Cedar death

Crap I think maybe I’ve killed another cedar.  Ok there really is no maybe the thing is dead as a doornail. This was the last remaining cedar left from a second round of 3 planted along the front of the house.  Seeing how badly the first set of cedars did in this spot it should have occurred to me to plant something else but I’m awfully stubborn and I wanted emerald cedars.  I was hoping that I had simply un-wrapped them too early and they had frozen.
So I replaced the first set of dead cedars with new ones. I tried to make sure that they were really well rooted before the next winter set, gave them a lot more care than the first set and they were growing and looking great.   I wrapped them up for winter but come spring as soon as they were unwrapped I knew they were dead. 
One was still half alive and thinking that perhaps I could save it I moved it to the softer soil in the backyard where it would get watered with the garden each morning.  It seemed to do really well, it lost the sickly brown tinge and was putting out new branches and looked great by fall.
We have had a particularly bitter winter this year and it may not have completely recovered from the previous one but it is most assuredly unrecoverable this time.  Judging by the total lack of foliage on it and the fact that you can snap branches off like matchsticks I’m going to have to concede defeat.
I’m usually not that bad with plants, I wouldn’t go as far as to say I'm good with plants but this is the first time I’ve had trouble with outdoor ones. Indoors I’ve killed a number of plants but that can be attributed to things such as buying tropical plants in a not so tropical environment or forgetting that radiators get hot in winter and will quickly crisp a plant set beside it. 
I planted dwarf spruce in the place of the cedars and they don’t seem to be doing well in this spot either.  It’s either just not a plant friendly spot or I have a bit more to learn about what can survive outdoors in a Manitoba winter.   I’ve heard I’m not the only one with cedar or dwarf spruce problems and as it turns out the deer around here also like to eat them so it looks like I’m probably going to have to get out my shovel and try one more time.  




Just a quick turnaround that I did today, I didn't use a ruler so there are like billion mistakes. Anyways, I hope you guys like it.

Spring is here (I think).

The spring running season is here and with that comes a slew of road races and summer planning!

Having had endured another LONG New England winter makes me appreciative of the spring and summer seasons. And, for this runner, the summer of 2011 will be no different than the past fifteen in that I plan to be in Falmouth for the 39th running of The Falmouth Road Race.

This year’s race will be held on Sunday, August 14.

For those unfamiliar with the race, per the Falmouth Road Race site:
The *New Balance Falmouth Road Race was established in 1973 and has become one of the premier running events of the summer season. Each year the race draws an international field of Olympians, elite runners and recreational runners out to enjoy the scenic 7-mile seaside course. The non-profit Falmouth Road Race organization is dedicated to promoting health and fitness for all in its community. Proceeds from the race each year support youth athletic programs in the town of Falmouth and other nonprofit community groups.

The last couple of years we have had relatively nice weather – let’s hope for the same this year. Have a good race – just don’t pass me on the course!

*New Balance has taken over the sponsorship of the race. New Balance is replacing SBLI. Previous race sponsors have included CIGNA and Harvard Pilgrim.


End Stillbirth

Dentist Appointment :-(

Well I finally can’t avoid the dentist any longer.  My back tooth has been a problem for years and the last time I saw the dentist he told me to book an appointment to get it pulled. Well saying tooth pulled to me kind of made me panic and I haven’t made an appointment since.  I think that was about 2 ½ years ago.
When I was about 5 years old my brother pushed me while I was sitting on the counter and I knocked out both my front teeth on the bathroom tap.  I don’t remember it too clearly but I do remember the dentist wasn’t particularly gentle and he had to pull the last bit of one out and all I remember from that is how bloody much it hurt. Thankfully they were baby teeth, but it took a long time for the adult ones to come in, and clearly I shouldn’t have lost the baby ones so early. 
I’ve been nervous with the dentist ever since.  Rather than have it get easier to see the dentist as I’ve gotten older it has gotten progressively worse, particularly when it comes to the thought of having a tooth pulled.  I’ve avoided the dentist more and more even though I know that wasn’t going to help. I now have a panic attack at the thought of going in. I don’t get panic attacks dealing with anything else in life just the dentist.
I even feel anxious and panicky taking the girls for their appointments and refuse to go in the room with them.  I imagine my nervousness would only make them develop the same fear I have.   They both handle the dentist well and I don’t want to change that.
Honestly I have to say I’m somewhat ashamed of this fear. The rational part of me is pissed right off that I can’t get over it.  I know my current dentist is a good one and he’s never caused me any pain and I know he won’t really hurt me but I can’t shake the fear.
Yesterday a big chunk of my back tooth fell out and now it keeps bleeding, I can’t stand to eat anything and despite both Advil and Tylenol it won’t stop throbbing with pain and it is getting more and more swollen. I made an emergency appointment and will be going to see the dentist in a few hours.  
I want nothing more than to back out, I’ve dealt with minor pain in that tooth for a long time and a part of me is desperately trying to convince myself that somehow it will get better on its own and that it isn’t that bad.  I know it won’t just go away and I’ll go but I don’t have to be happy about it. I’m already shaking and I don’t think I’m going to get through this with much grace or dignity.

