Friday, 31 August 2012


Colin's memory has been amazing since he was very young.  The other day he verbalized his talent in this way: "I have the best memory chip of anyone in our family."


The last two weeks, Colin has been fascinated by time.  He loves to figure out how many minutes there are until something, for example, if I say Dad will be home at 5:30, he'll look at a the clock and say "that's in 47 minutes."  Then, the other day, I over heard Colin telling my Nana there are 120 minutes in two hours.  She turned it back to him and asked how many in three hours.  After a few seconds, he replied "180."  Then he added that there are 240 in 4 hours.  Then he proceeded to count by 60 up to 2060.


Colin's question tonight, after the last two weeks of his investigation into how time works:

"Who decided time?"

Monday, 27 August 2012

Too much stuff

We constantly struggle to keep our house tidy.  Clean is easy, as long as I vacuum around the lego and ignore the "boy bathroom smell" and keep the laundry machine running 24/7.  But tidy?  Every time I look around the cushions are on the floor and the toys are littered everywhere and there are piles - oh the piles! - of stuff on every surface.  The kitchen knee-wall, the portable dishwasher and the shoe rack are the bane of my existence!

But I learned a good lesson last week, words that tumbled out of my own mouth, directed toward my children, that bounced back to me like a reverse of the old children's saying "You are the rubber, I am the glue.  Whatever I say bounces off of you and sticks to me."

(That doesn't rhyme at all, but oh well, it works for this situation.)

I had been nagging and nagging and nagging at the boys to tidy the toy room.  Colin was dragging his feet around, and Caleb was just getting distracted and playing.  The toy room was an utter disaster with nearly every basket emptied onto the floor.  My careful organization was no more and there was no hope the boys were going to restore it on their own.

So I watched for a moment.  I watched as the boys looked around hopelessly, unsure of even where to begin.  I realized that there was simply too much stuff in the room, and they couldn't even wrap their minds around where to start.  I immediately vowed to pare down the room into something more manageable.

That's when I realized I needed to apply the same principle to my own life and house.  There is just too much in my home for me to manage, so I need to pare it down.  Then maybe I can manage to keep things tidy with a lot less effort than it's currently taking.

Sunday, 26 August 2012


If you know Colin, you know he has the most amazing memory.

In his words:

"I have the biggest memory chip of anyone in our family."

Sign you are born in the computer age!

Friday, 24 August 2012


What people are successful in has a range as vast as one's imagination can fathom.  But the reason for success was very succinctly summed up in this chart I came across the other day:

Some experiences James and I have faced recently have exemplified this in extraordinary ways.  Our society of entitlement has led to many people having the characteristics of the right column, and then wondering why their lives are filled with unhappiness and empty of success.  It is evidence of how charity and unselfishness are the ingredients of success.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

All in good time

Anyone else ever wonder what life has in store for you?

I don't think I'm really the type who needs 40 years of the same thing to count as security.  I don't mind things getting shuffled.  I love the adventure of travel.  A new house is an exciting change.

But sometimes I think I'm rushing life along too much.

"All things work together for good for them who love the Lord."

It's hard to remember sometimes.  It's hard to remember that His timing is not my timing.

It's really hard to want a simpler country life and see that it will cost me over half a million dollars.  How on earth is that a simple life?  How can I dial back if, in order to have the breath of fresh air and the space from town, we have to be making so much money?

Life is contradiction, there's no doubt about that.

I have a dream of a modest home on ten acres of land.  A big garden out back and preserves on the basement shelves.  Of romping with the kids in the forest, or bracing my heart as I let them go exploring on their own.  I can see that they yearn for more than our fenced in backyard, and yet this world seems too dangerous to let them disappear off on their own as I desperately think they need to do.  I'm constantly fighting against the small amount of media we do allow.  One of my fondest memories was being ten years old and being let loose with a best friend on a big piece of property with an old barn.  We took a compass, knowing that the house was "north-east" and off we went.  We clamoured around the barn full of treasures from decades past.  We hunted through trees and climbed a huge ant hill.  And we eventually found our way back as the sun sank.  I want that for my kids!!!  I want them to head off and find climb trees and build a secret fort and quench their thirst in a brook.  I want them to jump off the bus and not beg to play video games but to romp outdoors until I beg them to come in for dinner, or maybe I'll just stuff their pockets with buns and apples and let them find their way back as the stars blink on.

