Tag Archives: Favourites

Gotta Keep ‘Em Separated

5 Dec

The Christmas Season is well upon us now.  And since we are officially past Holly’s birthday, with party and “day” under our belts, we can turn our attention to what’s really important: all the stuff we are going to receive in the next 4 weeks.

Now, please, don’t get me wrong.  We are very grateful and awed that so many people love our children enough to go to the effort of actually entering a store (going online), in the month of December (December 23rd) and handing over well earned cash (swiping their credit cards) to purchase an item they spent all year thinking about (called to ask what each girl wanted).

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.  No really.  We love it.  Don’t stop…

It isn’t the types of toys that make me fear Christmas.  In fact, this year, it sounds as if the girls are going to have their best Christmas EVER (gift-wise anyway- the lack of snow situation is seriously worrying Bronwyn).  It isn’t even the quantity.  It is the gnawing, mind-devouring agony of the post-Christmas week going something like this:

G1:  That’s MINE.  I got it for Christmas.

G2:  But I was playing with it.

G1:  Well you can’t, cuz it’s MINE!

Me:  Just let your sister have it, she was playing with it, and you didn’t even care until you noticed.

G3:  Hey!  She has MY *thing*.

G1:  But you said you didn’t want it.

G3:  I did not.  I said I didn’t want to play with it now.  But now I do, so give it back.

G2:  How can I play *X* when she has all the pieces?

G1:  Well, *so and so* didn’t give you all those things, she gave them to ME.  And I want to play with them.  ALL.  Right now.

Starts crying

G1:  She HIT me.

Me:  I’d hit my sister too if she were being so selfish (in my head of course, I’d never say that out loud for real… ever… or anything….)

Me:  Don’t hit your sister.


Does this happen in anyone else’s house?  How do you deal with it?

Elaine and I can (now) fondly reminisce about our days sharing a room in the basement.  We actually (based on the Berenstein Bears’ book, I think) plastered masking tape down the middle of our bedroom floor.  My side had the door, so I made Elaine enter and exit our room through the backless closet door (which led into the laundry room).  We had to share a room, but that didn’t mean we had to share anything else.

I want my kids to grow up in a house where everything is communal property.  Not everything, of course.  They each have their “special” toys and keepsakes that they keep in their rooms, and have a 6th sense when someone else is even thinking about touching them.  But most things.  I want them to be able to open up the My Little Pony bin and play together without attaching ownership onto every comb and accessory.

I dream about a home where all the toys are there to share and be played with, instead of hoarded and purchased in 3-packs.

However, the more I poll my friends, and listen to their experiences, the more I fear this is a pipe dream.

Maybe kids are meant to covet ownership as a means to control their lives, and practice their negotiating skills.  Maybe this is a lost cause on my part: insisting on joint custody of every Barbie.

All I do know is that I can’t referee every fight and preside over every judicial hearing, or I will go crazy.

What do you think?


Spa Season

7 Nov

Men… well, all the men that I know… consider the month of Fall to be “Hunting Season”.  This is a Truth that I grew up knowing.  I knew that my father would be absent in October to a place that I couldn’t picture, and wasn’t invited.  I knew that weddings planned, and babies born in October would not be looked upon as times of gladness and blessing, but of inconvenience, and resentment, and ultimately guilt at having to miss a daughter’s wedding…

I guess my question is, “when is Spa Week?”.  And if there were such a thing, is this how it would go?

“Got my plans all firmed up for Spa Week, honey.”

“You’re going spa-ing AGAIN”.

“You know I go every year.  And can you call your mother and make sure she got the dates right?  Luckily someone in our group got a package this year, so we won’t be exfoliating for nothing”.

“You mean you’re going spa-ing with my mother too?  I thought that you were going to the City with your girlfriend”.

“Oh, I’m doing that too.  This week is for manicures, but the City week is for pedicures.  And I’m going to need to more spa clothes.  Can you pick me up a reversible bathrobe?  I need it to be terrycloth on the one side, but silk on the other….”

“Why on earth do you need two different fabrics?!”

