Sunday, 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas 2016!


School went right up until December 23rd, so this week things weren't feeling quite as festive as some years.  That is, until yesterday when Malcolm woke up and, sitting in the dark in his cage of a crib, had a bright idea.  He started singing "Jingle Bells" on repeat.

That was that.  The shift happened.  We woke to joyous music and the last two days have been very merry and bright.

We wish you all the best this Christmas season.  We hope if you are struggling that the smallest thing happens in you life that shifts it all and brightens your spirits.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Malcolm at 2 years old


1.  He is polite.  As in: when he is having a fit because he doesn't want to put on his snow suit, he wails, "No, tank you, Mommy! Noooo, tank yooooou!"

2.  He is one unlucky, sick kid.  He still hasn't had his flu shot, even though I want to get it for him.  Why?  Because he has not been healthy for a solid straight week since Canadian Thanksgiving.  No exaggeration.

3.  At the end of the school day, he needs me.  The best $49 USD I spent this year was on Prep Dish about a month ago.  I no longer need to get dinner ready after school/day care/work, so I can give him the attention he needs.  After about a week, we noticed a huge improvement in his behaviour and mood.  Turns out our sweet, laid back baby hadn't been stolen by the Terrible Twos, he just needed a little extra love.

4.  Paw Patrol rules his world.



Sunday, 11 December 2016

Five Things I Learned This Year


1.  Living in the flow is easier.  Thanks, Jess Lively.  No more scheduling my weekend and worrying about completing a task by my self-imposed deadline.  Things will get done whether I stress out or not.  Might as well back off.

2. And related... embrace the moment.  This was our year of moments, of living life to the max and saying "yes" to adventures.  We loved it.  We don't feel like a married couple bogged down with responsibilities.  It makes us feel young - like we are dating again.  Hold back your desire to gag, but it makes us giggly.

3.  I love watermelons.  Pre-2016 Sasha hated watermelons.  It was a defining characteristic.  I'd try a slice every few years and fling it away in disgust.  Then Nevin asked me to get him one and only the really big ones were on sale.  I tried a piece.  And according to the sticker, I ate 11 pounds of watermelon in two days.

4.  My kids have Love Languages, too.  Scarlett's is touch.  I discovered that its almost impossible for her to get upset if she is holding my hand or in my lap.  It is also impossible for her to remain calm when I deny her a hug.

5.  Concerts are amazing.  Accidental Earl Sweatshirt.  Bluesfest in the pouring rain with The Lumineers.  Nostalgic Blue Rodeo.  High school gym with acoustic Hedley.  I did it all and loved it.

Thanks for all the good times, 2016.  Its been a slice.  Or ten. Of watermelon.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Sick Days


This week, the boys have been sick.  Daily fevers and a cough.

Shawn and I have been trading taking days off work.  By Thursday, we decide to take them to the doctor, mostly because we are worried about burning through all our "vacation" days.  At least that is my motivation; I am sure Shawn was concerned about their well-being.

So I take the boys to the ER since our family doctor is away until Monday.  I apologize to the registration desk and the triage nurse, and explain that I know it isn't an emergency but we have no other care.  Honestly, I feel really guilty and silly accessing urgent care for a cold.

Also, it is the second time in a week because Malcolm had croup on the weekend, so I mostly just don't like the place.

My first clue that I may be unsuitable for motherhood is in triage.  The nurse takes Malcolm's blood oxygen levels three times.  She seems to consider him sicker than I thought.  But I don't have much time to think about it because inconveniently, this is also when Nevin starts thinking about where he is and gets a little nervous.  I do not notice, because I'm too busy trying to send telepathic electrosignals to the oxygen tester thing.  When he says, "Mommy, I feel like I'm going to faint," I realize that he isn't so much standing beside me as he is melting onto my shoulder.  I look at him: he is a cartoonish shade of gray and swaying.  Of course, I have three winter jackets, a diaper bag and toddler hooked up to a (lying?) finger machine thingy on my lap, so I am a little slow moving.  The triage nurse guides him over to a chair just in time for his head to loll back.  "I swear we only came because my regular doctor office is closed."  And that sweet little nurse didn't judge me at all for being so clueless.

