Sunday, 2 April 2017

Glasses, Door Knobs and Other Random Things

nevhockey

A few weeks ago Nevin got glasses.  He had requested the check-up, so it came as no surprise and he met the news with relief and cheer.  Two mornings later, Scarlett sprang down the stairs and gleefully announced that they hadn't fought at all and she "stood at the doorway" while Nevin watched the clock turn to 6am.  You would have to live here, and then chat with them after this incident, to understand that they have been tag-teaming for months to maximize the efficiency of getting out of their room at 6am (the time at which the Stay-In-Your-Bed Rule dissolves).  Apparently, one would stand by the door knob and the other would be by the clock across the room.  Since Nevin's bed is next to the clock, he would elect to be the clock-watcher, so he could monitor it from bed.  Up until he got glasses, this caused animosity because he couldn't actually read the clock and so Scarlett would end up doing both jobs.  Through the miracle of modern optometry, their problem was solved.

This is a very long winded story to get to my point: my kids are growing up.  I had no idea that this had been going on for weeks, or maybe months.  I knew they were watching the clock because they come downstairs at 6am everyday, but the strategies, the teamwork, the fights were are all news to me.  They have entered a new phase of childhood, where they don't need me for everything and I don't know everything.   I have officially entered that part of parenthood that has a treasure trove of secrets between siblings that don't come out until a couple of bottles of wine have been consumed around the Christmas dinner table twenty years later.

What's more?  Yesterday for April Fools, Nevin played a trick on Scarlett.  He remembered that it was April Fools when the rest of us had forgotten, and when we looked at him like he was crazy, he shouted "April Fools!" and started laughing his head off.  And I thought, "that is such an eight-year-old boy thing to do."  It was.  And it reminded me again that he is growing up.

This might be my favourite part of parenting yet.  We've discovered a mutual love of literature and after the younger two have gone to bed we snuggle up and I read to him.  Some books are my all-time favourites like Harry Potter, and others are ones that I've never read, like the Chronicles of Narnia.  I'll say its time for bed, he'll beg me for just one more page and we'll read for another 15 minutes.  He knows a good story is my kryptonite and is learning that I'm a real person with weaknesses that can be exploited, but he's not old enough to resent my humanness yet.  He still sees me as royalty.

Its a fine and fickle stage to be in, this in between part, but mostly its just sweet.  I don't know when the little boy stage ended, and I'll probably won't realize that this part is leaving until it is long gone, but for now futilely I'll hope that it'll last forever.

Rabbit Poop

Rabbit Fear

Warner Family Van, 11:57am
(On the way home after visiting a farm at which Scarlett had held a pet rabbit.)

Scarlett: Do you know why I didn't want to hold the bunny anymore?  You know how I was holding it on its bum?  I was worried that it would poop on me.
Shawn: Luckily, rabbit poop is like blueberries.
Scarlett: Or kind of like chocolate chips.
Shawn: Yes.
Nevin: Or like wild Canadian blueberries.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Big Month Moment: March 2017

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"Someone once told me that women should do two things everyday they love, one thing every week that they treasure, and one bigger thing every month they will never forget." ~ commenter on Modern Mrs. Darcy
I love this idea, and since I only vividly remember the moments chronicled in this log, I am writing down those big things monthly.

I kind of forgot, but it turns out I'm dating my husband.

And that swell guy did something pretty awesome this week.  He surprised me by taking me to a concert that I have been lusting after for months.  As the kids these days say: Best. Date. Ever.

He snagged pit tickets released at the last minute, strategized how to get through security first and down on the floor before anyone else, and his efforts landed us in the first row at centre stage.  Since we had three hours until the headliners hit the stage, we sat on the floor and had a picnic of sorts with some 18-year-olds in mom jeans (Side note: Is that ironic?  That only people without children wear mom jeans?).

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There were two opening acts so the time passed quickly.  Turns out the 18-year-olds were there to see the second of the opening acts: Kaleo.  Behind the gravelly voice is the cutest 27-year-old face that, for added bonus points, is from Iceland.  They were great.  And was really adorable to watch first-hand while teenagers were brought to tears by handsome man.

And then came The Lumineers.  They are the people I put on repeat on the saddest day of my life, the people who I saw at my first "real" big concert last summer, and the people who I hope I get to watch many more times in my life.  Before I went to this concert, I didn't understand why people would go to see a band live more than once or why anyone would go to a concert in a sports stadium.  While I am still unconvinced that I would want tickets in the comfy seats way back in the stadium seating, I totally get the rest of it.  I've gone twice in the same tour and I am completely enamoured by their live performance.  They were so close, they could step on my fingers.  And they played up the crowd.  And Wesley Schultz jumped into the crowd, and they showered us with confetti. and the tapping of his feet was mesmerizing, and singing the lyrics of all the songs that are written to be sung in chorus was so, so, so good, and I could go on and on and on.  I am so totally in love with them and the guy who got me there.  I don't know which was my favourite part, but I know the most touching part.  Wesley Schultz came out to start the encore on his own and he sang a song about his father dying of cancer.  The stadium was silent.  He was emotional.  It was moving.  At the end he dropped his pick and rejoined his bandmates for some more feel good songs.  He was singing two feet away from us, so I picked up the pick.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to frame it, like any fan should.

