Thursday, April 30, 2009

Grandma G

We had a wonderful trip out to Deloraine on the weekend, minus a tiny little moment or two of the 7 hours spent driving! As per usual, the kids were up bright and early Saturday morning so I think we were on the road by 8 and in Portage by 9 to pick up Uncle Brad. Aaron said the words Uncle Brad about 180 times between Winnipeg and Porage.

Once we had him loaded up it was off to Brandon and a stop at Tim Horton's for caffeine refuelling for the adults, Timbit refuelling for Meredith and tractor, construction vehicle and van refuelling for Aaron. The Tim Horton's on #1 highway gets a LOT of transport truck traffic and there just happened to be a table available right beside the window where all the vehicles from the drive-thru and all the big trucks exited the parking lot. As if that wasn't enough, it's also right next door to a heavy equipment dealership. We're talking the big yellow front end loaders and graders and backhoes and whatever else they're called.

Insert the sound of a nearly-two-year-old boy's head exploding here....

Meredith and I stood in the longest line I've ever experienced in a Tim Horton's while Uncle Brad and Aaron watched the trucks. We could hear Aaron from across the restaurant saying "Bye bye big tuck!" "Bye bye van!" "Bye bye car!" the whoooole time. Seriously, Tim Horton's ought to pay this tiny little man for making everyone's donut-eating, coffee-swilling experience just that much brighter.

It was as we went to get back in the car to continue on to Deloraine that I realized I had forgotten the memory card for the camera in the laptop at home. D'oh! A whole weekend full of great pictures waiting to be taken and me with no card. Anyhow, on we travelled, introducing Uncle Brad to the melodious strains of the Backyardigans and the inevitable "All done. Too tight. All done. Too tight." routine from Aaron.

The whole purpose of the trip was to visit my grandmother, aka Grandma G. She was given the nickname Grandma G by the eldest of her great-grandchildren because it was a lot easier to say than Great Grandma. She's 91, still living in her own apartment, and a force to be reckoned with. The rest of the weekend was spent visiting, doing a few odd jobs around the apartment, and driving around the countryside. Meredith hadn't been there since she was about 2, so it was a great chance to show her the farm where I grew up, the schools I attended, and the amazing view from the side of the Turtle Mountains. She's also mature enough now to begin to digest what the cemetery is all about, and how meaningful the graves of my parents, her Grandpa Bill and Grandma Roberta, are. She had lots of interesting questions, a solemn little face, and a heart full of compassion when she saw the grown-ups tearing up.

Aaron tore around between the headstones and in perfect Aaron style, eventually sat down on Grandpa Bill's marker to survey the rest of the cemetery. It gave us all a smile and as Brad later said, looked just as though he was climbing up on Grandpa's knee for a bit.

Magically, Uncle Brad also spotted two perfect prairie crocuses growing up in the grass of the cemetery just as we were about to leave.

All in all it was a great weekend, and I'm hoping we'll get back out in about a month. With the camera. Until then, here's a picture of Grandma G with the kids from our last visit with her at Christmas.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Mr. Potato Head Picasso Style

The kids had a blast tonight playing with one of Aaron's birthday gifts from last weekend's party, a Mr. Potato Head with a bezillion accessories. Meredith was having fun making the most bizzare looking potato creature she could dream up.

Then tested out how closely her own face could match that of her creation...

Meanwhile, Aaron searched for the matching holes in his own skin to attach the accessories to himself...

Tomorrow morning we head out to Deloraine for a long overdue visit with Great Grandma. I'm practising achieving a Zen state in my head in anticipation of 3 1/2 hours in the car. :) Poor Uncle Brad has no idea what he's in for when we pick him up along the way....