Tweedledum



Flood of the Century

It is the time of year when people living in the red river valley turn their attention to the rivers in anticipation of what the years flooding will bring.  The predictions are quite high this year and everyone who was here for the flood of 1997 can’t help but be reminded of the days spent preparing for it.
Flooding is nothing new to the residents of Manitoba and our neighboring states of Minnesota and North Dakota but in 1997 we were all taken by surprise. Early flood predictions in 97 gave us some warning of what was to come but as the spring melt continued and the predictions were updated it became more and more dire. Then a blizzard hit at the beginning of April and the predictions surpassed all historical records. 
We watched in horror as our southern neighbors succumbed to flood waters.  Their dikes built for a predicted crest of 49ft gave way as the river continued to rise to an unprecedented level of 54.34 ft cresting on April 18th.  Fire broke out and Grand forks was devastated. Tens of thousands of people lost their homes and it became a national disaster area. It was the beginning of the worst flooding ever seen along the Red River.
We had a great deal of sympathy for our neighbors to the south but the thought on each Manitobans mind was the fact that we were next.  All that water pushing the river higher than it had ever been before was headed north.  Across Manitoba it renewed the people who had already come together to sandbag and support one another to push a little harder and to get the dikes built up higher and stronger. 
As the rivers crest came closer the communities and farms along the river were evacuated one by one to the considered safety of Winnipeg. Towns and homes were left in the hands of military personnel.  We couldn’t help but question if enough had been done, if we could have done more to guard against the rising waters and if the dikes would hold. In all 28,000 residents of southern Manitoba were sent from their homes to temporary lodging.
At this point Manitobans could do nothing but watch and wait.  We all prayed for the dikes to hold and for our homes to remain safe.  In the end the river damaged or destroyed 2500 homes and caused nearly 400 million dollars in damage.  The communities of St Agathe and Grande Point were completely inundated with flood waters and received the worst damage.
It is thanks to the array of dike systems and river diversions that Manitoba was so well prepared for 1997. It is estimated that without those existing protections and the millions of volunteer hours the damage would have been closer to 4 billion dollars.  I think Manitoba survived 1997 with an amazing sense of community and strength.  
The hours I spent alongside the thousands of other volunteers sandbagging and building dikes will never be forgotten.  It taught me what the strength of a community at large can accomplish, and that even when the river becomes a sea it can be turned aside.  

Tweedledee


Plain Old Fun.

No elaborate introduction is needed for this clip - just Allie and Anna having some pure and simple fun playing dress-up! Enjoy.



Are they the cutest or what?

Stuff for the upcoming Pixar Master Class Competition






Spring Clean

Spring Cleaning is in full effect.  I’m tackling the reorganizing and big clean I do a couple of times a year.  Hopefully I can get through the kids rooms and actually remove some of the junk and toys they no longer play with.  It never fails a toy that hasn’t been played with in between big cleans is suddenly the funnest best toy that I can’t possibly give away.
If I give in to the pleas of “no I’ll play with it” I will find the same situation repeated a few months from now.  The toy in question will have been played with the day I threatened to give it away but will have simply collected dust in the back of the closet afterwards.  
I usually try to clean out the girls rooms when they aren’t around so I can avoid this scene.  Things I have gotten rid of while they aren’t home stay gone and are never even mentioned. I’ve yet to have either of them question me about what happened to a toy that has disappeared this way. It was forgotten by them long before I took it from the house.
My oldest is beginning to get a little cranky about entrance to her room and it is showing in the disorganization that comes with being a pre-teen.  I know in the years to come her privacy is going to become more and more important to her and I’m not sure how I will handle the inevitable mess. I am honestly not trying to snoop or invade her privacy I really just want to clean.
There is one toy that I’m hoping to get rid of this time around.  It is a ball roller coaster that my youngest received as a birthday gift for her 3rd birthday.  It has never been a regularly used toy and takes up a ton of space.  It has survived through so many big clean ups simply because it is such a large toy and very easily missed. It has made it to the trash pile several times over but never actually gone.  The time for it to go is here and regardless of pleas to the contrary it will find its way to the donations bin, if I can just find a bag big enough to contain all its pieces.

