Weekends Are For …

wintertrees

  • Catching up on laundry
  • Skating lessons at the Ice Palace
  • Art projects
  • Sleepovers at Grandma & Grandpa’s
  • Hot dates
  • Creating menus (and a multipage grocery list!)
  • Shopping for a big girl bed
  • Playdates
  • Late bedtimes
  • Blankets, cuddles, and the Gilmore Girls

What were you up to this weekend?  

Dear Ellie …

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I love your smile.  I love the way you scrunch up your nose and squeeze your eyes shut and stretch your mouth as wide as it can go.

I love your laughs.  You have many, but my favourites are your belly laugh and your Sheldon Cooper chortle.  You may not have any idea what the people around you are talking about, but you have the best comedic timing!

I love your compassionate heart.  I love the way you are always looking for ways to help others and make them feel better.

I love that you’re always the first one to notice Chloe when she’s trying to blend into the background when we’re getting ready to leave, hoping we’ll forget to put her in her kennel.  You pat her so gently, so tenderly, and say “Good girl, Co-ee.  Good girl!” followed by a kiss on her furry head.

I love that you’re potty training yourself.  I wasn’t planning to start any time soon (I can’t find underwear small enough to fit you!) but you want to be just like Topher, so you carefully observe him while he does his business – rubbing his back or his knees, saying “PUSH, Brudder!  PUSH!”  When he’s finished you clap and cheer and say “Good girl, Brudder!”  You almost always go poo on the potty now – with “Brudder” at your side, cheering you on.  And I didn’t have to do a thing!

I love your independence.  I’m sure it’s going to cause problems for us in the next few years, but right now I love the fact that you’re confident enough in yourself to explore things on your own.  Thank goodness you never stray too far!

I love that you like to pick out your own clothes and try to put them on.  It makes for some pretty interesting combinations – this morning you were wearing a blue polka dot swimsuit over rainbow striped pyjama pants, with Oilers socks pulled up to your knees!

I love that you don’t let anyone – not even the big brother that you so adore – push you around.

I love that you have a deep affection for books, just like I do.  I wish you weren’t quite so vigorous with turning the pages and lifting the flaps, especially in library books, but you love to read so I won’t complain!

I love that you exclaim “Oh …” before just about every word you say.  “Oh, Brudder!”  “Oh, cars!”  “Oh, snow!”  Last week I taught you “Old McDonald Had a Farm” and you finished it with “E I E I O – Oh, Corn!”  You still sing it like that, but I think you’re just doing it for the laughs.

I love the way you hold a step stool in front of your tummy and strum it like a guitar, belting out nonsense words at the top of your lungs.  Daddy has a sneaking suspicion that you’re going to be musical …

And I especially love your hugs (“SQUEEZE, Mama!”) and your kisses (“KEES!”) and the fact that you still think my lips are magic, able to heal each and every bump and bruise you get.  I wish they would always possess that magic.

I find it hard to believe that in just a few weeks we will be celebrating your second birthday.  Where did the time go, sweet girl?

I love you now & forever,

Mama

 

Helpless

 

This morning started out like any other:  I woke up with Nathan’s alarm but rolled over when he turned it off and buried my face under my pillow.  I stayed like that until Topher padded in in his footie pyjamas.  “Mommy?” he asked.  I didn’t move.  “Mommy?”   Sometimes I like to stay as still as possible so he thinks I’m not there anymore and goes to find Nathan instead.

Nathan was already at work so after a few minutes of playing possum I dragged myself out of bed and stumbled into the kitchen to make breakfast.  When Ellie was contentedly shovelling oatmeal into her mouth and Topher was munching on a strawberry pop tart, I sat down at the computer to check my e-mail.

The first message – from my sister, in New Brunswick – stopped me in my tracks.

"I called the ambulance to take Nanny to the hospital this morning. She is ok but likely has broken bones. She was outside for who knows how long having fallen trying to take the trash out early this morning. She was an ice cube. Talk to you later. She is ok. I don't think she lost consciousness but we don't know for sure."

* * * *

nanny

This is a picture of my grandma taken at my sister’s wedding back in June of 2007.  The photographer captured her perfectly – whenever I look at this picture I can hear Nanny’s voice in my head: “Are you listening?!?  ARE YOU LISTENING?” – as she tries to offer (usually unwanted and often ignored) advice.  Or the “Oh, shut up Gord!” dismissal she often gave to her husband when he was trying to push her buttons.  At 87, she’s got more spunk than anyone I know.  Not only does she have the biggest and best maintained garden in the entire town (it’s more like a field; tourists actually tour it!), she’s also constantly renovating her house a la her beloved Trading Spaces – and she (stubbornly!) does everything herself.   Stripping wallpaper, painting, pulling up carpets … you never know what you’ll find Nanny doing when you stop by for a visit!

* * * *

Two hours later I finally received an update:  A broken shoulder and badly bruised hip.   They want to keep her in the hospital for at least a few days but Nanny – true to form! – is arguing with her doctors, begging them to let her go home with 24/7 home care instead.

The winner remains to be seen.

