And So It Begins...

Monday, November 30, 2009

December first is almost here. That means it is time to get Christmas out of it's box.

Over the years, I've undergone a Christmas transformation. While living at home with my parents, Christmas was always just done for me. I sailed through the holiday season on my mother's coattails. Once I actually had to think about pulling off a Christmas on my own, I started to panic. I hated the holidays and avoided as much as possible. Then the babies came along. What kind of a mother doesn't do Christmas for her kids? So I went through the motions. As the kids got older and I got over myself, I've come to realize that Christmas celebrations are what I make them. If I'm stressed, the kids are stressed. If I'm indifferent, the kids don't want to participate. So this year I feel I'm in a good place to enjoy the holidays. Hopefully everyone else in the A Household will too.

I feel pretty comfortable this year. The calendar is set; I know what I'm doing on each day throughout the holidays. Mr. B and I took a nice day last weekend and put up our one measly strand of Christmas lights. They're all ready to go come December 1. My Christmas bin has been located and, due to an early bath of cookies needing decorative tins, unearthed.

This weekend's company, needing an excuse to make our visit interesting and kid-friendly, attended the local Santa Clause Parade at my insistence. I also dragged Mr. B and the kids to a community lighting of a Christmas tree celebration. It's time to get festive, people! The holiday is about spending time together and enjoying seasonal traditions more than the gift-haul philosophy the local WalMart would like you to subscribe to.

And due to an unfortunate scheduling situation, I need 15 dozen cookies ready for this coming Friday (9doz.) and Sunday (6doz.). The Girl Child is also contributing to one of those exchanges, bringing the A Household take-home amount of cookies to 21 dozen. I'm not exactly sure what I was thinking. I'm sure it was something about not wanting to offend someone by declining to participate. I'm not freaking out about the mountain of cookies I will be carting home though. The local library is having a fundraising bake sale in a week or so. Whatever won't fit in the freezer will be contributing to the worthy new Youth Programs.

And so it begins. Hopefully a great holiday season that lasts all through December and into January. I can't believe I'm actually looking forward to it this year!


Field Trip!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Last Friday, the 20th, the kids and I piled into the back seat of a Honda Civic and journeyed to the Big City to visit the Royal Ontario Museum. I hadn't visited the museum in years and years. The kids had gone in October with my parents. When they came home, they were so excited to go back...and they all figured I should go with them this time.

Our main objective was to visit the Dead Sea Scrolls before the exhibit closes in January. The kids also wanted to show me their favourite areas that they had visited last trip. Isn't that sweet?

Fun times were had at the museum. The best part was watching how excited and engaged the kids were by the place. I think they would have spent the whole day in Ancient China/Korea/Japan. There was a beautiful display of Asian art through the ages. The Girl Child was very impressed. Her Chibi/Manga/Anime interest has some historical roots, she told me, as she was busy noticing all sorts of familiar elements in the artwork. The Boy Child was mesmerized with the Dead Sea Scrolls. He was a little ticked that there was so much exhibit before the actual scrolls. But once the scrolls were in sight, we had a hard time making him leave. He spent time finding the Tetragrammaton, pointing it out to anyone who would listen, drawing it in his Grandpa's notebook. I followed the rules and took no pictures although I was itching to.

We took photos in all other areas until the camera batteries konked out. I think I could reconstruct the entire Gems exhibit in photos. That would be the exhibit I handed the camera off to the kids. So, pics to follow:

REAL Samurai stuff!

Imperial Palace reconstruction.

Trying to find an elevator, we found The Girl's favourite animal.

The Boy takes a pic of himself and a giant geode.

Chillaxin' in the Gem Exhibit.


This Is The Welcome I Get.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I went away.
I went for an overnight with the kids.
The Skittish White Dog stayed home with Mr.B.
The kids and I came home.
The Skittish White Dog stole my toothbrush and ate it.
The Skittish White Dog missed me.
I went out and bought a new toothbrush.
That is all.
Mrs. A.


C25K Week #3...Again

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

This week I'll finish the third week of C25K. Again.