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When we were dating and first married, we had a sedan.  Shawn would reach across the console and rest his hand on my knee.  Then we made some kids, bought a behemoth van and I forgot all about that old habit.  While we here idling in line to get out of the parking lot, Shawn reached across and put his hand on my knee.  We smiled.

Monday, 13 March 2017

The Week Of March Sixth

malcolmfranklinbw

Have you ever read the book "Good News, Bad News" by Jeff Mack?  It's really good.  It's about a perpetually optimistic rabbit who plans a picnic with his pessimistic friend, Mouse, and the whole story is told with only the words "good news" and "bad news."  The rabbit keeps finding the positives in every situation and then the mouse keeps dishing out negatives.  That was my life last week.  I was the rabbit and Life was the mouse.

Good news.  Malcolm threw up early Saturday morning.  This left plenty of time for him to recover over the weekend so Shawn and I wouldn't have to take time off work Monday.
Bad news.  Shawn, Nevin and Scarlett started on Sunday night.

Good news.  I was scheduled to leave at 5:30am Monday morning for work related road trip.  Sayonara, sickies!  Good luck with that!
Bad news.  It struck me Monday night.  While I was sharing a room with relative strangers.

Good news.  I took the train for my trip.  Even if I was exhausted, I didn't have to drive 7 hours to get home.  Lap of luxury.
Bad news.  A wind storm hit.  Our train hit a few trees, and took out its headlights - no biggie since it was daytime.  Then a giant tree took out power lines beside the track.  Delays.  We missed our connection.  Ultimately, we took a four hour taxi ride to get home.

Good news.  By the time I got home, Shawn had recovered, disinfected everything and it was like nothing had ever happened.
Bad news.  Just when I thought everything was back to normal, my belly played cruel tricks on me.

We started calling it The Week Of March Sixth because every monster deserves a wicked name.  Good news: it is now the week of March 13th, and as creatures of the weekly variety always do, The Week Of March Sixth has gone back to bed.  (Which is also were you'll find us).

Monday, 20 February 2017

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispies

pbballs

Hello Family Day 2017.  Its nice to see you.

We had these grand plans of doing family things outside, but then the toddler had an epic fit about being towed on a GT snow racer while the rest of the family snowshoed.  And no, he didn't want to be snowshoeing.  Being carried in someone's arms was the only acceptable mode of transportation for him today.  Shawn turned back with him lest the neighbours think a child was being killed by coyotes in the woods.

After a short half-family snowshoe, we went back to our driveway.  We had new big plans of playing hockey.  That worked for a while.  Shawn made me a lounge chair out of a snowbank in the warm sun, so I was happy.  Malcolm had trucks to dig in the snow, so he was thrilled.  But then Scarlett decided that winter is too long and too cold, and cuddling with mum on a snowbank lounger just isn't the same as the real thing.

So the girls gave up on Canadian winters, went inside to make cookies and consoled ourselves with melted chocolate and peanut butter.  And in the end, we felt like we came out winners.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispies
Adapted from One Part Plant by Jessica Murnane

1 cup + 2 Tbsp peanut butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch salt
2 cups crispy rice cereal
1 cup chocolate

1) Mix 1 cup of peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Stir in the rice crispies.
2) Take a tablespoon-sized amount of the mixture and roll it in to a ball.  Place the balls on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet or plate.
3) Melt the chocolate and remaining 2 Tbsp of peanut butter in the microwave.  It might take about 2 minutes, but stop every 30 seconds or so to stir.
4) Drizzle the melted chocolate over the balls.  Sprinkle coconut flakes or coarse sea salt over the chocolate covered balls.
5) Freeze until ready to serve.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Balloon Ball

We sat on the floor with ministick nets between us, using our octopus arms to lob a balloon at each other volleyball-style, only without the strict rules.  Boys vs. girls.
Post-it notes turned our shirts into jerseys.
Folk music blaring to counterpoint the intensity of the court.
A two-year-old toddling across the court or plopping in cozy laps mid-play, adding complexity to an otherwise straightforward game.
Until, inevitably a dive for the ball left a player with an injured elbow and no desire to continue.
"I better bring my 'A' game," I said.
Nevin responded "Sure, I'm on my way!"
And so the game continued while dinner prep didn't and a forgettable meal followed because we were living a memorable life.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Chicken Broth

slaughbwweb

Warner kitchen, 3:45pm.

Scarlett and Sasha are making soup together.

Scarlett, crinkling her nose: What is that?
Sasha: Chicken broth.
Scarlett: What?
Sasha: Chicken broth.
Pause.
Scarlett: What?!?  You mean that's bras from chickens?
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