Friday, 31 December 2010

Day 11

On the eleventh day of Christmas Break, my family and me...

spent the day at home - colouring and playing Wii!

(It was -17 today... can't play outside all the time!) :)

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Day 10

On the tenth day of Christmas Break, I called up some old 'mates...

... and forced my children to suffer through two (wonderful) playdates!

What can I say? Today was all about MY NEEDS! Yay! In fairness, my kids were wonderful and they all had so much fun that they want to "play with those kids again" very soon. Phew! Today I called my girlfriend, Jenn, who I haven't seen in 3.5 years. She's just recently moved back to the city we both grew up in and so we arranged for a long overdue visit. Her children are 10 and 8 and I was worried that they'd find my younger ones annoying. But they were lovely children. Not at all recognizable as the preschoolers that I remember. They played very well with my kids and were very sweet. We met at a sled hill and then after everyone was suitably frozen, took our playdate to McDonald's and let the five kids run wild in the playland.

My two boys and Jenn's --- and someone's else's just for fun. Not a great photo, but the only one I managed with all three of them in it.Jenn's daughter taking mine under her wing. In my memory, they're about the same size. Now she's just a younger version of Jenn!

Connor's "road rash". Poor kid has terrible steering and accidently veered off the safe slope I sent him down on, and onto the one that older kids have fashioned a jump off of. He landed on the ice and scraped half of his face across the less than soft ice. That was his last solo run. After that he happily rode tandem with Kirstin and I on our runs.

After we said good-bye to Jenn and her not-so-little babies, we headed over to Tanya's house --- my old neighbour. After some initial shyness, the six children were playing together wonderfully. The last time we saw them was in August when they coincedentally camped at the same beach as us.
Five of the six... my kids were impressed with their extensive and "oh-so-cool" playmobile collection!

A fantastic dinner of chicken nuggest and sweet potato fries, courtesy of Tanya's husband. Mmm... such a treat!

And so, we got back home late, again, but tired and happy. The kids had a great time and can't wait to play with all the kids again. I reconnected with people I have not seen in far too long. Everyone benefitted from our impromptu trip into the city. I'm going to have to make more of ane effort to go to PG without a list of errands and shopping and relatives to visit, on occasion, because there's definitely something to be said for reconnecting with old girlfriends! :)

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Day 9!

On the ninth day of Christmas my family and me... (how many grammar police have I offended by now?)
... celebrated Connor's birthday (early) !

My New Year's Baby turns 4 next Saturday. It's hard to believe that the past 6.5 years since I've become a Mom have gone SO fast! But they have. And today I just saw more evidence of that. We had a sledding party for Connor (early so that his cousins could join us before they leave town tomorrow) Mary, we waited for you but I guess you decided not to show up...

The children had a lot of fun and were much braver than they were this time last year. My normally timid 6 year-old amazed me by how brave he actually is (see the video of him sliding down "King Kong", as the kids have dubbed the hill). And my four year old is playing video games now! It's crazy. They've all grown up so fast.
A couple of videos that are kind of fun. The second one is of Alex and Connor teaching their cousin to play Wii. You can't tell, but the boys were laughing hysterically throughout.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Day 8

On the eighth day of Christmas break, my overtired, cranky kids and me...

... stayed home and wallowed in their post-Christmas misery. (Is it bedtime yet???)

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Day 7

On the seventh day of Christmas Break, my family and me...

spent the day with Cory's side of the family tree! playing "Fits" with my in-laws

sledding with the cousins

trying to get everyone to cooperate for a family photo since we're all together. Notice it's only my three that aren't thrilled about being asked to pose. Well, and Great Grandma Flo, too...

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Day 6

On the sixth day of Christmas break, the entire Martin family... had a lovely time celebrating with me!!

This Christmas my entire family spent the night at our house... my brothers, and my brother-in-law had flown in for the week so they all drove out yesterday. Cory's family drove up for supper and we had a lovely Christmas Eve celebration. After the Freemans left and the kids retired, Mom, Eric and I sneaked downstairs to assemble a dollhouse that would make the most avid IKEA fan faint at heart. However, the three of us were a fantastic team (much better than me and the hubby) and it was a lot of fun. We even tried to make it interesting... every time you swear, you have to chug your drink... but we were such a good team that there were few curses flying.

