Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Resolute Resolutions

I think it is time that I made some New Year's resolutions. In no particular order they are...

1) Meal Planning: I suck at this and too often dinner is thrown together or I will decide at 3pm that I want Grilled Chicken Caesar salad and then I have to run to the store for most of the ingredients. Also, with our schedule busier than before, a little planning would mean less fast food for us.

2) Lose Weight: To go along with the meal planning, I am hoping that I will lose weight. I have made this resolution every year since I was 15 years old. Gah! How I wish I could go back and smack the 15-28 year old me. While I will say that I have indeed lost weight this year, I am certainly not at my goal weight. Also, I do need to reconcile the fact that the goal weight will not bring back the body I had pre-children and pre-marriage (put on that freshman 15 when I got married and I am right about my pre-pregnancy weight but clearly not my pre-pregnancy looks).

3) Career Goal: Yes, I am putting this out there. I think I am ready to start a new career. I have really enjoyed and been blessed to have been a stay-at-home mom for the past 10+ years but now it is time to get back to work. I am not even sure if it is a "career" that I am looking for. Perhaps just my only goal will be to write/update a resume. Yes, that sounds good.

4) Organization: Remember my hoarding and more hoarding tendencies and the shame that is my laundry/mud/utility/crap room? Well, we made a step towards organizing it today by purchasing some IKEA hall units that we will install to wrangle the coats and back-packs and hopefully shoe issues we have. A good first step!

5) Spend less money: Well, funny to put this here right after I wrote that I bought some stuff at IKEA. But really my goals to lose weight, meal plan and organize my life should all result in me spending less money. We are not in debt or anything but it is just that I know that I sometimes shop for recreation. It used to be at Michael's and Joann's but I honestly have nipped that habit. Now it is just making sure that what I buy matters. We have more expenses coming up (we'll have to start paying for Dex at the club starting in Jan, Dex started bass guitar lessons, we are getting a new vehicle, etc) so spending less in other places will help our overall bottom line.

6) Friendships: I have had a few friendship crises this year. Some people taking me for granted and I have done the same to others. I have lost touch with some people who have been very important in my life and I would like to reconnect.

7) Church: Going to Mass has not been a priority in my life this past year. I think having issues and questions of my faith were behind it and now I am wondering if I don't just GO that these issues will resolve themselves. Either way, I won't know unless I go. I thought it would be a good idea to have the kids take religion classes on Sunday afternoon but that has just made a convenient excuse for us not to get up Sunday morning to go to Mass. So, we are going to try to go on Saturday evening Mass and then have pizza/movie night since that too has slipped since Jax has hockey practice on Friday evenings.

I guess that is it. My next step is to take each of these goals and figure out exactly what I need to do to accomplish the goals. Seems simple and very logical but this is where I always get stuck. It seems overwhelming but I think baby steps are the way to do it. And, these are my goals so really I can work at them at my pace, right?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I let my hair dry naturally today. It has a lot of bend in it (not even nice enough to call wave). Cars asked me why my hair was so messy today. I told him it was because I did not blow dry it straight like I normally do. He looked me in the eye and said "You really need to blow dry your hair straight. All the time, Mom."

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Today was our annual lazy day after Christmas. The kids did not get out of their jammies and they built Lego sets, played video games and watched movies. Stephen spent the day mostly playing his new "Legend of Zelda" game and I watched HP6 (although I did fall asleep not long after it started and I missed most of the first 45 minutes of it). Oh, I also ate my way through the day. It is dangerous to have leftover yorkshire pudding and gravy, and Nanaimo Bars and chocolate and sugar cookies hanging around. Good thing I took care of them today.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Blast from the Past

For Christmas, I received a package from Ramona with a little photo album. Inside was a card that said "To be opened in a Private Place Dec 23'09 Merry Christmas!". Of course, I peeked inside the card and found an envelope which read "Denine's Dec. 1999 Diary Entry to Ramona's Diary *Not to be opened until Dec., 1999" and on the back it was dated 12/23/89 with my signature written across the seal of the envelope (a trick I learned while working in the bank).

I completely remembered writing this letter! We were exchanging Christmas gifts at Ramona's new condo and we each wrote a letter. Ramona was the holder of the letter (since we had written them to her diary) but over the years she had thought she had lost them, along with her diaries, but they were in storage at her parents' cottage.

So today, Leah Ann, Ramona and I had a conference call and we read our letters to each other. What fun it was! Leah Ann really enjoyed it which is good because I can remember not long after we wrote them, she wanted hers back to tear it up. She had written that she'd marry Dave but three weeks after we wrote the letters, she met Roman and a few weeks after that, she and Dave were kaput. Three months later, they moved in together (she had been dating Dave for well over 8 years when they broke up).

This is what I wrote on December 23, 1989 at 12:20AM ET:


Dear Ramona's Diary,

These are my predictions for what I think I will be doing in 1999.

I will be married with at least 2 children
I will be living (FAR) outside of Toronto (therefore I will be visiting while this is being read)
Career wise I am not sure as I am currently working at IBM Lab. It would be nice to think that I will NOT (underlined) be still working there as I am (at this time) not too contented with it.
I willl mention Stephen PEZ as I love him now and think that perhaps we will get married...if not, I hope no one becomes offended by this...
I hope that perhaps I would have gone back to school in some capacity. I would like another degree or diploma, perhaps in FRENCH.
- still c. 140lbs (chubbs!) OMG, to be 140 again

These are my predictions for Ramona (underlined):
- still a nurse but maybe -> probably not a ward nurse -> actually maybe a social worker or councellor (sic)
- have travelled LOTS
- married (whirlwind romance!)(1 kid) - maybe but LOTS of pets
- still living in Toronto area (but NOT (underlined 3 times) Scarborough Ramona not now only lives in Scarborough but she is only 5 miles away from her mom's house and 0.65 miles from Leah Ann's! LOL
- exclusive/exquisite house and home

Predictions for Leah Ann = Mrs. Leah Ann Dave'sLastName
- 1 kid, daughter
- NOT (underlined) at Big Phone Company She has been there for over 20 years and is highly respected and successful manager
- living close to her mom (she is 4.5 miles from her mom)
- diabetes still in control but with some complications (20 years by now!) (30 by the time we actually read the note)

(turn page over)
On the whole my predictions are pretty boring. They are what I really expect but not what I really want. I would love to say that I would be a successful mgr at IBM but I don't know I was so sure in 1979 that I would be well married by 1989 Gawd, I'm an OLD BAG... Anyway, here's to 1999 and the end of the decade, era, century, millenium.

Love Denine M. MaidenPezName

P.S. To be totally HONEST, I think that I will be dead by 1999 (underlined 3 times). I don't think that I was meant to live a long time... we'll see. Until then, Best of luck to all of us!!



What fun we had reading these letters over the phone and laughing together over this! We have each sworn to write another letter and Ramona will keep them all again until December 23, 2019 (no one trusts that Leah Ann won't read them beforehand and of course I will probably lose them).

Now, I must think about my predictions for the next decade of my life.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Stephen and I went to a Christmas party today at J's house. J is in book club but she is also Spy's SIL (JBJ's sister). We had a great time. Her house is lovely, the food she served was soooo good and the company was spectacular too.

I hired the babysitter to come again tonight and she will be here again tomorrow morning so I can go work out. I had forgotten that Stephen had the week off so he can take the morning to go finish up his shopping.

Tomorrow will be the shortest day of the year. At 3:30pm it is now dusk. Looking forward to Tuesday and the beginning of longer days.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tis the season to be very busy! We have had a crazy busy week so after hockey today, we all just came home and crashed. I crawled into bed about 2:30pm with a clipboard and started working on my Christmas cards and I finally stopped writing just a few moments ago. I wrote, addressed, sealed and stamped what seemed like a thousand cards today!

I still have one or two gifts to buy and one of them needs to be mailed. Or I can shop online and have it shipped. I am just really stuck about what to get them. Ugh.

Stephen has the upcoming week off and I have booked the babysitter for a couple of hours here and there so we can get out to finish up (and hopefully I will have time to hit the gym too).

Last night we went to Spy's house for her husband's, Jon Bon Jovi, birthday celebration. We had a great time. Spy told me that she was just going to wearing a dress made out of t-shirt material and some boots. Ok, she was wearing a one shouldered, ruched (sp) dress and thigh-high boots that made her look like a million bucks!!! T-shirt dress my ass! Tomorrow evening is her SIL's Christmas party and she claims she is wearing a t-shirt and a skirt with boots. We'll see what she is really wearing!

Anyway, at the party was a teacher from the kids' school who claimed to Spy that Dex and Cam's teacher says that she really loves her class this year and she would personally have hand-picked the kids herself. Hmmm.... I don't doubt that she said it because that teacher had no reason to make it up but I am wondering how much Dex's teacher really means it. Last week, we saw Dex's teacher at Costco but she turned her back hoping we would not notice her. It was very apparent so I marched right over there with Dex to say HI. Had she not made such an effort to not catch our eyes I would have just let it go. Dex is always telling me she does not like him but I always poo-poo it to him but I am not so sure now.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I've been super busy and I am looking forward to tomorrow afternoon when school lets out for the rest of the year.

