Friday, December 11

Ta Da!

Dan and I have never hung Christmas lights outside. We have lots of excuses, but, truthfully, we couldn't be bothered. This year, Dan decided that the kids needed lights. One Sunday morning about 3 weeks ago, the five of us went to Canadian Tire and loaded up on lights. Dan came home and put them up. Two days later when the lights all fell down because the duct tape didn't hold (not even to the tree! Seriously, he cracks me up!), Dan put them up again. Here are the results:



P.S. Please ignore the ladder that's propped up to the left of the front door...Dan did!

Wednesday, December 9

Name Calling

Our girls have lovely, strong names. We named them Elizabeth, Katherine, and Sarah. However, we seldom call them by their names. Elizabeth becomes Bethie Bear, Bethie, and Beth. Katherine is known as Katie Cat, Katie, or Kate. Sarah has the worst luck. We call her Sarahburrah, Haboo, Newt, and Nu Nu. We throw in other names here and there just to keep everybody on their toes. Names like Grub-a-lub, Bella and Peanut Butter come out of my mouth. We've even numbered them...but not in birth order (I can't tell you how much this cracks me up!). They know their number, and that's all that counts.

When the twins were a bit younger, they thought their names were Bethie Bear and Katie Cat. For the longest time, Sarah would respond to Nu Nu but not to her own name. With Sarah, Dan and I had to make a conscious effort to refer to her as "Sarah". We've also spent a lot of time teaching the twins that their names are, in fact, Elizabeth and Katherine. When they finally learned their names, we asked them what name they prefer their kindergarten teacher to call them. Katie preferred to be call "Katie" and Bethie preferred to be called "Beth". That was fine with me.

The other day, Bethie came up to me and said that she preferred for her teacher to call her by her "nickname". I needed her to specify which nickname she preferred. She said, "Cute Bottom!". Then she added that since she doesn't start kindergarten until next year, I was to tell Emilie (at daycare) that she was to refer to Bethie as "Cute Bottom" effective immediately. She wasn't kidding, and it only made her angry when I bursted out laughing! So, hence forth, Bethie is to be known as Cute Bottom. I'm not kidding.

Tuesday, December 8

Little Treasures

I live with four people that have strange, yet powerful, attachments to random objects. Each of them have their own little "treasures" that must be lovingly cared for and protected. I don't understand their devotions, but I accept them as a part of life.

One morning, we were getting ready to go to daycare. Bethie was using the washroom. I was in the kitchen trying to encourage everybody to hurry up. Bethie let out  a terrific cry. I ran into the bathroom and saw her standing over the toilet pointing and crying. She had dropped her "magical fluff" (a tiny, wee make-up brush) in the toilet. Katie and Sarah raced in and discovered this prized item in the toilet. They both freaked out, too! All three children were yelling at me to retrieve the make-up brush. I looked into the toilet and discovered that it was full of poop!

I wanted to say, "Bad luck!" and flush the toilet. However, this would have devastated the twins. They were desperate for me to reach in with my hand and rescue the brush. Not bloody likely. As a mother, I have had many, many encounters with poop. Often, I have had poop on my hand. I have not, however, had poop on my hand intentionally.

I raced into the kitchen frantically looking for something to scoop up the make-up brush. The kids were panicking and crying. My heart was racing. I couldn't find any "tool" that would do the intended job! Then, the clouds parted and a beam of light shone on the perfect item. The tongs. These aren't just any tongs. These are Dan's tongs. It is no exaggeration to say that Dan loves these tongs. Far too often for my liking, he tells me how wonderful these tongs are. He uses them every time he cooks. He can twirl these tongs, as well as throw them up in the air and catch them (please ooh and aah now, I have to!). When Dan is cooking, these tongs become an extension of his hand.

It turns out that they are also great for picking up a tiny, wee brush in a toilet full of poop! The kids were pleased, and the crisis was over (or at least delayed because I ended up throwing the brush in the garbage while they were at daycare!). I debated whether or not to tell Dan. Normally, I wouldn't. There's a lot that I don't tell Dan, and he is better off not knowing. However, Dan would be cooking dinner that night and I really didn't want him to use the tongs until they had gone through the dishwasher.

Dan was horrified! He couldn't believe that I had stuck his sacred tongs in the poop-filled toilet. He immediately began to pull out all the utensils that I could have used instead. I tired of the conversation rather quickly. To distract him, I told him that Mum had wanted to buy us a large, flat screen TV for Christmas but I told her that our chunky 19" screen was fine. It worked. Dan couldn't believe that I turned down a free TV that he had coveted since I met him 13 years ago! I explained to him that we had just spent $300 on new glasses for him. Why did he need a large screen TV?

Friday, November 27

Sneaky Little Cupcakes!

Emile took a sick day. I stayed home with the children until about 10:30am. Dan arrived and he took care of them for the rest of the day. In the morning, the three girls and I baked cupcakes. The intention was that they would put frosting on the cupcakes in the afternoon with Dan. I also told him that there was still lots of batter in the fridge that he could bake. In the end, Dan didn't finish baking the cupcakes or frosting them. In the morning, I found out why. Turns out that the twins ticked Dan off so much that he refused to make icing.

Apparently, Dan put Sarah down for a nap. He then relaxed on the couch while the twins watched Treehouse. The intention was to let them watch TV for 30 minutes or so and then work on the cupcakes together. However, Dan fell asleep. He swears that he wasn't asleep for more that 15-20 minutes. The twins realised that he was asleep, and headed straight for the cupcake batter. They licked the bowl clean.

I wanted to find out what happened, from the girls perspective. Here is the conversation I had with Katie:

Me: What did Daddy say when you were eating the cake batter?
Katie: Nothing.
Me: Why didn't he say anything?
Katie: He was sleeping?
Me: How did you know he was sleeping?
Katie: We kept checking to make sure. And we were very quiet!

Devious little things, aren't they?!

Thursday, November 26

You Better Watch Out

Yesterday morning, the kids were being wicked. Even Sarah! By 8:15am, I was absolutely livid! I lost my cool, and said, "We're going to have to go back to Santa and tell him how naughty you're being! He doesn't bring presents to naughty little girls!". This did not change their behaviour. They were still bad. After my outburst, they were bad and crying. Great.

This morning, Bethie was super good. She ran and did whatever I told her. She was all ready to go before the other two were even out of their pajamas. I was impressed. When I told her how proud I was of her, she said, "Are you going to tell Santa how good I was today?". I promised I would. Poor Bethie was so concerned that come Christmas morning there would be no presents from Santa because she had been naughty. That's why she was being good.

Katie, on the other hand, decided to risk it.

Monday, November 23

It Runs In The Family

Growing up, I thought my parents were stupid. It sounds harsh, but I had sooooo much evidence to back up my beliefs. They could never remember anything. They would rent videos that they had seen before, and wouldn't realise it until half way through the second viewing. Dad would make a promise to me, and I would have to get it in writing because he truly wouldn't remember the conversation ever happening. Dad would buy toilet paper in bulk. Every week. Whether we needed it or not. We were completely prepared for the toilet paper shortage that never happened. Our huge linen closet looked like the Loblaws Super Store toilet paper aisle. I couldn't understand how these two clever people functioned! Now, I do.

I used to be smart. Really. Then I got pregnant and lost all memory space in my brain. I have conversations with people and I don't remember having them at all. I'm not being difficult or daft. Just can't remember what has happened. I, too, have watched movies (and TV shows) that I've seen before. Can't remember a thing! Grocery shopping is a challenge. I've learned that there are certain items that I enjoy buying. Broccoli, paper towels, and milk. Like Dad, I am better stocked than the grocery store!

I went grocery shopping today. There was a deal. Three dozen eggs for $5. Great! I love a good deal! I started loading eggs into my cart. Then I envisioned Dan coming home from work and making some snide comment about all the eggs. I sighed, and put all but one dozen back. When I got home and unloaded my groceries, I discovered that I already had 2 dozen eggs in my fridge. Oops. I've numbered them in order that they need to be consumed, and I've added eggs to my "Think Before I Buy" list.

