Friday, August 31, 2007

Fair Time

Last year we had a perfect day at the Canadian National Exhibition. Our expectations were set high this year and we made plans to go on a weekday evening so that we would avoid the big crowds. Unfortunately we were fighting odds on a repeat performance because Colin and I were both in a cranky mood. It didn't help that after buying a Ride All Day Midway Pass for both our girls, we discovered that Buttercup did not make the height requirement by a couple inches. She was turned away from many rides but luckily not everyone took their jobs too seriously.

Strawberry wanted to try the squirt the water into the target game. I spied a cuddly polar bear that she could win. There was only one other racer so she had a fifty percent chance of winning. Strawberry won the first try but the race was called off because the other player switched seats in the middle of the game. It really looked like she won the second round by a smidgeon but the carnival worker declared the other person victorious. Strawberry was obviously confused and disappointed. Colin and I tried to hide the fact that we were bitter and angry.

On some rides Buttercup wore the look of fear but she always returned to us bubbling over with excitement.

We questioned her, "Were you scared?" With wide eyes she nodded, "Yah. Scared."

We ask her, "Was it fun?" Then she gave a gleeful shout, "YAH!" and chased her big sister to the next ride.

Even though we didn't have the sweetest time ever, it was still pretty good family fun.

Maybe next year we'll try Canada's Wonderland instead.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


It never fails.
Cute shoes always end up killing your feet.
Cute toddlers always end up draining your soul.

The terrible twos have descended upon us. Throwing herself to the ground in a fit of hysterics, she tries to rip off the offending clothes that I have painfully struggled to put on her little body. There is screaming, kicking and crying. I wonder how she remembers to breathe. I kick into survival mode because I must have her dressed and out the door. This is just the start of the day. She continues to carry on her drama the entire way to daycare. I concentrate on driving the speed limit. Strawberry is close to tears because she can see that I am fuming and her little sister is obviously experiencing a traumatic event.

I take Buttercup to the toddler room. Her hair clings to her tear-stained face. Her bottom lip still quivers. She sees the daycare employee and within a brief moment her face lights up. She rushes over to give her a hug then she dismisses me with a smile and a wave.

"I love you," I reassure her. You little spawn of Satan is only a fleeting thought tacked on in my mind.

It's complete déjà vu as I went through this with Strawberry. These mornings of the world crashing in drama abruptly came to an end when she turned twenty-six months old. That was when her little sister was born and I pulled her out of daycare to spend leisure days at home with no more rushing to start the daily routine.

As there is no younger sibling in the works to rescue me from the destruction of the terrible twos, I am dreading the next three hundred and twenty-one days of hell. Like magic, on her third birthday she will turn into a picture of sweetness again, right? I am desperate for the power of reasoning through communication.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Nice: The Sequel

Sugar and caffeine

And every boy's dream

That's what Canadian girls are made of.

Especially when we're jacked up on Beaver Buzz.

Sometimes I worry that my blog is turning into an inside joke that only I'm in on, but I'm laughing too hard to notice.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Making Nice

When I think of things that are nice I envision blueberry pie, a sunny day and Reese Witherspoon.

I also think of it in terms of exchanging pleasantries with someone you don't know very well.

Them - "We just got back from a trip with our in-laws."
Me - "Oh, how nice!"

I save it for times that sound like it might not necessarily be my cup of tea. It has taken on a double entendre that I also reserve for the phrase "that's interesting."

I prefer to say the word as an entire sentence, in a slightly sarcastic tone and as if I was a character in the movie Dazed and Confused.


Needless to say, you could imagine how excited I was to receive my very first blogging award: The Nice Matters Award. It comes with this really nice button.

It's because I don't swear on this blog right? Thankfully it was awarded to me from my wondrously, brilliant friend Sandra. She equates nice as the plain, boring, single girl that is being set up on a blind date. She's told all her hot, single friends to check out my nice blog.

Don't get me wrong. I am gracious that Sandra recognized me and I am going to take this opportunity to bring back nice. Because it's sexy to be nice.

“This award is for those bloggers who are cool people and awesome blog friends - those who bring tingly feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you’ve been awarded, please pass it on to 7 others who you feel are deserving of this award.”

Now I'd like to make nice and pass it on.

The sexy Motherbumper helped me with the finishing touches on the new nice button! She often creeps into my head and this makes me feel less alone.

Debbie has the biggest heart. I love her to pieces.

Nora and Pattie are like long lost friends. I hope to share conversation and wine with them one day.

The loveable Kittenpie is a more reasonable version of me but as a sexy librarian.

Kyla and Chelle are beyond sweet.

