Sunday, June 24, 2012

Two, too.

My dearest little Kates,

Yesterday you turned two and I officially grew up. I have a toddler and a kindergartener. There are no more babies in this house. In fact, I actually packed up bags (yes, plural!) of baby toys and teethers and rattles the other day and gave them away. No. More. Babies.

Except let's be realistic, you're still my baby girl. You, my cuddly spider-monkey. You, my bottle-obsessed, strong-minded, stuck-in-her-ways 80 yr old in a two-year old's body. You don't like change. You like your routines. It's Momma who puts you to bed every night, thankyouverynuch (even tho you still call me Daddy from time to time). And it's Daddy who wakes you up every morning.

These past six months you have grown so much and I feel like I've missed so much. Momma works now and only gets to see you for a couple of hours a day. Daddy is the one who gets you up and ready for the day, the one who is usually home to make dinner first. But now I'm the lucky one who gets the excited squeals when I walk in the door after a long day away from my girls. And giggly runs toward me and the insistent "uppy" so I carry you around for the rest of the night. We may not see each other nearly enough, but when we do, you make sure to eke the most physical contact you can out of it. I love your spider monkey grip around my neck - and the special squeezy hugs you give me to tell me just how happy you are that I'm home.

Our little grump we started calling you in your babyhood, you still give the best crook-eye to strangers and friends alike, I love your suspicion of the world. You make people earn your smiles. But oh, when we do, you are a captive audience, demanding, "again!" to any amusing fancy.

Your favourite things lately include tickle monster (or just, "monsta!" as you call it), naming colours, and of course, Max & Ruby. Inherited from your sister, your obsession with Max is never-ending.

You also love the newest "toy" in the house - the iPad (or just "pad!") as you call it - and you're constantly demanding "share! daddy share!" so you can get your fair shake at the fun. And yes, you say that to everyone, whether it's daddy or not. Everyone is Daddy when you're demanding something, or just telling us to look at something. Daddy loves this quirk, just so's you know. I'm looking forward to being called momma on a regular basis sometime soon though...

You watch Maddie so closely and mimic whatever she does. You truly are the little sister looking up to her big sis, and luckily she adores you right back. You two are already two peas in a pod and I see the mischievous looks between you two - it makes me envious for a sister. I love that you two have one another and I can't imagine any better, more challenging and loving combination than your two personalities. Where you're eager to jump right in, she is patient. Where she is sensitive you will give strength. You compliment each other in such an amazing way, I can't wait to see your sisterhood grow.

And so it is you, my darling Kates, who came along and completed our little family. My strong-headed, daring little bull of a child, a mighty munchkin. Thank you for choosing us. You have taught us all so many things these past two years and I look forward to being challenged by your very two-ness this year. Your determination inspires me. And your squeezy-hugs melt me.

We love you Katie bear, you crazy, outrageous pint-sized animal! Please continue to make me belly-laugh every day and I promise to try my very best to do the same for you.



Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

Proving yet again that she is afraid of nothing and no one, Katie was a fabulous sport about Santa... Maddie was probably more excited than ever to meet the big guy and tell him her special wish (a doll house). The result? My gorgeous girls and the big guy himself...

Yes, that's a beret. Maddie told me Katie looked like a police officer. I don't disagree...
Merry Christmas wishes to everyone - I think I might be more excited for Christmas day than the kids. Can't wait to see everyone's faces for all the surprises there will be wrapped under the tree.

2011 - 'Twas a good year...


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Life getting in the way

I had big plans for November. I was going to do NaBloPoMo - actually write a post every day and really get my blogging mojo back.

Hi! It's November 24th. I SUCK.

It's life dude. It's getting in the way. (insert whiny voice) In. The. Waaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy!

