January 29, 2011

Dear Golden Boy, again...

Dear Golden Boy:

I am pleased to say, and show, that we are okay and still together. We are working things out and progressing along. I have finished the back segment. (I have yet to actually measure this on the back of the person for whom it is meant. But we'll work these things out one thing at a time.) We'll call you 25% complete. Just the front, two sleeves (that are hopefully, at least, approximately the same length), collar and finishing left. Darling Golden Boy clearly we are not out of the woods yet. Maybe I'll work on a sleeve next.
However, in the sake of full disclosure, I must confess to yet another indescretion. Okay, I seem to have stumbled onto a steep and slippery slope here. I used to be a solid one project at a time kind of girl but now... I'm starting to spread myself around a little bit. And I have to say it feels pretty good.

This is my new project, started this morning, Cabled V-Neck Slipover. (From Debbie Bliss, Fall/Winter 2008 magazine.) I am knitting this with Debbie Bliss Como yarn. It is beautiful yarn. The yarn is thick and so very soft. The colour is a very light blue-grey. This is knit on big needles and is my first time with chunky weight wool.
I may never go back to thin wool knit with tiny needles. I feel like a speed knitter. I'm cocky in having finished over 7" of knitting in an afternoon.
So Golden Boy, we will make it through these hard times. We will. Just a little bit slower now than before. The Green Cabled Shoulder Bag is still in the queue and as you saw it last. In fact, after my confession I put the shoulder bag away and tucked in and finished the back of Golden Boy.
So maybe all this straying will be productive... I'm just saying.
With Love,

January 26, 2011

If I had a hammer...

So Scott and Finn were outside last night working on stuff in the garage. Scott was using a hammer to reinstall the rubber along the bottom of our garage doors. (The rain from the night before caused the rubber to freeze in place and rip off when we opened the doors the next day. Thus the need to fix it.)

Finn decided he wanted to pound on things with a hammer too. So he went over to Scott's tool box and helped himself to a ballpeen hammer and asked Scott what he could pound. Scott directed him to the ice on the sidewalk. Finn happily set to pounding away.

Scott finished with the garage door and went to the backyard to shovel off the back deck. Finn, and hammer, followed. Scott set to shovelling and Finn climbed up his playstructure and, again, set to pounding on things. This was their conversation:

Finn: Uh oh. Looking over the edge of the playstructure and into the deep snow below him.
Scott: Uh oh what?
Finn: I lost the hammer Dada.
Scott: How did you lose the hammer Finn?
Finn: I threw it in the snow.
Scott: Why did you throw it in the snow?
Finn: I was using it as my boomarang hammer. (NOTE TO SELF: this child may be playing too many video games if everything in his mind can become a boomarang.)
Scott: Did it come back?
Finn: No. Not very well.
Scott: That's because it is a hammer. Not a boomarang. Be glad it didn't come back at you.
Finn: Are you mad at me Dada, that I lost your hammer?
Scott: No, Finny, we'll find it in the spring.

So. Right.

Lessons here are as follows:
  1. Hammers do not make very good boomarangs. (This really is a good thing.)
  2. Walking under Finn on the play structure can be a dangerous. And:
  3. Don't lend Finn your hammer.



Today at school I made a note about my school for the newspaper. It was about what we did in January. Like about skating and I love to Read month and the cookbooks that Fran is selling. Today at school we had music. In music we were practicing our recorders that we are trying to learn. We also did math and L.A. and lots more. You can see I was very busy.

At recess my friends Jesse, Kali, Piper and Jordell were playing a dog game. But Kali was a wolf. That is the only thing I did not like. We were playing outside on the newer side of the playground.

It is my friend Brycen's birthday today. Happy Birthday!

I love school!

By: Olivia

January 22, 2011

Live in the Moment

I have a bracelet that I wear that says "Live in the Moment". I wear this to remind myself to stop and smell the roses and just BE where ever I am at the moment in both body and spirit. I won't speak for all parents but I suspect that there are some of us who struggle with this on occasion. I certainly do.

This week has been tough as O has been sick. Viral croup sick. Have to stay home from school sick. And because my husband, S, has been been away from home most of this week on business and because I don't want to circulate this disease-of-the-week with the baby sitter's family I had to stay home from work to take care of O. (That was said very matter-of-fact... no whining involved.)