 

I hate being so far away from my family when things like this happen.  I always thought my kids would grow up in the same town I did.  We’d live down the street from my parents and my sisters, our kids would go to school together and be the best of friends!  When I came to Alberta I had every intention of moving back east as soon as I was finished school – but then I met Nathan, and he completely messed up my plans.

Funny, how that happens.

Now I’m a city slicker with two kids who have no idea that the “chicken” on their plates at dinnertime is the same “chicken” they pick up and cuddle at the petting zoo.   One sister lives in Calgary, a mere three hours away – but the eight kids between us makes even that short trip difficult to arrange more than once every few months.  My other sister lives in New Brunswick, just down the street from my parents.  We see each other once every two years, which is slightly more often than I see my parents.

I hate learning about things through e-mail and Facebook and I hate waiting for phone calls to update me on what’s happening when I could be sitting in the waiting room at the hospital.  I know there’s not much I could do even I was there, but being so far away makes me feel helpless.

 

Dependence

 

When I was in university I remember my young adults pastor telling me that the reason I was still single was because I was too independent.

I rolled my eyes at him.

(I rolled my eyes at him a lot, if you were wondering …)

I was 21 years old and not remotely interested in dating.  My last relationship hadn’t ended well and it had nothing to do with my independence and everything to do with my boyfriend’s inability to date just one girl at a time.

I thought my pastor was out of line then and I still do – but maybe he was right that I’m too independent.

I’ve always been the type of person who likes to do things for myself.  If I can do it, I will, and if I can’t do it – I’ll do everything in my power to find a way to get it done without asking anyone else for help.

I hate having to rely on others.

I hate not being in control.

I had surgery last week.  It was just minor surgery – one of my wisdom teeth came in sideways and was pushing on the tooth in front of it, so it had to be removed.  I didn’t write about it beforehand because I didn’t want to think about it beforehand!   They had to put me to sleep to perform the surgery and Nathan was supposed to stay with me for a full 24 hours afterward (though he cheated and went to work half a day early, leaving me lying on the couch with my fancy ice sock tied around my head while the kids and the dog ran wild!).  It was the real deal.

And for me, it was a lesson in dependence.

I had to depend on the surgeon.

I had to depend on the nurses.

I had to depend on my husband.

I had to depend on my brother-in-law, who babysat the afternoon of the surgery (and who had never taken care of both children at once or changed a diaper until Wednesday afternoon!).

I had to depend on Topher to call Nathan in the event of an emergency, and to take care of his little sister when I couldn’t move from the couch.

And it was hard.

chloecouch

This was my view from the couch. Chloe didn’t leave my side (or my stomach!) for days. She’s such a good nurse!

I didn’t expect to be incapacitated for so long:  One little wisdom tooth, and I was out for almost four days.   I had a list of things I wanted to do – which transformed into a list of things I wanted Nathan to do – which was shortened to a list of things I desperately needed Nathan to do – and everything else was placed onto a list of things I’ll get to when I feel better.

I’m finally starting to feel more like myself, and although I’m relieved – I don’t want things to back to the way they were before.  I feel that as a mom, I’m the one everybody depends on for everything – and it doesn’t have to be that way.  Topher was much better behaved and he had a real sense of pride when he knew I was relying on him to look out for Ellie.  There were no “accidental” punches in the head or pushes off the bed, and not once did he make Ellie lie on the floor while he rolled over top of her on a couch cushion.  Nathan took care of the kids Wednesday and Thursday and as soon as he got home on Friday.  He made sure I had food that I could eat and for two days he set the alarm and got up with me every three hours during the night so I could take my painkillers on time.   And he didn’t once comment on my appearance (or smell!)  after wearing the same pair of leggings, tank top and hoodie for three days straight.

Maybe dependence isn’t such a bad thing after all.

Christmas Baking Day

 

Saturday was Christmas Baking Day with Nathan’s family.  In keeping with tradition, the day fell on the coldest day of the season so far: It was -31 when Topher headed out for his skating lesson!  Thank goodness for (somewhat) heated arenas!

It’s usually just the ladies that do the baking but this year the entire family got involved:  Grandpa helped Grandma make antipasti in the morning, Papa supervised the cutting of the pears for chutney and preserves and then helped Nana decorate the jars,  Zac and Lindsay made fancy butter tarts, and Nathan jumped in to help with  my chocolate sandwich cookies and cinnamon sugar cookies when I over-chilled the dough and it turned into a crumbly mess.  I’m grateful that my husband spent several years taking home ec in high school – he’s a much better baker than I am!

Even Topher and Ellie helped out:

topherbaking

Taking a break from filling chocolate sandwich cookies

elliebaking

Ellie’s latest sentence? “Mama, cookie peas!”

This week we’re starting our little family’s Christmas baking.  We usually spread it out over a week and freeze things as we finish them, then make up tins for friends.  On our list this year:  Peanut Butter Cups, Chocolate Chip Snowball Cookies, Sugar Cookies, Peppermint Meltaway Cookies, Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies, and my personal favourite:  Toblerone Fudge.

Do you do any Christmas baking?  What’s your favourite recipe?