Can you feel my mind racing as these thoughts bleed out onto the screen?  That's what I'm battling - the timing of things again.  I have no doubt that when the time is right, the right property will be just waiting for us.  That's how we got this house, and I have full faith that's how God will prepare the right path for me to wander down.  In the meantime, I guess I'm learning lessons of patience and satisfaction with what I have been blessed with already.

And what is life without dreams?

Monday, 20 August 2012

Back to school

It's coming...

On Saturday we did our back to school shopping, which for nursery school, senior kindergarten and grade two involved a backpack and a pair of indoor running shoes.  Very exciting.

We need the break of school around here.  Things are getting a little crazy.  The boys seem to be getting on each other's nerves with ease and great skill.  James and I are losing our patience.  Benjamin wants to play with the big boys who don't have much time for his two year old version of their games.  Usually this results in a King Kong like destruction of lego creations.  I find our most peaceful days are when I can get the boys out of the house for the morning, to the park or on a playdate.  My boys absolutely love to go to other people's homes.  They are still learning the concept that we can't just invite ourselves over.  (Well, there are a couple of friends to whose houses we invite ourselves over - so grateful for friends like that!)

I know that after the first couple of weeks I'll miss having everyone home, miss the slower pace of summer, miss the impromptu chats, miss the extra time with my boys.  But right now this whole 6am-7pm with everyone up and at 'em is not doing us as a family any favours.  One more week at home, then a week on holidays, and then school begins!

(I'm thinking about doing some sort of special back to school celebration, with special decorations or dinner setting, like I see on so many other mom's blog posts.  But at this age I think it's a lot of work for me, and the boys would rather just eat pancakes.)

Saturday, 18 August 2012


In order to try and enjoy the luxury of no fixed schedule over the summer vacation, we have been trying to get the boys to "sleep in" until 7am.  Mostly this involved training them to wait until their digital clock says "7-0-0" (seven-zero-zero, as they call it) before they come out of their room.  Generally we start to hear them around 6:30, and it just depends on how long Benjamin will stick around in the bedroom as to what time they finally emerge.  Eventually, Benjamin gets bored of talking with Caleb and hops out of bed, opens the door and runs to find Daddy.  Caleb always figures that if Benjamin is up, then there is no reason he needs to stay in bed.

Not so, with our people-pleaser and rule-follower Colin.  Even when the other two are long gone, he sits patiently in his top bunk for those numbers to click by and finally show 7:00.  Then he races downstairs as fast as he can to catch up with the morning.  I thought about telling him that he doesn't have to stay in bed once the other two are up, but it would be a fruitless endeavor to try and break the habit.  A rule is a rule, after all, in Colin's mind, and I don't necessarily think that's a bad attitude to have.  While I hope that as he grows he learns to question authority and not blindly follow rules, it's good for him to know that as his parents, we are not creating unjust laws here.  The rules we come up with are for the safety and peace of the home.  Even at that, we often show we are open to hearing a child's debate on a rule, and sometimes we do reconsider.  Other times he must learn that some rules have to be followed.  I think it's creating a good balance for him as he navigates through society and life.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Baby love

I don't have a great memory when it comes to memories.  I have a great spacial memory - I can drive somewhere once and remember how to get there five years later.  But when it comes to events of the past, I'm hopeless.

As a coping mechanism, my brain has adapted to instead remember how I felt about the event, rather than all the details.  I will remember that I liked it, it scared me, it was really hard, or totally amazing.  Couldn't for the life of me tell you why, but I've learned to trust my feeling memories completely.

When I think back on the baby years, I remember loving my babies, but finding that first year really, really tough.  None of them slept through the night until almost a year.  My breastfeeders (Caleb and Benjamin) nursed every two hours, even through the night, until a year.  All three boys also needed to be permanently attached to me.  The swing, high chair, bouncy chair, playpen, strollers, and crib got very little use.  The sling and the baby carrier, however, were like outgrowths of my skin.  So you can see that while I loved my babies to death, it was very draining on me physically and emotionally.

