Friday, March 31, 2006

vacation snippets

All in all a typical beach vacation. No schedules, no homework, no housework, minimal cooking. For the adults: reading all the newspaper while having one or two coffees, morning walks with MP3 player, supper out at great locations, leisurely shopping and browsing, catching up on celebrities lives via trashy magazines while sitting around the pool, people watching on the beach, golfing for hubby, spa afternoon for moi. For the kids: walk over to the pool, drive to the beach, tennis or driving range or putting in afternoon, play in local park, frisbee in backyard, trip to local zoo and kid's museum, visiting an uncle and the biggie, trip to Miami's Seaquarium. All in all didn't do much but still brought back tons of family memories.

In order for us to go to the beach we have to go over the Intercoastal waterway via a drawing bridge. Often we'll get stuck as the bridge goes up and down letting some boat through. Years ago, the first time we approached said bridge, big sis asked what a drawing bridge was to which hubby responded: "well you have to take your pencils and start drawing a bridge!" So now each time we approach it he starts with the "get your pencils ready, time to draw a bridge!" Somehow, makes the kids laugh each time. Now, back home and reminiscing over our holiday moments, baby girl keeps mentioning how she really liked the "coloring bridge" :) So sweet.

Another day, I went in a small shop and while waiting my turn at the cash was looking around and came upon this sign: "For any complaints or inquiries, please call Helen Waite" Get it? It's become somewhat of a joke now around here.

Then we went to the Seaquarium in Miami and at one point the sky opened up and rain poured out as I've never seen before. So we got stuck in this one building which houses this huge reef aquarium. Baby girl goes up to it and along comes this fish, a triggerfish hubby tells me. And baby girl and this fish proceed to "talk" to each other for a good half hour!! Baby girl would tilt her head one way and the fish would do the same, she would talk and then he would too. Was too cute. So of course now, she keeps talking about her friend the fish at the aquarium and how we are going back tosee him next year! Can't wait !! We are truly a family of beach lovers.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

we are back

and it was great :)

A perfect family holiday. Everyone got along splendidly, everyone got to do a bit of what they wanted. The greatness of it was the sheer lack of structure as opposed to our daily lives: we did whatever, whenever. And also in thousands of sweet indulgences.

Every morning we had the paper delivered to us so indulged in reading it ALL and doing the daily Soduko while drinking one or two cups of coffee, even Starbucks on more than a few occasions. Cooking was down to a minimum, breakie mostly, lunch on the go, supper at some neat place. Even grocery shopping was fun, we made it into a family adventure. We shopped, looked mostly at all the stuff they have there that we don't here. Minimal laundry and nearly no housework. No nagging to get homework done or pick up their toys. Daily morning walks while listening to my iTunes. Then bringing the kids to the pool and lying around reading some trashy star-studded magazine. Or packing up and spending a few hours at the beach, collecting seashells, people-watching, building sand castles, playing in the waves. Going to some nice restaurant and ordering a drink. We really didn't do much much, but that was the beauty of it.

As special treats and activities: hubby took golf lessons and played a few rounds, I spent a sublime half day at a spa, we played tennis, frisbee on the beach, went to a local zoo and kid's museum. Only two major outings: visiting an uncle and going to Miami's Seaquarium.

This was our sixth year at the same place so its a bit like returning home as we are acquainted with the whole area. We first went there when I was pregnant with the twins, then when they were 5 months old and every year thereafter. Things are definitely getting easier: no more bottles, diapers, formula, bibs, strollers, water wings, etc.

The twins couldn't quite grasp the concept that when we returned home there would still be some snow and expected to go to school with their shorts on! When we left, our driveway was one long skating rink and when we returned the first thing they literally did was hop on their bikes and rode up and down the driveway!! We left it was winter and we came back to spring, yoohoo!!

I'll share some beach pics later, still working on them ;)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

from freezing rain to warm sand

School buses were cancelled today because of freezing rain (is it me or has this happened more than usual this winter?) and, still not sure if it was wise or not, let big sis stay home with me. I set out some stuff for her to do but she basically ended up puttering around. We then picked up the twins from pre-school, all went out for lunch, a nice treat, and off to skating lessons. Then went to a playdate. But the mom was getting me upset with her negative remarks towards working moms and I had to diplomatically bite my tongue. She made me think of that whole blog Dani had the other day. We left a little earlier that I had thought and I conveniently came up with a small, very small white lie. so i could get out of there before blowing a fuse.

Tomorrow, apart from a few errands, got to pack us all up for our getaway. Yes, we'll be gone for the next two weeks, somewhere where there is no freezing rain :) To say that the kids aren't excited, is a huge understatement.

So this blog will be on hiatus till my return. I wonder if I'll have blogging withdrawal?