Friday, November 20

Time For Some Snaps!



Sarah cozied herself up on the couch to eat her Eggo.


Sam, Bethie, Sarah, and Katie


Bethie, Katie, and Sarah waiting for me to tickle their toes!

Wednesday, November 18

Count Our Blessings

I was talking to a man the other day. He has a daughter about 20 years old. He was telling me that he bought her a new (expensive) winter jacket, and she was mad that he hadn't purchased new gloves for her as well. She pitched a fit right in the store, much to his horror. When I spoke to him, he had just gone back and purchased for her the gloves and some cozy flannel pajamas. I said, "Lucky girl!". He said, "No. You have it backwards. I'm the lucky one. God blessed me with a daughter that I absolutely adore".

Awww. Nice story... except the whole demanding and ungrateful daughter bit.

Monday, November 16

Who's The Boss?

If the children were in control, this is how our lives would be:
  • We'd be late getting up during the week, but we would get up before the crack of dawn on the weekends
  • We'd feed them an endless supply of treats and yummies hoping that tomorrow would be better
  • We'd cook Kraft dinner and hot dogs every night for dinner
  • Tucking the children into bed would take hours. We would go to sleep before the twins would
  • We would be expert trackers of toys, particularly all blankies and bears
  • We would never watch TV again because it would be on the Treehouse channel during the day, and we'd drop from exhaustion at night
Oh, wait...that is our life!

Friday, November 13

Things That Go Bump In The Night

I am desperate to raise strong daughters. I have no worries about Sarah. She is one tough chickie! However, I'm losing the battle with the twins. They are delicate, little things right to the core. They love to dress up and look "gorgeous". They don't like to get dirty. They, certainly, don't like to strain themselves in anyway. Also, Disney isn't helping either. Katie and Bethie are determined to be proper little princesses who will be rescued by their prince.

I am trying to be the example. I am an independent person. No one tells me what to think or what to do. I don't take guff from anyone. Truthfully, I should say that I don't take guff from anyone over four years old! I am confident in my opinions and in my abilities. I take on the world. You would be shocked to know who I have stood up to (ie told off!). I used to believe that my babies would see these qualities in me and try to emulate them. Not so much, I have discovered.

I was putting the twins to bed and they were being wicked. I told them that I have had enough of their nonsense and did not want to hear from them again that night. I pointed out that if they wanting to use the washroom, they could do so without summoning for me.

Bethie said that she needed me to be able to go to the washroom. I told her that was nonsense. She goes to the washroom all by herself during the day. The bathroom light is left on. She can go by herself in the evening. What on Earth did she need me for? Here is the conversation that followed:

Beth: You need to watch out for monsters.
Me: There are no monsters in my  house.
Beth: But what if one sneaks in?
Me: What would Daddy do if he saw a monster?
Beth: Kill it!
Me: What would I do if I saw a monster?
Beth: Call for Daddy to come and kill it!

You can imagine how I reacted to that! I ranted about my feminist ideals. I blamed Dan for catering to the girls so much. I cursed society for its perpetual cycle of teaching girls "their place". And I banned Disney!

Wednesday, November 11

Dinner

As I am cleaning the dinner table in the evening, I am already thinking of what to cook for dinner the next night. I have to thaw the meat, and figure out what vegetables and sides I am going to serve. Sometimes, if I'm very tired, I will plan dinner in the early morning. Dan doesn't give dinner any thought until 30 minutes before it's time to serve the meal. I have always believed that I was the only one in the house who gave any thought to what was going to happen in the near future. It turns out that I was wrong. Somebody else also gives it some thought.

Bethie woke up about 6:45am. She came downstairs and said, "Where's Daddy?". Truthfully, I got a little nervous. The twins like it when Dan wakes them up, but I wanted them to get a little extra sleep. I told Dan that I would wake them up, and risk their wrath. Bethie knew full well that Dan was at work. I looked at my little angel and said sweetly, "Daddy is at work".

Bethie said, "Does Daddy get paid today?". It wasn't pay day, but I didn't want to tick off my little cherub. I replied that it was, in fact, pay day. Bethie said "Good. Now we will have money to pay the pizza man tonight!". Deal!

Sunday, November 8

GO!

Every morning, I race the clock. Despite getting up around 4:45am, I never seem to have enough time to do everything that needs to get done before we all head out of the door. Dan tries to help, but he leaves for work at 6:15am leaving me to feed, dress, primp, and polish the children all on my own. I have a finite amount of time. There is no room for nonsense, games, or silliness. The girls and I just have to go!

We go at different speeds. Sarah does everything at full-throttle. This would be very handy if she was doing what she was instructed to do. This seldom happens. Sarah prefers to race a toy shopping cart around the house, bumping into the kitchen island and the twins. She takes great joy in sitting on the potty. Fully dressed. With no intention of doing anything but sit there. She will not tolerate being rushed.

Katie, unfortunately, has lost the ability to hear... unless I am blocking the TV, standing six inches from her face, and shouting "Let's go!". At which point, some sound waves pass through her ear drums. Due to her hearing impairment, the message because muddled. "Let's go!" sounds more like "Lie on the floor, kick the wall and the baby, shout out demands for a frozen Eggo, and throw whatever may be in arm's reach".

Bethie, shockingly enough, is very good in the mornings. Like always, she marches to the beat of her own drummer...a very slow drummer. But she is accommodating. I can tolerate slow. It's the dead stop that drives me up the wall!

One morning is the same as the next. I deal with three tired girls and do my best to get out of the door on time. One particular morning, we were running behind schedule. While the children were supposed to be eating breakfast, I ran upstairs to finish getting myself ready for work. While brushing my teeth, I heard Sarah pound up the stairs. I was moments away from being ready to go, and I was in no mood to deal with the tyrannical demands of my baby. She raced into my bedroom, and I followed closely behind shouting "No, no, no! Let's GO!". She turned on my clock radio, and music filled the room. I had a mini-fit and turned the radio off. Sarah said "Dance!", and turned the radio back on! So, we danced. We danced because it made her happy. We danced because another minute late was not going to make a difference. We danced because Sarah The Mute graced me with word that I could actually understand!

Friday, November 6

Fight AND Flight

Dan and I decided to get the children their flu shots on the morning of Hallowe'en. We debated whether or not we should give them a "heads up" about the upcoming shot. We decided against doing so. We thought we'd avoid hours of fighting and crying if we told them at the last minute. We were wrong!

The morning went well. The twins were super excited because it was Hallowe'en. To add to their excitement, we packed them up and headed to the mall (where the flu shot was being administered). Once there, we lined up. Police men came around handing out bags of candy. Ladies dressed up as witches were handing out treats as well. The twins were anxious to leave the line up and discover what was going on behind the boarded up store front that we were waiting to enter.

We walked beyond the boards and discovered a doctor's waiting room! Bethie was the first to become concerned. She announced that she was not sick and, therefore, we should leave. I told her that this waiting room wasn't for sick people. That calmed her down.

While we were waiting to go into the "shot room", Katie and Bethie were talking to one another. They commented on the grown ups in costumes. One was even dressed up as a nurse! It became clear to Dan and I that they were expecting a "Hallowe'en Surprise" on the other side of the door. Ummm....they were going to be surprised alright. Dan and I debated whether or not this was the right time to tell them what was going on. Before we could come to an agreement, we were called in.

Once in the "shot room", the nurse said "Who wants to go first?". Katie and Bethie practically killed each other vying for first place. Katie won. Katie sat on my lap, while Dan held Sarah, and Bethie watched. At the precise moment that the needle came into view, Dan said "Katie! Look at me!". Katie looked at Dan, the needle went in Katie's arm (without Katie even realising it), and Bethie ran for the hills!

Dan chased after Bethie and picked her up. She began shouting "I DON'T WANT A SHOT!". Katie tried to calm her down. It was at this point that Bethie inadvertently kicked Katie in the head. Both Katie's head and heart were wounded by this blow. Sarah's shot was quickly administered, and she threw a fit. We had three screaming children, and the loudest one hadn't even had her shot yet!

