’m not sure I am going to make that statement because I have to admit that three has had some hard stretches, but I hope I can get close to it.

mask alert

I went for my H1N1 vaccination today. I’m not feeling very good, but it seems to just be a cold so my doctor went ahead an gave me the shot. On the door to her office there’s a sign next to a stack of masks asking patients to put on a mask if they have cold or flu symptoms. Since I’m coughing a bit, I grabbed a mask and put it on. Then walked into the waiting room. It was full, so I sat down in the chair nearest to me. The poor woman beside me physically recoiled at the sight of someone in a mask sitting beside her. I felt bad, and probably should have told her I just have a cold, but instead I stuck my head in my book and ignored the stares. Thankfully (for everyone) I didn’t have to wait long.

The shot didn’t hurt at all (didn’t even know she’d done it), but my arm sure hurts now. I’m surprised my kids didn’t complain about it when they got their shots. Elliot just barely bumped it tonight, and it sent shooting pain down to my elbow. I think I’ll be sleeping on my left side tonight.

so far today

Greg and the kids are in Nanaimo for the day. Elliot’s been up there since Thursday and Greg and Amy headed out around 9:30 this morning. I decided I’d stay home and do some house stuff. I’m feeling rather crappy so I’d rather just be doing nothing, but I have persevered. So far, anyway. It’s only 1:30 and I’m actually going to have a nap after I post this. Hopefully I’ll wake up with some more energy.

I’ve accomplished quite a bit so far. First up was the laundry room. It’s become one of our dumping grounds for items that don’t have a home. I took pretty much everything out of it, swept the floor, and then started putting some of the stuff back. I was also able to store a few things in the crawl space (our crawl space was under water last year during the heavy rains so storage down there is pretty limited). Everything else is either destined for donation or for Used Victoria, and I moved it all to the office. I’m hoping that now it’s in our face a bit more Greg and I will actually do something about it. Anyone want a TV? We have two to get rid of!

I then unpacked three boxes that were from our move 11 MONTHS AGO, and that sure was satisfying. We still have a couple more to unpack, but we’re close.

While Amy and I were up earlier this morning I made some apple sauce out of the apples that were left on our tree. Unfortunately there weren’t many as the deer, squirrels and birds have had a feast. I made six jars and they are now in the freezer. My kids won’t eat it but I’ve got a good muffin recipe that uses apple sauce, so it’ll get used.

I swept the basement floor.

I did the shredding.

I’ve done four loads of laundry, and almost all of it has been put away already. I’m just waiting on my flannel sheet and duvet so I can put them on my bed and have a cozy nap.

Later this afternoon I hope to clean the kitchen, organize the kids’ rooms and tidy up the rest of the house a bit. Not sure I’ll have time for all that.

And then I may just treat myself to dinner out.

an open evening

I’m trying to figure out what to do tonight. My original plan was to scrapbook, but I’m not feeling all that great and hence not all that inspired. I could sit on the couch and watch tv, but I doubt there is anything good on. I could read, but I don’t really feel like it. I could work, which I actually kind of feel like doing as the work I have to do is fun, but it doesn’t really need to be done. This gets me back to the scrapbooking. I’ve almost finished Amy’s scrapbook (I’ve done one for each child, documenting their first year); all I need to do is a bit of journaling. I’ve been putting it off because I do it on the computer which means there’s some logistics required in measuring the space I’ve left in the scrapbook, formatting a Word document so that it’s the same size, what I want to write, what font, etc.

I think the reason for me writing this post (other than to check off November 7th as “done”) is to say I’m going to do the journaling for Amy’s scrapbook. There. I said it. Now I have to do it.

UPDATE:
Okay, it took me three hours, but the journaling is done. It’s definitely not my favourite part of scrapbooking, but it does come with a bonus. I get my content from old blog posts, and it’s fun to read back over stuff Greg and I have written. And it makes me thankful that we have both taken the time to chronicle our kids’ lives.

short post about a short run

I went for a run this morning with Yoshi in the pouring rain. We went to Thetis so most of it was in the trees. Although I’m not sure that’s any better, as instead of getting rained on consistently with small drops, you get pelted erratically with large drops from the trees. The last five minutes of the run was out in the open a bit more, and that coincided with the downpour turning into a torrential downpour. We were both dripping when we got to the car, and Yoshi was more than happy to jump in and get toweled off.

Yoshi can still keep up with me for a 5 km run, but he doesn’t bolt ahead like he used to. I dread the day when I have to leave him at home.

ladies night

Tonight is Ladies Night. Almost four years ago I decided I’d had enough of not seeing some of my closest friends, and started up a monthly get together on the first Thursday of each month. It was well received, and we’ve kept it going. There are nine people on my distribution list (used to be ten but we lost one to the damn military last year…hope to have her back next year), and we usually have at least three or four come out each month. We’ve had a few slumps (like recently), but I’d say we’ve done quite well. Unlike some other people in our lives…who we won’t mention.