After a 2am bedtime, we gathered in the living room to shortly after 9am this morning. Yup! My kids let me sleep until 9!!! Best present ever! :)

We did stockings, then a light breakfast and then exchanged gifts until 1. Then we spent the afternoon playing board games and Wii, followed by way too much dinner!

Sadly, Eric and Vince are flying back to Ontario in the morning and Nathan's off to Victoria tomorrow too. But we're heading to PG to see Cory's family - and all of his siblings are in town this Christmas too, so we'll be doing it all over again tomorrow. Now that the kids are in bed and a load is running in the dishwasher, I'm torn between cracking open a new book or trying out that new Wii game with the hubby... or organizing my new scrapbook goodies and planning my next layout! :) So many choices, so little time...

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Day 5

On the fifth day of Christmas break, my extended family... ... facebooked!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Day 4

On the fourth day of Christmas break, my family and me... ...watched Tangled at the theatre (in 3D)!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Day 3

On the third day of Christmas break, my family and me...
... had dinner with the Martin family


...visited my brothers in P.G


...hung out with the brothers 1-2-3


...stuffed our faces on Mom's fantastic turkey!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Day 2!

On the second day of Christmas break, my middle son and me...

... made some Christmas treats that are really yummy!

Monday, 20 December 2010

Home for the holidays! Day 1...

On the first day of Christmas break, my family and me...
Decorated gingerbread with candy!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

The Christmas Concert.

Poor kid got a little stage fright. He didn't crack a smile the whole time. Probably hated being in the front row. Anyway, we're very proud of you, Alex! Whether you sang all the words or not! :)

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Midnight Visitors

As I was unloading a day's worth of shopping from my vehicle last night, I was treated to the rare sight of two moose (Mooses? Meese?) hanging out in my neighbours' yard. A couple of passersby advised me to get back in the house and even offered to help me unload the gifts from the van so I could get back into the house faster.

Well, thanks, gentlemen, I appreciate your concern for my welfare, I truly do. I have to get back into the house... so I can grab my camera! :)
Not the greatest photo, but the best I could do without walking right up to them and flashing my camera in their faces --- which my husband advised me not to do.
Go figure! Men never did understand what was truly a priority! :)

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Hide 'n Seek - Part 2

Another strategy employed by my three (almost four) year old...

If the seeker is getting warm, try deflection. Try yelling out:

"I'm not in here... I'm somewhere else!"

This works better if you're a ventriloquist, but if you're playing with a two-year old, it's still worth a shot!

Monday, 29 November 2010

November - NaNoWriMo

Okay, so I've been absent from the blogging world for a bit. (You should see how behind I am on the scrapbooking blog). I have forsaken all other hobbies, I have neglected the book I'm supposed to be finished reading for our book club meeting on Sunday, and I haven't touched my scrapbooking (except for a fabulous retreat with my Mom and sister-in-law). Haven't used the treadmill. Haven't even sat in front of the television. Neglected the housework and menu-planning... Basically, after my kids fall asleep, I sit down and the computer and start typing. And typing. And typing.

See, this is the second year I've signed up for NaNoWriMo. Check it out at . Basically, you commit to writing a 50,000 word novel in November. It's crazy and stupid, but also incredibly amazing when you realize that you have the makings of a manuscript (albeit a short one) and you've done something that most people only talk about doing ("I should really write a book some day"). The rules are easy, it has to be fiction, it has to be at least 50,000 words long, and it has to be written between 12:01am November 1 and 11:59pm November 30th. And you're not allowed to edit as you go. It's all about the word count... quantity not quality. This year there were almost 200,000 participants worldwide! That's a lot of creative writing going on!

Last year I did it just for the heck of it because I like to do things for 30 days and then quit. I wrote 50,000 words about a woman's relationship with her mother. This year I tackled something that I've been thinking about writing since my second son was born in 2007, but never really got past the planning phase. I even signed up for an online novel writing course last January but dropped out in March due, partly, to my procrastinating tendency not to do the homework and partly to other reasons.

