Thursday, September 30, 2010

Come to mama!!!

Not sure what's more disturbing: the fact that my table is covered by this much caffeine, that all these k-cups aren't (yet) recyclable or that dear hubby doesn't know (yet) that I bought more. Shhhh.

In any case, I look forward to savouring each and every one. Restocked dark bold blends and flavoured ones. Oh, and half-caf, for those days when I really shouldn't be having yet another cup.

When downloading my coffee pic, I stumbled upon this delightful video that dear hubs took of me the other night. This is why I need more coffee! In my defense, it *was* after midnight.

How flattering.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Need a niche... or a commune

'Cause all the great bloggers have one. My niche is my family. Which is hardly original. I'm not a witty writer. I can't seem to make the mundane interesting. I tend to ramble. But I love to talk about the boys and our lives and the general day to day stuff. Good and bad.

Then again, this was never an exercise in writing for anyone else. Some family members use it to keep up to date. But it's more of a diary, a baby book, a footprint. So do I really need a niche? If I want to make any money from writing, then yes. The advice is always "write what you know"... except what do I know? My family. Our lives. Ho-hum.  And the term 'mommyblogger' really makes me boil. Dunno why. It's a true description. But it just seems to undermine the whole thing. A pat on the head. A 'good girl'.

I've always wanted to write. Short stories. A novel. Poetry. I've played around with each at various times in my life. Most back in high school, which is starting to become a mighty long time ago. But I still love it even if my creative process is an abandoned junk heap on the side of the road. Someday. Until then, I'll blog. And let you read it... all 5 of you!

So what did the family get up to today, you're wondering? Well, being Sunday, we had soccer and gymnastics. Then my dear sister visited for a few hours. Then Felix and I went grocery shopping and picked out a pumpkin for the front steps. And I whipped up 2 different suppers (tonight and tomorrow) and a batch of homemade yogurt. And Elliot bit Felix so hard on the nose I thought for a moment it had broken the skin.

But back to the yogurt. I'm awfully proud of this. I feel very pioneer woman, like I should be in an old farmhouse slaving over dinner for my family of 12 and darning socks by candlelight. I often think I should be living far out of civilization. No temptations of power and technology. Living off the land. Living in the moment. Enjoying the company of others. Enjoying the solitude, simplicity and tranquility. I sort of grew up that way.  We lived a mile in the woods, on a lake, in a house my father built, with no power and no indoor plumbing for the first 2 years. I had my 6th birthday in that house. But by time my 9th rolled around, we had moved. And I was enrolled in public school.

Our mother let us roam fairly freely through the woods. We were all old enough that we didn't require constant supervision, mostly. We climbed trees and danced on rocks and went on nature hikes. We had a large rock we called Stink Rock, because we would always go pee on it. We had chickens. And a garden. And a cow. And a snapping turtle we found on the side of the road one day and brought home in the back of the car - all 3 of us kids pressed as far up against the front seats as possible as the angry thrashing creature in the hatchback compartment tried to climb over the seats to eat us. It was a while before I could bring myself to swim in the lake in the same area where we released it.

There were snakes. *shudder* But there would be no snakes in my commune farm fantasy.

Mom made shoes for us out of leather. She wanted us to wear moccasins and play in the woods like little Indians. Hardly politically correct, but we are descended from the Metis on my father's side, so an accurate desire. She taught herself leather works and within a few years had her own leather business, building belts, purses and other such items which were sold weekly at the Farmer's Market.

She experimented with making granola, yogurt, cottage cheese, jams, teas (the most disgusting of which was kombucha tea - a hideous fungus like thing supposedly with phenomenal health properties. I refused to drink it), apple cider, along with a multitude of vegetables. We even helped prepare animal hides for the tanning process. (Eeew! Salting and scraping... It's a wonder I still eat meat!)

The yogurt recipe I've been using lately is a fun one. It's made in the crockpot. Today's experiment is using 1 part lactose free milk with 2 parts almond milk. I got the recipe and instructions from A Year of Slowcooking ... add milk into a large crockpot and cook on low for 2.5 hours. Turn off and/or unplug the crockpot and let sit, covered, for 3 hours. Then scoop out about 2 cups of warm milk, mix in 1/2 cup of plain yogurt, stir to combine and return the milk/yogurt combo to the pot. Cover tightly and then insulate to retain warmth for 8 hours. Refridgerate and eat within 10 days, saving 1/2 cup to use as a starter for your next batch.