We started out going to the Ross Bay Pub, but it’s not the nicest pub, and doesn’t have the greatest menu. We toyed with going to a new place each month, but decided that would get too complicated. So we settled (okay, someone suggested it and I thought it was a good idea) on the lounge above Ferris’. It has served us well.

We drink martinis, wine and cider, eat oysters and brownies, and reconnect.

I love it.

storytelling

When we were in New Zealand in February my nephew introduced Elliot to the idea of stories in the car. More specifically, the idea of Mum or Dad telling a story in the car. We did a lot of driving so there were a lot of stories. And I knew when we got home it was going to continue. And it has.

We have a rule that only the person in the passenger seat can tell a story, not the driver, as the driver has to concentrate. So often if Greg and I are both in the car with the kids, Elliot asks for a story.

It’s draining. We usually get some guidance from Elliot in the form of a colour and a vehicle. For example, a story about a light blue fire truck. We’re on our own after that. We try to make it interactive, and Greg is better at this than me, but Elliot usually just likes to listen. A few times we’ve convinced him to tell us a story, but that doesn’t work very often.

Greg and I now both jump at the chance to drive if we’re all in the car, just so we don’t have to be the one telling the story. Any literary people out there are probably grimacing at the lazy parenting here.

Okay, so there’s the background. Elliot likes to hear stories in the car and we pretty much hate telling them. So when I saw the “Telling Tales” article in the October issue of Today’s Parent, I knew it was a must read. Here’s a quote:

“Why is telling children stories so important? For one, storytelling can create a magical, intimate experience. More significantly, though, taking time to create a story shows that you are willing to put your life on pause. And while the emphasis is on having fun, researchers say this simple pasttime might even boost children’s brains.”

Okay…so I’m feeling a bit guilty now. And I’ve decided to embrace the storytelling. Or at least try to be a bit more enthusiastic about it. And the article gave me some tips, namely:

  • It doesn’t have to be a made up story. Tell a fairy tale, or tell a story about my childhood.
  • Start at the end of a classic tale. For example, what happened after Jack cut down the beanstalk? (This won’t mean much to Elliot yet, but it’ll make things more interesting for Greg and I.)
  • Google “story starters” (haven’t done this yet, but will).
  • Answer a question like “will it ever stop raining?” with a story.

So next time Elliot asks for a story, I’m hoping to not view it as a chore, but as an opportunity.

i don’t love yoga

Tuesday is yoga night for me, and for the first time ever I’m taking more than one session of yoga consecutively. All told I think I’ve taken about six different yoga classes over the past four years, but I’ve always stopped when the session is over. I’ve done pre-natal, post-natal and a couple of different kinds of classes that I can’t tell you about because I’m so ignorant about yoga that I don’t know what type they were.

A friend introduced me to Helga Beer when I was pregnant with Elliot. I couldn’t get in because her classes were full, but I ended up taking a pre-natal one with her when I was pregnant with Amy. It sucked. It was in the evening, I was exhausted, and I didn’t feel like moving at all. I attended sporadically. But it wasn’t Helga’s fault. I really liked her, so I tried a post-natal session after Amy was born, and enjoyed it. But then Amy started moving so post-natal wasn’t going to work, and then life got busy and yada, yada, yada.

Finally in September my hamstrings yelled loud enough about how tight they were, and I signed up for an eight week session, again with Helga. According to her website we do Hatha yoga, but she doesn’t focus a whole lot on specific poses. There are a handful we do, but most of the class seems to be about stretching and strengthening.

I decided to finally commit to doing yoga regularly and signed up for the next session, which started tonight. I have to say that I usually dread going. It would be easier if I went directly from work, but I come home, have dinner, get all into “at home” mode, and then have to go out again. She has several classes, but Tuesday night was the only one that really fit into the schedule.

Once I’m there it’s okay, but not fantastic. The 90 minutes goes by fairly slowly, and sometimes it feels like all I’m doing is yawning. I really like Helga’s style, I think it’s just yoga in general that I’m not wild about. But I know it’s good for me and I’m going to try to stick with it. I want to one day be able to touch my toes without bending my legs.

And tonight I had a thought. When I first started running I felt pretty ambivalent about it. I started running because it was an easy way to get exercise, and I ran for at least a year before I really started to enjoy it. So maybe it’ll come.

hiney flu

I know, I know, people are sick and tired of hearing about H1N1, but that’s my topic for today. There’s the silver lining of the pandemic — it’s giving me content for day two of NaBloPoMo. But I’m not going to rant and rage about all that’s been going on. Partly because I really don’t have that much to rant and rage about, and partly because I don’t feel like opening the door to any comments about what’s been going on. Because I’m sick and tired of hearing about it too.