Without sounding like an autobot of every other person out there, I just can't seem to figure out a way to fit in everything I want to do. The house is never as tidy as it should be. Laundry is always a load or two (or eight) behind. I really need to finish paying those bills and file the papers away so I can see my dining room table again. The dog should've been walked today, maybe that's why he's being so annoying. The magazines and catalogues and borrowed books that sit upon my bedside table are at desperate risk of falling off and maiming my toddler.

I have a TODDLER. WTF? Last time I think I gave you any kind of update about Katie I was wondering when her first teeth were going to arrive and waxing poetically about my little one year old.

She is 17 months old now. Have I written any short little anecotodal notes about her daily cuteness and all the adorable happenings? No... I fail as a blogger. FAIL.

For the record, she is awesome. She is FULL of sass and grump, piss and vinegar, smiles and scowls. She is the epitome of what will soon become "a handful" soon I believe. She's SO awesome and SO sassy that she really does deserve her own post and therefore I'm not going to write any more about her gorgeousness, except to promise that I WILL write about her soon. I PROMISE.

Aside from the daily clutter and household drudgery things getting in the way I also keep starting (and not finishing) about a TRILLION diy projects around the house. I am maniacal in creating lists of what I want to "accomplish" each week, when in the end, all I end up accomplishing are little piles of unfinished projects in each and every room of the house.

It's a good thing the Hubs doesn't notice much during football season...

And add to all of that, I continue to search for a job. I'm unemployed and needing employment. And it sucks. Large, sucky, crap-balls. It's no fun to spend the wee hours of your nights drafting cover letters and applying for jobs that you don't really want, but will apply for anyways, because you never know, maybe it'd be OKAY. I've had a few exciting interviews for exciting jobs at exciting companies that I would be very excited about working for. But it's also the holiday season and things start to move verrrrry slowly. It can be disheartening  I am disenchanted with it all. And yet, one must trudge forward.

I'd say that's probably a reason I've been quiet too - because even when you have lofty goals of focusing on the positive, it's easy to get deflated and choked up with the negative. And I KNOW you're not here for that.

So here it is - a promise to be better. To do what I came here to do - which is (our little inside joke) document our lives dammit. And I will. I promise.

K: WTF are we doing here?
M: It's a pile of leaves and it's fall and it's FUN!
K: This is BS, let's go wreck some shit.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Remember last Monday?

Remember when I was an actual blogger and posted things in some type of coherent order? And actually within a reasonable amount of time, so as to make my posts kind of timely and in context of actual life?

Yeah. Me neither.

So HALLOWEEN! It was on Monday. Like 5 days ago... So? What are you gonna do about it? That's right, I'm just getting around to posting about it now. AFTER my rant about Blockbuster closing down and the obliteration of an entire era of movie renting for a generation (me) and the subsequent art of living life unplanned + at the last minute (us) and the beauty of purchasing bad-for-you-food in an impulse, yet justifiable setting (REESE BITES).

I had priorities, okay?

So back to the offspring. And their Halloween stuff...

We carved our pumpkins during the chaos of Sunday afternoon football transition (aka just before the 4 o'clock games started). It was all before dinner, but after nap-time convenient like, and featured: 1) a distracted Daddy wielding a sharp knife, 2) a grumpy baby who could have TOTALLY slept for another half hour if it wasn't for her stompy, loud-as-an-elephant-in-high-heels sister, and 3) a 4 year old who was about as INTO pumpkin carving as she has been in the prior 2 years we've been foisting this tradition onto her. Which is to say, NOT AT ALL INTO IT.

Yo - this is gross, y'all.
Monday morning I got Maddie dressed up for school, only to walk back home, guzzle 2 cups of tea, get my darling Kates also dressed up (completely against her will and better judgement) and trek back to the school 15 minutes later for the Kindergarten parade. Which turned out to be possibly my favourite moment thus far in unemployment - and now I know, for the future, take Halloween day off. Because being able to attend shit like that? Is THE Awesome.