I took Bethie from Dan and tried to calm her down. She was yelling and crying and punching. I held her in a tight hug, but this wasn't enough to hold her still. Reinforcements were called in. Bethie was pinned down. When the nurse cleaned her arm with the alcohol wipe, she went from horribly upset to absolutely livid! The needle went in, and I let out my breathe. I, naively, assumed that the worse was over.

Wrong, again! We went into the waiting room and Bethie unleashed. She screamed, "THIS IS AN EVIL PLACE! I AM NEVER COMING BACK HERE AGAIN! WHY DIDN'T YOU STOP THEM WHEN THEY WANTED TO GIVE ME A SHOT?! THAT DOCTOR IS WICKED!". The rant went on and on and on. She had attracted the attention of the entire waiting room, which really ticked me off because I wanted to sneak out before the 15 minute post-shot wait time was up (I have pneumonia, cut me some slack!). A nurse came over trying to help calm Bethie down. She was absolutely amazed to see that Bethie's rage would not subside. Bethie told her off, too!

After about 10 minutes, Dan and I got up and walked out. I was giving everyone my super angry look, and Bethie was raging against the world. No one dared to stop us. We exited the waiting room, and entered the mall...exactly where the line up was formed, full of children whose parents also "forgot" to warn them that there was a shot coming their way. Bethie cleared this little fact up for all those in doubt.

As Dan and I loaded the children in the car, Katie begged and pleaded with us to stop talking about the "bad thing" that had just happened. She would prefer that we all forget about the shot and never mention it again (how very Dan of her!). Bethie screamed "MUMMY! YOU NEED TO COME BACK HERE AFTER WE ARE IN BED AND SHINE A LIGHT IN THAT DOCTOR'S EYE! YOU TELL HER THAT SHE IS WICKED AND WE ARE NEVER COMING BACK!". I had two options at that point. I could:
  1. go along with the hysterical child in the hopes that she would eventually calm down, or
  2. tell her that she only got a 1/2 dose and we need to come back in 3 weeks!
Guess what I did?!

Wednesday, November 4

Hallowe'en Snaps


Bethie (top), Katie, and Sarah ready to go Trick or Treating!


Our little butterfly!



Andre wins!


Begging for treats.



Mum and Sarah trying to keep up with the twins.


Bethie, Katie, and Sam have mastered Trick or Treating.



The loot!

Friday, October 16

Love and Marriage

Thanks to Disney Princesses, Katie is obsessed with marrying her prince. She is sweet about it. Although the identity of her "prince" changes depending on her mood, she always maintains that she will have three baby girls. She will name them Necklace, Necklace, and Diamond. She wants me to buy them all sorts of clothes and books. She has already given me a detailed list of items that I can purchase for her children.

Bethie hasn't bought into the fairy tale. She doesn't want to get married. They other night, Katie was trying to convince Bethie to get married when she was "all grown up". Bethie was having none of it. She stood on Katie's bed and shouted "When I get married, I am going to break all of my promises. If he doesn't do everything I say, then he can't stay with me! Mummy! Why are you laughing?".

I laughed. I laughed until my cheeks hurt. I laughed until I had both girls were laughing too. They didn't know why I was laughing, but they were happy simply to be enjoying this moment with me. I was laughing because Bethie is Bethie. Bethie does what she wants, when she wants. Bethie has issues with authority, real or imagined. She is strong-willed. She doesn't tolerate opposition. Bethie is her mother's daughter. And that cracks me up...most of the time.

Sleep Training

I never knew that human beings needed to "learn" how to sleep. I thought that sleeping was something that came naturally. Like breathing. No one has to teach babies how to breathe, they just do it. The same should be true of sleeping. But it's not.

My twins were miserable about going to sleep. As infants, they had to be walked to sleep. Dan and I would each grab a baby, heave her over our shoulder, and do laps around the house. This happened every time we wanted to put them down. Initially, we had to do about 11 laps around the house before the baby would fall asleep. But they grew a tolerance to the walking. Like drug addicts, they needed more and more to get the same effect. By five months old, they had worked themselves up to 72 laps.

I cracked. I was at my wits end. I couldn't physically keep up with the lack of sleep and the constant walking. I asked Mum for advice. She told me to stop walking and simply put the babies in their cribs. Sounds rational, but I had to point out to my mother that the babies would cry if I didn't walk them around and around and around the house. She said, "That's okay". She picked up a baby, and put her in the crib. The baby cried, but she stopped after a minute. I was shocked! Not only because it worked, but also because Mum never mentioned this trick before!

A couple of days ago, Sarah slept through the night. For the first time. She's almost 18 months old. However, Bethie did not sleep through the night. She seldom does. That night in particular, she woke up the first time because she had a bad dream. The second time she woke up was because her water bottle was empty. I complained to Mum again. I would like to sleep through the night. Sometimes, I am up 4 or 5 times a night, and I don't have a newborn. All of my children should be in bed by 7:30pm and sleep for about 12 hours. That's my rule, but none of them obey me!

Mum said "That's ridiculous! Tell the twins that you have had enough of their nonsense!". It sounded like good advice to me. Within minutes, Bethie was calling me upstairs. I marched up those stairs ready to give 'em Hell. I walked right up to Bethie's bed and said "I have had enough nonsense tonight! I don't want to hear from you until tomorrow!". With dancing eyes, my baby looked at me, smiled and said, "Will you listen to my nonsense tomorrow?". Sigh. She's funny like her Daddy.

Wednesday, October 14

Same Place, Different Year

Some things change, and some things remain the same.

Katie and Bethie - age 2 (almost 3)

Bethie and Katie (4 years old)

Sunday, October 11

Lookin' Good

Mum got the girls some new dresses. They are super cute. She also got identical dresses for all three girls. I love it when I can dress them up as triplets! It also makes me chuckle to think of 10 years from now when Sarah looks back at the photos of her growing up. She will see a picture of herself at 17 months wearing a little red dress with little Scottie dogs on it. Flip through the album, and she will see herself at age 4 wearing the same dress (a hand-me-down from the twins). Cracks me up!

Anyway, the dresses Mum got for the girls were a big hit. The twins wanted to wear them right away. I told the twins that they had to wait because I had to get them stockings first. I would go out this weekend and get them the stockings so they could wear their new dresses on Thanksgiving.

Katie freaked out. She said "Why are you trying to trick us?". I was surprised. I had no intention of tricking anyone. I meant it when I said that I would get them stockings this weekend. Katie cried "We get stockings on Christmas, not on Thanksgiving!". She was quite right. I clarified things by saying "I will buy leotards this weekend so you can wear your dresses on Thanksgiving. These leotards will not be stuffed with chocolate and other treats. Instead, you will put them on your legs. You may not wear your dresses before I have purchased leotards."

Turns out that I was wrong. They wore their dresses on Friday, without leotards or stockings. Instead, Katie work polka-dot socks. Bethie wore white and pink striped socks. Both girls had their socks yanked up to their knees. And they were thrilled.

Friday, October 9

Easter In December

The other night at dinner, I asked the twins what they would like for Christmas. Katie was very specific. She asked for a chocolate on a stick that was in the shape of a heart and had Disney princess foil on it. I knew exactly what she wanted. Big Sarah got them each these chocolates last year. They were a hit, I guess.

I said that the chocolates on a stick were an excellent idea, and asked if they would like anything else. Katie said that she would also very much like chocolate covered raisins. Not a problem, I reassured her. Again, is there anything else she would like? Katie replied that she would like any kind of chocolate.

I sighed. I explained Christmas to them again. I left out the Baby Jesus part (because of Bethie and her obsession with the little boy down the street), and focused on Santa coming while they slept to give them gifts. I said "Santa brings gifts like books, or toys, or clothes, or pyjamas...". Bethie interrupted me and said "...or food".

At this point, I feel the need to reassure people that I do I feed my kids. Lots. Many times a day. Also, they used to get so many "treats" that we now refer to them as "staples". That is until I banned desserts altogether, except on Saturday evenings. So why they are praying for food like starving children is a mystery to me.