I didn't mind taking care of O but I had a big week of work planned. (You are correct if you sense a slight soupcon of whining in that last part.) There is no question that HOME trumps WORK any and every time but I really had a lot of stuff to do at work this week. Plus I was filling in for my boss who is away recovering from surgery. Not the ideal time to be away from work. But there it is- me at home thinking about what I could have been doing at work. That is definitely NOT living in the moment.

I am supremely grateful for my family and my job but I do struggle with the Work/Home balance. The Proud Parent battles daily with the Ambitious Engineer. I think I am better parent because I work and because it likely prevents me from diving head first into being Ultra Controling Helecopter Parent*. Yes, I know I am controling anyways. I meant I am LESS controlling to my family by working.

S keeps telling me that we will really miss the kids being this age. We will miss the funny things they say and do and the way they interact with each other and with us. We will miss dinner time and he assures me that one day I will wax poetic about the amount of flatulence involved in our daily evening meal. I know he is correct (although not about the flatulence- am I seriously the only person who doesn't find farting funny?!) but I am equally certain I will NOT miss having sick children every 3-5 weeks.

I am still very much a work-in-progress on the whole Living in the Moment thing. O is better and will be going back to school next week. (Yeah!) So far none of the other kids are sick. S is back at home. Life is good.

This weekend I will so totally NOT be thinking about how cool it would be to be here. I'll be busy Living in the Moment. My bracelet says so.

*To be very clear this statement was not a general statement- I meant it to apply to me only. It was NOT meant as an insult to stay-at-home parents.

January 18, 2011

A First and a Last

This is my youngest. I registered him for kindergarten today. He will start school in September.
A friend put it very well today "He's starting school already?! It seems like just yesterday you were out to here with him!"
Yes, it does seem like just yesterday.
And NO, I'm not crying.
not yet

January 16, 2011

A short Finnism...

We have two different way to get to our house within our subdivision. Finn likes to go around the long way and often asks for us to drive that way. Scott and Finn were in Scott's car when Finn asks for him to go around the long way. Scott, who was in a hurry to get home, said no that they would go the normal way today. Finn was upset and started to cry. This was their conversation:

Finn: Can you go around that way Daddy?
Scott: Not this time. We need to get home quickly.
Finn: starting to cry. But I want to go that way.
Scott: Don't cry we'll go that way another time.
Finn: I just need a minute to grieve. sniffling.
Scott: Pardon me? What did you say?
Finn: I'll stop crying in a minute I just need a minute to grieve.
Scott turning his head and biting his cheek so as to not laugh out loud.

Right. So he's grieving.

January 13, 2011

Dear Golden Boy:

Dear Golden Boy,

Firstly, you know that I love you and you know that I've always been a firm believer in monogamy. Monogamy is hard work and sometimes I just need to look outside of our relationship to get "in the mood", if you know what I mean. But Golden Boy, I always come back to you.

It's totally not you. It's me. You are a strong and confident sweater. I really love that I can knit you in the dark while watching tv. My fingers create your stitches with comfortable and brainless ease. Simply said- you are an easy knit and I would NEVER want to be without an easy knit.

I've always though of myself as a one-project-at-a-time kind of girl but I am tired of lying to myself. The thrill of falling in love with a new project is too intoxicating. I can't help myself. To you she is just a tawdry shoulder bag with cables. A passing fancy as you know that I'd never commit myself to something that complicated all the time. You know I will come back to you and love you for your patience in letting me stray just for this short time.

To quote from a bad teen movie, I may love her (sic) but I love you more.

Yours with love,


P.S) If it makes you feel better, and will lessen your tension, I promise not to speak of my other projects on the side in your presence.

Green cable shoulder bag- my something, something on the side. Isn't she pretty?

January 10, 2011

A French picnic awaits

Look at what I got in the mail today!

All of this bounty is a Christmas gift from my friend Corinne who lives just outside of Paris, France. Corinne and I have been pen pals since Grade 11. (That's about 22 years for those of you keeping track.) She grew up in the south of France and all of these wonderful treats are from her home area in Provence. Scott and I visited Corinne and her parents, Henri and Monique, in the summer of 2000. It was an amazing trip but it seems shorter than 10 years ago. Time goes fast!

This is what Corinne and her family drink at 5 pm each evening. The locals call it Pastis but in other places it could be called blind-dog liqueur. Look closely at the alcohol content below... yes, that reads 45%!! This is very strong stuff! They pour approximately 1 cm in a small tumbler and fill the rest with water. Even mixed with one part Pastis to 5 parts water it is still curl your toe hair strong.
Thank you Corinne!

January 8, 2011

An ordinary Saturday night...

