Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat!

Or 'chock a chock', as Claire put it.

This is what Halloween was made of at our house this year.

Pikachu and Monster Face pumpkins.

Two Clone Troopers. Commander Cody and Captain Rex.

One extra twirly Tinkerbell. Complete with big blue eyes.

And one very cute Peter Pan.

When combined with an elementary school Halloween dance, a beavers/cubs Halloween party, a library story hour Halloween party and one gymnastics party, all before the big event itself? That's a lot of use out these costumes this year.

There was already talk of what they'll be next year. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Yuck.

It's been raining for a few days now. It's a little grey, inside and out. It's still dark now when the boys get on the bus this morning. There's no leaves left on our big old hardwood out front.


Sigh. Winter is coming.

Hmm. Is there anything I do like about winter?

It is beautiful.

I would add snow play, but we're a few years away from that being somewhat easy. I love joining my big boys out there, but can't do it nearly enough because of the little ones. I try, but a bundled up toddler who can't operate the snowpants and boots combo, who wants to take her hat and mittens off, and a frustrated baby who wants to nurse through the gazillion layers is not my idea of fun. It's a little complicated.

Sometimes I really look forward to the day my kids are all school age. I want to ski with my kids, cross-country and downhill. I want to snowshoe. Horseback ride. Canoe.

On the bright side, I laid Max down for a nap today when he was still awake. He was drowsy, but awake. Sounds unimpressive, but it's a good step towards routine naps. Usually, I nurse him to sleep or rely on the bouncy chair to help him soothe himself to sleep. One more step away from his newborn days.

One foot in front of the other, one step at a time. I know I'll miss the babies when they're all running around.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The fog is lifting

The sleepy fog that is.

Mister Mo, Maximillian, Maximilious Oliverious, Chunka Munka butterball (the nicknames are getting out of hand for this poor kid!), our beautiful boy Max is three months old.

And I feel... rested. Calm. Happy.

I feel PRODUCTIVE!

The organizing/ purging/ cleaning/ decorating bug has hit me hard. It's funny how similar my feelings are to this post on Claire hitting the golden baby sleeping age.

I'm excited to post soon on my friend Johanna's blog, Birds on a Wire, as a part of her Seeking Balance guest blogger series. From the many directions I could have gone on the topic of balance - balancing motherhood and career, what you are and what you want to be, food health and kids - to name a few, I'm going to post on my biggest balancing act right now, housework with kids. I'll let you know when it's up, but you should check out her blog anyway, love her!

In lue of my reorganizing, I was searching online for chalkboard tags that I thought I had seen on Pottery Barn. I actually think I can make them, I just wanted to find the picture again. They're little tags you tie to baskets and label them with chalk. Great for our ever-changing toy storage needs, and I thought I could even draw little pictures of the basket contents along with the word for my pre-readers. It really helps with cleanup time for the kids to be able to see where the toys belong, and keeps groups of toys together for easier play. I've done this before with laminated photos. Although the toy photo shoot with the kids was really fun, it was a bit of a process to print, laminate, and affix the labels, so it was a bit daunting to keep up with anytime the storage changed. I highly recommend the end product though if you want to go for it!

I didn't find them, but while I was looking for the tags I found this!


Pottery Barn's Daily System. Isn't it cool? Again, I'm not going to buy it, but it gave me great ideas. I was just thinking this morning that my organizing tools are all over the place. A binder on the counter (and we have very little counter space to begin with), a corkboard in the playroom for the kids to-do's, a calendar and a clip with school notes taking up the fridge, and a whiteboard on one of the kitchen walls. I think with a couple of magazine holders like these ones and everything on one wall though, it would make so much more sense. And if it was in the office, there would be no more papers floating around in the kitchen? That in itself would be impressive.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

For the Record.

I love Halloween. Maybe it's the NSCAD-er in me (Art and design students made Halloween a real event! One Medusa in particular stands out in my mind.), but it's one of my favorite times of the year. 

This year though, I've kinda sucked.

Admitting I was overextended (new baby, renovations, everyday chaos!) I opted to skip major Halloween creativity this year. My kids don't care. They're blissfully rocking their Star Wars costumes. (Seth ripped up the dance floor last night at their school dance. Cutest moves EVER!) It's just me really. The pride in 'I made that' and 'My baby's so cute' and having really great original costume ideas.

Not to mention after a year of pregnancy and then moving on to breastfeeding, I could really go for a night out at a great Halloween party.

