these are chores?

The kids have been doing a few jobs around the house for a while now, but it hasn’t been too arduous for them — clearing their dishes from the table, feeding Heart and cleaning their rooms was pretty much the extent of it. Greg and I have talked for a while about giving them more to do, and getting into more of a routine, but as with many conversations we have, we talked but there wasn’t a lot of action. We even talked about it with the kids, and they kept bringing it up with us, asking when they’d have their “chore chart”. That’s some spectacular parental laziness…when your kids are ASKING to do chores and you’re blowing them off.

So…we finally said we’d start them after Christmas, so in early January I finally sat down and put together a chore chart. It’s a thing of beauty, I must say. It has a green (Elliot’s favourite colour) and pink (depending on the day, Amy’s favourite) border, green and pink tags to identify each child, graphics to identify the job, and it lists what jobs each child has to do on each day of the week. The chart hangs on our fridge, and it’s a thing of beauty from another perspective as well. The kids (Elliot especially), actually look at the chart each day, figure out what they need to do…and do it. We’ve had a little complaining from Amy when she has to clean her room, but previously we had a LOT of complaining in this department, and from Elliot we are getting no complaining whatsoever. He really seems to enjoy checking what he needs to do and getting it done.

The amount of work they have to do hasn’t gone up all that much: they alternate days setting and clearing the table, Elliot feeds Heart, Amy feeds Aphro, and they clean their rooms/put their laundry away two days a week (or more if asked). The fact that it’s running so smoothly has surprised me, but the other thing that’s surprised me is how much it helps me. Having the table set for dinner is a really nice bonus, and not putting their laundry away is just plain awesome. Plus, because they have set days for putting laundry away, it means I’ve put myself on a regular schedule for doing laundry and I no longer feel like I’m doing it every day.

And the other pleasant surprise has been the table setting…the first night Elliot did it he put stuff in all the “wrong” places and it looked messy. I was going to teach him how to set a table properly, but I got sidetracked (and I think in the back of my mind I realized it wasn’t that important). Then at some point during that first week, both kids started to get creative with their table setting, and each night it’s been something different. And I’m loving it. Who cares if my table isn’t set “properly”? Each night is a work of art created by one of my children.

I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.


I’ve had my share of bad neighbours. In my previous life, my house had three panhandle lots behind it and two out of the three neighbours were assholes. One set never spoke to us, even when we said hi to them directly, and it was apparent that they hated our dogs. The other set started off okay but then they parked a beater of a car at the end of our driveway and left it there for months. When we politely complained, they blew a gasket and it got progressively worse after that.

When Greg and I first moved in together we didn’t have any issues with our neighbours, which was fine, but we didn’t really know anyone either, so we kind of lived in our own little space.

The first day we looked at this house, the neighbours on one side were outside doing yardwork, and as we pulled away after our viewing, they waved to us. Then the night we moved in, they came over with a tin of homemade cookies and an invitation to their Christmas Open House. They are a “blended” family. He has three boys, all in their late teens/early 20’s, and she has one daughter who is 12. The boys haven’t been around much, but the rest of them are outgoing (without being in your face) and have been very friendly to all of us, kids and dogs included.

It seems to be the best kind of relationship you can have with your neighbours. They watch our house when we’re away and vice versa. We have friendly conversations when we’re all outside together. We’ve talked about getting together for a bottle of wine, and that will happen at some point. But we never feel (and I hope they feel the same way) that they are infringing on our personal space.

It makes living here all the more pleasurable.

two helping hands

Both kids have been really into helping with household tasks lately. Amy’s been doing the dishes (and quite well I might add) and Elliot’s been helping me with laundry and sweeping.

Amy just thinks it’s something fun to do, but Elliot really wants to help. He specifically asks: is there anything I can help you with, Mum? There are definitely jobs he likes better than others…if I mention anything about cleaning up his room he doesn’t want to do it, but if I ask him to go get the laundry from the dryer, he’s all over it. He carries the laundry basket downstairs, opens the dryer and takes out all the clothes, and then carries the basket back up, full. I’m pretty impressed with his strength.

