holy shit this is hard

I struggle every year I do this NaBloPoMo thing. Mostly because I do have the odd reader and if I’m going to write something that other people are going to read, I want to write something good. A lofty goal.

So why do I do it? I like the challenge, or at least I like the idea of the challenge. And so far, in four years of doing it, I’ve never quit. Sure, I’ve missed days (especially this year), but I make up for it and the end result is 30 posts in November. And that’s more than I do for the whole rest of the year.

I also think it’ll kick start me into blogging more regularly. Which is a dumb reason because what it does is make me sick and tired of blogging, and when December rolls around I just want a break, and then January rolls around and I realize I haven’t blogged for a month, and then on it goes.

And the last reason, probably the most important one, is I like to write, and I love to read what I’ve written. Especially months and years later. Every night this month before I post, I have taken a look at what I’ve written on the three previous years on this day. Sometimes the posts bring back fond memories (I just read one about Yoshi). Sometimes they make me laugh. Sometimes I read the comments and am thankful that people took the time to not only read the post, but add a comment. And sometimes I read something about one or both of my kids that I’ve forgotten, and I’m so thankful I wrote it down. I’ve actually read some of my posts about Elliot and Amy to them, and they love it.

So that’s why I do it. But really what I wish I did instead is blogged regularly throughout the year. I’m not sure how to make that happen, but if I can blog 30 times in one month, surely I can figure out how to blog every couple of weeks throughout the year.

house guests

I got an email from my mum this morning with the subject line “Disaster”. She managed to flood her house overnight (how is a different story that perhaps I won’t share publicly, to save her from even more people knowing), which resulted in significant damage to her bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, family room and dining room. Sounds like her whole house, right? Her other three bedrooms, two bathrooms and her storage room were spared.

She lives in Langley and it was really hard for me to be here, a ferry ride away, feeling pretty helpless. I could have taken the ferry and gone over, but what would I have done? I suppose provide some moral support but she was remarkably calm about the whole thing and seemed to be holding it together. She was also exhausted as she did about four hours of clean up on her own, so perhaps she was too tired to care. To give you an idea of the amount of water, the bottom drawer of her stove was FULL, and part of the ceiling in her kitchen had collapsed.

Greg also offered to go over, and I thought he actually might be a bit more helpful from a practical point of view (and perhaps emotional as well, since all I succeeded in doing over the phone with her was to point out the electrocution hazard).

Anyway, thankfully she was able to contact the insurance company, and a representative from both the insurance company and the restoration company were there this afternoon assessing the damage. They assured her that twice a week they get calls from people who have flooded their house by accident. I thought that was a nice thing to say.

They are drying the house out now, but then they are kicking her out for a week, so she’s coming over here. I’m glad we can do something. But this is a prime example of a situation where, if we lived in the same city, we could be that much more available to help her. She is in the process of trying to sell her house and move over here (and the facelift the house is going to get may help that!), but it can’t happen too soon for me!

this post brought to you by my husband

I just asked Greg for some blog post ideas. His responses?
– Living with a dog that licks your face
– My cool new last name
– Your bike ride

First off, how much material can you get from a dog that licks your face? Most dogs lick. We happened to have a lovely dog for about eight years who never licked and we took it for granted. We have a dog that licks now, and it’s annoying. As soon as you bend down to put on your shoes, she comes up to you with her tongue a waving. That’s about it.

My cool new last name. Those were his words. Yes, it’s a cool last name, but new? Hello, dear husband, we’ve been married for seven and a half years. It’s not very new. I think he’s just jealous because I get way more comments on it than he does, and he’s had the name all his life.