Here is the play-by-play for the subsequent hour:
Nevin is healthy, at least physically.
Malcom needs chest X-rays.
25 min into waiting for X-rays, I ask for a tissue.
5 minutes later the lady at the desk asks, "Ma'am are you here for an appt or...?"  Who just hangs out in hospital waiting rooms with sick kids?
More waiting.
They find the paperwork and call in Nevin.  I correct the X-ray technician with a very polite "Remember... its for, umm, Malcolm...?"  He disappears.
More waiting.
Malcolm gets called in.  He gets the x-rays with me holding his hands above his head.  He is breathing deep, bottom lip out, trusting me, eyes moist, holding my gaze, trying to be brave.  Basically, heart break in a look.

And here comes the mom guilt: we go back to the doctor and find out he has pneumonia.  Somehow I missed that while he was clinging to me the last few days.

And the real guilt?  We've been there for a couple hours, the boys are tired and I am itching to get out.  With the diagnosis, I start suiting up the kids while the doctor goes to write the prescriptions.  The doctor comes back in, looked at the semi-suited up boys and says, "Umm, I'm sorry but I can't let him leave like this."  He wasn't writing a prescription, he was giving the nurses instructions on how to open up his clogged airway.  It was a very polite way of saying your son is really sick crazy lady.  Where's your head?

So they helped him out and got his blood oxygen levels up.  And we all went home and I forgot to feed Malcolm lunch and we had a nap because I was tired.  Good news though: he survived.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Minivan Politics


On Tuesday night, Donald Trump was elected president of the US.  We didn't mention it to the kids, mostly because we didn't think they cared.  They are 7- and 5-years old.  They have bigger things to worry about like missing Lego pieces and whether or not their friends will want to play soccer at recess.  That was a false assumption.

I picked them up from school on Wednesday afternoon, and I had one of those mom-driving-the-minivan moments.  You know the moment: when a conversation starts, mom looks in the rearview mirror and she doesn't dare interrupt because she needs to hear where the conversation is going.  Its been played out in many a minivan commercial and these rare moments exist.  This exchange started with a "Do you know who won the election?" and it went exactly like this:

Nevin: Scarlett, do you know who won the election?
Scarlett (annoyed):  No.  I don't even know what that is.
Nevin (in his big brother teachable moment tone): Okay.  Ummm... You know that silly guy in the United States?
Scarlett:  I think so.
Nevin:  Well, he got elected to be President of the United States.
Scarlett:  Oh, no!  You mean now they are going to build a big wall?!?  That's SO sad!

Who needs political pundits when you've got school kids and a minivan?

Monday, 24 October 2016

Stuff Scarlett Says


Scenario #1
Scarlett: I don't think I know whose gonna be my husband yet.  I mean, you didn't meet Daddy 'til you were 12... or maybe 21?

Scenario #2
Sasha: Do you guys like that rug?
Shawn: No.
Nevin: No.
Scarlett: That makes me cry.

Scenario #3
Shawn: What'd you think of that video?
Nevin: Awesome!
Scarlett: It was stylin'.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Hedley with 400 of my favourite people


Pictured above: That time a big time band came to our school gym and played in front of a classic bubble-lettered hand painted sign that proudly proclaimed "Homecoming with Hedley."  They were there to recognize and inspire our students.  Our school has been organizing a Relay for Life for the past 15 years and they have raised close to $700,000.  Its an incredible feat for such a tiny community and they deserve a little recognition.

Whomever says teenagers are disengaged, unhelpful and self-absorbed is hanging out with the wrong ones.  Teenagers are amazing.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Other Pictures from The Five-Year Project

After we re-created the four pictures that were needed for the Five-Year Project, we tested our luck a little.  It was bedtime, but the kids were in fancy matching clothes and it was a beautiful night, so we stuck around the park to take a few extra shots.  It was mostly a disaster (thanks, Malcolm).  Nonetheless, there were a few cute ones where Malcolm wasn't furiously staring into the camera and you can't tell Scarlett's eyes are blood shot.