So who's up for a big party in Nice so we can enjoy the niceties of the French Riviera? I'll even bake a pie while wearing some nice lingerie!

*For real fun use this post for as a drinking game. Take a large gulp of your favourite beverage every time you read the word nice. I'm sure that I'll look nicer when you're tipsy.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Nature Chronicles by an Urban Girl

It was a fine afternoon for a leisure canoe ride. We suited the children in life jackets, grabbed the paddles and set off.

I was admiring my Opi Dutch Tulip pedicure when disaster struck.

A tree frog landed on my foot.

Knowing that I did not want to upset the girls, tip the canoe or pass on a fear of amphibians, I willed myself to remain calm. The feeling of the slimy frog on my skin was beyond my tolerance level. I screamed out "GO AWAY! GET THE HELL OFF OF ME!"

My husband piped up from the rear, "I can't do anything for you."

In a disgusted tone I lashed back, "Not you. The frog!"

Unfortunately I am not fluent in the language of frogs or maybe he was attracted to my Dutch Tulip toes. The canoe ride was abruptly called off. We headed for the shore.

Colin did damage control showing the girls not to be afraid of the little froggy. Strawberry asked, "Mommy do you think he's ug-gah lee?"

No sweetie. Frogs are our friends.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

J To The K

When it came time for my parents to send me off to school with a box of raisins (I really loved raisins), they tried to enroll me at the school that was the closest to our house. This Catholic school rejected me. It was something to do with not being Catholic.

It's pretty much undisputable that school is a great force in molding and shaping us into educated and respectable people. Our first years in school establish our habits and passion to learn. Magazines release articles about the top 25 schools in Canada. As with all our parenting decisions it feels like more pressure is placed upon us to make the right choices for our children. Our shoulders are strapped with heavy bricks.

It's true that I know nothing about Ontario schools being that I did not grow up here but I'm not the kind to fret. I am a strong believer in the theory that things will work out they way that they should. I did not sign up for daycare at the moment of conception. Instead the daycare that I drove by every day on the way to work had one opening when we were looking. I booked a tour and then lucked out even though there was a waiting list. It was all in the timing.

I know some women that began researching elementary school's grade averages and scores before their child's first birthday. At Christmas, Colin's relatives urged me to enroll Strawberry in Junior Kindergarten as soon as possible. Once again I decided to go with the school that I drove by every day. It's not the closest school to our house but it one of the closest to her daycare. This is where it gets tricky. We discovered we would have to get extra forms in order to apply to this school. It was at this point that I did a little bit of research on the internet. I found out that it is a coveted school. Bonus! Of course I did not connect the dots at the time to realize that this meant more parents would be trying to get their children into this school.

There were six spots available for children outside their district. They received twenty two applicants. I began to worry that I would have to start looking for a new daycare solution if Strawberry did not get into this school. Luck intervened! Our daycare rubbed it in reminded me that I should be very thankful and to cool it with my laxadaisy attitude.

This began the era of shout outs to Strawberry's big girl school whenever we drove by. We are all getting excited. I even dragged Colin to a tour and introduction to JK where other parents horrified us with their PTA overachieverness. Yes, that is a new word that is special for them! They must have thought we were delinquents that crashed their meeting for the apple juice and cookies.

Twenty three more sleeps until our first born is in the school system. I already think that Ms. G. rocks for sending a hand written letter in the welcome package.

We are super lucky. Please don't hate us. You would not believe what we had to endure in our past lives. Maybe the Catholic school should have taken me.

Monday, August 13, 2007

All the Colours of the Rainbow

With respect to science, we've discovered some disturbing, unofficial test results, not once but twice.

It appears that if you give your children every colour of the rainbow, you will discover that one colour is triumphant in the end. That's right. This is a mommy blog so I am talking about poo here.

After eating multiple shades of licorice, the dominant colour that will shock you with its vibrant shade and revolting chunky bits is a radiant shade of green.

Not actual poo!

Of course further research would be required to prove that this phenomenon goes beyond my two willing test subjects. However I do not condone the testing of any products on children even fruit flavoured candy. I think we will stick with regular Twizzlers from here on out.

Now if this doesn't seque into all matters green ever so nicely... Would you kindly spare a moment of your day to answer one important question?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Modus Vivendi

A while back my friend Mouse tagged me in the ten things I like about me meme. These are a few of the things that I love.

I can find the humour in the crazy nothingness of every day life. I love having people around me that can turn silliness into never ending jokes. It's like Seinfeld never ended.

I can love whole heartedly with every atom of my being.

