Wednesday, May 31, 2006

got my work cut out

Every year I vow to buy less plants, but it never seems to work. Always end up buying "just another one". With 2 acres I figure I can put them somewhere. Thank God for my dad. He's the unofficial gardener around here. He plants, weeds, moves things from here to there, fertilizes, etc. It's good for him. Now living in a condo, he gets to do the outdoorsy stuff he loves around here. And every year we spend a day together planting everything. Got half done yesterday, taking a break today, and will finish up tomorrow.

Both my parents grew up in rural environments in Europe. And they both couldn't wait to move into the city which they eventually did. When we moved to Canada, we lived in the heart of Montreal. We had a townhouse and 3/4 of the backyard (not a very big one at that) was a vegetable garden. Like most immigrants, they had to have a bit of their rural roots even while living in the big city. I remember spending my summers tending to that garden, planting, nurturing, pruning, watering.

And now here I am, living in a rural area. Full circle. Seems like that love of gardening and having fresh produce and herbs is ingrained in my psyche.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

bleeding hearts

I've been missing in action. Where has the past week gone? Who knows. But I felt lousy. And grumpy. Snapping at the kids. No patience. Constant throbbing headache. Maybe from the constant downpours. Mad at all the skeeters preventing us from enjoying the outdoors. I was angry and sad. Dwelling in self-pity. And couldn't shake it off. Day after day. And no, not even PMS time. Was starting to worry me. Chemical imbalance in my brain? Early sign of menopause? I know my mom had quite a rough time with it and I really worry about going through the same. Vitamin, mineral deficiency? Lack of sleep? Yep, the kids have been waking up with asthma. Lack of exercise? Oh yeah. Exercise and diet, my enemy and foe. A while back, I started a walk/run program (thanks nancy) and consciously being careful with my diet. My goal was to be part of the 5K RunOttawa Race this past week-end. And then life and all its demands got in the way and I'm not even sure how it all happened but long story short, hubby went for the 5K run along with a whole bunch of friends and I stayed home with the kids. Pissed me off, for not having stood up for my initial goal. Pissed off that with all the exercise and diet changes, my weight has stayed the same and my winter fat is still hanging, literally, around. Pissed at my constant single parenting: hubby either works, is out golfing, biking or literally out of town. I know he works hard but resent how he comes home and that's that, its relax time for him, very little help around the house. Pissed at wanting to feel selfish for a change. Tired of taking care of everyone and everything: the meals, the laundry, the housework, the constant picking up after all the others, tired of living with 4 slobs and packrats, the shopping for this and that, bill payments, organizing renovations, organizing kids lives and activities, etc, etc. Just like Dani said today in her blog:
...and take a look at the inside of my house and want to cry. There’s grass on the carpet. There’s dirty footprints on the linoleum. There’s dishes stacked in the sink. There’s unfolded laundry spilling out of the basket, now hopelessly wrinkled. Drawers full of toys have been dumped and shelves of books have been emptied

Obviously my cup was full. Wasn't coping well with life's demands. Seems to happen every once in a while when enough is enough and I'm about to explode. I needed to do something. So last Thursday I managed to back out at the last minute of something I had volunteered to do at the kids school and went to a new fancy hair salon and had my hair cut and colored. Ahh, to have someone take care of me for a change. Didn't solve all my problems but got me going in the right direction. Then went out and bought new sunglasses (hopeful that the sun would eventually re-emerge) and a new top. And slowly the cloud lifted. Figuratively and literally. And to quote Dani again:
I’m a summer child – the heat rarely bothers me, and a stretch of sultry summer days does more for my mood than a whole bottle of xanax would.

I managed to get some time to myself over the week-end and started weeding and planning my gardens. Pure therapy for my soul. Throw in there fantastic weather complete with hours swimming in our pool, so got to wear my new sunglasses, and a three generational family outing to see the Cirque du Soleil (thoroughly enjoyed by all) where I got to wear my new top and new hairdo ;)

And now I feel even better having written it all down.