Whoops

What a way to kick off the morning. The city just dug out the ditches on our street, but the culverts are all frozen so now the ditches look something like this. Massive ridges of snow on each side of a 3 ft chasm filled with ice cold water.  
Now you wouldn’t think that is such a big deal but there is one little problem. In order to walk the dog I need to get to the far side of the ditch. It’s not that big a stretch if you pick the right spot but it can still be a challenge to make that leap from one side to the other.
Didn’t quite make it this morning while heading back home,  I ended up with one foot firmly planted on the sloping edge of the ditch and the other up to my knee in ice cold water. By using the dogs leash as an anchor I was just able to stop myself from going down on my but. Thank goodness we have a big dog. 
Did I mention the thick crust of ice on top of the water? Somehow it seemed the hole my foot made going in was much too small to pull my foot back out.  It took a couple of real good yanks to pull it free, the dog helped out there too, he was hauling back on his leash for all he was worth.  I'm under no illusions that he was actually trying to save me. For a retriever he is an awful big suck around water and i know he was just trying to keep his own ass dry.
Hours later and I’m still cold.  Despite hot coffee, warm clothes, slippers and a blanket I’ve got a chill I just can’t shake.  It really is a lot easier to get cold then it is to warm up. 
Stupid spring.  

Hang up

I went grocery shopping last night at Superstore and the woman in front of me at the checkout was chatting away on her phone.  She was completely oblivious to the cashier who had finished checking her items and was trying to get her attention for payment.  She finally realized the cashier was waiting handed over her money and accepted her change without a single word.  Well at least not to the cashier she had plenty to say to her friend, mostly about how annoying grocery shopping is.
As the cashier started to check my items and we exchanged normal little pleasantries like civilized people the other woman finished her phone conversation and then in a very angry voice asked why the cashier hadn’t asked if she needed bags.  Of course she had asked but had been ignored. The cashier tried to remain pleasant and simply asked her how many she needed.  The customer responded with at least ten or eleven.
Superstore charges 5 cents for each bag.  Now they will give you a bag here and there if you underestimated how many you need or suddenly realize you should have gotten one but I suppose ten is pushing it. As the cashier counted out bags she asked the customer if she had 50 cents. This resulted in indignant cries about how it wasn’t her fault the cashier hadn’t asked before she paid. 
I couldn’t help myself and I spoke up.  I hate seeing people treat retail staff or anyone else for that matter like garbage.  I told her she shouldn’t blame the cashier for her own rudeness, if she had put her phone down for 5 seconds and made an attempt at being polite she would have heard the cashier ask. I got the expected response of an indignant “why I never” but she clearly looked contrite and handed over the 50 cents. 
It always amazes me how inconsiderate people can be when it comes to cell phones.  Some people are completely oblivious and happily chat away loudly disturbing and ignoring others without a second thought.   Sure I use my cell phone in public but I try to always remain conscience of those around me and be unobstrusive.  I think it is simple common courtesy.  I’m glad I spoke up maybe next time this woman will think twice about ignoring a cashier and remember to say thank you instead. 

I changed the Storyboard Animatic a little bit - Check it out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVomjPgAl4o

Paper Boats


This is one of my favorite pictures of E. She was not quite 4 when this picture was taken and I can't seem to say what exactly makes this picture special it just is. I love her hair and the small hint of toddler left. There is something in the angle of her stance and the clasped hands that seems very sweet. It appears to be and was a very peaceful and content moment.

Ever since this picture was taken making and sailing paper boats has become a spring tradition. Each year we spend some time making and sailing boats in the puddles of melting snow. It is a fun way to welcome in spring.  We expect the boats to fall apart eventually but seeing how long you can make them last is part of the fun. Some boats simply collapse as they come in contact with water and some seem to last forever. The smallest change in shape can make them catch the wind and speed across a puddle while others simply topple.  

I know the years of paper boats won’t be around forever but while they are here I plan on enjoying them. I won’t surprise me if this is the last year I can convince E to join in. She is quickly turning into an angsty teen who would rather chat with her friends them play some silly game with Mom.  Right now I can still cajole her into playing along and having fun with silly little things like this but I don’t know how much longer bugging her to join in will work.

I'm sure to have a few years left with A but even for her the excitment of paper boats isn't quite the same as the toddler and preschool years when it was completly new. She still very much enjoys it and is looking foward to making some this year but it's is no longer quite so amazing. 

You don't have to travel to Florida.

We recently took Allie, Anna and Emily to a Meet and Great Breakfast sponsored by a local charity. We knew nothing about it other than what was advertised on a flyer. But, since it was for a good cause and there were to be up to twelve characters for the kids to meet, we gave it a go. I guess I should admit that knowing Mickey and Minnie Mouse would be there was the clincher for us!

A short drive and we were there.

They all enjoyed themselves and once again, were very well behaved (you could consider it "shyness", but I'm calling it well behaved), especially compared to some other children their age.

Here is a highlight clip. I LOVE their smiles after getting their faces painted!



Check out Sarah's post for some great pictures.


End Stillbirth

Yuck!

