Saturday, July 31

The Haunted House

Dan and I were up late one night. It was about 1:30am and we were sitting in the living room talking. We were interrupted by the sound of little footsteps running upstairs. I went up to see which of my little cherubs was racing around. I discovered that everyone was sleeping. I came back down stairs and announced to Dan, "The house is haunted.".

I was kidding. We live in a new house. We have been the only owners. Nothing "dramatic" has happened here. Therefore, there is no reason why we would have ghosts (oh, I also don't believe in ghosts. Neither does Dan...when the sun is up!).

Then funny little things started happening. First, all of my baby nail clippers disappeared. I have searched high and low, and couldn't find any of the three pairs that I own. I had to go out and buy more. Then Bethie's hat disappeared. It has been over a week and it's still missing.

After my toothbrush disappeared, I was super angry. Really! What use is my toothbrush to anyone other than me, living or dead. Do you know what I had to use? A Winnie the Pooh toothbrush for 2 year olds! Let me tell you, that sucked!

Katie's glasses disappeared two weeks ago. Gone. No trace of them anywhere. You better believe that I had a good look for them! I don't want to shell out another $235 for a new pair. But they are no where to be found (no worries, she's wearing her old pair).

The milk container disappeared, with the bag of milk in it. Again, Dan and I looked all over. We wanted to find it before we could smell it. I did find the milk, hours later, in Sarah's room.

You may be thinking to yourself, "She doesn't have ghosts, the kids are doing this!". But you would be wrong. I asked the children if they had taken or moved or touched any of these items. They swore that they hadn't. I looked at my three angels and noticed something else that was equally distressing. They were sitting in a pile of rubble right in the middle of my living room floor! I yelled, "WHO MADE THIS MESS?!". You guessed it, the ghost.

Friday, July 30

Pass The Ritalin, Please

Everyday Dan comes home from work and says, "What did you do today?". He's not interested in my day as much as he is interested in why the house still looks like a disaster. I always start with, "Well, I wanted to...". But none of the things I wanted to do ever get done. I am always baffled. Until this morning.

This morning, I took the kids to daycare at 8:30am. Emilie asked to borrow my Bouncy Thing. So, I went back home and retrieved it for her. While I was in the shed, I saw the lawn mover and thought, "When I get back, I am going to mow the lawn".

Five minutes later, I was back. I realised that my electrical cord (for my lawn mower) was in the trunk of my car. On my way to get it, I passed by a flower basket and decided to move it to a window well. I put it down in it's new location and noticed my ivy. My goodness, it was huge! I had taken a picture of it two weeks ago, and decided that I wanted to look at that picture to see how much it has grown.

I went inside and made a cup of coffee. While the kettle was on, I decided to turn off the A/C and open all the windows. I was upstairs grabbing laundry when I heard the kettle whistling. I had already forgotten about the coffee! I ran downstairs, made the coffee, and thought "Now what?".

I thought I shall take a break while I drink my coffee. I checked my email. Nothing. I still had time to kill so I checked out a new website that I love. The creator sends a postcard to Linsey Lohan everyday that she is in jail. It cracks me up. Then I thought, "Who is this guy?". I googled him. He also has another site that lists the 99 things you should see on the Internet if you don't want him to classify you as a loser. I had seen 2 before. I checked out a couple, and laughed and laughed. I had to call Mum!

I'm on the phone with Mum, who was only mildly amused, and I start walking the gardens looking for Japanese Beetles. We talk for a bit, and then she asks, "Where are you?". I told her I was in the shed. I said, "I gotta go. I'm going to clean the shed now.". We hang up. I come back inside to get my shoes. While inside, I make another cup of coffee. I thought to myself, "I shall have a little break while I enjoy my coffee.". I sat down at the computer and realised that this has happened to me before. 20 minutes ago. This is why nothing ever gets done. I have ADHD. I better google ADHD and see what non-medicinal remedies are available!!!

P.S. I can see Dan now, reading the blog and going beserk! He'll probably decide it will be "helpful" if he made me a list of things to do during the day. You know, to keep me focused. Word to the wise, Dan, if you do suggest that, it won't end well for you!