It's yummy and fairly easy. I've tried mixing in jam and fresh fruit before serving. Felix actually pushed his away, saying "no like it." He prefers it plain. I tried scooping some into the blender with fresh blueberries. That turned out gritty - too many blueberries, maybe? Today's batch will likely be extra runny, since it's pretty thin milk (whole milk makes a thicker yogurt). I tried adding in a packet of gelatin when I stirred the yogurt in, but I think that will be an epic FAIL as it didn't dissolve properly. Might be kinda tapioca-ey. I made a strawberry sauce from frozen berries and honey. I plan to mix that in once it's gone through it's 8 hour stint. Of course, I didn't time things properly - that will be around 4am. Oops. Hopefully the extra few hours won't kill us. I'll keep you posted!

(No pictures of the finished product, as it's thickening in the crockpot, buried under a tea towel, 2 wool sweaters and a fleece blanket right now. But here's the strawberry sauce!)

And with that, I should stop rambling and head to bed. Long day of schooling ahead of me tomorrow! I did decide to go back - taking one university class and one advanced taxation class through work, 2 mornings/afternoons a week. On opposite sides of the harbour. Public transit and begging for rides is my life now!

Saturday, September 25, 2010


We've signed the boys up for all sorts of activities this fall. I may have gone a bit overboard, but I figured it would  only be for 8 weeks and we'd get a good taste of what they like and want to continue.

Swimming was full for Elliot's age range, but Felix got in. It's at 9am on Saturdays and it's a good 45 minutes' walk away, but he loves it so much. Elliot is now asking when he gets a turn, so I'll have to be more on the ball when registration for the winter sessions starts up.

And Elliot's favourite by far is gymnastics. This one we planned for - he's been on a waiting list for over a year. And he loves it - looks forward to his Sunday afternoons all week long. It's certainly the pricier option when looking at their other activities, especially since it's offered in a competitive gymnastics gymnasium and taught by former students and gymnasts. Elliot has also requested ballet classes, but they're all full right now. Maybe the winter session, if we can't get him back into gymnastics.

Following him around a circuit during his second class...

Sunday mornings, the boys are in mini-soccer together. It's just kids and parents kicking balls around a big gymnasium. The first day, Elliot and another boy ran full tilt into each other while running at the same ball but from opposite directions. This was in the first 5 minutes of the program. And then again somewhere around the 7 minute mark. Elliot got hurt both times (not seriously) and so the other boy's parents and I ran interference for the rest of the class. And they were drawn like magnets to each other.

So we're going to spend the next few weeks shuttling the kids around from one activity to the next.It's a fine balance, when you don't have a car. But just think of how green we're being.  Add in the cloth diapers and we're doing our part to help the environment. Right? RIGHT? Almost makes up for all the power draining computers in the house. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dear Elliot

Dear Elliot,

Today you turn 4. How quickly the years have passed. I remember how nervous daddy and I were when we first brought you home from the hospital. How you cried and wouldn't latch to breastfeed and I cried and we tried to figure out how to use the pump and then you guzzled the bottles of pumped milk every 3 hours for 5 days until we figured out how to nurse. You were jaundiced, which made you a bit lethargic, so we had to wake you to make sure you ate. You had such a mad little cry. You went from cheery to "where's my damn milk" in a nanosecond. And then when you ate, you would dig your little fingers into your eyes over and over - we had to keep mittens on you so you wouldn't scratch your delicate skin.
A few days old

You were (and are!) always quick to laugh and smile. Such a cheery boy. And a determined one. When you were learning how to roll, you would spy something on the other side of the room and roll towards it. But having such a large head, you would roll in circles and get so mad! You were a very physical baby. Big hugs. Big kisses - complete with teeth. You would crawl on other children and pull their hair, often making them cry. You affectionately received the nickname "Brute" since playdates nearly always ended with the other child(ren) in tears. We did constant intervention, correction and redirection with you.
First Easter

You got your first tooth at 4 months old. Your first word was ball.You walked at 10.5 months. You started using the mouse on my computer - correctly - sometime around 2 years old. When Felix was born, you called him a "tiny little boner" instead of "newborn". You love to dance and have an amazing move where you bend over at the waist and move your arms back and forth across your body. Makes me laugh every time I see it. You call it your 'boogie-woogie'.
Happy 1st Birthday!

You are incredibly smart. In fact, we brought you for special testing and discovered you're in the 99th percentile for cognitive development - which means you're one smart cookie! Your brain is always thinking about things. Lately, you've been describing pictures you see outside - street signs, signs in shop windows, signs on vehicles - and asking what it means. You're starting to spell and can do basic math.
Birthday #2 - you're a big brother now!

I had to write down this conversation we had the other night:

Elliot: I'm going to be 100 when I have my own kids. One will be named Stella...

Mama: Who's going to be their mama?

