Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Picture Perfect

When you take your camera everywhere you go [like I have a tendency to do] you do so because you're hoping for the perfect shot. This afternoon, by a fluke, I got the perfect shot. [Perfect to me any way] The kids 'stopped to admire the fall colors'. Those are the actual words Mason used.

We took a walk up Nose Hill after school. We are finally enjoying some nice weather. The leaves are changing, the colors are so beautiful. I wanted to get a few pictures, before the wind blows the leaves away.

Bug Patrol was on duty.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Event

Watching a new TV show. The jury is still out, whether or not we're going to commit to this new series. It's called The Event. [NBC - Monday nights]

We watched the first episode last week, and the 2nd episode last night. I am totally confused. Of course, I'm sorry that LOST is finished, but it is, and I'm moving on. I don't know whether this show is trying to get those loyal LOST viewers to follow along, but in the first 2 shows there has been a: disappearance, a kidnapping, a murder, a hostage situation, an almost plane crash, a plane disappearance, along with a flashing brilliant light/explosion, a meeting of would you call them, Others.... [No, they don't call them that, but I think I might] There have been flash forwards and flashbacks... years, months, days... [I had a hard time keeping them straight] There has been a plane crash, a rescue, though it turns out the rescue went very, very badly.... [it would seem that perhaps it was not a rescue at all]. There has been talk of electro magnetic fields [any of this sound somewhat familiar?] There is the existence of extra terrestrials [with a 1% different DNA than human beings]. There are infiltrators...[living amongst us, and they thought they'd captured them all...] There has been a murder. There has been a set up or frame. It would seem there are good guys and bad guys, and there are 'aliens'. Are some good and some bad? Not quite sure.

Now, on the bright side, Blair Underwood, as President Elias Martinez, is not tough to look at. And Jason Ritter, who plays Sean Walker [one of the main characters] isn't so bad himself, although he looks about 18 to me... I may give it another week... Because I want to be entertained, I just don't want to have to stare at my TV scared to miss vital information, which is what happens with so many flashbacks and present time scenarios. The grabber at the end of this show, was the desert full of dead people [that were alive when Sean made his escape] The captain of the plane that crashed {that moments ago was heading STRAIGHT for the ground, in Florida but is now crashed in the Arizona desert} grabbed Sean and pulled him close giving him the "Nothing is as it seems, you can't TRUST ANYONE, run, go! Get away, NOW" quote. So I'm curious why they're all dead...

So it looks like, we have a new Monday night show. For a little while any way.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Celebration Weekend

The kids had Friday off of school. It was parent teacher interviews. After 4 weeks of school, I can finally put a face to a name, with Mason's Grade 3 teacher.

The weather has taken a turn for the better, though the temperatures didn't soar Thursday afternoon and Friday like they said they would, I think yesterday {Saturday} we reached a high of 24°. [I'm crossing my fingers it lasts until the end of November...]

So, Friday, we took advantage of a day off, and headed to the Calgary Zoo.

To see the clear blue skies and that marvelous ball of fire, was such a pleasant treat. Dinosaurs Alive, is only around for one more month. After October 31st, they'll be gone. It's been a highlight for our family this year. I think the animals as the zoo, were as glad to see the sunshine as we were. Everyone was taking advantage of the bright day.

Me and my little 'joeys'.

Another favorite of mine, is the newly opened Garden Gallery in the Enmax Conservatory. After a much needed renovation, it's open again, and now better than ever. I LOVE the butterflies. There wasn't as many as I've seen throughout the summer, but the ones we did see were spectacular.

Last but not least we celebrated Barry's birthday this weekend. We went out for a lovely dinner, just the two of us, on his actual birthday. Then I made dinner for him and the kids, and we had our own little party. I made these cupcakes.... I got the recipe for them here... Sweet Mother of Pearl, they are eyes rolling into the back of your head, delicious... I recommend them indeed.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

We've Had our Last Battle...

