Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 - Not a Bad Year

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

2006 ends tonight. I was trying to write down my various New Year's Resolutions. I only came up with one. And it's sort of silly. So I decided to look back on this past year and what we've been up to.
First things first - we moved ... a lot! Since March we've lived in 3 different places: A rental apartment in Oakville, our condo in Toronto and finally our townhouse in Burlington.

(Matt at our apartment)

(This picture was taken the day we moved out of the condo for the 2nd and last time)

In between moving houses, we also had a bunch of other stuff going on. Like it or not, we entered into the wonderful world of toddlerhood with Matthew. I have to admit, I was terrified at the prospect of the terrible twos, but it hasn't been all that bad. We've definitely had our share of temper tantrums, meltdowns, etc., but this has been an amazing year. We went from having a little baby to having a kid who is fun. At 32 months he never stops talking (and singing). We know what he wants, what he likes, etc. And, the spontaneous stuff like hims saying "mommy is beautiful" (so true!) and "I love you" is so worth the temper tantrums.

Matt did a whole lot of growing this year and he had tons of new experiences. I now totally understand why parents spoil their kids. It's just so cool when you see them developing new interests and fun ideas. I'm so guilty of this. Like, when I discovered that Matthew liked rides, I felt compelled to take him both to the CNE and Canada's Wonderland.
For the record, though this was taken at the CNE, we far preferred Canada's Wonderland. It turns out to be way cheaper, it seems much safer, and the stuff for kids is a million times better.
The CNE, though cool, paled in comparison. I really think Matt's favourite thing of the day was the streetcar ride to and from the CNE.
Matthew loved taking the TTC not only to the CNE but also to his daycare at Yonge and Davisville. He was so proud that he could tell everyone we went to Eglinton Station and Davisville Station.
It amazes me what this kid has learned this year. For instance, the other day he was washing his hands and kept saying he wanted some "Agua". Thank goodness this happened at my parents' home where my dad was able to explain that he was asking for water. It's scary when your toddler can speak in a language you don't understand.
Personally, it's been a pretty big year for me too. Just before Mother's Day this year I went to my doctor who told me that I was in a crappy place physically. She was pretty understanding. I'd had a crappy first year with Matt, went back to work, moved twice (at this point) and was just generally stressed. But, when she weighed me and tested my blood pressure we decided that I should probably lose some weight.
And lose weight I have. I've lost a little over 30 pounds (pre-Christmas, that is) and feel better about myself. I have a ways to go - like 20 pounds or so - but that's coming. And, I plan to push harder in the New Year.


You can see the difference a few pounds makes.
And, that's my friend and former neighbour Ginny blowing bubbles.




I also went on an amazing trip for work. In July I went with the Board and Senior Staff to Alberta. It was the longest I'd been away from Matthew. It was a learning experience for me. It was fun and hard and rewarding - everything that you are looking for in a good experience. I missed my boys more than I had expected too. Someone told me that it's a pretty amazing experience coming home and seeing your child after you've been away for awhile. It's true. The minute I saw Matt I burst into tears (as did he).
I have to say - this is one of the most beautiful pictures ever. It was taken at a golf course. You can see the background of the mountains behind us. In case you were wondering, the woman next to me is my boss.
In addition to my excitement of the year, Mike's year was interesting too. He turned the big 3-0 in January. I had a surprise party with some of his friends which was pretty fun. He also switched jobs in December. So, pretty busy.
My nieces also did a whole lot of growing up. Miss Kyla is now a four-year old. We had a blast at her Princess Party in July where I made a special guest appearance as "Aunt Princess Laural". It was pretty adorable, and I still can't believe I led several preschoolers in a little dance routine in the middle of Jack Astors!!!
My other niece Paige - seriously. She was such a baby for so long and then suddenly she blossomed into a child. She no longer is content to watch Matty and Kyla play. She wants to get right in on the action. She is tiny but feisty. Matt often knocks her down in his excitement and she just bounces right up to keep playing.
I have a feeling that as the cousins get older Matt and Paige will be running around and playing tag while Kyla and I play Barbies and do our nails. (we can dream, right?)














Kyla (on the left of Princess Laural) Paige - hamming it up with uncle Mike

And, of course, the recap of our year would not be complete without some pictures of the best place in the world - Vermont!!!
















So, from my and my family - I hope you had a wonderful 2006 and I hope you have an even better 2007!
Thanks for reading and commenting and sharing in the excitement of my life.


Happy 2007!!!!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Let There Be Light!

The power in our house has been restored.
It is no easy feat finding an electrician. Over the Christmas holidays that is.
The ones that are working are charging a lot - double to triple their regular fees.
So, we stuck it out with the candles for quite awhile. In fact, it was kind of cool having a bath with candle light. Actually, I didn't. I showered to candle light.
It wasn't that the lack of light was bugging me. It's just that I kept burning myself when I would light the candles.Ouch!
And I was getting worried that Matt would touch a candle or set a fire. The possibilities were endless. Not to mention how annoying it is to get up at 5:22 am with no light and try to find a lighter to light a candle.
So, I called around. And, after exhausting an internet search of possible electricians, and finally securing an appointment for next Wednesday (which would have required me to take a day off) I turned the the newspaper.
And I found Steve.
he had a teeny tiny add in the paper, and I hoped that meant a good rate. I called, he offered me a free quote. He was hired.
So he came over today.
He had a small tool kit, and said very little. But he was nice and friendly and seriously fixed the problem in about 15 minutes. I think he felt badly when he charged me $50. It was that quick. But, hey, I was expecting it to be about $250 - and we had no idea how to fix it. So, then I was about to give him a cheque, but I decided that no, perhaps he would prefer cash.
So there we were. Him delighted with the cash and the quick job. Me delighted with how cheap it all was. We were both grinning. I almost hugged him. Almost.
Instead I wished him a happy New Year, offered him some cookies (he said no - I think I scared him) and then he left.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Christmas Holidays that Aren't

Don't worry.
I'm not feeling sorry for myself. Really. I'm not.
It's just that I'm wishing I'd taken a little more Christmas Vacation. Actually, that's not completely true. I think I'm jealous of my son.
See ...
My dad is a principal and so he is on vacation. And he and my mom have been taking Matthew out of daycare (not for the full day) to do fun things.
Like yesterday they picked him up early and went to the playgroud.
Today they are taking him skating.
Which is awesome. I love that I have parents who will do this. And, I love that I have a daycare that is cool with Matt's grandparents picking him up.
But, I'm kind of jealous. I want to be skating today. And leaving early to watch Oprah. And going shopping. Fun stuff.
But, it's been not so bad at work. I've made a concerted effort to take lunch - and today I'm going with some friends who I never get to go for lunch with. And we're going to the snazzy salad restaurant (okay, one BFAW and I are going, the other is getting her usual Teriyaki - but we will sit together). So it's not all bad.
I just feel like Christmas this year was way too short.
Maybe next year we'll go on a Disney Cruise. That sounds super fun!!!!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Great Grandad

My maternal grandfather is 96. You'd never guess if you saw him. But it's true. He's in pretty good health (considering)and still lives on his own.
We don't see him that often. He doesn't live too far. It's just that his place is set up for an elderly gentleman, and I have a very active toddler. And I had a very active baby. Whenever I've brought Matt to visit his Great Grandad he's torn the place apart in a matter of minutes. He would throw the knick knacks, eat the cords, shuffle the papers.
It made it hard to have a visit of more than 5 minutes. So, it's been awhile.
But then yesterday happened. My active toddler was a loving little boy. I'm not sure if he'd been mellowed by all the morning's excitement or if he is just calming down a bit, but yesterday's visit with his great grandad was fantastic. They chatted. They played. Grandad showed Matt a camera and Matt was thrilled. Grandad also showed Matt his collection of elastics. And we were there for an hour.
(Note: If you want to entertain a toddler, elastics are an incredibly effective method)
Really, we could have stayed longer, but we had to get to Mike's parents' place.
To me, this was a pretty huge deal. My grandad is a cool guy with a ton of life history (you accomplish a lot in 96 years) and I really want Matt to know him. And, finally I see that maybe they will find something in common.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Santa Came!!!

Just a few pictures before we're off to see Mike's family and my grandad.
Since I was up nice and early (5:30) and had 2 hours before I finally woke the boys up I decided to celebrate with my cat. Seriously. I dressed her up in a Santa jacket. And took pictures. She wasn't too keen on the look. She just sat there. I think she was too scared to move.
Thank goodness Matt got up so that I could go Christmas crazy with him and the cat was off the hook.
Merry Christmas Everyone!!



Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Traditions ... New and Old


This Christmas, now that Matthew understands a bit about the concept of Christmas, we have been thinking a lot about traditions. What is important to me, what is important to Mike and what we want to share with Matthew.
This is our fifth Christmas as a married couple. So, I'm not sure if that would be long enough to have that many traditions. We both come from traditions. Our combined traditions run the gammut from watching White Christmas (put on the music to "Sisters" and my sister and I will perform the routine flawlessly) to sipping rum flavoured egg nog (this is Mike's family's tradition).
But what do we have?
Well, we have our annual Christmas Eve McDonald's breakfast which Matt was thrilled to partake in this year. We have our annual trip to Starbucks arriving just after Strabucks closes. And we have established quite nicely that Christmas Day we spend at Mike's Family's home while Boxing Day is spent at my family's. These are things we do. And we love.
But there's one other thing that seems to happen to us.
Our annual Christmas Calamity.
One year I had the flu. I know we've all had it - but I am the Christmas person of the family. On Christmas Eve (with an 8 month old baby and very needy dog) I spent the morning puking and then while shopping for Mike's stocking threw up all over Shopper's Drug Mart (Thank God Mike was there, it was a store used to ill people, etc. etc. Mike ended up buying and wrapping his own stocking stuffers and still claims it was his best stocking ever!!)
Another year I had a serious feminine issue which I refuse to blog about.
Another year I was pregnant and just a little out of control due to the fact that nothing fit.
This year's Christmas calamity? We have lost power to half of our house. No. Not kidding. There are no lights in the bathrooms, hallway or dining room. Our kitchen appliances work, but we are forced to cook in the dark. We know a fuse has been blown, but ever time we replace the fuses they just blow again (yes, everything is turned off). My dad came over to help but couldn't fix it. Mike's dad has no idea. We're clueless. We're also not calling an emergency electrician ause it's just too pricey.
So, we are sitting in the candlelight and hoping that this is the only calamity that will befall us. It could be much worse. Our whole house could be out of power. We could have lights but no appliances. My very thoughtful relatives could have decided not to give us a gigantic apple 3-wick candle as a house warming gift.
Life is good. It's Christmas. But, if anyone knows a cheap electrician in Burlington, please let me know!!!

Friday, December 22, 2006

'Tis the Season

Today is my last day of work before Christmas.
And it's a half day so life really is quite good today. Last night we did our final shopping (cookies for Matt's daycare teachers and new shoes for him since his favourite ones are literally falling apart). Tonight I will finish up some of the wrapping I have to do - and the one craft project my sister and I doing. And, then it will be time to celebrate.
What I'm loving right now, though, is Matt's appreciation for the season. He's into it. And he's getting us into it. Like last night, we were walking through the parking lot at Walmart and he kept alternating between singing Rudolph and Jingle Bells. And then he started to sing the tune of Jingle Bells, but with different words. All at the top of his lungs. And despite the fact that everyone around us was stressed by the last minute shopping, tons of people turned to smile at us. It was pretty cute.
And, once we were done at Walmart we went on a light tour. This is one of my favourite Christmas events. There's a house in Burlington that is completely adorned with lights. It's pretty amazing. It has visiting hours and everything. So we took Matt to see that house. And then we drove around looking at other light displays. I sware, people in the suburbs go crazy with Christmas lights. We noticed that on some streets there is very clearly competition. It's rather bizarre. But, fun for us to look at.
So then we went home to our single pathetic light strand. It was kind of funny. First of all, Mike has made a point that he thinks all white lights should be banned in favour of colour lights. He thinks there should be a by-law. But, all we could unearth in our Christmas boxes was a single strand of white lights. So that is our decoration. But, to us it's Christmassy since we figure we're doing quite well by at least doing something having just moved.
But, the point is we went home. To this awesome house that we have been wanting for years - which nothing ever worked together for. So, we're kind of thrilled. And we arrived home to Christmas cards, and some stuff my sister left in our mailbox (since she's 5 minutes away and can do that!!!) and I realized just how lucky we are this year. Or perhaps the word is blessed.
But whatever it is. I'm grateful.
'Tis the season everyone. Let's celebrate.
And, soon to come (i.e. when I download the pictures) I will post the pictures of Matthew's Hanukkah celebration with the dreidel a friend of mine gave us. Soon. I promise!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas Cookies

In honour of Jeff's Tuesday Newsday Jeff's site and he had some cool stuff to say." I too am posting a story. Not copying you or anything. (but check out the link - I finally figured that out!)
But ...
This weekend I baked about 10 dozen buttertart bars. TEN DOZEN! Actually, it's more like 12. I have not cut them all. This is all because on Thursday of this week I am taking part in a cookie exchange ... with my BFAW's.
And then later in the week (date not set) I'm exchanging cookies with my family. That way we will all have lots of fun and entertaining Christmas cookies.
But the stress, people. The stress!
It sounded so fun. Until Matt decided to help me. Ever tried to bake 144 bars with a two year old? The recipe (for all the batches) took 24 eggs. Matthew loves cracking eggs. Actually, he did quite well at cracking them. Better than I could have. But, the point is that it is no easy feat.
But I did it. And I was proud. I still need to cut them. But I was pretty darn proud.
And then yesterday I read this. (below). It's funny. I enjoyed it. I hope you do too.

---

Arts & Life
Recipe for disaster: What was once meant to be a time-saving tradition between friends has turned into snarky competition: The dark side of the cookie exchange
Anne Marie Owens
National Post
1173 words
18 December 2006
National Post
National
AL1
English
(c) 2006 National Post . All Rights Reserved.
It was the day before the annual cookie exchange party when Christine Metcalfe decided the cookies she'd made didn't exactly match the size or the pale pink patina of the ones in the Gourmet magazine recipe and she began to bake all over again.
"Everything looks so easy when you see it on the TV or when you see Martha, but then it comes out and it doesn't quite look the same," she said. "I’m not a baker, but you want them to be beautiful."
As a result of this imperfection, she brought to her friend's party an assortment of five dozen baked goods, each cellophane-wrapped seasonal plate containing a mixed dozen of the raspberry- chocolate sandwich cookies, Christmas-tree cutout cookies and a marshmallow-chocolate confection so perfectly formed it looked as if it had come from a high-end bakery.
This Sunday night cookie exchange in Burlington, Ont., is convened by a woman who calls herself a "cookie party bitch," because after years of bringing home dozens of shoddy baked goods and choking back cookies she knew she would never serve to guests, she now secretly invites a select few she is confident can bake up to the standard she requires for holiday entertaining.
Midway through the evening's small, hand-picked party, she brings out one of the cookies she received in the cookie exchange she attended with workmates a few days earlier and makes everybody take a nibble of a plain-looking, decidedly untasty confection.
This is the dark side of the cookie exchange: Gossip-fuelled tasting sessions; covert cookie exchanges; cookie party bitches.
Billed as an efficient way of meeting all holiday baking needs in one fell swoop by having people each bake several dozen of the same thing and then swapping with everyone attending the party, the cookie exchange has emerged as a holiday-season solution for the busy working woman trying to do it all.
But the cookie exchange is no panacea. Some have standards so high that participants stay up all night trying to find the perfect recipe and spend a fortune on what amounts to a high-stakes bake-off; at others, the playing field is so lopsided that ample-sized, home baked goods are swapped for burnt gingerbread or brownies the size of quarters; and in some, the unofficial competition to exceed extends beyond the quality of the baked goods to the way they are packaged, making the practical, plastic-wrapped dozen seem an inferior trade to a multi-ribboned offering.
"I remember walking into [my host's] beautifully decorated home and stopping dead in my tracks as I saw all the cellophaned, beribboned cookie plates," recalls one Mississauga, Ont., mother, who immediately burst into tears when she arrived at her first neighbourhood cookie exchange lugging a bag full of large Tupperware containers rather than individually wrapped gems such as those laid out in her neighbour's front room.
Until that moment, the 42-yearold was proud she'd been able to pull off such a domestic feat in between juggling the conflicting demands of her high-powered, full-time job and the hectic schedules of her two teenaged children -- even though it meant staying up for most of the night, finally packing the goodies into containers at 3 a.m. before the 9 a.m. exchange; even though it meant an earlier breakdown in her kitchen when the shortbread recipe -- "It was kitchen tested!" she insists -- produced much fewer than promised and ended up having to be cut into portions as small as quarters.
"I think I must have some internal need to prove that I am indeed a supermom. No matter how much I work, or how much money I make, I have to be a baker too," says the woman, who like the "cookie-party bitch," does not want her name used for fear it will forever cut her ties with her cookie-swapping set, no matter how fraught the annual obligation.
Rather than aid the busy, time-strapped mother, the cookie exchange actually explains everything about the conundrum of the modern mother who really does, despite the evidence, believe she can do it all -- working full time, whipping up unbelievably perfect confections and beaming broadly when greeting the season's guests with goodies that are home-baked, not bought.
Those caught up in such things blame Martha Stewart, Nigella Lawson and all the other domestic goddesses who have elevated the art of home entertaining to unbelievably high standards, but others say it is modern motherhood that is to blame.
Susan Douglas, who co-authored the book, The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined Women, has not had much experience with cookie exchanges, but says, "Whatever it is, it sure sounds like yet more work for mothers."
Her book, which blames the unrealistic celebrity version of domestic life for the modern climate of competitive mothering, describes it as "the Martha Stewartization of America, in which we are meant to sculpt the carrots we put into our kids' lunches into the shape of peonies." Her book is meant as a rallying cry for women to say, without feeling like bad mothers, "No, I'm not baking you 40 blueberry muffins at 10 o'clock at night so you can bring them in for snack tomorrow. We'll go to the store tomorrow to buy something."
In the case of the cookie exchange, food-related Web sites and magazines only perpetuate this image of domestic perfection and efficiency. On the Chefs Web site ( www.chefs.com ), Penny McConnell describes the cookie exchange or cookie swap as "a holiday ritual that's easy to organize, fun to host and handles my entire cookie needs in two or three short hours." According to the Kraft Web site, "Everyone goes home with a great assortment of home-baked cookies for the holiday season! And all they had to do is bake one kind! … The idea of 'many hands make light work' surely applies when it comes to a cookie exchange!"
Even the blogosphere, where one might expect to find the candid tell-alls dished out by veterans of the cookie exchange, raises the domestic standards bar ever higher, showing pictures of beautiful baked goods, adorned with hand-crafted recipe cards and wrapped, by the dozen, to perfection.
"You can't help but set your sights high," says Metcalfe, who admits that each year she spends a fortune on the cookies she bakes and all the various baking equipment required for her once-a-year contribution to this domestic art.
"I think that now, you have to be the mother, the wife, the cookie-baking lady."