Elliot: You are, mama. And Felix will be one of my kids. And daddy - he will be my next husband and will take care of the kids when I die. And when I take one kid to the grocery store, he will take care of the (ummmm, 9 take away one...) 8 kids left. The other kids are Happy, Long, Giraffe (that's a funny name!) and Flashlight. And Mat, Dinosaur, Cat, Crayon, Chalk and Felix. Happy has blue skin. And another Flashlight. Actually, I don't want two Flashlights...I'll name the other kid Bag.

Mama: That's 12 kids!

Elliot: Hey Felix! I'm going to have 12 kids when I'm 100 and you're gonna be one of them!!
Just before 3rd birthday

You love cars, dinosaurs, books, macaroni & cheese, shepherd's pie and mama hugs. You're very crafty. On the walk home tonight, you collected a handful of dry pine needles, a stick and half a roofing shingle. You said you were going to make a picture of a boat out of them. (But you changed your mind when we got home and threw everything on the lawn.) You make up words all the time. My favourite is "clonch" as in, Felix fell down and clonched his head. And I will probably cry when you stop pronouncing the "-tion" suffix as "shkin" - constructshkin, directshkin... too cute.
Wild Thing face

I love you, sweetheart. My little Milk Dud. My Octobaby. (Some of your nicknames from when you were a brand new baby.) You are my sunshine.

Love mama.
Nearly 4

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Parenting ups and downs

Our boys are very good about wearing their hats whenever we're outside. They are also very polite - please and thank you without prompting, most of the time. They both give wonderful hugs.

I suck at remembering to wash their hands before meals and rarely brush their teeth before we leave in the mornings. I also have terrible patience and need anger management help STAT!

Fresh lemonade tea party, complete with hummus and crackers

What are a couple of your parenting ups and downs?

Leave me a comment or link to your blog with your ups and downs and I'll randomly pick someone and mail out cookies. Or at least my favourite dessert recipe.

CONGRATS Bethsix at "winning" my first giveaway!!! Since you live so far away, I'm thinking cookies wouldn't make it through the mail in good shape. But I'm game to try if you are! Otherwise, I'll send you one of my fave recipes for you to bake at home. Lemme know what works for you... email rainydayboys at gmail dot com with your addy or email addy and I'll get on that!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Not as fun as pulling taffy

Well, last night was pleasant.


Felix screamed through his supper. He wanted to watch Diego. NOW! I semi-force-fed sweet potato turkey Shepard's pie with cranberry sauce him in between his demands. When he had eaten enough that I was satisfied he wouldn't die of starvation in his sleep, he slid out of his chair and ran to the fridge, his demands changing from "Diego" to "Yop" ... you got it, NOW! I should have just given in. It's not that big of a deal, except I try to limit them to one Yop a day, otherwise they'd drink them alllllllll.

I was tired. I was frustrated. And so I slapped his hands away from the fridge door and repeatedly re-closed it,  I finally grabbed his arm to pull him out of the kitchen. Just as he dropped his weight into another floor directed tantrum.

I heard the soft 'pop'. I saw his face go pale, mouth open in the silent howl. Scooped him up, grabbed a Thomas the Tank Engine ice pack and tried to calm him down, all the while mentally kicking my own ass for not being patient and hurting my sweet boy. It seemed to be his elbow and he was refusing, whilst howling aloud, to move his arm.

Jay wasn't answering his cell. The office phones were routed to voicemail since it was after hours. Elliot was still eating his supper while I carried the crying Felix next door to see if the neighbours were home. They weren't. I came home and started calling friends. Reached someone on the second try and they said they'd be over right away. I called a cab and was buckling the carseat in when help arrived. Friends stayed with Elliot while I took Felix to Children's Emergency.

I forgot about the tether. I only did one side of the LATCH. I gingerly put him in, with a sweater to brace his arm and didn't bother with the shoulder strap on that side. And off we went.

The white info board advised a minimum 3 hour wait for non-urgent issues and up to 45 for emergencies. The triage nurse gave a still crying Felix some Advil and a popsicle - a quick and dirty test to see if he'd reach for it with the sore hand. No dice. She did a quick snap of his arm to see if it would go back into place, since it didn't feel broken anywhere. He howled. And then we waited. And waited. And Jay showed up with a blanket, soother, lovie and diaper. And we waited more.

After 2.5 hours, he got his second wind and wanted to play with the other waiting kids. (A 17 month old was there for a cheerio-up-the-nose removal and a 2 year old was there with raised red gooseeggs around her eyes from a fall.)  Felix started to move his arm and except for one direction, it seemed fine. I think the nurse might have actually reduced it (official term for fixing this type of injury, I found out later) a bit and paired with the Advil, it sort of fixed it.  So, we talked quickly with the nurses and since there were still 3 people ahead of us (and it was a busy night for urgent cases), we decided to bring him home.