Do you see this face?

How is it, that one little person, can cause such a ruckus in a family. How is it, that this little 35 pound, waif of a thing, can make any meal time our family has together, a nightmare? I don't know either, but she does. And I've had my last battle with her about eating [or rather, her non-eating]
The background information is this: she's a dreadful eater. She always has been. We have no idea how she has much energy as she does. She reminds me of the Energizer Bunny, "who just keeps going, and going, and going'... She hardly eats enough to keep a common housefly alive. In fact, I'll bet a common housefly eats more than Madelyn does. Did I mention, at the age of 5 years old she weighs in at a whopping 35 lbs? She's only in the 5th percentile for weight [for those of you with kids you know the chart I'm talking about].

To say that we're concerned would be an understatement. As her Mum, it's my job, to make sure that I keep my kids alive, by providing the basics: food, water, shelter. It's supposed to be her job as a kid, to eat, drink and be happy. But, she's a stubborn little thing... There are so many adjectives that I can use to describe her personality, that I could do a post on that topic alone. She's got qualities that are going to be tremendous aspect when she's a 20-something young woman. But at 5 years old, these qualities cause us to butt heads. A lot.

Back to meals. I begin to dread supper time, usually right before I start to prepare it. The list of the foods she does like you can count on 2 hands. We've always sat down to dinner as a family, which is something I really appreciated as a kid, and love that we are able to do for our family now. But the battle typically starts the moment her supper is put in front of her, with arms-crossed across her chest, a scowl of disapproval and a vocal "I am not hungry, I don't want supper tonight". The fight begins. Poor Barry and I tag team her. Poor Mason sits quietly eating his dinner, every once in awhile shaking his head [in disbelief perhaps]. Supper time at our house has become something I hate.

We've tried all sorts of different techniques. Yes, I've read dozens of books, including How to Deal with Your Strong Willed child... We've cut down on snacks. We've offered meals we know she likes [only to find out that while she liked that the last time we had it, she doesn't like it now] I've let her pick her own food from the fridge. I've had her help me prepare the meals. She sets the table for supper. We've tried to get her to try just one bite. We've forced her to eat what's on her plate [that usually ends in a vomiting experience, unpleasant for ALL OF US ] As Dr. Phil would say, "and just exactly how're those techniques work'in out for ya?" Well Dr. Phil, not well.

We are in the midst of a giant power struggle. And guess what... She's winning. So I'm done fighting about it. I'm done threatening. I'm done forcing her to eat. I'm done dreading our family meal time. I'm done with having poor Mason sit there, not knowing what to do. I'm done with sending her to her room. I'm done with making her sit at the table. I'm done with watching her nearly throw up. I'm done talking about it. I'm done with the dinner time tears. I'm just done.

If I can just get Barry on board, if we can completely ignore the fact that she won't eat. If we can allow ourselves to let her go to bed hungry. If we can not say to her "eat your supper please". If we can let her be excused from the table without touching her plate. If we can NOT bring up the issue of food at all, period. If we can make it the first few days, with all of these 'ifs', we might be onto something.

I'm willing to try. I'm willing to take the focus of the power struggle [her choosing what she will and won't eat] away from the situation all together. Please keep your fingers crossed that I'm strong enough to do this. I just can't battle her anymore.

Monday, September 20, 2010

For Today - 20 on the 20th September 2010

Outside my window... Grey gloomy skies. Cold arctic wind. 4°.

I am thinking... It would be blissful to head on a tropical vacation somewhere right about now. Having said that, it's hurricane season, so I think we'll hold off.

I am thankful for... my kettle, a great big mug and a lovely warm cup of tea.

I am wearing...Jeans, long sleeved tee, a sweater and this morning I picked up Madelyn in my Uggs. Guess what, my feet weren't cold.

I am remembering... To send in volunteer information to the school.

I am going... to go upstairs and make chocolate chip cookies with Madelyn.