I have recently begun to notice a very odd thing while walking the dog in the forest. Someone is picking up their dog business and instead of bringing the bag with them and throwing it out like normal people they are hanging the bags from trees. Who in their right mind thinks this is a good idea or any better than not scooping at all.  If anything I’d say it is worse, now rather than just #2 left on the ground it’s swinging from a tree in a plastic bag.  Ewww
Alas I do believe I have discovered the culprit. I saw him with his dog this morning leaving the trail just as I was leaving the house and lo and behold a new bag had appeared.  I suspect it was him as the bag was still swinging on the branch and the bags only appear about once a week which is also about how often he walks the dog.  I’m thinking about attaching a note next to the swinging bag of dog dodo.  I’m not sure it would do any good or what I would write but these bags are starting to add up and it’s nasty. There is nothing like spending a nice morning walk gagging every few feet.
The prime suspect is a certain neighbor that I would expect this type of thing from.  They only got their dog last spring as a pup and they don’t seem to take much interest in her.  Rather than supervising her or using a rope to keep her on their property they allow her to run around the neighboring yards using them as a bathroom and play space.  Eventually when they think she should come home they activate a shock collar as their way of calling her.  It is clearly painful, she cowers and yelps and becomes suspicious of anyone around her, as if they are the ones hurting her. She has even snapped at me when it has gone off while trying to drag her out of our yard and it won’t surprise me if she ends up biting someone because of the collar. I think it’s inhumane and it certainly doesn’t seem effective.
I can’t help but feel sorry for this dog it isn’t her fault she hasn’t been trained.  Any faults with a dog or its leavings for that matter is the fault of the owners.  I suspect I’m going to end up picking up all these bags myself and throwing them out but I’m going to try the note thing first.  I doubt it will work if it is who I suspect as they have proven many times over to be rather inconsiderate people with a stick up their you know what.  I’ll try though because for some reason the thought of picking up someone else’s dog bag really grosses me out.

Dino Phone Attack - Storyboard Animatic


So I'm working on this project for school, I'm gonna explain about it a little bit later. It's pretty huge because we're working in association with the local movie theaters so I really hope they'll like it.

Check out the Animatic Storyboard

A Musical Note


I picked up front row tickets this weekend for Matt Dusk who is coming to perform in Winnipeg in a few weeks.   He is a Canadian Jazz singer I’ve really enjoyed listening to for the past few years and I’m really looking forward to the show.  I love jazz and the old big band style music and he ranks pretty high on my list of favorite singers for this type of music. Number one will of course always be Ol’ Blue Eyes. My favorite song is "One For my Baby"  and Matt Dusk has made a cover of it. It can't compare to Frank Sinatra but I really do enjoy it.   


It’s funny as a teenager I would have said rock and roll or go home.  I still enjoy what I suppose is now known as classic rock but I’m not limited to it. I hate hearing when a DJ announces “an old song but a good song” and then realize it’s one of my favorites that I can clearly remember being released.  I’m not old, so why is the music I listen to considered old or classic?  The 80’s weren’t that long ago. Ok maybe they were.  I suppose it doesn’t help that a lot of my favorite music is as far back as the turn of the century.  Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer anyone?
My girls are the biggest reminder of how much music has really changed.  They don’t quite get what a record or cassette is.  A few months ago we had gone to pick up some stuff for costumes at a thrift store and I overheard A ask E what a 45 record was.  She responded with “it’s what old people listened to music on, it’s just a big CD”.  Face meet palm. I still have some records in a box somewhere.  
Lurking in the back of the storage room is a big box of old media. It’s full of VHS tapes, cassettes, records and CDs.  They have all been relegated to storage as obsolete and unneeded. I’m not sure why we keep them I haven’t pulled out that box in years and even if I did I wouldn’t have anything to play them on. I think my walkman may be in the box although I recall it had a tendency to eat tapes.    
 I think I should stop thinking about music for awhile before I start talking about how music has changed and how it’s not like it used to be, etc ,etc. Then I’ll really make myself feel out of touch. 

Unpredictable motions.

I believe that the grieving process is analogous to a wave (as I’ve heard it said). Grief has motions. Grief can overpower, regardless how prepared you are. It doesn’t matter if you see it coming. It doesn’t matter how much time has passed since the loss, nor does it matter how many tears have been shed.

I had been meaning to look for some of my running memorabilia that had been tucked away for a few years. So, tonight, after Sarah & I devoured our tasty shredded chicken with cheese and tomato sandwiches for dinner, I decided to see if I could find the running bibs among the pile of paperwork, pictures and scrapbooks in the basement.

As I sift through the paperwork, I come upon some pictures of the girls as babies.

And then a few of the “first” drawings the girls made that Sarah is saving.

A picture of me sprawled out on a hotel bed after completing the Disney Marathon in 2006.

Remembering that a few years ago Sarah was going to put together a running memory book for me, I open a scrapbook.

Abigail.

A picture of Sarah pregnant.

Another picture – this one is dated April 2006. This picture is a side view of Sarah talking to her cousin. Sarah is about seven months pregnant with Abigail and she is glowing.

My heart sinks.

Sure, I’m tired. It had been a long day. I didn’t sleep well last night. I tend to be more emotional when tired.

I continue to flip through the book. Another picture, this one is of Sarah with Abigail inside her womb and it is dated June 1, 2006.

The tears well up. I cry.

