Sunday, March 30, 2008


Sometimes I think we don't stimulate our girls enough. You would not imagine the excitement and heart palpitations, and yes, fighting, one little change in the mini-van caused on Friday. Was it a new video console? Nope. Was it a hotly desired big-girl booster seat for Edie? Nope. Was it a much desired leapord-print steering wheel cover for Meanie? Alas, no. It was this:

With the warmer weather arriving, the smell of rotten snacks was starting to repulse me, so I bought a tacky little air-freshener to take the edge off. Well, I have never been bombarded with so many questions about a scented piece of cardboard (to be truthful, I have never, ever been asked about scented cardboard). Can I touch it? Can I smell it....WHAAAA! UP CLOSE! I WANT TO SMELL IT UP CLOSE! What is it made of? Can I lick it (actually, Grace is the only one who asked, Edie went ahead and sampled it without asking (WHAAAA! IT TASTES YUCKY! I NEED JUICE!) Can I colour it? Do you have more? How long will we have this? Do other people have these? Are there other "flavours"? Can I bring to Show-and-Tell? I think you get the idea.

Jo and I are planning a 13 hour road-trip this summer. I'm thinking that after the titallation this freshener caused, if I stick a bobble-head on the dashboard, that just might be enough to keep our girls occupied for the whole trip.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Confessions of a Consumer

At the beginning of this week (and yes, I realized it is only Wednesday), I decided to try to spend nothing. Zip. I took inventory of the fridge and cupboards and decided that we had the necessities of life and no trips to the grocery store would be required. Let’s review how I am faring so far.


Ahhh, this should be easy. We are spending a good part of the day in car driving home from a weekend at a friends ski chalet. Ooooh, there’s Tim Horton’s. I could really go for a coffee – no, wait, I want an Ice-Cap! Shit, the kids have spotted Timmy’s out the window too. They want Timbits. No. Must. Not. Stop.

Phew! Made it home without spending a bean. Time to get ready to go out to my parents place for my Mom’s birthday dinner. Birthday dinner. Shit. I haven’t bought her a present yet. And off we go to Chapters to buy an overpriced card and gift certificate. 1 point for capitalism.

End of day, fairly satisfied with the outcome of the day. Birthdays are sort of out of my control, right?


This is gonna be a breeze. I’m at work all day and I’ve packed my lunch so there is NO excuse to spend. Except I really need a coffee. That’s excuseable,right? and I’ll buy Fair Trade to be a responsible consumer.
Oops, BlackBerry is buzzing. Oh, a reminder for a farewell lunch for a fellow employee today….at a restaurant. Okay, I just won’t buy anything too expensive. There that will definitely be IT for the day.
Okay, just worked out after work and showered and I don’t have any deodorant, I’ll just run to the store and grab a stick, I mean, I can’t be stinky, right?
*the rest of the day is omitted to save myself embarrassment. I will just say that one stick of deodorant cost me approx. $55 at the grocery store*


My confidence is a little shaken, but I can do this. Today will be the day I don’t spend a bean! (I have decided that coffee doesn’t count, it falls under the Necessities of Life category).
Okay, at work, it’s BUSY! Good, good, this will keep me from spending any money. Wait a sec, I’ve got mail. Oh, it’s from my housekeeper reminding that she is coming tomorrow morning to clean. She likes cash only. And she reminded me that last time she was over she used up all the Toilet Duck. Grrrr. To the bank machine I go. Then Zellers. Focus Meanie focus, you are here for Toilet Duck only. And that cute pair of RayBan knock-offs and a half-price Cadbury’s Easter Cream Egg.

I suck….and Jo just called to say we are out of milk.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Two things I NEVER thought I would do:

1) Cook Hamburger Helper (I hope my Mom isn’t reading this) – it's really good though!

2) Say the following to the girls, in a sing-song voice, calling them for dinner when they were playing:

“Girls! Time to close the imagination station!”

Ugggh! Who says shit like that? When I hear people talk like that my ears bleed a little.

Note to self: get another tattoo and toughen up

Monday, March 17, 2008

I never blogged Gracie’s birthday!