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Week Away - Hooray!

The Christmas Spirit is hitting me! I'm so excited.
We're a week away from the big day and I couldn't be more excited. This year is pretty cool for us since we finally have a child who is understanding Christmas. He's loving the excitement and the presents and the stories of Santa. He gets really excited when we go to the mailbox and there are cards - especially ones for him.
I'm not really sure he understands that he will be getting presents. He knows Santa is cool, but he doesn't quite get the concept.
For instance, the other day I asked him how Santa was getting to our house. He told me that Santa would be on a snowboard and all his presents would be on the TTC. (with the reindeers going to Eglinton Station).
He just seems pretty excited about the fun stuff going on. And I'm loving that.
Of course, we are in gift shopping panic. I made a list and a budget and diligently followed it until I started wrapping and decided that we had not bought enough. So, sadly, I'm off shopping again. I finally sorted out my sister's gift. I think I'm done Mike's gift. I'm not sure that I've done enough for my in-laws. And I think my mom needs some more stuff.
I have to say, my mom and my sister are the hardest to buy for. I always want to get nice stuff, but it's hard to get the perfect things.
The other thing I'm totally looking forward to is Thursday night. Every year since I can remember my dad and I have gone "Christmas Eve Shopping". It's a tradition I love. My dad has always been a last minute guy when it comes to Christmas. And he is utterly convinced, or at least was, that the best deals are the 'flashing blue light specials' on Christmas Eve. No kidding. Kmart used to do this and we'd get some good stuff.
Kmart is no more, and I'm not convinced that there are still deep discounts in the days leading up to Christmas, but the tradition continues. We've moved it up by a few days, but we still do it.
We've had some momentous Christmas Eve shops. Probably the funniest was when we wandered around Dixie Outlet Mall when I was visibly pregnant. My dad is a super shopper, and can seriously power shop. He must have bought me 5 bottles of juice to keep me going. It was pretty funny. In the end we cut the day short and went to Jack Astors. Still it was fun.
This year I'm actually pretty good for gifts, so we will be covering a couple of key areas - stocking stuffers for the kids and stuff for my mom.
I'm the unofficial fashion guru when it comes to my mom's Christmas gifts. My mom prefers that stuff he buys meets my approval. That way we avoid fashion disasters on Christmas morning like the charming Santa Sweaters, baggy track pants, etc.
We usually start the evening off with dinner out. We are currently debating between Kelsey's and Swiss Chalet. My suggestion of the Zellers Diner (for efficiency) was quickly declined by my dad.
This year's shop should be extra exciting due to a new Winners in the mall will be going to. I can't wait. The evening is guaranteed to be fun-filled, coffee-filled and present filled. My dad will invariably suggest gifts that I would never in a million years come up with. We'll laugh, get good deals and in the end enjoy the one father-daughter outing that we have never ever cancelled.
Anyone else in the spirit???

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Old Friends

I've lived in my old neighbourhood for 2 weeks now.
In that time I've bumped into several old friends. In particular friends I went to elementary school with.
Take this morning for example. Mike and I went out for breakfast. we had been to his Christmas party the night before, and my sister took Matthew overnight. So it was just the two of us. Anyway, there we were chatting over coffee when this guy came over.
He had actually been staring at me for a couple minutes, and it wasn't because I was looking particularly appealing or anything.
He just walked up to our table and said "excuse me, is your name Laural?"
So, of course I said yes. And he asked if I knew who he was. No, I didn't.
"I'm Billy."
Yep. Billy from sixth grade. Billy who annoyed the crap out of me, and made bizarre jokes, and thought farting in class was funny. Never, in a million years, would I have thought he would recognize me. Or, for that matter, if he did, did I think he would come say hi.
But he did, which was cool. And of course I introduced him to Mike. And showed him pictures of Matt, and then asked what he had been up to.
We chatted about our lives, who we still talk to, etc. etc. And we both agreed it was weird to see where everyone is at.
It's weird that at our late twenties some people are married with kids (like me), others are already divorcing, others are engaged, and still others feel marriage is a long way off. Hmmmm....
But, it's still weird to see so many familiar faces. We lived in Toronto for years, and I'd rarely see people over and over. But, here it has been like old home week.
I'm beginning to dress up to go to the grocery store. At the condo it was rare that I saw people I knew at the store (except my neighbours), but here it's everywhere.
Do I like it? Yep. I do

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Best Christmas Concert EVER!




Last night was Matthew's Christmas concert. It was a concert/potluck/craft evening. Very very cool.
First of all, thank you to EVERYONE who gave me ideas for our potluck item. We had totally settled on meatballs, but someone already signed up. Then Jeff gave me this awesome dinner idea, and when I went to sign up I discovered there were no desserts.
So, I went with an old standby - trifle. It was a total hit. Seriously, I was approached by a couple of people saying it was really yummy. So, yay for that. I'll post the recipe.
Anyway ...
So we got there around 6:30. We dropped the kids off in the classroom and headed down to the cafetorium for the concert. Matthew's daycare is in a highschool, hence the cafetorium. I was a little concerned because Matt was really confused about why we were leaving him again, but his super amazing teachers took care of it, brought him into the classroom and calmed him down in like 10 seconds.
We got seats, all the parents filed in, and waited a few minutes.
Pretty quickly, like within about 10 minutes, in filed the children. It was super adorable. They were all wearing reindeer ears, and they actually all filed in in a line and went right up on the stage. I, of course, was going crazy with the camera, as were most of the parents.
Serioulsy, the concert was the cutest thing in the world. They had all of the children come on the stage, and there are about 25 kids. And they led them in 4 songs - Jingle Bells, Rudolph, Up on the Housetop and finally We Wish You a Merry Christmas.
The kids all sang. Matthew was right into it. He knew all of the words, he was tapping his foot, he was standing in one spot.
I couldn't have been prouder or taken more pictures.
When they were done we all found tables and lined up for the potluck. In between lining up, eating and waiting for Santa they had tables of crafts for the parents to do with their children. We made a Rudolph ornament.
Santa arrived with, no kidding, a bagpiper, who led him around the room and played Christmas carols. Then he sat on a bench and all the kids got to sit on his lap and say hi.
The evening was over by 8pm, just in time to bring our kids home to bed.
If I wasn't happy with this daycare before, I am THRILLED with it now!
The teachers were great. The kids listened, they had fun. The parents chatted, the teachers chatted. They kept it under control, and most of all they had a lot of fun. When Santa came one of the teachers was there making sure that the kids took turns seeing Santa.
We just left feeling great. We felt like we'd made the right choice of daycare. We could see Matt is happy. We're happy.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Weird

Ever have a weird day?
Not bad. Not wonderful. Just weird.
That was my day today.
The weirdness started in the morning. When we had mini golf at work. I know. Crazy. I've never worked somewhere where you mini-putt at work.
And that - it was weird.
It was weird because I got kind of cornered into it at the last second and our little pathetic team came up with the idea of a golf hole with the general theme of Christmas.
The problem was that half of our team was sick.
None of our team was artistic.
We were all lacking in time.
And motivation.
And budget.
And we didn't have any idea people would take it so seriously.
So while we cobbled together a mini putt "hole" made out of dollar store Christmas Crap other teams created phenomenal mini putt holes. I mean phenomenal. If I get pictures I will post them. But they were awesome.
Like one team - they made this contraption out of (I hope) old computer parts. It had a proper ramp, it had a proper little green. You name it. And the guy who did it, who I happen to know is a golfer, took it very very seriously.
At one point he told me he was disappointed because it was a par 3 (I think) hole and he thought it should have been par something else.
I didn't even know that par 3 meant something.
The hole next to ours was run by the department that wins everything. They didn't exactly kick our butts. They pretty much steam rollered right over us. They, too, had a Christmas theme. Except they brought in a tree and also had some sort of contraption that they built that spit your ball out and went around a corner. They had a full size fireplace with stockings hung and this giant "Happy Holidays" sign. To clarify, they had stockings hung until I decided to take my turn and my over ambitious swing sent the stockings flying. Anyway ...
So our lovely hole. The name rocked. It was called "Ho Ho Hole in One." I know. Genius. But, it pretty much sucked.
And I was disappointed. Like almost crying disappointed. And my bronchitis inflicted friend tried to calm me down by telling me that it was just all in fun. That no one cared. That it was just a silly corporate event.
And then I kind of got upset at my friends, my BFAW's (sorry guys) becasue they didn't exactly help as much as I wanted. Nor did they help me clean up. So, up and down. Up and down. All day.
But then it was kind of nice because everyone was great in the end about it. Everyone was pretty positive. You know - at the end of the day I kind of realized I was being silly. It was just a stupid corporate event that I didn't need to be upset about.
So, you know, up down. up down.
Okay. needy toddler.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tumble Tots!

