Thursday, August 31, 2006

little bankers

With big sis off to school, the twins are now getting antsy about starting too. They have all their things ready and keep asking me "are we going to school today?" and baby boy even starts crying if I tell him "no". Seems I have to work on finding things for them to do more now. Guess big sis was good at that ;)

So over the past two days we embarked on a big project. We played bank. I pulled out a HUGE container full of coins, coin sorters and coin wrappers. I installed them on the family room floor with some music playing in the background and they spent hours sorting, lining up, making up stories, etc. They found American coins and put them in a special "Florida" pile, they found a few Euros and those went in a "for Greece" pile, they kept aside a whole variety of commemorative quarters and nickels and dimes. When all was said and done, we had close to $110 in rolled coins. Then we brought them to the bank where we got "paper money" which we used to go shopping and bought their special indoor shoes for school and a little treat each.

Now, what should today's project be?

Friday, August 25, 2006

a new friend

There are a few horsebackriding places in our area. For years, big sis asked us to go for lessons. So last summer, she went for a week and loved it. She just finished a two week camp and loved it even mmore. Looks like we are looking at 3 weeks next summer!

Like Marla said in her post, there's something about girls and horses. We don't come from a family knowledgeable in horses. I think I rode twice in my life. Yet despite the flies and the smell and having to clean up stalls, big sis really fell in love with horses. She was ready, even making her lunch, early in the morning so she could be the first one there. She went to the library to get books on horses. She surfed the web for even more info. She got to ride the same horse for the past two years: Oliver, a sweet gentle giant. His photos are all over her room. On the last day of camp, they put on a show for the parents. The horses were groomed. Big sis even braided Oliver's mane. She started doing some small jumps and my heart just about jumped out of my chest. To see such a small girl in control of such a big creature was formidable. And little sis is just as infatuated. She couldn't wait to go pick up her sister every day so she could go see the horses, pet them, talk to them and feed them carrots!

There's a new house being built near here and they've added an enclosure with a lovely stable in the back for a mare and her foal. Of course, each time we drive by we have to slow down to admire them. Now both sisters are pressuring us to get Santa to bring them a horse!

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

back to school

That's it, another big step in big sis' life. Yesterday was her first day in her new school. She walked in confidently with her backpack and all her school supplies, waved to the FEW people she knew (just one girl from her previous school and a few soccer teammates). It was an orientation morning for all the 7th graders. All 460 of them! That's how many students were in her whole elementary school!! And the kids all looked so, well, like, older ;)

Her biggest concern is where and with whom to sit on the bus next week :) My biggest concern is getting her on the bus at 7:15 a.m., yikes!

Good luck sweetie! I'm looking forward to experiencing this new stage of your life right along with you.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

harvest time

A few years ago we put in a little vegetable garden. Finally. I had wanted one for years. I grew up tending my parents' garden and was longing for my own. Its not a huge one, but what a source of pleasure its been. Its become a 3 generational family affair. Initially, my main incentive for doing this was that it would show the kids how things grow. From turning the soil in the spring, to planting and seeding and finally harvesting. Every one tends to it.

This year we have some plump eggplants.

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Some yellow zucchinis, some cucumbers and tomatoes.

Of course, I also have two containers close to the kitchen door filled with my beloved herbs. Summer just wouldn't be summer without the sweet smell and taste of basil.

So in honor of this glorious harvest season, I got creative in the kitchen and concocted this tomato-zucchini-cheese-basil pie. And of course, made a big batch of "ratatouille" a traditional recipe from my birthtown.

I LOVE this time of year. All this fresh organic bounty is so yummy and so healthy to boot.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

a celebration

This past week-end was my birthday. My 45th birthday. Somehow, this birthday milestone is getting to me. More so than all previous ones. Its confusing me. Sounds SO middle aged. Can't believe I'm here already. What does one do after one is 45? Seems there's this whole blank canvas ahead of me and not sure how to tackle it. Up until now there was always an order to things, a purpose of direction. Years of studying to get a job. Years of working at said job. Years battling infertility issues and emotions. Years of physically taking care of little ones. And now: no studying, no job, done with the whole procreation thing, kids don't need me on a purely physical level as when they were wee ones. So I'm left at this crossroad where I feel I need to re-create, re-find myself. The question I constantly get asked is bothering me: "So? Kids are now going to be in school full time. Aren't you going back to work?" And my instinctive response: "Nope. Don't feel like it, just yet". There's all this other stuff I want to do. A bit of this, a bit of that. No major projects really. And maybe that's whats unsettling me. This uncertainty. Ah well, one day at a time, things will fall into place somehow. But the thought of being 45, yikes, makes me shudder.

So we had a nice quiet little celebration at home. Went by myself to our local open market in the morning for a coffee and some fresh produce. Came home for a little gardening in the glorious sunshine and, of course, took some flower pics. Hubby and my parents helped prepare a BBQ lunch followed by my special request: chocolate cake with fresh respberries. Then went mini-putting with the kids followed by a refreshing swim in the pool. And the day ended with a motorcycle ride with hubby at sunset throughout our local countryside. The smells and the sights made me realize how much I love living out here. Gifts? Lots of hugs and kisses. Kids got me the most adorable dollar store finds, my parents some gift certificates to indulge myself, hubby a beautiful piece of jewellery I had been eyein for a while and a good friend hooked me up with her cleaning lady. Yoo hoo! She's starting this week!!

The twins were expecting a huge party with lots of people and gifts, like their birthdays. Had to explain to them that as one gets older, there's less partying and less gifts and the important thing is being surrounded by the people we love.