Take care everyone!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

the japanese way

I've been in a japanese frame of mind the last few weeks. Along with my newfound addiction to Sudoku (I actually carry a book in my purse and plug away at one whenever I have a few minutes) I FINALLY finished Memoirs of a Geisha. I bought it years ago and finally got around to reading it. Now I'm looking forward to the movie. Saw a few glimpses at the Oscars. Although its a sad story, I loved getting thrown into this other world. From that point of view it was fascinating. It partly brought me back to fourth grade when I did this huge project on Japan, which I still have somewhre in the basement, along with taped chopsticks and small bag of rice on the cover. To get extra information, my dad brought me to the Japanese Consulate where we got tons of beautiful brochures (and to think that we wouldn't do something like that for our kids now, the internet would provide it all). I so remember pouring over those brochures, fascinated by this other culture.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

a prayer for a young man

Well, I was going to write about something else, which seems so trivial right now, when I stumbled upon this news item which stopped me in my tracks: Dana Reeves, widow of Christopher Reeves aka Superman dies of lung cancer at age 44. She was an incredible woman who rose during a time of intense adversity. She's my age. She's a mother. My heart swells up thinking of her 13 year old son, Will, and how life has been so difficult for him already.

Just last month, an acquaintance of ours, a 42 year old mother of two also passed away after a long and difficult battle with cancer. Her children saw this disease transform their vivacious mother who ran the veterinary clinic in a small town close by to a blind, bald, disformed figure in and out of hospitals. Her children also lost all of life's spark and have this constant glazed look about them.

My thoughts are with Superman's son.

Monday, March 06, 2006

monday, monday

What a perfect week-end we had! The sun was shining, the skiing conditions immaculate and the kids all got along splendidly. Another family first under our belt: we all skied together down the big mountain. A first for the twins and they did much better than we expected and big sis, with 3 snowboard lessons under her belt, snowboarded all week-end and did great as well. Even hubby took a snowboarding lesson, although in his case it was alot more like snowbutting! Baby boy was so exhausted from all the fresh air and the excitement and the exercise that he literally reached the bottom of the hill, lied on the snow and fell asleep!

Got home and watched the Oscars and realized how out of the loop I am as I didn't know most of the movies mentioned and didn't recognize some of the actors. Better start brushing up on my People magazine reading!

So here I am, Monday morning, with sore legs and tons of laundry to do. This week I will wash and put away all our ski stuff and take out and pack all our beach stuff. Skiing one week-end and at the beach the next. Can't believe how lucky we are and the kids are so excited!

Back to paying some bills. Which brings me to another pet peeve of mine. Why is it each bill has to come along with ten other pieces of useless inserts, how many people actully sit down and read it. Going through the mail means sitting down with a letter opener and a garbage can. What a waste of paper.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

ebony and ivory

For my 40th birthday, now a few years ago, I was 6 months preggo with the twins, big as a whale, hubby threw me a huge bday/pool party and got me a baby grand piano!!!

Now I don't come from a musically inclined family. When I was 10 years old, spent the summer in Spain with relatives and received from one of them this hand-made guitar. So upon my return to Canada, I started to take lessons. After a few years it was apparent I was OK but definitely not talented so gave it up. When going to my lessons I'd see the other kids taking piano lessons and knew that's what I wanted to do and swore I'd take lessons at one point in my life.

Then when big sis was about 3 years old, her teachers noticed her musical ability and encouraged us to pursue some music lessons. So we borrowed a keyboard from a friend and got her started with piano lessons. And I started learning right along her. So when the baby grand arrived we were both in heaven.

I love having a piano in the house. I've kept up with my self-teaching and enjoy playing it every once in a while. Planning to pick up real lessons at one point. It always attracts kids, like a certain summer day when Dani's boy was quite taken by it. It's great around Xmas time, playing and singing as a family.

After 7 years of lessons, big sis asked to take a break this year. We reluctantly agreed. She picked up the clarinette at school instead. But she still hammers the keys every once in a while and is starting to mention that she's missing it. And now, all of a sudden she decided that she would start teaching baby girl and baby boy. She has all the books. She wrote out a contract for us the parents establishing the monetary contribution required, she set up a system of cards and stickers for them, and off they go. She already got them to play a simple melody. Incredible. So now, every Monday night is piano lesson night right here in our living room!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

it's back

Last night was TV night for hubby and I. After settling the kids in bed and cleaning up the kitchen, we cozied up on the couch and savored one of our favorite shows: The Amazing Race. After last season's complete disapointment, we were excited to see they went back to their original format. Of course they have the typical panoplie of couples covering all races, genders, lifestyles. We love this show mostly for the armchair travelling experience and the neat things they get to see and do along the way. And last night proved that indeed, the show as we love it is back!