Monday, July 26

My Little Girl

There was a little girl,


Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead,
When she was good,


She was very, very good,
And when she was bad,


She was horrid!

Sunday, July 25

The Baby

This morning, Sarah escaped from her crib. She woke up, tossed her blankie out of her crib, and threw her body over the crib bars. Then she opened her bedroom door and toddled downstairs to start her day.

Needless to say, Dan took the crib down this morning. It occurred to me that this has been the first night in five years (less 2 weeks) that we have not had at least one crib up in our home. And I feel sad. Not that I want another baby. Not that I don't want my babies to grow up. I just want the growing of my babies to slow down.

Friday, July 23

The Shock of Blue Ocean

"Switchy - switchy" is the preferred (by the twins) method of putting them to bed. Dan lies down in bed with one daughter, and I lie down in bed with the other. We have a cuddle and a chat. One of the girls calls out, "Switchy - switchy", and Dan and I switch beds, and repeat the entire process again with that daughter. This doesn't happen often because we have three children to put to bed, and it's a bit of a pain. But the other night we indulged the girls.

When it was my turn in Katie's bed, I asked her what she wanted to talk about. Sometimes, she wants me to tell her all about some movie or another. I hate this. I'm not a movie person, and I don't know a lot of movie plots. It usually ends with her being disappointed in me. Sometimes, she wants me to tell her a funny story about when I was a child. Lots of pressure to be funny, let me tell you! This time, she wanted me to tell her the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

I don't especially like "Princess Stories". Nothing is more upsetting to me than telling my daughter that a prince will come in, save the day, and (if she's really lucky) marry her. I tend to mix it up a bit. This night, I told her the story of Snow White almost exactly as told by Disney. Until I got to the end. Here's how I ended it:

After Snow White married the prince, she had twin daughters. The first one had the bluest eyes you've ever seen. Snow White named her Blue Ocean. The second one had beautiful, yellow hair. Snow White named her Golden Hair. Do you want to know the truth? You are Blue Ocean and Bethie is Golden Hair. One day I came along and saw you. I snatched you up and took you home!

Before I could get any further, Katie sat bolt upright in her bed. With a mixture of shock and horror, she yelled out "WHY HAVE YOU NEVER TOLD ME THIS BEFORE?!".

Oops. Not exactly the "lull her to sleep" story that I had intended to provide. I guess that it's hard to relax when your mother, ever so casually, announces that she has kidnapped you and your twin. Instead of growing up in the Disney castle, the twins had to grow up in our hovel. Instead of having "loyal, royal servants" to cater to their every whim, they have had to endure our incompetent labour, and periodically, their precious little ears would hear that vile word: "No". My story was less like the Disney version, and more like the Brothers' Grimm!

The worst bit? The twins are really mine and they are here to stay. There's not Disney Princess coming to reclaim her heirs. Bad luck, Chicklets!

Sunday, July 18

Brilliant Idea!

I don't know what got in me. I shouldn't say that. I know exactly how it happened. I do it over and over and over again. I act, and then I think about the consequences.

Here's what happened: One beautiful day in June, I was outside thinking how lovely my gardens look. Most of the flowers were in bloom. The weather was gorgeous. I thought, "Perfection!". I took some photos:




Later that day, I was on the city's website and discovered that they had a garden contest that any resident could enter. I fixated on the fact that a professional photographer would come and take pictures of all the gardens that were entered into the contest. It sounded wonderful to me. I signed up.

It took about 2 weeks for the penny to drop: I had entered my garden into a contest and my garden was going to be photographed, critiqued, and judged! Panic! My gardens are lovely to the average person going for a evening stroll (especially compared with the barrenness of my neighbourhood). But when you take a closer look...gasp! Not exactly perfection.