Turns out, since they were tired their personalities really came through.  These might be my favourite set of photos of the kids, just because they are raw and genuine.



Sunday, 18 September 2016

Scarlett in the Newspaper


I have so many layers of love for this newspaper clipping.

One.  Its Scarlett.  What's not to love?

Two. Only in a small town would the End of Summer children's party at the library get full coverage.

Three.  The reporter covered it like it was the society pages of a New York daily.  "To compliment her blue and white dress, she wore..."  It was like the Oscars, only better because instead of taffeta it was cotton and instead of Cartier it was Edmonton Oilers.

Four.  He nailed it.  In two sentences, the reporter captured my daughter.  Loves the party (grabs cake), but a little conservative (eats it in the shade); her ridiculous fashion choices that she is so proud of, and pulls off -- to my shock -- really well.  I've got hoards of photos and blog posts, yet he created the most perfect snapshot of my daughter in 9 square inches.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Scarlett's new best friend


Nevin finally, finally, had a lovely first day of school.  Change is so hard, and this year he seems to be reaching the level of confidence and maturity required to handle it.  He went to school with the self-assuredness of a sweet second grader.

Scarlett had a much rockier start.  She missed the first day of senior kindergarten because she had a high fever.  The routine was already off and she was not well rested.  Consequently, her first day was hard and teary.

But she is in good hands.  On her second day, her teachers gave her a little project: they gave her a Helper title and introduced her to a brand new junior kindergartener.  It was just what she needed to turn her day around.  They spent the day holding hands and guiding each other from centre to centre.  When Scarlett got home she told me, smitten, "I met a new friend today and she is SUCH a little munchkin!"

Why Icelanic sheep are AMAZING.

  1. They are anywhere and everywhere.
  2. Just because there is a fence, doesn't mean you are safe from hitting them.  Often they are on the road-side of the fence.  As in, they are on both sides of the fence at the same time.
  3. After seeing them on mountain sides and grazing at the corner of a cliff Seljalandsfoss, Shawn called them "Baaaaaaaaad ass sheep."
  4. In the car as a sheep pops out from the lang grass onto the road:
    • Sasha: "Sheep!"
    • Shawn: "Stop swearing, Sasha."
  5. On a mountain and cliff section of road in the East Fjords, a sheep is trotting on the side of the road beside the guardrail with her two buddies.  She squats in front of us, pees, looks me in the eye with malice and says "Baaaaaaa."  Is that the sheep equivalent of spitting at someone's feet and giving them the stink eye?  I think so.
  6. Northern sheep are more skittish and will run off the road when they see a car.  We witnessed three sheep do the following when we happened upon them running along the road (instead of across it):
    • "Bob!  Car coming!  Booooob, I need more room to get off!  Booooob!"  And finally Caaaarl body checks Boooob off the road and flees.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

The Five-Year Project, Part 2

Another five years on the books for Mr. Warner and I.  That can only mean one thing: its time for another instalment of The Five-Year Project!

Every five years, I put on my wedding dress, we gussy up the family and re-enact a few of our wedding pictures.  Last time, we invested in our all-time favourite lifestyle photographers -- Luke and Lee-Anne Haggett -- but they no longer do family photography, so this time we went with the DIY approach.  

It was much more challenging since the family has grown, there was a tired toddler involved, and we can't just wing it when we are trying to re-create photos from the past.  We went on a Friday night, and unlike last time, there were a lot of people in the park.  I don't know why, but I get SO self conscious wondering around town in a wedding dress.  Normally I embrace absurdity, but its harder in that dress.  We managed.

Turns out the crowd was a wedding party scouting out the location for their Saturday afternoon ceremony and photographs.  It would have been fine except they thought we were DIYing our actual wedding photos.  And so the kindhearted, real wedding photographers approached us to see if they could help.  To my mortification, they were the parents of a couple of kids in Scarlett's class.  You know, the kind of arms-length acquaintances that know you well enough to say "Hi!", but aren't close enough to know if you are crazy or not.  We cleared up the situation, laughed at the awkwardness and parted ways.  On the plus side, who needs blush when embarrassment gives you the the real thing?  I look fantastic in these photos. 