Anyway, I did it. I typed my 50,000th word (it was "the"), validated it on the website and WON for the second year in a row! My 'mess'terpiece is over 200 pages (double-spaced), 54,000 words long, rambling and full of typos, loose ends and plot holes all over the place, very unpolished, and very unplanned prose. And I think I love it.
And a HUGE SHOUT OUT to my cousin, Rebecca Carter (sorry, girl, you'll always be Becky to me!) who decided to play along with me and be my NaNo buddy this year. She was a great cheerleader and she hit 50,000 before I did and I'm excited to read her novel.

So here I am publicly declaring my goal to finish it this story in 2011, before next November --- cause I already have an idea for next Nanowrimo, so I've got to be done with this story by then! :) Hold me accountable... I work well with deadlines and public humiliation.
Anyway, here's a teeny little teaser (be kind, I did no proofing or looking back as I pumped out the pages)! You'll have to read the rest of the story if I ever get published! :)

Daniel was an unhappy man. It stood to reason. He had a job he hated. An apartment he hate. A cat he hated. A car he hated. Daniel hated everything about his life.

It hadn't always been this way. There was a time that Daniel had passion. He fervently believed in what hd did at work, day after day, fumbling through the forms, bringing joy to those he stamped "approved" and charity to those he stamped "declined". Daniel worked at the Department office as a senior advisor for The Project.

Daniel's love affir with Smirnoff began seven years ago. He got a familiar phone call, two words, "she's here", and then a soft click. Daniel sat down, put his head into his hands and sobbed. His shoulders shook with the force of his angst. Confusion swirled in his head, black spots danced before his eyes, his temple throbbed. "She's here", he kept repeating, trying the words out with his tongue, twisting them around until they no longer made sense, sounding instead like a phrase uttered by one not quite familiar with the English language. "She's here". It could have meant anything, and yet only one thing.

It's a girl. Daniel fumbled on the coffee table for his keys, and grabbing his wallet he shoved it roughly into his back pocket. He turned off the loight, closed the door behind him, locked the deadbolt, and headed out into the street. Daniel had been drunk before. This wasn't the first time he had tried to escape the thought of a girl by drinking himself stupid.




Daniel drank until he ran out of cash. He considered getting more out of the machine, but when he slid off the bar stool, unsteadily, the black spots returned. He turned and staggered out of the building.

Daniel didn't remember getting home that night, he just rememberd the mother of a hangover he had the next morning. His head ached and roof of his mouth was fuzzy and thick. Daniel groaned. Then he remember the phone call. "She's here". Shit.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Hide and Seek Etiquette

I learn a lot from watching my children. I learn that you don't need to have toys and video games and books and television to entertain yourself, sometimes you can go right back to the basics.

Hide and Seek.

Today, on this sunny, but cold, November day, hide and seek is the game of choice. And finally the kids are almost all old enough to get the hang of it. But not quite. My six-year old is pretty good at tailoring his game play to suit the sibling that is hiding though, so it works.

For example, when he is seeking the two-year old, his technique is to wander through the house exclaiming loudly, "Are you in here?" before finally looking behind the couch, where he knows she is hiding, because he can hear her giggling and because its the place she's hid the last thirteen turns in a row.

And when he's looking for a three-year old, well, Connor pretty much hides in whatever the last place is that Alex just hid. So Alex either goes straight to him or pretends that he hasn't figured out Connor's pattern too and looks in a couple of other locations first.

Alex is a great seeker! He always wins.

And when Alex hides... well, he hides in some pretty innovative places. Sometimes so well that Connor and Kirstin can't find him. So throws out little clues to help them out.

An example of a good clue:

Alex hollers, "I'm somewhere stinky!" Connor finds him in the laundry hamper.

And example of a clue that maybe needs a little tweaking (but you have to give Connor kudos for trying):

Connor - "I'm somewhere in my bedroom under a blanket!"

The best thing about it is that it's a pretty independent game. Requires little supervision, no supplies and the best part, NO CLEAN-UP! Sometimes I join in, sometimes I don't. Usually my job is to count with the little ones and make sure they don't peek before we yell "Ready or not." However, when Alex tells my three-year old, "Connor, count to eighty thousand!"... well, then I decide it's time to intervene...