Today, I spent two hours photocopying and stapling in the supply room at school. I really do not mind photocopying for teachers but I hated all of the little "booklets" that I also had to staple and cut with the big paper cutter. For one of the kindergarten teachers, they wanted 46 copies of mittens on red construction paper, cut out, holes punched along the seams and then some green yarn tied to each "pair" of mitts. Riiiight. I made the copies. Someone else can do the cutting and stuff. Ok, if there hadn't been all that copying to do of course I would have cut out those mittens (last month I spent two hours cutting out 45 construction paper ears of corn.

I also have to make cookies for the 1st Grade holiday party tomorrow. The kids are watching "The Polar Express" and eating cookies and drinking cocoa. Cars' teacher asked me to make cookies for what I thought were the kids IN HIS CLASS who were allergic to nuts/peanuts (there are just 2 of them, including Cars). Turns out that she meant all of 1st grade and for some reason she asked for 24 cookies (there are 100 kids and I don't think that 25% of them are allergic to nuts/peanuts). Anyway, because the kids with allergies always get ripped off (IMO), I baked some of my very best sugar cookies EVER in the shape of polar bears. Then I had to ice them. I think they turned out nicely.

I also am teaching Art in both Cars and Jax's class tomorrow (and I taught Tuesday in Dex's class). For Cars' project, we are making snowflake mobiles(the one in the line). We just have an hour so I spent 2.5 hours this week cutting out the circles and attaching them together so we'll just have the kids fold and cut the snowflakes (oh and glue them on).

For Jax's class, his teacher asked on Tuesday for an Art Class to be scheduled so since it was "last minute", I thought that they too could make snowflakes. So we are going to make a 3D snowflake. Again, I have just an hour so I pre-cut all of the paper for the snowflakes for the class. Oh, I pre-cut the paper for Cars' class too because the snowflakes cannot be larger than 7" in diameter to fit on the circles.

Anyway, it has just been a super busy week for me doing "busy work". I haven't worked out and I feel like a big tub of goo.

Now, I must run to wrap the gifts for the bus driver and school office staff.

Ho-ho-ho!

Edited to add that this is close to the the craft we made for Dex's class (Spy, don't click or you will ruin Cam's Christmas present surprise!).

Monday, December 14, 2009

Friggin Toyota

We are in the process of buying a new vehicle. Stephen hates, hates, hates the van so we have decided that an SUV is what will work for our family for the next several years. We were looking in June then put off the process after we asked for their best price and the have us a price that was not much lower than sticker price. Both Stephen and I hate the game that you have to play when buying a car - they tell you the sticker price, you offer a lower price. They come back and you give them another offer then back and forth ad nauseam. And with three kids in tow, it is definitely not a fun process.

So, we renewed the vehicle shopping process but this time we decided to go through a car broker. The broker charges a set fee and she will negotiate the price of the new car for you, negotiate the best price for you for your trade in, do all of the paperwork and deliver the car to you. Her price seems very fair for doing all that, especially since in the testimonials on her website, she beats the best prices at the dealerships.

We contacted her, told her that we wanted a Toyota Sequoia with certain options. And we wanted a Blue one with beige interior. She checked and found none in nine states so decided that we would just order it custom made from Toyota and it would take a few weeks. We contacted a dealership to get their best price (they give deals to Big Software Company employees and the price was a couple thousand cheaper than than the first dealership). This broker then beat that price, even with her fee.

So, we ordered the car two weeks ago. Or so we thought.

She called today to let us know that Toyota is not allowing dealerships to have any "allotments" for Sequoias because basically they cannot sell the ones they have out there already. Aargh! She is working with a dealership in Portland that will hopefully get an allotment soon. We should know by Thursday. If not, it is back to the drawing board. Well, we could take a Sequoia that is on a lot somewhere but most of them have the captain seats in the second row (we want bench seats) and are either white, black or silver.

Maybe this process will show Stephen that the van is not that bad afterall.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I had to get some passport photos done this week for some immigration stuff that we have on the go. Thankfully, they could just be US Passport sized photos so even though I had to buy two sets, it was still way cheaper than the Canadian Passport photos we get from that little photo lab in Bellevue.

I was shocked when I saw the photo for two reasons: 1) I had my hair coloured last week (low lights) and even though it was a subtle change, the passport photo made my hair look really dark. I might have even said that I looked younger except that 2) I could totally see a deep wrinkle running down beside my nose! OMG! I look positively aged! Wah!

I don't mind aging, I just don't want to do it until I am old(er)!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Busy day because Stephen realized that we needed some paperwork done for our immigration status and it was a mad scramble.

Dex started his bass guitar lessons tonight. He was so keyed up about it afterwards. I am glad that he is doing it. Something just for him.

I tried to take some photos of the boys today at the park. This was the best one I took:



So we tried again when we got home. It was not that successful until I told them to get closer, closer, CLOSER and they were almost wrestling each other to the ground. I love this photo even though it is a bit fuzzy.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

It was quite cold today so rather than allowing the kids to stand around outside waiting for the bus then around outside of school (from 8:10-8:25 when the bell rings), I drove them to school then headed out shopping. I went to Target to get a few things but they were out of one particular toy that Dex wanted to I drove to another Target. Then I went to Michael's, Joann's and Cost Plus World Market (I love that store!). Oh and Old Navy. I was able to get a lot of things checked off my list and I am feeling less stressed. I still need to mail quite a few boxes to Canada but I think as long as I get them out by Friday things should be good.

Now to start on Christmas cards.

Monday, December 07, 2009

The new furnace is in. It is quiet and the house feels comfortable! No more walking upstairs to the boys room and feeling like you are walking into a furnace while the kitchen and living room are COLD. The furnace circulates air 30% of the time when the furnace is not actually producing heat so we get no more hot/cold spots. And when the furnace is on it is soooo quiet and it does not sound like a jet engine when it starts up.

We have a couple of holes in the ceiling of the laundry/utility/mud/junk room that will need to be patched after we have the city come by to inspect the installation.

Ah...relaxing in my warm house. Especially in this really cold weather. :)

Sunday, December 06, 2009

I blogged everyday for a month then disappeared for a few days. I know you all missed me. ;)

It has turned quite cold here but thankfully is it clear and sunny everyday so no snow. Tomorrow is supposed to be the coldest day yet (with a high of 32F/0C) and wouldn't you know that is the day I have scheduled for our new furnace to be installed. Yes, 8-10 hours with no heat. Brrr! I am thinking of bringing some wood inside and firing up the wood stove for a bit of heat.

Stephen checked out bank account today and it seems that the mortgage company to which we just paid off our mortgage (we re-fi'd with another company) took out our December payment. He is PISSED. I wonder how hard it will be to get that money back and how long it will take. The mortgage broker is going to get an earful when he returns Stephen's call. So much for our "free re-fi".

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Well, I did it. Went ahead an booked a date to have a new furnace to be installed. I guess it will take about 8 hours to do so hopefully it will not be too cold that day.

Shoot! I just checked and the high that day is supposed to be 36F! Oh no! I am going to have the woodstove going throughout the day. Hopefully that will keep the woodpecker out of our chimney.

Looking at the forecast it seems it will snow next week too! Oh I am so not ready for that. I pray that we do not have a winter like last year. All that cold and snow is just too much.

And I just realized that I need to get the winter boots out to see who needs what this year and I'll go this weekend to get new boots for whomever needs them.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Today I decided to work on a gift that I am making and I needed some silver acrylic paint. I also decided I just *had* to watch "Twilight" again so I decided I could do both in the family room. I turned on the dvd and then spread out some newspaper on the floor of the family room. I got out the paint, a brush and a paper paint to pour the paint in and I was ready to go!

I shook the little bottle of paint really hard and then poured but it was too liquid-y so I put the cap back on, shook harder and when I took the cap back off to squeeze it out, silver paint splurted EVERYWHERE! All over the project I was going to paint, all over the TV remote, all over my pants, my shirt, my socks and my beloved new slippers! NOoooooo!

I was sitting cross-legged so I actually blocked the paint from getting on the carpeting but I have now ruined so many things! It is acrylic paint so it does not wash out. I am so mad and frustrated with myself about this. Aargh!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Spy told me today that Cam asked her why she and I always talk about who is sick in our houses. That is not entirely true but it seems in the past two months both of our families have been sick (mine more so than hers) and it is what we deal with daily so we compare notes and commiserate with each other. But, I guess we sound like two old biddies. So no more sick talk with Spy. At least while Cam is listening. ;)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

So we did not get out for Black Friday shopping (it is Stephen's "thing" but he is sick). But today I did take the kids shopping and we knocked off a few gifts for the giving tree. And we went to Co$tco but it wasn't as insanely busy as I was expecting.