I had no hope of winning, but I wanted to be presentable. I thought that the week before the judging began, Dan and I could blitz the gardens. Here's what happened instead:
  1. The sun burnt every blade of grass I own to a yellow crisp. Thank goodness the weeds responded to my frantic watering, and gave the lawn a touch of green.
  2. I was wicked sick the weekend before the judging, and high on morphine (who knew the doctors could prescribe morphine, and who would have thought that I would be trustworthy enough to take it only as prescribed - I'm not, by the way!). Therefore, not one bit of gardening was done on the weekend.
  3. I spent the week catching up on all the "indoor" chores that had to be taken care of. My weeding plan was "Cross your fingers and hope that the judges don't notice/recognize the weeds".
  4. The source of all my summertime misery (Japanese Beetles, of course - they deserve a special post dedicated to the terror they bring upon me), destroyed my lovely gardens while I was drugged. They were aided and abetted by some phantom bug that is stripping every rose branch bare.
My yard was a mess. Still nicer than 99% of the houses on my street, but not quite up to the arrogance of signing yourself up for a gardening contest. What could I do? Dan was out of town, I was on my own, and I had run out of time. I consoled myself with the hope that I wouldn't be home when the judges arrived.

Guess what? I was, in fact, home when the judges arrived at 9:30 this morning. The twins went crazy. They couldn't figure out why a car full of people had stopped in front of our house, and everyone was just staring at us. Don't get me wrong, they are used to being stared at. In fact, they thrive in the spot light. But parking your car and having a good  look was just too much for them. They were baffled!

I told the girls that the car load of people were here to see my babies dance, and they should stand in front of my garden and show off their best moves. All three girls were more than happy to do this. I hid in the kitchen, chuckling to myself. I figure that I should get bonus points for the "Cuteness Factor". I was pleased that I had been clever enough to send my "secret weapons" out there to confuse the judges. Maybe they would overlook the yellow grass and the weed gardens because my little cherubs will have charmed them.

This hope was dashed when I asked Bethie what the people in the car had said to her. She said that the audience/passengers kept asking if Katie and Bethie were identical twins. At first, Bethie answered sweetly. She knows the drill. Seriously folks, we get stopped ALL THE TIME! But after having been asked the same question four times in a row, she got annoyed. Bethie answered the elderly lady, but with a figurative roll of the eyes. Not so cute and charming anymore! I probably got points docked for having a kid with attitude!

Mum came over in the afternoon. I was outside ... gardening. She said, "It's too late now". I snarled back, "I'm doing it for ME!". But I wasn't really, I was doing it because I haven't seen the photographer yet. Do you think that he'll take some snaps with my babies in them?! I bet he will. The girls will really think they have "made it big" when the paparazzi turns up!

Friday, July 16

It's In Their Genes

Katie walked into the kitchen where I was chatting with Mum. I looked over at her and said, "You look cute. Let me take your picture.". Ta da.


There is something magical in the camera's flash that transforms my little girls into super models. Here are some of the photos that followed.












They both definately have the "Show Off Gene". They need to be adored and they need to be the center of attention. They must get this from their father!

Wednesday, July 14

Things I've Learned In The Dark

We don’t have any power. Seems like the entire area doesn’t have any power. At 10pm, the whole neighbourhood is eerily dark. Dan is at work, and I am home alone with the kids. And this is what I have learned.


Power outages are exciting. It is so much fun to flick every single light switch on and off to see if the lights will come on. Each time is more thrilling than the next. I told the girls that none of the lights are going to work, but they need to test that theory over and over again.

The light doesn’t come on when the refrigerator is opened. No, really. We checked. And then we checked again. Then we opened the refrigerator door really slowly, and then really, really fast. Still, no light.

The microwave doesn’t work. That means no goodnight bottle. Coincidentally, that also means no goodnight.

The light doesn’t work in the upstairs bathroom. Crisis! The twins need this light on in order to sleep. I told them to close their little blue eyes and pretend it was on (oh my goodness, I felt like my father!). They didn’t fall for that. I told them that “the men” were trying to repair the hydro lines and were constantly distracted by the twins talking. If the girls would stop talking, the lights would come back on for sure!

The baby monitor doesn’t work. Sweet relief! I have no idea if Sarah is awake or not. If she screams Bloody Murder, I will hear. If not, she must be okay. This is weird!