Matthew and I start gymnastics in January.
I'm very excited. Thrilled, in fact.
I was a little worried because I'm not exactly what you would call coordinated. Wisely, my parents put me in sports like soccer because I had a tendency to injure myself a lot. In grade 9 gym (which I loved) we had a gymnastics unit. I was so bad at it that my teacher asked me not to try the uneven bars rotation. This is because I kept trying to use the vault and was so banged up that I had to have an ice pack after every class.
Yes. I was that bad.
Matthew, however, seems more coordinated than I am. And, I thought he would really like gymnastics. I discussed this with my four year old niece who assured me that he would LOVE gymnastics (cause John-Wes does) and it's really fun.
I started looking into classes. Since Matt is still 2 the only classes available are parent and tot classes. Uh-oh.
I've never been in a real gymnastics gym in my life.
Luckily one of my BFAW's was a gymnastics teacher (coach?). Seriously. So, I finally plucked up the courage to call her and beg her to teach me a cartwheel. She laughed. Okay. It is funny. She has high hopes for me. We are in discussions about where we will do this practice.
Anyway...
So I called to sign up.
I was pretty nervous. Guess what? The parent's role is just to make sure that the tots don't run away. That's it. NO CARTWHEELS REQUIRED!!
I did point out to the friendly lady that I did yoga, and I can do sommersaults. Just not cartwheels or backflips. She said that if I mention that to the teacher that perhaps she can have me demonstrate.
So, it appears that I am now booked every Saturday from January to May. 9am.I can't wait!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Advice Needed!!!

Okay everyone out there.
I need your help.
Friday is a potluck at Matt's daycare. It's a Christmas party/potluck dinner/performance thing. And we have to bring something yummy. I need to sign up for something to bring.
HELP!
Does anyone have any ideas?
I need something that will make me seem cool. I have visions of being the cool mom who works full time, commutes, and still manages to whip up something nutricious and delicious. I want to be the person who returns home with an empty dish.
Last year we did mini cupcakes for the Christmas thing at the old daycare. These were a big hit. I will make these also (if my sister has a mini cupcake pan that I can borrow??? Beck??)
But I need to make something main coursey.
Something cool. That does not involve tofu. Something easy.
I live across the street from a grocery store. Groceries are not a concern.
HELP!!!
Oh and I will literally run in the house, pick it up, and leave again. So I need to make it Thursday.
And, for some fun a picture of Matty and Me.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Ahhhh Sunday

Things have been a little intense lately.
The house, the lawyers, the cold, work. I've had enough. So last night I did my Christmas cards, bought myself a grocery store chicken, put on the movie "Legally Blonde" and chilled. Forget the boxes that were crowded around me (we got a new load of stuff from both sets of parents - seriously, how much stuff do we own? My dad brought a sticker book from when I was 7! Can anyone say pack rat?). I was fully embracing the Christmas spirit.
And, how can you not be in a Christmassy mood when you address cards with your toddlers adorable face smiling back at you.
The more I wrote, the more I got into it.
I write a Christmas letter every year. But some people, the ones I rarely see, got a more fullsome note. Bill, my hairdresser, got congratulated on his new television commercials, old neighbours got a full update on Matthew. As the cards rolled on I realized how much life is changing. One of my friends just had her third baby and all their names didn't fit on one line. My cousins are all dating people or getting married and I'm struggling with how to address cards (since I keep forgetting boyfriend's name).
And it made me realize just how much I'm appreciating things lately.
Life is good. The more I addressed cards and talked a bit about Matt's progess the luckier I realized I was. Two years ago I was in a totally different place. Our Christmas letter was sad. We had this adorable child but we had no idea what our direction was in life. I remember sitting in the car with Mike on Christmas Day sobbing that I was terrified about going to work and leaving Matt in childcare. He just said to me that we'd figure it out.
And we did.
And two years later it's Sunday morning. I'm sitting in our living room. We have a Christmas tree outside that we'll decorate later today. My toddler is laying on the couch watching his favourite show. We've been chatting all morning - about Santa and Reindeers and telescopes and trains and a million other topics.
And I'm realizing that life is good. Not perfect. Nothing ever is. But, for now the holidays are in full swing, I have the cutest kid in the world, I'm surrounded by people who love me. That, my friends, is happiness.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Speechless ... Literally

I went back to work on Thursday.
I'm a little under the weather. I have a cold. It's bearable with some cold pills. But I have a very scratchy throat that has gotten scratchier from having to much fun. And, from work.
On Thursday night several of my colleagues and I went to a really cool party. It was fun I tell you. Fun. It would have been more fun healthy. But that wasn't something a couple of drinks didn't fix.
I met all sorts of neat people.
I met a report who I LOVE (okay, admire. No love. no admire. Whatever she hugged me!) And I met the mayor who told me we'd never met. (nope) but I did mention I voted for him. (what else do you say to the mayor?) And just generally had fun.
Seriously, Shinan Govani was there. I KNOW. cool. I didn't say hi. I wanted to. One of my newfound friends (read: I introduced myself because we always talk on the phone and I wanted to meet him in person) tried to convince me to go say hi, but I didn't. Because I had this sudden case of nerves. So we had another drink and then lost him. But he was there. That's enough for me.
And the fun wasn't over because the next day was our work Christmas lunch.
As I'm sure anyone who knows me, or knows me through here, things like this I love. It's fun getting together with friends, having a nice lunch, chatting and then seeing who gets employee awards. It's fun. And there's usually some partying when it's all over. Yesterday was no exception.
What was completely shocking though was that I was one of the people who won an employee award.
Truly, I was not expecting it. At all.
The president and CEO stood up and call my boss on stage. That sort of surprised me, but I suddenly thought to myself "awesome - Beth (my colleague) is getting an award." I was totally smiley and happy for her in the way that when someone totally deserves something you are. She and I had worked on a project together, but she did a whole whack of work on it, and seriously deserved this. I was thrilled for her. And then what do I hear? Both her name and mine being called.
Oh!
Really?
I thought I heard wrong. Luckily my friend said "he said your name" and I went up.
Gotta say. Totally flattered, shocked and flustered all at once. Thank God for the Board member who took my hand on my way up the stairs. And, then what did I do? Did I shake hands like everyone else? Did I? Nope.
I started hugging.
First I hugged my boss, but that's fine because I've done that before.
But, then I hugged the CEO. oops. Apparently I was the only person to do this. Memorable, I tell. My goal in life is to at least be memorable.
And, I am still completely shocked and flattered by this award.
It's cool because you get a letter and it's framed. So I'm going to hang it. Yay!
And, drinks after. Well, it was great. I had fun. We went to a couple of places because some of our group got kicked out for bad behaviour. Who knew that pouring your drink into someone else's glass is not allowed??? I did not know this. Anyway, fun was had by all. I went home in a cab with one of my new neighbours. All was good.
This morning, though. I am speechless. No matter how hard I try no words come out of my mouth.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Busy week

I stayed home the first three days of this week. I had booked the days to get the house in order. I didn't exactly plan to be sick as well. So, it was kind of a bit of everything.
The time off of work has been nice. I had the chance to get Matt into the new daycare. I know Mike could have totally handled it, but I also know that no matter how well it went, and how happy Matt seemed, I would need to know for myself. And, I did go, and I do know it's okay. So I'm okay. (and I'm 90% sure that I'm sick because of the stress).
I also had a chance to hang out with my sister who now lives 5 minutes away from me. We went to Starbucks and the mall last night. And we LAUGHED. Like, the stupid sister laughs that you don't share with just anyone. It kind of helped that it was Starbucks Christmas night and it was a bizarre evening. But, it made it worth it.
I also hung out with my 4 year old niece. Okay, so I kind of screwed up because I picked her up from school late (school ends at 3 - not 3:30!!!) I think took her to McDonald's where she puked everywhere. And, I also promised her that I would save the part of her happy meal and I threw it out. (I was so confused by the puking incident and kind of grossed out). So not the best Aunt Laural performance, but I have lots of time to make up for that.
And I haven't had any quality time with my younger niece yet - but we'll get that soon.
All in all, it's been a freaking great week.
Now I have to go back to work. Why? Because I've become a shopaholic. No mall has been off limits this week. And something scary has come over me. I've started browsing the home decorating section. Gah! Must.Go.Back.To. Work.!!!
I need to make more money. To buy more home stuff.
I also keep taking these side trips to the Starbucks down the street. I've been going every day. I drag Mike. It's an expensive habit. And fattening. But fun.
So tomorrow I go back to work. No painting. No cleaning. No organizing. No sorting. Work.
Ick.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Do I Look 15?

