Monday, April 16, 2012

Losing a friend...

A week ago we had to say goodbye to our good and faithful friend, Frodo.

Dave gave me Frodo, and his sister Ashka, as a Christmas gift a few weeks after my dad passed away ten years ago. To me, they were like a finger in the dike. The long winter months of grief were made bearable by the presence of the two cuddliest cats known to humankind. When Meredith was born, the cats gave her a wide berth at first, but soon came to realize that she was their best source of love and entertainment. Frodo was particularly attached to her, and she to him.

She read him stories, wrapped him in blanket after blanket, gave him rides in her doll stroller, dressed him up, and satisfied his seemingly insatiable appetite for laying on or near stinky shoes.

Never one to miss an opportunity to nap somewhere new, he tried to fold himself into every possible cozy spot.

As his health deteriorated over the past several months, we knew the time was coming. Until his very last day though, he would still cuddle in your lap and purr with contentment. We miss our Mister Fro, but are so thankful for the ten years of life and love he shared with us.

Is this thing still on?

I'm not sure I remember how to even use this thing.
And look how big they've grown....

Meredith is now in Grade 2, has no front teeth, loves horseback riding, and spends her free time fluctuating between being the absolute sweetest child on earth and testing out an attitute worthy of the title of teenager.

Aaron is nearly 5, still extraordinarily full of energy, and loves all things mechanical. He started playing hockey this winter, and now can ride a bike with no training wheels. I frequently tell him to stop growing, yet it seems to have little effect. He's gotten so wise to my request he now answers, "But I have to get big so I can drive you around when you get old."

This child must have exceedingly clever parents.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wedded Bliss

Delinquent bloggers need not apply for my job, I've got it fully covered.

Holy smokes, I haven't blogged since July.

That might be just fine if we'd been sitting in a corner since July, but we've been BUSY! It was summer after all. Camping, swimming, biking, working, dancing, playing, it was a great summer. We're already back-to-school, back-to-activities. But never mind all that for right now, I'll backtrack through the pictures and try to dredge up some memories from the hard drive between my ears.

For today, may I please introduce a good lookin' cast of folks...

The gorgeous bride and her handsome groom are my cousin and her new husband. They were married on the September long weekend. The so-cute-you-could-bite-them little people are my kids. Really. I know, it's hard to recognize them. After all, Aaron is wearing pants, and you can't see how many teeth Meredith is missing and her beautiful hairdo hides the still-growing-out bangs!

More to follow. Promise.

Monday, July 5, 2010

A tale of two teeth

As you may recall, high on the list of things to accomplish at the age of five was losing a tooth. After riding a bike with no training wheels and crossing the monkey bars were crossed off the list, losing a tooth remained there. Lonely. In top spot. Age six came, and still nothing more than a couple of wiggly teeth. You can imagine the level of excitement in the house yesterday when all of a sudden one of those wiggly bottom teeth became exceedingly more wiggly and I proclaimed:
"You'll lose that tooth this week."

The word of mom is the word of mom, after all.

Meredith wiggled it through bedtime stories, waggled it through bedtime cuddles, and had to be told more than once to settle down and go to sleep.

This morning the tooth popped out in a bite of toast.

She was more than a bit excited. You'd think she'd won the lottery. It was contagious actually, I got to feeling all giddy as she dashed around the house before daycare making sure all the preparations were in order.

The precious first tooth would be stored in her glow-in-the-dark tooth holder necklace for the day, then hop into the pocket on Toothy's back as she was hung on the door of Meredith's room to signal the Tooth Fairy her time was nigh.
She wanted to wear the tooth necklace to daycare and could NOT be persuaded otherwise, despite descriptions of massive calamities involving losing the tooth in the playground.
After daycare she looked a little different.

There was a bigger window in her bottom jaw.

And a different little pearly white in her hand.
I was amazed! Two teeth in one day! Had the other one been so loose that losing its next-door-neighbour-crutch was all it took for it to pop out too?

Why didn't she seem more excited?
As the story unfolded, apparently she was sitting in a big armchair with her friend and just happened to open up the tooth necklace because her friend just had to see the tooth, and it just happened to fall down the edge of the chair. An upholstered armchair with a non-removable cushion and no access from underneath.
Apparently more than one of her friends stuck their little hands down the side of the chair to see if they could find it. The proverbial needle in the haystack. As I gamely jammed my hand down the side of the chair too at pick-up time, Meredith casually mentioned that they'd found some pretty gross stuff down there.
But no tooth.
So in an effort to make sure the Tooth Fairy's visit was not for naught (and more than likely in her mind, to avoid a we-told-you-so discussion at home), she pulled out the next tooth.
It was loose, but nowhere near as loose as the one that fell out this morning. I must have asked her five times (with a grimace on my face) "Didn't that hurt?????"
On the drive home we had a talk about how likely the Tooth Fairy is well accustomed to missing teeth, the rate of children swallowing their teeth or losing them on roller coasters and all, and that perhaps should this scenario EVER present itself again we could content ourselves with WRITING A NOTE instead of PULLING OUT A SECOND TOOTH.
She dictated a note after we got home, just to advise the Tooth Fairy of the day's events.
"Dear Tooth Fairy,
I'm sorry I couldn't give you my tooth. I was at daycare with my tooth and I opened the container and the tooth came out. I lost it. I'm sorry, but another one fell out and is in my tooth holder.
From: Meredith"
Stubborn much??