Hey Mom! Look! I'm in a parade!
The rest of the afternoon was spent with me trying to convince Maddie that, no, it wasn't time to go trick or treating yet, and no, she didn't need to wear her costume for the ENTIRE day. It wouldn't, like, negate her ability to earn candy later on or anything, if she just took off her princess dress for 5 seconds to eat her pizza. I also tried to get a cute, non-costumed-pic of the girls wearing their Halloween shirts.

It didn't work out so well... 
By the time it was late enough that the girls could actually GO trick or treating, Katie was ready to pass out. She didn't nap so well - still sick from the weekend (teeth + cankers on her tongue (eww) = horrid weekend for her + us) - so she was a bit of a zombie before and during. But zombies are in, right? And yes (because I know you're wondering), Cinderella DID come by our house and THREW UP PRINCESS CRAP ALL OVER our Maddie. If it was plastic and sparkly or light blue, she wore it.
Zombie Butterfly FTW! We are so current.
In the end, we collected enough candy that Maddie actually had to come home and trade in her swanky McDonald's happy meal bucket for another - and since I have her on a strict 2-3 treats per day ration, I expect the candy should last us right until I get the Christmas baking started.

Which means she'll be on a sugar high for approximately 7 weeks.



I miss my Blockbuster

Last weekend I had the brainwave that the Hubs should get a get of jail free card for the evening, while I got to be "good Mommy" and let Madds stay up late and watch a movie. Awesome plan, yes? Here's the kicker...

There's no effing video stores anymore. Not sure if you've heard (I hadn't),  but Blockbuster went out of business and they have no more stores in Canada. So..... yeah. Include the various mom + pop stores that have gone bust locally, and I was starting to wrack my brain on where we were actually going to rent a movie from.

Sure there's Rogers On Demand - which I'm guessing, is one of the main reasons Blockbuster died its slow, corporate death - but have you checked out their children (sorry, FAMILY) selection? It's pitiful. I ended up finding a local Rogers Video and we checked out a few titles there - but it just wasn't the same. Selection was sparse and THEY DIDN'T HAVE REESE BITES. First Rule of Video Rental - have my effing candy. I want to impulse buy all sorts of unhealthy treats while I'm in line to rent my movies, and Reese Bites are at the TOP OF THAT LIST. (We settled for King size Reese PB cups - but they're just.not.the.same.)

But can we digress for a moment... because DUDES. Video stores are dying. And it's making me sad. Doesn't it feel like the end of an era? Does anyone else remember walking into a Jumbo Video as a teenager on a Friday night, helping yourself to a mini bag of popcorn and munching away as you browsed around? Because that memory for me is so vivid, such a REAL MOMENT that it makes me sad and a bit incredulous that my children won't ever have that same kind of experience.

Instead we all get to sit in our homes. Order whatever current movies our cable provider decides they're going to feature - and get to pay inflated prices for that one-time viewing (which, for a movie for me is no big deal - but for kid movies? They get watched over and over and overandoverandoverandover again - am I right?). I call bullshit.

Are we that digitalized (yes, I realize it's not a word - but it is now - it means all LawnmowerMan'd up - and if you get that reference then, YOU WIN) that we can't even support the economy of video rental? Wherein we have to leave our home and go somewhere and borrow a movie for a fee and bring said movie back when we say we will, so others can also borrow it and watch it? You want me to rely on NETFLIX for my entertainment? (Yes, that was said with as much of a sneer as you may have read there - the concept of paying $8 a month to watch shitastic movies like Point Break and The Wedding Singer makes me seriously question the sanity of people.)

I know there's some other kind of video rental where they mailed the vids to you - where you pick them online and they send them to you when they're available. S'cool. I've done it in the past, way back when. Cheap too. But it's still not the same...

C'mon, seriously... Is anyone else as sad as me about this turn of events? Or am I the old dinosaur resisting change and technology while you guys are all, Yay! Let's all curl up and watch shit on our laptops and beep-boop-bop-bop-biddity-bop (this is my fancy computer sound-effect), perhaps I shouldn't laugh at that funny part there, instead I'll just tweet it: "LOL - I love Jason Bateman movies! " and someone you don't know can reply back "ROFLMAO - I know!!! He's teh funnyy!"...



Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

I'd love to say that our recent outing to the local pumpkin patch had everything to do with my Project: Happiness October resolutions... (it wasn't - well, I guess not technically, but I'm still counting it, as I'm failing miserably at this month's resolutions and I need to put a gold star up somewhere, y'know?). But the pumpkin patch trip in mid-October is our family tradition. It started waaaaay back when Miss Madds was only a teeny tiny year old, and I picked the coldest, drizzliest day of the month to rouse the Hubs up off the couch and head out to get our pumpkin. It was a grumpy start, but we all had such fun that day, 4 years ago, that it's now the Hubs that is bugging for us to go by the first weekend of October. And a tradition was born...

This year Katie did more than snooze in the baby carrier... she was all, "LOOKIT THIS STUFF! ZZZZOMG THIS! AND THIS! AND DID YOU KNOW THERE WAS A SANDBOX!?!?"

She would not.stop.moving from the moment we got there.

"Bowling" game with Daddy
Umm... dangerous spot for my toddler to be watching her big sister "bowling". 
There was a train. It was good fun.

She wanted to be just like her big sister - whatelseisnew.

Dirt. Yay, dirt.

Don't forget about the corn maze. Madds led us through to the end without one wrong turn. Methinks she's smart like Mommy.
Of course there was a tractor to drive...

And oh yeah, the pumpkin...

We had a great time and had great weather for it - so thank you Mother Nature, for letting us enjoy 2+ hours out in the crisp fall sun!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Dear Maddie,

Dude. You are four. FOUR! I don't even know how we got here.

As prosaic as it sounds, I still (and probably always will) think of you as my little baby girl. Except I have to squint extra hard to see it now. Especially when you stand, with your bony little arm perched on your hip, and whine your requests at me, "Moooooommm!" So apparently you're four, going on 14. Seriously - can I stay "Mommy" at least for one more year? Please?

So much change in just one year...

A year ago you used binkies. (Like all the time - it was quite annoying really. Good thing the Binky Fairy took care of that one.) Now it's like you never used them. I can't even imagine you with one now. (Thank god, right?)

A year ago you still had that toddler twang - lisping your "th's" and leaving words out of sentences. Now you pronunciate and articulate like a proper little lady. In fact, you may just mind your p's & q's better than your Daddy (don't tell him I said that).

A year ago you wanted to watch princess movies all the time, over and over and overandoverandover again. Now you ask for far less tv - more interested in doing, playing, creating.

A year ago you would argue and demand and tantrum. Now you reason, cajole, manipulate (in a good way) (usually).

A year ago you wouldn't try new foods (we're getting there).

A year ago you couldn't use the bathroom without help. Couldn't get dressed or undressed without help. Couldn't open the fridge. Find yourself a snack. Open the front door. Clean up your room. You are so self-sufficient now, I find myself asking if I can help you, please can I do that for you, all the time. "No Mom, I can do it. All by myself I will do it."

A year ago you couldn't swim. Couldn't ride a trike. Couldn't write your name, or any letters at all in fact. You draw pictures (of people! and other recognizable things!). You write your name, Katie's name, Mommy and Daddy. You're learning your last name. You have your address memorized.

You are getting fearless. More confident every day. Cutting those apron strings and becoming your own little person faster than I ever could imagine.

Four will be a doozy I think. So much learning for both of us - new skills and independence for you. Learning to let go, stand back, let you try on your own, for me.

So while I take a look forward, I also take a look back.

A year filled with dancing. Singing (you love to sing along to the radio now). A year of learning and practicing and playing and giggling and "Just teasing, Mom". A year spent watching you soak up everything around you like a sponge. And admiring how it still didn't change your sweetness, your generosity of spirit, or your humour.

You still wake up in the morning with a smile on your face and an eagerness or have funfunfun.