I am currently reading... A few pages left in the book, Are you There Vodka? It's me Chelsea. Perhaps one of the most hilarious, vulgar books I've read in a long time.

I am hoping... The rain will stop, the skies will part, and we can see the sun.

On my mind... I need to go for groceries... But I hate to leave the warmth of my home.

Noticing that... The furnace is on more often than off. And I'm so thankful I don't have to add wood or coal to keep my house warm.

Pondering these words... The happiness of your life, depends on the quality of your thoughts. All we'll ever have is now.

From the kitchen...On the menu tonight, home-made Vietnamese, with pork and rice noodles.

Around the house...It's quiet these days. Well, mornings that is. I'm enjoying the quiet very much.

One of my favorite things: Baking. Now that the days are getting chilly, I'm looking forward to baking more.

From my picture journal...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Us

This weekend, we celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary. Wow. Married for 12 years, in a row. Sometimes it feels like we've been together a lifetime. Other times it feels like just yesterday. [Though, in all honesty, when I look at those baby faces in those wedding pictures, it's quite clear it wasn't just yesterday...]

This weekend, we were lucky enough to get invited to a beautiful wedding in Lake Louise. I have to say, we took full advantage. We went up a day early, so were were able to have some time just the 2 of us together. We got a 'night out' in the hotel pub, and took full advantage of a) not paying a babysitter $8/hour [Thanks Mum & Dad] and b) not having to get up with kids first thing Saturday morning. We got to connect just the two of us, and I can tell you this, we don't do it often enough.

1998 was indeed a popular year for weddings. I think we went to 5 weddings throughout the spring/summer and then had our own in the fall. After that, things slowed down quite a bit. We've only been to a handful of weddings over the years, so this wedding, on our very anniversary weekend, was the perfect way to celebrate.

I love going to weddings. I love the actual ceremony part. Listening to 2 people who love each other, recite their vows, and promise themselves to one another. I love hearing what the minister or Justice of the Peace have to say. I love hearing about the symbol of eternal love that the wedding ring stands for.

Another bonus about the wedding, was it being held at Lake Louise. Holy breath-taking Batman. I'm embarrassed to admit, that I've lived my entire life in Calgary, and I had never before seen the Chateau or lake at Lake Louise. [The Lake Louise ski resort has always been my favorite, and I've skied there tons over the years] I've just never ventured up the other side of the mountain, until this weekend.

Saturday morning, we went for a little walk, and surprise, surprise, I took some pictures. I brought our tripod with us, so we could have a few shots of us together. And you know what, yes, I did feel like a dork setting up my tripod, then setting the self-timer, then running back to stand with Barry. But guess what... I have pictures of us together... So there.

The day started off cloudy, but then the sun began to burn the clouds off, and believe it or not, under all those clouds, was blue ski and the sun... Who knew... The wedding itself in the afternoon, ended up being outside. It was perfect. I didn't bring my camera to the wedding, which I was okay with. Some friends of ours got a picture of Barry and I dressed up all fancy. I'm hoping they send us a copy. We ate great food, drank great drinks, and partied until we shut the place down. It was a fabulous weekend.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Toffee Mocha Update

Tried the Toffee Mocha today, and the verdict is, NOT FOR ME. WAY too chocolate-y and sweet. Do they use chocolate milk? I'm thinking they must. The name of it appealed to me, but the taste was over-powering.

Having said that, as I sat sipping it at my local SB, watching the rain CASCADE down... It was indeed comforting. Next time I'll stick with my Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Remember I said Spending Too Much Time on the 'Puter?

Yup, I did. That was me. Here is a little something I finished off a few nights ago, I wanted to document all that we did this summer. I saw the idea in the august 2010 Scrapbooks Etc. magazine. I scraplifted the idea from Candi Gershon.