Another bonus: it’s too dark to clean. Dan won’t be too pleased when he gets home because I had intended to wash his clothes for work tonight. That’s not going to happen. Two bad there aren’t two adults living here, each one who could take responsibility for their own clothes.

The stove doesn’t work. This is not good at all. No tea for me!

The Emergency Kit that I have prepared came in sooooo handy. Just kidding! I’m not the kind of mother who has an “emergency kit”...or even candles lying around. I was able to find a small orange scented candle which I have put in the upstairs bathroom (after the twins fell asleep). I also have a lovely Sweet Pea scented candle from Bath & Body Works for the living room. That’s the best I can do. I am getting a wicked headache from the fumes, but I can see 6 inches away from my face. Note to self: find the 200 tea lights that I know I have somewhere.

The air conditioner doesn’t work. AHHHH! This is starting to feeling a lot like the “olden days”! We all know that I am not an “olden days” kinda girl. I like my life modern!

Every neighbour goes outside when the power goes out, and all they want to do is talk to me about the power outage. Very annoying. First of all, this subject grows old pretty fast. Secondly, the evenings are mine to spend alone outside. Third, I am trying to dodge 90% of my neighbours this week. Turns out that someone (with too much time on their hands) memorized the bylaw complaint phone number. This person, rumour has it, is on a first name basis with the bylaw operator. It makes for an awkward game of “Guess The Rat”! Anyway, I spend 1-2 hours every night outside watering my gardens...ALONE! None of my neighbours ever go outside. Tonight, they were in the mood for an informal get together. I kept watering. These guys aren’t that tough. By 9pm, the bugs come out. As predicted, the neighbourhood retreated back into their homes, and I was alone.

The most important thing I’ve learned? My computer works (love, love, love my laptop) but not the router. I was hugely disappointed. Sigh. Guess I’ll go to sleep...or maybe I’ll flick the light switches to see if the lights come on!

Tuesday, July 13

Nice Things

We don't own anything nice. We used to. Then we had children. I understood that there would be some "wear and tear" on our belongings because we had children. I didn't understand the extent of the devastation. Now that we are in "the know", we don't even bother buying nice things anymore. This became painfully obvious when Dan and I decided to buy new chairs for our kitchen table. When the salesman asked us what style we prefer, I said, "The kind that I can take outside and hose down.".

Somethings still confuse me. I don't understand how the children managed to permanently reef the door off the pantry - from the top! I don't understand how there can be drip marks going up the carpet on my stairs when we have the rule that all drinks must remain in the kitchen. And I am completed baffled by the lack of toilet paper holders and towel bars in our house.

We used to have toilet paper holders for both of our bathrooms. One was secured into the drywall, and another was secured into marble. Both have been removed by the children.

We have had numerous towel bars in our bathrooms. Especially the bathroom upstairs. We had enough towel bars to hold towels for the five of us, a hand towel, and a decorative towel over the roman bath. One remains. The decorative one. Every other towel bar has been ripped out of the wall, brackets and all. Even the one that "can't be reached" by the children!

I thought, "How could this be? Perhaps Tullio didn't do a good enough job installing these towel bars. Perhaps Dan is way too rough when hanging up towels. Perhaps we have crappy drywall that can't support anything". I had no idea what the problems was.

Until...


...I spotted my "baby" climbing the last remaining towel bar in the house!

Friday, July 9

The Star

My great-grandmother had a little cottage somewhere in England. Very obscure place. A place where you could go to be alone. To get lost in the gardens. To slip away from the real world.

My grandmother came across a painting of her mother's cottage in a shop in London. It was painted by a Canadian! Of course, she bought it and brought it back to Canada with her. I have always loved this painting. It always made me feel good. Like there was a place in the world where everything was right. When my grandmother died, I got that painting and hung it on my living room wall.

Ta da!


This morning, I was lying on the couch (being practically crippled by my asthma...nice weather we're having, eh?!). I was feeling very sorry for myself. I looked at my painting and thought, "I wish I was there!". And then something caught my attention. Something was different in the painting. Upon closer examination, I saw a STAR!


