Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sugar Bush

Our Spring Break was two weeks ago now, but I never did get around to posting about it. We spent Friday with my friend Jeanaha and her family. Jeanaha has 3 kids: Devlin is a year older than Xander, Ceilidh is a year younger than Xander (and says he is her boyfriend, tee hee), and Aisling is a little bit younger than Liam. It's a nice mixture! Basically, now that the two babies are hitting the 2 year old mark, the whole lot of them entertain themselves and each other and the adults can talk.

There wasn't as much talking on that Friday, because we went to the Maple Syrup Festival. We had lots of fun. Our day started out with pancakes, syrup and sausages. Then a wagon ride and a walk through the bush, where we heard some of the history of making maple syrup. We wrapped the day up by going to the playbarn and running the last of the energy off them.

Monkeying around before meeting our friends:

Our five monkeys, listening. (Look carefully, as it is unlikely we'll get all five of them to listen at once again.)

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Search for Electronics and Bigger Messes

We've long talked about the glories of a flat screen television. When the discussions began we still lived in the apartment (Ray and I rented a condo for the first few years we were together, then moved to another city and got an apartment, then bought our house) and I told Ray is was ridiculous. They were 10 grand and up then, so it was ridiculous. And we had a fabulous new television back then. That was nigh to 10 years ago though.

Television prices dropped, our house became smaller with the pitter pat of little feet, and I crave more space. A television on a wall means no need for a huge entertainment unit (although I have seen that you can still get an old style media center that is scaled to a flat screen tv...and I have to say that I just do not get it, because I want to get rid of mine). But our television worked great and had great sound and beautiful picture.

Until it didn't.

Yesterday morning Xander got about 15 minutes of cartoons before the darn thing went blank and beeped at us. As though to taunt us with it's insolence. Hmmph. Well, TV shopping was not on the list for yesterday, but it became the entire list.

So we called our friend John and harassed him for information on televisions. Then we did online research and harassed him some more. Then naps and lunch and out to look at these televisions. We've looked and thought about it before, but not in earnest, since our mantra was "not until the television we have dies". It died, we looked and were serious. We called John and harassed him more. He was a good sport!

In the end, we decided on a 46" Sharp Aquos (I could have been talked into the 52" and Ray could have too, but neither of us were the ones to be convincing the others and it did seem a tad big) and a Sony Blue Ray player. Ironically, today is bulk garbage day, so the old television is already on the curb. Sometimes we move fast!

Now comes the big work. When we first moved in, we had our living room as a library and my office. It really was set up to be my room. And our basement family room had the living room stuff, including our television. Xander was just over 2 and he had a thing about "Mommy, come and see...." and also dragging bits of my computer (mainly the cordless mouse) all over the place. It drove me crazy, so we moved the couch and television upstairs. And the office stuff went downstairs. Our books stayed put. So right now we have a living room and library combo in the main floor room, and my office and a load of toys in the basement. We are all ready to switch it around. So there needs to be some work doing that.

But before you get out your dollie and moving clothes, we are also redoing our fireplace. It's almost done (I swear). Mostly it is down to painting. I think it is 2-3 evenings worth of work. But that should be done before the moving begins.

Poor Xander just wants to watch his new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles BR on the new television. I foresee a long, long week ahead of us.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ponderings in Bits and Pieces

In the little scraps of time, between chasing boys to change diapers and clothes and harangue them into the bathtub, then working and balancing general maintenance things in life (after all, we do all need clean clothes and dishes at regular intervals), Ray and I have been talking a lot. And in the tiny silent moments, I am also contemplating a few things of my own.

I'd like a little input from all of you too.

- What two things do you do to keep yourself organized? Do you feel like you are organized? Is it an ongoing battle or something you've licked?

- Name a few of your biggest blessings right now. What are the things that make you smile?

- What do you think of or who do you think about when you hear the word tribe? Who is in your tribe? Is it big or small? Do you think there is one tribe for a person or many interlinking tribes.

I have more, but at this point I want to hear what you think and don't want to overload you.

Here are some of my answers:

I try to keep on top of dishes and laundry. If those two things are out of control, I feel like the rest is hopeless. And I intermittently keep a list of what needs doing, both today and for the week or even a master list for later/when we can get to it. It's all a work in progress and I feel like I have never quite mastered this since we had kids.

My kids and family in general are the biggest blessings. I love it when Xander gives Liam a big hug when he falls and whacks himself. It's the sweetest, tenderest thing I have ever witnessed. Ray is a good dad and a great husband; he's incredibly supportive. I've also been feeling blessed that I have a job that is flexible, so I can be with my family and juggle my priorities. Work is important to me and my self-identification, but it is not the most important thing. I really straddle two worlds, but wouldn't change that. But I have been feeling blessed that I have such a love of reading and people and just generally want to see and do things. And Spring is started in our neck of the woods...there are no words that can encompass how thrilled I am about that.

Originally, when I hear the word tribe, I think about Africa and families or communities there. But when I let go of that notion a little, I realized we all live in tribes. Or in my estimation, we do. My immediate and extended family are a tribe. We have a neighbourhood and friends who extend that tribe. And globally, I have a tribe. Even my online groups have become part of my tribe. I tend to visualize this as many interconnecting smaller tribes, which contribute to my whole tribe, but because I have people in one tribe who are not part of each other's lives, I don't think it is necessarily one tribe. I'm still working on this idea.