When I look back through my albums, I have to laugh at the transformation I've gone through. I started out quite simplistic [well actually, I started out cutting around pictures with fancy scissors... Eeks] Then I went through a phase where every layout had to be a 2 page spread. The pages HAD to go with one another, absolutely HAD to. Then, I went through a phase that I had one picture per page. Lately, with digital scrapbooking, I've had LOTS of pictures per page. I love that you can manipulate and re-size, with out having to cut up pictures. I love the freedom it gives me to change things up. So far my 2010 album is very plentiful in the way of pictures.

Did I mention I was taking an on-line class? I am. It's about getting out from behind the camera and capturing yourself in photos. I am shocked when I look through pictures of our vacation, or really, our every day, and see how few pictures there are of me. So, when I came across this class, Finding my Joy, I thought it might be useful.

She teaches you how to take good 'self-portraits'. She talks about camera angles, camera settings, posing, lighting. She encourages you to take a bunch of pictures of yourself, using a tripod and the self-timer on your camera. She gives tips and advice, and tells you to go off and try it. Which I've done. And yes, I feel like a total dork. And I'm sure I look like a total dork. I don't know how many pictures I've taken, but there are only a few that I would be willing to share. Barry is seriously wondering if I've joined up with an on-line dating service and have something I need to share with him. [And in his shoes, coming home from work and finding a tripod and camera set up in our bedroom, I can sorta see where he's coming from] But let me set this straight, first and foremost, it's was a NATURAL LIGHT thing... Honest, cross my heart. I went where the light was.

So after dozens of pictures [and a few wardrobe changes] I had all these pictures. The process is running back and forth to the camera, focusing on an image that's supposed to be me, setting my timer and returning to my posing position... I attempted to try the things she suggested, and in my mind, they came across as me looking suggestive. [Seriously, when I review the pictures, it's no wonder Bar's wondering what the heck is going on] But again today, I set up my camera and took pictures of myself. Then said to Madelyn, "Come sit with Mummy", which she did, and I got this shot. And it's totally staged. I knew what I was planning on doing, but you just can't control what a 5 year old might do. But she did what she did, and I got this shot. And I LOVE it.

So, maybe I'll be in a few more shots... [And just WHERE did this little blondie come from?]

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

On my Nightstand

I am reading this book right now. And it's HILARIOUS... I mean, I think it's hilarious... Others may not agree. It is certainly not for the weak. It is rude and crude and FULL of swear words, but I reiterate, HILARIOUS.

I took it with me this afternoon to Madelyn's first tap dance class. I had to bring Mason with me, so he brought a book of his own. I had to be very careful how I read it beside him, because of all the vulgar language... [I didn't know what it was about, honestly... I read a recommendation from someone and thought it sounded worth my time] By the time I figured out the content was a bit dicey, I was 2 pages in and completely HOOKED.

As we sat in the waiting room at the dance studio, I had the book cracked open just a smidgen while I read it. I certainly didn't want him glancing over and asking me what the F-word meant in a room full of people. And I'm going to be completely honest here, I don't know whether he knows that word or not... I am not completely naive... I assume he does... He takes the bus for Pete's sake. But then again, it's not quite the route I want to go with my 8 year old. I just can't quite see how that conversation would start... Perhaps along the lines of :"Hey Mace, what swear words do you know?" And THEN, if he says to me, "Mum, what are swear words?" Well, I've gotten myself into quite a pickle haven't I? No siree, this ONE TIME, I'm doing the head in the sand trick and hope he doesn't know or USE any inappropriate words.

Any who.... As we sat in the waiting room of the dance studio, both of us reading, I burst out laughing. He looked up, rolled his eyes at me and said "You're embarrassing me..."

It took 8 years. And now I embarrass him... I suppose next he'll be calling me Mum and want a cell phone to text.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Oprah's Final Season

C'mon... Admit it, you're watching it.

You're SOMEWHAT curious what she's going to give away...