I guess one of the twins thought the painting, although quite good, needed a little "je ne sais quoi". She must have searched high and low for a sticker because I have banned them from the house. The little girl climbed up on a chair and voila! The painting was now complete! Just great.

I'm going to guess it was Katie. You better believe that I will ask her when she gets home!

PS I asked the girls who put the star on the painting. Katie fessed up. She said that the star makes the painting "look better". See! I know my babies!

PPS Katie didn't get in trouble. No harm done.

Water Babies

It has been hot. Unbearably so. It's the kind of heat that sucks the breath out of you. Leaves you dizzy and tired and thirsty and cranky. The A/C is on, and all you want to do is to stay inside. During these types of "heat waves", we are advised to take care of the children and the elderly, as they are less tolerant to the extreme heat and humidity.

During the course of this last week, I have worried a great deal about...my gardens. Thank goodness, I have access to free labour! (Does it count as "free" if you have to hand out Freezee after Freezee?)

Bethie

Sarah

Katie

Wednesday, July 7

The Good One

People seem to think that twins are extreme opposites. Dan and I are asked, "Who is the loud one? Who is the quiet one?", "Which one is shy and which one is outgoing?". These questions annoy me. The question that really irritates me is, "Which one is the good one?". I always say, "Sarah".

Sarah has stopped being the good one. I don't know if it's because she's two years old or if it's because she's sick. One thing is clear though, she is not "the good one". She is defiant, difficult, and bad-tempered. Some babies sing themselves to sleep, and some chat pleasantly until they drift off to Dreamland. At 10 o'clock (!) last night when Sarah was lying in her crib still awake (!), she was shouting "No! No! No!" to no one in particular.

Bethie, however, is going through an "I Aim To Please" phase. This is greatly appreciated. It is nice to finally have one child who looks at the Big Picture, and tries to make everyone happy. For instance, this morning when I was handing out Creamsicles for breakfast (Whatever! I have three children with fevers. They want Creamsicles, they can have them!), both Bethie and Katie wanted pink ones. I had one left. Bethie said, "Give Katie the pink one. I'll be happy with whatever colour you give me.". How is it possible that she can be soooo sweet and soooo considerate at only four years old?!

Yes, quite right, she does take after me!

Tuesday, July 6

Masterpieces

On Saturday, Katie and Sarah got a hold of the camera. Most of the shots were awful. Especially the photos taken by Sarah because most of her photos included at least one finger and a thumb. But some photos were interesting. They  were interesting because whatever the subject was interested the kids. I like knowing what goes on in their little heads.

Here are some of their snaps (the first two were taken by Sarah, the remaining ones were taken by Katie):


Monday, July 5

Good Directions

I am very good at giving directions. I am clear and concise. I include major landmarks in my directions. I use north and south as well as left and right. I include street names, and crossroads. My directions are perfect.

My family, on the other hand, cannot give directions to save their lives. They are, typically, clever people, but don't ask them which way to go. I, unfortunately, forget this every once in a while.

This weekend, Sean and his family, Mum, and the twins went up to the lake. Dan, Sarah, and I decided later that we'd like to go up, too. I called and asked Mum for directions. She said it was super easy. We were going to McCleary Beach of Northshore Drive. It's about 7km beyond Carleton Place, so Mum said. Because Mum tends to think that I'm a bit "slow" sometimes, she spelled out all relevant names for me. Just so I won't get confused (insert the roll of the eyes here).

We drove for about an hour to get to the general area of the beach, but Dan and I couldn't find the turnoff. We went 12km past Carleton Place and didn't see a Northshore Drive. We pull over at a church and called Mum from the cell phone. She shouted, "TURN ON NORTHSHORE ROAD!". Sean, in the background, yelled "NO, IT'S NORTHSHORE DRIVE". Mum says, "DID YOU HEAR THAT? NORTHSHORE DRIVE!". Then the call was cut off, thank goodness!

I was wicked angry. I already knew the name of the street to turn on. What I didn't know was where Northshore Drive(!) was in relation to where I was at the moment. No chance of finding out either. My GPS still thought I was at home (sigh), my maps were at home, Dan is absolutely clueless when it comes to directions, and Mum and Sean were worried about whether or not I thought Northshore was a "road" or a "drive"!