As for “your bike ride”. My response to him was that I’d gone for a run, not a bike ride. But he reminded me that I’d rode with the kids down to Elliot’s school. It would have been fun, if we hadn’t gone during the windiest, coldest part of the day. Actually, it was still fun. The plan was to play at all three playgrounds, which we did. Five minutes at the first one, five minutes at the second one, and then we spent a little longer at the third one. We were playing Little House on the Prairie. Elliot and Amy were Pa and Ma, and I was Mary. I kept having to stay in our house and look after my sisters while Pa got wood and Ma did who knows what. (Pa actually brought back leaves, pretending they were wood, Ma would just go sit on a different part of the playground doing nothing. Maybe she needed time away from her children.) We played that until the (real) wind blew away our (fake) wood, and I announced our fire was out and we needed to go home. Thankfully everyone was happy to oblige.

We rode home in the wind with Amy struggling, but she did it. Sure, there was whining, but it was freaking windy. I would have whined too, if I thought someone would listen.

Thanks Greg.

merry christmas?

The kids and I were at a birthday party today and some of the parents were talking about the Santa Parade that was going on tonight. We all agreed that it was way too early for a Santa parade, and the conversation moved on to other things. Fast forward four hours, and where do I find myself? Walking over the Blue Bridge in the dark, carrying three blankets, four hats, four sets of mittens/gloves, one chair and two umbrellas, on my way to the parade with the kids.

Greg and I were tentatively scheduled to see the Bond flick tonight, but our plans hinged on getting a babysitter. She unfortunately had plans with her family (note to self: we really need a backup babysitter). When I texted Greg to let him know (he was at a conference all day), he sent back a note asking if we wanted to go to the parade.

Oh heck, why not. I fed the kids an early dinner, bundled them up and away we went. I forgot that we wouldn’t be able to get over the Blue Bridge, and when I saw the traffic on the Bay Street bridge we made a quick decision to park and walk. A definite benefit of our kids getting older is they can actually walk for longer than two minutes without whining. We booted it over the bridge, met up with Greg and found a spot about ten minutes before the parade started. Excellent timing.

November 17 IS way too early for a Christmas parade, and I totally do not feel Christmas-y, but it was fun. There were some great floats, the kids loved it, the rain held off, and we got some fresh air and exercise.

bedtime reading

The bedtime reading routine in our household has evolved over the years, as I’m sure it does in any household containing children. We started reading to Elliot from a very young age because he seemed to enjoy it. Amy was different, and we tried to read to her early on, but often it would just be one very short book because she wasn’t interested. It wasn’t until we moved into this house that I remember her actually sitting on our laps for any length of time for books, so she would have been about eight months old.

We almost always did books separately, partly because Amy went to bed significantly earlier than Elliot, and also because their attention spans were so different (rightly so given the age difference). Both had their “book jags” where they’d want the same book over and over, but Elliot could usually be easily convinced to read something else. Amy not so much. I think I sang “The Aunts Go Marching” to her about 100 times straight (thanks Tia K!).

Even as they got older, when their bedtimes got closer together and Amy started really enjoying books, we still mostly did them separately because their taste in books was quite different. Around the time Elliot turned four, we received a few light chapter books and started reading them to him, and he loved them. And Amy had absolutely no interest in them because there were no pictures in them, or very few. Amy often requested that we do books together, and I’d start with dread, knowing it would end badly. Amy, totally not interested, goofing around on the bed, interrupting the story and generally being a two- and three-year-old, would be dragged from the room by whichever parent was not reading. So Greg and I would often divide and conquer and each read to one child. Gradually Elliot got into more sophisticated chapter books and I was in heaven, reading him full-on novels like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Borrowers.

And then that all changed, and I don’t exactly know when. Some time in the last six months, maybe? Now we read books together every single night. Amy is fine with chapter books, but likes to be alerted when there is a picture. She doesn’t comprehend them as well as Elliot (again, rightly so given the age difference), but she listens and asks the occasional question about the characters. We usually start by reading two or three of her books (which are sometimes lighter chapter books like Geronimo Stilton or Arthur, and sometimes picture books) and then we read a chapter or two from whatever Elliot has on the go (which is usually several books, as Greg and I don’t read from the same books, and Elliot usually has one or two that he’s reading on his own).