Sarah is upstairs and I want to go up and hug her – tell her I am so sorry she has to live with the grief.

The wave is crashing over me and there is nothing I can do so I just cry and let the wave crash.

Abigail Ruth was born still on June 4, 2006. The waves continue.


First Candle

Beauty and the Beast Meet and Greet

If there is a toy Allie, Anna and Emily have played with a lot, I would have to say their Fisher Price Little People is at the top of the list. We have gotten so much mileage out of those little figurines! (I now have the LP theme song by Aaron Neville in my head, thank you.) In addition to the standard LP house, barn, and airport, the girls have been gifted a Thanksgiving set and LP nativity set as well. I'm pretty sure they have one of each of the LP characters, including three Sonya Lee figurines.

When I saw the girls line up their Little People figures to meet the Beauty and The Beast characters it was purely awesome. I grabbed my FLIP video:

Car Weather

I can’t stand the wait any longer! All I want to do is take the car out of the garage and go for a spin. My husband and I have always loved Camaros, and the one we own may not be our dream car but it is close enough to pass muster. My dream car is a 69 COPO Camaro with a ZL1 engine.  I know that in all probability I’ll never own one as only 69 of these were ever produced and the few that still exist are a little on the pricey side.  As in would cost more than my house.  So until I figure out how to get my hands on one this will do nicely. 

This car is a 35th anniversary Camaro (02) which on its own isn’t really impressive but it is in show room condition with a number of custom features.  It has never seen snow or rain (quite a feat in Manitoba) and it is lovingly shined and polished.  It has very low Km (see the no snow or ice part) and I plan (as does my husband) on making this car last long enough to join the ranks of classic cars.  
I’m beginning to get a little antsy to get the car out of the garage and back on the road though.  It has been a long winter with it in storage and I’m looking forward to a warm summer evening when we join in with the other car enthusiasts of Winnipeg for Sunday Night Cruise.
It’s nice to just go for a drive simply for the sake of going for a drive. Cruise night is all about enjoying a little drive, checking out the throngs of classic and custom cars in Winnipeg and enjoying the low grumble of powerful engines.  Driving a standard through downtown Winnipeg where I swear traffic lights are synchronized to stop you as often as possible reminds you what driving is really all about. I appreciate the ease of an automatic but once in awhile it feels like I’m not really driving I’m just along for the ride. 
Well last year the car was out very at the beginning of April so I’m hoping for a repeat.  At the rate the snow is melting it is still possible.  I can even see grass already not much but hey it’s grass.  Car weather is defiantly coming (I hope).

Zzzzzzz

That first half hour every morning I swear I’m sleep walking.  I’ve never been a morning person I’m not one of those people who wakes up and is awake. I’m still half asleep for the first ½ hour or so until I’ve had that first cup of coffee. You may want to wait until I’ve started the second to even chance speaking to me. 
I know I can be a little moody and cranky when I first get up, in fact I’d say I’m a total bitch.  I really don’t mean to be cranky I can’t help it. Until I’ve started moving around asking me a question frustrates me and makes me snap because I honestly can’t think. My brains still stuck in sleep mode.  I am literally blurry eyed and some mornings when my glasses have strayed during the night it is even worse. All of my concentration is on staying upright and not allowing my eyes to slam back shut.  If I could I would happily go back to sleep in an instant.  If I even thought about lying back down when I’m still in sleep mode I would be out before my head hit the pillow.
My husband and my little one are the type of people who when they open their eyes are wide awake instantly. There is no weird zoned space for them between sleep and awake.  Going to sleep they are both like that as well, awake one second asleep the next. My husband has literally fallen asleep mid-sentence, he’ll take a normal pause in conversation and rather than continue he is suddenly asleep.  He’ll start with a “well I think….” Or a “hey I was wondering…..” and that’s it he’s out and snoring.   I’m always left wondering what the rest of the sentence was going to be.
I take forever to fall asleep. Even when I’m sleeping well it takes me some time to get comfortable and fall asleep.  I’ve always wondered how the bed can be so bloody uncomfortable when I’m supposed to be going to sleep but feel like a cloud when I’m supposed to be getting up.
I’m on the subject of sleep today as I’ve been fighting a bout of insomnia the past few days and my morning sleepiness seems to be following me throughout the day regardless of how much coffee I drink. I’ve learnt there is nothing I can do about these bouts I just have to let them run its course. I‘ll eventually have a breaking point where I sleep well one night due to sheer exhaustion then it will be over and done with.  In the meantime I’m just going to rest my eyes for a few seconds….


P.S.  Was going to post a clip of "When Irish Eyes are smiliing" I recorded but haven't quite figured out how to upload an audio file.  Happy St. Patricks day anyways.

Partylite, Tupperware Etc.

