Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Wrap-up

I've got a lot of pictures and not many words tonight. Simply because I'm tired.  The one problem with Halloween is that it is not a stat holiday.  In other words, this great opportunity for traditions and memory making gets crammed in between work, school, skating lessons, nightly reading and vocabulary practice.  

But guess what?  We did it! 

I love those pictures that everyone posts of their families going to a pumpkin farm to get the perfect pumpkin for carving.  You know the ones where everyone is dressed in their best puffy vest accented with a great scarf and maybe an awesome hand-knit hat.   They take these great photos of their kids meandering through rows of pumpkins, climbing on them, smiling, having a great ol'time making their autumn memories.  Ya, that would be so up my alley.  If we had anything that resembled a pumpkin patch, I would be there.  

My actual "pumpkin patch"  photo would have a clear shot of my ass in the air, hanging over one of those huge bins at the Co-op trying to reach the pumpkin that the girls are pointing at.  Ha. Ha.

We made some last minute cookies for Callie's Halloween party at school. Callie is like a crazy lady on the rolling pin.  Stuff was flying everywhere.

And of course, there were costumes. 
I would like to introduce Alvin and Brittany.
Two of the cutest chipmunks ever.

As you can see, Fall put up a pathetic fight against Winter this year and was virtually knocked out in one punch.  The trick or treating experience was brief today but Callie and Lexi were completely satisfied with their efforts.  Little sister knew exactly what to do this time around.  Her little chipmunk legs were going  as fast as they could to keep up with the big kids.

And with rosy cheeks and bags full of treats we called it a night.

Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Weekday Morning

Our mornings have a steady rhythm.  Timing is of most importance.  For if we somehow loose the beat, the conductor of this orchestra starts waving her baton like a mad lady saying, "Let's go, Let's go.  We're gonna be late!"

I start my day with the beginning notes of Beethoven's Fur Elise playing from the alarm on Jon's phone.  That may sound pretty sophisticated but seasoned musicians like us actually refer to it as "that song from the Little Einsteins".  Next comes the first words of the day.
Jon: You up?
Me: ummhumm.

And our weekday morning begins.  

We generally wake Lexi first.  Usually because she is never in the same bed that she went to sleep in the night before.  On this particular night, Jon had fallen asleep watching TV in the living room.  Around three AM he began to stir, chilly from the lack of blankets.  When he opened his eyes he happened upon both Callie and Lexi sitting on the couch watching Treehouse!  

Jon is usually the one to wake Lexi in the morning, gently tickling her back until she reaches consciousness.  And the first words out of her mouth, "where's mom?" I can hear this from the bathroom where I'm getting ready for work.  I call out, "Mama's right here."  And then I wait for it...

"Come snuggle me, mom."

And I always do...hence the waving of the baton like a mad lady when it's time to go!  Then I always say the same thing to her, "Imagine if mommy got paid for snuggling you.  That would be the best job in the world!"

Now it's time to get big sister started for the day.  She has this clock in her room that lights up green when it's time to get up.   And on this morning, the clock had been gloriously glowing green for 33 minutes before I got there to wake her up.

We made a little family rule a while back which clearly states all children need to be dressed before the TV can be turned on.  Little sister obviously found a loop hole in the agreement.  We've been having more good mornings than stressful ones these days and I know I'm being risky in saying that as snowsuit season is being bestowed upon us literally as I type these words.

Funny little fact:  we gage how late we are by the program that is on the TV.  Hair combing takes place while Toopy and Binoo go on their brief adventure, next Manon sings her song and finally all hair ponies need to be completed by the time Octonauts begins or look out, someone's going to lose an eye from the conductor's baton!

More often than not, breakfast dishes are left on the table.  And then the Dad swoops in for his final performance of the morning...helping get girls, backpacks, lunches, and whatever toys they are insisting on taking to day care... out to the truck.  And in this picture he's looking at me because I set my baton down for a minute to take the picture...and we can all see the clock on the wall!

Finally, the standing ovation.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Dark Evenings

I did a simple Google search the other day for tips on how to take better photos indoors in the evening.  The general consensus is that "real" photographers just don't do it.  The lighting is bad, there are shadows every where and the flash washes out all the colors.  Good thing I'm not a "real" photographer because indoors, in the evenings is all we got these days.   

We have a returning house guest.

Indoors, in the evening, with a flash = great picture of windows that need to be washed.

Work took more than it's fair share of my life this week.  And a nasty migraine headache sent me to bed early two nights in a row.  But that is in the past and we're moving forward.  Last night I slept in the middle of my two girls, soaking up their love by osmosis, in a meagre attempt make up for the extra hours that work sucked up.

After many hours of scrolling through internet costume sites the girls finally decided on their perfect costumes for Halloween. Funny thing about looking for hours for the costumes of the year...they ended up going back to the first one that they saw.

