Thursday, July 30, 2009

Irritated and Anxious

The title of today's post pretty much covers it: I am feeling irritated and anxious.

Anxious because I have three articles to write by the end of the day tomorrow and I am not getting it done. Over the weekend and beginning of the week, I had a good rhythm going. My rhythm is screwed now. Right down to trying to write this post. I've been interrupted 3 times for these 4 lines.

Which makes me cranky and irritated. Add a couple of kids who have been stuck inside for weeks, because it has Not.Stopped.Raining and you see my problem. They are insane. I've broken up the two of them rolling and wrestling with each other several times this morning, including on the couch!

Thank GOD for naps and day camp, is all I can say. Xander goes to camp at 1 and I am just about dancing a jig thinking about it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

17 Months

Liam is 17 months today. There were times during the early days when I was not sure I would make it this far...or that he would, to be honest. He was a hard baby: not a lot of sleep, coupled with plenty of screaming makes for cranky parents. But times have changed and I am enjoying Liam these days. Yesterday he climbed up onto the couch, around the back of his brother (who was sitting next to me), into my lap, and hugged me tight, laying his head on my chest. How do you not love that?!?

At 17 months, Liam:
  • Makes loads of noises that are NOT screaming. He clucks like a chicken and makes airplane sounds with toy airplanes. He has a similar sound for cars, when running them on the floor.
  • Enjoys a lot of "big boy" toys and plays right alongside of big brother, Xander.
  • Giggles with, plays with, and fights with his big brother.
  • Understands a lot more than he says. He follows directions with shocking accuracy. He'll put garbage in the can, books back on the shelf, toys away, and take his soother out when asked.
  • Grabs his shoes when he thinks anyone is leaving the house. He wants to go too!
  • Is suddenly eating with enthusiasm (I'm thinking growth spurt) and will now pack back scrambled eggs, pretzels, and pork chops. A vast improvement over just a few weeks ago, when we were lucky to get a little bit of pasta into him.
  • Still loves to dress up with hats and is expanding into masks.
  • Not only walks, but walks DOWN the stairs (yes, this gives Mommy heart failure), and is now starting to run. He discovered he has knees recently, so his walking has evolved from "Liam stomps Tokyo" to something resembling a normal gait, allowing him to begin running.
  • Sometimes sleeps the night!
  • Naps really well and consistently. (Too bad big brother has stopped napping.)
  • Has discovered that we have a finished basement...and toys down there too!
  • Has a smile and giggle that would melt your heart.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Little Note About Running

When out running 11 km, make sure you don't pass a Tim Horton's at about the 8 km mark. Of course, since my next scheduled 1/2 marathon is the Chocolate Half Marathon, perhaps I should be hitting the chocolate donuts on my way past Timmys'.

Liam Talks

We've been waiting for it for a while now. I know you are not supposed to compare siblings, but Xander began speaking at 9 months, had 6 words at a year, and then spoke in sentences at 18 months. Liam is nigh onto 17 months and occasionally graces us with "kitty" and "duck". It's a shocking difference.

At 15 months, I signed him up for a speech evaluation. It takes 5-6 months to get in for the evaluation and then to start speech therapy, if it is needed. School starts at 4 years old here. Actual Kindergarten. So it is important to stay on top of these things. And I figured it was better to get to 20 months and have the appointment for the speech evaluation and not need it, than need it, decide at 20 months to get on the list, then not get an evaluation until he was past 2 years old.

Then yesterday he started to make animal sounds. We have a little chicken mask, and he thinks it is a riot to get us to put the mask on him, so he can meander around the house, laughing. Yesterday he started to cluck at us too. Every time Ray put the mask on Liam, he would say "buck, buck, buck" to Liam. Now Liam gets the mask on and HE says "buck, buck, buck."

Last night at bedtime Liam was rummaging through the stack of books and found one of the animal books. We paged through it, named the animals and made their sounds together. In the course of 10 minutes he picked up chicken (buck), duck (quack), pig (snorting sounds LOL), and sheep (baa). Which is more than he has said in his whole 16+ months of know, if you discount the plethora of screaming and screeching. This morning he would go nowhere in the house without dragging that book with him.

Talking and reading, all in one swoop. Awesome!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wrapping Up Vacation

We are all home now, safe and sound. It took us a while to get here ::cough, cough, 3 hours at the border, cough, cough:: but we are happy to be home. One of the things about vacation is how good it feels to come home; that's how I know we are doing a good job of making our home a good one.