I was now annoyed with the children. I said that Santa would bring them some chocolate, but the focus would be on gifts. Bethie got upset. She said "Last time Santa brought chocolate. He left little bits of it at our bedroom door going all the way down the stairs". Dan said, "I got it. You want Easter for Christmas!".

Thursday, October 8

An Apple A Day

I forgot to take the sticker off the apple. This barely slowed Bethie down!


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Tuesday, October 6

The Digestive Process of Our Children

The digestive process of our girls begins with me lovingly preparing a healthy meal for my children. Dan insists that every meal have "a carb, a veg, and a meat". These items are beautifully arranged on plates, and presented to my little ones.

The partial breakdown of the food begins at this point. Some of the food flies through the air as they heave their plates away from where they are sitting. Some of the food is placed directly on the table with the announcement that it is too disgusting to go down their precious little throats. Most of the food is smeared directly onto the glass table. Very little of it is eaten.

From the table top, the food then proceeds to the floor. Here it will remain for varying amounts of time. It is at this point that "muscle group" (aka our little angels) is introduced. These rogue muscles scatter the fallen food across the entire kitchen. The three muscles then churn, squash, stomp on, and grind the food into the linoleum. After approximately 15 minutes, the mushed up food hardens like granite.

Chemical agents, such as Lysol and Mr. Clean, are then introduced. These chemicals help to further break down the food. However, Lysol alone won't do the job! It requires a whole lot of "elbow grease". For particularly difficult bits, threatening and yelling will motivate the muscle group to cease and desist from the further speading of the food. But not always.

The digestive process ends with the "processed" food being scooped up and tossed into the garbage. The most obvious sign that dinner is over occurs when I freak out. I swear up and down that the following evening I am going to cook the dinner and then throw it in the garbage, thus bypassing the entire digestive system and saving myself the grief.

Monday, October 5

The Hard Life of Dan

Murphy's Law rules my life. Everything that can go wrong, does. Dan has the opposite luck. Things just seem to work out for him. Not that he notices. I often say he is Mr. Magoo. He walks blindly through life, oblivious to the scrambling done by everyone else to ensure that he feels happy, safe, and loved.

Yesterday, Dan was moaning about the rain. He claims that it only rains on his days off (he's also a bit of an Eeyore). I looked out the front window and said, "Isn't it funny? It's pouring rain but it's also sunny". I couldn't get over how beautiful the rain looked in the sunshine. Dan wasn't impressed. He seldom is.

I left him to sulk, and walked into the kitchen in the back of the house. There was an enormous rainbow. It was absolutely huge! I called the twins to come and have a look. We all enjoyed the beauty of the rainbow. Except Dan. He, of course, was bored by it.

It was then that it occurred to me. It wasn't raining in the back of the house, but it was still raining in the front of the house. That's pretty cool! I raced out the front door and realised that it the rain seemed to stop on our property line. Our neighbours were getting rain, and we were getting sunshine! I couldn't believe it! Dan said that he has seen this happen all the time and didn't know why I was so amazed. Whatever.

I pointed out to Dan that it was pouring rain, except on our property. It was as though God heard Dan's plea for the rain to stop and said, "Okay. Only for you though!". Dan couldn't enjoy it. He only focused on the rain elsewhere. He was being too much of an Eeyore to realise that this was another Mr. Magoo moment.

Wednesday, September 30

Bethie The Slow

Bethie marches to the beat of her own drummer. A very slow drummer. Getting her ready in the morning is absolutely painful. She's so slow!

This morning, Bethie was taking her sweet time. I was trying to rush her, but it was pointless. Finally, I said "Bethie! You are driving me crazy!". She asked, "Will you get all scraped when they drop you off at the loony bin?". I replied, "No, the walls are padded".

Tuesday, September 29

Our Baby

When I became pregnant with Sarah, I was very concerned about how the new baby would get along with the twins. This fear was amplified when I discovered I was having a girl. My reasoning was that a boy wouldn't be too interested in his very girly older sisters. However, a girl would yearn to be included.

Much to my relief, the twins have accepted Sarah as one of their own. Or, more accurately, Sarah had demanded that she be included in all activities, and the twins do as they're told! Dan refers to Sarah as the triplet that was 2 1/2 years late.

Since Sarah's birth, Bethie has assumed ownership of Sarah. She acknowledges that I am the primary caregiver, but struggles with the idea that she is not next in line (this became an issue when Sarah started daycare). Bethie keeps an eye out for Sarah, and is mostly sweet, and kind, and loving towards her. It took Katie a little longer to "warm up". She now dotes on Sarah, which Sarah appreciates. Often, Sarah will grab on tightly to Katie in order to give her a hug and a kiss. These "hugs" are painfully long, but Katie endures them. It's very important to Katie that Sarah feels loved.

This is not always true. The twins sometimes torment Sarah. They grab her blankie and take off. They snatch toys out of her hand. They tease her. And this is what happened the other day. I brought the twins' "Reign of Terror and Frustration" to an end. I said that they were behaving like bullies. I told them that we are judged by how we treat the weakest and the littlest among us. I would not tolerate any member of this family being made to feel helpless. Tears were spilt, apologies extracted, and hugs and kisses were liberally passed around.

But I was angry. I was frustrated. I want so much for there to be a natural equality amongst my children. I want them to know that they are individually, and collectively, important. I don't want the whims of the older children to become an obstacle that Sarah must continuously overcome. I want each of my daughters to feel like they belong, and that they are wanted.

That night I was lying in Katie's bed with both Katie and Bethie between me and the wall. We were discussing all the DVDs we do and don't have (don't worry, I don't "get it" either). Sarah was in her room, tucked into bed for the evening. She began to cry. My blood pressure started to soar (that's how I react to my kids crying) and I try to hurry up this endless goodnight ritual. Bethie said to me "Why is our baby crying?".

Our baby. This is how Katie and Bethie view her. As our baby. She belongs to all of us, and we belong to her. I was thrilled! This is evidence that the twins have truly accepted her. My heart swelled, and I thought "My cup runneth over".

Monday, September 28

Fine Dining

The twins were thrilled with dinner tonight. We had "smashed potatoes"!

My Little Pianists

My delicate little princesses have discovered that they can watch the inner workings of the piano if they climb on it and dance.



Note: Grandparents are way more tolerant than parents. Mum would have killed us if she discovered us doing this!

Mano a Procyon Lotor

Just after 11pm on Saturday night, Dan was watching a movie and I was sitting next to him reading a book. We heard a muffled crash. I told Dan that the crash was a big, scary raccoon (I had seen him a couple of hours earlier) raiding our garbage. Dan practically flew to the side door to catch the beast in the act.

The raccoon was relatively unafraid of us. Through an open window, we eyed one another. Dan wanted to go outside and spray the raccoon with water. I refused to allow this. He wanted to get the raccoon off our steps just long enough to haul our garbage bin inside our house. Thank goodness he has me to stop him! We agreed to frighten the raccoon away and then put the garbage in the shed.

We started the car by remote, which caused the raccoon to waddle rapidly to the backyard. When he realised that there was no threat, he waddled back. Perched on our steps, he waited for our next move. My barking didn't phase the raccoon, but it did annoy Dan. Banging the door did nothing. Finally, Dan took the broom handle and banged fiercely on the porch, and the raccoon took off across the street. I raced to the front of the house, and I watched that raccoon. The raccoon watched Dan put the garbage in the shed.

This may not sound like a big deal, but I am absolutely terrified of the vast majority of creatures that are on this planet. Big on my list are raccoons, skunks, mice, squirrels, and cats. I like to pretend that none of these animals exist. Now that I have absolute proof that we have a raccoon (I had convinced myself that crows were getting our garbage), I have to get rid of it. I googled "how to deter raccoons". A website advised me to get a big cord and tie up my garbage can. Not bloody likely. I will have to find another solution. Otherwise, I will let Dan go out and tango with that raccoon!

Thursday, September 24

Some Snaps

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My 90 Seconds

I have a rule. Once a child of mine is a year old, they must learn to fend for themselves for the 90 seconds it takes me to go to the bathroom...alone. With the door to the washroom locked. Don't get me wrong. I wait until all the children are occupied, are happy, and are getting along. Then I get my 90 seconds.