I have to say, this time through, it's fairly painful. I don't know, maybe I need new shoes. Perhaps it's the colder weather. Maybe it's my dad 'stopping in' at 7:35a.m. just to chat.

Each morning I wake up and I get dressed and The Skittish White Dog and I head for the door. If I plan to do anything else, I never get out the door. Then, I spend all day trying to fit in a half-hour for a 'run'. Ha. Never happens.

This week in particular was interesting. On Monday, I was up and out, first thing. That's about 8a.m. in Mrs. A Land. Off I go on my Week #3 workout: warm-up, run 90s, walk 90s, run 3min, walk 3min, repeat, cool-down. I was ready. I was looking forward to it.

For some reason, I never stopped running into obstacles. At every turn, every bend, every step of the way I was hit up with some sort of interruption.

There's some guy who walks with his basset hound I see quite often. He walks too fast for the dog to keep up so he takes the dog off its leash. Of course, my dog wants to eat his dog and his dog wants to play. So I play tug-of-war with my dog while trying to stay on schedule. Another dog related obstacle is the Bag Man. Lovely gentleman, but for some reason he has his cargo pants stuffed with plastic bags. Lots of them. After I passed the basset hound, I came upon Bag Man with his two dogs. Bag Man goes out of his way to intercept me. Tangled leashes ensued. I ran an extra 30s hoping that would make up for my schedule confusion.

The next thing I know, I am wrestling with my dog. She had some sort of dead rodent in her mouth. And then there were kids at the skate park watching me stumble along. Who skateboards at 8:15 in the morning?! Path was muddy and flooded. Soaker. Off in the distance, I see another dog off leash. I turn around to finish my 'run' the way I had come.

I was thinking how ridiculous this Monday morning venture was. I was considering my motivation for this morning exercise silliness and wondering if it was really worth it. My butt jiggles. My feet get wet. I wrestle with my dog. The. Whole. Time. Is this really worth it?

So. I am halfway through my final 3minute run. It sounds easy, doesn't it? It's not. I'm sweaty. I'm tired. Thirsty. There's a bruise on my leg that really hurts when I run. I can't wait to be finished. I turn the corner of the pathway to an uphill grade. I know if I can make it to the soccer goal posts, I'm home free.

Firefighters, people. There were firefighters on the path. Like, 25 of them had just leaped out of their calendars and landed on my walking path. Walking down the hill like they owned it. They were dressed in full gear carrying their helmets. Cheery buggers, the whole lot of them. Who puts firefighters on a secluded walking path half a kilometer from anything?

Turns out that The Skittish White Dog is afraid of firefighters. I was not surprised. I had to tow her through them while trying to look like a runner. Thank goodness for big windbreakers and mirrored sunglasses. None of them will ever recognize me. I made it up the hill and made sure they had turned the corner out of sight before I stopped running.

I finished off my walk/run thinking about how ridiculous and mixed up my whole outing had been. Before the firefighters, I was ready to just give it up and thrown in the towel for good. But after the firefighters, I realized there is always going to be some obstacle, some interruption, some unforeseen circumstance. After the firefighters I had to laugh. I figured the Universe is telling me to get over myself. I just need to suck it up and get on with it. Be confident and take advantage of my morning exercise opportunities.

Today, when I was heading out with The Skittish and Very Bouncy White Dog and my dad pulled into the driveway, I smiled. I was not flustered and frustrated with the interruption. Dad and I enjoyed a nice walk by the creek. Once he was on his way, I debated. It would be very easy to just go inside and get on with my day. But I didn't. I went ahead and did my walk/run. Amazingly, there were no firefighters on the path this morning. No loose dogs, puddles or firefighters. Did I mention that I think the firefighters might have been a one time opportunity occurrence?

So I head into the end of Week #3 thinking I should stick with my plan. If I can stand another 6 weeks of this, I could actually finish the program this time. And who knows what I'll run into while I'm out there. If anything, wrestling frozen bloody voles from the dog and being surprised by firefighters is interesting and newsworthy in the otherwise boring and mundane life of Mrs. A.


I'm Going To Have To Make Another Chart. Damn.