“Honey, obviously you can’t wear silk for the hot stone massage.  It would ruin it with all that water vapour.  But terrycloth is too heavy for mani-pedis.  Besides it’s the law.  I’m also going to need to go out to the spa and clear my area ahead of time.  I need to adjust my chair so it’s the right height, and put out my nail file and clippers.  Plus, I’ll need to pick up half a dozen polishes.  I just have no idea what I’m going to need once I get there.”

“Well, when will you be back?”

“I don’t know, depends if we get the seaweed wrap or not.  Could be Tuesday, could be Friday.  I’m going to need you to get some money for travel expenses and food.  $500 should about do it”.

“Didn’t you just GO spa-ing in the Spring?”

“Spring is facial season and my annual pre-wax, and I only went in the mornings before work, this is the big stuff- MASSAGE.  I just can’t wait to head out every week to a different Spa jurisdiction so I can catch all the legal spa times, and hang out with my friends, and drink fancy cocktails, watch chick flicks and get a few treatments in”.

“Well, why can’t I go?”

“Honey, you know it’s just for women, besides, who’s going to watch the kids?!”

30 things you never thought you’d need to know

7 Aug

Nothing motivates me to write a blog than visiting my favourite blogs and not seeing anything new.  So… you’re welcome.

No segue is coming to mind, so I will just jump right in:

I am turning 30 on Saturday.


So, to celebrate this milestone, I thought I would tell you a little about myself.  You know all about my kids, my husband, and even my dogs.  But I rarely really talk about myself here.  You know, on MY blog.

So here are 30 things you may not know about me:

1.  My favourite colour is green.

2. My middle name is Rachel, but it took me years to realize that it was spelled the normal boring way and not “Rachelle” which in my pre-teen mind was WAY cooler.

3.  My biggest fear is getting lost.

4.  I have a really hard time running and doing other things at the same time (which is why I suck at basketball, but am decent at Ultimate Frisbee).

5.  I once drove for 4 hours outside Thunder Bay with kleenex stuck in behind the mechanism to keep them on.  I thought they were broken, but it was really because your high beams won’t work if your lights aren’t on…

6.  I would rather eat potato salad than potato chips.

7.  My favourite donut is the apple fritter not because it is a superior donut, but because when I was a student, and I wanted the most value for my lunch, the apple fritter seemed the biggest.

8.  I hate sneezing more than anything else in the whole world, even more than throwing up.

9.  There are people out there who only know me by the name, “The Waterfront Nazi”.

10.  My friend, Melissa once convinced me that they hoisted Shamu the whale up a tower and let him dive into a pool of water.  Thanks, Melissa!

11.  The only movie to ever make me cry is Armaggedon.

12.  I own 7 pairs of shoes.  Total.

13.  I once cheated on a test in the third grade.  I couldn’t remember the last of the four food groups.  FYI, it is Dairy.

14.  I wrote an entire 8th grade geography paper based on the fact that Alaska was a country…

15.  I have owned 4 dogs: Honey, Peaches, Nevis and Dude

16.  I have owned 6 vehicles (not including my parents or my husband’s): the Booger, Ugly, Lance, the Civic, the Vibe, and my current minivan.

17.  I once went on a cross-Canada road trip with 4 girls, a car we had no business driving that far, and one suitcase each.

18.  I swam with spawning salmon.

19.  I have rappelled down a cliff-face in the dark.

20.  I have swam in a underwater cave.

21.  I saw a barracuda while snorkeling.

22.  I have no idea what colour my eyes are.

23.  Every time I travel to the United States, my bag/vehicle/person gets “randomly” checked.

24.  I once bought a statue of a giraffe from a man on the street.

25.  I have only kissed one guy.

26.  I have never tried drugs.  Unless love is a drug

27.  When we were kids we used to catch fish in our lake.  But we hated cleaning them, so we always let them  go.  One time we caught a monster catfish, and it was so big we wanted to keep it to show my dad.  Of course, we forgot about it in a bucket of water in the sun for weeks.  When we finally remembered, it looked like the fish had disintegrated in the water.  It was so gross.  It was only a few years ago that I realized that a raccoon probably ate it…