After I took the kids home, I headed out again and went to the mall. I spent a lot of time looking at things (all for me!). I spent ages looking at boots at Nordstrom but I did not even try any on. I also spent ages looking for jeans in Macy's but to no avail. I was able to get two gifts for Stephen though and then I headed to the Lego store. We have learned to buy every Lego on the kids' lists then weed out exactly which ones they want and return the others. However, this year Jackson has two on his list that ~just~ retired. I so do not want to have to them off ebay again.

Friday, November 27, 2009

I don't call myself an animal lover but I do have respect for animals. I never "got" how people would cry over animals. I don't mean pets because of course people love their pets and their pets love them, but I mean people crying over squirrels or dead raccoons on the side of the road, etc. But, for the past two years when I read about polar bears I cry. I mean really cry! I cry when I read that airplanes and boats spot the bears swimming miles and miles from shore or any ice flow, knowing that the bears will probably drown before they get to something they can climb on. Stories of emancipated bears and rumours that the melting ice in the Arctic will make them become extinct.

Here is yet another story about the lack of ice for polar bears:
Much less stable ice for polar bears, expert says

Then I read stories like this ("Alaska fights to reverse polar bear listing") and I get irrationally mad. I may have to become an animal activist!!

Edited to add a new polar bear headline that I found this morning:
Starving Polar Bears Turn To Cannabalism :'(

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I am thankful for my husband, who works so hard to provide for our family, who loves me and all of my idiosyncrasies and makes me laugh.
I am thankful for my children, who are funny, smart and I love them with every bit of my heart.
I am thankful for my health because I have friends have chronic conditions and know how they struggle at times.
I am thankful for my friends, who are considerate, funny, and full of great advice.
I am thankful for peppermint hot chocolate, it is very yummy.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

So, Jax and Dex are playing hockey and Dex is not doing any extracurricular activities. He had expressed an interest in playing bass guitar so I spoke to the owners of the music store where I take my lessons and they ordered in a 3/4 size bass guitar. It took forever to come in but it arrived today. I took Dex over to buy it but then they said he was tall enough that he would do ok with a regular-sized bass so we bought the regular one (along with a case and an amp).

Dex is delighted! This is something just for him and only he is interested in and I think he likes that. He starts lessons in two weeks. I hope it doesn't take too long before he is playing something that is more than just "noise". Ok, I sound like a mean mom with that but really I am so very happy for him!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Oops - almost went to bed again without posting for NaBloPoMo...

Here's one of my favourite PEZ dispensers. For no other reason that I think it is funny to have made a Mr. Bean PEZ. And the likeness is great!

Monday, November 23, 2009

My next-door neighbour is having some work done on her house. Actually, it is her detached garage. They ripped off the second floor loft and built a bigger second story which they will use as a game room and "guest" room. The construction has been going on for about three weeks and since we live in a cul-de-sac the trucks and tractors and trailers have been a little in the way of me backing out of my driveway. In fact, one day I had to head to Spy's to pick up Dex after a playdate but my driveway was completely blocked and I could not get out at the time I needed to do so (fortunately, Spy was able to bring Dex home).

Today was the second worse day. First this this morning there was a pickup truck parked on one side of our driveway. Stephen was miffed but he was able to get around it. I was able to get out too but when I came back home, there was another pickup truck parked on the other side of the driveway and I could just barely squeeze my minivan through. I was irritated but not enough do make a big deal about it, knowing that this construction would soon end.

Later, my neighbour called me and apologized to me for the trucks blocking our driveway and said she was going to give the contractor hell for it. I told her it was not a big deal but I would prefer if they did not block my driveway (it has also been hard getting my garbage and recycling bins out and accessible to the garbage trucks). Anyway, my neighbour told me that if the situation were reversed, she would be plenty pissed off. And she would be. She would be out there yelling at the contractors to move and then telling off the neighbour who was having the work done.

Anyway, I am just looking forward to the work being done in her house and the trucks gone. And hope that when we have workers come to our house, they don't block her driveway!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I lost my American Express card...again. This is the second time this year and probably the 5th time in as many years. I often carry it around in my pocket rather than put it back in my wallet after I use it. Aargh! I was so frustrated especially because it takes up to 10 days for a replacement card and uh, Black Friday is this Friday.

So, I called Amex to report it missing and of course there were no new charges (I am sure it is somewhere in my house or car). I also told the rep on the phone that I was upset about losing it now because of Black Friday shopping. She told me that she can have a replacement card to me by Tuesday! ~whew~

Then I will have to call all of the places that automatically charge my card to give them the new number. Oh, and I need to remember to place the card back in my wallet immediately after I use it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Today was a very low-key day. At least for me. :) Stephen and Jax were up at 6AM for Jax's hockey game and Cars, Dex and I got to sleep in. Cars was still not doing well this morning (slight fever) but this evening he seems much better. Thank God for antibiotics!

I made some jewellery today and puttered around my craft/crap/hoarding room. Then we had a mortgage guy come by because we are refinancing our mortgage. He "owed" us a "free" re-fi because he screwed up with the interest rate when we bought this house (he did not lock in the rate so we paid more than we were expecting so it was an unpleasant surprise when we were signing the papers for the closing). Anyway, we will save a good amount each month by refinancing now so I did not mind or get embarrassed when Stephen gave the guy the business when he came by today and made him clarify things over and over and over again. ;)

Now I am off to surf the web for Christmas carols to learn to play on the guitar.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sickness Meter

So Cars' staph infection is actually a strep infection. Yikes! So he is now on an oral antibiotic (but we are supposed to keep applying the antibiotic ointment). And instead of me worrying about MRSA, I am worrying about flesh-eating disease! Just kidding (not really).

Anyway, he just needs to rest and get his strength back at this point. He keeps falling asleep in the car, when he sits on the couch and straight away at bedtime. He was sent home from school today with a fever but fortunately it was just a 1/2 day of school due to parent/teacher conferences so he did not miss much. Tomorrow he will stay home from hockey and his make-up soccer game. Poor boy!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I volunteered at the school today for 3 hours. The first hour was in Cars' classroom. I listened to the kids read books that they took home and practiced. It was so cute! I also had to ask some of the kids to name five things they like and five things they dislike. It was sweet when some of the kids would say they could not think of more than one or two things they did not like.

After being in the class, I worked in the supply room doing "production" work. Basically that meant cutting out shaped pieces for the kindergarten classes for two hours! I have a blister on my thumb! I did get trained to use the laminator which is a big deal because in the past few years only staff have been allowed to touch the laminator.

The kids brought home their report cards today. I was pleased with them except for Dex's behaviour. He fancies himself the class clown and he does not know when to use his humour at appropriate times. Well, he is learning and I hope his behaviour continues to improve. His teacher seems no-nonsense and it is a big class (30 kids!) so no doubt she has no time for his one liners all of the time. *sigh* The conference with her tomorrow should be interesting.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cars' staph infection is looking a little less red and sore today which is good. Tonight, I had him soak in Tree Tea Oil (thanks for the suggestion, Lynn).

I totally forgot that I was to drop off a case of water for the teachers' luncheon at the school today. I bought the water on Monday morning and had been driving around with it in my car. I thought briefly about dropping it off yesterday when I took Cars to school but decided against it. It was to be dropped off this morning by 10:30am and I figured last night I would just drop it off about 9am. Well, this morning I gave not one thought to it while I went about my day. Suddenly, at 12:15pm I was driving home (from working out and costume store as I needed an Abraham Lincoln hat and beard for Jax's biography tomorrow) I remembered that I forgot to drop it off! I raced into the school all stinky and sweaty, interrupting the luncheon to drop off the case. Thankfully, they actually did have enough water already. I am blushing just thinking about it! Aargh! My worst nightmare - being late for something!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cars has a probably staph infection on his buttocks. Ugh! We'll know for sure in a couple of days and I am praying that it is not MRSA. In the meantime, we are applying an antibacterial ointment and if it does not start getting better by Thursday, he will have to go with oral antibiotics. Poor little boy.

And I am hoping it will not spread amongst anyone else in the house.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Shout It Out Loud

Stephen took Jax and Dex to see KISS at Key Arena in Seattle last night. They went with two other dads and their 11 year old sons as well. Everyone enjoyed it but all agreed that it was not the type of concert they would never have to see more than once.

Before the concert, they went to dinner at a restaurant near the arena. There, they ran into our next-door neighbours. Kind of remarkable considering the restaurant is over 20 miles from our house (and the neighbours were not going to the concert). However, last July when Stephen took the kids to see Green Day at Key Arena, they went to the same restaurant and our next-door neighbours on the OTHER SIDE were there. Isn't that so weird?

Anyway, Stephen is thinking about taking the boys to see Bon Jovi in February. I wonder who they will see at McMenamins then?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Today we were all zonked. This afternoon Jax and Dex had a nap in preparation for the KISS concert that Stephen has taken them too. Cars fell asleep on my bed watching a movie and I fell asleep on the couch while watching the Seahawks lose to the Arizona Cardinals. I awoke about 4:25 - too late for me to take Dex and Cars to religion class. Just as well because Cars was still sleeping. He was supposed to go to a birthday party today but about 10 minutes before it was to start I realized that he was in no shape to go. He has a bad cough and he looks sick (although no real fever - 99.1F). I will see how he is in the morning...I am worried about pneumonia.