Monday, June 28, 2010

End of an Era

Tomorrow is the last day of Kindergarten. An entire school year has passed in the blink of an eye. It feels like Meredith has been in school for three months, maybe four. Not ten. And tomorrow is the last day of this paradise on earth called Kindergarten. Meredith and I have been working on a little gift for the supreme genius of Kindergarten-ness, Madame Katie. A few weeks ago when I asked Meredith what she thought would be a nice gift for her teacher she cooked up an elaborate plan of inviting her over, making a nice seat on the deck under the umbrella, and serving her all kinds of delicious party foods and drinks.

This child loves a party.

I gently explained that her idea, though fabulous, would be tough to execute and "just imagine if EVERY Kindergarten child invited Madame Katie over.....the summer would be too short!"
So we settled on party food instead (with a few party drinks thrown in for good measure).

We assembled "Madame Katie's Summer Snacks" in a cute little metal tub that has dividers inside for six bottles and a bottle opener conveniently attached to the handle by a chain.

Meredith worked hard to do her best printing, and I'm hoping it's something her teacher will enjoy and use. I forgot to take a picture of the card she made, but the message is timeless.

"Thank you Madame Katie. I loved you being my teacher. It was nice being in your class. I will miss you. P.S. You always look pretty."
Inside, and out.

Monday, June 21, 2010

You can't make this stuff up...

Or, Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in the McDonald's Bathroom.

Or, you can dress them up,

but you can't take them out.

We had quite an eventful weekend.

This weekend marked the last few days of the week that Dave was away in California for work, and his trip to the U.S. Open to celebrate a momentous birthday. Instead of heading to Pebble Beach, the three remaining household members headed to Virden (really, the Pebble Beach of rural Manitoba) to celebrate.

We were heading out to celebrate Airdrie and Kevin's wedding shower and social.

The bride-to-be looked lovely!

Some of our favourite small people were in attendance! Baby Owen, the newest of the cousins, was there and prepared to be shocked by the overwhelming family paparazzi.

Sweet Morgan worked the camera with all the assurance an older sister can bring.

