Thursday, April 28, 2011

April Showers and a Little Hoarding

It rained last night.  The first real "April showers brings May flowers" kind of rain.  When we stepped out the door this morning and breathed in the fresh air it was euphoric.  It was that moist, clean, April fresh air that I've been waiting for.  This morning was the proof for all the non-morning loving people in the world...that it is the best part of the day.  I wanted to strap the girls in the stroller and go for a walk.  Maybe pick up a coffee and swing by the park and watch the girls play while I sipped the warm, liquid gold and closed my eyes while inhaling the combination of the coffee aroma and remnants of the spring rain.

That's what I wanted to do.  Instead I strapped the girls in their car seats and we headed off to work, preschool, and daycare and we made the best of a beautiful spring morning.  We wore our sunglasses and Callie requested that I play her favorite song for the drive.  I turned it up and three of us sang out loud like nobody was watching.

This week I finally accomplished the task of sorting through the girls' closets.  There is a clothing sale at one of the schools coming up which was just the motivation I needed the get the job done.  I sorted through Callie's wardrobe packing away the massive amount of clothes that she has outgrown...neatly folding and stacking them into boxes until Lexi is just a bit bigger.  I washed the winter outerwear hoping that it can finally be laid to rest for another year.  I then searched through the mountain of boxes of Callie's hand-me-downs to see what we had for Lexi to wear this summer.  I tell you it was like Christmas.  Callie was pulling out her old clothes to show Lexi and was so proud to tell sister about how she wore these clothes when she was little like her. 

I lugged the pile of new-to-her treasures upstairs to Lexi's room to be put away... but first I had to make some room by clearing out all the things that Lexi had outgrown.  And then I had a emotional moment.  What do I do with the things Lexi is done with?  Is she the last baby in this house?  Why do I need to pack up these clothes ...I can just donate them to the clothing sale. 

Why is this easier said than done?  Logically it makes sense... these clothes will be going to a good cause...  there are other children that could use them...we don't need them anymore.  But I just couldn't do it. I couldn't bare to say goodbye to these things.  And I know that they are only clothes but I just wasn't ready to end this chapter of the baby book.   So I compromised.  I packed up my favorites.  The clothes that have memories for me.  The blue "smile" shirt that Callie wore on one of our airplane holidays and everyone called her a boy but it didn't matter because that shirt made her eyes sparkle, Lexi's polka-dotted  first birthday dress, the beautiful grey dress coat with the Russian hat from Nana and Papa that both girls wore.  I decided that I don't have to give these things away.  That with time, the answer to what I am to do with these treasures will become clearer.  I packaged them up and took them downstairs and I will hold on to them until the time is right to part with them.  Or at least until the Hoarders people arrive to do a show about me!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Pot of Gold

When you are a working mom, long weekends are like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow...24 extra hours to enjoy the little things...the little things that can easily get put on the back burner until all the weekend chores are done.  And sometimes the weekend chores take up all the time or they must be neglected in order to make room for the small things.  On a long weekend there just seems to be a better balance. 

We had Easter dinner with family and Mother Nature was kind enough to provide us with a temperature that was reasonable enough for the girls to enjoy a few hours outside with their cousins.  I love watching kids play.  I love hearing their conversations, their negotiating, their laughing...I love their made up games, their squeals when they are getting chased, their energy to run up the hill and log roll down the grass with legs and arms flopping and flapping and then sitting up with that dizzy look on their faces.

Cousins are like the perfect mix of a sibling and a best friend.  A sibling because the love is present and felt in  your heart and soul but rarely spoken about.  And a best friend because you only have to do fun stuff together. You don't have to live with your best friend.  You get to skip all the things like she ate all the cookies, he's kicking me under the table, move over I can't see the tv.  Some of  my favorite memories are the times I've spent with my cousins.  And as I watched my girls playing and laughing and bubble blowing with their cousins I wonder if this time, this moment, will be one of the memories that they cherish when they look back on life. 

We did spend a little time coloring eggs...and I just have to say...I get really excited seeing all the colors and anticipating how the eggs will turn out.  And at one time I would have had a vision for what colored Easter eggs should look like and I would have tried to convince Callie that less is more...maybe it doesn't need dye, paint, sparkles, and stickers.  But this time I just let her have at it...letting her be free to create what was in her vision not mine.  And as you know I'm all about making memories...but I just have to say...we did this egg decorating while Lexi was napping.  She will have to make her memories next year...mostly because I needed to keep my sanity!

Easter morning means looking for eggs in your jammies and rockin' bed head while mom snaps pictures.  This year Callie knew exactly what to do and Lexi just followed suit.  When did they get so big that they hardly needed any help finding the eggs and filling the basket.  Lexi got sidetracked when she discovered the chocolates inside the plastic egg so Callie collected most of the hidden treasures.  They know it's a makin' memories kinda day when breakfast includes a bowl of mini eggs and a side of jelly beans.