28.  The only word I ever remember getting wrong on a spelling test in grade school was “sugar”.

29.  My favourite book is Pillars of the Earth.

30.  When I was still dating Bruce, I drove the Booger to his parents’ house in Newmarket during a snowstorm.  We were supposed to leave for Chicago together in the morning, and I didn’t want to be late.  The storm was getting so bad, I considered pulling off the highway and waiting it out, but I was afraid I would freeze.  It was then that I noticed a set of headlights coming toward me, windshield wipers frantically pushing the snow off the windshield.  Windshield wipers?  The storm was much more bearable after that…

I hope you feel you know me a little better after that, and also, that you don’t think less of me…!

Also, I want to know if there is anyone who knew every one of these things.  If you did, comment below.


20 May

Bronwyn has had a reoccurring bad dream:

“I was dreaming that I was falling, and slipping straight into a deadline”.

After I composed myself (and apologized for laughing), it occurred to me that “deadline” is kind of a scary word.  It certainly can be in its proper context, but besides that, can you imagine what it sounds like to a 4 year old?

Is it a line of dead stuff?

A line after which you are dead?

How many words, and their meanings, do we take for granted?  Words that we throw around could sound scary to a child, especially taken out of context.

Even sayings we use can be morbid, or at least disconcerting when you don’t understand them:

It’s raining cats and dogs.

He’s dead meat!

Fish out of water.

I wanted to share this story because I never want to forget that some of the things we take for granted as adults, children still need to learn.

Can anyone think of any other words or phrases that might be scary to a child but that we, as adults, might laugh over?

Too old for all-nighters

20 Apr

Every spring it seems like a glacier is melting and the runoff heads directly to our house!  The result is that our sump pump, in the basement, runs more than it rests.  Bruce is a bit paranoid of a flood and for the entire spring season doesn’t get a good night’s sleep because he’s half awake, listening to make sure he can hear that the pump is still running.  Because I grew up listening to a sump pump run every spring (right through the wall next to my bed) I rarely even hear the sump pump turn off and on, but Bruce can sense it anywhere.  That little bit of paranoia has resulted in “3 emergency plans” to deal with potential basement flooding issues.  Last Sunday, we used Plans A, B, C; and, a new Plan D was nearly implemented!

Plan A is the easy one: a battery powered water alarm to alert us to rising water levels.  It is very loud, very annoying, and saved us three times in one night!

Plan B: a generator that plugs into the house in case the power goes out.

Plan C: a used sump pump in case the current one breaks.

It was 7:00, and I am half way through putting the kids to bed.  Bruce has spent the better part of a half hour making his famous nachos.  Just as he is about to pop them in the oven, the power goes out.  Six seconds later the water alarm goes off.  Fifteen seconds later Bruce is already in the garage hauling the generator out (which happened to half flat tires) across our mushy lawn in a rain storm (I had to go out and save the day help)!   We get the generator up and running in the nick of time, restarting the pump.

9:00 –  after putting off dinner in the hopes that the power might come back on, we attempt to cook the nachos on top of the wood stove.  Although this sounds like it could work- I do not recommend it!  The bottom burned and the top didn’t melt.  Not what you are looking for in a plate of nachos…

9:50 – Bruce sends me to town (in the storm) to get more gas because the generator is running low.

9:53 – Power comes back on.  By the time I returned the generator was back in the garage – crises averted…

12:00 in the morning – one of the most amazing thunderstorms!!!  Constant lightning everywhere!  Magically, the power stayed on.

1:00 – Power is out again.  Water alarm goes off.  Luckily, the power came back on before we had time to get the generator out of the garage.

2:30 – Plan A sounds the alarm again!  Different this time…  power is still on… pump is still running…  Bruce says he’ll take care of it and if he needs me he’ll call.

7:00 – Wake up.  No Bruce.  I work my way downstairs to find him crouched next to the sump pit with two pumps going full blast, hoses and pipes Duct taped together (water spraying all over the laundry room) with everything leading outside through an open window.  The storm had dumped so much water that our one pump couldn’t keep up.  We were required to run 2 pumps 24/7 for 2 days before the water slowed down to a manageable amount for our original setup.