There is something about a door locking that makes my children want to bash that door down. It doesn't matter how quietly I lock that door. They hear the click, and come running. From their side of the door, they start screaming at me to open the door and demanding to know what on Earth I am doing in there. Then they start with the tear down. It starts off as a knock or two. Then anger takes over, and they bash, and bang, and try to rip the door off. All in 90 seconds. My 90 seconds.

I have had serious discussions with the children about respecting the privacy of other people. I have explained that I deserve to go to the washroom without all Hell breaking loose. It makes me tense. I have tried sneaking away to go to the washroom, I have tried announcing my departure. Nothing works. As soon as the door locks, panic kicks in.

The other night after dinner, the children and Dan were eating their dessert. Everybody was happy, everybody was cool. I announced that I was going to the washroom. I said "The first person to knock on the door goes straight to bed. This person does not get a bath. This person does not get a story or a cuddle. They only get to be alone in their bedroom in the dark to think about how naughty they are. Do you understand?" My three little girls nodded earnestly. They didn't want to go to bed.

Off I went to the washroom. I locked the door. Guess what happened? KNOCK, KNOCK. Really?! What is wrong with these children? Why can they not follow basic instructions? Why can't their father run "interference" and help the children? Why do they need me right now?!

I lost it, I was super angry. I yelled in my angriest, sternest voice possible "WHO. IS. KNOCKING. ON. THE. DOOR?!". The reply was "It's me. Guess I have to go to bed and skip doing the bath, reading the stories, and putting the kids to bed". I married a comedian.

Wednesday, September 23

My Clever Little Chicken

Sarah's vocabulary leaves lots to be desired...or so we thought. Dan and I could pick out two words that she would say: "Mama" and "oui". That was it. The strange thing is that Sarah does "talk" to us. She looks at us in the eye and proceeds to spout jibberish. However, she does have the flow of the English language, just not the language itself.

Yesterday, Emilie and Sam came over after daycare. Emilie and I were chatting on the deck. I was having some Crystal Light. Sarah gestured frantically that she would like some of my drink. I said "Do you want some juice?". She babbled something to me. Emilie said "Jus ca" (I cannot make the proper "c" as I don't have a French keyboard). That was what Sarah had "babbled" to me when asking for my drink! It was then that I had realised that Sarah had indeed asked for what she wanted. However, she asked me in French!

Speaking French will definately help Sarah in the "real" world. However, it doesn't do her much good in our house as neither Dan nor I speak French. Katie says "oui" instead of "yes", and Bethie says "pas" meaning "not" ("pas chicken for dinner", "pas bath"). Other than that, we've got nothing.

This is how I see it: although Sarah understands both English and French, she only speaks French. Sigh. Who would have thought that Dan and I would be raising a francophone?

Sunday, September 20

Suffer The Little Children

Bethie loves church. She absolutely adores every moment of it. She loves the music, the people, the attention, and the ... dancing. Dancing is not required, nor even requested, of the congregation. My girls provide this little "extra" free of charge. They stand just in front of the alter (we sit in the first pew) and put on a performance. Members of the congregation have come up to me and said that they barely pay attention to the Reverend because they are so focused on my children. Yeah, we upstage everyone.

Since we typically have the undivided attention of the congregation, Bethie has taken to giving them helpful "updates". Last Sunday, the Reverend spoke to me before the service. Nothing special, just wanted to say hi. Then he left in order to come back in with the choir and officially start the service. He was gone for a couple of minutes. Bethie asked me where he was. This is where I made my mistake. I was too lazy to explain the whole thing to Bethie. Instead, I said that he had to go to the washroom. This was meant to:
  1. explain the Reverend's brief absence, and
  2. to get Bethie to wait quietly without asking me a hundred questions
It did not have the desired effect. Bethie stood up on the pew, faced the congregation, and informed everyone that "Rev B. had to go to the WASHROOM!". Oops! I was shocked, but I got her to sit down very quickly. I did not make eye contact with anyone in the congregation. I hoped against hope that if I pretended that Bethie hadn't said anything, they would pretend along with me.

Today, it was just me and Bethie at church. She didn't want to go to Sunday school. She has boycotted the class since they had the nerve to discuss Easter with the children. Apparently, the church's official version of Easter does not include chocolate and little bunnies. At the time, I discussed the matter with the Reverend, but he insisted on keeping the story of the crucifixion in the Easter celebration. We skipped the Easter season altogether, and Bethie now stays in the church for the sermon.

At one point in today's sermon, the Reverend was speaking about how the disciples had an argument about who the best person would be to take over the "reigns" when Jesus would, as predicted, be killed. Bethie leaped to her feet. Her (very heavy) hymn book catapulted from her lap, through the air, and came crashing (yeah, crashing) down near the base of the alter. She turned to face me, which put her directly in front of the congregation. She threw her arms up in the air in a mixture of shock and disbelief, and said "They killed Jesus?!". She had no idea that Jesus was dead. This may be my fault. At home, we focus more on the Christmas story. Bethie went through a phase where she was just a wee bit obsessed with Jesus and wanted to meet him and it was driving me crazy! So I told her that the little boy down the street was Jesus. She was pacified and it amused me when I would ask her where Jesus lived and she would point to his house. But then the Reverend blew it by saying that Jesus was killed! Do you understand Bethie's shock?!

I scooped up Bethie and placed her back on the pew. I swore up and down that Dan would buy her an ice cream sundae if she would just stop talking! I was mortified! Especially because I know the Reverend (and half of the congregation) heard the entire outburst. He was probably thinking to himself "She's already asked me to "gloss over" Easter. Next, she'll probably ask me not to mention Jesus at all!".

Wednesday, September 16

We're Here To Help!

A week or so ago, Mum was asked to babysit Sean's kids for the evening. Although Mum is quite capable of handling the three boys on her own, it's always nice to have some company and some help. Dan and I said that we would pitch in. I told the twins that we would be going to Uncle Sean's house for dinner and we would help put the boys to bed. Katie was thrilled. She loves going to Uncle Sean's house, and especially now that she was "needed".

During dinner, Katie announced to Cameron (who is Sean's eldest son and who will be turning 7 this December) that she was going to put him to bed. Cameron freaked. The thought of his four yeay old cousin putting him to bed was (understandably) too much for him. I calmed Cameron down. I said that Katie was just little and that Cameron knows better. Cameron is a very good-natured boy, and he just let it go.

After dinner, Dan took Sarah home and put her to bed. I put Baby Cory to bed. Katie, Bethie, Cameron, and Tyler settled down to watch "The Cat In The Hat". Everybody was happy, but Katie had her eye on the clock. At one point she said "When do I get to put Cameron and Tyler to bed?". Poor Cameron could only take so much! I had to make it absolutley clear that after the movie I was going to take the twins home and Granny would put the boys to bed. Cameron was pleased. Katie was a bit disappointed. She enjoyed the authority that she thought she had (and which, according to her, was rightfully hers!). But the problem was solved.

When we were packing up to go, the twins were thanking the boys for the lovely evening (warms my heart when they do this!). After hugs and kisses and good-byes were exchanged, Katie said "Well. We are going to go now. You boys need to go straight to bed. Don't. Be. Naughty!". And they weren't. Turns out that it was a good thing that we had brought Katie after all!

Girls Day

Sunday evening, I said "Thank God it's Monday tomorrow!". I was worn out. Dan had taken Friday off to help me paint the kitchen. Although I really appreciated the help, and he did a great job, it seriously cut into my "me time". If I don't get 40 hours/week, I am down-right grouchy. Also, in the late afternoon on Friday, Sarah got some sort of stomach bug and started vomiting. So I spent a lot of time with the twins during the weekend away from home. Thankfully, they didn't get sick. Regardless, by Sunday night I needed a rest.

Emilie flipped her car a couple of times on Sunday. As a result, daycare was closed Monday. The kids and I had a "Girls Day" and dragged Big Sarah along for the ride. We had fun. We went to the beach in the morning and we went to look at model homes in the afternoon. Everyone had a blast. However, the children also had a lot of "treats" (which I think we should refer to as "staples" instead!). Between the three of them, they consumed twenty-eight Tim Bits.