Nope, today’s post is just about getting the kids vaccinated. (That decision in itself could open the door to some comments…but oh well.) After a bit of trouble finding out where the mass clinics were this week (and here I must commend whoever (whomever?) is responsible for the VanIslandHealth twitter account, as not only did they apologize for something I complained about, they fixed it very quickly), we headed up to UVic for their 9:00 clinic. We got there at about 8:45 and the line had about 200 people in it. Not too bad. At 9:00 it started moving, and seemed to be moving at a fairly steady pace. By 10:15 we were close to the door to the gym. It was sunny, there were lots of kids happily playing (this is the week for kids under five to get vaccinated), and there were bunnies to watch. And lots of camaraderie among the parents. As we got closer to the door, I was thinking that this had been a breeze.

Then we got in the gym. And it was PACKED. The line continued, back and forth, all the way through the gym. There must have been at least another 200 people inside. We spent 90 minutes outside in the sun and over two hours in a stuffy gym. As one guy commented, it was a sure way to pick up some sort of bug. There was little room for the kids to play, things moved very slowly, and Greg and I both started to wonder about the sanity of our plan. But we’d come this far.

The kids did remarkably well. There was food involved (provided by us, not VIHA!), including a chocolate croissant for Elliot. Let’s give him chocolate while he’s penned up with a bunch of other people. At one point a grandmother started reading a book to her two granddaughters and within minutes she had about 10 kids surrounding her, Elliot included. In general I was really impressed with how well all the kids did (and their parents).

At about 12:30 we were finally shepherded in to the room where the shots were actually taking place. We didn’t have to wait long there. Elliot went first while I walked around with Amy. He was a superstar. He cried only as the needle was pulled out, but quickly calmed down when we reminded him of the cookie that was waiting for him. More chocolate. Amy didn’t even flinch. We waited the recommended 15 minutes before leaving, and finally left at about 1:00. We were both planning to go back to work, but it wasn’t worth it for me. Not to mention I couldn’t have dropped the kids off as it was in the middle of nap time at daycare.

So we dropped Greg off at work and headed home. I was exhausted, so I lazed on the couch while Amy slept and Elliot watched TV.

The icing on the cake was at about 3:00 this afternoon when I got a call from my family doctor…asking if I wanted to bring the kids in for their H1N1 shots. ARGH! I had assumed that she wouldn’t have enough for them, so I hadn’t even bothered calling.

And watch…it’ll just be our luck that the kids will be exposed before the vaccination has time to take effect. But I’ll cross my fingers.

Oh, and our kids ROCK. Over four hours of waiting around doing pretty much nothing, only to have it end with a jab in the arm. They were awesome.

lame

It’s a little daunting to start a month of posting every day when I don’t feel very inspired on day one. I tried to think of a theme for the month, but nothing compelling has come to mind.

I could talk about what a great parent I am, as my three-year-old sits on his butt on this gorgeous day watching TV and crunching on a hard ball of sugar, otherwise known as a lollipop. We did go for a walk this morning, so it’s not all bad.

I could ponder why my daughter isn’t sleeping, when it’s an hour past her regular nap time.

But since this post is obviously going to be a bit lame, I’ll take up that thread and talk about how lame Hallowe’en was on our street. We didn’t take our kids out as Elliot has no interest in dressing up and Amy is too young to have a clue as to what is going on. So we had a nice Halloween dinner of squash soup and cornmeal muffins and waited for the trick-or-treaters. We had four great pumpkins outside, and some glo-sticks stuck in the ground. I was prepared for a fairly large amount of kids, as our street seems pretty good for getting candy. It’s quiet, and the houses are close together. I asked our neighbours how many kids they got last year, and they said 20 to 30. Okay, so not as many as I thought there’d be, but we were still prepared. (Meaning we had two boxes of Costco-sized candy.)

When I went out to light the pumpkins, I took a look up and down the street and realized I didn’t see any other pumpkins glowing. Hmmm…strange. By 6:30 we hadn’t had anyone come yet, but I attributed that to the time change and the fact that it wasn’t quite dark yet.

Fast forward two hours…and about a dozen candy collectors later. A dozen. TWELVE. Maybe fifteen. A friend of mine in Fernwood had TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY FIVE. This just doesn’t seem fair. I mean, it didn’t matter too much to me last night, but three years from now when Elliot finally realizes the connection between dressing up and getting sugar, we’re going to be taking the kids out here, and it’s going to be pretty depressing if all the houses we find are dark.

We appear to live on the Scrooge street of Halloween. And we have a LOT of candy to get rid of.