So, Stephen took the older boys to the KISS concert (they just walked in the door). Cars and I went to Red Robin for dinner. Now I am wide awake from my nap so I think I will go check out what is on tv.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Spy and Ash's families came over for dinner tonight. I wanted a simple party but of course Stephen wanted a gourmet meal. It was really, really good (teriyaki salmon on cedar planks, stuffed pork loin roast, rosemary potatoes and a salad with a bacon, shallot vinaigrette dressing. Yummy! Dinner was late though (we probably did not eat until about 7:30.

As you all know, I am so not a cook (Stephen made dinner). But, I did make a dessert that seemed to be a hit. It was apple crisp served over ice cream with whipped cream on top. The dessert was a huge hit which was nice because I had to find an apple crisp recipe that was wheat-free and most recipes that I found called for flour or gluten-free flour (rice or spelt) which I did not have.

Oh, I forgot that I also made a cranberry salsa which I thought was a bit too citrus-y (too much lime juice). I got the recipe from Spy's SIL and hers was so much better. Hmmm....maybe she omitted an ingredient on purpose so mine would not be as good as hers! I have read that some people do that! Hmmm.... Spy's SIL is a saboteur! ;)

Friday, November 13, 2009

If I were not doing NaBloPoMo I would not post today. I really have nothing to write about.

So I leave you with The History of PEZ:

In 1927 in the country Austria, Edward Haas came up with this new peppermint candy.The word PEZ comes from the German word for peppermint (pfefferminz). It was an adult breath mint that he decided to market as an alternative for smoking. From the word pfefferminz they took the first, middle and last letter and came up with the word PEZ.

PEZ was carried around in pocket tins. Then in 1948 they came out with the "easy, hygenic dispenser" that we all recognize now to be a regular. In 1952 PEZ wanted to expand their sales so they set their sights on the U.S.A., to make their product more appealing to Americans. They placed heads on the dispensers and marketed it for children.

In 1973 PEZ built their U.S. plant that is located in Orange, Ct. In 1983, Mr. Scott McWhinnie became "PEZident" of PEZ here in the U.S. In 1990 the size of the plant was doubled. It operates 24 hours a day. In 1987 feet were added to the base of the dispenser. To date PEZ has made about 300 different dispensers.


PEZ Dispenser without feet and with feet

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gotta be quick to get in before midnight for NaBloPoMo...

Glorious sunny day today. Raked leaves for 2.5 hours. Book club tonight - a great tme as always!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembrance

I have posted this in previous years but it is important and worthy or being posted every year.

In Flanders Fields by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch, be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I've seen fire and I've seen rain
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I'd see you again

Monday, November 09, 2009

I think this blahg needs to be renamed the Sickness Meter!

Cars is *still* sick. I called the doctor's office today and spoke to a nurse. Judging from his symptoms, he probably has H1N1 (high fever, fatigue, sore throat, cough and it all started with a headache). So, even though he had the shot, it was less than two weeks ago so he would not have built up enough immunity by now. Apparently he also needs a booster (when/if it ever becomes available).

So, he missed school today, he will miss school tomorrow. No school on Wednesday so hopefully he will be able to get back to school on Thursday.

I am feeling a bit better now. All day today I felt like crap but tonight things improved. I still may call my doctor to see if she recommends a second round of antibiotics.

Looking forward to the Spring!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Cars is sick again. It started yesterday with a headache, cough and fever. He seemed ok this morning after we dosed him up with Advil so we decided to go to the Sony store in Seattle. We got on the highway then Cars announced that he thought he was going to throw up. Since we were in Stephen's car - he floored it and we got off the next stop. Cars did not throw up after all but he held a plastic bag on his lap as we head back home. No school for him tomorrow.

So, I then headed to Seattle myself and I bought a new laptop. Now I have to set it up but I am very excited about it. Dude, I cannot wait to get rid of this Dell. (we'll probably just reformat it and keep it for the kids use for homework).

This morning I was reading PostSecret and I am sure that I know who sent in this secret. The drawing of the Madonna is very, very similar in style to the Madonna icons that a woman at my church paints. So, I have decided that it is her secret. ;) I don't know her very well at all or else I would ask her.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Having very close online friends is very difficult concept for people who do not frequent forums, message boards and chat rooms to understand. They think how can you call someone you have never met a friend? Now, I was fortunate to have met Shelly IRL (in real life) but even if we had never met, we would still have been great friends. We shared joys and sorrows and laughs. Shelly was very generous with her time and always found the time to answer people when they posted and needed some advice or an ear.

At one time, about.com's stay-at-home parents forum was a very special place. Besides Shelly, I met many other really great people...friends. We were in touch daily and were great support to each other through pregnancies and births, deaths and divorces, first steps and first days of school. And forum wars (one cannot forget about those! ;)

All of these years later, I am so happy to continue to call them my friends. Many of us have kept in touch (in delphiforums) and also on facebook. And still others through blogs.

So, for your support, friendship and love throughout the years, I thank you - Shelly/Raingirl*, Mar*, Chris/Snapper, Kris, Krista, Christa/Honey, Jill, Katy, Katie, Lynn, Tabitha, Sheila, Silvia, kk, Stacy, Heidi*, Pley/Tracy, Robin, Beth*, Sarah*, Sarah, Sarah, Sarah (that makes me laugh), Paula, L'Rae* and Kimmer. I am sure I have forgotten someone. And while I know many of those names listed do not actually read my blah, I shall make sure I thank them elsewhere. You guys rock!



* Those whom I have met IRL

Friday, November 06, 2009

Rest in Peace, Shelly

In honour and memory of my dear friend, Shelly, the biggest Beatles Fan I ever met.

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

And when the broken hearted people
Living in the world agree,
There will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is
Still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be.
Let it be, let it be. Yeah
There will be an answer, let it be.

And when the night is cloudy,
There is still a light that shines on me,
Shine on until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
There will be an answer, let it be.
Let it be, let it be,
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be



Shelly, Me and JoJo
Ballard Locks, Seattle WA
August 2005

Thursday, November 05, 2009

In honour of Sesame Street's upcoming 40th birthday, today's PEZ Blahg is brought to you by the number 5 and the Letter P.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Today, my neighbour asked me if I wanted a few plants. I said "Sure", thinking she would be giving me a few "babies" from her many plants. She ended up giving me 9 mature grass plants! Wow! I love these plants and I was hoping for some small ones that would, in a couple of years, fill out and look nice along my front walk. I was so surprised and delighted that she gave me 9!! I planted them and hope they take. I will take pictures in the spring. ;)

She also had dug up dozens of strawberry plants and offered me some so i took 15. I hope they spread nicely so in the spring I will have lots of strawberries (if the slugs and rabbits don't get to them first).

I had no where to plant the strawberries so I dug out a few plants that I hated in the backyard. While I was in the backyard, I cleaned up a few leaves from one of the beds, including leaves around my Japanese maple (here's a picture from Summer '08)


I also decided to dig up a few more plants that I hated but then ran out of time so I left everything where it was and went to get the kids from school. I did not get back to the garden for another three hours because it was a glorious day and the kids played at the park (and I had a nice conversation with Spy). Anyway, when I got home, I went finish the job and I noticed that my wheelbarrow was moved so I figured that lawn guys had been while I was gone. I went back to trying to dig out a plant and I glanced over at my Japanese maple and just about DIED of shock!

The top 6" of my tree was broken off and was laid on the brick wall! Noooooooooooooo!

I was so upset. I took the photo then marched in and emailed the owner of the business to tell him that my tree was broken. He replied that he was going to tell me about it and will replace the tree. *sigh* I am sure that the tree does not need to be replaced (at least, I hope it won't die from the top being snapped off), but it is my Japanese maple! Wah!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Pez Me

Today, I decided it was time to dust the PEZ cabinet and move a few things around because there was no more room to add my newest PEZ (Woody and Rex from "Toy Story").

I took the PEZ out and had to keep them together by group (all Peanuts, all Star Wars, all Garfield, all Mr. Bean, etc). Then I dusted each and every one, sprayed the glass shelves with Windex then put them back in. I shuffled them around and a few hours after I started, I was all done.

I did take some photos as I went so I thought I would share a few photos:

Monday, November 02, 2009

Newest PEZ from a Dear Friend

Today in the mail I received a package from my friend, Tabitha. In it I found this:



The Donald Duck PEZ is the one I sent to Tabitha. It was to keep her company as she traveled from her home in Texas to NYC where she underwent surgery. PEZ was happy to keep her company as she traveled from her home in Texas to undergo heart surgery. The baseball PEZ is from New York - it is a Yankee's PEZ. The cow PEZ is from Texas (Tabitha's home) and it is a Chick-fil-A PEZ! Along with a little note from Tabitha (I mounted the note in the shadow box that Tabitha sent).