We were driving home from the model homes, but first we had to stop at the grocery store. The twins were being super rowdy (probably due to the sugar). I just wanted some peace and quiet so I could talk to Big Sarah, and so Baby Sarah could have a little rest. I didn't get it. I cracked. I told them if they could be quiet until we got to the grocery store, I would let them each have a cookie (yup, I bribe my children. I am not Super Mum...she lives down the street!). Despite desperately wanting a cookie, the twins could not contain themselves. I yelled at them, Big Sarah yelled at them. They continued to act like crazed beasts.

Katie freaked out because her hands were dirty. She wanted me to clean them. I explained to her that I was driving the car! Instead, I gave Bethie a package of wipes and had her give them to Katie in the back of the van. Big Sarah and I figured the problem was solved and tried to continue our conversation. Bethie got noisy again. Big Sarah looked back and saw Bethie cleaning Baby Sarah's face with a wipe. Big Sarah sternly instructed Bethie to stop touching the baby and to BE QUIET.

A few more minutes passed and Baby Sarah started to fret. Big Sarah looked back and calmly said to me "Oh. You are going to be really angry. I'm trying not to laugh because I know you are going to kill the twins. But it's funny!". Apparently, Katie (who sits in the very back of the van) had taken a wipe out of the container, given it to Bethie (who sits in the middle row next to the baby), and Bethie  proceeded to wipe Baby Sarah's face.This was repeated five thousand times! Every "dirty" wipe had been tossed on the floor, as well as the wipes that Katie couldn't quite get to Bethie. My van looked like a snow globe, with wipes instead of snow!

Big Sarah was right. I was angry. I shouted "What is WRONG with you two? Why would you throw wipes everywhere? Wipes are expensive and they are not to be wasted! Granny bought me those wipes! I just can't BELIEVE it! Who's going to clean up this mess? Are you expecting ME to clean it up? I bought you 28 Tim Bits today. What have you done? You have run around the model homes screaming and yelling and slamming doors and carrying on! Then you throw a FULL PACKAGE of wipes throughout my car. And now you expect ME to take YOU to the grocery store so you can have a COOKIE? No! This is crazy! You are going home to your FATHER!". Bethie felt horrible for behaving badly and for letting me down. She immediately apologized. Katie refused to apologize until I apologized I to her for yelling at her! That got me started on a completely new rant!

Anyway, the kids got dropped off, Big Sarah and I went to the grocery store, and we came home to make dinner. It was a yummy dinner. However, the twins refused to eat it. I cannot fully articulate how frustrated I was with them at that point in the day. I produced peanut butter sandwiches just to pacify them. I failed, however, to make the sandwiches to Katie's exact specifications and she deemed it to be inedible. AHHHH! I screamed "Just eat it! Or eat your dinner! I am sick and tired of having to produce fifteen entrees for every dinner. EAT!". That didn't work. I bribed them with cake.

As I presented the cake, Dan said "Is this the only kind of cake you have? Do you have chocolate cake instead?". I glared at my fourth child husband, took a deep breath, and said "Don't you start, too!".

Thursday, September 10

Language Skills

The twins had a fairly large vocabulary by their first birthday. It pleased me to no end that one of their first words was "thank you". I delighted in the cleverness of my twins for being able to communicate at such a young age. They weren't particularly good at walking (they didn't walk until they were 19 months!), but I overlooked their lack of motor skills because I deemed them to be so clever. Sarah doesn't talk. She can say "Mama!". She uses this word to give a "heads up" to the closest adult that she would like something. She can also say "no" and "oui" (she goes to a French daycare). Her "monkey skills", as Sean calls them, are outstanding. She is an expert climber and jumper. Nothing can stop my baby!

I admit that I am concerned. For the past couple of days, I have tried to recall what I did differently with the twins. I'm coming up empty. I know that one time Katie spilt some juice. I said "Crap, crap, crap!" as I reached for a paper towel. The juice made it's way to the edge of the table. More rapid fire "craps" came out of my mouth. Then the babies began playing in the mess. Again, "craps" were my preferred method of dealing with the problem. In the 90 seconds that it took me to clean up the mess, about 180 "craps" were emitted. Mum said to me "Are you trying to teach them to say crap?!". Umm....no. But the word I wanted to say was far more inappropriate.

The twins never did say "crap". However, one time when Bethie dropped a glass candle holder, she did say "Shit-shoot!". Oops! That was probably my fault. Thankfully, their father wasn't around to hear that and she never said it again.

Yesterday, Bethie was in a foul mood. She was screaming and crying and running all over the backyard. Sarah, in an attempt to comfort Bethie, found Bethie's bears and took them over to her. Katie followed closely behind with a flower she picked to cheer Bethie up. Bethie, despite wanting her bears desperately, refused to take them. Sarah became upset and offended. I was fed up! She had been behaving badly for about 30 minutes. She wouldn't let me comfort her, and she wouldn't stop screaming. By refusing her own bears, she made Sarah scream and yell. I was at the end of my tether. I said "Bethie! Take the damn bears!". Katie said "And the damn flower!". Oops. I did it again!

Wednesday, September 9

Their Wrath

Loyalty is very important to me. I am loyal to a fault. No matter what happens, my children and my husband can count on my unfailing, and often loud, support. Any slight, regardless of how small or how innocent, will incur my wrath!

I have always dreamed of someone being as loyal to me as I am to them. I have, however, surrounded myself with people who insist on looking at the "big picture" or on taking into consideration the feelings and opinions of everyone else. I want someone who will blindly support me and will stand up to whatever obstacle they encounter in order to show their support. I have recently realised that this would never, ever happen. I am destined to have to fight everyone of my own battles, and all the battles of my nearest and dearest. No worries, I am awfully good at fighting battles!

Then the twins surprised me. I have lovely Explorer roses. Japanese beetles practically ate all the leaves of the roses in the front of my house before turning their attention to those in the back. Everyday, the twins and I would go on a "beetle hunt". I would drown the beetles in soapy water hoping that would be the last of them. Everyday, they would reappear.

One day, Bethie snapped. She could no longer stand the fact that "those naughty Japanese beetles" were eating her Mummy's roses. She marched right up to the roses and started shouting "Go away, Japanese beetles! Those are my Mummy's roses! Don't eat them!". Katie got excited. She loves a good fight. She ran beside Bethie and started to shout at the beetles as well. This cracked me up!

Bethie yelling at the beetles

Katie yelling and wagging her finger

At last I have the loyalty that I have always craved. There are 3 lessons they must master before their loyalty is completely effective:

  1. Knowing Your Enemy
  2. Picking Your Battles
  3. Screaming Doesn't Equal Righteousness

Tuesday, September 8

Dr. Mum

I don't have a medical degree. The degree that I do have isn't even in science. However, I am an expert in all things (non-illegal) drug related. I keep my own "pharmacy" well stocked. Percocet, Tylenol 3, and all sorts of cold remedies are a must! At any given time, I can treat most problems presented to me by each member of my family.

The government has made things difficult for me. They have banned all cough and cold medicine for children under two years old. However, they forgot to ban children under the age of two from getting coughs and colds. I astutely noticed this loop-hole. Before the ban came into effect, I stocked up because I was pregnant with Sarah. Although the medicine had now since "expired" (I treat expiration dates as "Try to take this medicine before the set day, but go ahead and use it if it's expired. You'll live.), it still worked like a charm. This week, my stock had dwindled down to nothing and all three children were sick.

I did what every mother (who has a natural repulsion for authority) would do: I calculated how much of each drug was present in the infant cough and cold medicine. Then I calculated how much of the children's cough and cold medicine I could use to get the same dose. This worked like a charm... until Katie popped open the "Child-Proof" medicine cap and started handing out drugs to Sarah as well! Don't worry. I sought medical advice, Dan told Katie that too much medicine becomes "poison", and we hid all the medicine in my pharmacy. The next day, Sarah felt much better!