The other thing that’s changed is the length of time we read to them. It used to be for about 15 minutes, but now I’ve noticed that both Greg and I often read for about 30 minutes. And I’m still thoroughly enjoying it, because I’m getting to read all the books that I loved as a child, and both my kids are cuddled beside me. It’s a really nice way to end the day.

five minutes of babble

No time to put anything coherent together (see my last post).

I want to write about my kids. I want to write a post about each of them and describe how they are right now. I did so much blogging when they were younger and I love reading old posts. There’s so much about them that I haven’t written down that I don’t want to forget. Perhaps I can take two evenings before the end of November and find the time to put something together. I think what stops me is I’ll never get everything.

Elliot was a weenie tonight between picking him up and going to swimming. I can’t even really explain what he was doing, but weenie seems like a good word to describe it. Our children are often golden when they are apart, but the energy of them together, at the end of the day, can be awful. Sometimes I feel like I am barely in control, and it’s not a nice feeling. And I only have two!

On the other hand, I had a really shitty day at work on Tuesday, and as I was driving to pick up the kids I was dreading switching to mum-mode. When I’m really upset about something I find it really hard to put it aside and be a parent. I picked Elliot up first and as soon as he saw me he gave me a hug. Often he ignores me for a bit, so that was a good start. In the car he took a cookie out from his lunch and announced he was going to share it with Amy, which he did. Then on the way home Amy announced she wanted to open the front door (we have a combination lock that they both enjoy using). They often get upset over who opens it, so I took a deep breath and said I didn’t care who opened the door, as long as they didn’t fight about it. When we got home, Amy graciously offered to let Elliot open the door, which he did. We got in the house and they did all their jobs without me asking. They were golden. And later I thanked them both for being so co-operative and cheerful on a day that I really needed it.

It’s not all bad. 🙂

not sure why i do this to myself

I missed yesterday. That means two posts for today. It’s 10:15 pm and I’d rather go read my book. Seriously considered just bailing on this whole thing and doing just that. Instead, I’m going to fire off two posts in under 15 minutes and then I’m going to read my book.

Tonight I learned how to make temari balls. They are traditionally used as actual balls, but I’m making them as Christmas ornaments. Well I say “them” but we’ll see how many I get done. It’s the kind of craft you can do in front of the TV, which is my kind of craft. It’s a bit finicky getting all the measurements, and I’ve long since realized I’m not a perfectionist when it comes to crafts, so we’ll see how mine turn out.

So far this year I’ve committed (to myself, mostly) to make six calendars and some number of temari balls, and send out Christmas cards. I think the last one might fall of the list. They seemed like a good idea when I bought the cards at Costco in September, but they’ll wait until next year.

Oh, to have more time…

our little fashionista

I just read this post, something I wrote exactly three years ago today, and I had to laugh. I distinctly remember that day, partly because I blogged about it and partly because I was so proud of myself for not saying anything to Amy about what she was wearing. And I remember it being hard to bite my tongue.

If I had known what outfits would follow (and the sheer number…she changes at least twice a day, often more), I may have had a heart attack that day. I don’t remember when it became easy to keep my mouth shut, but Amy continues to have her own style and I absolutely love how she dresses. One day I plan to put together some sort of collage with the pictures we have of her various outfits. Just the other day she had on a pair of purple leggings, a red and white skort over the leggings, a dark pink long-sleeved shirt and a turquoise short-sleeved shirt over top. And last night we went for dinner at a friend’s house and she was disappointed because she’d forgotten her skirt in the car. The skirt she had planned to wear as a hat.