Juliette is completely opposite.  She is happy as a lark to sit in the reclined high chair in a luxurious blanket, watching me hum around the kitchen.  She sleeps all night in bed with me, waking only once, twice at most.  She does love to be carried next to me during the afternoon/evening (her fussier time), but because she's so easy the rest of the time I actually relish holding her near my heart, or taking the occasional nap with her on my chest.

I am loving these baby weeks so far.  It feels totally different from the boys.  While it's still really hard to tear myself into four pieces to attend to everyone's needs, I'm not feeling as taxed by my newborn as I did in the past.  And I love this feeling.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Simplicity Challenge #3 - Kitchen - the pantry

Oh, the pantry, the pantry.  There is no excuse for this to get overloaded, because we have a huge food storage in the basement where all unopened food is stored.  This is really only for things currently on the go.  One of the hard things I find about organizing a pantry is that it's hard to remember how long things have been there.  Sure, if I was on the ball, I'd pull out my black Sharpe and date everything as I opened it.  But that has never happened yet, so I probably shouldn't count on that happening anytime soon.

Luckily, because I was sick for 9 months, it was really easy for me to remember what I've purchased in the last 2 months since Juliette was born.  All the rest is more than nine months old.

So, here are the before and after pics:

My pantry also naturally extends up to the shelves above, so I figured I'd give them a clean out at the same time.  Other than the extra pantry shelf (bottom left), the rest is mostly storage.  I finally parted ways with all but three mugs I had been holding onto, since we never use them anyway.  The Crockpot I kept until I can get a new one that works better.  The George Foreman grill and the sandwich maker haven't been touched in years, so out they went.  Here is the before and after:

You probably can't tell, but I also put the last two cupboard doors back on.  When we moved in five years ago, I took all the doors off to paint them, but then decided I liked the open look (very French).  James was never a fan, since we have to pack them so tightly due to a lack of cupboards (we have only 3 sets in the whole kitchen).  Gradually I put them back on, the the two on the right were the last to go up.

Voila!  I'm definitely getting closer.  And I'm going to work extra hard this weekend and next week in preparation for a garage sale.  No, I'm not running one myself, just tagging onto a friend's.  I've never liked the idea of sitting all morning on my lawn with all my stuff displayed for others to pick over, but if I do it with a friend it might not be so bad.  :-)

The pink house

Our book club book this past month was "The Secret Life of Bees."  While I generally enjoyed the book, and definitely enjoyed the discussion raised by the issues in it, there was one scene in particular that really stuck with me.

The protagonist of the book, Lily, comes to stay with three older unmarried sisters in a house painted "Pepto Bismol pink."  When Lily confronts August, one of the women, about why the odd colour, the explanation is heartwarming.  One of sisters experienced a sort of mental retreat after a tragedy during her teen years.  As a result, the other two sisters spent much of their time trying to protect her from the harshness of the world.  When August went to pick out a colour to paint the house exterior, her sister May set her heart on the loud shade of pink.  "She so rarely sets her heart on anything that I figured it was a sacrifice I could make for her."

In our discussion of the book, everyone expressed how sweet they thought it was that August would make such a sacrifice, knowing what people might think of such an odd colour.  But what immediately jumped into my mind was "I wonder if she would have felt the same if her other "well" sister had made such a demand."  More than likely, August would have said "you're crazy, I'm not painting my house pink," and picked a more appropriate neutral colour.

That made me think of those I love in my own life, and the decisions I'm not willing to yield on because of what others might think, or because I don't particularly agree.  In the grand scheme, what would a pink house really matter to me?  Very little, but maybe it matters a great deal to someone I love.

What things do I scoff, or brush off, that might be an area in which I could concede?  Who knows but that concession might mean a great deal to my husband or children or family member or friend?  And even if it's not a big deal to them, might that concession result in a little bit of peace or happiness for them?

