Sunday, June 28, 2009


Stumper #1:
Amy: How does the music get in the radio?
Me: What do you mean, like where does the sound come from?
Amy: No, I know it comes out of there (pointing to the speakers), from there (pointing to the dashboard radio)...
Me: That's a radio and those are speakers (why am I interrupting her)
Amy: I know! But how did the music get in there?
Me: In the radio? have these things called an antenna...and we can't see ours from inside the van (it's pouring rain out and we can't open the window to check). Well, see on that car there? And that one? That long pointy uppy thingy sticking up? That's an antenna.
Amy: I can't see one.
Me: They're hard to spot 'cuz it's raining and those cars are driving way too fast in a school zone, but trust me, all cars have these long pointy uppy anntenas. Anyway, the antenna picks up radio waves and you can't see them or hear them until they go in the radio through the antenna and the radio waves come from a broadcasting tower (throughout this explanation I'm trying to pantomime radio waves)...
Amy: (looking at me, skeptically) Yeah, okay, radio waves, but how does the music get in there?
Me: Oh jeez, I'm not explaining this very well. You know what, sweetie, that's an excellent question. And that's why we have Google.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Summer: Day One

Here's what we're up to #1: Soccer!

My sister was lamenting on FB yesterday that she'll be hearing her kids whine, "I'm bored," for the next 10 weeks. One of her friends responded that she tells her kids that everytime they use that phrase an elf dies.
Damn, that's funny.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Shrinking Jill

Oh yeah, I forgot to post. I didn't actually shrink this week, I was up .4
Buuuuut, I'm still down over all, so I'll keep at it. Having a much better week so far.
I'll post some yummy low points recipes as I come across them.

Fantasy Garden

Since we have become homeowners, I've always had this fantasy about having a spectacular garden. Lush and full, free of weeds, our garden would be certain to thrive seeing as how we live in a west coast rainforest climate, right? If I'm the gardener, I wouldn't be so sure about that.

The people who lived in our house before we did were fantastic landscapers and gardeners. They planted a well-planned garden full of colour and in the right proportions. They had this beautiful hybrid apple tree in the backyard and a grapevine growing on the trellis by the chimney. Roses, rhododendrons, and a hydrangea that just won't quit. I haven't managed to kill all these things yet, but they are definitely looking neglected and raggedy after five years of our home ownership. I've also tried planting the odd perennial here and there, but they look out of place and scraggly for the most part. Many of the people who live on our street are retired and they take great pride in having well-kept yards that look all tickety-boo. I'm pretty sure they're wondering how they ended up with neighbours who are so horticulturally challenged.

Fast forward to my current fantasy: having a little vegetable patch in our backyard. Here we could grow our own organic food and it's environmentally friendly. There are a few reasons I haven't yet taken the plunge:

1. Home vegetable gardens are an example sustainable living, unless I am the one who is doing the sustaining. When it comes to actually doing the work of gardening, history has shown that I don't have a lot of follow-through.

2. Hubby is attached to the grass. He takes a great deal of pride in having a nice lawn and has put a fair amount of time and effort into it. It would be a hard sell at best and I would feel terrible if I dug up his yard and failed miserably as a vegetable gardener.

3. Critters. We live close to a ravine and there are a lot of critters down there who I would not like to attract to our yard with a food source for them.

But still, I really really really would like to grow a vegatable garden...perhaps it's that I'm on maternity leave and feeling like I need something else to do. It's a bit late for this year anyway...

Maybe I'll take the plunge next year if I still feel this way in March when I head back to work.

My fantasy garden:

The Sad Reality (this is the bean plant that Amy brought home from school a month ago that I still haven't managed to plant anywhere):

Thursday Thoughts

Mmmm...enjoying my last quiet morning for the next 10 weeks or so.

And at the same time, looking forward to having the kids' energy all to myself, too.