I've always been told I look younger when I have no make-up on.
Generally speaking I'm okay with this.
But lately I feel like I'm looking younger and younger not older and older. Here's why. A few weeks ago I went out with some friends and this guy asked me if I was 19 yet. I asked a few people I was with how old I looked. Most of them guessed about 25. But all of them work with me, and pretty much would have some idea based on my occupation and the fact they know I'm married with a child.
Then when we were at the lawyer's office he asked me 3 times if I was "of the age of majority". I know this is a legal question, but honestly he asked me before I even sat down. Yes, I'm above the age of 18. I have a 2 and 1/2 year old with me. That would mean I was pregnant at the age of 15. Seriously. Yes, I have reached that age.
But, then today was the topper.
My son's daycare is in a high school. Apparently school starts at 8am. I didn't even think about this when I dropped him off. (I have today off of work, this is a late drop off for us). I was there for a few minutes, and then left about the same time as another mom.
She walked out of the room, down the hall and was off. She did this just after O Canada played. I was about 7 second behind her. I started to walk the same route when I suddenly heard "young lady, we don't wander the halls during announcements."
I turned around. oops.
That was in reference to me.
Young Lady?!?!?
I always hated that term when I was a teenager. Suddenly I had an inclination to turn around and hug the man saying that. But, of course the whole fear of being sent the principal's office sort of stopped me in my tracks.
What did I say "Oh. I'm not a young lady."
I was about to say that I had my kid in daycare when a bunch of kids started cracking up. It was funny because they'd seen me come out of the classroom. So, what then came out of my mouth?
"I don't go here."
Duh. He just raised his eyebrow. So, I finally explained that my child was in day care, but thank you very much for the compliment about my age.
He started to laugh. I started to laugh. And then I added "I know I look young, but I'll be 30 in a couple years."
Gotta say - I don't really miss high school. And, the past couple of days I'm beginning to realize that I'm sorely out of style. And, if I want to get mistaken for a high school student again I had better work on my look.

Monday, December 04, 2006

New Daycare

Today was Matt's first day at his new daycare. I was completely stressed about it.
Turns out Matt wasn't.
After several days with boring mommy and daddy, Matt was thrilled when he walked into a classroom with new friends and new teachers. I offered to stay, but Matt just gave us hugs and said "bye Mommy and Daddy."
Easy Peasy.
So, I continued to stress all morning. The what-ifs were running through my head. What if he turned around and was looking for us. What if he thought his other daycare friends would be there. What if he didn't like the teachers?
None of those fears were realized. We promised to pick him up after lunch, and when we got there he was thrilled to see us. Because he'd been in the bathroom when we got there we had a chance to chat with his teacher.
She said his day went really well. She couldn't get over how outgoing he was. She said that he was happy to just get to know all of the kids. She said he played with everyone and shared his toys. At lunch he asked for more milk when he wanted more. It was a really really good first day.
When we were walking home he said to me "my new friends were so nice. I love them. They make me so happy." I almost cried. Thank goodness! He also gave the yummy hamburgers and ketchup and milk rave reviews.
I couldn't have asked for anything better.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Things I've Learned My First Weekend in our New House

  1. Houses are not condos. The guy who told me I was in for a big surprise was completely right. There's a lot more space in here, and a lot more can go wrong.
  2. The word "wow!" coming out of my husband's mouth can mean many things. For instance it may mean "wow! my 5'2 wife can carry a gigantic speaker." or "wow! I've never seen my wife fight with a lawyer before and it's impressive" or "wow! When you said you were painting the bathroom pink you meant it!"
  3. The words "go nuts" in reference to choosing a bathroom colour do no mean "please paint everything including the ceiling pink"
  4. Three levels of living space is significantly larger than one level. This can be good, but it can be really daunting when vaccuuming.
  5. When you are assembling something, like a closet organizer, and it says "read instructions carefully before assembling" you should. You should also know how all tools required for a project work. If you don't the friendly people at Home Depot will help.
    1. LISTEN TO THE FRIENDLY HOME DEPOT PEOPLE!
  6. Pink and green floral wall papers are very popular. In the kitchen and bathroom alone we have found 6 different versions of pink and green floral wall paper.
  7. Pink and green is a very annoying colour combination - especially when they are bold versions of those colours and go throughout the house
  8. The little things that you deemed "liveable" such as dark dusty rose bedroom paint really aren't liveable for that long.
  9. I am clearly not Martha Stewart, Debbie Travis, Brian Gluckstein or any of those design gurus. If any of those people would like to come and help me out they are welcome.
  10. If you move from a tiny condo to a slightly larger home, your relatives will happily bring all of your discarded belongings that have been residing in garages. Items may include things like hamster cages, high school love notes and graduation photos. (anyone want a hamster cage?)
  11. This is the most wonderful experience of my life and I'm so FREAKING happy that we are finally in our own home.

PS Tomorrow Matthew starts his new daycare. My fingers are crossed. I hope it goes well.

Friday, December 01, 2006

blogging in my kitchen among the boxes

No we have not yet set up our home office. I am blogging with my bberry. Sad I know. But it is early and I can't face the boxes yet!
Yesterday was moving day.
I hate moving.
I won't give you the full run down. I will say that torrential rain and wind gusts are not a fun way to move - especially when the truck you booked fell through (thanks U-haul) and you get a van, albeit a large one, from a different company. Thanks god for father inlaws with trucks, trailers and more tarps than your local home hardware.
By 4 pm I was on the road with a car filled with crap and a freaking out cat. By 4 10 I was on the crowded DVP when our lawyer called with "a little bad news" that the buyer's mortgage did not come through.
Several hysterical phone calls later (and no accidents despite my panic) we sorted something out. Thanks to a couple of amazing real estate agents and a good lawyer we bought in escro which basically means we have not paid for our home.
Today.
Gotta say - I LOVE credit!!!
When we finally got here we saw our new home.
My mom had already started ripping down wallpaper and curtains. It is pretty fugly. I mean we love it but it is a little scary. I can't wait to take the before and after photos. We have gone from a modern condo with stuff like granite counters and kohler fixtures to a 30 year old townhome in need of repair.
But it is what we chose. We are looking big picture!
Matty hasn't been here too long. Given that his bed was soaking wet (it is a plastic race car and trust me it did well in the rain.)He slept at grandma's last night. We are returning the van and then will pick him up.
Yesterday he spent the day bonding with his younger cousin, but that is another post for another day.
Anyway, I'm now off to wake up Mike and find some clothes.
Wish me luck that this escro thing ends today. And hey, BFAW's if any of you can explain what escro is I'd appreciate it. You know the legal stuff. I know it!!!
PS sarah - my bingo card didn't win did it????

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

GUILT

Ninety per cent of the time I am totally happy with my choice to have my son in daycare. There are a zillion reasons why. I've listed them before. I won't bore you.
At the end of the day there are a couple of reasons my son is in daycare a) because we can't afford for one of us to stay home and b) he is really happy in daycare.
Both are good reasons.
But there are days when the guilt is crippling.
Take today for example.I was trying to explain to Matt that tomorrow he has to say bye to everyone at daycare because we are moving. So much of me is okay with this. The move is definitely a good thing. The new daycare seems great. The future school and our proximity to it - all of that is wonderful.
And yet I feel guilty.
I don't even know why. I guess some days I wish I were around him more. It breaks my heart when I realize that he spends more time with others than with me. It makes me sad when I worry about how happy he will be at the new place. What if he doesn't like the teachers? What if the other kids are mean? What if ...
And, truthfully part of me feels guilty because I'm okay with it all.
I'm okay with hopping on a train and going to work every day. For the most part I'm okay with the teachers and the routines. And I feel like I shouldn't be. I feel like I should have a harder time with it.
And these crappy feelings suck.
Some days I just want to take Matt and snuggle him and never let go. And then some nights, like tonight, I try.
And then I realize that he doens't want that. He wants to learn and explore and grow. And part of his day is telling me what he did and what he learned and who he played with. His joy every day comes from seeing us and hugging us and being delighted that we're back. And I try to remember that I was not a particularly good SAHM. I was tired and cranky and I was not making Matt happy.
But the day that the guilt kills me - it's a hard day.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Gum