Monday, 25 October 2010

The Christmas cards...

Okay, yeah, I know I'm early, but I'm on a mission to take the best photos of my children for this year's Christmas card.

Anyway... thanks to this fun photo editing site... I think I may have succeeded!

Can't wait to blow the relatives away this year... cutest kids ever...

So, see yesterday's post for an idea of what I have to work with. Today we tried to get a few better photos of Connor and then Kirstin wanted to try again... so we had more variety.

So without further adieu...

... and yes, I am trying to take up space so you can't peek ahead...

here are my charming, oh-so-cute, Annual Christmas card models...




Hehehe... Happy Halloween! :)

Sunday, 24 October 2010

School Portraits

Alex brought home his Grade 1 school photo and I hung it on the wall in place of last year's. Then I realized that the other two children's photos are horribly out of date! Kirstin's is of her 1st birthday, and Connor's is of him at 22 months old.

I guess that I haven't done the whole professional portrait thing in eons, because after we had Connor, I realized just how crazy expensive it was. With Alex I did it every three months until he was 2. With Connor I did them until he was one. That's the last one I did of him. What's hanging there now is an awesome playground shot, but not a formal portrait. Kirstin, well, poor Kirstin got photos at 1 month old and then photos at 1 year old. So... time for an update all around.

I did a photo shoot for Kirstin and Connor tonight so I can hang up new ones. Kirstin's wearing her Halloween costume, which she's so pumped about. It's charming, and "oh-so girly". The photo is AWESOME although I have to admit I took about 30 before I got one that wasn't squinty or with a weird expression. This is pretty much the only good one I got. Connor's... well, Connor's might need work still... These are, believe it or not, the best two of Connor. Certainly not the kind you want to immortalize in a yearbook... but since he's three, I figure, whatever! He'll stop "posing" by the time he's ready for his graduation photos.

So, anyway, here's what our kids look like at this point in their lives, ages 6, 3.75, and 2.5...

Alex in Grade 1.

Connor - who thinks "say cheese" means, "give me your cheesiest expression!"

And Princess Kirstin!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Smell my feet!

Kids these days!

They think they've invented everything.

Alex just sang me this cool new song he learned from some kids in school.

"Trick or Treat,
Smell my feet.
Give me something good to eat!

If you don't,
I don't care,
I'll pull down your underwear!"

Humph. Smartass little whippersnapper!

Don't worry, I set him straight. I told him that the real second verse is actually "Not too big, not too small, just the size of Montreal!"

Aah, the memories having kids brings back! :)

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just another typical fall weekend. The wind is howling, but the sun is shining and we're toasty warm inside. I'm surrounded by toys, laundry and dishes that are calling to me. The kitchen needs to be mopped and the toilet is in bad need of a scrub-down. I think the vacuuming needs to be done, but since there is so much stuff on the living room floor, I can't really tell for sure. On a typical weekend, I'd be whining about how no one does anything all week and I have to spend all weekend cleaning up the mess. I'd be groaning about having to haul the three children to the grocery store and try to fill the cart with healthy food, despite the "I want thises, I want thats". Then I'd be heading to work Monday morning, tired and deflated because my to do list is not quite finished.
But in the grand scheme of things, what do I actually have to complain about?
I have three beautiful, lively children, a husband that worships me, family and friends, a career, and a house that I don't have time to maintain.
And so, because it's not a typical weekend, I'm going to take the time to itemize those things in my life that I really should be thankful for.
I've got it good!
I am thankful for the felt pen on the walls, because it means that my children are creative.
I am thankful for the stack of books on my dresser that I never get around to reading, because it means that I am literate.
I am thankful for the cracks in the foundation, the leaky faucets, the draughty windows, and the stains on the carpet, because it means that we have a place to call home.
I'm thankful for the mountains of laundry, because it means that my children have enough clothes to wear.
I'm thankful for the messy pantry and disorganized fridge, because it means we have enough food to eat.
I'm thankful for the empty bank accounts, because it means I always pay our bills on time.
I'm thankful for my children who take one look at dinner and say, "Yuck, I don't like this" because it means that they don't know what its like to be so hungry you'd eat anything.
I'm thankful that my husband works the crappy graveyard shift, because it means that there is always one of us home with my children.
I am thankful for the job that keeps me hopping and away from my children during the day, because it means I have a reliable paycheque and the means to provide for my family.
I could probably go on and on about the blessings in my life (you know, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger), but I have to get off my butt and get back to the housework!
Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for?
The Princess and her court jesters