I shudder to think of the times I've dug in my own heels instead of practicing a little charity, especially toward those I love most.  It's true that those closest to us get the worst of us, as we try to present our best side to those outside our home and then often break down and lash out at our spouses and children.  The image of that pink house is seared in my mind now, and I hope that in the future I can humble myself to give in areas like this.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Book club

I am part of a wonderful group of girls (just under a dozen) who form a book club.  We are all young mothers, and we take turns picking a book and hosting each month.  It's low key and informal, involves lots of food and drink and laughter and even some discussion of the book, along with many tangents.

Next month is my turn to pick and host, and I have pulled out an old favourite to introduce to everyone: "Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology."  I'm rereading the book again (for at least the fourth time) so that it's fresh in my mind.  I'm also sure that with my latest surge in simple living I'll have new ideas and opinions sprout from the pages.

For today, I am thinking about houses.  A friend recently downsized her home.  And no, it wasn't because her kids had all moved out.  In fact, her two young boys are the same ages as my oldest.  She just decided that she didn't need all that space.  (There were other factors, too, and most had to do with the type of community and surroundings they wanted as they set down roots.)

I can't remember if I read it, heard it, or had it in conversation (okay, it was probably on CBC radio!) but someone was talking about the average square footage of a house in 1950 as compared to today.  Houses have doubled in size, which the size of families has steadily shrunk.  This stat from MSN said that "the average American home swelled from 983 square feet in 1950 to 2349 square feet in 2004.  And in the 1950s, many families had more than the average of 2 kids we have today.  Let's say it was 4 kids in 1950 - then each person in the home had about 164 square feet.  Today each person would have 587.

I want to always be happy with the home that I have.   I want to drown out the voices that tell me I need more rooms, more space.  No I don't! I want to scream.  If anything, I just need less stuff (and I'm working on that.)  I like a home that doesn't separate everyone into different rooms and levels.  I like a place that hums with activity.  I like an environment where our paths are crossing all day long.  And yes, I like a quiet nook in which to retreat now and then, but a corner can always been found, even in our small home.

There are so many people who have much, much less and are unhappy.  There are so many people who have much, much more and are unhappy.  I simply pray for happiness and satisfaction with what I have been blessed, and to always be reminded that I can make any house a home, regardless of its size or layout or decor.

"Establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God." 
- Doctrine and Covenants 88:119


Today at the doctor's office, Benjamin wanted to sit in the doctor's chair.  So I told him I would ask him all the questions I had and he could answer them.  The questions were all random, like how many brothers do you have and what colour is the sun (he said orange, not yellow, to that one.)

Here are two of my favourites:

What colour is your hair?

How many hands do you have?
One, two (showing me as he counted them.)
How many eyes?
One, two.
How many ears?
One, two.
How many teeth?
One, two.  (pointing to the bottom set, and then to the top set.)
How many mouths?
One, two.  (pointing to his bottom lip, then his top lip.)
How many noses?
One, two.  (pointing to each nostril.)

I was going to correct him and say he only had one nose and one mouth, but then I realized that he had a very valid way of counting, and who was I to tell him any different?

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

100 things

This idea is a little extreme for me, but an interesting one nonetheless.  I heard an interview on CBC radio the other day with a woman whose family is trying "100 things to live by."  In other words, each family member is allowed 100 things, period.  Everything counts.  Each clothing item, each pair of socks, toothbrush, toy, book, souvenir, knick knack.  As a bonus they have allowed 100 items for the "house" which includes the furniture, kitchen utensils and the like.  She and her husband recently downsized from a house to a 2 bedroom apartment in order to suit their new lifestyle.  They have almost been successful in the count: she only exceeds her 100 allotment right now as she holds on to some wardrobe pieces from her work days (pieces that are expensive) until she decides if she will return to the workforce or not.

Personally, I have more than 100 items in my bedroom.

But it's an interesting idea.  Something that gave me pause to think about.

Really, this whole simplifying process is so personal.  There are so many theories, and just as many ways to go about putting those theories into practice.  But unless you are personally converted to the idea, you might get rid of some excess, but you likely won't stop it from accumulating again.  Simple living is a mindset that must be embraced to be successful, a mantra that plays over and over in your head so that you stop the clutter from descending into your home in the first place.