And now, the evolution of the Warners.


Warner Family-1



Warner Family-3



Warner Family-5



Warner Family-7


Sunday, 28 August 2016

Biking in the Gatineau Hills

Gatineau Park Selfie

Last weekend, after we turned off the Olympic broadcast, I turned to Shawn and said "I should go to the Olympics for cycling."  He thought for a moment and said "I should take you to the Gats."

And so it came to be that yesterday I was climbing through the rolling hills of Gatineau Park for the first time.  It was fun; an alternation of exhausting and exhilarating. On the second half of the ride, while I was wondering where the bottom half of my lungs were hiding, I saw Mike Woods.  I was descending, tired and leery.  He was climbing, chit-chatting with his friend, fresh-faced, as if it was the easiest ride he had ever done.  I suspect it was - at least for this season.  When I got home, I looked him up on Strava.  He has ridden more miles this week than I have the entire season.  Turns out I might not be ready to make an Olympic commitment.

That might be Shawn's secret to being a mastermind husband: he didn't cut down my delusional dreams... he sat back, supported me while taking an opportunity to steal me away from the kids, and let an Olympian do the dream-crushing for him.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Big Month Moment: July 2016

"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 should probably preface all of the upcoming enthusiasm with a fact: this was my first ever big-venue concert.  Unless you count that Weird Al Yankovic concert I went to at the Puyallup Fair in 2004.  I'm not.  (I'm not kidding and I'm not counting it).

After 10 years of talking about going to Ottawa Bluesfest together, we finally did it.  This is the summer of big moments, which is being followed by an aspirational life of big moments.  In short: its time to start checking things off, starting with Bluesfest.

We went to the wrong side of the park and had a to walk all the way around to get to the front gates.  After Shawn asked a security guard -- who was about 6'9" -- for directions, I said "that conversation was sooo over my head."  I thought it was hilarious.  The security guard just looked at me.

I guess we didn't follow the directions very well, because we ended up at an Earl Sweatshirt concert, and we were aiming for The Lumineers.  So we learned a little bit about a Freckled Face, avoided the purple smoke and mosh pits, and -- as a reward for hanging out with 18-year-olds for an hour -- got great spots for the headliner concert.  Like really great, 30 feet-from-the-stage-on-the-middle-security-fence-great spots.

It was amazing: a foot stomping, hand-clamping good time.  And by hand-clapping, I mean high-fiving.  High-fiving Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites.  Well, mostly I hit Wesley's arm, but I've never been a good aim, so I'm counting it as a high-five (+/- 5%).  Jeremiah and I were perfection -- a hand-on-hand smack -- but I expect that level of accuracy from someone cool enough to wear suspenders for a living.

It rained the whole concert, pouring at times, and I don't think anyone cared.  The band splashed in the puddles, and covered John Fogerty's "Have you ever seen the rain?"  The best part of that bit was the 65-year old guy who had earlier smoked up behind Shawn (I guess tall people make really great screens) went NUTS when they started the cover.  I think its was the best moment of HIS life and I've never been so pleased to be hanging out with a balding pot-smoker.  The joy!

So Bluesfest is checked off the list, my life is changed for the better and I'm looking forward to singing to the tunes of Earl Sweatshirt with my students.  Juuuuust kidding.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Hippos are Heavy


Granby Zoo.  10:30am.

Shawn:  How much do you think one of those weighs?
Nevin:  a HUNDRED pounds!
Shawn:  Nope.  It probably weighs as much as a car.
Nevin:  How much is that?
Shawn:  Like 2000 pounds.
Nevin:  Woooooah.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Malcolm at the Granby Zoo


About lions:

About spider monkeys:
"Ooo, Oooo." Maniacal giggling. "Ooo, Oooo."

About elephants:
Silence.  But the look on his face said, "That's the biggest dog I've ever seen."