I continued driving. No signs for McCleary's Beach or Northshore Drive. However, there was a sign for Westshore Drive. I almost drove past it, until I saw Sean's truck at the turn off. Perfect. I turned off and followed Sean to McCreary's Beach. I pointed to Dan that not only are the directions of my family impossible, there's a bit a Mad Gab fun involved. You gotta love that!

I took a couple of pictures. Feel free to have a look at my album.

Sunday, July 4

Let Him Eat Cake

Soon after Dan and I met, we had a discussion about birthday cakes. I told him how lucky I was that my parents always bought me a cake from the grocery store for my birthday. Mum would pick out a white cake that had lovely pink flowers on it. Then she would have the baker write "Happy Birthday" in pink icing on the cake. Just for me. And that made me feel special.

Dan said that for his birthday, his mother would bake him his favourite cake. It didn't matter what kind of cake his brother or his father wanted. It was Dan's birthday. The cake that his mother made was especially for him. And that made him feel special.

This conversation happened a long time ago. Just over thirteen years ago. I was still a teenager, and still inclined to do nice things for Dan "just because". I decided that since Dan's family lives so far away, and Dan wouldn't see his family that year for his birthday, I would make this cake for Dan.

I asked Dan how to make this cake. He had no idea. It was some recipe that only his mother had. No worries, I called his mother and asked her for the recipe. She seemed a bit confused. She said "You bake a Duncan Hines Chocolate cake, cut it in half, put some pudding in the middle, and cover it with whipped cream". I felt like an idiot! Thanks, Dan! I'm sure that this conversation was the one that resulted in my mother-in-law thinking I can't cook! Any fool can bake a Duncan Hines cake. However, it would have been helpful had she pointed out that there are two different kinds of pudding: the thick one that you use for making pudding cake, and the one that you make for regular pudding that if you put it between two layers of cake, it will run out of the cake, all over the table and onto the floor. Word to the wise, use the first kind!

Since I have not made this cake in about thirteen years, I thought that I would make it for Dan this year. Knowing me the way he does, Dan had only one request. He didn't want the whipped cream to be wonky colours. He wanted plain old white whipped cream.

I tried to honour his one birthday request...

...and failed. But doesn't this soft purple look delightful? It's not the best photo because it really doesn't capture the true colour, but it will have to do! The point is that it isn't one of the obnoxious colours that I normally make. It's delicate, and understated. But it's not white. Sorry, Danny, I just couldn't do white!

Happy Birthday anyway!

Friday, July 2

The Attack of The Waterpillar

Mum has accused my girls of being a tad...well..."wimpy". I get really angry. They are not "wimpy", they are "delicate". They are the dainty little girls that my grandmother always wanted. My girls love to wear dresses, to dance about in their princess high heel shoes, and to be admired for their beauty.

Every once in a while, I forget how delicate my girls are. Today was one of those days. Mum and I were at the toy store and I spotted a Waterpillar.


I would have loved this as a child. The Waterpillar's arms wave about sending water in every direction. My brothers and I would have had tons of fun with this! Mum, knowing how much I wanted my children to have the thrill of playing with the Waterpillar, bought it for me...and the children.

Katie, who is the bravest, gave it a try.



The water was a touch chilly. She warned the others, and they took cover.


I must confess, I was annoyed. It was a hot day, and most  children would have enjoyed running about with a bit of cool water splashing them. Not my children.

I told the twins to stop being so wimpy. I said, "Only the bravest of all the princesses are able to run around the Waterpillar three times." Since they fancy themselves brave princesses (goodness knows why!), off they went.



Sarah just stood and watched the "Brave Princesses". She wasn't so easily fooled.

The twins wanted to enjoy the Waterpillar, but didn't want to get wet. They created shields.


Katie used home plate (not a bad idea, Kiddo) and Bethie used a bat (sigh). After a couple of laps, I gave up. I will try the Waterpillar another day, when I have other children in my backyard to show my girls just how much fun it can be!