Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ah, That Feels Better

I am on a home organization tare (tear?) right now due to Dave and I's agreement that one of our goals for the year should be to get ourselves organized. I am happy to say that I finally got all the stuff we needed and Dave finally got out his drill and now our entry way needs only curtains and a mirror. Its nothing spectacular, but it does mean I have somewhere to hang my bag and I can teach the boys to hang up their own coats as they come in the door.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Do I Give Into Peer Pressure?

Our library has two programs this year. One is a 3 - 4 year old story time, where the kids go into the story room and listen to stories by themselves. The second is 2 - 3 year old mom and tots time. I think they read mostly the same books, but the moms are there to monitor / corall their children. This last week I brought Andrew to the 3 - 4 group and went in with him, and he seemed pretty happy. I think by next week I could even leave him there and he would enjoy himself. This would be a nice little step towards independence for him, and it is what I was planning to do this fall.

The problem is this: all my friends have younger 2ish year old children. They have all decided to go to the Toddler Time morning together instead of getting together for coffee on Tuesday mornings. So by taking Andrew to the older group on Thursday mornings, which he is just on the edge of being old enough for (since he turned three last month) I lose my social time with my friends. Plus they are thinking of having another day as a coffee day, and if they choose Thursday I will be totally out of the loop.

So the question is: Do I stick with my initial decision that Andrew can probably handle the seperation and would enjoy the slightly older group (since he mostly hangs out with kids almost a full year younger than himself), and get some time by myself in the library or should I go with the borg and attend the toddler time storytime so that I get to hang out with my friends? You all know that my natural instinct is to go to the Thursday one just to be a rebel. But I really desperately need friends around here and I don't want to lose touch with all my friends just because I'm being obstinate. Opinions, thoughts, comments? What would you do?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Seriously, isn't it a little early for this?

In case you're not getting a clear picture, yep, its frost. On Sept. 14. And I've had to start putting hats on the boys if we go on walks before 11 am. Pretty sad, isn't it?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Here , Kitty, Kitty

You will all remember (except my newer readers) that Andrew loves to pretend he is a little kitty. It all started last fall when Dave's parents came to visit and gave him a shirt that formerly belonged to Dave. Andrew took to calling it his "kitty fur shirt" and pretended to be a little (very annoying) kitty while he was wearing it. Unfortunately, wearing the same shirt 2 or 3 times a week and occasionally to bed is hard on a textile, even such a fine piece of 1970's polyester velour as the kitty fur. So when the seams started to burst, and the softness started to rub off of parts of the shirt, I decided it was time to remove the kitty fur from Little Kitty Andrew. But since I knew this was such a precious shirt, I decided to make something wonderful out of this shirt. Here is "Buttons" who is permanently wearing the kitty fur shirt.

Status: Sept 9

What I've Been Doing: running Youth Group Campfires, hosting Birthday Parties, setting up a New Sunday School Room, re-making myself with the "Total Mom Makeover", stitching the Kitty Fur shirt into a Little Kitty, making apple butter, and putting together a fantastic day planner binder, dealing with feverish children.

What I've Been Reading: Adorn and Blueprint fall editions, Mom Makeover book, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, the Discipline Book.

What I've Been Making: a stuffed kitten out of Andrew's favorite shirt, a little corduroy bag for Beatrice, and a birthday cake for Andrew.

What I've Been Thinking About: the collective unconcious: does it exist?, quilts, the collapse of early fundamentalist feminist ideals, how to cut milk, cheese, penut butter, chocolate and tomatos out of our diet, how to clean our basement carpet, what to do with all the apples on our tree, wether mangoes will make good jam, how Sharon and I can sneak away to Saskatoon, do I have time to write some creative non-fiction to win the CBC literary awards so I can go to Edmonton and bring home half of Ikea and why am I always so absurdly confident in my own ability to keep up with my latest and greatest schemes?

What's Making Me Angry: the lack of accurate, helpful information and advice available to beginning breastfeeding moms, Saskatchewan parking, my apples all going from not ripe to over ripe in two days, apathy, the imposibility of buying anything in this town that was not made in China, having to drive an hour to find a decent coffee grinder, and the imposibility of waking up before my children.