Monday, May 22, 2006

a rainy long week-end

Despite the crummy weather, my sore throat and baby girl's cold, our week-end unfolded quite nicely.

Being big sis' soccer coach's wife, the secretarial work has fallen on my lap and I've been busy contacting everyone on the team to meet for our first practice which was cancelled at the last minute cause the city forbade anyone to play soccer on their fields for the week-end cause they were too wet. So here I was again scrambling to re-contact everyone.

We all attended an Open House at the twins' pre-school where they showed us all their latest work. Amazing how far they've come even from September. Their little brains are true sponges at this age.

Friday was a PD day so I brought the twins along with a group of mom and kids from our church to the Children's Museum. They were totally fascinated by it all and we soon lost track of our group as they wanted to see everything and do everything. I definitely wouldn't have gone there alone with them even just a year ago. You could loose them so easily in there.

The May long week-end is usually when we plant all our flowers, take out all the lawn furniture. Well that didn't happen. But we did the official pool opening and hubby decided to go for his first swim: he somehow slipped and fell in, fully clothed in murky greenish frigid water! He's never going to live this one down ;)

The kids also went to a bday party for another set of twins we know. The parents had rented one of those inflatable bouncy things and because the weather was bad, they somehow managed to install it in the family room. Boy the kids had a blast with that. There was also face painting, animal balloons, parachute play and even a cotton candy machine!! It was nuts, about 30 kids!!! We then picked up a baby-sitter and off we went, hubby and I, on a date. To the movies to see Da Vinci Code which we had both read. What a treat. The movie wasn't a WOW but being on a date was.

Sunday after some furniture shopping for the kids' bedrooms and buying yet another bike for big sis (she so outgrew the one she had last year) we decided to go see the Greece movie at the Imax. But when we got there, the showing was already sold out. The next one would be in a few hours. So we decided to go for supper, somewhere. We wandered around and found this place where they had this deal for kids: 6 and under for free, 7 to 12 for 4.95. Incredible, the five of us ate a very decent meal for $35.

We then finally made it to the movie, and had to wait in line for about half an hour. Not an easy feat with pre-schoolers. There's this one game we play as a family when we have to wait around. I guess we can call it the alphabet game. Someone starts saying a word starting with "a" like apple, the next one says a word starting with "b" and so on. We get to baby boy's turn, his letter is "x". So he's saying: "ksss, ksss, ksss, (trying to find a word in his head and then he blurts out) "KSSSEXY!" We all started laughing. Where on earth did he come up with that word? Pre-schoolers can be such a hoot!! The movie was really neat and made us revisit a lot of areas we've been to. The kids excitedly recognizing certain landmarks made it really worth it.

Off to finish my rainy Victoria Day project: cleaning out the pantry...amazing what has been hiding in there ;)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

armchair travellers

May as well admit it. We were addicted. All 5 of us. Out of all the reality shows, aside from Survivor, The Amazing Race is by far our favorite. We love to "travel" around the world and somehow experience and learn a bit from several places they go to. And this last series was by far one of the best. If anything the twins really got into it this time around. If the show was too late, we'd tape it and then watch later together as a family. They've been studying continents and now countries within continents at pre-school so they loved to see what country the contestants would go to. They'd pull out the globe and check it out. Of course, when they went to Greece, having themselves been there last year, proved to be really neat for them. From the get-go they were routing for the hippies. Their quirkiness was endearing. Can't wait to see their reaction when we view last night's episode tonight ;)

and the flower of the day:

can you see the fly?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

role models

An unexpected encounter in our local grocery store got me thinking. Who were my role models growing up? More specifically female role models?