But I look at the great big sweet cheeks on my breastfed babe and conceed that Halloween will happen again next year, and the year after that, and the year after that. I only get to enjoy this newborn right now, this year. I don't want a night out badly enough to do bottles and formula, or pumping for that matter.

For the record though?

I had great costume ideas for our little group.

Great costume idea #1: Peter Pan
Claire could be Tinkerbell, Thane go out as Captain Hook, Seth as Peter Pan, and Max? The alligator. Another idea starred Claire as Tinkerbell and my boys as the Lost Boys. (With the cute little forest costumes ~ a raccoon, a fox, a skunk ~ they wore in the Disney movie.)

Great idea #2: Where the Wild Things Are
Max would be Max, King of the Wild Things, and the others, The Wild Things. Cool costume possibilities here. Not to mention they would play their parts well! Wild Ruckus' happen daily at our house!

#3: The good old Star Wars theme
So many options. The boys and I were brainstorming a homemade R2D2 for Seth, or maybe he would play the role of mister Luke Skywalker himself, Thane was pondering C3PO until he came up with General Grievous, Claire Yoda (mostly because the boys thought that would be hilarious), and Max, Chewbacca. Which I thought would be hilarious. Oh, and this one included Mommy as Princess Leia (Of course, who doesn't want to be Princess Leia at least once in their life? Not the sexy slave Leia though, the normal Leia would do just fine!) and Daddy as Darth Vader.

And #4, my personal favorite: Alice in Wonderland
Mommy as Alice, and the kids all the characters from Wonderland. The Cheshire Cat (Max), the White Rabbit (Seth), and the Mad Hatter (Thane). I feel like I fell down the rabbit's hole some days! Oh yes, we thought Claire would make a great Queen of Hearts. I'm sure her pre-language shrieks could be roughly translated to "OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!".

Cutest costume ever.

I have not been on the ball for halloween this year. But I really wish I had got this for Max.


So incredibly cute.

It's cuteness is closely followed by this.


Found these on SweetPeaToadTots, another etsy treasure.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

100th post!

This is my 100th post, so I feel like I have to write something spectacular about something really significant.

But all I have are bits about the kids.

That's perfect.

*     *     *

This week, Seth lost his first tooth. We were visiting Troy's parents in Nova Scotia. He came running in from the living room, holding his tooth high in the air, so excited to show us. I can't believe I have TWO big boys.

Today in the van, Seth, my new kindergardener, was telling me the sounds different letters make. He's so proud of himself, finally gaining admittance into this world of letters and reading that his brother is so good at now. "G says Guh. P goes Puh." he says. Then he laughs, "Ha ha, pee." Boys.

*     *     *

Thane is excited about something!

This is the boy who we have to force into everything. Joiner he has never been. Thane is, has always been, the one who wants to stay home, the first to argue, and the first to list what he hates about something. That sounds extremely unpleasant, he's really not, but definitely introverted he is.

At two, I signed Thane up for mom and baby gymnastics. We quit half way through the season, it wasn't worth the fight. We've made him take swimming lessons for the last 6 years (we believe everyone needs to be a good swimmer), he just started liking them last year, once he became a good swimmer. Last winter, he wanted to take basketball. He hated it. He actually sat down in the middle of a game once. I was really glad it was me there, Troy (the athlete parent) would have died a thousand deaths. A few years ago, we made him take skating lessons and see out the season (another skill we thought important, we're Canadian dammit!), he hated those too. But now he knows how to skate and loves free skate at the arena. We've decided it really is in his best interest to keep pushing him, it usually turns out for the best. 

But you know what? Thane loves Cub Scouts! This week, week three of scouts I think, he was dressed and ready to go a half hour early. He has to go sell apples tomorrow, and he's pumped about it! He has his first project this week, to find and label six leaves, and he's so excited to do it.

I'm so glad.

*     *     *

And this. So we forgot Claire's beloved blankie in Nova Scotia at Grammie and Grampy Hutt's house. It was a sad thing. Luckily, Grammie mailed it quickly. This is the reunion. Claire didn't know whether to be happy or cry! (Sorry about the sideways view, I forgot you can't rotate a video like you can a photo!)



*     *     *

And hence the name of my blog, I'll wrap up my first 100 posts with tiny muses on daily life, inspired by my own personal tiny muses. Happy 100th post to me!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Not so toxic, one ingredient at a time.