Yesterday, I was told that the government is banning all cough and cold medicine for children under the age of six! Come on! Of course, I immediately went to Walmart to purchase some magical elixir to cure cough and colds in preschoolers. I was too slow! They have already been removed from the shelf. No fears. My calculator and I have already gotten to work. I have figured out the correct doses of the medicine meant for 6-11 year olds that I can give to my toddler and preschoolers. At least, I hope it's the correct dose. My degree isn't in mathematics either.

Monday, September 7

Busy! Busy! Busy!

Dan and I had so much to do this weekend. We had to clean. Not simply pick up toys and do laundry, but sanitize our filthy house type of cleaning. We had to prepare the kitchen walls to be painted next Friday (we have already prepared the children!). We had to do lots of work in the garden. In fact, I had a huge list of things I wanted done. And on top of all that, we had to take care of the children.

One would think that Dan and I were too busy to bake. Not so. The mood struck us and we did nothing else but bake! Here are the results:




The most challenging thing was preventing the children from "helping" us. In the end, we pacified them so much sugar that Dan was concerned they would go into diabetic shock. At one point, Bethie came in and watched Dan and I agonize over the cake (it really didn't turn out as planned). After a moment or so, she said "Do you know what we're doing?". It seemed quite obvious to us what we were doing. We were curious as to what she thought we were doing. When asked, she enlightened us, "We're wasting the day away". She was almost right. We were wasting the long weekend away.

Thursday, September 3

For The Love Of Pizza

My children love pizza. All of them. In fact, a pizza crust was Sarah's first "solid" food. I know, you're shocked! When the twins were babies, we read all the books about what the first solid food should be. The expert consensus was that one should begin with the most awful tasting vegetables so that the child would develop a taste for them before moving on to the yummier foods that they will certainly love. And we did that... with the twins. However, Sarah is our third child. One day, we simply handed her a pizza crust and said "Gnaw on that. You'll love it!". And she did.

We don't have pizza as often as the children would like. I swear that Bethie would love to eat pizza for every meal. Although she requests pizza frequently, she is often disappointed. The other day, as we were coming home from doing a grocery shop, Bethie asked if we could have pizza for dinner. I explained that I had just spent all of my money on groceries and I could make her a lovely dinner instead. She stated that she preferred pizza. I asked her if she had any money. Bethie pondered that question, and then replied "I have princess money!". Her delight was quickly squashed when I explained that the pizza man prefers real money.

A few days later, Bethie asked Dan if he had gone to work that day. He had. She said "Did you make any money while you were at work?". Dan told her that the only reason he goes to work is to make money. She then said "Real money?". Neither Dan nor I saw where this was leading. Dan said that he had, in fact, made real money. Bethie said "Can we have pizza for dinner tonight and you can pay for it with the real money you made today?". Although we were very proud of her for being so clever as to trick us into admitting that we had money that could (technically) be spent on pizza, we declined her request.

Yesterday after daycare, the children wanted to play in the van. That was fine with us because Dan and I could stand next to the van watching the children while having a chat. Everybody would be happy. All of a sudden, Bethie let of a terrific cry of delight. She came to the door, held up a penny, and asked "Is this real money?". I told her it was. She said "We can have pizza tonight because I have real money to pay the pizza man!". We did have pizza, but I had to chip in approximately $23.99!

Monday, August 31

Cheer Up!

For a week, Dan and I had prepared the children for the fact that we were going out for dinner...sans enfants. As one could imagine, this did not play well with the four year old crowd. I told the twins that Big Sarah and Kevin would be babysitting, that they could skip a bath, and that they would have all sorts of fun. My girls insisted that this wouldn't do and that they would miss us too much (assuming that they would survive the damage done to their tiny, wee broken hearts). I told them I would bake them a "Cheer Up Cake". They were happy.

I was super pleased with the results and I had to take a picture. Ta da:

The most exciting bit was that I dyed the cake batter too. Lime green! I am always thrilled with a shot of colour where one least expects it!

The cake was a hit. The girls informed us that we were not missed at all!

Little Treasures

Dan came home from work the other day. He left his boots in front of the chair where he had peeled them off his feet. He took off his great big work belt, attached to it all of his special clips, and left it on the living room table. Then he headed upstairs to change. I told him to remove the belt from the table. He said he would... later. That's his favourite word. He sincerely means "I'll do it later". I've learned that "later" seldom comes. For whatever reason, I was feeling rather pleasant so I did not heave his belongings up the stairs after him as I have been known to do. Nor did I touch the belt at all. I left it there.

That evening as we were cleaning up, Dan asked me where his clips for his belt went. These clips are rather important. First of all, these clips attach the work belt to his regular belt. Secondly, they are used to attach whatever tools he may need throughout the course of his day to his work belt. And Dan had lost them. I had no idea where they went. Also, I seem to have recovered from the "pleasantness" I had experienced earlier (From time to time, "pleasantness" infects me. It has even been known to last 24 hours, although most bouts only last a couple of minutes. However, the older I get, the fewer "relapses" I have). I said to my loving husband "I have no idea where your clips are. I have better things to do with my time than hide your things!". He asked me to set them aside if I came across them. I promised I would but I had no intention of looking for the clips. I already have three children that demand that I hunt down various items daily. Dan needs to learn to fend for himself.

Needless to say, I didn't find the clips. The next morning, Dan left for work and I got the children up and on their way. The girls had been fed, cleaned, dressed, and brushed. I grabbed Sarah and her bag, and instructed the twins to carry their own bags. As we walked to daycare, Bethie said "Is Daddy wearing his suit?" She meant uniform. I told her that he was. Then she asked "Is it falling off?". I became suspicious. I asked her "Why?". She responded "Because I have all of Daddy's clips in my bag!".

Wednesday, August 26

Saint Daniel Strikes Again

Dan bought me a hairbrush about 10 years ago for Christmas. Dan was so pleased with himself when he presented it to me. He felt that he had chosen the perfect brush, and the brush became a symbol of his love for me. This was too bad because it was an awful brush. It pulled my hair and scratched my scalp every time I used it. I used it though, despite the pain (and without complaint), because I knew that he thought it was special. Over the years, he has often mentioned what a great job he did in buying me this perfect brush.

Dan normally keeps his hair short. Very, very short. He doesn't need a brush. However, he was too busy this summer to get his hair cut. As his hair grew, he started using my brush. He complained to me what an awful brush it was and expressed surprise that I had used it for so many years. I confessed my hatred for the brush. And then we talked about things that were far more interesting, like who had to cross the street to pick up the kids from daycare.

Saturday was the twins' birthday party. In the morning, we were going to be super busy. There were 4 adults staying at our house, and all of us required a shower before the party. Also, the three children needed to be bathed. And we needed to pick up the cake. I decided to wake up before the rest of the household and have my shower first.

After my shower, I opened my drawer and reached for that awful brush. Nothing. I searched the other drawers, and came up empty-handed. I was baffled! Where could my brush be? Then everything started coming together in my head.

I marched into our bedroom, made sure Dan was awake, and very calmly said "I'm going to ask you a question and I need you to think long and hard before answering. Where is my brush? Wait! Is it possible that you may have put my brush where I have just put your electric toothbrush?". My loving husband looked up at me from the bed and said with puzzlement "You put my toothbrush in the garbage?".

Yup, the garbage! My husband thought to himself "I hate this hairbrush. She hates it, too. I shall throw it out! She will be soooo happy!". He did not replace the hairbrush first, he did not tell me that he had thrown it out. He simply tossed it and walked away... right before we were throwing a party! I was less than thrilled, and this surprised him.

As for his toothbrush, I should have thrown it away. I should have tossed it and not have given it a second thought. But I didn't. Why? Because it occurred to me that this is an item one uses daily, often several times a day. One does not wish for someone else to throw these items out without prior knowledge or consent. The loss of these types of personal grooming items cause great inconvenience, and a wee bit of self-consciousness when one has to do without.

Birthday Snaps

Katie (left) and Bethie eating cake

Bethie and Katie opening presents

Dan and Bethie reading a new book

Katie singing for the crowd

Bethie opening another gift

Katie and Big Sarah reading together









Monday, August 24

Moderation

Dan and Lisa are great friends for me to have. They both have the ability to calm me down. When I get a fantastic idea, they talk me through it. Between the two of them, reality and normalcy are introduced. I take a deep breath, and carry on as a sane person.