Happy Easter Monday.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

At Home Day

This morning I am having coffee with a little splash of Baileys.  Callie and Lexi are playing in Callie's room and Handy Manny is the background noise of choice today.  The sun is shining in the windows past all the fingerprints and shmuck. 

I just have to say, I love our at home days. 

I was uploading pictures from our family day yesterday and as I was browsing through the folder of the last month...I found some more favorites that I want to share.

Things that I'm lovin' today:

1. That the snow is nearly done for another year.
2. That I'm still in my jammies.
3. That the deck has lawn furniture on it.

Just so you know...we only lick the icing.

Who likes David? Meeeeeeeeee!

4. That Lexi's word bank is growing...this week's word - "backpack". Thanks Dora.

This game is called "long trip".

5. That Lexi finally cut 3 more gone runny nose and chewing of everything.
6. That soon it will be warm enough to have my morning coffee outside on the deck in my jammies.

Oh sweet juice box I hold you in high regard, I chew on you and squeeze you and you never complain.

7. That Lexi is such a snuggler and will cuddle in bed with me in the morning.
8. That Callie could win the award for craziest bedhead.

Happy Saturday  everyone...Love every minute of it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Great Idea

"Mom, how 'bout tomorrow we watch tv, play with small things, have a party in sister's room, eat some candy, and then go to Nana and Papa's.  Does that sound like a great idea?"
Callie, age 4

I have to say that my brain is always bombarded with thoughts and feelings, ideas and projects, dreams and wishes...with things I want to do and new things I want to learn.  If anyone could join me in my brain it would be like watching one of those vintage arcade games where the ball pings and bounces everywhere...lights flashing to signify the really good ideas and the big ding, ding, ding, to announce the jackpot ideas.

     The box, the jackpot idea of the week.

    Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel...Callie style.

Here is just a sample of the rambling of thoughts rebounding back and forth in my mind...I should find some new recipes I'm getting tired of the usuals, hang the pictures in Callie's room that have been sitting on the shelf for a year, locate a storage solution for the broken cabinet in the living room,  I wonder if there is a calendar on my Blackberry to remind me what color to wear (I forgot to wear pink on Dare to Wear pink day for breast cancer...I forget a lot of things), I wonder what the characters in the novel I'm reading are doing right now, I think we should paint the bedroom, I need to learn more about bullying prevention, I think I'll organize a stress awareness day, I wish I knew how to play the piano, I need to start exercising, I want to make a shutterfly book....OK I'll stop.

I have lots of ideas...lots of things I want to do, to experience and to learn.  I sometimes get paralyzed when its time to execute my thoughts and ideas. I have things envisioned in my mind and when it comes out in reality its never quite like I imagined. 

Take this blog for example,  the words in my brain fit together like a massive jigsaw puzzle, all working together, living in harmony, one idea at a time being put into place until the entire picture is complete.  Then, when I go back and read my words, it's like some of the puzzle pieces are get the picture, you know what it is, but something is missing.  Like something got lost in translation between my brain and my fingers as they typed my thoughts on the keyboard.  And everyone can see the picture just fine...but I always think...if only you could see the picture I have in my mind. Now that is a great idea.

Callie executed a few of her own great ideas this week.  We played "going to the hockey game" and it had to be just like a real hockey game.  We had to stand for the national anthem, sit in the front row, cheer for daddy's team, and the best part of all...we went to the concession to get popcorn and juice.

Vancouver Canucks...not quite the game they had envisioned...Defeated 7-1

A tea party...with the breakable tea set...another great idea.

The weekend vision...

My perfect Easter plays out like a made-for-tv-movie.  Two beautiful girls dressed in frilly dresses and bows in their hair, white patent shoes with scuff marks from the green grass of the exquisite park where the egg hunt is taking place, the sun is shining, people are laughing and visiting...

...there will be a lot of puzzle pieces missing from that vision of Easter.  The grass won't be green, rubber boots will replace the white patent shoes, Callie may not wear a dress and the hair bows will likely be pulled out before dinner.  But, it's  all good.  We have some great ideas for the weekend.  Is it possible that the real thing could be even better than the vision?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Full Circle

Well, where have I been you ask?  If you recall, not that long ago I was declaring how grateful I was that everyone in my house was healthy...let it be said it is me who caught the bug.  It came upon me in an instant.  You know that very moment when you stop and think...hmm it feels like I'm getting a sore throat.  That happened to me last Wednesday at lunch.  I tried to work through the sore, scratchy throat pretending like I wasn't getting sick because somehow in my illogical reasoning I thought if I deny won't come. 

It came.