I honestly don’t know if I’m doing her a disservice by not teaching her about “matching”. But I refuse to. She is showing so much independence in her clothing choices, and it’s a quality I admire and want to foster. Not to mention the entertainment value that goes along with it.

nice way to end a long weekend

Had a great day today. I got up not-too-early and got our menu plan done. A job I don’t really enjoy but it keeps Greg and I married. Then headed to work for a few hours. It being a stat holiday and all, I got to park right outside my office, which felt like a real treat. I also was the only one there, so I got some peace and quiet as well.

I worked for about three hours and then did a bit of shopping. Picked up a couple of articles of clothing for me and then did a bit of Christmas shopping. Greg and I are trying to start earlier than usual, partly to spread out the cost and partly to reduce the stress of December. I am quite enjoying it because I’m finding I’m spending a bit more time thinking about things I want to buy.

Greg and the kids took the bus into town and we met for a late lunch at Pig. This involved a walk from Government up to Blanshard. Now that Amy is a bit more dependable on busy streets, I’ve discovered that I love walking around downtown with the kids. There’s lots to see and the kids always seem to enjoy it as well.

After lunch we went to The Bay Centre and rode the glass elevator. Up and down six times. Greg and I spelled each other off, so we only had to do it three times each. When I’m on it, the kids are pressed as close as they can get to the outer glass wall, looking up and down, and I’m pressed as far as I can get away from the glass wall, looking anywhere but down. Amy and Elliot have no idea that I’m scared of heights and I’m surprised they haven’t noticed.

I took a quick look (unsuccessfully) for a Christmas party dress, made a stop at the toy store for a Christmas puzzle and a gift, and then we piled back in the car to go grocery shopping. Another task that is not my favourite, but we split the list and were done fairly quickly. We also split the kids which made things much more pleasurable.

Home for a quick stop to make some soup and walk the dog, then off to hockey for the boys. Amy and I got dropped off at a friend’s near the rink and we spent a couple of hours hanging out in front of their fire, playing Polly Pockets, catching up and eating pizza. Very cozy.

Bedtime was a bit bumpy for Elliot but everyone made it through in one piece. Greg and I watched an episode of Mad Men and now we’re going to do a bit of reading/blogging/iPad-ing before heading to bed.

It was a great day because I felt like I got a lot done and I spent lots of quality time with my kids and my hubby — time that was spent both doing things for them and doing stuff we had to do without any complaining from them. Or not much, anyway!

just tidbits tonight

Well I blew through Catching Fire and have already downloaded Mockingjay. I am not starting it tonight because that’s sure to mean another late night — I was up until midnight last night with Catching Fire. This is the problem with an entertaining book. I cannot put it down. But it’s sure nice to have the time to read a book in two days! It doesn’t happen very often.


I did the Thetis Lake Relay today, an annual relay run put on by the Harriers Running Club. It’s a competitive race and as usual I think we came last in our age group, but I can’t compete with people who run a sub 20 minute 5 km. That’s not human. I ran with my neighbour, who I’ve been running with for the past year, and two of her friends. We went out for a drink and some appies afterward and it was a really enjoyable few hours, despite the rain. It was nice to meet some new people and the conversation flowed easily.


I have recurring nightmares about cougars and grizzly bears. They don’t recur very often, but I had a grizzly bear visit last night. We were at a house that was on a lake, and Heart was with us. From what I remember, a bunch of dogs were playing at the lakeshore with a grizzly cub, and the mother bear came and attacked Heart. The only thing that I vividly remember is seeing her lying there, her face bloody and her back leg torn off. It’s probably stupid to being writing this down, as it’s going to forever cement it in my head. I woke up in sheer terror. Being in a strange room that is darker than my own room did not help, and I had to remind myself we were at my sister’s cabin. I don’t ever remember being that scared.


Really enjoying reading http://julia.typepad.com/julia/. She’s doing NaBloPoMo as well. I’ve been reading her blog for a few months now, and as with her other readers, I’m thoroughly enjoying the daily posts this month. She writes with humour and heart, and reading her posts makes me want to meet her and her family.