Monday, November 16, 2009

If I could get someone around here to pitch in and contribute a little to their feeding and clothing and learnin', then perhaps I'd have a little more time to blog. Not everyone all at once now...let's not send me into culture shock or anything.

I had a brilliant brainwave this past summer: let's get rid of the chore chart we've been using for years with varying degrees of success. Just for the summer. The kids need a holiday, too, you know. Well. I'm trying to remember if I've ever come up with a dumber plan.

I'm on it though. Once I'm done reading this book, I'll have all the answers. The Boys Child was particularly concerned that I not skip the chapter called "Bribing Your Kids To Work".

One problem with this book, though. While reading it, I have come to realize that not only did I enter into this whole parenting game with inadequate tools, but I have developed bad habits along the way! My poor kids!

Hat tip to Lenore Skenazy over at Free Range Kids for the book suggestion.


Like vs. Love, Boy Style

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sometimes it's a stretch to get the kids through their daily dose of book work. Add in a healthy measure of Hallowe'en candy and things begin to fall apart much earlier in the day.

Take this afternoon, for instance. I was explaining, with my indoor voice through gritted teeth, for the umteenth time, that the kids really had to quit and that I didn't like that kind of behaviour.

Of course The Boy Child, future Crown Prosecutor, Master of Twisting Your Words, pipes up:

The Boy Child: You don't like me anymore?!?

Mrs.A: Of course I like you. I just don't like the behaviour.

The Boy Child: If you don't like me, then you don't love me! <insert theatrical wailing>

Seriously? He does this on purpose. I'm going to be insane before I'm forty. I told him that I love him, always will. I may have sighed.

The Boy Child: But 'Like' and 'Love' are the same thing Mom!

Mrs. A: No, they're not the same thing. For example, I will always love you, no matter what. But I may not like you very much if you keep this up. Get off your sister's head and get to the table like I asked.

The Boy Child: Roots, Mom, it's ROOTS!

Mrs. A is now confused. What is roots?

The Boy Child: Listen, Mom: The root Aimer means to like or to love! It's the same thing!

So, obviously, something is getting through to him. The curriculum we're using, Vocabulary From Classical Roots, does indicate that with use, the student will begin to draw connections from the words they use. I don't think they meant french verbs, though. Oh well, can't blame a boy for trying.


Happy Hallowe'en

Monday, November 2, 2009

These people living in my house have turned Hallowe'en into a full-fledged holiday. Between the requests for baking and the requests for decorating I've been busy! Granted, Mr.B has been saying for years that Hallowe'en is his favourite holiday. This year, though, we put a little thought and effort into it.

There were snacks.

During the week, Mr.B made his seasonal candy apples. We used small apples so he was left with a pot of candy coating...which he poured into maple leaf molds to make hard candy. Inventive.

The Boy and I spent Hallowe'en afternoon making treats: spiderweb cupcakes, bat krispies, apples with homemade caramel and witch hat cookies. There was cider. Our best batch yet!

There were decorations.

The Boy took it upon himself to frilly up the outdoors. There was an epic glow-in-the-dark battle being waged in the garden between spiders and ants. The spider web was strewn, pumpkins displayed, jack-o-lanterns carved and the ever present painted spiders. Painted last year at this time.

Inside I made a fence in our hallway. The kids helped make silhouettes to put on the fence. We also had a tree branch hung with candy filled treat boxes, gourds, candles and coloured fabric leaves.

There were costumes.

The Girl explored her deep, dark desires and went Goth. The Boy found a ninja/samurai get-up to go with his sword that Grandma and Grandpa had brought him from Japan. We were joined by three of the kids' friends for trick-or-treating.

A couple of hours before we set out to pilfer the neighbourhood, the new-to-Canada Philippine neighbour kids came by. They invited themselves along with our group for trick-or-treating. We all thought we were doing them a bit of a favour by showing them the routine. The kids and I thought it was great that we would be able to share a tradition that we enjoyed with our new neighbours. As it turns out, they just weren't sure how we Canadians go about things on October 31. Back home, they enjoyed a full day of celebrating - trick-or-treating throughout the day, parades, tonnes of food, visiting and bonfires into the night. Mr.B is a bit jealous.

Mrs. A.


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