Here is a photo montage of PEZ's visit to NYC (photos are courtesy of Tabitha and I hope she doesn't mind that I snagged copies of her pix):


First, PEZ on the plane, PEZ's first NYC cab ride, PEZ enjoying a slice of New York pizza, PEZ in Central Park and PEZ sharing a hospital meal with Tabitha.

Tabitha, thank you for sharing your trip to NYC with me. I am sorry that you had to have the surgery and I continue to send you healing thoughts and prayers. You are a wonderful friend.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

A Cadillac Medical Plan?

With so many people unable to afford medical insurance or be ineligible for it, I am very fortunate that we have a great plan through Stephen's work. We have no co-pay for doctor's visits or prescription drugs (unless we chose name-brand over generic then we pay $40). I do not need a referral to see a specialist and we have mental health benefits (which allowed me to see my Crazy Doctor for two years as well as allow Jax to see his psychologist for one year where they used biofeedback to teach him how to calm down when he is anxious).

This morning, I was able to take advantage of one of the other great parts of the plan which is a house call by a doctor. Yes, an actual house call! As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have not been feeling well for about a week but it was not until last night that I knew that I needed to see a doctor and it could not wait until Monday. I called our nurse line and after several questions, I was referred to the medical mobile service. They called a short while later to say that a doctor would call me. And he did and he came by to examine me. Sure enough, I have a severe sinus infection (which explains why it felt as though my head were about to explode and why I was coughing up icky stuff).

So, is my plan one of the so-called "gold-plated Cadillac plans" that people talk about?

It may seem like a very ritzy benefit to have access at home to a doctor but really it is less expensive for the company to send a doctor out than for a visit to an emergency room or urgent care center. I have had friends who have had the doctor come out to give their kids stitches, diagnose an ear infection or inspect an infection (possible MSRA). How much money did the company save? Probably a lot. I know last spring when I took Dex to the emergency room when he had pneumonia, our medical plan was charged over $500. And we were in/out in 40 minutes in which was probably the only one time in which the ER visit was faster than a house call (which I was hoping to get at that time but the nurse said that I had to get Dex to emergency ASAP). I will see when we get our explanation of benefits how much the medical mobile service charged for today's visit.

In the end, it was only four hours after I first called the nurse line to the time I was picking up my prescription at the pharmacy (they told the doctor it would take 45 minutes when he called it in). If I had gone to urgent care, I am sure I would have spent at least that long waiting to be seen due to the huge number of people who are currently ill with flu-like symptoms (probably H1N1).

So, is it a Cadillac Medical Benefit? Nah, probably more of a practical car like a Toyota (with some bells and whistles). ;)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Shell out, shell out, the witches are out!

I haven't really much to say but I am ramping up for NaBloPoMo which means I have to ensure that I blahg everyday again.

Cars stayed home from school again because he still had a fever. He was very sad to miss his Halloween party but he held up pretty well (unlike Dex last year who sobbed and sobbed when we had to leave his early for an appointment with his neurologist). Anyway, his fever was very low this evening so I think we'll be back on our regular schedule tomorrow. And he will be able to go out Trick'r'Treating. :)

And speaking of Trick'r'Treating...I was remembering that we used to call it "shelling out". And we'd say "Shell out, shell out, the witches are out!". No one here calls it shelling out and I have caught myself a couple of times before I said it. I wonder if it is a Canadian thing? Or a Toronto-area thing?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cars stayed home sick today. Well, I should say he did not go to school. He did not stay home because I had a million and one errands to run so I gave him some Advil and off we went. The errands could not be put off because they were all for Halloween parties at the school tomorrow. Jax told me last night that he signed up to bring in 30 Krispy Kreme donut$. And I also had to get a bunch of things for Dex's class party tomorrow. Plus some last minute touches for Jax's costume. Cars did not seem to mind since I bought him lunch while we were out and I let him look at toys in Target.

I am also sick. A sore throat, laryngitis and I feel flushed (but I keep taking my temperature and no fever). Oh, I have a cough too. I spoke to my mom on the phone today and she told me she thinks I have H1N1 and I need to go to a doctor. Nice that she can diagnose me over the phone, 4000km away and oh yeah, she is not a doctor.

One nice thing about Cars being sick (actually, a few) was that I had to cancel volunteering in the classroom and Cars did not go to hockey so our lives were a little less harried today. *contented sigh*

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I bought the kids slurpees after swimming lessons as a treat. They all drank about 1/2 of them before we got home. Carson then managed to knock the lid off his and spill RED CHERRY SLURPEE on the CARPET! I got most of it out with club soda but I am afraid the carpet will be permanently stained. Aaargh!

Also maddening today is that I had a handyman here and he was very, very chatty. He was a very nice man and he did a good job but but it seriously took him 30 minutes to write up the invoice and leave (he was off the clock at that point). We were almost late for swimming lessons and I know he was late for his next appointment.

And I did not get to my circuit training class today and I am about to fall off the roof. What a day!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I took Dex to an ENT today to discuss his on-going sinus issues. An x-ray was taken and overall his sinuses look clear although there is one small blockage and his adenoids are enlarged. The doctor suggested that Dex could benefit from the surgery but he also said that treating his sinus stuff conservatively as we are doing (flonase, claritin) was fine too. So no surgery - whew!

After school, I took Jax and Dex for flu shots (Cars had his in September). While we were waiting to be seen, they asked if I wanted them to have H1N1 as well. I had no idea that they even had the H1N1 vaccine available so it took me by surprise. I said yes. Then while she was getting the vaccines ready, I asked if Cars could also get it since he was there too (I only had appts for the older two boys). She said "Yes!" so he got the shot too and boy was he upset. Dex and Cars are both complaining that the H1N1 really, really hurts but Jax hasn't said much. I gave Dex and Cars Tylenol when we got home but they are still holding their arms and whimpering. :\

Monday, October 26, 2009

We gutted out and carved pumpkins this evening. It is early (Halloween is not for another 5 days) but we are just too busy every other evening this week so it was now or never.

Stephen normally carves all of them (well, the fancy ones, I always make a regular ol' jack-o-lantern) but this year, Jax and Dex did a great deal of theirs. Cars scooped out a bit of the guts of his and then got bored so he drew pictures while we kept working.

Here are the pumpkins:
This is Cars' scary clown. It actually freaks me out a little


Jax's headless guy


Dex's Mummy


And my Jack-o-Lantern


Hopefully the pumpkins will not rot or be eaten by bugs (or rodents!) before Saturday.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Jax's friend called on Saturday morning to see if he wanted to go for a bike ride. I could see the wheels turning in Jax's head: "Do I give him another chance?" and "I love going for bike rides". So, in the end he went and all went well. It was helpful that it was just the two of them. I think most of the problems happen when others are there. Anyway, Jax and I did some roll-playing about what he will say if his friend bullies or tried to pull that crap again. I hope he remembers to use it when it happens again. Actually, I hope it never happens again.

*heavy sigh*

Friday, October 23, 2009

I still have congestion in my ears and it is driving me batty. The pain gets really bad then it almost goes away then comes back. Right now there is not much pain but a lot of pressure. Too late to take Sinutab unless I want to stay up all night.

Jax has been very quiet lately. He wanted to go for a bike ride after school today so I suggested that he call his friend to meet him. He said that he did not want to and off he went. After he came back, I asked him why he did want to call his friend because normally he would jump at the chance and it was like I opened a faucet and Jax just started blurting out all of these things.

Jax told me that he did not think that his friend was a very good friend and he is not sure that he wants to be around him anymore. He says his friend is bossy and calls Jax a wimp if he does not want to do something. Jax also explained that his friend never wants to do what other people suggest and if they are playing a game and the friend gets bored, the friend will then ruin it for everyone else (clear the board if a boardgame or throw the cards if it is a card game or turn off the video game). His friend also said that he thought tennis was stupid and if he is around when my kids are playing, he will purposefully try to stop the game by riding his bike or scooter across the court. The last time we were all together, his friend asked if in hockey could you "do this" and he pushed Dex's head so hard that Dex started to cry (I wish I had known that had happened but Dex did not say anything to me!).

I am feeling so torn for a number of reasons. Jax is again feeling as though he is friendless, especially since he has decided that he does not want to be friends with this boy at the moment. Jax has always thought this was his best friend and now he is feeling so torn. He cried after he gushed everything out. We then talked about what great qualities that he has and how he can work on being a better friend to others and how best to approach people. He said he liked one kid in his class but he hangs out with "bad" kids so Jax doesn't want people to think he is like those kids so he keeps away. One of the kids in that group worries me (the girl I mentioned last spring who said she was a lesbian but there was also a rumour that she was pregnant - in GRADE 5!!) so I must admit I am not going to encourage any friendships with that group.