I love our family Saturday evening rituals. Saturday nights, to me, always have been and always will be the epitome of family time.

What are we doing? The same thing we do every Saturday night. We have pizzas in the oven and the Pepsi and milk is chilling. We have watched the Seattle Seahawks kick the New Orleans Saints and take the silly smile off stupid Drew Brees' face. Hubbawhat?! We will have a long dinner at the family dinner table where inevitably someone will get into trouble for belching/ farting inappropriately and everyone except me will burst into giddy laughter. Jokes will be told that make very little sense and yet we will all laugh. Somebody will get teased for spilling something.

Olivia is currently off at a sleepover but if she were here she'd be dancing around and singing to the ipod that is blaring AC/DC in the kitchen. Scott is making dinner. Georgia (or Little Miss Science) is explaining all about her new favourite show "River Monsters". Her current lecture is recapping this week's episode about giant fresh water river sting rays that live somewhere in Asia. (The Discovery Channel is a wondrous thing.) Finn is playing on the ipad- either playing Cut the Rope or Plants vs. Zombies. Margaret is sitting on the back of the couch trying to ignore all of us and Howard is on patrol and getting into trouble from Scott for being on the counters. I am blogging and contemplating knitting the evening away. Right now not one of us are doing the same thing but we are all sitting the same room and doing our own thing. We might play a game later. We might not.

All very boring and normal family stuff- hardly blog worthy when it comes down to it- but it is my firm belief that it is times like this that define a family. There are as many different types of family rituals as there are different types of families but each one has their own thing. Every family has something that unites them. It could be a sporting team or activity or even a common interest. Our family enjoys doing nothing- together. (We are simple folks.)

One of my fondest memories growing up was our family Saturday night supper. Most Saturday nights Dad would make hamburgers and homemade french fries. Heather and I would be watching Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner in the living room. Mom would maybe be reading while we watched TV and Dad puttered over dinner. Our biggest decision would be whether we'd do "the next step" to the hamburger buns. (That means whether they would be buttered and grilled or left natural and unheated.) I can't remember what we talked about beyond the buns. I really can't even remember what we did after dinner. I can't remember one specific evening over another but what I can tell you is that the smell of frying hamburgers is what Saturday nights smell like in my mind. Good times.

I know that it will these Saturday nights- of doing nothing together- that I will long for when the kids are grown up and perhaps have homes and families of their own. But possibly, just as Scott and I continued and altered my family's Saturday night supper tradition, it will continue with my kids and into their future families. It won't be exactly the same as when they grew up, and it shouldn't be but it will be perfect for them.

What were your favourite family rituals growing up? Did you bring any of these family rituals into your family?

January 6, 2011

If it's Thursday it must be off to the New To You store

I have spent the last few days going through closets and cupboards. My Goodness we have way, way too much stuff! I do this several times a year. I open up a make up drawer/ linen cupboard/ (whatever) and see too much of pretty much of everything and I freak out. A cleaning/ culling streak comes next.

I brought 7 bags of clothes/shoes to New to You Store here in Virden today. I have several coats put aside for the girls' school and I have a good pile of kids shoes, boots and Easter dresses for a friend. We were really fortunate to of had neighbours who shared their hand-me-downs with us and I try to do the same when I can. Giving the stuff away to either someone I know will use it or to a Thrift shop makes me feel a little less guilty about having accumulated it in the first place. By actually going through the stuff it makes me feel a lot less likely to find the host of TLC's Hoarders without Borders- Virden Edition waiting to ambush me in the driveway.

I always feel better after a large culling of the house but it makes me very aware of my roll in how the house got like this in the first place. Scott may be a collector but I am a magpie and, honestly, I think I am likely worse than him. His collection is limited to one room- so far. I've managed to fill the rest of the house.

I'm not a big believer in New Years Resolutions usually because I find myself trying to honour ridiculous ideas like "I'm going to only eat green and yellow foods while exercising a minimum of 40 minutes a day, 6 days a week." And in the same manner as the above mentioned freak out by January 6th I am concocting elaborate ideas of how to turn a KitKat green.

But this year I am going to try something different. (An attempt at being reasonable for a change?!) Having just been quite disgusted with the volume of stuff I just gave away I am going to try to watch my shopping (for all things- not just clothes) and I resolve to think twice about something before buying it. I think this is a reasonable resolution and one that I can do- with effort. It's worth a try.