Both kids are quite good about clearing their plates away after dinner. Elliot almost always does it without being asked, and Amy now (after a few months of sticking to our guns) does it without a tantrum. And sometimes without being asked. 🙂

I know it’ll change at some point and these things really will become chores for them, but I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.

when it’s too long for a tweet, i blog

We broke ground this afternoon for a sandbox for Amy and Elliot. Elliot was playing with his dump truck and loader in the resulting dirt pit and left the vehicles in and near the pit when he came in for dinner. It looks like a mini construction site out there now. And if I wasn’t so lazy I’d upload the picture I just took of it…perhaps later.

three teas, 172 pages and $800 later…

As I told Greg this morning, there was nothing about today that I wasn’t looking forward to. We arranged for all-day babysitters (Gramma and Auntie) for the kids, and we headed over to Ikea for a shopping spree. It was the first time Greg and I have spent that much time together, alone, not sleeping, since Amy was born.

We stopped for a chai, a coffee and two breakfast sandwiches before we hit the highway, then it was on to the ferry for over an hour of uninterrupted reading of a great book (after a quick and somewhat unimpressive tour of the Coastal Celebration).

We got to Ikea soon after they opened so it was pretty quiet for about an hour. We found everything we were looking for (and then some), even the items their website said were not in stock. We were prepared to go to Coquitlam as well, but didn’t need to.

After shopping we had a yummy Swedish meatball lunch, paid for our goods and then loaded the truck in the POURING rain, after cleaning up the puke Yoshi had left for us in the truck. It could have been worse — it could have come out the other end.

We ended up driving up and down Bridgeport Road looking for covered parking so we could finish up tarping our goods out of the POURING rain, and we were successful in that endeavor. Our boxes got a bit wet, but the furniture didn’t.

We arrived in Tsawwassen in plenty of time for the 3:00 ferry, after literally getting run off the highway by some idiot trying to cross two lanes of traffic at 80 km/h right beside us.

We enjoyed another hour or so of uninterrupted reading, and on the way home in the POURING rain we picked up some Thai food and joined the kids, Gramma and Auntie for dinner. The kids were in a great mood (Elliot’s first words to me were “I had fun!!”), and bedtime was a breeze.

Now back to my book.

there are too many things to do

Elliot is having a four-day sleep over with his Gramma, and Amy is napping right now. I have so much that I want to do that I’m incapable of figuring out what I should start with. Not to mention the couch and a cup of tea look mighty inviting.

Perhaps I’ll go the couch route and spend some time making a list…because I’ll be faced with this decision every time Amy naps for the next four days.

Not that I’m complaining.

he’s making it hard to forget

We’ve been having some problems with our landlord getting our damage deposit back (long story), and Greg has kindly agreed to take care of it so that I don’t have to worry about it. That unfortunately is not how I work, much as I would like to change that about myself, so while Greg is taking care of it, I’m definitely still worried about it.

It doesn’t help that my son is running around all day with his Fisher Price phone pretending to talk to Andy, who is our “property manager” (and yes, I’m using those quotes correctly). Every time I manage to forget about the issue, he runs into the room telling me he’s talking to Andy.

It’d be funny if it weren’t so stressful.

it’s beginning to look a bit like Christmas

The previous owner of this house had art and photographs everywhere, which we saw when we viewed the house. When he moved out, he left EVERY nail and picture hanger in the wall. So our walls are riddled with picture hanging hardware. We haven’t done anything about it yet, because well, things like being able to walk from the back door to the office and being able to cook meals have taken precedence.

We just got our meagre set of Christmas decorations out, and most of them are hanging things. So we went around and randomly hung things on nails that were just waiting for things to be hung on them.

The end result? The walls are still looking mighty bare, but it looks more festive in here. Tomorrow we’ll put the tree up, and that will fill things up a bit.

If anyone’s looking for gift ideas for us…we apparently need some more Christmas decor. 😉

at least now i know it’s my dirt

This house wasn’t very clean when we moved in. It could have been worse, but it could have been a lot better. Our cleaning lady came today and gave the stove, countertops, bathroom and floors a good scrubbing. The stove especially looks a lot better.

The kitchen cupboards still need a good cleaning and some shelf paper (the shelves are pretty gross) and some of the upstairs closets need a clean, but it’s a lot better.

Now…we just need to start wading through what is our basement, but what looks like a storage locker gone wild.