Been lost in the blogoshpere tonight, and thought you all might enjoy these sites as much as I.
  • One Hungry Mama - A whole site on my favorite notion about food, that 'kids food' is a ridiculous idea. Hungry Mama serves up awesome, healthful recipes and tips for the whole family eating as one. She lead me to the next two finds:
  • Food and Water Watch: Seafood Guide - A consumers guide to fish. What to steer away from, what to gravitate to, in terms of both safety AND sustainablity. Considering we should all be getting at least three servings of fish a week (to get those omega 3's!), this is useful info for me.
  • Another food guide, a Shoppers Guide to Pesticides on our fruit and veggies. Offers a list of the dirty dozen, foods laden with pesticides and worth paying more for organic, and a Clean 15, foods lower in pesticides and not the biggest worry on your grocery list.
  • Healthy Child Healthy World offers 5 Easy Steps, along with a plethora of other information, to a less toxic environment for you and your children. 
  • David Suzuki is one friend you should add to your facebook list. His links are interesting and informative, full of what you can do. Today's article was about the toxins in your cosmetics. It's ridiculous how many toxins we're exposing ourselves and our families to before we sit down to breakfast.  
  • This site, Less Toxic Guide, is one I frequent to research the products I am using. Their list breaks down products by what's available locally, and what is Best, Good, or Simply Unscented, based on the toxity of the ingredients.
  • On that note, I'm currently reading The Green Beauty Guide, by Julie Gabriel. Tres informative and interesting, highly recommend it if you like good tips on how to live less ridiculously.
Do you have a feeling that the pendulum of stupid industrialized ideas (ie: using toxic chemicals in just about EVERYTHING) may be swinging the other way? That we're wising up and raising kids who know better than to live and produce this way? Kids who will grow up and dig us out of this toxic environment we've created?

I do. I have a good feeling about this.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Where's the Mittens?

It's that time of year again. We had to dig for mittens.



On go the winter coats, the heavy boots, and the toques. Squeeze little Maxwell into his fluffy suit. It's like putting spagetti in a pipe! Add about half an hour to our getting out the door time. Oh yes, and don't forget the mittens. If you can find two that match.

*          *          *

I'm attempting to knit a toque for Maxwell, but I think it may end up fitting Claire. Apparently I have a little work to do on my gauging skills. I don't really know how to knit. I just generally decide I want to make something and figure out how to do it as I go. Kind of like my sewing. And my renovating. And my mothering!


It's a simple little hat with a roll up brim. Whoever it fits, this color will look great with his or her sea-blue eyes.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wishlist.

Pretty little play kitchen bowls.
Sandpaper letters (something I've been meaning to make for a while now). They're for teaching writing skills.
This bridge. For Mister Max.

 A playsize cute little old cupboard.

 A handmade wallet like this. With spots for cards and a zipper for change...

but cute, like this!


I, I mean, my kids, must have one of these houses. I remember every little detail of these houses. Now, A-frame or Tudor? Decisions, decisons.


And the people that go in them of course.

And did I mention this awesome jewelery display? Art, function, nostaglia, all mixed into one!

Oh, and a labeler. 'Cause I'm that cool.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Eagles.

Yesterday I saw two eagles attacking a goose. In the middle of the river. It was weird.

I pulled over, mostly because I kept gawking sideways and thought I might eventually crash driving that way, but unfortunately neither Troy or the boys were with me to appreciate the coolness and craziness of it. I tried to show it to Claire, but she didn't get what I was talking about.

Today, we (meaning me pushing Claire and Max all bundled up in their stroller) went for a walk with my Mom. Who, by the way, hurt herself the other day, and I can still barely keep up with her. 

We walk on a trail that follows the river (the trans-Canada walking trail made from the old railroad tracks route), and today on our walk an eagle flew along the river beside us as we walked.

The eagles never get old. They're spectacular.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thanksgiving

Upcycled wool pumpkins!
This year, I give thanks for:
  • My sweet smelling new boy. More to love.
  • My amazing, supportive, family-focused, intelligent, entertaining, hard-working hottie husband.
  • My other three bambinos. The thinker, the lovey, the comedian.
  • Living in a blessed place. Full of beauty and natural riches, graced with peace and plenty to eat. My family is safe and fortunate.
  • Our health.
  • Our loved ones. Our big crazy families. We are lucky to have so many people who love us so much.
  • For getting to grow up and have everything I ever wanted.

Kid Quotables

While eating dinner at a restaurant the other night, a little girl from a nearby table comes over and starts chatting to us, being a little wild. Her mother quickly scooped her up.

Seth looks at us, "I'm not marrying her, for her is CRAZY!"

Good to know he's keeping his options open, at the ripe old age of five. Hope he remembers the no crazy girls rule later in life.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Oh me oh my.