I have to admit that when I was pregnant with Grace I did have Martha Stewart visions of perfection dancing in my head. Clean white linens, peaceful naps together and an immediate bond for life. Well, overwhelmed at what had just happened, six years ago I was in a hospital, teary and tired, and wondering just how I was going to cope with this little bundle. How could I possibly be responsible for this life. Already I had been told by some not so nice nurses that my decision not to nurse was equivalent to giving my first born Macdonalds fast food. Ouch. Not a good start. When we brought Grace home, the endless gifts of flowers kept arriving, and all I could think was I couldn’t even get my shit together enough to change the water of the flowers, how the hell was I going to look after a baby? The postpartum blues kicked in. Those cold dreary months of February found me feeling quite cooped up and alone, anxious for myself and my baby. Then one day, and I remember this so clearly, finally needing to get out of the house, I nervously strapped Grace into her stroller, looked down at her inquisitive little eyes, and told her that we were going for a walk. I remember that walk so well. I remember singing a little song to her that I had made up when she was born. Grace looked at me and cracked one of her first, beautiful, gummy smiles. That is when I realized it was going to be okay, that I could do this job. It wasn’t going to be easy, but, this ex-wild child did have a maternal bone in her body. In fact, I tried to let the instincts flow from that day forward. Rather than throwing my arms up in despair when she cried, I made it my mission to determine what those cries meant. Rather than staring at her when she was sleeping, anxious for what I was going to do with her when she woke up, I tried to revel in the peaceful, sleeping Grace, and look forward to her waking to watch her take in the world.
I have to admit, Grace has never been the easiest kid in the world. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have moments of envy when I see other more compliant kids with their parents. However, I’d also be lying if I said I didn’t think our daughter rocks. Grace takes on the world like nobody’s business. The first in the pool and the last one out. The first one up the ski hill and the first one down. I have never seen a kid take such joy in the simple act of running, seemingly amazed at just how fast her powerful legs can take her. I also love who this kid surrounds herself with. Wait, let me re-word that. I love who surrounds Grace. Grace has been embraced by so many different groups of kids, and she seems to happily float from one group to the next, not relying on any one or two kids for her social life. These past two weeks, we are also witnessing the miracle of her reading her first words…watching her sound out the words, and the look of joy on her face when she conquers a particularly difficult word is truly a gift for me.
I had been complaining about lack of sleep lately, Grace has been troubled with nightmares. I recently took Chantal’s suggestion and put a little mattress on the floor where she can come and crash if she needs to be near us. And you know what? Taking a chapter from my post partum days, I also now revel in the peaceful Grace sleeping, and sincerely look forward to her waking up and taking on the world again and again.

That little song? I still sing it to her, I know she will soon think it is silly and stupid, but I don’t care, I’ll keep singing it .

“Her name is Grace, Grace,
With the beautiful face, face,
What a beautiful nose,
gorgeous eyes!And what lovely smile,
That’s my Grace...”

Monday, March 10, 2008

Shark attack!

Kids, like animals, are intuitive. Adults, like boulders, generally are not.

So, it was our last day on the beach. Everyday up until then, Grace had been body surfing, wave jumping, reveling in being allowed to spit without getting in trouble (salt water, whatta are ya gonna do?) In fact, braver than I, she kept pushing to go farther and farther out into the great blue sea, but we generally reigned her in it at about fifteen feet to twenty feet.

The last day there, our flight was at 3:00 p.m. We woke early to get one last swim in before packing it all up. The girls ran down to the beach, and Grace raced to the water – Edie completely ignored it and got busy digging in the sand, refusing to go in. As quickly as Grace ran in, she ran out again, heading back to the sand and started to dig. I asked her why she left the water. Very casually, she said she saw a shark. I don’t think I said that that was ridiculous, but I don’t think I did much to validate her claim. I muttered something about it being a shame that nobody would swim on our last day there, but didn’t push the issue.

Fast forward to the next day, when were home in Ottawa, we got a call from the in-laws. The late afternoon that we left, looking out from the balcony of their condo, they saw two sharks, fifteen to twenty feet from shore, exactly where had been playing for past five days.


No wonder Grace is having nightmares!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

We now interrupt your regular programming….