About ducks:
"Quack, quack."

About the Macaw:
"Quack, quack."

About Emus and Lorikeets:
"Quack, quack."

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Mexican cars


Warner van.  Granby, Quebec.  5:45pm.  A VW Beetle drives by.

Scarlett:  Look at that Mexican car.
Shawn:  Why is it Mexican?
Scarlett:  Its a car and its Mexican.  Get it?
Shawn:  No.  I don't get it.
Scarlett:  Its a MEXICAN car.
Shawn:  Ummm....
Scarlett:  Oh. Its not a Mexican car.  Pause.  Its a flower car.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Malcolm at 18 Months

A random picture from a June day that showcases two of his loves.  Note: he is wearing a mitten in June.

Here is what he loves, in order:
1. Trucks
2. Cleaning up
3. Socks, mittens and hats
4. Red
5. Peek-a-boo
6. Spiderman

Life stops when a truck starts up.
He will dump a bucket just so he can clean up and Heavens-help-you if you try to take something from him, but if you show him where it belongs he gladly gives it up.
There are no colours beyond red on the rainbow (related: he is not colour blind).
I'm pretty sure he loves Spiderman because he is red (refer to #4).
In any case, his quirks are starting to come through.  He has his own ideas of what is exciting and I love that.  Things are starting to get interesting.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Kale and Names


4:25pm.  Warner family van.

Scarlett:  Hey!  I just realized something!  Kale in my class.  Kale and, um, kale.  And kale is a food!  That must mean he loves kale!  I wish that was my name.
Shawn:  If we could've named you after any type of food, what should we have named you?
Scarlett: Mayonaise.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

A cautionary tale about borrowing trailers

Shawn is making me a raised garden bed.  Sort of: technically, the Kijiji Gods provided Shawn with a cheap raised garden bed, so he is very carefully screwing it back together with eight bolts and putting soil inside it.

It seemed easy enough this morning, when the day was young and full of promise.  Shawn had a plan.  He borrowed his Dad's trailer to pick up the lumber and soil.  Let me tell you one thing: if you see a trailer that is being held together by plywood, find another trailer to borrow.

After Shawn filled Frankentrailer -- herein and henceforth referred to as Frankie -- up with soil, it blew a tire on the way home.  It has a spare, but due to its rust bucket status, the bolt holding the tire snapped and the spare couldn't come off.  He left Frankie on the side of the road and called his dad for reinforcements.  His dad came.  They put a different spare on.  

That's when they heard that special kind of hiss - and realized the spare spare had a hole in it.  The hole was small, so they figured Frankie could make it home. His father towed the trailer behind his car with Shawn following.  Within the first kilometer, Shawn noticed a strong smell of burning rubber.

That's when they realized the frame had snapped and was rubbing on the tire.  That's the way the original tire had blown - it had been shorn by Frankie the Tetanus Breeder.  So they took six ratchet straps and corseted that thing up like a bride on her wedding day.  They started off again - slowly - they were close to home.  

That's when they got stopped by a long train and when the train was done, the entire town of Perth had to follow them to our street going 30 km/hr.  In retrospect, the parade was befitting of the rust bucket: it was Frankie's funeral procession.

And now a moment of silence for Frankie - the little trailer who couldn't.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Malcolm at 16 months

*Note the socks.

He picked out his own socks today.  He took the cute little dino socks I picked out from my hands, tossed them behind his back and then carefully selected a red striped sock and tried to put it on his foot.  I tried to reintroduce the dino socks and he got mad.  Instead he went into his sock basket and chose a sock for his other foot.

My baby is all grown up.

(Except he still doesn't walk or talk, but other than that...)

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Best wedding reception ever?

So we have this friend who got married really quick to solve a little Visa issue she was having in another country.  As she puts it, "the government was going to kick me out, so I got married, then a week later they wrote me and told me it was a mistake and they were lying, BUT I'M STILL MAaaaaarrrrieeeeed!"

So what better way to celebrate a non-shotgun shotgun wedding 6-month anniversary then having a real reception that you didn't have time to plan the first time around?  None.  And since people didn't get to see the vows, might as well start the party off with a vow renewal in a real wedding dress.