I began working full time in 1991, I started watching Oprah then. I still watch it now, though it's not always as easy with little kids underfoot. [Not to mention, the sometimes NOT kid appropriate material]. This will be the last season of Oprah. Let's face it, she's had a heck of a run... I wonder who to call, to see if they won't give her 3pm time slot to Ellen?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

10 on the 11th - September 2010

1. The Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte is available. I love this drink, and it's offered for a limited time. I order mine 1/2 sweet, which I think is half a pump of the sweetener, and I like it much better than the original version. I have only had one of these yummy concoctions so far this season. And I have to say, I'm intrigued by the Toffee Mocha. I might have to try that one too. In fact, it might be this afternoon.

2. Speaking of fall... It's arriving. Sometimes one might look forward to fall, after a HOT summer. The types of summers you lie in bed at night, SWELTERING... Thinking, c'mon breeze, pick up! This year however, we didn't have a hot summer. We haven't had sweltering nights. The guys on the news a few nights ago were joking, but being serious, that our 15° temperature was like a heat-wave in Calgary. I've been in jeans, hoodies and socks for a month already.

3. I tried to have an 'electronic free' weekend. And we lasted until noon on Saturday. A sad state when a little boy forgets that he can read, instead of moping around the house saying "I'm so bored".

4. Batman, or rather Batgirl, has stopped by for a visit this morning. Attempting to go through and eliminate some 'dress up clothes' can't be done with kids around.

5. I have spent WAY too much time on the computer lately, in regards to scrapbooking. I fear I'll wake up one morning with Carpel Tunnel Syndrome.

6. Yesterday the kids had their first "organizational day" at school. This means, that after 3 full days, they had a day off. I'm grumpy because I let my 5 year old dictate what our day would be. I wanted to take the kids to a movie, but Madelyn was scared to go and see it. Since I was by myself, if I had to leave the theater with her, how would that work out? Didn't seem fair to Mason. So, we didn't go. Then she refused to get dressed, so we ended up doing nothing... And I know... I KNOW I'm the boss, but if you've ever taken a 5 year old having a tantrum anywhere, you'd understand sometimes it's just a little easier to submit to some things, and do nothing. But I was still foul all day long...

7. We have to pull all our plants out and clean up our front and back yards. And, since I'm STILL waiting for summer to come, it makes me feel bad. [I will try my DARNEDEST to stop complaining about it soon]. Maybe my husband will surprise me with a spur of the moment, tropical vacation...

8. We have found Kijiji. And we are selling stuff. Or should I say Barry is selling stuff. I take pictures, and send them his way, but he's just too good at saying "No, I won't take $10 less than the price I quoted. I'll take the price I quoted." I on the other hand, tend to 'give stuff away'. I don't do well when we have garage sales either.

9. Madelyn and I made cupcakes on Thursday afternoon. The cupcakes are just plain vanilla, and then, to switch things around a bit, I made a peanut butter icing. Mmmmmmmm... Barry and I thought they were delicious, and a nice taste change [at least that's what i assume we both thought when there was so much ooohing and ahhhing coming from us both] Believe it or not, my kids weren't crazy about the peanut butter taste. Who's kids are they any way?

10. Mason starts his Shinny Hockey program tomorrow. I hope he has a good time. It was funny to see him all dressed up in his gear... Brought a tear to my eye to be honest. Funny THAT brings a tear to my eye, and sending my daughter to Kindergarten, NOTHING.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

So Quiet...

What's that noise? Err, rather LACK of NOISE... Oh, right, that would be the QUIET. After being a SAHM for 5 years, to be honest, the quiet is a bit unsettling. Don't get me wrong... I'm not going to do anything rash. After all, the kids have only been in school for 5 days. It is just a bit odd, to have a quiet house every single morning. But I think I'm really going to like it... Yes. I KNOW I'm really going to like it.