And once again I feel as though I have failed my son because I have not been able to teach him how to put himself out there. I know a lot of it is Jax's personality but surely I could do something more to help him, right? I mean I arrange for playdates and he's now in hockey but there must be something else I can do.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Woe is me. I have sinus congestion which is once again causing me ear pain and now a headache. I am afraid to take another Sinutab at this point in the evening in case I don't sleep. *pout*

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I watched Hoarders on A&E and it scared me! I have mentioned before that I have hoarding tendencies. I am not sure if I ever posted a photo of my laundry/mud/storage room. It is a mess! And after watching two episodes of "Hoarders" OnDemand I decided that something MUST be done before my whole house gets condemned (ok, big jump perhaps but it ~could~ happen!).

I spent two hours going through things in the storage room and throwing out empty shoe boxes (I had four just in case the kids ever needed them for a craft project at school), old paperwork (I had planned to shred it but never got around to it so just dumped it as is and hope that no one goes through it to steal my identity), sorting craft stuff (still could not throw any of it out but I was able to pull out some acrylic yarn to donate to my friend who is making knitted/crocheted stuffed creatures), and all of the extra school supplies that I bought. OMG - if I had all of the extra school supplies in one place, I would not have had to buy crayons, markers, pens or sharpies for the boys this year! Anyway, do you see how I rationalize things, just like a hoarder?!

So, two hours in that room and it looks a ~little~ neater but I hardly put a dent in it. I have two bags of clothes for Goodwill that have been sitting on the table for nearly two weeks and a big box of sandals and flipflops that need to be stored in the garage.

After two hours, I was ready to continue but started running into paperwork that needed to be filed and photos that needed to be stored and then I started to feel overwhelmed so I quit. And I felt that I was acting just like those hoarders! It was painful to make a decision about what to do with these things.

Maybe I need the help of a professional organizer?

Or maybe I just need to go back to Crazy Doctor?

edited to add photos that I took last winter (this is very embarrassing!):

Friday, October 16, 2009

TGIF! Seriously, this has been a busy week. I spent a lot of time at school volunteering (Mon = hearing and vision screening and prep work for Art Start, Tuesday = Art Start in 4th Grade class and taking down/putting up work for teacher, Thursday = in Cars' class and then picture day - even if it were for just 20 mins!!). And today I helped Ash prep her house for putting it on the market (taping and painting, dismantling and packing/wrapping).

Cars had soccer practice this evening and it started to piss rain about 1/2 way through. It was just miserable! While I do enjoy watching soccer, I am totally a fair-weather fan and I hate them playing in the rain. Even a little drizzle makes it uncomfortable. Maybe indoor arena soccer is the way to go. Spy says she loves it because it is a much faster game but I know I would love it because it is inside. Seriously, they never cancel soccer here except for thunder/lightning! Just three more games (and two practices).

I keep thinking that I want to get a job of some sort but after a week like this, I wonder how I could possibly work and do all of these other things (hockey/soccer/swim lessons for the kids). We'd never, ever be home!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The furnace is fixed but it is limping along. We need a new furnace so we are starting to get bid$. Yikes! We have flirted with the idea. Of installing air conditioning along with the new furnace. Just flirting though. Seems really decadent.

Tomorrw is picture day at school. I hope the boys smile nicely. Jax has started making this goofy grin when posing for photos. Let's hope he doesn't do it tomorrow.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I volunteered at the school today for Vision Screening. It was fun to see the kids try to make an E with their fingers and then twist their hands around to follow E along the lines. Especially the little kids! Dex was the only one of my three who came to my station to be tested (20/20) but I asked the mom who tested Cars and I knew his eyesight was worse (20/30). I was surprised at the number of kids who had glasses but forgot them at home today. And I was even more surprised at the number of kids who had really bad eyesight! Like 20/50, 20/70 and there was one 6th grade girl who could not even read the 20/100 line at all! Anyway, good thing for the screening and hopefully these kids will get corrective lenses.

Our furnace stopped working sometime today and it is cool in the house. I called the repair guy and they suggested I try a few things like change batteries in the thermostat(check!), check circuit breaker (had already done that) but it still will not come on. The guy is super busy and cannot come out until possibly Wednesday. I wonder how cold the house will get between now and then. I could try to call someone else but I really like this guy. When we moved into our old house 10 years ago this past July, and I tried to turn the furnace on in September, something went POP and the furnace was broken and he was the only one who would come out that day. He is just a one-man show and I've called him every two years to service our furnace. At this new house, our furnace is very old (25 yrs) but he said it was in fairly good condition because it is inside rather than outside (most houses here have their furnaces in the garage).

Three years ago, he was voted best heating and cooling guy on the Eastside and it really did wonders for his business but wait times for service has of course increased. Which is why he cannot get here until Wednesday, I guess. Far cry from the same-day service I had 10 years ago. But he's worth the wait (as long as it doesn't get too much colder in the house!).

We'll see what happens when he comes out. In the meantime, it is fleece jackets and warm socks for us!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I haven't really been sleeping as well as I had hoped on the new bed. The bed is super comfortable and I love it but I keep waking up at night. Several times! I was wondering if it were just age (old people have trouble sleeping, right?) but then I realized that our bed was squeaking really, really loud whenever I rolled over!

Stephen finally figured out that the bed was a little off kilter so he took the mattress off and squared up the connections and now the bed is quiet! Ah, let's hope I sleep through the night tonight.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Book List

After posting about Book Club, I realized that I have not been very good about keeping the "Reading" section on my sidebar up-to-date. I think the books showing there at the moment was our April Book Club selection!

So, here is a list of the books I have read so far this year.

  1. "Dreams of My Father"Barack Obama
  2. "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince", J.K. Rowling
  3. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows", J.K. Rowling
  4. "My Sister’s Keeper", Jodi Picoult
  5. "Fifth Business", Robertson Davies
  6. "The Reader", Bernhard Schlink
  7. "The People’s Act of Love", James Meek
  8. "The Middle Place", Kerry Corrigan
  9. "Atonement", Ian McEwan
  10. "The Witches of Eastwick", John Updike
  11. "Tourist Season", Carl Hiaasen
  12. "Sudden Death", Allison Brennan
  13. "The Help", Kathryn Stockett
  14. "The Name of the Wind", Patrick Rothfuss
  15. "Outliers: The Story of Success", Malcolm Gladwell
  16. "Something Missing", Matthew Dicks
  17. "The Magician's Nephew", C.S. Lewis


A sad list for sure. I have read 4 of the books in previous years (two of them last year!) but three of those books are quite long. I have on my TO DO list this year to read at least one Shakespeare play. I don't know if that will happen.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Book Club

Last night, book club ended so early. I felt a little bad for the hostess but it was nice to be home before 11pm.

We have 11 members of our book club at the moment and two of them drive me crazy (well, three but the third is another story). One virtually never reads the book. Seriously, in the five years (we are about to start our 6th year), she has fully read about 10 of the books. It is a bit of a joke but it drives me crazy sometimes.

The other member never, ever, ever BUYS the book. Ever. She has a "thing" about buying books so every.single.month she will send a note out about a week before book club asking if anyone is finished with their copy of the book because she would like to borrow it to read it. EVERY MONTH! I have borrowed books from people if I cannot get it from the library and it does not look like a book that I would mind keeping. Everyone does it occasionally. But every month is ridiculous!

Ok, and the third member who bugs me just is a strong personality with a lot of quirks who says things that insults people often. Like "ANYONE who votes for Obama is CRAZY!" <- ok, not verbatim but close. She goes on and on about "those people" with tattoos not noticing that at least two of our members have tattoos. etc... She is obsessive about her books too. Spy borrowed this month's book form her and when Spy gave it back to her last night, this woman actually used a kleenex and wiped down the whole book! I laughed and said "I cannot believe you are doing that!" and she said "Well, it is dirty!".

I cannot believe that our book club has been together for so long. We have not had a huge change in membership either. One person moved away and we added two new members. The Republican obsessive-book wiper quit but then came back. I think over all we have a great group of women and I really enjoy our book club each month.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

So a couple of weeks ago I made baked ziti for dinner and the kids raved over it. I used to make it years ago and the kids would not touch it until I called it "pizza casserole". I can't remember why I stopped making it (oh, I think it was because I stopped eating pasta for a while). Anyway, I had been making it weekly and the kids eat it without complaints until tonight when I made it with fresh basil instead of dried. Jax turned his nose up at it and instead, he ate a cheese stick and a babybel. *sigh* I think I am going to give him cucumber in his lunch tomorrow as payback (he doesn't like it but he'd eat it if there we no other veggie).

Yes, I can be mean.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Yeah! Tights are back (video here). Seriously, I don't like bare legs. Mostly because I don't think my legs are very attractive but I have always loved the look of black tights with a short skirt. And not that a 44 year old woman should be wearing a short skirt, but the OPTION of doing so is back now that tights are back. :)

And really I don't remember the last time I wore a skirt anyway.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Today, after hockey practice and before Religion classes, we went to BrickCon at the Seattle Center. It is a Lego Hobby Convention for adults but it was open to the public (and kids!) on Saturday and Sunday. There was so much Lego there (on display and for sale)! It was amazing to see the elaborate Lego designs. The boys loved it and we look forward to next year's exhibition!