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Misheard lyrics

We took the kids to a restaurant for lunch. The kind of place that rolls the napkins around the utentsils and secures them with a paper band. To entertain herself, Kirstin decided to pull the utensils out of their wraps and she invented a little song to go with her activity.

It goes like this...

"Get the fork out, get the fork out, get the fork out..."

In a two-year old's dialect, it's really quite a charming song for one to be singing in a public establishment! :)

Sunday, 19 September 2010

So addictive...

Alex found this on the ytv website... we've been playing it for the last hour (my husband and I, the kids took off to the bedroom)

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Another impression...

This one's for you, Uncy Vince...

My boys new impression... with a surprise "twist" ending.

Kirstin's Donald Duck impression

Probably only cute if you're her mother... otherwise, I bore you! :)

Monday, 6 September 2010

Leading by example

So I have three children, 2, 3, and 6. They pair off at times, the oldest two playing nicely or the youngest two playing nicely... or sometimes the oldest and the youngest team up and exclude the middle one. Most of the time all three of them play well together. And I try really hard to encourage them to treat each other well.

And I try, too, to use logical consequences when things get a bit heated. Like separating them or removing the offending toy that they fight over. Most of the time, cause I'm a softie, I issue a warning or two before I call a time-out.

So... I guess I should be pleased that it's sinking in. My middle one, Connor the three-year-old, is obviously paying attention to something I've said. Because he very calmly, very sweetly, reminded Kirstin - my two-year old - about the consequences if she continued to antagonize him.

He said, "Kirstin, if you take that toy away from me again, I'm going to hit you on the head."

Oh dear...

Sunday, 22 August 2010

The End of Innocence

My daughter is learning from her older brothers --- namely the 6 year-old who picked up some obnoxious little boy habits in Kindergarten this past year. Not only is poop humour hilarious these days, everyone is stupid too. An example of this, my daughter has a doll whom she affectionately calls "stupid-baby". I have only my oldest to blame for that. And you know he taught her to say that, because of the way he cracks up whenever she does.

So... here's her latest vocabulary acquisition...

Kirstin - "You're a dummy!"
Me (appalled) - "I'm not a dummy!"
Kirstin (laughing) - "Yes, you're a dummy!"
Me - "Do you even know what a dummy is?"
Kirstin - "Yes."
Me - "Oh yeah, then what's a dummy?"
Kirstin - "Mama!"

Yeah, I walked right into that one...

My innocent little toddler

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Going up in smoke...

I just thought I'd share some photos of what it looks like when the town is under an air quality advisory due to the fact that the entire province seems to be experiencing an apocolyptic wildfire pandemic.

We're not under evacuation alert yet, and I don't think that we will be, but several communities in the area are. If I knew how to do a rain dance, I'd be doing it. Unfortunately all we seem to be getting is lightning and strong winds, so someone's dancing out of step.

Beautiful British Columbia, you're going up in flames! :( My commute home, at approximately 4pm. It looks more like dusk, but believe it or not, the sun was blazing.

More 4pm photos. In this one you can actually see a cloud, but it's almost obscured by the smoke.

The sun...

Smoke drifting in front of the sun... weird eclipse-like sky.

A bit of blue sky on the horizon, proving that, yes, it is actually daylight!

This one was taken about 6pm. Still about 3 hours too early for the sunset. I kept looking around expecting to see a tornado or something.

Our house silhouetted by the lovely brown sky. Should the fires get any closer, we're definitely in trouble. Note how dry our lawn is? Yikes!
I left the windows open last night to cool the house down during the windstorm, because in this relentless heat, it's been unbearably stuffy in here every evening. It definitely worked, but it also filled it with a the pleasant smell of campfire and left us with sore throats and itchy eyes.
Off to figure out that rain dance again!