Book of the Week

In truth, this entry should be titled book (or at least author...) of the last 12 to 18 months. Meredith loves her Berenstain Bears books, and has for quite some time now. She has this freakishly amazing auditory memory, and one of my favourite memories is of her 'reading' the Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist to me when she was just barely three years old. Word. For. Word. We've accumulated a few of the books from garage sales and our own purchases, and are lucky enough to have on loan to us the entire library of the Virden Pooles' Berenstain Bears book collection. Fun to think I'm reading the same thing to Meredith that Aunt Judy and Uncle Ross read to Airdrie, Ashleigh and Erin!

The current favourite of the Berenstain Bears books, is "The Truth". Like all of their books, there is a moral or lesson to the story, and this one is (not surprisingly...) extolling the virtues of telling the truth. I wonder if she is so taken by this book right now because she herself is testing out the concepts of truth and honesty.

She's always got a willing audience when she feels like reading aloud, be it human or feline!

You will recognize the now trademark "No Mommy" hand position Aaron is demonstrating...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Potty talk

Aaron seems to using the potty more regularly these days, both at home and at daycare. Seems in the last few days if his diaper is off, he manages to make it to the potty in time to work it all out. It's kind of like his office....the bathroom step stool is his table, and his kind sister keeps him supplied with a steady supply of reading material! Our potty of choice is this fabulous Baby Bjorn one piece potty. It's lower to the ground than most, has a built-in 'shield' at the front, and no pot to pull out to dump. Read: no pot for Aaron to pull out to dump on the floor!

In addition to using the potty more regularly, he's taken to saying "No Mommy!" more regularly, as was happening here:

I love this one....clear evidence of what hard work potty training is!

Good thing the weather is starting to warm up. Walking around the house with no pants could be chilly mid-winter! Yellow rubber boots clearly make the outfit...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A whole lotta birthday!

Today was the massive family & friends birthday party for Meredith and Aaron that we've been planning for what seems like weeks! Because their birthdays are only six weeks apart, and those weeks fall around Easter and Mother's Day, this year we decided to try celebrating their birthdays together with the extended family and friends. We chose a date that was a little late for Meredith, a little early for Aaron, and gave it a whirl. It was a blast, and I think both kids had a great time. They are both so very fortunate to have such loving aunties, uncles, grandparents and friends.

What I had not bargained for was just how long it would take me to pull together two birthday cakes. I love making the kids' cakes partly because I have such fond memories of the cakes my mom made for me as a child. Meredith was not to be deterred from her desire for an Atomic Betty birthday cake. Atomic Betty is the star of a cartoon Meredith happened upon somehow, which has become her fast favourite. It's a pretty neat cartoon actually, it's Canadian made and Betty lives in "Moose Jaw Heights" when she's not out fighting crime as a galactic guardian.

Meredith stood on a stool at the counter and watched me ice this cake for what seemed like hours yesterday. After a preliminary "But that's not really the colour of Atomic Betty's hair....", her comments were so encouraging and sweet. I felt like a world champion cake decorator by the time it was done, given her heartfelt reaction to it!

Aaron is really into trains right now, so I'd planned to make a Percy cake since he likes green trains the best of all! After the prolonged stint of Betty-making however, I wasn't feeling terribly atomic myself, so the plan for his cake got downgraded a little. Many thanks to Alanna for her loan of the fabulous track/train cake topper!

He was thrilled with the cake, and I've resolved to make his first next year. :) So on to the best part of the day, singing Happy Birthday and blowing out the candles.

Completely charmed with the sounds of 30-some people singing Happy Birthday to him....

And even more pleased with himself once he'd blown the candles out (thankfully without spitting all over the cake.....)

We moved on to sing it all again to big sister and she drew in a big breath to blow...


Summarily returned to his seat by the long arm of the law....

Mission accomplished!

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Over the Easter weekend, the kids and I had the chance to visit my friend Sharon and her family on their farm south of Winnipeg. Having grown up on a farm, this seemed like a particularly wonderful thing to do during calving season, and fortunately both kids were gung ho at the prospect! The drive to the farm was a blessed interlude of silence as they napped the whole way there. I considered just continuing to drive....