So in one night we used Plan A, B,  and C.  When I asked what would’ve been the next plan…   Bruce pointed to a nearby pile of buckets.

Groundhog Day

27 Mar

So, I know that I have been not keeping up my end of the bargain.  You know, the one where I write blogs, and you read them?  So, today, you are going to be treated to several blogs in one.  All featuring my “other” children.  The furry ones.  Please be aware that the following contains content that is gross in nature, and some adults may be offended.


When Nevis was a puppy, only a few months old, we were still living in our apartment in Guelph.  Housebreaking a puppy (especially one as dumb as Nevis) was not going particularly well.  Things turned around when we got Dude a few weeks later.  Dude showed Nevis how to walk down the stairs.  And Dude showed Nevis how to not get lost between parked cars… sigh.  And Dude showed Nevis how to open a can of Coke (but that is a story for… further down the page!).  But Nevis showed Dude some things too.  Like how to pee on snowbanks.

We got the dogs in the winter and we often brought them out the side, service door to do their business in the wee hours of cold mornings.  This is also where the plow left all the snow from the parking lot.  So, this is where they peed.  But, Spring came, and the snowbank got smaller, and smaller, and smaller… until… there was only a shovel-full left.  This didn’t bother Dude, who easily transferred his urinary loyalties to the grass, but Nevis was concerned.  He sniffed around and circled until he managed to arrange his hindquarters into just the right position to get the yellow stuff directly onto the snow.  You can imagine what happened when all the snow finally melted.  Nevis was beside himself.  Until he found something that finally made sense.  A great big, fluffy pile of white stuff… and it was inside!!!!!  You know… where it should be.

That’s the last time we ever forgot to make the bed.  Apparently our big, fluffy, white comforter was just too tempting to a dog who loved snowbanks…

Olive Oil and Coke

While we still lived in Guelph, we often had to leave the dogs for 8 hours or more in the apartment while we worked.  Since they were getting older, and not chewing so much, we often left them out of the kennel when we’d only be gone a short time.

We returned to find two very sick looking puppies.  We couldn’t exactly figure out what they could have gotten into, but Dude, especially, looked off.  We knew something was up when he ran, pee streaming from behind him, straight into the patio door (which led outside to street level, but was difficult to get over).  We quickly opened the door and witnessed Dude eliminate more urine than Vanessa N on a boat!  That is when I saw the 24 pack of Coke on the kitchen floor.  I hadn’t noticed it earlier, because all the cans were accounted for, but as I looked closer I could see puncture marks in each of them.  A Coke-loving vampire?  Nope, just two thirsty dogs; who now needed to pee every 30 minutes for the next 24 hours…

On a different day, Nevis (and Dude?) broke a bottle of olive oil and drank the whole thing (about a litre).  Soon, they vomited all over the kitchen.  We cleaned up the mess with paper towels and assumed we’d seen the end of it.  But Nevis wasn’t about to let a little thing like a garbage can keep him from eating the vomit-saturated paper towels ( I know, I am feeling a little nauseous just writing this!).  Since I am not in the habit of checking to make sure the garbage is still in the can, I was pretty surprised when the next day we had taken them for a run and noticed Nevis was having some difficulty, you know, passing a bowel movement.  It turned out that his difficulties stemmed from the wad of paper towels he was attempting to pass.

The grossest best part?  The paper towels were still intact!

Groundhog Day

Last year, or maybe the year before, Dude discovered groundhogs.  More to the point, he discovered how to hunt them.  He and Nevis had brought us a few birds and mice but nothing really substantial.  I was thrilled, and slightly grossed out when I got home one night to find Bruce and Dude in front of a groundhog.  He had caught it during the day, but wouldn’t eat it until he had shown his people.  When Bruce got home he gave Dude the go-ahead to eat what he wanted.  But he resolutely refused.  He needed to show me (apparently his real owner!!) before he allowed himself to partake of the spoils.  I praised him and admired his cleverness and hunting prowess and all those things you say to a dog when he brings you the carcass of a nuisance rodent.