Moms of course always are, although with mine there are a lot of quirks in her personality that irk me and that I try very hard not to emulate. Then I thought of this book I read oh so long ago. The life story of Marie Curie of all things. The fact that a woman was smart and brave enough to venture in a non-female world and make a discovery that would help mankind proufoundly affected me. Her spirit pushed me along in my scientific studies as I was determined to make a discovery that would affect mankind too. In university, my undergrad studies were in a department with NOT A SINGLE female on staff. No role models here. Then onto my doctoral work and just ONE female teacher. And she was a little odd so not a role model either. My class had the highest number of woman ever seen (one quarter) which definitely bothered some of the opposite sex so I guess we were trailblazers in a way.

Back to my encounter. As I was about to pay for milk at the cash, this lady comes running up to me and I immediately recognized her as a former patient of mine. She was so glad to announce that her daughter just completed her studies in my field. What? Cute little "S" is that old already? She wanted to thank me for being such a great role model for her daughter.

Wow! I had never seen myself in that light, but I guess I am, was. This is the third girl whom I know of that has chosen to follow my career path. It makes me very proud. Proud of them and proud of myself. Makes me feel like I've contributed in my own little way to the bigger scheme of things and that my life has mattered in this tiny way. I guess we are the role models for the generation following us and what a most amazing compliment when we affect someone else's life in such a positive way.

Who were your role models?

and look what just popped in the garden today

Monday, May 15, 2006

and the rain came down

The rain came down all week-end and so did my tears! Tears of joy though.

Started off Friday morning with the twins at their school. What could be better than having your breakie served by two adorable and proud preschoolers? They had set up tables complete with silverware and porcelain tea cups and hand-made flowers in vases and helped in the food preparation. They presented us with hand-written menus, we made our selections and off they went to fill up our plates with goodies. Their pride and joy in this special event for moms and grandmas and the hugs I received from them brought tears to my eyes.

And so did all these other precious little treasures that they made me for Mother's day. Such great presents:

--a life-size painting of themselves

--butterflies for the fridge

--cards signed with their hand prints

--hand-made flowers from the twins and a card from big sis which contained a poem that she wrote which really, really tugged at my heartstrings and my tear ducts

--breakie in bed on Mother's Day morning served by my 3 beautiful children. I kept telling them how if it wasn't for them I wouldn't be celebrating this day which they made even more special.

We then got all dressed up, went to hubby's golf clubhouse for brunch (my big perk for his hours on the golf course)along with my parents. Then off to some friends house for some R&R and back home to watch lots of TV. A perfect relaxing day filled with people I love and lots of hugs and kisses.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

one to five, un à cinq, uno a cinqo, ena kai pende

I've been tagged by nancy! So here goes, first things that pop in my head on this dismal rainy day:

Five things in my fridge
1. milk (skim, 1%, chocolate, strawberry, soy)
2. 2 dozen eggs
3. assortment of yogurt
4. fruit
5. leftover supper from last night

Five things in my closet
1. clothes that fit and don't fit
2. outdated professional clothes
3. shower caddies that need to be installed
4. outdated shoes
5. briefcase collecting dust

Five things in my purse
1. one lipgloss, two lipsticks
2. memo pad and pen (thanks nancy)
3. epi-pen
4. cell phone
5. small bottle of hand sanitizer

Five things in my car
1. disposable camera
2. gloves
3. 2 pairs sunglasses
4. container of wipeits
5. assorted kid knickknacks and small books

There you go, a glimpse of me :)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

need some clarity

Now that the outside projects are more or less done, I've turned to the inside ones. After some preliminary work, I'm now at the detail stages and my mind is overflowing with colors and paint swatches and materials and furniture arrangements...I feel like my mind is in a fog and can't seem to be able to make anymore decisions. We've basically decided to move the twins in separate rooms, not sure which one into which and big sis moving out into the guest bedroom.
for baby boy's new room: red and blue walls, striped material for a reversible duvet cover and checkered pattern for drapes. No one seems to like the checkered pattern here so back to the drawing board for that one. Red walls, is that nuts? will have light colored furniture and the carpet is being replaced by light colored hardwood. Is the striped bed cover too old looking? Not sure about this one.

for big sis' new room: we'll have one wall with the greenish color and matching greenish drapes, the rest of the room in aqua and the reversible duvet cover with the stripes and aqua flowers. The plain aqua for bedskirt and maybe a pillow. This scheme she adores so were OK here to go.

decisions, decisions...need another coffee to get some more clarity!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

who would have ever thought

May as well admit it, my daughter has a full fledged addiction to Star Wars. If anyone told me that just last fall I would have laughed my head off. But here we are. The Star Wars spirit has overtaken this house.