And on a very weird side note- Scott and I stayed up until midnight last night watching "Hot Tub Time Machine". Usually I would rate that as a sure sign of the Apocalypse but it was actually very funny; especially if you are a child of the 80's. Maybe I just liked John Cusak. Or maybe I was just very tired.

January 1, 2011

That's Totally Inappropriate!

A new year and a new start and all I wanted to do today was absolutely nothing. We'd had a busy holiday season and it had all been great but I needed a day to just sit. I received the movie "Eclipse- the Twilight Saga" for Christmas and hadn't had a moment to sit and watch it. (Yes, I did see it in the theaters with my girlfriends and no they aren't 12 years old. FYI: I am so Team Edward.) So that was my agenda for today. A simple plan really... watch a movie. It seems like a simple thing until you remember that I have 3 kids who like movies too.

I started to watch my movie and didn't even blink when all three kids joined me and started to watch along. Now there are certainly worse things for the kids to have watched than a chaste vampire-werewolf-human love triangle aimed for the teen-set. But I wondered, later, why I had covered their eyes when Bella and Edward set to smooching but didn't bother when some one had their head ripped off. It made me think that perhaps I am not the best judge of what is appropriate for kids.

Now this might be a good time to pause and to explain that as a kid I was always drawn to completely inappropriate material. Or maybe the more apt explanation is that I did not come hard wired with the intrinsic knowledge of what is appropriate material for a certain age group. I'm not saying that the kids watched the Hellraiser series when they should have been watching Baby Einstein. But I do believe that my mother-in-law did threaten me with dire consequences if Olivia's first words were vampire or blood for me having read aloud several of the Interview with a Vampire series as I breast fed.

In junior high my own movie and book interests certainly would have been labeled as "Mature Content". I liked the PG-13 stuff just fine but I much preferred the R or, even better and when available, the NC-17 books. I discovered the horror genre early and it has stuck hard as I am still drawn to any and all horror or supernatural related materials.

And with this in mind I have tried to compiled a list of THINGS THAT ARE QUITE INAPPROPRIATE TO WATCH WITH YOUR YOUNG CHILDREN. This list isn't meant to be exhaustive but certainly documents my lessons learnt so far:
  • Musicals. Unless the movie is stamped by either Disney or Pixar, and even then proceed with caution. I can safely say that not all musicals are kid friendly. I grew up watching Grease and Grease 2 and thought nothing of it. I allowed the kids to watch the first third of The Rocky Horror Picture Show before I suddenly remembered where the rest of the movie was heading. (We turned it off right after Sweet Transvestite and before they get to the lab.) In my defense I have drawn the line at allowing them to watch Sweeney Todd.

  • Anything originally aired on HBO or Showtime. Dexter and True Blood. Enough said.

  • The Movie Jaws. Not if I ever want my kids to swim at Clear Lake or Grand Beach ever again. Although I would like to note for the record that Scott saw this movie- with his parents- when he was 5. Maybe I'm not the only one with impaired judgment.

  • Music videos and very specifically ...Lady Gaga music videos. I downloaded the Lady Gaga video "Telephone" and forgot to screen it BEFORE letting Finn watch it. I then spent the next 60 minutes watching the same 9 minute video over and over and hearing myself answer his questions with answers like "no honey, I don't know why she is only wearing tape and high heels in prison." Yes, I could, and probably should, have said no to him watching it again but he seemed so entertained and enthralled with the dancing felon/ fashion victim/ artiste. He still asks to watch "the bad Gaga video". And I still let him.

Okay- this one is the worst- and I have appologized many times to both Colton and to his mother for

  • My role in Colton's viewing of the original Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. This one is 100% on me. I read the books. I knew what was going to happen. Very bad judgement here. I had a 12 year old boy watch a 2.5 hour movie in Swedish as thanks for looking after my kids all day. (Hey, fun times at Aunty Jennie's!) I had managed to forget about the two extremely violent rape scenes until they were just about to happen on screen. I managed to cover Colton's head with a blanket and sit on him just in time to muffle the sound, catching him unawares as he was trying to read English subtitles fast enough to follow the plot. Thankfully he grew frustrated with having to read the movie and I didn't have to tackle him again for the murderous finish.

Tomorrow my goal will to be watch as much icarly and SpongeBob as I can stomach with the kids. It may not be violent Swedish cinema but at least it is something I can watch with the kids without feeling like I am spoiling their childhood and making them grown up way too fast. They can figure out that stuff all on their own. Let's just say that when they start borrowing books off my bookshelf I will know what they are up to.