Bad choice. He slept terribly and woke up in pain again, refusing to use his arm. So we packed up the boys and after debating our choices, made a family trip back to the ER. We saw a dr within an hour of arriving, but then had to wait another 2 hours before getting into xray. Luckily, they had a few toys, books and a fish tank where we were waiting, so the boys didn't go totally bonkers. Good news is that no fractures appeared on the scans. But they said that if he still wasn't using it by Saturday to come back in. They said it's likely something referred to as Nursemaid's Elbow.

*sigh* Apparently it can take 3-4 weeks to completely heal and the child is much more susceptible to it happening again... until their bones mature and grow enough to prevent it from happening more - usually after age 5.

While we were there, and part of the reason for the delay in getting to xray, was that there was a Code Blue. A cardiac arrest. In the children's ER. I was standing in the hallway when the mother collapsed, hyperventilating, on a chair at the end of the hall. It was intense and scary, with alarm bells going off, the calm voice on the speaker announcing the code and everyone running. From what I could hear, the little boy, who is 2, had a pre-existing condition and he collapsed so she called 911. By the time we left, there were lots of family members in the room, hugging each other. It was unclear what the boy's status was. Scary. That poor mother. Her voice. I hope I never, ever hear that kind of anguish again.

My monkeys are already in bed tonight, both asleep before 7:30, which is unheard of in these parts. But that's what little or no naps can do. I dearly hope the mother from the ER is able to hold her sweet monkey tonight and that's he's safe and recovering. *hugs* to you, mama, whoever you are.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Goodbye Earl

Saturday, Hurricane Earl blew by. We weren't directly in his path, but we felt some pretty strong winds. Luckily, we didn't have any damage, but when we went walking around the neighbourhood afterwards, we saw plenty of trees down on houses and lots of police tape blocking off power lines that were trailing on the street. At one point, we saw city buses being rerouted on our small residential street. The cause? Huge tree limb across the main road at the end of our street.

The boys were intrigued by the wind, but really just wanted their TV back. They kept asking to turn the lights on, too. We were without power for 32 hours. They did love the tray of candles we set up in the bathroom for bathtime Saturday night. Sponge baths with water warmed on the BBQ.

Gourmet BBQ breakfast
My chiro's office!

(Blurboy is not one of ours)

Friday, September 3, 2010

5 years

September 3, 2005

We were married at an old movie theatre. Apparently the first wedding ceremony in their history. It was beautiful.

Lots of comfy seating for everyone!

Photos done at a local historic site.

Happy Anniversary, sweetheart. Wow. Married 5 years, together for nearly 4 before that. 2 wonderful boys. 1 house.  Looking forward to many, many more! (Years, that is.)

We met about 11 years ago. I was dating someone else, but felt a strong attraction to you. Then you up and moved to England! I was very excited when you came back. A group of us went to see Being John Malkovitch at (the above mentioned) theatre. Then there was the night we went sliding, laughing like a bunch of kids.

Then came the time my then boyfriend decided to move to another city to "better our relationship". Since things were already rocky, I'm not sure how he thought it would better anything. So you kept me company. We watched movies. I fed you my horrific soup with the massive flavour pockets. And you ate every bite and even asked for seconds.

When it finally came time to break it off with the MIA boyfriend, a friend called you and said you needed to join us at a local bar, asap. And we had our first kiss. I believe the first movie we rented as a couple was American Pyscho. Yeah, let's not hold that against us!

It took you 3 stinkin' years and home-ownership, but you finally proposed. The same night I told you about plotting with your mother to plan the wedding and invite you to it.

I think my fondest memory of our wedding aftermath was early the next week, when we were getting ready for bed and I was taking off my support hose and you were removing your dentures. What a pair. Old and crotchety before our time!

You've given me 2 beautiful boys. And though I'd like to try for a girl, I understand our chances of getting twin boys is just too high and scary. So I respect your decision to keep our family the way it is.

I love you. You are truly my better half!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Rhythm of the Home

Yay! The fall issue of the e-magazine Rhythm of the Home is up!

Every time I read through their issues, I feel like I should be doing more to be earthy and warm. Sometimes it makes me feel like a failure as a parent, since I'm not leaning the way I want to. But then I see it as a chance to change, to find my own rhythm instead of trying to fit into a preconceived mold. I just wish it came more naturally to me. My preconceived notion includes living in the woods, on a farm, surrounded by woods and with a vegetable garden and happy children and no technology. But then I'd probably go insane, but for different reasons than what's currently causing me to go insane!

But then I look at my sweet boys during a tender moment and realize that I must be doing something right!

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