These sweet faces were like an oasis in the desert by the time we finally arrived there.
I was hoping to leave the house by 10 to start the drive. At 9:00 I looked at the clock and thought "well look at that, we're almost ready to go and it's only 9:00."
That's like inviting the Bermuda triangle to relocate to your backyard.
The next hour disappeared into loading the car, coming back in the house for just one more thing, changing one child's clothes because they were soaking wet from playing in the grass, coming back in the house for just one more thing, locating the cat in the neighbours yard after discovering that one of the gates no longer latches, changing my clothes from the muddy cat, and coming back in the house for just one more thing.
All we had to do was get gas on our way out of the city and we'd be off.
At the gas station I decided to get a carwash. After all, we were all now in clean clothes and it would be a shame to get dirty by leaning against the car.
Aaron has a bizarre fear and fascination with car washes. He quite likes the manual type of carwash, but is terrified of the "blue" carwash. It's the type of carwash that has the soft cloth brushes. To him I guess it looks like he's about to be swallowed by a sea of blue octopuses. Octopi?
When we went in to pay for the gas I kept reassuring him that the car wash at THIS particular gas station was a very friendly one, and he continued to whimper with anxiety. The gas station attendant chimed in that indeed it was very friendly and in fact there were little elves that sprung up from nowhere to wash the car, but he'd have to look quickly or he'd miss them.
Ohhhhh so helpful.
So into the carwash we go, with Aaron sitting on my lap to keep him from wailing.
We presoak - no problem.
We soap up - no problem.
And then all the lights go out in the carwash and the door at the other end opens.
Our car is still covered in soap.
No elves.
After sitting in stunned silence for a bit, we drive the soap-mobile out and back around to the front of the gas station.
Again I take both kids out of the car, traipse into the shop, inform the attendant that the elves have gone on strike, get a new carwash slip, put both kids back into the car and head back for round two.
By some miracle we made it through the carwash the second time, fully washed, rinsed and dried, and headed out onto the open road.
Part way there, we made a roadside pitstop because Aaron needed to pee. I'd brought the potty along but as I was standing at the side of the road it seemed SO much smarter to me to just leave the potty in the car and teach my three-year-old how to pee standing up. As he watered the grass it occurred to me that I might have just opened Pandora's box. What was I thinking? It had never occurred to this child before that moment to even TRY peeing standing up.
I spent the next 10 miles waxing poetic about how that was only something we did when we were in the middle of nowhere with no potty and certainly was NOT as much fun as peeing sitting down.
By some miracle he hasn't tried it again since then. I feel like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.
We stopped in Brandon for some lunch and a chance to play on the climbing structure at McDonald's. After wearing off some energy (and boosting their immune system...) in the climber we made one more trip to the bathroom before loading back up in the car to drive the final leg to Virden. I took all three of us into the wheelchair accessible stall as the bathroom was busy and it was the best way to corral everyone in one spot.
Aaron had his turn.
Meredith had her turn.
As I had my turn, the conversation went something like this:
Aaron: "Mommy, do you have a vagina?"
Mommy (who recognizes this conversation and now feels a deep sense of fear): "Yes"
Aaron: "Does Mer Mer have a vagina?"
Mommy: "Yes"
Meredith (chiming in ever so helpfully): "All girls have vaginas"
Aaron: "Do I have a vagina?"
Meredith: "No Aaron, you're not a girl, you have a penis."
Aaron (now wailing and throwing himself on. the. floor. of. the. stall.): "But I want to be a girl, I want a vaginaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa."
At which point I threatened him with loss of limb if he didn't get off the floor and quickly made a lot of conversation about hurrying up to wash hands and get on the road.
I could hear snickering from inside the stall as the dialogue unfolded, so like any mature adult, headed out of the stall with blinders on pretending not to see anyone else in the bathroom. Meredith washed her hands and I lifted Aaron up to wash his.
The lady at the next sink leaned over and smiled and said: "I've been there. One time my daughter asked her pediatrician if he was going to smell her nuts."
By some miracle we got back into the car without the ground swallowing us up entirely.
The rest of the day proceeded rather tamely by comparison. Aaron didn't break any of the shower gifts, despite his efforts to the contrary, and Meredith ate enough peanut butter marshmallow cake to sink a ship. Best of all we got to relax and visit with family into the evening.

We drove on to Deloraine that night and spent the night at Grandma G's apartment so we could sneak in a visit with her too. Aunt Lois was in from Alberta for a visit, so the kids got reacquainted with her and she won Meredith over for good by sharing the adventure of looking through an old suitcase. The suitcase originally belonged to a great-great aunt I believe, and the things in it were likely my great-aunt Bessie's. After watching her delight in exploring the treasures, Aunt Lois invited Meredith to choose something to bring home. Much to her delight, she chose a little wooden box filled with jewels!

She tells me she has it hidden under her bed, but the exact location is a well-kept secret.
Some cuddles with Grandma G were the biggest treasure of the day though.

The kids fell asleep after only 10 minutes on the road, and stayed asleep for a good portion of the drive home.
By some miracle I get to keep these kids!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Picnic Season

As of tonight we're officially 0 for 2 on picnics actually held outdoors. Tonight was the family picnic at Meredith's elementary school, and owing to the rain, thunder, and my Ronald McDonald hair from the 3000% humidity, the picnic was held in the school gym instead of in the school playground.

A little inclement weather was not enough to prevent my kids from eating Freezies as long as their legs.

Did you know a Freezie that big is paradoxically equivalent to 3.5 litres of liquid? Or at least enough to make a three-year-old pee his pants in the carseat on the way across the city - a feat he had never accomplished before?

Seems every other child in the place was of the same mindset. The Freezie mindset that is, not sure what happened in their carseats after the fact. I'm sure these three mature Kinders didn't have any such toddler trouble...

The daycare family picnic was last Friday, and the pouring rain was enough to make me leave the camera at home. Little did I know I'd miss the chance to snap a photo of Aaron petting a llama with hair exactly the same colour as his. Ginger knows no bounds.

Fortunately, we brought a butterfly home with us so we could capture it on film.

Like her wispy bangs?

What's that, you say? Wasn't she growing her bangs out like more than a year ago?

Indeed I thought we'd made it through the bang-growing-out phase and were approaching the bangs-are-long-enough-to-stay-in-the-ponytail stage. In a fit of stubbornness (is that a word?) however, Meredith decided she did NOT like the hairstyle I had created for her daddy's birthday party a couple of weekends ago, and took matters into her own hands when I stepped out to run a last-minute errand (read: buy more beer).

I came home to find her previously braided hair in a fluffy mess around her head. When I asked what happened, she informed me she did not like the fabulous do, and when she couldn't get the elastic out, hand handily cut it (and a good sized chunk of her hair) out.

Voila, new bangs.

Fly little butterfly, fly......