You are my libra. Here to teach me how to balance.

You bring us light and laughter and so so so much love.

Every year your birthday seems to hover around Thanksgiving. As if we needed to be reminded to be thankful.

Maddie's 4th birthday from Sara Vallier on Vimeo.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Project: Happiness - Sept update and Oct goals

Hey, remember when I said I was going to set all these lofty goals for myself and it would lead to happiness and zen for the whole famly, and, and, ahahhhhhhh (that is a frustrating laugh there my interweb friends)....... Yes. Okay. So let's catch up, shall we?

Project: Happiness - September Recap - The Month of Organization
- clean car (like, really, really clean the hell out of it) --> okay, I ACTUALLY did this very early in the month. And it's still (sort-of) clean. But I must admit - the floor mats are still sitting in the garage, waiting for me to lug up the vacuum and give them a solid clean. So, 7/8ths check?
- clean off dining room table (this is our junk/mail/bills/papers depository and just makes everything look messy on our main floor at all times) + keep it clear for entire month --> *cue insane laughter* This was a lofty goal. I did get it 98% cleared for approximately 3 hours one day. My dining room table is my fucking organizational nemesis. That is all I'm going to say about that.
- Kijiji/Freecycle/give away items in garage not returning to basement --> YAY! I kicked ass on this goal. of all the crazy clutter we had sitting in our garage, I have only a box of dishes and a bag of clothes destined for Goodwill. I also made +$250 selling all our crap, which is even more awesome.
- update Flickr + Facebook photo albums, organize and backup photo/videos on computer --> Hmmm, I give myself a B- on this. I did update the online albums, but my backups are (as always) horrendously out of date... ugh. I feel stressy just thinking about the fact that I didn't finish this one.
- pack away summer clothes, sort through winter clothes - make goodwill donations and reduce wardrobes by 30% --> Another B grade. I did go through and did make some donations - but not nearly enough to constitute a 30% reduction. I got bored somewhere between t-shirts and old holiday-themed pajama bottoms... In all fairness, while my wardrobe is not "capsule" in the least, it is pretty pared down already. Except for the shoes - and I will not submit to giving up a single pair. Nope.
- clear out email accounts, unsubscribe from unnecessary email lists and delete or respond to all incoming emails that day --> Oh I OWNED this one. I subscribe to so many blogs that tell me about deals and offers that I really did a major email purge and while I'm not sitting at Inbox Zero or anything, the influx has definitely lessened significantly. This is one of the more glorious results because for some reason, I always felt guilty deleting an email without reading it through - which was such a flipping time waster. Oh I recommend taking a few minutes every morning for a week or so and doing this yourself. It really is freeing.
- create remainder of monthly goals for Project: Happiness --> Bahahhhaaahha. Okay - so I've started, but nope, this isn't done yet.

Overall? I give myself a B+ - nothing was that major of an accomplishment on that list - but finding an hour a day (or more) to really push through some progress was tough. Probably because none of it was really "fun" - and for the start to a "Happiness Project" it really wasn't all that inspiring. BUT the legitimate head-space that got cleared out? End result = totally worth it. I feel far more focused. Less concerned by junky, unnecessary, niggly little thoughts of "Oh I need to do X, Y & Z sometime soon." Really - the organization was probably a lot more internal than external, and that was kind of the point of it, you know?

Which brings us to October....

Project: Happiness - October - Month of Family
Maddie's birthday, Thanksgiving, two weeks of school holidays upon us - I thought it only fitting that this month I focused on us...

- make a bigger effort to stay in contact with close family - appreciate time spent with them
- plan fun family outings every weekend
- make more crafts, play more actively, read more books with the girls
- get outside, play harder, limit screen time
- start gratitude journal for the month
- bite my tongue, practice more patience, be more forgiving - to everyone (well, immediate family at least - stoopid drivers may still incur my wrath)

Huh. That seems like a big, lofty list...