After 2 days at school last week, we got ready for our first long weekend of the 2010-2011 school year. On holiday Monday [Labor Day] we went to the Cochrane Parade. It's fantastic to go to a small town parade, the highlight for the kids of course, is that they throw candy to them. They now know to sit patiently on the curb, and hold out baseball caps which, by the end of the parade, are full of loot.

It might be obvious from the pictures, but it was COLD. However, considering how hard it rained the night before, the fact that there was sun and blue skies, was quite amazing. And it did warm up after a while. Slowly hats, mitts and layers began to come off.

I look at these two and think "the apple didn't fall far from the tree". She insisted on wearing Mason's old hat (AND his coat AND his old hiking boots) Except for her long 'golden hair', some might have thought we had two little boys with us. And actually, long hair seems to be all the rage right now, so perhaps that is what people thought. When she takes her hat off however, she's unmistakeably a little girl.

In this picture, it's beginning to warm up! Hats are coming off. Mitts are coming off!

So, now that I have MORNINGS to myself, which I've thought about for a long time; I'm going to do my best do use them to my full advantage. This morning I came home after dropping kids off at school and did this video.

Now I'm sitting at my computer, and muscles are shaking... That's a good sign, no? This video is awesome, she kicks your butt via the tv, but only for 20 minutes. After that 20 minutes is over, you may feel like you're gonna die... Then once you haul your sweaty self up to the shower, you start to feel good about it. Like you've actually done something good for yourself. I'm hoping to do this 3x a week. Just for some 'toning up'. I will NOT be losing 20 lbs in 30 days. That is not my intention at all. [But, if I'm being honest, I wouldn't mind sporting Jillian's abs myself]. Having said that, I'm pretty sure Jillian has not had babies... So I'll work with what I have and hope for the best!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

And Just Like That...

School has started.

Just like that, it got quiet.

Just like that, we are back into a routine.

Just like that, bedtime is a normal time again [THANK GOODNESS]

Today was the first day back to school for my kids. [It still seems weird to say kids, when I'm talking about school] Mason got thrown right back in, with a whole first day. Madelyn started Kindergarten, and it's a much longer process. A couple of staggered entries. A day with parents. A day without parents. So far so good. Everyone seems to be happy.

Keeping with tradition, this morning they went to school with their bellies full of pancakes. [Typically this happens on first day of school and birthdays, it's certainly not common!] I'm not exactly a morning person, as if you didn't know...

I made the kids each a little first day of school treat. That perked them up a bit first thing in the morning. [Mason explained to me last night, that if I woke him up and he was crabby, that I was not under any circumstances, to talk to him] Sheesh... It was kinda like looking in the mirror... Except I was looking at Mason.

I found this idea for these little cones on a class I did at BPS. I put in hand sanitizer, key chains I made for their back packs, tic tacs, pencils and stickers. It was a hit.

Since poor little Mason had to spend a WHOLE day at school, I snuck a little treat in his lunch. Thought it would perk him up a bit. Found this idea here. I just love other peoples good ideas!

The first day of school pose. It was CHILLY this morning. It was only 4°, and you could totally see your breath.

Mason found his best buddy in all those kids, and all was well with the world.

Then a few hours later, we did a staggered start with Miss Maddy. When she's really excited, she tries as hard as she can NOT to smile.

Walking to school. Look at that! It's me! In a picture! Thanks Barry!

Sitting at a desk in Kindergarten, trying NOT to smile again. We're thrilled she'll be with the same teacher Mason had last year.

And last but not least, the kids and I made cookies yesterday. We found dinosaur cookie cutters and of course HAD to have them. Once I made the cookies, I tried my hand at decorating them with fancy-schmancy Royal Icing. You have to pipe around the edges of the cookie, then let it set a bit, before "flooding" the inside of the cookie. Along with all the other crafty stuff I do, I have an extremely soft spot in my heart for cookie decorating... I'll try to calm myself... But I enjoyed it more than I thought I might, and it was fun to do! Considering it was my first time, I think they look pretty darn good! I was pleased, and of course so were the kids!