I have more pictures to post...I've been ruthless in the kitchen so far, and it is beautiful!  More to come.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Simplicity Challenge #2 - Kitchen - Junk drawer

Ah, the dreaded junk drawer.  A good friend lamented that she now has three junk drawers.  I guess the one good thing about a small kitchen is that there is no room for more than one - we only have three drawers to begin with!

Here is the infamous junk drawer pre-clean.  This drawer was even worse for being able to be opened.  Things were always jamming it shut.

Here is everything laid out on the counter for sorting.

Here are all the things I tossed away - at least ten.  Several more items got stored downstairs (I decided I didn't really need three boxes of plastic wrap.)

And here is the final product.

Look at that - the junk drawer is no longer a junk drawer!

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Simplicity Challenge #1 - Kitchen - utensil drawer

Okay - here it is!  I've started my simplifying challenge around my home.  And I started in the kitchen, with the utensil drawer.

Here is a photo of everything in my utensil drawer on the counter:

And here is a close up of the utensil tray that is in my drawer:

A reminder of my goals as I simplify:

1.  Empty each room by half, and get rid of at least 10 items in each challenge.

2.  Keep only what is useful or beautiful.  In the case of utensils, useful.  And also make sure I don't have multiple things fulfilling the same purpose.

3.  Stop keeping things I think I might use one day down the road.  I am particularly guilty of this in this drawer.  But the truth is I hardly need all that excess stuff.

Here is a picture of all the items I got rid of from this drawer (plus a whole bunch of plastic cutlery in restaurant packets, and a pile of other garbage that was hiding under all the useful stuff.)

And HERE is the final product:

Isn't it absolutely beautiful???  I realize I don't have a picture of the whole drawer before hand.  I promise I'll get better at this photo thing.  But you can imagine all that extra junk just piled on top.  The drawer was forever getting stuck, and I could never find what I needed.

How good did it feel to clean that drawer?  So good that every time I walked by the drawer during the day, I would actually pull it open and give it a quick glance again, and smile at how neat and tidy and simple it was.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Free Agency

James and I have had many conversations over the past two months (since Juliette's birth) about rules and free agency.  I think the fact that it's suddenly on our mind a lot more speaks to the fact that we suddenly have a daughter to raise.  And although I wouldn't specifically raise a girl different than a boy, I think it is fair to say that girls face a completely different type of peer pressure and temptations as they grow up.

James is a rules man.  He likes to see the rules laid out, so that he can follow them to a T.  He has always been one to follow the rules, and enjoys the inner reward of that kind of exact obedience.  He was never one to fall to peer pressure.  And if that was the rule, then that was the rule, no questions asked.  It wasn't blind obedience - the rules he followed were ones he felt made sense and were beneficial to him.  But once he decided it was a rule worth following, there was no bending.

I find myself more of the questioning type.  I find it hard to lay down an unbending law.  This type of leniency works well in situations where circumstances might call for a second look at a rule.  But it can be a dangerous approach to someone who is just looking for an excuse to break a rule that is actually very important.

My hope is that with one parent firmly in each camp, our kids will have a very balanced home in which to grow.

James' position is "this is my home and these are my rules."  I push back against this sometimes, as I worry that the kids will then rebel openly or in secret, simply because they don't feel like they can work through and figure out the standards on their own.  I am a huge proponent of helping someone understand why it's a good rule to follow, and letting them make the decision on their own.  There is danger in this, however, because it's hard to know when your child still needs your firm guiding hand, and when it's time to step back and let them make their own decisions (and mistakes.)

I heard a great thought the other day - that the last couple years of your child's life in your home should be coaching years.  It's a time when you step away from actively guiding them, and help them start to live life on their own.  The moment to let go isn't the day they leave the nest - if you haven't taught them how to fly yet, then they'll just plummet to the ground with possible disastrous consequences.

It's funny to be thinking about these kinds of things, with it being a stage of life so far in the future.  But better for James and I to mull it all over and work it all out now, instead of when we're standing in the middle of all the mess!

Here's a good quote to end it all off:

"It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings."

(And for a great blog entry by Shawni at on personal conversion, read here.  Here's a quick passage from what she wrote:

We need to help our kids understand that free-agency thing as well.  We believe that we should teach them correct principals and gradually let them govern themselves.  Make some important decisions all by themselves…and even let them make not-so-great decisions once in a while.  That’s how they learn.)