But before I get back to the usual grind and posting about that, I wanted to wrap up our vacation here too.

Our time with Karen, Bill and Braeden ended with a great night out at a nice Italian place. We had a bit of a wait before going in (nothing unreasonable), so the kids played outside on the sidewalk.

And once we got in, sat down, and started our meal:
We had a fantastic time. The food and company were fantastic! We can't thank Karen and Bill enough for their hospitality and the good times we had with them.

On our way home we made our way up to Philly to visit another friend and her family.

Jamie and Xander watching television together:
Rick teaching Xander how to roast a marshmallow over an open fire:

More fun with marshmallows (he looks like such a big boy to me):
I was sneaky enough to get a shot of Kristen with her mouth full of marshmallow!
Rick and Jamie roasting. Jamie is a pro!
Ray and Xander:
We had a fantastic time with Kristen, Rick and Jamie. And our time to leave came very quickly!

Our trip home was pretty uneventful. Xander has discovered the miracles of Scooby and Shaggy and spend the entire trip home plugged into the DVD player (bless the person who invented headphones!). We laughed a lot, because at regular intervals he would shout "Scooby-dooby DO!" and giggle. Liam was a rockstar of a traveller. So all in all, it was a good trip...

Until the border. Oh yes, I have yet another complaint about Buffalo, NY. We went to the Lewiston bridge, as it is the one we use most of the time. And the line was ridiculously long. It took us 3 hours to get over the bridge and cross the border. THREE. Seriously. Sheer volume. The nice guard we had actually told us that the Fort Erie bridge has 17 lanes (versus the 6 at Lewiston) and zero wait times. I wish we'd known that beforehand.

We're home now and getting back into the groove. We miss our friends, but had a good time and we are looking forward to our next visit.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Heading Home

We are starting home this morning. It's seemed like a long vacation, and while I had a great time, I am also ready to go home and sleep in my own bed. And suitcase living is not the fun part of vacation.

We've had a chance to visit with family and friends, go to the zoo, play lots, and shop. What's not to like? I've learned a few things along the way too.

  • No matter how much you think you have packed everything, there is something missing. It wasn't until day 3 that I realized I meant to have the Ergo to carry Liam in.
  • You'll always bring more than you need. I thought we needed a baby gate for my Aunt's house, but as it turns out, her stairs are in a way that wouldn't work with it so we had to chase Liam down the stairs anyway.
  • Someone will get sick. Liam and his mysterious fevers struck on our second day. We kept going anyway and just pumped him full of tylenol.
  • Someone will get hurt. Xander has two skinned knees to prove it!
  • Sometimes a 3 and 4 year old will need time to warm up. Braeden and Xander were like this, despite their many visits in the past. They spent the first few days having moments of friendship, but by and large driving all of the adults crazy by fighting over Every.Little.Thing! The last 2 days they've been the best of friends.
  • You cannot expect a 16 month old, 3 year old, and 4 year old to sleep in the same room when it is not the norm. Even if they BEG for it. (Only the 16 month old ended up sleeping in that room peacefully. Irony, considering he normally doesn't.)
  • Sometimes a change is what you need to break a bad habit: Liam has had us up in the night to eat/drink his whole life. It's not for lack of trying though; I've nightweaned him about 5 times since the 6 month mark. This week, he gave it up on his own. Monkey!
  • Coloured sand can make a lot of mess. Trust me.
  • Losing your cell phone generally means you've stuck it somewhere you normally would, but in the chaos of life in suitcases, it is "lost". For me, it was in my running belt.
  • If you go to buy shirts, likely you'll end up with everything but shirts. LOL!
We'll have more to say about vacation when we get home, and a few more pictures to share too, but for now, I have to sign off until we get home. Hopefully on Sunday night. And hopefully without getting lost in Buffalo on the way back.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Vacation Continues

Monday we went to the DC Zoo. I didn't get any pictures that day, but we had a great time! Xander would tell you all about riding the Metro though, rather than the animals. But that's kids for you. He did love the "sprinklers" along the way too. Toronto Zoo take note! (Mine you, we love the TO Zoo, but the sprinklers would be a great addition.)

Tuesday we went to an indoor playground with another friend from my one online buddy group. This is my oldest buddy group and we've been together over 5 years now. It is amazing to me that we all got together because we were trying to have babies and now our babies are 4.