Music fills me with energy. It's like a fresh breath of clean air for my soul. It lifts me up and carries me through every day of my life. Plus I know a few things about music. All these years, erm… twenty, cough, bringing home the crispy bacon with this knowledge might be good for something.

I love my friends because the people that surround us make us who we are.

I can escape in a blink of an eye. I fall deep into every form of entertainment but I don't even need a great novel or film to lose myself. My imagination carries me away at any moment of the day.

I have learned to love to spend time with myself alone. Not in that Hot and Bothered way, you dirty girl/boy. As a teenager, I gravitated to my friends and couldn't understand when my best friend needed some time to herself. Now I completely get it.

I make some truly, delicious chocolate chip cookies. My parents and younger brother dubbed them Smores because they always wanted more. I used to bake them every time I got caught up in teenage depression. We inhaled a lot of these cookies in the '80's.

I enjoy my appreciation for coffee. I love experiencing the heat on my palms as I wrap my fingers around a large, steamy cup, breathing in the wake-me-up aroma and sipping the comforting liquid every day. Wait! Make that multiple times a day. I love that I can always look forward to my next cup of coffee. I love finding out that my addiction will only benefit my memory when I'm a senior.

I'm competitive with myself. Actually that's a love/hate thing but I think I'm winning.

I love knowing the contagious power of a smile. I like that it comes naturally to beam at strangers. I love seeing someone smile at me and realizing that it's because I have been smiling at them. That's me, Miss Mary Sunshine, spreading happiness around the world, one smile at a time.

I've never been great at tag but I got to say it feels pretty sweet to step back and take inventory on some positive qualities that make me who I am. So go on... get all glowy with me. We can take turns trying to fit our inflated heads through the doorway.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Big Dreams

It’s pretty rare for me to remember my dreams. My consistent state of being over tired and stubbornly avoiding bed when I know I should be sleeping pretty much kills the whole dream process.

This morning though I caught the memory of one fresh in my mind and I wanted to write it down.

We were still at the cottage. I dreamt that our friends, D&D suddenly showed up with a Land Rover Defender 90. It’s one of those toys that I’ve always wanted. Zero practicality but the dumb thing just appeals to me. Jana was out with our car doing something but she quickly returned with a Land Rover herself. (Yes, this dream is fully sponsored by Land Rover and Cottage Life Magazine.)

What Jana had was the full sized SUV. Overly practical with four rows of seating and I think it had eight doors. I was totally stunned. “You sold our car?!?” She didn’t offer any explanation. She was entirely nonchalant. “But I had stuff in that car!! We bought that car for you specifically! The roof racks were still on it!” Her only response was “You had nothing of any real value in the car.” How could she do this? We have never discussed a huge SUV. The car was legally in my name. What crazy Dealership would do such a thing?

The dream ended right about there with me totally dazed. I woke up soon after and started wondering what would cause me to have such a spun dream. All I could think of was the recent trip MBT just had to Chicago in the huge Suburban.

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Private Butterfly

The blasting sound of two parties battle on, like a bad DJ out of control. The night air is crisp and cool on my skin. My hair desperately needs to be washed. I run my fingers through my dirty tresses and bring out handfuls of long strands.

The passing train adds to the mix a comforting reverberation. It is similar to the drifting banjo that came from across the bay three nights ago. I prefer those twangs than the loud, beating bass and constant shouting of drunken excitement from around the blazing fire.

I have been coming to this spot in the world for fourteen years. It is a place that is not my own. The sun stretches across the lake and the wind blows in from the west. It is my husband’s family cottage. The old, yellow cabin is the most worn out building among the new expanding lakefront properties.

Years ago it was my boyfriend that invited streams of friends to congregate each long weekend. We turned the yard into a campground with everyone bringing tents, boats and drinks aplenty. Now that we have turned into an old married couple and spawned, we traded our tent for a pop-up trailer. It is his youngest brother's turn to offer up the northern getaway to every city friend. Most of the girls are a decade younger than me. They parade around in bikinis.

The beer that I brought remains in the cooler. The gin and tonics are not poured. I have no desire to join in on the merriment. I hide in our new tent trailer or take my daughters on walks to collect rocks. Tonight by flickering candlelight I sit and write on my laptop. I contemplate if it is my lack of self-confidence that makes me crawl into my shell. I have always considered myself to be an extrovert but I am now reflecting that even in my youth, the act of being a social butterfly never came easy. When my own friends surrounded me, I would still often opt out.

At the moment, with the generation difference, I find myself fighting off feelings of disgust in the ceaseless carousing. I long for some quiet time with my family. I want bask in the beauty of nature. I don’t want to feel self-conscious or out of place. I need to unearth a slice of Zen. It surrounds me however it is miles away.