I fully blame hubby for this new condition. Last Christmas holiday, he decided it was a good time to watch all 6 Star Wars episodes in the proper order. Big sis and baby boy were smitten from the get go. Baby girl found it all very noisy and usually leaves the room. I caught snippets here and there. The older movies still make me reminisce of those fun times in university when we all went in big groups to see them.

So now, baby girl has become Leah and baby boy Luke (being twins and all)and hubby Anakin/Darth Vader. They greet each other with "may the force be with you"!! Big sis has watched the movies over and over. They can always be found somewhere in her room.

She's even asked to get the books and is reading them over and over. Reading is good I say.

She draws the characters. Some can be found in her room or on the fridge.

She got the music score and plays it all the time on the piano.

She even started this Star Wars club at school. They exchange trivia mostly. Some of the girls have come over to watch a movie. They are really all smitten with Hayden Christensen and giggle when he comes on. I guess he would be my daughter's first crush ;)

Even baby boy is in on it pretending to be a Jedi most of the time and begged and begged to get these running shoes when he spotted them at Payless.

Ah well. It's just a phase :) Kinda cute and peculiar.

Monday, May 08, 2006

spring flowers

Kids are in school all day today and I vowed to catch up on some domestic projects. But the nice weather pulled me outside for a lunchtime walk and my camera came along...

sunshine pride

unique like my 3 children

the strong and the beautiful

forest blooms

the symbolic trillium

delicate elegance

Friday, May 05, 2006

rain and wine, tulips and golf, Dora and Boots

Ohh, that spa was sublime yesterday! Even though when we headed out the clouds rolled in and when we arrived they burst open with a gargantuan amout of rain, we didn't let that stop us. No way. We were going to get wet anyways going in the different pools and saunas and steam rooms. I even had a lovely mid-afternoon nap listening to a water cascade and the rain fall. And then the sun appeared. And we were all rested and happy. We then went to a quaint little place for a great supper and some wine and lots of girl talk. Most excellent. I had this really neat soup: African peanut soup. Sweet potato, carrots, ginger and peanut butter pureed together, yum. You guessed it, I try to get my peanut fix whenever baby boy isn't around. Then I had curried chicken served on couscous with oranges and almonds. Double yum. Will most definitely be going back, to both places that is. Maybe with another circle of friends ;)

Somehow we make a point of going every year. So maybe Sunday we'll do that, depending on hubby's golf schedule. Yes, I'm officially a golf widow now, again. Happens every year. maybe I can play a few more rounds this year

Saturday, we are going to go see Dora and Boots. Kids are excited, hubby not amused. Oh well, too bad. When he sees the joy on his kids faces he'll get over it :)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

what moms are worth

of course we are priceless and irreplaceable

this news caption caught my eye

what do you think?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

circle of friends

After dropping off the twins at pre-school this morning, I was on my way to meet a bunch of women for breakfast. While driving there, I started thinking. Funny how I do so much of my deepest thinking while driving.

I was thinking how life brings us a multitude of circles of friends and how we navigate from one to the other, how we adapt ourselves to one or the other, how these circles can grow over time of even just diminish and dissapear, how these circles sometimes tangentially touch or intersect all together.

Of course we all have a few circles of friends. In my case, my professional friends, those I went to school with. The people I worked with over the years. Neighbourhood friends. Parents of kids's friends. There are 3 particular circles of interest for me today.