This is my friend Mary Beth. She's 13 weeks pregnant and we are tickled for her!

The hit of the day was the ambulance that was in one area. The three older kids were in and out of that thing forever.

Afterward we all went to a mall and had lunch together, then the kids rode the carousel. We have a family tradition that if we see a carousel, we ride it. This was Liam's second time (the first was Sunday at the Baysox game). I didn't get any pictures because I was holding Liam on his horse.

The funny moment of the day came when we were following the boys through Sears, on our way to the carousel, and they were running wildly out of the store and one of my girlfriends said to the one shop lady: "Want them? We're willing to sell!" (or something along those lines) and I chimed in with "Yeah, they are cute AND potty trained." and laughed. They were like a force of nature going through there, but they were good. Just busy, loud, and hell bent towards that carousel.

Last night we went into Virginia to see Amy and her family. The kids had a blast and the grown ups got a chance to visit. Nice perk, that.

Amy has a kids' pool on her patio and the kids had it propped up and were playing in it.

And look at this cute face:
The last time I was at Amy's house, she was pregnant for this little one. Amazing!

After playing, Xander and the girls watched some TV.
We had a fantastic meal. Jim outdid himself on the grill and Amy made a salad to die for. Plus, dessert was homemade strawberry shortcake! Here is Amy showing the whipped cream to Liam (ironic, isn't it, since he's allergic to dairy).

We tried to get pictures of all of the kids at the very end in their pajamas, but Liam was having nothing to do with it. He'd reached what I call his "expiration date" (like milk!) and was only happy being held. Otherwise he was wandering around complaining loudly about life in general.

We did get a good one of the older three though.
And some of the adults too!

Ray and Jim:
Laura and Amy:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Xander is at the stage where he loves to goof around and he adores word games. So we play a lot of that in the car, especially on short rides.

"Mommy, have you ever eaten a pizza while standing on your head?"
"NO! Xander, have you ever sat on a camel and washed your hair?"

Insert gales of laughter in between the lines.

We also have a game where I kiss him and he wipes them off. I've told him that my kisses go straight to his heart and are permanent. He argues that kisses are not permanent. The other day he said one that made me cringe from the image:

"I can just eat your kisses out of my heart!"

Ewwwwwwwwwwwh! Is there such thing as self-cannibalism?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Amish, A Baseball Game, and Other Happenings

On Friday afternoon we got to my Aunt's house, just outside of Hershey, PA. Just in time for dinner, might I add. So much for getting there early. Our friends from Baltimore came up that evening and we all slept at my Aunt's house. Thanks so much to them for having all of us!

We had planned to go to the little town where my Aunt and Uncle lived when they first got married to an Amish sale on Saturday morning. My Aunt speculated that it would be good to get going for 7 am. Let me just say that you cannot get 3 kids who are 4 and under and their parents up and going for 7 am. It's not possible. Especially when the youngest is sporting a nice fever (which went for about 3 days and just disappeared) and was up and down all night long. So we actually left just before 10 am. My Aunt claimed that the drive was "about an hour". We wound our way through the wilds of Pennsylvania and I was pretty much convinced she was taking us back to Canada through country roads. It was at least an hour and a half later when we arrived. It was a beautiful spot, though I am not sure there really was a town. More like a couple houses and a schoolhouse. The Amish sale was a benefit for the schoolhouse and the proceeds help pay the teachers, taxes, and other costs. Ingenious! They had several auctions happening: one for plants, one for miscellaneous farming bits, and a large one for quilts that the Amish ladies had made. There were also a few small animals, set up like a petting zoo, which were auctioned off at the end.

And the FOOD! There was so much food. We ended up having roasted chicken legs, large containers of fresh fruit, and freshly made ice cream. The kids even rode the horse who was making the ice cream! (Well, he was powering the contraption that was making it.) Just before we left I bought some fresh donuts. Let me just say that their custard donuts were more custard than donut!

The Amish sale was fun, but much better for older people than the little kids, so we were happy to get going too. At the end of the day, we packed up and headed for Baltimore.

Sunday afternoon we went to a Baysox game. The kids had a blast! They met Dora, got to ride a merry-go-round, and then bounced in a bouncy castle. We had a couple of our other online friends join us there too. It was great to see everyone...maybe someday we'll get to watch the game too!