I am humbled. I need your help. I need help with a six year who is waking every night claiming nightmares. A six year old who wants to climb into our bed every night around 2 a.m., which would be fine, but this six year old is a restless sleeper, like a dolphin out of water, she is so strong and solid, that when she flails around it really affects my and Jo’s sleep. There is no gentle rubbing of her back to try and get to go back to sleep in her bed – nosiree, there are full on tears, wailing, forcing us to comply with her demands so she doesn’t wake up the three year old (who can be a fragile sleeper at times as well). My compassion for her is giving way to anger as I am starting to feel like I am being played. She can’t tell us what these nightmares are about, and no reassuring appeases her. She just wants to be in our bed, between Jo and I.
Any advice? Do I bribe her? Threaten her? Gag her? Don’t make me call Nanny 911!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Surprise! We're Going to Disney!

That Tuesday morning, I joined the family at the breakfast table and announced that I didn’t feel like going to work that day. Jo agreed that he too didn’t feel like working. We asked the girls if they felt like going to school (of course, the one day we wanted them to say no, they said yes!) I then asked them if they would like to go to the Broccoli Patch (noooo!) What about the Brussel Sprout Factory (nooooo!) Then we threw it out there – how would they like to go to DisneyWorld? Well, we didn’t get the reaction we anticipated (Edie continued enthusiastically slurping her Cheerios, oblivious to what Disney is) and Gracie was wary of this big announcement. She actually said to me once on the airplane “Nowww I believe you Mommy!” Ahhhh, the trust we instill in these children!

And so, we spent two and half days frolicking within the Happiest Place in the World. We stayed at a place called Wilderness Lodge (part of the resort). There was a nice big pool and slide there, and fire works in the evening – a great way to ease into our visit. I’m pretty sure our little munchkins thought that Wilderness Lodge was Disney in its entirety and they would have been satisfied with that. Well, weren’t they in for a surprise when we ferried over to the park the next morning and hit the ground running.

Grace was slow to start, a little unsure of all the excitement around her. She soon got into the groove though, clutching her little autograph book and getting all the Disney characters to sign it and posed for pictures with them. Edie retreated to her stroller for the photo ops, entirely creeped out by these non-talking giant cartoon characters.

The rides rocked. Grace was big enough to go on Splash Mountain, and it was quiet enough that she got to do it twice. We did it’s a Small World (Edie’s favourite – it is kinda endearing!) We also did Snow White (really scary, the cause of many nightmares to come, I’m sure)! Pirates of the Caribbean was okay, though I’m not sure I understand all the hype. Mickey’s Toon Town was a hit with both girls, short line-ups for everything there. We also did the frontier looking roller coaster (fun!) and some futuristic Buzz Lightyear kind of rides. There was also a little cloud of mist that the girls found and frolicked in for a good hour – Jo and I looked for a little cloud of beer to frolick in, to no avail.

We ended up watching the parade both days – I have to admit, I stared at those actors hard, trying to get them to crack the happy facade – I just wanted some kind of indication that Ariel could possible be suffering from killer PMS underneath that smile or that Peter Pan was arrested for a DUI the night before and covering up his bleary eyes with Visine. Nothing. Damn their good. I even got swept up the happiness of it all, this ex-punk rock girl humming along to some song about believing in myself and all my dreams coming true. And, more importantly, the girls ate it all up.

There were some aspects I didn’t like about it – like the little girls in the princess dresses with their hair extensions done and glitter all over their body, being pushed around the park by their parents. They looked so….entitled. I also felt really overwhelmed by the park in itself (and we just visited the Magic Kingdom!) I couldn’t stop thinking about how one man’s idea turned into something so big and so expensive and so over the top, and the number of people involved, the security, everything. I’m not criticizing it, I’m just amazed at how efficient and purposeful it all is.

The girls were pretty amazing. I had been warned that they may be over-stimulated and may breakdown. They didn’t. They were troopers, and didn’t beg for any extras (we did buy them Mickey Mouse ears though!)

Oh, one other thing I didn’t like – their version of Mac and Cheese. Ewwww. The girls wouldn’t touch it and I don’t blame them.

Phew. Disney has now been blogged. There you go A&J! Stay tuned for SHARK! As per anonymous’ request…..