My two year old son has a new found obsession with gum.
I'm not sure where it came from. It just appeared.
Lots of kids like gum. My niece, for instance, used to beg me for gum. And I would (and still will) buy her the good gum - Hubba Bubba or Bubblicious. She understood the concept of chewing and then spitting it out. She was enamoured when I blew bubbles.
I thought this would be the same thing with my son.
One time I let him have gum. And he loved it. It seemed he understood the concept. You chew till the flavour is gone then give it to Mommy. No biggie.
Then we had an incident where he had gum in his mouth at daycare - a big no no.
So I listened to the advice of his teacher and limited the gum. This worked for awhile.
We just kept saying "no gum" and life was good.
This lasted like a day. He now asks for gum constantly. And we constantly said no. This is consistent parenting. The child does not need gum.
And then the other day we were at a restaurant. And Matthew climbed under the table. And he hit pay dirt.
We realized he was being really quiet while we were eating our lunch (and no, it was not McDonald's. It was Tucker's).
A couple of minutes later up popped a very excited Matthew.
"Look what I found mommy!" He shouted.
I figured he had found some of the cheese that he had dropped or maybe a roll. But no.
He found pre-chewed gum under the table. And, he was chewing it.
CRAP!
So much for being strict. Our kid has gotten around the rules. Why ask Mommy for gum when you can find it for yourself.
We kind of freaked out and then he spit it out and we made him drink some juice and that was that.
You can't exactly reason with a two year old who has found the motherlode of gum.
We put the incident out of our minds and went on with our day.
The today we were sitting on the bus. Suddenly Matt hopped off the seat and crawled under it.
"What are you doing, Matt?" I naively asked.
"Looking for gum, Mommy!"
CRAP.
Now what??
Since we were already en route to the grocery store I promised him that I would get him his very own pack of gum.
All you naysayers ... I get it. Kids shouldn't chew gum. But, chewing pre-chewed gum is far worse. I bought the sugar free kind, and I plan to dole it when asked.
And you know what? If nothing else my child will have the freshest breath on the block.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Dear Santa ... I want a Ham Limer??

Matthew is quite enamoured with Santa.
We explained to him that you write letters to Santa to ask him for presents. So, we've been asking Matt what he wants for Christmas.
Guess what he keeps saying?
"I want a Hamlimer."
Yes, a Hamlimer. Or maybe a Ham Limer.
Any ideas???
He's been saying this for 2 weeks.
We've been trying to figure out exactly what a hamlimer is. His only answer is "it's a ham limer." Okay. He's 2. He doesn't know how to describe it.
I asked him if any of his friends had a hamlimer.
Yes, Diego does. Great. Given that Diego is a cartoon character I can't exactly ask his mother.
Finally, my genius mother solved the riddle yesterday by asking what a ham limer does.
A ham limer flies.
What does Diego have that flies.
That, my friends, would be a Hang Glider.
Great... So, where do we buy a hamlimer?
I have absolutely NO idea!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

FINALLY!

I've finally done it!
The scale has nudged down below the 30 pound mark.
Today, my weigh-in day I discovered I lost 2 lbs this week.
So 31 pounds it is!
I have a way to go still.
But the numbers are getting less scary.
And I'm liking myself more and more.
Gold star for me today!

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Stuff I don't Blog About

So tonight I went out to dinner with two of my BFAW's. The third is on some all-inclusive trip in some tropical destination. We didn't feel too badly!
Anyway, as the evening progressed we got on to the topic of children, in particular child birth and babies. Two of us have kids and one didn't. For some reason the question of "was it really that hard" open the floodgates to conversation about giving birth and the first while of Matt's life.
I realized that this is something I rarely talk about.
When I first had Matt it was all I could discuss because I was hanging on by a thread, and I really felt like I needed to sort it out. I needed people to hear about how crappy Matt's birth was. A huge part of me thinks that I really just wanted to justify to everyone what was going on, why I was so unhappy, why I hated life, why I wasn't the happy loving mother that I had planned to be.
But as time has passed, as my very difficult screaming baby has turned into this amazing child who I love desperately I never ever talk about that stuff.
Why?
I guess because I feel guilty. I feel horrible that when Matt was a teeny tiny baby I didn't have this overwhelming love that I have for him now. And I try to not think about all of that. I talk about the present. I talk about what he's doing now - talking in sentences, counting, telling me he loves me. Because when I think about how I felt, how scared I was, how horrible it felt to be unhappy and even angry I feel awful. And I haven't quite resolved that.
It feels like this week has been all about babies. A friend of mine is about to give birth, and as we sat chatting I felt sad for her. She's scared. It's not her first. And she knows what to expect. I wanted to be happy for her and tell her how wonderful this would be, but I knew what she was saying - and she knows it will be rough. Especially with 2 other kids who are running around.
And then later on in the week I was speaking with someone else about kids, about the unexpected and what to do if babies come when they aren't planned. I sometimes feel completely unequipped to talk about it.
Call my sister, I want to say. She handled it. She was the maternal one. She's the one who had a baby in an hour. She's the one who stays at home and enjoys it and does cool crafts. Don't ask me. I'm way happier than I was, but I sware most days it's still a thin line between me and insanity. I'm the mom at the daycare who forgets diapers and cries when teachers tell me how to discipline my child.
Why do you ask me? Why does anyone turn to me for advice about kids, to ask questions, to seek an opinion.
Don't get me wrong. I find it flattering. It means that outwardly I'm holding it together. And I guess in all honestly inwardly I am too. Sure I go to bed early and sometimes lose my temper. But at the end of the day, we're getting through it - me, Matty and Mike. Day by day we are happy.
But still, it's just so bizarre when I talk about it, when people ask me questions about being a mother, about parenting and about babies. My advice is always the same - don't overthink it. It sucks at first, but it gets better, and the love, the pure honest love of a child - it's worth it completely.
And, maybe, one of these days I'll blog about my early days, the early months, of being a mom. But right now - I'm just not ready.

We're having too much fun too talk about unhappy times!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Things I'll Miss

One week from today we'll be in our new HOUSE!! I can't wait. I spoke to our lawyer today. Everything is in order (except our packing). And in all the excitement of what I'm looking forward to what we'll get there are some things I will miss.

1) My neighbours - no. Not the noisy guy next door. I'll miss Ginny and James and their kids. It will suck not bumping into them in the elevator or running over when Matt wants to see Mackie or going down to the reading room. We all know Ginny was my new mom sanity. That's changed and we don't see each other as much. But, I'll still miss them a lot.
2) The view - I like looking outside and seeing the lights and the cars and the firetrucks.
3) The Firetrucks - okay, so when we have multiple fire alarms it sucks (especially at 2am). But Matt like the excitement of the firemen coming to visit. And, I don't think that firetrucks arriving with sirens blaring at your home is a good thing. Really.
4) The walk to the daycare - I actually like the short walk from the daycare to the subway. I love the time Matty and I spend on our little walks. We chat about the day. We look at the trucks, we sometimes visit the stores. It's our special thing. That I'll miss. I know we'll have a new special thing
5) Rides on the McDonald's Bus - about once a week I announce that we are taking the McDonald's bus. Matthew gets so excited. I love that. I love how well he behaves on the McDonald's Bus and the smiles I get and how he announces to everyone that we're on the McDonald's bus.
6) The TTC - okay. Not on a regular basis. But sometimes. The good days when we have fun on the subway (i.e. when I leave work early and the bus is empty). Matt loves the subway, and I'm sort of sad he won't go on it so much. But, I'm not going to miss it on a regular basis.
7) Yonge Street - there's no street like Yonge Street in suburbia. I like walking down the street with Matt - and just looking. And then stopping at Starbucks where Matt knows exactly what to order. My kid is so city sometimes.
8) 24 hour everything (except the 'convenience' store in our building) - what will we do if we need milk at midnight? I don't know. Really. I don't know. We'll have to make do.
9)Saying I live in Toronto - I'm beginning to fear that "moving to the suburbs" means that I am old. Does it? Please say I haven't reached middle age. I'm not even 30.
10) Mongolian Grill - we have never actually eaten there. But we've always planned to. And I like to hear Matt attempt to say 'Mongolian Grill'. We hear it's very good. We have one week and limited funds in which to go there.

That's it. That's all I can think of. Mostly I'll just miss Ginny down the hall. But thinking about makes me cry, and that's silly.

Moving on. T-6 days. Stress. Anyone have extra boxes?

This week is kicking my butt ...

Rarely does a week kick me in the butt like this one has.
It's Thursday and I'm exhausted.
Why?
Let's see. Well first of all on Sunday I broke my tooth (one that I've already had a root canal on) so on Monday I had to find a new dentist, which I did. Then I went to see him, and I'm not a good dental patient, and he informed me that to fix it I would need 2 separate appointments and a couple thousand dollars. GREAT!
I left with a prescription for Adovan (valium) for when I return, and a promise that they would let me know the insurance quote. For now I have a hole in my mouth the size of a baby tooth. And it hurts.
But whatever. Got through that.
Then the next day I woke up not feeling myself. You know, under the weather, but managing. So I went to work. Midway through the day - in my boss's office - I suddenly realized that I really was not okay. Luckily I made it to the bathroom. Where I puked everywhere. It was probably my most embarrassing moment EVER, or at least at work. I stumbled out of the bathroom, begged the receptionist to call my friend, who located both a spare shirt and my boss who promptly sent me home in a taxi.
By yesterday I was done. Not only was everyone staying a good distance away from me (food poisoning people - I'm not contagious), but I was swamped with work. The phone kept ringing, I kept messing things up. There was nothing seriously bad abotu the day - but I just felt totally behind. I made it through the day - and we got to McDonald's where, my son got picked on by a 4 year old, and I almost lost it with his mother. Thank GOD we are moving. I don't think I can go back to that McDonald's. Echoes of "parents who don't chaperone their kids should not be allowed in the Play Place" followed me out of the building. It was awful. Matt left hysterical and Mike rolled his eyes.
And, now, I realize it's only Thursday. I hope to make it through today unscathed - no dental surgery, no vomit, and no fights with other parents.
I HOPE!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Too Funny NOT to Blog About ...