 I’m going to a partylite party tonight.  I’ve finally realized something about all these types of parties.  When I was a kid I always wondered why my Mother bothered to go to these things she never really bought much of anything. She always complained about how expensive they were and how she could get basically the same thing for much cheaper somewhere else.  So why then did she go?  Why would she want to waste her evening that way?
Suddenly as a wife and mother I get it.  No one is really interested in the products, even the one throwing the party, everyone just wants to get away from their children/husband for a few hours.   These parties are just an excuse to get together, chat and to sit on our buts for more than a minute at a time.  Without some sort of reason to go we feel guilty abandoning the kids and husband to their own devices. 
I don’t think husbands and children really understand how a lot of women simply don’t sit down and relax.  I know I rarely stay sitting for more than a few moments.  There is always something that needs to be done or someone who wants something.  Before I know it the whole day has slipped away and I never really sat down.  If it wasn’t for PVRs I don’t think I would have seen a whole TV show in years. I used to be able to read a novel in one sitting now I’m lucky if I finish before it is due back to the library. It just seems there is always something I could or should be doing. 
It’s like when I say I’m heading to bed, I should just be able to go to bed but nope it takes me forever to actually get there.  I feed the fish, walk the dog put away all the mitts and toques on the radiators, put the odd dish here and there away, pick up some toys, check on the kids, pick up some more odds and ends, make sure I have everything for the next day lunches, check homework is done and on and on.  By the time I actually go to bed I can’t rightly say what I was doing the whole time but it’s an hour later than when I said time for bed.    
 I’m not really blaming anyone, it’s not that others in the house don’t care they just don’t see it. Bless my husband who does help out around the house as do my children but they don’t see the little stuff or realize how much time that little stuff takes.  Their version of clean and mine are simply two different creatures.  They look around the house and see about the same amount of things I would if I were to go around without my glasses or contacts on.  And I have REALLY bad eyesight.  I’m constantly thinking about what needs to be done and feel I can’t really relax until it’s all done and it’s never all done.  Tonight though I’m going to go buy some very important and needed candles and sit down for awhile.

Warming up!

Finally it has begun to warm up; I actually had the kitchen window open for awhile. Ok I burnt lunch and it wasnt' really by choice but it was open.  I really don’t have much time for writing today so I’m just going to do a top ten list of my favorite parts of spring.
10) Baby deer, I’m sick of the adults but the fawns are still cute
9) Spending ten minutes outside without going numb
8) Less outdoor clothes, yeah no ski pants!
7) Playing my harmonica outside without it freezing to my lips (you only do that once)
6) BBQ (steak night!)
5)  I can start doing outdoor projects and stop thinking up new ones
4) Bonfires (bonfire pit is currently under about 5-6 ft of snow, minimum)
3) Watching all the trees and plants coming to life (except all the dead ones at the neighbors)
2) The fresh smell (that doesn’t come from a spray bottle)
1) It isn’t winter
Three Cheers for spring!

Dance Partners


I often play music when in the kitchen or doing chores around the house and once in awhile my husband and I will stop whatever it is that we are doing and dance together.  Nothing fancy just a really long swaying hug accompanied by music. Our kids will look at us as if we have gone insane and say “eww that’s gross”. You can tell they don’t really mean it though. They have a certain light in their eyes that tells me that they may think it is gross but they also like seeing and knowing that they have parents who honestly love each other.
Some people probably think that it is a little silly but those few moments taken out of our busy lives are precious.  I think divorce rates would be lower if all couples stopped and danced together once in awhile.  Dancing connects us, brings us closer and makes us fall in love a bit more each time. It is a few moments to let go of everything else and just be together. I honestly believe it to be a part of why we are still such a strong couple.  It strips away the years and reminds us of why we started to love each other in the first place.
I feel blessed to have found someone who will dance with me even if it’s only in my own kitchen. It reminds me that I have a partner who will dance with me at any time or place and who will take each step with me in the biggest dance of all.  The dance called life.
 The steps may not always be graceful and we may occasionally stumble but we always hold on to one another and help the other to find their footing.  Sometimes he leads and sometimes I lead, once in awhile no one leads at all we simply move as one.  We have even stepped on each other’s feet from time to time but we always muddle our way through to the next step. 
It may only be a metaphor but I think there is something to it. It’s these types of moments in life that we remember and that make all the routine ones worthwhile.  I dance with our kids as does my husband and I’m certain they will always remember it. I dance with them to big band music swinging and spinning them around.  They love it and they love dancing with their Dad to the slower songs standing on his feet. 
Well whether dancing really is a part of what keep us as a couple and a family happy or not doesn’t really matter.  Maybe it’s the other way around and we dance because we’re already happy to begin with. I don’t know but we will certainly keep doing it.  If you have someone important in your life and have never danced with them in your own kitchen or if it has been a long time I really recommend you give it a try. It is definitely worth the effort.