What's Making Me Happy: fields of wheat, clever things I said this month, getting Richard hooked on StrongBad emails, watching Andrew try to feed Aaron bananas, realizing that my first baby is a little boy and my second baby is trying to walk, seeing my friends after a summer away, my back yard, the Northern lights, the fabric I bought while I was on vacation, the future, my one yellow wall, and the feeling of crawling under my down duvet at night knowing I'll wake up to a clean kitchen and a tidy living room.

What I'm Planning: quilts, youth group, playgroup, house painting and decorating, and a new website for moms. Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

What I Did on my Summer Vacation: Parts One and Two

I"m just going to summarize, becuase this is taking too long and I'm getting behind, and I like to blog about NOW, not last month.

Our first week of vactation we went to Winnipeg and stayed with Kym and Jeff, like I did in April. It was a great week. They are super relaxing and wonderful hosts. They have a lovely little house in Winnipeg. We got to see my brother and his family a couple of times, which was good. Dave played with Andrew one day while Kym and I and the babies went fabric shopping. Dave and Jeff looked after the boys so Kym and I could go out for the evening alone (we kept feeling like we were fogetting something . . . . oh yeah, no babies, no diaper bags, no car seats . . . ). We ate some fantastic meals, drank some good wine, and had many great conversations.

It seems to get rarer, as I get older, that I can find people who are really good conversationalists. Or maybe its as Kym says, its harder to find like minded people. I think its partially to do with not being in university anymore, and partially because people just get involved in their own lives and don't have that much to say about the world in general . . . I don't know. I just know that I will drive a long way and make all kinds of changes in my schedule just to meet with someone I can enjoy conversing with (thus my habit of driving to Nipawin in the middle of snowstorms in unreliable cars . . . ). It really is important to me. So it was refreshing for me to hang out with Kym, becuase we had a lot to say between diaper changes and "Andrew, leave the vacuum alone" times. We had months of conversation to catch up on. Its amazing how much time there is to think when you're a mom, and how little time there is to actually express any of the things you're thinking about (since you can't really discuss the feasability of various parenting styles or the implications of ethical buying with your baby).

One thing we discovered is that Andrew has a daily behavioral meltdown (not necessarily tears, but some sort of terrible behavior) if he doesn't have a change of scenery or supervisor by 10am. Every day around 10 am if Dave didn't take him to the park he would begin tearing the house apart, throwing things, bowling over the babies or trying to swing them around in the jolly jumper . . . it was madness. I jokingly said "Release the Chapmans" one day when Aaron was biting Sam's foot and throwing up on the floor while Andrew was banging the vacuum into the wall and trying to flip the standing mirror around and around. It totally stuck. I was thinking of it like "release the hounds" during a hunt, but Kym said it made her think of a gladiator event where the cage opens to reveal . . . Andrew and Aaron, ready to wreack havok on the world.

This week was also good because it was one of the first times Dave and I had to really talk about how life was going and what we wanted to change. We had been so busy and stressed out for a few months previous to this that we had a lot of things that had just been pushed to the side until we had time to deal with them. Its always fun when the time comes to actually deal with months worth of relational backlog . .. but it has to be done. It was also good because our friend Kym is a good listener and great at reflecting your thoughts and ideas back at you. So she helped both of us to think about some of the things we needed to think about in our relationship. Basically this was the week when we sort of sorted out what our actual problems were, even though we didn't have any solutions yet.

Another cool thing that happened this week was that I got to see the beginning of my nefew Don's new life. He just moved to Winnipeg, bought a house, and is starting university this fall. When we were there he was busy tearing apart walls and pulling up floors and discovering leaks in his new house that he bought for a song, while living in a trailer in his back yard. It was great because we got together with Don and Beck (his wife) the day after they moved to Winnipeg. And my very longsuffering friends Kym and Jeff let us invite them over for dinner and hosted a sort of impromptu welcome to winnipeg party. It was great becuase Kym and Jeff live in the same neighbourhood as Don and Beck, so I got to introduce them to their first authentic winnipeggers. It was really fun to see them and share the excitement of their new adventure.

After this we split up. Dave took his motorcycle off to Yellowstone National Park and surrounding area in the US. He had a blast, did a lot of driving and a bit of the reading he was supposed to do. He had a lot of time for reflection, which was good, met lots of interesting people, which he enjoyed, and generally had a fantastic time.