Big Sarah is trouble. Instead of demanding moderation of me, she takes my ideas to amazing and new unthinkable heights. We feed off one another. We work ourselves up into creative frenzies. And then we are off! Poor Dan is left in the dust wondering what everyone else is going to think!

Friday started off innocently enough. Big Sarah and I had a few errands to run. They were important errands, like going to the grocery store because I didn't have enough food in the house to serve dinner to my husband, my children, and my overnight guests. We also wanted to take 30 minutes to see if there were any cute princess decorations for the twins' birthday party on Saturday. Since I had already told Dan that I wasn't going to buy any more decorations, we thought we should get the decorations first so we could focus on the important items on our "To Do" list.

As it turns out, Party Mart is a wonderland of decorations. Big Sarah and I went a little bit crazy. We left with $53 of decorations and so many helium balloons that it was difficult to drive the car. And that was only our first stop on our new quest to turn my house into a Princess Palace.

Our next stop was to buy 4 foot tall Jasmine decorations. Much to my horror, the store did not have in stock a 4 foot tall Belle decoration. Did that stop us? Nope! We called every party store in Ottawa. Finally, we hit the jackpot!

Here are two examples of what we managed to procure (I didn't take pictures of everything):






Unfortunately, we had spent the entire day getting bigger and better decorations, that we did nothing on our "To Do" list. Including the groceries (Before anyone woke up, I had to run out to Tim Horton's Saturday morning and buy breakfast for my children!).

After we put the children to bed, Big Sarah and I had some wine and started to decorate. By the end of the night, Big Sarah and I were pretty tired and pretty drunk. But the result was worth the effort. Ta da:

We were pretty pleased and impressed with ourselves. This had been a lot of work and a lot of money, but we just knew the twins would love it! They would especially love that we had turned the kitchen into their very own ballroom.

When morning came, the twins raced down the stairs. And they were surprised to see the decorations (especially Bethie who, at first, didn't notice that we had put up a 8'x12' princess palace on the wall). Both girls looked at all the decorations, thanked us, and then delighted in the breakfast from Tim Horton's.

Big Sarah and I told each other "The kids expect magic, especially from us! The decorations are sure to wow the adults!". We eagerly awaited the party so we could show off our efforts to all the adults. Mum was impressed. No one else was. Big Sarah and I were stunned. Really?! Is this considered "normal" decorating? Are we losing our ability to shock and amaze?

Then we presented the cake:





That got the reaction we wanted!



Monday, August 17

The Car

I love my car. It's green and it has 4 doors. I looked everywhere and it was the cheapest car that I could find. But I absolutely love it. It's mine and it makes me feel young again. However, it is not the best car on the road. Dad has even told me that it shouldn't be on the road at all.

I don't lend my car out very often. It makes me nervous every time someone has to drive my car. Not because it's such a wonderful car and I am worried that any other driver wouldn't treat it properly. I am mostly concerned that other people will kill themselves while driving my little green car.

Before handing over my keys (they're very fancy keys. Colourful. Oompah Loompah keys, one might say), I give a warning:


The trunk doesn't open. It used to. I know this because there is something in the trunk that bangs about. This banging should not be confused with the other "normal" sounds of the car. Just ignore it, or if you want you can play "Guess What's In The Trunk". My typical guess is paint thinner, because I know that I bought some, but I can't find it anywhere.

When you get into the car, you will notice that the inside panelling is separating from the doors. That's just cosmetic, it doesn't effect how the car actually drives. Don't worry about it.

The instrument panel doesn't work. At all. This includes the speedometer, the RPM gage, and the "how hot your car is" thingy. You're going to have to "wing it". Just go with the flow of the traffic and you should be fine. The gas gage seems to work, but I measure gas by the trip odometer. Don't go more than 400km. That's my guess. The lights on the radio/CD controls work... periodically. I always feel a little bit blessed when they do work. It's kinds like it's a sign that I am going to have a good day.

The engine warning light, for the longest time, was constantly on. It was like a little reminder from the car saying "In case you forget, your vehicle sucks". I chose to confront the problem head on. I would shout back at the warning light, saying "Car, heal thyself!". One day it did! The light simply turned off! I was sooooo pleased. I called Dan right away to share my glorious news. He said, "The fuse for the light probably burnt out". Ugh. Dan was most likely right, but I still hold out hope that my little green car is trying to please me. So, if the engine light comes on, don't panic, but do tell me. I want to prove to Dan that the car heeded my advice about self-improvement.

The side mirrors leave lots to be desired. When driving, at any speed, they wobble and shake. At first you feel a bit dizzy, or like you're drunk, but then you get used to it. If they happen to fall off, don't worry. It happens all the time. Just shove them back on again.

Steering is a bit tricky. First of all, the steering wheel isn't at all straight. When you are driving straight, the wheel appears to be making a sharp right turn. It does pull to the right a bit, but that is easily corrected when driving. Try to avoid turning though. When you do have to turn, the steering wheel kind of fights you, and the car makes a rapid "gung, gung, gung" sound as if in protest. Just drive through it... but not quickly.

That brings me to the brakes. The car does have working brakes, but they don't work exactly when you want them to work. The brakes seem to be activated not by the pedal, but by the feeling of your heart dropping into the pit of your stomach. The brakes eventually "kick in", but not without a BANG!, BANG!, BANG! noise. This occurs at about 15km/hr or more. A little "fish tailing" when braking is normal and can be expected. Keep this in mind when you have other cars and/or people directly beside my braking car. Whatever you do, don't brake hard! Even if that's the only thing you remember about this warning. DO NOT BRAKE HARD. Dan did once. Now he refuses to drive the car.

The car is pretty banged up. Thank you, Dan. It no longer bothers me. I have gotten used to phone calls from Dan telling me that he has been in an accident. He says, "Do you want the good news or the bad news?". I opt for the good because I know where this is heading. I'm just hoping against hope that the bad news won't be what it always is. He says "I'm fine". At this point, I know what he's going to say next. A knot forms in my stomach. I start to sweat. I ask about the bad news. He says "The car is a little banged up but it's still drivable". DAMN IT! If I've told him once, I have told him a hundred times! For the love of God, just total the damn car!

At this point during my warning, most people express an interest in borrowing my van instead of my car. My van, as luck would have it, comes with a warning, too! It is as follows:
This vehicle comes with three children.

See why I prefer my car! It may be falling to pieces, but it doesn't have enough room for three car seats!

Thursday, August 13

Comments From The Peanut Gallery

It is absolutely gorgeous out today. I worked in the garden for a while, I watered my baskets, and I did all sorts of wee jobs around the yard that I never make time to do. I felt relaxed and happy and pleased with myself.

After an hour or so, I made another cup of coffee and sat on my front step. I would normally sit out back because it is more private, but I had done so much work out front that I wanted to enjoy the fruits of my labour before the weeds overtook my garden again. I called Big Sarah so we could swap gossip and have a laugh. Everything was perfect!

I saw the mailman coming down the street. I didn't pay much attention to him. He was doing his thing, I was doing mine. Until he got to my house. By this point, Sarah had hung up and I went to the bottom of our driveway to save him the few extra steps. I gave him a winning smile because I was in such a good mood, and said "Hello!". And he replied "It must be nice to sit outside in the sunshine and talk on the phone all day!". Then he turned and walked away.

And do you know what I shouted to him as he heaved his heavy bag back onto his shoulder and progressed to the 700th house of the day? "You forgot the best part! I'm getting paid quite a lot of money to be sitting outside in the sunshine, drinking my lovely Irish Cream flavoured coffee, and talking on the phone to my friend who is doing exactly the same thing!". Then I stuck out my tongue and flipped him the bird.

Naw, I didn't really, but I wanted to. Instead I said "It's a good life, I must admit" and went inside and fumed. Now I am wondering, does every mailman critique the lifestyles of those they deliver mail to, or am I the only one who is blessed with yet another man telling me I should get a job?