Our dryer is broken. This sucks because we are moving in 2 weeks. It also sucks because I discovered this when I had one load in the dryer and another in the washing machine waiting to be dried.
So, after finally accepting that we would not be able to get our laundry done, I sucked it up, piled all of our clothes (including the damp/wet ones, which, by the way, weigh a ton) and drove my butt to a laundromat.
Now, let's be honest. I was not about to go to "Scrubby's" the Laundromat in Flemingdon Park. It's close, but I'd be at risk of being shot. So, I decided to hightail it over to the fancy pants laundromat in Davisville Village. It's clean, it uses cards (so you can use debit and not worry about quarters) and it's conveniently located across from Starbucks. Plus, after a busy day of packing up the condo, who was I to complain about spending a couple of hours chilling with a book and a non-fat-no-whip-iced-mocha? Not I.
The problem is, when you drink your mocha too quickly, and your laundry isn't done ... you need to use the washroom.
No biggie at the laundromat of laundromats. There is a bathroom. You use your card to get in - and there's a little occupied sign. You are practically peeing in luxury as far as laundromats go. I was good.
Now, I was well aware it was still a laundromat, so I brought my purse in with me - just in case.
Good thing.
Because I got locked in the bathroom. Yep. LOCKED IN!!!
I have to admit, I did kind of panic. First of all, it was hot in there. Second of all, I had left all of my underwear sitting on the counter. I mean, it was buried beneath towels, but I love my panties, and I had vision of some creepy guy pawing through my stuff.
So I knocked.
Then I shouted.
And then I realized that in my pocket was the laundry card. Maybe there was a phone number on it.
Nope. But there was a name. (laundry express).
So I called Mike.
No answer.
I called again. He picked up. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Laughing won out. I insisted Mike look up the number and call the lovely lady who had taught me how to use the washers there.
So he did. A couple of minutes later I heard the phone ring.
Another couple minutes and there was a knock on the door.
"are you okay?" came the voice of salvation.
"yes. But please let me out" I replied.
"Stand back, dear" she shouted. I had visions of her kicking down the door. Nope. She just used her card and some special key and opened the door.
Safe. At last.
I quickly grabbed the rest of my laundry and left.
Next time - if there is one - I will go to option B and use the bathroom at the Starbucks across the street.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Potty Time & Gum - Bad Mommy!

Edited at the Bottom!In case you want to know the outcome
Friday morning.
Our household is cranky. It's rainy and icky. And, really, all I want to do is have a quiet morning, get out the door on good time, and hurry up with the day.
Matty had other plans. He chose today to denounce the use of diapers in our house.
After his morning potty session (we're really good about getting him out of bed and plopping him on the potty), he was okay getting dressed except for the diaper part.
"No Mommy. No diaper."
Ummmmmm. What? This is a child who would be happiest if he could run around all day in a diaper and nothing else. And now, suddenly, he wants underwear.
Of course we had some. So, on when the Bob underpants. And Matty was so happy.
I figured that what I would do is just pack a ton of underwear (like all 5 pairs that he owns), a bunch of diapers, a bunch of clothes and send him to daycare.
I'm not really thinking okay, you guys have 2 weeks till we move - toilet trian. But, let's be honest ... It would be nice!!!
So, I wrote a long note to his (somewhat strong-willed) teacher about my reasoning and off we went. My assumption was that the easy going usual morning teacher would be in, and she would say, sure, whatever. And that would be that.
But, NO! His regular, strong-willed-say-what's-on-her-mind was in. And, she basically flipped out when I told he was in underwear.
"WHAT?!?!?!"
Yes, I calmly said. He has chosen to wear underwear today and we went with it. He's used the potty this morning. I've packed lots of extra stuff. We're good.
She wasn't too happy. I guess we hadn't talked about it. And I did kind of spring it on her. But, I also made it really clear that if she wanted to put his diaper on right then and there that was totally fine. My point was just that he asked for underwear and I was encouraging it.
I'm a big believer in the idea that kids hit milestones when they are ready. And, if it's time to give up diapers ... bring it on!
We left. She was snippy. It was a weird morning.
Oh, and before we left she noticed that Matthew was, shocker, chewing gum.
She pointed out that he is NOT allowed to chew gum, and that it is very dangerous and made him spit it out. Apparently gum is not allowed at daycare.
BAD MOMMY!
Honestly, on the weekend, when we were at Walmart, I let him put a quarter in the chiclets gum machine, and he was enamored by it. I taught him to chew gum not swallow it. And it was pretty darn cute to me. I didn't realize he had saved some of it in his car seat for a day like today.
Anyway, instead of just fessing up to the whole thing I said to the teacher. "I'm sorry. I didn't give it to him. He found it."
Oops. Mike just looked at me. I guess it sounded like he had taken it from the bottom of a desk or something.
Dammit!
It just kept getting worse and worse. So, not only was I the worst mommy in the world for the diaper thing. I let my kid chew found gum. And, then to top it all off I asked for a hug goodbye and he said "wait a minute" to which she said "that's not how you talk to mommy!"
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
It's no wonder motherhood stresses me out.
Pass me a drink. I need it this morning. This mothering this is tough.
It's a good thing that I didn't mention to her that last night he begged me to stop at Tim Hortons for a sprinkle donut and chocolate milk (which I did) and he then ate the entire donut, got home, sat and watched cars and ate cheese strings, and then we called it a night. No balanced dinner, no reading before bedtime. Just donuts, cheese and a movie.
I call that fun.
Some people would call that bad parenting.
I honestly just think we all need a vacation.

So I went to get Matthew at the end of the day. He was back in diapers. They actually did try to bring him to the potty several times, but he decided he wanted diapers. I came home with a bag full of wet clothes (including shoes).
I had a lengthy chat with Doug, the male teacher. He told me that he thinks Matt is waffling a bit. He said that all week his diaper has been dry all day - and that today it was wet at every change. So, I asked if he thought that was weird. He said that no, it means that he's making a point that he will toilet train in his own time. He said that the good news is that a child who can control like that is actually ready for Toilet Training. He said that most kids like this can literally train overnight when they are ready.
So, I'm sticking with not pushing this till we move (and after Christmas). I think. Or maybe we will tell him Santa won't come unless he uses the potty. I'M KIDDING! I'm only a kind of bad mommy. I'm not that mean!
Besides, we are currently using Santa in way too many other bribes. Like, we can't buy toys or Santa will be sad. You can't have a meltdown or Santa will be sad. And, blissfully, we have taken a break from Raffi to listen to "Santa Music." Anyway, that had nothing to do with potty training now did it???

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hmmm

Matthew has a new daycare teacher.
Here's the thing - it's a he!
I know I shouldn't notice these things, and that it shouldn't matter. But for some strange reason I find it incredibly fascinating that Matthew has a male daycare teacher. Male daycare teachers are few and far between.
Truthfully, I really like the guy. No.... not like that. I'm married! Geez. But, I think he's really cool and funny. I was asking him today about his role at the daycare.
Is he now in the preschool room full time? Yes.
How does he enjoy it? It turns out that he's worked with fives for 5 years. In a sense it's a step down, but one he was excited about.
Okay then.
Who knew that going down an age group was a step down? Not me.
So he said they hired him to bring some consistency to the preschool room. I thought that was pretty interesting. Also interesting is how the kids all relate to him. Matt just does whatever the guy says. All the kids do.
I sware one of the little girls has a little crush. She was like "this is Josh" as she followed him around the classroom. It was pretty adorable.
Honestly, I kind of wondered how on earth he handles it. So I asked him how he deals with toddlers and women all day every day. His response? He has a glass of red wine when he gets home.
Hilarious!
It almost makes me wish we were staying there longer. Just to see how this guy works out. But who knows. He may be gone before we are.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Picture Day and Santa Songs