I took an airplane to Thunder Bay and spent a week visiting my parents, checking in with my nieces and running into old friends. We stayed at my sister's inlaws, who live a block away from my old highschool, so it was fun to be living in my old stomping grounds. We went to the park by ourselves or with my mom in the morning, visited my parents in the afternoons and evenings, and then after I put the boys to bed I had a few hours to hang out with whoever could stop by the Morrison's house. The boys had a great chance to play with their granparents. I had a nice time reconnecting with people, and there was no carnage or bloodshed, so it was all good. The craziest thing that happened while I was there was that my friend John, who I've run into twice since highschool, also happened to be in town. We had reconnected on Facebook just before I left on holidays, and I sent him a "hi, how are you" message. It just happened that I checked my Facebook in Thunder Bay to get my friend Carla's phone number, and wouldn't you know it, John was in Thunder Bay! He was out at his parents' camp (cottage for you non-NorthernOntarians) and we got to visit for a few hours the night before he left to go back to New York, which was very cool. I also got to see my friend Carla, who lives in Thunder Bay and who I hadn't seen in a long time.

It was kind of crazy, because I think we change less than we think we do as we get older. With both Carla and John it felt more like I'd seen them a few days ago rather than 5 or 10 years ago (well, except for the "so what have you been up to in the last 15 years since highschool?" part). And it was interesting how like minded people sometimes stay like minded. In both cases there were ideas we held in common now that neither of us had been interested in when we were in highschool. For example, Carla and I are both practicing attatchment style parenting, and John and I both have luddite leanings (although he creates cell phone programs and I blog and buy everything online, so we're both kind of hypocrites about it), and my niece Kathryn and I have so much in common its weird.

This week was good. I had a lot of positive visits and I was glad that I went to Thunder Bay, even though it is always a bit of a risk. I think I planned out the visit so that I was mostly in charge of what happened when, which meant I could work around the boys' moods, rather than having to push them beyond their limits. This made the week as low stress as it could be, considering that I was by myself with a baby and a toddler outside of my home for a week.

On Wednesday morning I had all my stuff packed and ready to go, and I brought it all downstairs to get into my parents' van. Then had let me take the van to the Morrisons and then drive it to their house so I could just pack the stuff into it. I realized that I didn't know where I had put the key. It wasn't in my room that I could see. It wasn't on the key ring. It wasn't in my pocket. After about 10 min. I started taking everything out of my bags. The pants I was wearing the day before, the toiletries bag, my purse, my backpack . . . everything got taken apart and sorted through looking for the key. The Morrisons scowered their house and John even pulled out his collection of old keys to see if he happened to still have a key for the van (which used to belong to him). Finally, I decided to go up to my room to look around one more time before I left the van and got the Morrisons to drive me to the airport. Andrew had been playing pretty happily, but he was starting to get bored and destructive, so I grudgingly took him with me. On the way up the stairs he asked why we were going upstairs. I said "To find the key for Nana and Papa's van." Then I suddenly thought of something. "You didn't touch the key, did you, Andrew?" "No, mommy, but the fireman did." Ah ha. As we get upstairs I say, "Can the fireman help find the key?" Andrew walks up to the dresser in our room and pulls the key out of one of the drawer pulls where he had, I suppose, been using it to drive the dresser/fire engine around. "Here it is, mommy". I didn't know wether to cheer or throttle my child. I decided to cheer, and laud him as the key-finding hero of the day.

Then we got to the airport and discovered that I had got the day wrong. I was supposed to be on the plane the day before. Fortunately (yay, Westjet!) the woman snuck me on. So I flew back to Winnipeg, managed to get our stuff repacked into the car, had one final meal with my dear friends Kym and Jeff, and trekked off to Portage to visit my sister Donna. I went late enough that the boys fell asleep on the way there, so I actually got to visit rather than just spending all night trying to put them to sleep. We had a lovely visit and some great cheesecake. I got to see all my other Moman nieces and nefews and hear about what they have been up to this summer, and I got to meet Mel's dog Honey's new puppies, which was cool. The next morning we got up and had breakfast with Donna and got an early start to Regina.