I wanted to pretend I wasn't getting sick and "will it" away because I had weekend plans.  Good plans.  Road trip plans.  My mom and I and my girls had a little weekend getaway .  We drove five hours south to visit my grandparents.  On Friday, after a doctors visit, a prescription, and some time at work... my mom and I loaded up the girls and headed down the highway.  It wasn't long before laryngitis decided to inhabit my body and for the entire weekend I sounded like a pre-pubescent boy.  My voice was squeaking and alternating between high an low octaves...I was never quite sure what was going to come out when I opened my mouth.  And it continues today.

This was an important road trip because things have changed since the last time I was down to visit my grandparents.  Grandpa is still making his way in the personal care home.  But grandma... she has a new pad.  Grandma moved into town from the quiet little community where her and Grandpa had lived for their many retired years.  And on the drive down I thought about what impact this little change in grandma's geography would have. Change is good, right?
The grandma - high five.
 As we drove down the highway we came upon the sign that pointed the way to the tiny hamlet where grandma and grandpa's retirement home was located, I held onto the steering wheel if some magnetic force was going to pull me in that direction...I had to fight against the auto pilot who has made that right turn off the highway and down through the steep hills and hairpin corners of The Bog for so many years.  And in that moment my mom says, "It feels strange not to be turning here" ... as if she is present in my thoughts.

I continued driving past the familiar turn off completeing the extra 20 km into the town that Grandma and Grandpa now call home. My voice was gone but my inner voice was whispering my thoughts.   I admired the beautiful, old, Ukrainian church up on the hill as I always do...and thought "one of these days I'm going to stop and take a picture of that church in all its glory"  and I wondered if the inside was a beautiful as the outside and I thought about how exquiste they built churches long ago.  When we arrived into town we drove by the little apartment where my other grandma used to live.  It made me think of her and I wondered if someone elses grandma lives there now. 

We finally pulled up to Grandma's apartment block, my girls sound asleep in the back seat as it was hours past their bedtime.  I looked up at the lights glowing in the apartment windows and asked my mom which one was grandma's.  The one with the two horses in the window...of course.  We carried our bags and two sleepy girls into grandma's new pad where she was waiting up for us as she has done countless times in her life...anticipating the arrival of family members at any hour of the day or night. 

As we hugged and kissed and looked around grandma's new felt like home.  It felt the same...just different.  Her bread making bowl was hanging in the storage room, the National Enquirers (which she buys for the crossword she claims) were on the table, the blankies and the afgans and all the treasures that make grandma's house grandma's house were all the same just in a new location.  Just like Grandma...still the same just calling a new place home. 

My visit made me think about how things have come full circle.  I remember being a young girl, going with my mom and grandma to visit my great-grandparents in this same town.  In little apartments full of grandma type things just like this.  And now my girls will do the same...they will make their own memories.  Memories of Chicken Delight dinners at great-grandpa's room.  Memories of orange creamcycles and elevator rides at grandma's apartment.  Memories of the love of a family passed on from one generation to the next.

Change is good, right?  When you embrace it with open arms.  When you don't fear it.  When you don't run and hide from it.  When you feel it.  When you accept it.   Change is necessary in order to make memories. And even though my outer voice barely spoke all weekend, memories were made in my heart and in the hearts of my girls for this full circle moment.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Photos and Captions

Imagine back when having your photo taken was an event.  Way back when the photographer hid under a black cloth all mysterious like and the people wore their very best attire and had stoic looks on their faces.  Only the wealthiest of people had portraits taken and the pictures did very little to show who they were as mothers, fathers or children. I have some old photos of great-great grandparents and when I look at them I wonder what they were like,what were their hopes and dreams, how did they spend their days...likely not in those starched, high collared ruffled shirts and tailored suits that they wore in the photographs. 

All I can say is, "We've come a long way baby."

Today...just random pictures of life.  Photos of the inbetween days that, when all strung together, make up our life's story.

The Big Brush
Callie is definitely in charge of the teeth brushing.  She gets Lexi all set up and teaches her how to brush.
Also, I am slowly recovering from my "dressing them the same" is the most difficult addiction in -the mom's with two girls- category!  
The Barefoot Barbeque
We got the ole barby out of the garage and had our first grilled T-bone of the season. 
Grandma and Papa
It's always a good day when Grandma and Papa come for a visit.

It's The Small Things
A million little pieces...that is what playmobil is and my girls love it.  This was Lexi's first time getting to meet the playmobil family since she is getting better at not eating them for snacks.  We hardly have to fish anything out of her mouth anymore...yay!
The Artist

Van Gogh, Picasso...Callie?  Her people drawings have been improving steadily.  I love how she's added fingers and a belly button.

Budding Artist
Lexi loves markers and coloring too just like her big sister.  Funny how Callie never even had markers at Lexi's age.
It is very hard work making that big of a mess.  Good night.