But then I would have missed the sight of a calf only two hours old, a visit with Sharon and her husband Don, a glimpse of the barn cats, and the nonstop exclamations of "tractor!", "tractor!", "tractor!"

Who knew the inanimate objects would be as big of a thrill as the cows!

Meredith fancied herself quite the farmer, having figured out how to climb the stairs on the combine. Aaron was clearly just in search of something sharp to bump his head on.

Thanks for a great afternoon Sharon!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Book of the Week

I've got lots to catch up on, seems like Easter weekend was a hive of activity!

First, a book from our bookshelves that's seen some extra attention in the past week. This was a favourite of Meredith's when she was smaller, and was a gift from my friend Judy when she was born. It's called Owl Babies, by Martin Waddell.

Owl Babies is a sweet story of three baby owls, Sarah and Percy and Bill. The baby owls wake up in the night and their Owl Mother has gone hunting. The story follows their speculations as to where she's gone and how long she'll be. Most reassuring of all, she does come home in the end, and says "What's all the fuss? You knew I'd come back."

Aaron hasn't paid the book much attention up until now, and it appears the first reading was enough to knock the slipper right off of him!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What waits at home

I had an absolutely, horrifyingly hard day at work today, all wrapped up in trying arrange care for a frail, terminally ill man who is alone in the world. I felt such profound empathy for this sweet man, and his frightening situation.

How blessed I am, at the end of a day like today, to have these beautiful children to come home to, and a husband who came when I called. What waits at home is the best part of life.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Sniff of Spring!

We went for a walk after work/daycare today to pick up something Meredith had forgotten at Irish Dance yesterday. For the first time in months I was able to get the bike trailer through the back gate. There's been too much snow and ice built up around the base of the gate to open both sections enough to maneuver the width of the trailer out, so I've been lifting it over the front fence instead for what seems like an eternity!
Meredith fell asleep on the walk home. Not sure how this is possible when Aaron was sitting right beside her shrieking words at the top of his lungs. Apparently he's learned the word 'pocket' so this was a prominent feature of our running commentary as he put his water in and out of the pocket in the trailer over and over and over again. The fascination of a new word (and a new pocket) was only interrupted by "air-pane! air-pane!" and "doddie! doddie!" which I'm pretty sure in this context meant doggie, NOT daddy or dirty which sound exactly the same right now.

I guess when a girl is tired, a girl is tired.

And apparently not too happy about waking up!

Fortunately, the sidewalk beside the house is a clear patch of concrete and out came the tricycle and mower. Happiness is!

It did all our spirits good to play today, and bedtime was a piece of cake!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Mr. Naughty

It's a good thing Aaron is so darn cute. Today he seemed to wake up with an extra dose of naughty in his veins. He would have gone to daycare in nothing for a diaper, had it not been for Meredith. Just in the last week he's begun using the word "NO!" with the regularity that most people blink. Or breathe. He adamantly refused to let mommy or daddy help him get dressed, get into his booster seat, or get his breakfast. She got his clothes on. Sloooowwwwwlllly, but she got his clothes on. She got him to sit at the table. She got him to eat some breakast. Thank God for Meredith!
So eventually he got dressed. Ate. Got to daycare. Tried to bite another child.
This is not the first time this has happened. He has an 'incident report' hanging on his little locker a few days a week due to biting. It's frustrating, and mortifying, and sad. The daycare staff are so amazing, and are doing a great job of dealing with Aaron and dealing with me! Today they tried something new. Aaron was sent to the daycare director's office, and had to sit in the chair by her desk. They've tried having him in a highchair in the infant room, in the kitchen area in the infant room, and sitting in the hallway, so they escalated it today. 23 months old and in the principal's office already. :) Hopefully the seriousness of it all will eventually sink into his little red head.
When we got home, he went straight to the wet snow and water on top of the hot tub and splashed it until the front of his clothes was saturated.

Then in classic Aaron fashion, just before I could blow a gasket, he picked up a little scrap of something off the deck and began dancing and playing his "flute" to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell.

It's a good thing he's so darn cute.