Tried to work on facial expressions here

Update

I am very happy to say I believe I have begun to find the joy in writing again. I’m beginning to feel I was right and the act of writing does become easier with each successive day.  I have even noticed a difference in my writing between Mondays and Fridays. After the weekend and not writing for 2 or 3 days Mondays are much harder to write, it takes me longer to get into the mindset and get going.  By Friday the words seem to flow faster and with greater ease.
I know this is only a few weeks in and my opinions and ideas may change but right now I’m enjoying blogging very much.  When I started out I was worried I wouldn’t be able to think of anything to write about.  I’m finding that the more I write the more ideas I come up with. I may eventually begin to run out of ideas but I don’t think so.
I’ve begun to realize that creativity is like a muscle, the more you use it the bigger and stronger it becomes.  I have started a list of ideas to blog about and it seems to be continually growing. So far I haven’t had to go to that list to get me going when I sit down to start my daily writing. It seems there is always something in my mind waiting and ready to go.
 I have a rather short period of time in which I can sit and write so I really need to apologize for my lack of editing.  I seem to only have enough time for a quick once through and a run of spell check.  I’m not a terrible speller but I seem to have lost a bit of my typing abilities and I often misspell simple words over and over again or have words run together or forget punctuation that leads to a run on sentence. Like the one I just wrote.  
I’m also finding if I go back and reread a post later on in the day I’ll see that I’ve missed a word or that something doesn’t quite make sense.  I’m beginning to realize the importance of editing and how you can look at your own writings differently depending on whether you are actively writing it or reading it once your mind has moved on to other things. I realize I have very little grammatical knowledge but I am trying.  
So, sorry about that.
I found the stats section for my blog the other day and I was surprised to see that I do have a few people who are reading what I write each day. I thought knowing people are reading what I write would make me terribly self-conscious but it hasn’t.  In fact I would very much like to hear from you what you think either through comments or email if you would prefer. Thank you to those who have been reading along.  I look forward to sharing more of my thoughts.

Elmo and Minnie play hopscotch with the girls.

We FINALLY got a break from a LONG winter last weekend when temperatures crept up to into the low 60s for a day. It might as well have been 80.

Sarah & I did not waste a minute getting the girls dressed and OUT of the house for some playtime. Let’s hope we get some more of these days soon because, like I said, it has been a L O N G winter and we can tell by the girls’ behavior that they are kind of tired of being in the house all day, most days. We spent about an hour and a half outside and the girls had a blast!

Here is a clip of Allie, Anna, Emily, and their "friends" playing hop-scotch, and using their Cozy Coops and doll strollers:


Adult-Proof

As I’ve mentioned previously I have had a cold that seems to want to stick around. It is more or less gone now but I seem to have been left with a bit of a sinus infection.  So I bought some sinus medication to try and relieve the pressure. I couldn’t get it open. 
To start with the box itself was wrapped in plastic. The type with no discernible edge to it but comes off easily enough once you manage to cut it and get it started.  No problem right? Well no but then I took out the bottle and that is where the problems started.  
It had that shrink wrapped safety seal that you find wrapped around the tops of various medication and foods. For some reason even our butter now comes safety sealed. Anyways if this had a “tear here” spot I couldn’t find it and after jabbing myself with scissors and trying to tear it off with my teeth I finally got under an edge with a knife and it started to peel off.  About half-way it ripped and I couldn’t find an edge to tear the rest off.  The rest of which was still keeping the lid firmly locked in place. At this point I’d been trying to open it for 5 minutes and was beginning to get a wee bit ticked off.  I finally got the rest off and could turn the lid which sure enough was child-proof.  
Couldn’t open the lid, it’s the type where you push down while turning and it will supposedly open. All I got were the little clicks that seem to mock you with each turn.  I decided to give up and try again later once I wasn’t a breath away from finding a hammer and smashing the bottle to teeny tiny little bits. I was too angry at this point to bother. Except then my 6 year old picks it up and says “I’ll open it for you mommy” and sure enough she did.  See that’s just not right she’s the one this “feature” is supposed to prevent from opening the container not me.
Finally I can take the overpriced medication that promises instant relief!  Nope, another safety seal.  This one the type you find sealing virtually every imaginable product available these days.  You know the ones that are sealed onto the mouth of bottles of ketchup, spices, salad dressing and every other condiment under the sun. The ones that are supposed to have that little tab so you can easily pull it off. Hah yeah right, back to the knife.
Thankfully the kids had left the room as by this point as my mutterings had turned into a full blown blue streak of cursing.  I’m not the type of person to curse much but if I get ticked off enough I can get quite creative.  Finally I got the last seal off and I even managed to do it without drawing blood.
Ahhhh finally relief.
Well relief that the bottle was actually open the medication didn’t do a damn thing. After all that it didn’t help at all in fact it just made my nose run which was actually worse.  Guess I’ll just have to stick to Tylenol and wait it out.  I’ll get my 6 year old to open the bottle for me.    