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Happy Birthday to me!

Grown-up birthdays are very different from child ones.  Nevertheless, don't be fooled by the seemingly boring way I passed the day.  I actually felt very motivated this morning and enjoyed the work.

James made a big breakfast but then had to leave for work.  So I had to clear the table, unload and reload the dishwasher, hand wash the pots and pans, and wipe the table.

Then I noticed that breakfast crumbs were all over the floor, so I swept that.

Sweeping revealed that much of the mess on the floor was actually stuck there, so I pulled out the mop.

In order to mop, I moved all the kitchen chairs to the living room.  Moving the chairs reminded me how sticky chairs get with little fingers touching them all day.  So I gave the chairs a good scrub.

Scrubbing in the living room meant being on the carpet in there, which made me see how badly the carpet needed vacuuming.  So I hauled out the vacuum.

Vacuuming made me thirsty, so I went into the kitchen to get a drink.  When I pulled out a glass, the stuffed cupboard reminded me about the simplifying project I want to start.  So I decided to start with the cutlery drawer, because it is the tiniest spot in the kitchen to clean.

But cleaning out the cutlery drawer felt so good that I went onto the bigger miscellaneous drawer below it.

By now I had so much extra stuff to throw away, that I'd filled two kitchen garbage bags, which had to be taken out to the garage.  And since I was going there anyway, the recycling bin under the sink was also full.

Once I dumped the recycling bin, I realized how dirty it was, and that it needed a good cleaning in the basement sink.

Using the basement sink reminded me that I wanted to give the potty a good cleaning also, so I can start toilet training Benjamin.

Brining up the potty made me think to check on Benjamin, who I discovered was stark naked and had just peed on the carpeted play room floor.

Scrubbing the pee off the carpet reminded me that I had four beautiful children who were waiting to play with me on my birthday, so I set cleaning aside for another day and built a fort.


That was my birthday morning.  (Doesn't it remind you of that story "If you give a mouse a cookie?")  Birthday afternoon included a nap with Juliette, who was really fussy all day and just wanted to be cuddled up next to me.  Birthday dinner was a fantastic dinner sized salad with spinach, chicken, strawberries, apples, cucumbers, nuts, and raspberry vinaigrette.  (A big thank you to James for putting up with my dinner choice!  It was scrumptious!)  Birthday evening was the whole family heading out to Caleb's last soccer game, alternating watching him play and playing at the park with Ben and Colin.  Birthday dessert was chocolate covered cheesecake.  Birthday night was a game of scrabble with James.

Countless birthday wishes pouring in all day from many friends.  And, oh yeah - I'm actually a year younger than I thought I was.  (Seriously - when my physiotherapist asked me last week how old I am, for the initial consultation, I said "32, but my birthday is next week and I'll be 33."  No, I'm actually only 32.  Go figure.

So another year has gone by.  32 is the start of the next phase of my life, as I move from the "child bearing years" to the "child rearing years."  Sleepless nights will abate, no more 9 month illness, and more time carved out for personal projects, interests and pursuits.  Here's to the next phase!

Happy birthday, me!

Monday, 6 August 2012

We women

"We women have a lot to learn about simplifying our lives.  We have to decide what important and then move along at a pace that is comfortable for us.  We have to develop the maturity to stop trying to prove something.  We have to learn to be content with what we are."

- Marjorie Pay Hinckley

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Getting back in shape

Come the fall, my exercise group will be starting up again.  I love this group, run by a friend of mine.  We meet in the gym at our church, and we all work out on one side of the room while our kids all run around on the other.  It's the perfect answer to "how to work out when you have young kids/babies running around."  If Juliette is fussing, my friend adapts the exercises so I can do them holding her.  And my kids have always loved being able to play with new friends during that hour.

But for the summer, I've taken riding.  I'm using a fantastic second-hand bike that came from my uncle, who lives in the big city and gets around a lot by bicycle.  It's a men's bike, but other than having to get used to the high cross bar, you can't really tell the difference.  A friend and I are trying to go once a week and ride the local trails for 30 minutes or so.  And any errand I have to run in the evening, I'm trying to take my bike.  The nice thing is that I can pretty much get anywhere in town in 15 minutes, which makes the round trip manageable both physically and as a time commitment.