Pumpkin sweater made by my grandma for my nephew, about fifteen years ago.  Callie says it still fits her.
With costumes on the way.  Cool, damp, dark evenings taking over.  And a little twinge to start shopping. We are looking forward to things to come.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Skating and Snow

 And just like that...we are back at the rink.  When I sat down in my usual spot to watch Callie's first lesson of the year it felt like summer had never even happened.  Resume position.  Sip a hot chocolate.  Make sure Lexi doesn't fall down the stairs...oh wait, she's a whole year older and what a difference that makes.

Little sister no longer has to watch all the action from the bleachers.  She has official achieved big kid status by joining her sister on the ice... with a little help from dad of course.  Unlike Callie though, Lexi was dead set on wearing figure skates.  Callie tried to convince her that hockey skates were better.  That figure skates were boring because they were just plain white.  But her efforts were futile.  Lexi insisted that the figure skates felt better on her feet and that was that.

After watching Callie skate all last winter, Lexi was ready to get out there.  No hesitation.  No pep talk.  She just jumped in skates first.  Jon held onto her the whole time as she wobbled and waned on her Bambi legs.  
I'm not sure what was more tired at the end of the lesson, Lexi's feet or Jon's back.

Callie has an aura of confidence on the ice this year.  She excels with the familiar.  Same rink, same jersey, good friends, familiar faces... a recipe for success for my big girl.  I am one proud mama watching from behind the glass, cheering and smiling and trying not to wave my proud mama freak-flag to crazily.

And since we're back at the rink, why not a little snow to go with it.  We woke up to the white blanket earlier in the week and the girls pulled out last year's winter uniforms and tested them out.

It's Fall's turn to battle it out with winter and I always root for the underdog.  The snow had melted by the end of the day scoring a victory for Fall this time.  I hope Fall has a few more rounds left in her because we have costumes on the way and treats to collect.  If we cheer loudly maybe Fall will win us a Halloween day like last year.  

Three cheers for Fall.  Hip, Hip, Hurray.  
I can't hear you!  HIP, HIP, HURRAY!
It's your turn now... let's hear it.

Monday, October 8, 2012


The other night I was explaining to Callie that Thanksgiving was coming up and we had a discussion about what we were thankful for.  I told her about how I was thankful for having food to eat and a house to live in and how we live in a peaceful country.  I guess I was trying to point out the many things we can take for granted in our daily life.  

I'm thankful for the love and joy my family brings.
She listened without any life experience to be able to imagine what it would be like to be hungry, homeless or at war.  Then she pipes up and says, "I'm thankful for Lexi because she makes me laugh."

I think sister gets it.

I'm thankful I get to be their mom.
And I know exactly what she has in mind when she says Lexi makes her laugh.  Little sister is really hamming it up these days.  She is quite the performer.  Putting on shows and dances where she gives a little three year old bootie shake.  Lately, Lexi has developed a bit of a stutter.  And my speech pathologist friend assures me that she is just going though a period of language development and she will outgrow it.  And if Callie hadn't gone through the exact same thing I would definitely be more concerned.

I'm thankful for the small things.
 But for now, whenever Lexi gets going and she gets hung up on a word, something like "y-y-y-y-y-y-y-you want to play with me?"  Callie looks at me, I look at her, we hold back our smiles, then we both look at Lexi and Lexi starts to laugh at herself and then we all have a good giggle because it's so cute and funny and mostly because we're pretty sure it won't last forever.

I'm thankful for the everyday memoires we are making.
When I asked Lexi what she was thankful for she looked around and said she was thankful for her straw cup and her toys.  Both of which are pretty important when you are three.

Blogging our life stories over the past couple of years has really forced me to look for the good and see the joy in the simple, everyday things.  We live in a time where complaining is like a national past time.  It's right up there with discussing the weather.  We complain about our weight, our spouses, our jobs, our homes, what we don't have or how we would have done it differently.  And when I sit down to look at the pictures I took of the girls I try to weed out all the complaining and write about the good.

I am thankful for peaceful sleeping girls.
Like all things in life there has to be some kind of balance.  And I struggle with where the line is between hoping and dreaming and wanting for more and being thankful and grateful for what I have.  I am thankful for our home, the fact that we have a roof over our heads to keep us warm in the winter and a safe haven to greet us at the end of our day.  But in the next breath I wish we had a fireplace, drywall, new windows, deck, siding and a beautifully landscaped yard.  

When does wishing for more become complaining and ungrateful sounding?  I don't know the answer to this but the way I balance it in my mind is with a bible verse or the Bryds song... whichever you prefer. 

We all have so much to be thankful for.  Some days the blessing are big and noticeable and all wrapped up in pretty paper and other days we need to wipe away the dirt and use a magnifying glass to see them.  I guess the balance is in being thankful despite the size and packaging.  Happy Thanksgiving.