Losing my Socks

Ok I know it’s a long standing joke to lose socks in the wash but seriously where the heck do they go? Is there some magic sock vortex that causes socks to disappear and reappear?  It never fails each and every time I do laundry I will find at least one sock without a mate.  I don’t find myself tossing out single socks often so the second one does usually appear at some point.  So where did it go in between washes? I used to search for missing socks and could never find them.  Now I just wait for them to come back on their own and somehow they always do. 
 I don’t get it, and it isn’t just socks that do this.  A favorite shirt or some small item will disappear without warning and then weeks, months sometimes years later it reappears.  It’s rarely found in a weird spot, not jammed behind a piece of furniture or anything it’s just suddenly where I know I’ve looked a million times or even where the item belongs. 
I hate to lose things. I’m a very organized person and have a place where each thing belongs and I rarely neglect to put an item back where it belongs as soon as I’m done with it.  I hate replacing things I have a vague recollection of having somewhere.  Of course I haven’t quite trained my kids (or husband) to be so meticulous and things are bound to go missing but the sock thing really bugs me. 
I think it’s because somehow I never seem to have enough socks.  It’s not just because of the ones that go missing in the wash. It’s the ones that disappear from my drawer. Years ago my husband would steal my socks; if he ran out he would just take a pair from my drawer. I’m sure he must have noticed when he was running out of socks and could have either a) told me or b) run a load of wash himself but apparently that never occurred to him.
Instead what would happen is the next time I did laundry I would find a couple pairs of my socks stretched beyond recognition and no longer wearable or at least not by me.  I don’t understand how a ladies size 7 sock was at all comfortable on a man with size 11 feet but that didn’t stop him.  Eventually I stopped buying plain socks for myself and began wearing colorful patterned ones and he stopped stealing them.
For the past few years I haven’t had a problem now however my oldest daughter has started stealing mine.  I found a couple of my pairs in her hamper this wash day.  I know she has plenty of her own. They just don’t happen to find their way to her hamper as often as they should.  They get left at friends after a sleepover, under her desk, behind her bed or stuffed in the bottom of her gym bag. 
It is always just after the last load of laundry is in the washer and I’ve pressed start that she finds them.  I would just add them in but once you press start on my washer it locks and you can’t open it until the wash cycle is complete.  So they go in her hamper and by the time I have enough to make another full load she’s wearing socks with holes.  Or that’s how it used to work.  Now that her feet are almost the same size as mine she’s decided stealing mine is a better idea than keeping her room clean or wearing holey socks.
Between the dryer eating them and my family deciding my socks are up for grabs I’m going to end up with some awfully cold feet.  My daughter is perfectly happy to wear any pattern sock so changing the type I wear isn’t going to help this time. Maybe I should put a lock on my sock drawer.
Nah, I’d probably lose the key.

Character Development - For The Pixar Master Class Character Design Contest!


I started developing all sort of different characters from fairy tales, I probably have like 10 characters from different stories\fairy tales\myths that I'm currently working on, so I'm gonna keep developing these character for the contest. I'll explain more about the contest soon.

My characters for Cut-Out Animation class




Soccer Daze


 
Soccer registration was this past weekend.  It’s hard to believe that soccer season is so close when you look outside at the mountains of snow and the still cold temperatures. This is the first year both girls will be playing and we will have either a practice or game every night of the week except for Saturdays.  It’s going to be nuts.  My oldest now plays competitively so she plays games twice a week and practices twice a week.  For her the season will start mid-April.  My little one is thankfully only in the house league which means games only no practices and she will play twice a week starting early May.  So from May until the tail end of June it will be soccer, soccer and a bit more soccer.     
I will almost certainly be coaching again this year which means I really have to be at every game and practice.  I’m hoping that we have enough volunteers this year that I won’t need to coach for both girls teams though. I would love to sit down a few games and just cheer for them rather than try to keep track of who is in what position and when they were last subbed.  It can get a little confusing at times.
It’s sad to see that so many kids get registered to play yet there are so few parents willing to step up and volunteer. The most common excuse is that they don’t know anything about soccer, well a few years ago neither did I. Soccer didn't seem to be around when I was a kid it was all baseball and I knew nothing about the sport.  I still get confused by what constitutes as offside sometimes but the girls don’t care they just want to play. I do understand people hesitancy to coach it is difficult to get 14 or so girls to pay attention to you and follow direction with out a good deal of patience and the right attitude. There are many other ways in which parents can help out. They can help to organize the district jamboree, be a bench mom, flag duty, help organize the team windup or even just help the coaches to collect all the markers and balls from after a game or practice.  For the house league (under 9 age group) a parent or guardian HAS to remain at the field so if your there anyways why not help out?
One of the hardest things to get people to do for some reason is flag duty. All they have to do is walk up and down the sideline and raise a flag when the ball goes out of bounds and indicate which team was the last to touch the ball.  Pretty simple but each time I would start walking across the field with the flag everyone would suddenly find a reason to pay attention to everything other than me and even refuse to risk making eye contact.  Eventually I stopped waiting for someone to speak up and tossed the flag to the first parent that came into view. I know not necessarily the fairest way to decide but it was effective. 

Regardless of if I see their games this year as either a coach or just a parent I look forward to seeing them play and have fun.