And that is where the awesomeness began.  Because as they were renewing her vows, there was a Shriner convention starting in the ballroom next door.  Yes, a Shriner convention.  And as we were witnessing the blessed union, they were doing their own commencement ritual: namely, honouring the blessed country from which the Shriners originate by playing Oh Canada.  Thats right, at the exact same time our Canadian friend was saying her vows, the muffled lyrics of her home country started playing.

If that had been the only thing the Shriners contributed to the evening, it would've been great.  But it wasn't.  They heard about our party next door, so they decided to stop over and meet the bride and groom and share in the joy of their celebration.  Never again will I witness men in their seventies,  wearing kilts and sparkly hats, shimmy and shake to Flo Rida.  It was a highlight of MY LIFE.

They got their hip-hop fix and headed back to their party to do the Charleston or whatever it is that people born in the 30's do, and if that had been the end of their time with us, it would've been perfect.  BUT IT WASN'T.  Turns out they weren't going back to hang out with their wives, they were just going to find their bagpipes.  They got the bride to sit down and serenaded her with the bag-pipey goodness.  This may have been where she lost her garter, but I can't be sure because I was so deliriously happy to be witnessing all this comedy that I started to lose track of the details.

Then they were gone.  And they were probably tired from all that dancing and bagpiping, because we didn't see them again.  They left on a high note.  Har, har.

But don't worry, a party can continue without kilts and bagpipes.  And if the bar is open and Meatloaf comes on, who knows where things will go.  Actually, I know exactly where things will go.  As one of the sole sober people in the hall, I can recount with detail how these things shape up.
The groom gestures across the room to his cousin to join him in an intensely dramatic dance.
Cousin accepts.  Sasha stares and thinks, "where is this going?"
Cousin starts romantic in-a-field running across the hall.
Cousin reaches the dance floor.  Cousin slides across the dance floor. Sasha: "Oh my, Shawn, Shawn, look!"
Groom attempts to jump over cousin as cousin slides through his legs.  Shawn: "What'd I miss?"
Sasha: "It was amazing.  Cousin just slid under groom's legs in the the best parody dance ever."
Shawn: "He's lucky, that is a great way to bash your head off the floor."
Cousin gets up.  Missing two teeth.
Everyone thinks its hilarious.  Everyone is drunk - stuff like that is legendary.  Everyone except his 8-month pregnant wife.

AMAZING.  But the best part of that that whole episode?  The next morning at brunch I can hear someone talking behind my back, but I don't need to turn around to see who it is because he said, "There wath these guyth...."

Thank you, old Canadian friend.  That wath a theremony and party to remember.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Looking at the boys in a sly, shy way.


My dad likes to tease the kids.  "You aren't chasing the boys are you?  You aren't kissing the girls are you?" he says.

The other day he did his usual schtick, and Nevin answered with his familiar emphatic "NO!"

When PapaBear turned to Scarlett and asked her about kissing the boys, she coyly looked over her shoulder at him, and with a sly smile she said, "I'm just lookin' at them..."

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Big Month Moment: March 2016

"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.

When we found out that our favourite retired cyclist was coming to Ottawa, we did what anyone should do when a living legend enters your sphere: we got a babysitter and left our modesty at home.

We made t-shirts.  We chanted his name.  We smiled a lot.

He was everything we hoped: hilarious, full of funny stories of professional cycling, and treated everyone like he was excited to talk with them as they were to talk to him.  He is confident and grounded at the same time.

We surprised our pregnant friend with a t-shirt that said "I want to be like Jens when I grow up" on the belly.  She loved it.  Jen Voigt LOVED it.

So much that he granted me my 5 seconds of fame: he tweeted it to 230,00 people. 15 minutes is so 80's.  I'll take the tweet and call it a win.

It is so much fun to get wrapped up in a moment.  Can't wait for my next opportunity to act like a 15-year-old fangirl again!  (And to see my husband act like a 15-year-old fangirl, too).