(No judgment on the state of their messy rooms, please...that'll be project #1 tomorrow morning.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Launched: Let's Panic About Babies

Following along the lines of my last post, can I just say that blogger Alice Bradley is freakin' hilarious. Don't believe me? Check out the new site she has just launched with her friend and fellow blogger, Eden, called, Let's Panic About Babies.
I laughed out loud, not like LOL, but really and truly snorting and wheezing at my computer monitor.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Picky Picky

My darling daughter is an amazing human being. I love her dearly. That said, she might be one of the pickiest eaters on the planet. We joke, but not really, that she only eats beige food. Not a fruit or vegetable. Her favourite food group is chocolate.
So recently I tried to camouflage some good healthy fibre in her favourite chocolate muffins by throwing in a sizable amount of large flake oatmeal. She took a big bite and started to chew and promptly pushed it out of her mouth into the sink. There was definitely something weird about this muffin. She examined it carefully and tried to eat around the little flecks of oatmeal for a couple of minutes. Then she decided it was impossible and told me to eat it.
When I came across this blog post from Alice at Finslippy, I was sure she had installed a nanny cam at my house and has been spying on me because the look of suspicion on her face is EXACTLY like Amy's was that day.

Dramatic Reenactment of Our Son, Eating a Cookie from Alice Bradley on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

How my kids might be feeling these days....

This is too funny. I spotted it on the Mommy Blog which I read regularly.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


How's that for a getup? Ahhhh, to be five again...

We are lucky to have kids who are good at playing. As a teacher, I see more and more children who have no idea how to play because they are rarely given the opportunity or encouragement to play. Often, they are a product of too much TV and waaaaay too much time spent on video games. In a Kindergarten classroom in September, these kids are easy to spot: they're either sitting by themselves wondering where to begin or how to join in, or they're in a yelling match at the sand table because they've never had to share anything in their lives.
I don't want to sound all sanctimonious, but lately we've hardly had the TV on at all for the kids. Really, they'd much rather be playing (I can tell that they'd rather play because when they do watch tv they get bored and harangue-y all over me and each other). Now that the weather is nice we stay at the playground nearly everyday afterschool. At home, dressup and the accompanying dramatic play is a favourite pastime. Sports are a biggie at our house, too: hockey, soccer, lacrosse, tennis, golf...and less structured but just as active pursuits like skipping, riding bikes, and dancing with the music on really loud (sorry, neighbours). There are board games and card games; right now we are really working on the idea that winning isn't really winning if you cheat. There are puzzles, and dancing, and making up plays, and Lego, and .... the list goes on. There are gazillion things to do rather than plunking the kids in front of the tv.
Play doesn't have to mean enrolling in expensive programs or buying top-of-the-line toys. One of Amy's favourite things to do as a toddler was to play with a coffee can and a bunch of coloured clothespegs. She could put the clothespegs around the edge of the can, we cut a small X in the top of the plastic lid that she could push the pegs through and of course, there's the most fun: shaking the can full of pegs! It was a dirt cheap toy, and it kept her entertained long enough for me to get dinner ready.
Sure, it's a little more work for me sometimes when Trevor and Amy need me to mediate a conflict or set up some equipment. I am hoping, though, that in the long run it will pay off to have kids who are reasonably socially capable and are motivated to be active and engaged in life, rather than isolated, dull and firmly planted on the couch.

Five Cool Things

1. Amy still loves me even though I made her go to school today even though she told me she wasn't feeling well and even though she ended up with a fever.
2. My eyes are ok, just a little irritated from questionable contact lens care.
3. Trevor offered to hang out at the mall with me while my pupils un-dilated so I would have "a big kid to hang out with and wouldn't be lonely." So compassionate.
4. People in New Westminster are only separated by two degrees, max, not six and worlds collide all the time!
5. Someone noticed I was waiting FOREVER for the disabled washroom stall in a public bathroom today (seriously, I let five people go ahead of me while waiting!) and offered to keep an eye on Gavin so I could use the normal sized stall. She looked kind, not crazy, so I took her up on it as I reallllly had to pee.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Shrinking Jill

Weighed in today...down 1.4 - yay!
Total weight loss so far: 5.8 pounds.