There is this circle of friends I was about to go meet. Mostly moms I met at our church's playgroup. We all had young kids of the same age. A major difference being that a lot of these moms are a whole decade and up to two younger than me. There are times when talking about a TV show or a song or an event they'll look at me blankly and I'll then realize, hmmm, they weren't even born yet. As much as I love them all and they are warm human beings, they are basically girly-girls. And I've never felt very comfortable around girly-girls. Never pretty enough. Never stylish enough. Too clumsy, too intellectual. These women are into what each other is wearing, what kind of vehicle they are driving, what their houses and posessions within are like, what designer clothes their kids are wearing, etc. I find myself frantically agonizing over what to wear before meeting them as its all about the looks. And lets face it, I'm older so I've got to work at ir a little more. Plus the conversations after having talked about kids stuff, revolves around issues that I can deal with for just so long: make-up, clothes, furniture, a new store that just opened, recipes. I dare not bring up the latest book I just read for fear none will know what I'm talking about. They are more the "People" and "Us" crowds. So I adapt and its fun for a while to be in the midst of girly-girls.

Then there is this other circle of friends that I met on the internet, of all places. They are dearer to my heart. I came to relize that these people met me first on a whole different level. They met my thoughts, my mind, my feelings, my intellect first. The body encasing this psyche came afterwards. They met the real me first. The naked me. And with them, I have this whole feeling of comfort that is very particular. Whereas with that other circle of friends, it was the physical look that came first, many have no clue what goes on my intellectual level.

Tonight I am meeting another circle of friends. Moms I met when big sis was herself at pre-school. We've kept in touch. We usually do one major outing a year, a pampering kind of thing. Last year we went to this place for a group pedicure with wine and cheese and then had supper at an off-beat totally not kid-friendly place. Tonight we are going here, sounds so decadent, and then off to a quaint bistro kind of place for supper. These women are neat as we can talk about just anything that comes up and there are no false pretenses. Heck, we've seen each other in bathing suits and no make-up and no fancy hairdo and all. These are the women who came through and helped me after having the twins. They saw me in my worst physical and emotional state ever. I am forever grateful to them.

But these circles of friends is what ultimately sustains us.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

springtime rituals

Well the second skating show went great too. Hubby and my parents were there. Could you ever see the pride in their faces! There was this one skater that stole my heart. A girl about 9 years old. She was one of two dozens doing this number on the song "Walkin' on Sunshine". She had a helper with her, an adolescent gently guiding her along, when I realized that she was blind. She had such energy and was having such a blast and a great skater too. Truly inspirational.

So starting yesterday, the twins are officially going full days at their pre-school on Mondays and Tuesdays. They were so excited! They even helped me make their lunch. They proudly walked in holding their lunch box (Dora and Spiderman, of course)and their small sleeping bags for naptime. As prepared as they were, I wasn't. Had a little pang in my heart when I left them. Even more so when baby boy turned around, looked me straight in the eye and asked "What are you going to do all day mom?" Don't worry, sweetie, I've kept busy. Mostly shopped a lot for this and that. Sigh, another stage achieved. And of course, they did great, just as I thought.

Our outdoor project is done. I'm proud of this one as all my creative ideas were used. Hubby just did the negotiating part with the contractor which he's much better at than I am.

Bought myself an early Mother's Day present. I've been eyeing this for a while and hubby was being so indecisive that I just went out and got it anyways.

All that beautiful weather we've had led to lots of outdoor work: cleaning up the yard, opening up the gazebo and having our first meal there, planning future plantings and admiring the new growths and the early blooms.

It seems I have a fascination with photographing flowers. Have hundreds of pics I've taken everywhere. Love the intricacy and fragility of petals and stamina and pistils. Guess this started as a youngster when I used to dry flowers and make cards with them. I've evolved, now I make cards with the pics I take. So you've been warned, there will be lots of flowery pics as they bloom all around the house.