Here are a few of my favourite exhibits:

Lego Stephen Hawking

Lego Mosaic Link

Lego Totem Pole

Lego Children...oh wait. Just my kids. :)

Lego Ski Hill

They had some Legomation videos from youtube playing as well. The kids kept hoping that one of theirs would be shown. Here is the latest one.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

The new bed arrived on Tuesday and it is ridiculously high - 32" off the ground! But, it is very comfortable and Stephen says his back and shoulder have stopped hurting already. I will admit that it is nice to sleep on such a firm ("ultra firm") bed again. My bedsheets do not fit the mattress so I need to buy some extra deep queen fitted sheets. And I think I will buy a new king comforter, flat sheet and blanket.

I sold the Heavenly Bed to someone from book club. There were actually 5 people interested in buying it! I was worried we would end up being stuck with it.

I think I am coming down with something. I have a bit of a stuffy nose but I have also had an afternoon nap nearly every day since Wednesday. I am soooo tired. Oh wait, could it be related to the new bed? Maybe it is not that good after all?!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

All of the running around we are doing these days is starting to wear on us all. Cars falls asleep in the car almost every time we drive for more than 15 minutes. Jax is grumpy and Dex's tics are a little worse than usually. Today, while Cars had a playdate, I lay down for a moment to watch tv in my room and fell asleep! I was so horrified when I woke up because I would die if someone napped while my 6 yr old was at their house!

Stephen is sick (but of course says he *must* go to work). It is so infuriating!

The kids have no school on Friday and I bet that will be the day when Stephen crashes and will decide to stay home because he will then really be too sick to go to work.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I have tried writing this blahg post three times in the past two days but I keep getting choked up and also I cannot seem to get the exact sentiment in words that I am trying to express.

So, I will just say that I love my mom and I am worried about her. She is lonely and I wish I could do something to help her with that. But I cannot. So I will just work on being kinder and more patient with her.

That is all.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Tonight we went to Spy's house for some RockBand. As always, we had a Fab time (The Beatles RockBand tonight!). I don't think I will live down the name Dr. Pepper though (I wore a Sgt.Pepper-esque vest and Stephen called me Dr. Pepper and the name stuck all night).

Thursday, September 24, 2009

We are getting into the routine of taking the bus to school. Our bus stop has so many more kids it seems. Last year there were 7 if everyone was there. This year, there are 8 which is just one more but there are five families rather than just three and another mom is always there with two kids who are not school-age yet so it seems crowded! lol

I am learning to play "Oh Pretty Woman" on the guitar and I am enjoying it. I have switched from the acoustic to electric because it is easier to learn bar chords with the electric guitar. I hope to switch back soon.

Hockey starts this weekend for Jax and Cars. Dex is not playing (loooong weepy story). Jax has two practices and one game each week. Cars has one practice and then alternates practice/game every other week. Cars is also playing soccer and taking swim lessons so we will be pretty busy until the end of October. Religion classes start up next month too so I expect a few meltdowns very soon.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cars joined the Running Club at school and it meets Tuesday after school for 40 minutes. I picked him up today and it was almost 90 degrees and his face was so red from the heat. We rushed home, I gathered the other two boys and Cars changed into his soccer gear and we rushed out to his soccer game. My older two behaved badly at the game and it put Stephen in a foul mood (well, that plus the sitting in the hot sun). What a day.

My kids just cannot seem to get along these days! They are fighting and bickering and I guess it is normal but I hate it because it always ends with Jackson being mouthy to me, Dex getting all weepy and Cars whining. I try to ignore it or make them work things out but I just cannot listen to it anymore! Aargh!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Today was Cars' first soccer game. I was delighted to see how the boys all played together as a team! And to see Cars using some of the skills he has learned in the past month was awesome! They just played 3 on 3 but it was perfect.

Cars also did well considering he went directly from an hour of hockey to an hour of soccer. He was pooped at the end.

Jax also had a hockey evaluation again today I hope we find out team assignments and practice/game schedules soon.

After the day o'sports, we went out to buy a new bed to replace this Heavenly Bed. The replacement bed was only good for Stephen for a month or two and he has been complaining about it ever since. Finally, he says he has had enough so off we went. Ok, who knew that some mattresses were like $3000! And those are not the Temper-pedic or Sleep Number beds! We did not buy a $3000 mattress but I wonder who would spend that kind of money on a bed that was not even all that comfortable (IMO). Anyway, our new bed should arrive on the 29th. I am going to try to sell this one on Craigslist since it is only 8 months old and in great condition. Personally, I would not buy a used bed but I know that it is reasonable to think that others might.

Once that new bed arrives, I hope Stephen's complaints about his back stop!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Finally! The bus driver was trained to use an epi pen this afternoon so my kids can start taking the bus to/from school starting on Monday. It only took three weeks, seven emails to the nurse (the final one being a little pissy).

I have been taking Sudafed and last night I woke up at 2:19AM. I finally fell back asleep about 4:30AM unti 6:15AM when my alarm went off. I guess that is not too bad because two nights before, I woke up at 2:52AM but did not get back to sleep at all! I am now on antibiotics so I've stopped taking the Sudafed and I hope the ear pain I am have been experiencing goes away soon!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

So, I did take the kids out to dinner last night after Cars' swim lessons. We just ate at the Bistro at the club. I forgot how expen$ive it was! The kids' meals were $7.50 each and my salad was $13.50 (but oh so good)! The Bistro overlooks the indoor tennis courts (we don't have a tenni$ membership) so the boys really enjoyed that watching people play and a kid taking lessons. We bought two tennis rackets on the weekend and the boys have been taking turns playing with them on the tennis courts at the park when I pick them up after school. We really need to buy a third racket because there is a sharing problem.

For dinner tonight, we just had pasta with sauce (jarred sauce from Trader Joe's) and I made some cheesy garlic toast but that is not really cooking but heating and assembling. I did skip out on clean up though as I went to Cars' curriculum night at school.

Curriculum night was good. I really like Cars' teachers a lot and I think this will be a great year for him. His teachers had already assumed that I would teach Art Start for them (I used to teach Art Start together with one of them when our now 4th graders were in K and 2nd grades together). I also signed up to help with reading one day/week.

I hope that all of the teachers get their schedules together so I can get an idea of what my week will look like and I can plan my own schedule - volunteering, working out, grocery shopping. Oh, and cooking.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I suck at cooking. I think we've discussed this before. But I am trying to do better. I am!

In fact, two nights in a row I have made yummy dinners (well, one was with some small help from Trader Joe's Orange Chicken) and Stephen did not come home "on time" for dinner. This totally pissed me off. When I make an effort to make dinner, I expect him to be home.

Today, I marinated the pork chops more than 10 minutes in advance (they marinated for 5 whole hours in a home-made sauce!!). I bought huge amounts of broccoli and even splurged on a clearance package of Pillsbury Grands (it was 1/2 price because it was near the expiration date). I normally have a really hard time coordinating all parts of the meal to be ready all on time but tonight I was HOT and the pork chops were grilled (and not to the texture of shoe leather), the Grands were golden brown just as the broccoli was perfectly steamed! I was just taking the Grands out of the oven when the telephone rang. It was the exact moment that I was expecting Stephen to walk through the door.

Anyway, the kids and I enjoyed a lovely hot meal. The pork chops were good and all three children ate it without complaints (a miracle really!).

Tomorrow night I am taking the kids to dinner at the club after Cars' swimming lessons. Stephen can fend for himself.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Just found out that since Cars will probably be playing on a regular hockey team (rather than playing in the Beginners' program) we need to buy him hockey equipment too.

Another trip to Vancouver?

Or maybe we can find used stuff since there is no one to pass the equipment down to!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Yesterday it was about a billion degrees and we went to a corn maze. The walk through it is about a mile if you follow the directions and answer the questions correctly. We did not. We sweated our way through the hot, dusty maze and two bottles of water and a lot of grumpiness later (Stephen) we arrived at the end. The kids had a great time and I am sure that had it been 10 or 20 degrees cooler, it would have been a much lovelier time.


Boys with Cars' friend, K

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Blah Blah Blah

The second week of school is coming to an end and I still haven't met with Jax's teacher but I guess we have a meeting after school tomorrow with the nurse to finally review his 504 Plan so the teacher knows what is in it. Of course we had already arranged for a friend to come over to play with Jax so they will just all have to hang out at the playground together until the meeting is over. It should not take long - about 10 minutes I hope. The nurse still has not had an opportunity to train the bus driver. I hope it isn't another week before they get to take the bus!

Tonight was book club (we read "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett - I must update my sidebar). I had a lot of fun. What a great group of friends!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Remember pinching girl? Well, she had graduated to punching girl.