My Shiny Sink

Courtesy of FlyLady

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Little girls splashing and squealing at an ice cream and sprinkler party in the afternoon sunshine = happiness.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Jean Shorts

I listen to Virgin radio throughout the day and especially like listening to Nat and Drew in the morning. A few weeks ago, they were discussing jean shorts on men. Nat railed against any men of any age wearing any sort of denim shorts; Drew didn't think they were that bad. As I listened, I wondered to myself if anyone even wears those things anymore?! I'm no fashion icon myself, but denim shorts on guys went out about....1993!

Unfortunately, since listening to Nat and Drew's broadcast I've seen them all over the place. Usually the offenders are men in their 50's or 60's (we live near several "adult oriented" developments). Often they are wearing socks with their sandals and are attached to giant SUV's or little convertibles.
I realize that 50 year old men are probably not my typical audience but just in case you're out there reading this: Dudes, jean shorts do not look good on you. You don't look like you did when you were in your early 30's, you just look like someone who is washed up and trying too hard. They are not practical either; denim is heavy in hot weather and you can't wear them at the golf course. Jean shorts are best paired with tacky beer logo tank tops circa 1989 and in that time period they should remain. Go to your local Gap and get some nice flat front khaki shorts instead. Please!
Ladies, if you personally know one of these offenders, save him from himself and burn the jean shorts while he's out one day.

Shrinking Jill

I forgot to post weight loss for the past couple of weeks...last week I held steady, but this past week I lost 3 lbs, for a total of 4.4 so far.
(I "celebrated" with an oat fudge bar from!)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Grey hairs

I guess it was my early thirties, I began to spot the occasional grey hair here or there. I'm not one for old wives' tales, so I'd yank each one out and it didn't seem like there were two growing in its place.
Lately, though, there seems to be a forest of them sprouting along the edge of my hairline! Way too many to yank out. Perhaps it's a function of being in my mid-thirties. Or maybe it's due hormonal changes because of last year's pregnancy and now everything shifting back to "normal" (whatever that is). Or maybe having three kids really does give you grey hair! Probably, it's a confluence of events, a perfect storm if you will.
It feels a bit like adolescence when you're sure everyone notices that you're having a bad hair day, only instead of noticing that your mall hair is unevenly backcombed or your cowlick prevents the middle part required for perfect hair-feathering, now everyone is noticing that you have random hair shooting out like little grey pubes.
All I know is that I now need to colour my hair every six to eight weeks rather than just for fun. Like I have time for that!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My day didn't totally suck...

After re-reading the last post, I realized I may have come across just a smidge on the grumpy side. Actually, the rest of my day was really great. I lost three more pounds this week, Gavin's growth is right on track, I finally got a guy booked to scrub the outside of our house and do the windows, the express pay station at the airport parking lot actually worked, my parents are back safe and sound from France, and it turns out our tax return will be a little bigger than we originally thought. So on the balance sheet of crappy vs. good things, the good things definitely win.

Up your nose with a rubber hose, NEXUS!

Our family travels across the border to the US a fair amount, so when we first heard of the NEXUS program being implemented about seven years ago, we were thrilled and applied immediately. Remember that rush of getting to be first in line when you were in elementary school? It's a similar buzz when you get to whiz past a bunch of cars sitting in a two-hour border lineup. As soon as each of our first two children were born, we applied right away and had adorable photos on their cards of each of them at eight weeks old.