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Nevin is smarter than Siri.


Have you ever asked Siri random questions?  We just discovered it the other night.  If you think its fun, try it with a seven year old.  The jokes are lost on them, but because you think its fun, they think its hilarious.  I had a blast.  His candid remarks?  Golden.  My favourite?  Below.

Me: Siri, what is your favourite colour?
Siri: My favourite colour is… well, I don’t know how to say it in your language. It’s sort of greenish, but with more dimensions.
Nevin: Obviously she is trying to say 'turquoise.'

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Big Month Moment: February 2016

"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.

My friend and I went cross-country skiing after dark.  It was icy -- a miserable failure -- and I loved it.  I felt free; like I was childless, twenty something, fit.  We slipped and slid our way up the narrow path to the main trail, chatting about about how crazy we were.  We were on An Adventure.

I was using Shawn's mountain biking head lamp.  It had more power than I need and one major flaw: its battery goes in your pocket and the wire attached to the light on your head.  This is perfect, and reliable, for biking since jerseys have the pocket on your back and you don't flail your arms.  But I was cross country skiing in the dark, on ice and my pocket was in the front of my jacket.  I kept hitting the cord.  Every time I did the light went out and, since the full moon was behind thick cloud cover, I went blind.

The start of the main trial has some good hills.  The kind that require courage and newbie ignorance.  We made it down one icy hill and decided to take our skis off and walk back.  It just wasn't worth getting hurt.

The thing is: we still had a great time.  I think that is what has changed in me since my twenties.  Its not that I'm less of a risk taker or am more aware of my mortality.  On the contrary, I think I am actually more willing to take risks than before.  I'm more adaptable.  I can go on An Adventure, not succeed at what I'd set out for and still embrace the experience.  Before, I couldn't get past the failed outcomes.  I think this adaptability might also be related to why I am more willing to take risks.

So we took a risk, we couldn't ski as we had hoped, and we ended up with a quiet stroll in the woods.  It wasn't a great workout or a thrill, but it was a lot of fun.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Bikini Tops


Prologue.  Scarlett found a bikini top that goes with her bathing suit.  I've only ever shown her the rash guard and bikini bottom, and she has worn those kind of like a full-coverage tankini.

Scarlett: I love this!  Can I wear my swimming bra to swimming lessons?
Me: Yes, but the pool is cold, so you have to wear a swimming shirt over it.
Scarlett: Yes!  I love my swimming bra!
Me:  Usually people call it a bikini.
Pause.  Scarlett considers bikini.
Scarlett:  I don't know...  Be Queenie seems kinda hard to remember.  I'm going to call it a swimming bra.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Big Month Moment: January 2015

Sunset Ski
"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.

4pm - Goodbye children.
4:30pm - Sunset cross-country skiing for two.  Deer make an appearance.
6 pm - Break into a house with a hot tub.  Enjoy.  (Technically, we have the keys and the hot tub is outside, so there was no break or enter, but they weren't home and that felt a little sneaky.)
6:30pm - Ditch dinner plans.
6:32pm - Arrive at grocery store.  Stock up on essentials: french fries, butter chicken sauce, a chicken breast, cheese, chicken wings and egg rolls.  Because thats how we roll.
6:45pm - Pick up baby, put to bed, leave older children for a sleep over.
7:30pm - Start watching The Martian.  Also known as the film adaptation of the first book we've ever read together.
8:00pm - Break out the popcorn and pretzels.  Because butter chicken poutine wasn't enough.
9:30pm - Go to bed, gloriously early.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Three reasons I love my husband on a random Saturday evening


1) In reference to something I hate, he said "It was marketed by Donald Trump and the devil."  That is what spurred this post, and really, it stands alone.

2) When I layed down, my pillow was really uncomfortable.  I reached under and pulled out a beanbag stuffed animal.  He started giggling.

3)  He got up with the baby.  Twice.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Malcolm at 13 months


Independence.  That's his word of the month.