Max has had a fussy day, leaving Claire bored, mischievious, and looking for attention. So far in Claire's path of destruction today...
  1. Several rows of the toque I was knitting. As if I'm not a slow enough knitter to begin with.
  2. Two pages of Where the Wild Things Are.
  3. A box of screws.
  4. Her brothers construction paper caterpillar.
  5. A set of lego instructions.
  6. And one glass broken, with it's contents, a berry smoothy, on a cloth chair.
All this after I woke up to Claire coloring herself with a fluorescent pink marker.

Is it bedtime yet?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Oh baby.


I love that smile.

One Year

We bought Halloween costumes today. I gave in and addressed my illusions that I would have time to make them this year, and let the kids enjoy the morning perusing the costume aisle. Sometimes, the best way to do the to-do list is to just delete items from it.
 
It was almost a year ago now that we moved into this house. We had celebrated Halloween as super heroes, having put in a couple months of do-it-ourselves work on the house. Troy spent his days on the house, and we would return again for a late night of renos after the kids were tucked in at my parents. We felt quite in the clear with our youngest a year old, our baby days behind us, a whirlwind of renovations ahead of us. We moved in admist the reno chaos in early November, and within weeks realized we were expecting again.

Troy and I, the caped defenders of 2009, unaware of the crazy 2010 had in store for us!

My cute little Wolverine and Robin.
Some days it feels like we've bitten off too much, like we can't possibly do it all, that we must be crazy. But indulge me, let me list what we HAVE done over this past year.
  • Upon buying our house, we had a moat dug around it and replaced two of the basement walls, original old three feet thick stone walls, that were on their way to caving in.
  • We also had a basement floor insulated and poured, where there was once only a dirt floor.
  • We revived the buried basement door and the wood furnace, to heat our home with wood instead of oil. (A cost savings and feature I love now, the rythym of heating our home with a fire is peaceful. After last year though, hiring someone to cut our wood was high on my priority list this year).
  • We replaced the leaking roof and cleaned out and reinsulated the attic. Craziest job ever. Have you ever examined a bat skeleton? I have. As creeped out as I was, I actually considered bringing it down to show the boys, because I knew they would be uber impressed. Instead though, I promptly vacuumed it into the shop vac.
  • We gutted the entire top floor, three bedrooms, insulated, drywalled, painted, rewired, and refloored. Someday, we might even get the mouldings on. A job that seems it may never come to fruition.
  • We added closets to the boys room. The outsides of which are yet to be finished.
  • We did the same to our lower floor bedroom. And added an awesome master closet under the stairs, lined in delicious fragrant cedar.
  • There was an outdoor pump house that was replumbed to be indoors, and the scary child-trap house dug out and filled in. Can you tell it worried me slightly?
  • Much dug up lawn was raked, rock picked and seeded, although there's oh-so-much to go. This is a task that has been so overlooked in the midst of a very pregnant / newborn baby summer while I wasn't up to it and Troy was needed elsewhere.
  • New heating and new plumbing has been done, as well as the piping for central vac that will eventually be installed.
  • There was a second washroom added in the laundry, and the laundry room rearranged to make more sense.
  • Troy built fabulous basement storage shelves for all things toted. Christmas decorations, camping and sports gear, kids clothes out of cycle. 
  • A dishwasher was added, thank God, and a garburator as well, two things I missed so much.
  • We also cut a hole in the wall to recess our refridgerator. To say our modern gigantaur fridge didn't fit before doing so is an understatement.
  • We've un-wallpapered a third of the rooms we aren't gutting, in preparation to paint. The paint is bought, the new flooring is bought, now just to do it sometime the inspiration strikes me!
  • Most recently, Troy and my father replaced our half-broken dining room sliding doors with larger, more beautiful garden doors.
  • Along the way, I've unpacked and purged, unpacked and organized, and unpacked and purged some more. We've fought with critters (I think the house is mostly only inhabited by us now), and piece by piece we've carved out space to live and play in.
It sounds as though we might as well have built new, but that's not the case. I love this house. But I did know we'd have lots to do to it.

Before.

During.


   
Almost there.
  
Before.

Workin' hard.


 So close!

Before.
 De-rugged, not renovated, but definitely well-loved!

Our room, well in progress, just weeks before Maxwell's arrival.

 Done in time!

 New floors and all.

Not yet finished, but perfectly loveable.

 Areas undone, but carved out to live in.

 Lots of wallpaper and rug to remove. Next up!
I should do a 'Have Done' list more often, it feels great! Much better than looking over the 'To Do' list. I'm so excited to see what manifests in the next year.
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