So I'm hoping it not only gets me back into shape faster, but that it also helps with this back injury (muscular) I've got.  I'm seeing a physiotherapist, but the injury is so painful I'm still up most of the night, unable to sleep.  Luckily there is no pain whatsoever once I'm up and going.  But it is so frustrating to have a baby that is such a good sleeper at night, who is going long stretches without nursing and goes right back to sleep after she does nurse, and I'm awake all night in pain.  It is so not fair!

Friday, 3 August 2012


James and my birthdays are just 3 days apart, so the boys are buzzing about what to get/make for us for our birthdays.  Birthdays seem to be a big deal when you are 2/4/6 years old.  The boys' birthdays aren't until the end of the year, but they are already making guest lists, planning party themes, writing gift ideas.

It's nice to see their enthusiasm transfer to someone other than themselves.  (Maybe I am winning the battle against selfishness!)  This morning, Caleb ran up to me with his usual big "I'm up to something awesome" smile, and whispered in my ear.

"I know what I want to get Daddy for his birthday...a Batman movie!" (Batman is very big in our house right now.  The boys aren't allowed to see anything other than the original campy G-rated Batman movie, but they think it's fantastic.)

"Sorry, honey," I replied.  "Daddy already has the Batman movie, and the new one isn't out on DVD yet."

"Okay.  Then the second thing I want to get him is an ipod."  (This is what I'm getting for my birthday. James has already opted for an iphone.)

"Daddy's actually getting an iphone, which is an ipod that can make phone calls.  It's better than an ipod," I answered.

"Well, I think an ipod is better, but okay.  Then the third thing I want to get him is an axe, so he can chop down any big trees he comes across."

???  That's both my puzzlement and muffled laughter.

Thursday, 2 August 2012


Ever since James and I first met and we discovered our mutual love of musical theatre, James has been raving about "Ragtime."  It's his favourite musical.  He saw the original production, mounted in Toronto, when it first opened back when he was in high school.  We've had at least two copies of the soundtrack over the past 10 years, both well worn and scratched.  I love the songs, and I have been waiting all this time to be able to see a production.

Well, finally the Shaw festival mounted it this year on their mainstage, and we quickly snatched up the best seats in the house for our ninth anniversary last night.

It. Was. Awesome.

There were only a handful of plot points that were new to me that aren't revealed in the songs, but that didn't matter.  Much of the acting was superb - I haven't seen the like in a long time.  I hung off of every note of every song.  My heart raced and I clutched James' hand and smiled from ear to ear at the rush of seeing it come to life.

More than all this, however, I was suddenly acutely aware of what a personal experience theatre is, over its two-dimensional cousin, film.  I've always loved theatre, but I've never felt like there were people up there on the stage, sharing something very intimate with me.  The flat image on the film screen seems so distant and impersonal now.  At a time in my life when I am simplifying, and longing for community, and wanting to relate with people, theatre holds so much more for me now, and represents all these longings.

On an unrelated note, my mom graciously came along to take care of Juliette, since the theatre is 2 1/2 hours away from our home, and Juliette needed to nurse much of the day, and during intermission.  While she was walking the streets of Niagara-on-the-Lake, she got to witness a sort of gourmet dinner flash mob known as "Dinner en Blanc".  It was started in Paris, France 24 years ago.  White tables were set up down the main street, each with 8 white chairs around it.  At precisely 8pm, over 1000 people dressed head to toe in white descended, bringing their own table settings and picnic foods, and sat to enjoy their meal and a wine tasting in the middle of town.  Guests were revealed the secret dining location just 30 minutes before the event began.  My mom said it was absolutely incredible.  Here is a photo of last years, which had an attendance of 400.  Imagine this amount of people, doubled.

I happened to be dressed in white from head to toe, and I so wanted to jump in the fun.  But Ragtime was calling and seats at the dinner were pre-booked.  Note to self - something to participate in in the future (maybe in Paris?)