The next day, Bruce decided to bring Dude across the road to see if he could help tone down the groundhog population over there.  The owner of the field has a large garden, and has admitted, that although the dogs bark a lot, he has sure noticed a decrease in the number of groundhogs and skunks!  So, Bruce has some pretty high hopes for the dog and I can practically see the plot of “Where the Red Fern Grows” running through his head- just a boy and his coon dog.

Dude was not very successful.  He tried, but the art of stealth hunting was lost on the poor animal and he just tired himself out running from hole to hole barking his head off.  Until… he chased a groundhog right to his hole, barking like a fool, and turned his head to kind of see what was hitting him in the side of the head, and a groundhog ran right into his open mouth!  I am not sure that counts as a successful hunt, per se, but we praised him pretty good anyway…

Groundhog Day Part 2

Today was the dogs’ first successful groundhog kill of 2011:

Nevis taking credit for the kill (when we know full well that he is no way fast enough to get a groundhog!)

A Tip on Dealing with Nurses… from a Nurse

24 Mar

We had Josselyn’s regularly scheduled check-up with the nurse today to dip her urine and take her blood pressure.  We are into this routine by now, and it barely phases me.  I am aware that the nurses on staff at the health clinic good-naturedly joke about whose turn it is to take Joss’ blood pressure.  I understand.  She screams like a banshee and fights with every ounce of strength in her body.  No one has fun, least of all me.  But we endure it because we have to.

Anyway, today there is a new nurse in the room.  She introduces herself and I ask if she is new.  She reveals she is actually a student and tomorrow is her last day (score one against her for not disclosing her identity as a student immediately).  I have taken off Joss’ sweater and am sitting with her on my lap (like usual).  She turns and asks me to take off my sweater (score two against for not bothering to check the age of her patient).  I patiently inform her that the blood pressure will be taken on the Baby.  She sighs and declares she’ll need to find a smaller cuff (score three against… are you getting the idea?).  She returns and Josselyn is struggling even before she places the cuff on her arm.  I need to interrupt my description of our visit for a minute to explain how much better she has been since being on her diet.  She cried, yes, but there was no arching of her back, slapping me in the face, or otherwise going limp and boneless to the point where I can’t even hold her.  Not to mention the glaring.  Seriously the worst part.  So, when Miss Student Nurse announces that her reading would be artificially high due to her excessive reaction to the blood pressure cuff, I wanted to cuff her.  She is a BABY.  If you’d had any experience with children at all, you’d realize that unless the child is extremely ill or something, they will all have the same reaction to having their arm squeezed really hard by a stranger.  You sort of have to account for it.  Not repeat it 6 times to get a more accurate reading.  Because, believe you me, repeating the test will only serve to increase the falsely high reading not, somehow, calm the child down… sheesh!  I, politely, explained that we do this every month and no one has ever had the balls to try more than once insisted on trying to take her blood pressure reading more than necessary!  Especially since the initial reading was fine, despite the crying.  She shuffled out the door muttering about asking the other nurse.

When she returned she looked a little like she’d been thrown under the bus, and I don’t blame her, but I wasn’t through yet.  I asked her if she planned on dipping her urine before we left so we could make sure it was clean.  She wanted to know what she was looking for.  She wanted to know why we didn’t just send it to the lab.  I wanted to know why she hadn’t read the chart before she walked in here (score 274 against… game, set, match!).

The girl couldn’t help herself by this point.

“But why are you doing all this?”

So I explained all the symptoms, and the diagnosis etc.

“I’ve never even heard of that before” she whispered.

I did not roll my eyes.

Later when we were making our one hundredth next appointment our regular nurse came out.  I was a little ticked that she had sent in a student to work on Josselyn.  I know that students need to learn, and I am all for learning on real patients etc, but Joss is kind of a difficult case at the best of times.  We chatted a bit and she asked all the right questions.  And she asked about Joss’ diet, and she remembered Holly’s name, and I remembered why I like it there so much.  Besides, maybe Miss Know-Everything Student learned something that day.

I know when I was there, I made mistakes too.  I hope I learned from them.  I hope I am still learning.