He chugs his milk like its an ice cold beer on a hot July day, and he'll take it all on his own thank-you-very-much.
He prefers to go up the stairs without any help.  It is his favourite thing to do.
He will walk around furniture, if its his idea.  If you are holding his hands, it stands to reason that you could be just holding all of him in your arms, right?  Ergo, he has never attempted to stand, let alone walk, with the help of an adult.

And despite all this independence, he continues to be one of the most laid back babies I have ever met.  Happy to go with the flow, sit and explore whatever is within arms reach, eat the food placed in front of him without complaint (and continue to sit in his high chair long after the meal has finished and everyone has forgotten about him), and watch the world around him.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

On Breastfeeding

malcolm snuggle

I gave up breastfeeding exactly one week ago today.  It broke my heart.  I am the mother of a happy, healthy almost-13-month-old and it was time.  When I started this journey, exactly seven years ago, I never thought I cry at the end of it, or that I would come to love it as much as I have.

When I made the decision to breastfeed my first baby it was an easy one, but it wasn't for my benefit.  I did it for the baby.  I was so uncomfortable in my own skin.  I always covered up and often left the room if we had company.

I clearly remember the first time Shawn's grandmother came to visit us postpartum.  I was feeding the baby on the couch, covered by a nursing apron, and she came in and headed straight for me.  Her two old hands hobbling towards us, ready to snatch the apron, the baby and my dignity in one swoop.  In my mind I could hear the soundtracks of Jaws and Psycho and my internal dialogue screamed "she's going to lift the nursing cover!  She's going to see my boob!  Abort! Abort!"  Since I'd forgotten how to breathe, I choked out "we'll just be a minute.  Please."  That is how I felt about breastfeeding in the beginning: uncertainty, embarrassment and a little bit of fear.

Fortunately, my firstborn was a robust eater.  He was born to nurse; a real gem to learn with.  We figured it out, my confidence grew, and by the time I returned to work six months later, I chose to continue nursing him many times a day.  The benefits outweighed the lack of sleep and complex scheduling.  I cried the entire weekend after I stopped nursing him.

It was with my second baby that I began to feel like a natural.  I stopped caring as much about who saw what and although we still had hiccups (of both the literal and figurative kind), I loved it everyday.  We chose to forgo bottles.  When her first birthday -- and my inevitable return to work -- loomed, we got a little stressed because she didn't want anything else.  Only me.  In the end, it all worked out, as things with babies usually do, and I looked forward to my one last chance to feed a baby.

When that "one last chance" seemed like maybe it wouldn't happen, I would cry.  I was shocked to realize that a big part of what I was mourning was a lost opportunity to breastfeed again.  My perspective had changed so much - I now identified nursing as one of my favourite things to do.

The last baby finally did come into our lives and I was so excited to breastfeed him.  Even with a very tough start -- he was tongue tied -- I saw it as a gift.  Despite getting mastitis three times, I didn't want to give it up.  I think if he had been my firstborn, it may have shaded my view of breastfeeding, but he wasn't and I held on to this, my most favourite thing I've ever done.

And then he turned one and I returned to work, and I saw a window of opportunity.  He still loved breastfeeding, and I did too, but he no longer needed it.  It was a comfort for us.  I saw that I had a small time frame to stop before it turned to a habit of comfort that would be painful to take away from him later.  I have never wanted to be the mother of a breastfeeding two-year-old.  If I stopped now, he would quickly forget those tender moments.  So I did.

This is how it came to be that I am sitting here typing about breastfeeding, eating leftover chocolate birthday cake, tearing up over the loss of those moments, at 5:30am on a Saturday morning.  Today, it has been one week since I gave it up.  My milk hasn't dried up yet, and I don't think it will until I mourn and accept that it is over.  I'm not there yet.

Its interesting that it coincides with Nevin's birthday, the seven year anniversary of the start of this phase in my life.  A bit of a gift, I think.  I can look at my oldest in wonderment, see the beauty of a growing child, take pride in what I did for him in the early months of his life, and -- most importantly -- take solace in the fact that he still loves our cuddles.  I am reminded that although I am done breastfeeding, I still have years of quiet, intimate moments with my baby.
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