Over the years, the program has evolved and some of the guidelines have changed. There is now an on-line application process, a NEXUS program at the airport (YVR) and expanded access at the land crossings near us. Unfortunately, the exact rules and guidelines seem to change based on what day it is, who you talk to, and what kind of mood they're in.
We encountered this at Christmas time when we travelled to Palm Springs for a week. Having the land crossing NEXUS, we had heard that all you have to do is get the iris scan and a sticker put on your card and that would entitle you to use the NEXUS lanes at the airport. The children are too young for an iris scan but if they're travelling with us we just needed to check in a "special" lane. Going down south, we couldn't see this magical "special" lane and we were redirected a couple of times by some rather intimidating border guards, but eventually cleared NEXUS without having to wait in the huge customs lineup. Coming home, again, we could see no NEXUS lineup to check in with the children. Turns out that on the Canada side, you have to wait in the ginormous lineup if you have children. Even if you have NEXUS, even though the people in the NEXUS office at the airport assured me that the children would be able to travel with us when I originally had my irises scanned....nope. This particular border agent we spoke with was having nothing to do with any of that. Super frustrating, because the whole point of us getting the iris scans was to avoid the big, stupid lineup on the Canadian side - it's really awful to wait in with kids after a long day of travelling - so we might as well not have bothered.

Fast forward a few months...Gavin is born, I immediately apply for his registration and SIN, and as soon as I get it I fire up a NEXUS application so we can hopefully get down to Birch Bay this summer. (For those of you not local to Vancouver, the border lineups recently have been HORRENDOUS due to construction scheduled to go well into 2010). I get the letter requesting us to schedule an interview, call the number, get an appointment at the airport for today (June 9) at 3:20. I appointment. WTF?! Can you please fit us in, I ask? I've just spent an hour in traffic with a five year old a two month old (who had his shots today). Pleeeeease? The dude goes to check, comes back and says the American agent would do it but that the Canadian agent needs a letter from the father giving permission for Gavin to have a NEXUS pass. WTF?!?! I've been through this process twice before with each kid and renewed both their passes in the past two years and have never needed this. I've never read about this anywhere and the agent who originally scheduled my (phantom) appointment never mentioned anything about it. Apparently it says that this letter is needed right in the online registration, but not on the paper one. Of course, I filled in the paper one. Very long story short, we have to go back in three weeks, letter in hand. I betcha ten bucks that because the sky is purple that day, the rules will have changed again.

Which brings me to a saying I am going to try to singlehandedly resurrect...

Up your nose with a rubber hose, NEXUS program.

(That makes me giggle.)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Ever wonder what mommy-guilt looks like?

...A great big stuffed purple horse. (Gavin, you look like I feel!) Let me explain...

I forgot Amy's show and tell this morning. This is not normally an issue as she is very good at remembering to bring something to share and has some interesting things to prepared to say about it, even if I don't practice it with her. The problem today, however, was that Gavin was supposed to be Amy's show and tell and, therefore, she needed me to bring him in! We were in our usual big rush this morning after blissfully sleeping in until 7:45 (thank you, Gavin, you amazing 2-month old, you!). I arrived at the school in yesterday's smelly clothes because I didn't see the point in wearing nice fresh clothes before having a shower...which I planned to do upon returning home from drop-off. Got back to the house, fed Gavin for half an hour while playing lame video games, and suddenly realized at 9:30 that I had totally forgotten about Amy's show and tell. Feeling about an inch high, I fumbled Gavin into his car seat, headed back to the school (still in yesterday's smelly clothes) for show and tell, mumbling some lame excuse about mistiming a feeding.
What about the horse, you're wondering? Later, while birthday shopping for a friend's party at Toys R Us, I bought that big, ridiculous toy for Amy, just because she asked. Which is terrible parenting. For which I have even more guilt. At least it was half price.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


The state of my house is a physical manifestation of my mental state. When I feel like I've got things together, so goes my house. Unfortunately, I am drowning in clutter lately which gives you a clue as to my current mental state (thanks to anti-depressants, I no longer sob uncontrollably when faced with it!).
I have all this baby stuff and now need to find places and spaces to put it all. The tricky thing with baby stuff is that you can't really put it away because you need it all the time. And once the house starts looking a tiny bit cluttered with baby stuff it doesn't take long before it's totally cluttered with everyone's stuff. I'm finding it difficult to keep with the mess with all the nursing (which has been non-stop during this little heat wave we're in) so it doesn't take long to get totally out of control.
After I had Trevor, our first child, I found FlyLady on the internet and she really helped me get it together. I got way off-track after I went back to work from my mat leave with Amy. Time to rediscover FlyLady, I think!