So, give a whack at one or all of these questions. If you do it here, I can read and respond to the comments. If you want to link to your own blog and put your answers there, I will follow and try to respond there too. You too are part of my tribe...let's have a conversation!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Of Bunnies and Pigs

I have two good Xander stories from this weekend.

We were talking about Easter in some way this weekend and Xander turns to me and says, "Mom, is the Easter bunny real?"

Seriously? He's only 4.5! I thought we had longer than this.

So, in my best serious voice, I said, "Well, Xander, what do you think?"

As quick as can be, he replied, "I think it's just a man in a suit!"

HOLY COW! Seriously?!?

I very calmly said, "I guess the Easter bunny won't be coming then."

Well, that changed his little tune. He put on a very stern voice and said, "No Mom! The Easter bunny comes to EVERY child." And then went on to explain how there are lots of Easter bunnies all over the world to accomplish this task.


This kid is going to make me go gray.

Then yesterday morning Ray and Xander were talking about bacon and how much they love bacon. Ray starts teasing Xander about how much he'd love to have a bacon tree (insert me gagging at the thought of raw meat hanging from a tree), so he could go out and just get fresh bacon whenever he wanted.

So I said, "Xander, do you think that is how we get bacon?"
"Yup!" he said eagerly.
I shook my head.
"No, we get bacon from a pig."
"Really?" Xander says, "Cool...so do you just chop off it's head?" And he makes a chopping motion.

I am not sure where he got it from, but he's mostly right. And he was really excited about it. At least he's not squeamish. And he comes from a family with several generations of farmers. I guess those genes run true.

Chop, chop. :rolling eyes:

Friday, March 12, 2010

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Hiding in Plain Sight

I've been very lucky to find a group of online friends who are supportive and have a strong code of conduct. We don't swear at each other. We don't put each other down. And we generally behave toward each as if we were sitting in each other's living rooms and chatting face-to-face. We're respectful, by and large. I don't mean to say we don't argue or disagree. We do; it's inevitable with a group of 400-ish women who span at least 3 continents (I know some in Asia, Europe, and North America) and come from diverse political, social, and economic backgrounds. But we are there to support each other.

I have some amazing stories of support. Our group has had women lose beloved husbands and fathers to cancer and car accidents. We've had divorces, abuses, and substance problems come up. And the saddest of all, has been the loss of children. These too, we have endured and held each other up for. Each one a dart to our hearts.

And still we talk, laugh, cry, and hold the hands of our friends. Some of us have met and become friends in person.

This is the boon of online groups.

Unfortunately, it is not all like this. There is another group I know of that are pretty much the antithesis of my primary group. Sometimes women on these groups forget that there are real people on the other end. Some of them want to pretend they are wiser and smarter than they are (take my word for it: you fool no one when you do this). And I have seen these women make fun of each other, swear at each other, and generally be disrespectful and rude. It was asked recently why they are so mean. The general answer was to "put your big girl panties on" and that they "like it that way". These same women generally claim that they are the same way in person.

I cannot prove it, but it is my guess that they are not. If they were, they would have no friends.

This is the curse of online groups: being able to hide who you really are and act as though the people on the other end of the keyboard aren't real. Allowing yourself liberties that should never be taken. This is the seedy underside.

Are there conversations on this second group that are respectful. There are people who truly want to discuss political and social issue in a constructive manner. And I applaud them. Of course, it is the smattering of people who like to stir up trouble and hide in plain sight that ruin it.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

My Son the Stripper

Liam was wandering around after breakfast yesterday morning and he spotting a basket of clean laundry in the living room. He went over, pulled out a clean shirt, and began to strip himself of his pajamas. I laughed and helped him.

Last night, we went out with friends for dinner and left the kids with a sitter. Both boys were in their pajamas before we left. Liam goes to bed in a light pair of regular pajamas and then a pair of fleecy footy pajamas. The second layer is like having a blanket on him, since he won't keep a blanket on top of himself. We got home and both boys were sound asleep. The sitter said they were great and went down without a problem. About an hour after we got home, I went up to check on them...and I laughed. Liam was in only one pair of pajamas. He had obviously stripped the overlayer of jammies off and thrown them over the edge of his crib.

And thus the stripping begins...

Thursday, March 04, 2010

A little fun and distraction

Did you know it is March? It's the fourth, in fact. I just sent my invoice off to one of my clients. Normally I do this task on the first or second of the month, but the end of February and the beginning of March have escaped me.

It's no wonder. We had Liam's birthday party, which was an all around success and deserves a post of its own soon. My parents have been visiting, which is nice. The kids have had a blast! The other afternoon my Mom and I went out to do a bit of shopping and left my Dad with Xander. Xander and his Grandpa spent three hours goofing around and just rough housing. Amazing! I am not sure who had the better time. Liam came home after two hours of it and was welcomed into the fray. By all accounts, fun was had.

I've had a few doctor's appointments, ran some errands, and I have been doing an hour's exercise every day. It is my goal to do an hour a day for 2 weeks. So far, so good. I've had two days where that exercise was not the intense-gym-based exercise, but I have still managed. I am also slowly catching up on the errands that have been piling up through illnesses, sleep deprivation, and working time.

So I am distracted, having some fun, and just plain busy.

Now to do some work, so I can bill my clients for March too!