Braeden with cotton candy:

Xander and Hannah:
Liam "hanging around":
Sarah enjoying her ice cream:

The actual game:
Other than this, we've had some sleep issues (who can blame them, since we've skipped naps, had erratic bedtimes, and slept in many different locations), gone to the DC zoo, and had lots of good time with our friends.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Lost in New York

Our vacation has begun. Actually, as I am typing this, we are 4 days into our vacation and have reached our destination. But we thought we might never get here! The boarder crossing was a simple one: one car ahead of us, a few simple questions and our passports, and we were free to go. Then we entered Buffalo, NY...and that is where the trouble began. No one told me that Buffalo is a maze. We were heading to the 20A/78. Turns out that there is a 20 and 20A (because they ran out of numbers to number these highways: there's a law in NY that says you can't use any number after 20! hee hee) and that the 78 winds around and runs with BOTH of those highways.

We made a mistake and got off on the 20.

We soon realized that there was something wrong. Our directions just didn't make any sense. So we stopped for dinner with the kids (we left early evening) and asked for directions. This is when life got really interesting, as it turns out that no one in Buffalo actually knows where they are. The conversation goes something like this:

Us: "Are we on route 20 or 20A?"
Them: "You are on Transit Road."

Come again??? When questioned further, no one seemed to know that there were signs out there that actually labeled Transit Road as a 20/78 combo. And they had no idea how to get to where we wanted to go.

We did eventually figure it out and we did get to Corning for the night: about 3 hours late.

Let it be known that the people in Buffalo were incredibly NICE. And we did make it out.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Child Labour Laws Be Damned

Xander was driving me crazy the other day. I am trying to get the house fairly clean before we go on vacation (I hate coming home to a mess), and he was begging to help, so I let him.

Now I am going to work on Liam. hee hee

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Making a Memory

Saturday we had our block picnic. It's not for the 4th, since we are Canadians and celebrate the 1st as Canada Day, but it was a great day to have it nonetheless. We had BBQ, people brought salads and desserts and nibbles, and there were toys for the kids. Our block actually has a big empty triangle in the center that is perfect for kids to play, so that is where they were.

We all ate and the kids played for a long time. Ray took Liam home to bed just before 8 pm, and I stayed out with Xander. Normally Liam is in bed by 7 and Xander by 8. Normally. Xander was having such a good time that I just let him play. Just before 9, I started to make moves to take him home to bed too. Then there were sparklers for the kids...and that is when Xander got wind of fireworks coming. Fireworks! Xander had never seen fireworks and I was taking him home to bed.

I got him home and our stuff home. He was really good about it. No yelling, screaming, or throwing up (yes, the last one can be an issue). We got in the house and weren't home 5 minutes and he said (very nicely), "Mommy, I would really like to go and see the fireworks."

Ray and I were amazed. Usually this sort of request comes with whining, crying, and much ado. This time it was quiet and polite. A request. A bit wistful, but no fit involved. We discussed it quickly and decided that this was one night and it would do no harm, so Xander was quickly changed into pajamas and a sweater, and I got pants and a sweater on, and we headed back out. He sat on my lap for a while, then on someone else's blanket with his friends, and enjoyed every minute of it.

Watching his face as he saw those first fireworks is a memory that will stay with me forever. I'm glad we made it.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Black Eye & A Cowboy

As promised, a couple of pictures of Liam sporting his first black eye.

And a close-up:

Then there is Xander...I am not even sure what to say about these pictures. LOL!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Happy Canada Day

I've been asked before about Canada Day and its meaning, and my reply is pretty much this: "It's similar to the 4th of July for Americans. It is Canada's birthday."

Here is a bit more information:
July 1st marks the joining of the British colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and what was then the Province of Canada (Ontario and Quebec) into a federation of four provinces on July 1, 1867. Although Canada is regarded as having become a dominion in its own right on that date, the British Parliament kept limited rights of political control over the new country, which were shed by stages over the years until the last vestiges were ended in 1982, when the Constitution Act patriated the Canadian constitution.

Canada Day thus differs from Independence Day celebrations in some other countries in that it does not commemorate a militant assertion of political self-determination, but rather recognizes one of the major milestones of the long and peaceful political process which formed the modern nation of Canada.

I found it interesting that the last of the control that Britain had over my country was given up in my lifetime. Amazing. And a little funny that no one taught us that in school too.

My most memorable Canada Day is from 1985. I was with my family traveling in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. We had rented a camper and we swam in a river and played in a glacier on that day. My Mom has pictures kicking around somewhere.

Today I am pondering how to make it a special day with my two boys.