Today was picture day for Matthew.
I became a little paranoid that I'd miss Chrustmas pictures all together. I didn't book at my usual picture location (Superstore) and so Walmart it was today.
I was a little concerned because this morning started off well. Matt got up nice and early so I took him for an early morning grocery shopping trip at Food Basics. He was amazingly well behaved. And then we got home, watched tv, and then got him ready for the picture. He was dressed and groomed and looking adorable.
And then he had a complete meltdown.
We had no idea why. It was weird. It was like he was tired or something, but it was not normal meltdown time. But, with the clock ticking we decided to pop him in the car and go anyway. The rational was that we'd probably have to wait awhile when we got to Walmart, but we needed to keep our space in line.
10 minutes later we were in the car - and Matt was still hysterical. We tried Raffi, we tried 6 stations. Nothing worked. So out came the children's Christmas mix.
YIPPEE!!!
It turns out that Santa music - in particular a very hyped up version of Jingle Bells - is what does it. Thirty seconds into the song Matt was rocking out, I was singing at the top of my lungs and Mike was shielding his face from the people staring at us from the other cars. (His comment of "I'm embarrassed for you" was a little unnecessary since Matt and I were having a blast and he wsa being a party pooper.)
And, so we got to Walmart with a happy child.
Half an hour after our allotted time the photos started.
Being the cool parents that we are we let Matt choose the background. He was delighted by the background of Santa peering through a window. Cheesy, yes. But, it's Walmart photos, and quite honestly I thought it was pretty funny.
And, honestly, once they started shooting, Matt was hilarious. He was smiling, he was posing, he was laughing with the photographer. Mike turned to me at one point and said "why isn't he modelling?" I dont' know. Even the photographer agreed with us.
In the end we came out with AMAZING pictures. The one we settled on for the card is decidedly un-Christmassy, but it was so cute and funny we just went for it. Plus, we have our extremely Christmassy photo with Santa in it for the "package" we ordered so who cares.
There were a couple of downfalls to going to Walmart vs. a regular photo studio.
First of all, the people there are crazy. The lady who was getting her kids pictures done 2 spots ahead of us was freaking out at her kids (aged 8,5 & 2). At one point Matt and the other kids in the room were scared, and I had to promise Matt I would not scream at him like that. Honestly.
Then the people behind us in line were crazy.
The girl was playing with Matt and her mom kept screaming "don't let the little boy see your underwears."
First - there is no S on underwear.
Second - he's 2. And they were playing. GET OVER IT!!!
So that was a little weird.
The whole way home we listened to Jingle Bells again and again and again.
Man, I LOVE Christmas.
Also, on a totally separate topic. Matthew is into choosing different fruits and veggies to try. Does anyone know what to do with avocados or mangoes. Together or separately? I'm lost for ideas.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Just Be


It seems like in motherhood, or parenthood for that matter, there are some really hard days. The ones that take it out of you, that make you question if you were really cut out for this journey, if you will have the strength to make it through to bedtime (if it happens) without a stiff drink and a few tears.
I have those days a lot.
But days like today make up for all of those.
There was nothing particularly special about today. We didn't have anything planned. There was no major even going on, we had no plans to go anywhere. Nothing.
We just let the day happen.
And today was amazing.
I wish I could explain it in detail, dissect why today seemed like a special day, what I did differently, how today worked. But I can't. And maybe that's the magic about it.
Today just worked. We had fun. We painted, we glittered glued, we watched a movie as a family. We did a little shopping and a lot of playing. We had a whole lot of fun.
One of my most prized possessions is a necklace that Mike bought for me. It says on it "Just Be". I wear it all the time, because it reminds me, whenever I have it on, of that phrase - just be. It means different things on different days. Sometimes it reminds me that the best person I can be is myself - not some version of me that is louder or quieter or prettier or smarter.
And, sometimes, like today, it reminds me to just let things be. Don't push everything to be perfect. Who cares if the laundry is done, if my house is spotless or if my hair is shiny. Just be - and let life go on.
And, you know what? Today I did just that and the day worked.
Sure I am still worried about a ton of stuff - our upcoming move, our finances, Christmas, etc.
But today I let it go. And I relaxed. And enjoyed.
And today ... was perfect!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Mean Mommy ... continued

I have decided I don't like the term Mean Mommy. Tough yes. Mean no.
We're on to day 3 of this reformed parenting. My basics - still be fun, but a little firmer. Don't accept the stuff that is bratty, but try to enjoy the stuff that is fun.
Last night we put it to the test - with a night on the town.
Okay, really, I'd had a couple drinks after work, Mike picked up Matt but there was major traffic, so we decided to meet at Yonge & Eglinton for dinner. I promised to order ahead so that it wouldn't be a long wait.
This was the first dinner out, pretty much since Matt was a teeny tiny sleeping infant, that I can say we actually were relaxed at dinner.
Here were the ground rules. We had a booth by the window, so he was allowed to stand on the bench, sit by the window and go under the table. He could colour and could drink chocolate milk. Screaming, running around, jumping on the bench or climbing on the table, as well as this weird hold the table and climb the bench backward trick were all forbidden.
Amazingly, he complied. He sat for dinner, he chatted, we all had fun.
When he started to misbehave there was no waffling. We didn't go with the "no" we so often use, we told him that we did not like it when he jumped on the bench. We told him it was not how you behave.
For the most part he listened. And, it was a long dinner since Pickle Barrel service is SOOOOO slow. (seriously, I hate how slow their service is).
In fact, he was so well behaved and we were so impressed that Mike - yes, Mike not me - suggested that we take him to Indigo to play with the Thomas Table.
Okay.
So off we went to Indigo for 45 minutes. Mike bought us coffees and Matt played Thomas.
Again with the tough parenting, we made it clear that he needed to share the toys or we would leave. So, the one really funny part was when he started to yell - "sharing sharing" as he took another kid's toy. But, that was funny - and quickly resolved. We actually enjoyed a quiet cup of coffee and chatted while our remarkably well behaved child played. It was fantastic.
The only low part of the evening was leaving. He left the store just fine, but when we didn't let him go on the car and boat rides for more than a minute he completely freaked out.
So, there I was holding a screaming, kicking toddler under my arm as we rode down the escalator. He was screaming "I want the RRRRIIIDDDEEESSS" as I was firmly saying "I don't care - that's not how we behave".
Golden.
The moment ended when Mike suddenly said "Christmas Tree" and Matt was distracted.
All in all a good evening.
Fingers crossed this is a new trend.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Mean Mommy

Lately I've been struggling a lot with my son's behaviour.
Yes, he's a toddler. Yes, he says the word no a lot. Yes, that's typical toddler behaviour. I know temper tantrums are to be expected, and I'm ready to face them head on.
But, what I've been thinking about, and really questionning myself on is how much of this is typical toddler behaviour and how much of this is me allowing my child to be a brat. Because, some days, I have to admit that Matt is kind of bratty.
Don't get me wrong. I love my child to death. And, much of the time I appreciate him for the adorable, wonderful, loving child that he is.
But, I don't want him to be a brat.
I'm starting to notice that some of these bratty behaviours occur only around me. For instance, he can be playing really nicely at daycare, see me, and suddenly start whining. Or, I'll stick around to talk to his teacher and he just starts being bad.
His favourite trick is to pull my arm really hard until I leave. I just let him do it. His teacher stepped in and said "Matthew. That hurts Mommy. Stop."
She was firm and serious and he stopped. Right away.
Or, if he goes to open the door and leave I let him do it, and then chase him down the hall. Kayla (his teacher) tells him no, and he just walks away.
Why?
According to the reading I've done, part of this is because I'm his mom. And, he's more comfortable around me. Knows my limits, all of that. And, his teachers play a different role. So, okay. That's fine.
But, I am learning I need to be a little firmer.
So, I've started.
Call it Operation Mean Mommy. Call it whatever you want. But, I've had it with all of this bad behaviour.
The one thing his teacher suggested is that I need to be really clear in my demands. So, today when he kept saying no to me about getting dressed I said (in my new mean mommy voice)
"Mommy does not like it when you say no to me."
So, he looked at me, said yes, and on went the clothes.
Ummmm ... okay. This is easy!
Then at daycare I asked for my hug goodbye. He was completely pre-occupied with his trains and said "not right now. Wait a minute" (well, actually he said "wait a millet").
So I said "No. Mommy has to go to work - I don't like it when you say not right now."
And he jumped up and came running for a kiss.
Apparently we need to use the phrases that work for him. So, we are learning. But, the one thing I do know is that as Matthew gets older I want a child who is fun to be around. I'm not looking for a little soldier with no opinion. But, screaming at me, hitting me, and not respecting me at all. I've finally had it.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Donuts to Dollars ... A new babysitter

Last night we had a babysitter.
Shocking. I know.
We had a final shoot for the show we are doing, and in desperation I e-mailed the producer and she arranged for a babysitter while we went to do our shoot.
I was totally fine with the idea of this girl coming over. She's a kindergarten teacher, studied ECE and has babysat for numerous families. And, I trust Matt with the teachers at daycare every day. So, what's the big deal.
Who knows - I just totally panicked about 15 minutes before she arrived. Our house was messy, I didn't have a fullsome emergency contact list (okay - the list had about 20 people on it) and I was worried. A babysitter. In my home. We honestly have never done that.
When Lara arrived I calmed down a bit.
First of all, she was really cool. And, totally relaxed. And she asked all the right questions - bedtime, teeth brushing, tv, etc. Matt seemed to like her. And, so we left. (okay more like Mike dragged me).
But, I've gotta say. It went really well.
We came home to a sleeping child who had his pyjamas on, his teeth brushed and was happy. The girl worked magic.