I know she has been a problem bothering Cars at recess (they are not in the same class this year) since school started because Cars has told me she is bugging him(teasing him, hitting him, kicking him, etc) and I have encouraged him to ignore her or to tell a recess teacher. He is really hung up on the tattling thing though so it was not until she punched him today "...and it really HURT" that he told a recess teacher.

I decided to email his teachers so they were aware of what was going on. It turns out that the girl had been marched into his class by her teacher to apologize to Cars after recess. Oh why didn't he tell me that?! Anyway, the teachers did not know of the history so they said they would keep an eye on things and I should keep encouraging Cars to tell a recess teacher as well as his teacher(s).

The mother of one of Cars' friends told me at soccer on Friday that this girl was bugging Cars all.the.time according to her son who plays with Cars at recess. Cars really is intimidated by this girl. When we found out what class he was in, he scanned the list for her name and told me that he was glad she was not in his class.

I feel a little badly for his girl. She glares at everyone and I have rarely seen her smile. Sometimes I think she just needs a hug. But, I just wish she'd leave my son alone.

Monday, September 07, 2009

We decided that we needed to go to Vancouver this weekend so we packed up and left Saturday morning. We got a late start because we were out on Friday night and I had not packed beforehand. It was a pretty good drive up (we did not have any owls drive into the car) but the border wait was over an hour.

Since we were running late, we checked into our hotel in Richmond then drove out to Surrey to The Hockey Shop to outfit Jax for hockey as he can no longer rent equipment from the beginner program. We were there close to two hours but we got everything we needed and had someone help ensure that his skates fit properly. It was good in that they did not steer us towards the most expensive equipment in the store and everything that we bought was on sale anyway then we got an additional 10-20% off. With the exception of the skates, the prices were the same or better than Canadian Tire, a place where everyone bought their hockey gear when we were growing up.

Afterwards, we went to Jean-Paul and Marilyn's for dinner. Lola is so funny. She barely spoke for the first hour we were there. Then she would say things to the boys like "Pick me up" as she lay on the floor. Or she'd tell them to shout out the front window with her. She is virtually potty trained. Oh how I wish my boys were trained at age 2!!

As I mentioned, we stayed in Richmond near the airport. We normally stay in downtown Vancouver but the Sheraton was booked and the pool at the Westin Bayshore was under construction so we chose a different place. Stephen was not impressed.

I think I have mentioned before that he is a hotel snob and very spoilt. My oldest brother worked for Sheraton/Westin/Starwood for close to 30 years so since I met Stephen, we were used to staying at a fancy hotel at a very nicely discounted rate (including FREE when we went to Montreal, Chicago, Florida). However, my brother no longer works for them so we are playing regular rates for these places now. And for the price of the Westin Bayshore with no pool, we could get a one bedroom suite at the Radisson that had a working pool (or so we thought) and breakfast for four in the restaurant. Stephen agreed so I booked it.

When we checked it, there was a sign that the water heater in the pool/fitness area was being replaced so no hot water. I thought "how cold can the pool be"? Um, pretty damn cold. The boys did swim in it but not for long.

Traffic around that area was HORRIBLE and there were huge signs in the parking lot warning one not to leave any personal items in ones car. So we lugged up all of the hockey equipment to our hotel room. The room had a king bed in the bedroom and a queen-sized pull-out couch so I suggested that the three boys sleep together in the bed. Stephen hurt his back sleeping on the pull-out couch so all around it was a bad choice. I believe next time we'll be back at the Westin. Mr. Hotel Snob will insist.

(On a positive note, we did get a breakfast buffet included in the price. And, the hotel was close to Costco where we stocked up on peanut-free Chewy bars and fun-sized chocolate bars. The drive home was quick and the border wait was only 15 minutes).

Here is a photo of Jax in his gear. He's ready to play (and let's hope he continues to like playing!):

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Friday was my 16th wedding anniversary. Stephen and I hired the babysitter and we went out for dinner. This was after I had run around trying to track down the pizza and cheesy bread sticks that I had ordered for the kids for dinner. I submitted the order online at 5pm requesting that the pizza to arrive at 7pm. They are usually a few minutes early but not that day. We waited and waited and waited and I finally called at 7:20pm they said that they did not know what happened to my order then told me it was just coming out of the oven but could not be delivered for 30 minutes because they were so busy! Huh? But, why was it just coming out of the oven at 7:25 when I had ordered it to be delivered by 7pm? Ok, never mind, I told them. I would come by to pick it up.

Three minutes later I walked in the door and after 8 minutes of waiting and them searching, they told me that the pizza had already been delivered. Huh? But, I CALLED and we agreed that I would pick it up. Stephen was still at home and had tried calling me to tell me it had been delivered but for some reason my cellphone did not work in PapaJohn's. Papajohn's said that this order was going to be free (I'll still watch my cc statement to make sure) and I also have a credit for two pizzas of my choice. We'll be ordering two extra-large with all the toppings sometime in the near future.

Anyway, after I went home and reapplied deodorant (it is stressful tracking down pizza!), we went to dinner at this new restaurant that had opened where that other restaurant used to be (they closed at the beginning of May). The new one is an Italian restaurant and this is the third restaurant of this particular chain. The place was packed and there appeared to be a lot of people waiting for tables. Our reservation was at 7:45 and we arrived 5 minutes early and were told it would be about 10 minutes until our table would be ready. No worries. Stephen went to the bar to get us drinks. Ten minutes later when our table was ready, he was just getting back. Apparently the restaurant was out of draft beer. Ok, they had opened 3 days before so perhaps something was up so we shrugged it off.

We were seated and drank our drinks (cosmo for me, bottled beer for Stephen) and we waited and waited and waited and waited for a waiter/waitress to come by. Finally after 15 minutes, I stopped the hostess who was walking by and said "Excuse me, we have been been seated for quite some time and no one has come by" and she apologized and a few minutes later our waitress come over. She told us that she did not know we were in her section (perhaps plausible except that our table was next to the one she was serving before she came by). We wanted wine with our dinner so Stephen asked for their house red wine but they were out of wine. OUT OF WINE! Every kind of wine. At first Stephen could not believe what she said as he had asked for the house red and thought she meant they were out of that. No, they were out of ALL WINE. On a Friday night! So, I ordered their "specialty" cocktail which was a strawberry limoncello martini and Stephen had nothing else to drink.

We then ordered an appetizer (calamari). They were out of calamari! Ok, perhaps they misjudged how much calamari they would sell their first week. We just went ahead and ordered dinner. The waitress came by four times to apologize because my drink was taking so long and then she said that the manager was giving it to me for free due to the wait. The number of apologies for the drink was out of proportion for the wait for the drink, IMO. Maybe it was to make up for the wait we had for her to come over after we were seated?

Dinner was really, really good though so that made the excruciatingly long wait tolerable. I know they were going through some first week opening pains and I definitely will go back but not for a while when they have everything ironed out.

And when they have more wine.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

School started this week so I have been busy. Busy making lunches, filling out forms (3 times each!), playing phone tag with the school nurse and buying last minute school supplies (and I still need to get Cars a clipboard and Dex a thesaurus that were not on the original class supply lists).

Cars is in 1st grade and two teachers - a job-share class. One of the teachers was the same teacher that Jax has in Grade 1 as well. She got married and had a baby and now she just works 3 days/week. The teacher she job shares with is the mom with whom I shared Art Start duties with in Dex's 2nd grade class. I really like her a lot and I know parents who had kids in their class last year and said that the job share worked really well so I was happy to guide Cars' kindergarten teacher to placing him in this class.

Dex is in 4th grade. He did not get No Joy teacher no Mean teacher. Crafty-teacher moved down to teach 3rd grade so he got the one that Spy said was a yeller. I don't mind. I think she has got to be better than the other two. As I mentioned earlier, Spy's son is in Dex's class and they are both very excited to finally be in the same class together since they were in 3 yr old preschool.

Jax is in 6th grade and his teacher is a man and fairly young. Jax says he seems nice. The first day when I picked him up I could tell that there was something wrong. He was withdrawn and sullen and when we got home, he went to his room for a while. I has asked him what was wrong and he said nothing. Finally he confessed to me that he felt like he had no friends and that this year was going to be horrible, "just like 4th grade!". My heart broke. He does have a couple of friends in his grade but they are not that close and neither of them are in his class this year. He is very close to Ash's son and two other boys who do not go to our school so that does not help at school. Jax is friendly and nice but very reserved.

I told him that he had to put himself out there and we came up with a couple of strategies to help make friends. First was to recognize that just because the two friends are not in his class this year does not mean that they are not friends. So, he has made an effort to talk to one of the kids in particular and hang out with him at recess (even if it means just watching that kid play soccer since Jax does not like to play it). The other is for him to take a look around and find someone he'd like to become friends with and start making an effort to talk to that kid.

I hope these things work. I don't want him to re-live 4th grade. He was friend-less due to his anxiety over his peanut allergy as he chose to keep a distance from kids and partly because he is a reserved kid who waits for others to approach him.

Any other tips or hints or suggestions would be most welcomed!