My parents were in attendance of course. It is after all the anniversary of when they became parents. A story worth telling. They met a year before my birth in Geneva, Switzerland, on a blind date. She a Spanish seamstress and he a French pastry chef. She was 37 and he was 26. She had been married many years before for all of a week or so (hubby died in an accident) and he just returned from a military tour in Algeria. Despite the fact that they didn't speak each other's language, Cupid found them and sealed their fate. In November they went to Barcelona, her home town, for a civil wedding attended only by a husband and wife, long term friends of my moms, who acted as their witnesses. My dad's family wasn't too impressed with the fact that he was marrying a foreigner AND an older women to boot. Afterwards they settled in Nice, yes, on the French Riviera where I made my appearance exactly 9 months later. They lived in this quaint little apartment with an outdoor terrace double the size of the apartment. They had a beautiful flower garden and shade provided by palm trees. We were just a nice stroll away from the beach. Yes, I've since been back to visit my first home and all the other places where we used to hang out. Back then, when a woman gave birth she stayed in the hospital for 2 whole weeks (wow, what a luxury), in a special ward for new moms where they were catered to, helped them to recover and helped them establish a bond with their newborn and ensure that the breastfeeding was going well. During that time, my mom met another mom who was talking about moving to Canada the following year. And that's what sparked it all. My parents, out of a sense of adventure, decided to come meet them here a few years later. But no wonder I have this love for the beach, that's where I spent the first few years of my life, all those years ago!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Ever since reading Beachmama's post about them, I've been mulling it over in my head trying to figure out what mine are. Even looked up the definition:

ad·dic·tion (plural ad·dic·tions)


1. drug dependence: a state of physiological or psychological dependence on a potentially harmful drug

2. devotion: great interest in a particular thing to which a lot of time is devoted
Internet addiction

So we'll go with this last definition mostly.

Definitely my computer. Since becoming a SAHM it has become my lifeline to the outside world. Its where I do my banking, some errands, organize soccer practices, arrange playdates, research future purchases, keep in touch with friends, make new friends through forums and lately my new blogging project. Its a moment to myself, a chance to use my brain.

Photography. I've always liked taking pictures and ever since the digital camera entered the picture (he he) I can just go nuts with it, snapping as much as I can. Then I download them, rearrange them, fix them, print them, make cards with them, make calendars for family, etc. I have a particular interest in pics of flowers or scenery. I hope to keep doing more and more of this with the years, maybe some courses one day and maybe even transposing this passion to painting.

Travel. As in doing it but even the armchair variety as in travel magazines, travel shows. Was subscribed to national Geographic for close to two decades (put an end to it when the twins arrived, sigh). Now combining this addiction with the two previous one would lead to blogging-photojournalism, oh yeah!

Carbohydrates. Although this may be more of an addiciton as in definition #1. Mostly: jams, crusty bread, pasta, potatoes and baked goods. Part of me wants to blame my dad who was a pastry chef and would drag me as a child to visit bakeries/pastry shops of friends of his and we would sit in the back shop and talk and I would help in making these delicious creations and end up tasting them of course.

Sandals. Had to go count them. Yep, over a dozen for sure. Hubby calls me Imelda Marcos at times.

Turtlenecks. My favorite cold weather garment. And yes, even a few stripped ones like Dani!

Face creams. One for daytime, one for nighttime. Can't live without them and get close to a panic state if I'm about to run out.

Perfume. Soft floral-citrusy kinds, not too sweet. Always have a good half dozen. A little spritz behind my ears with the one most appropriate for the day or my mood.

Vases. As in glass, pottery, small, big, useful or purely ornemental, traditional or funky. I seem to have them all over.

Organizing. That's my perfectionist self at its best. I can't stop sorting, rearranging, classifying, streamlining, putting in order. I like things just so. Used to drive my employees nuts. Now its my kids that are driving me nuts. Its constant chaos. Fighting entropy is a lost battle. But I keep going...

Last but not least: hugging my kids. All the time, whenever and wherever I can. Its how I get warm fuzzies. And they're well trained. I can look at them a certain way and they know I want a hug. If they ask for something I'll often answer: "only if you give me a hug first". One can never have enough hugs from their kids :)

Wishing I was back there:

Monday, August 07, 2006

the long week-end

The weather has been awesome and so has the partying. For 3 straight nights: pool party at a friends' house followed by a house warming party with other friends and finally supper out with the most excentric but utterly fun couple we know at a most amazing restaurant with an incredible wine bar and kidless too!!! No wonder I feel the intense need for a body detoxification and that sun feels somewhat too bright today ;)

BUT I have a long standing pet peeve with this Ontario Civic Holiday.

The first Monday of August is not legally considered a statutory holiday in Ontario. Of course, in this city of Civil servants who get the day off and payed things are at a standstill. Some things are open, some things are closed. My plea is that if its a holiday then it should be a stat holiday for EVERYONE. For years, as a small business owner, this day caused dilemnas. The employees wanted the day off like everyone else but as an employer I couldn't afford to close the business AND pay them for a day I wasn't legally bound to pay them for. So they either came to work OR took the day off with no pay. So this was never a long week-end for us. I always worked and so does hubby today ;)

And don't get me started on Remembrance Day! Another Civil Servant only holiday. So what, the rest of us are not allowed to "remember" our fallen heroes! If WE can't afford to pay for another statutory holiday, then I offer to remove Victoria Day (an old sentimental holiday) and add the Civic and Remembrance Day as official stats for EVERYONE.

OK, off my soapbox and on to a flower picture, haven't had one in a while :)

Enjoy YOUR long week-end!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

is it the planets alignment?

It's been a strange week filled with unfortunate events that are making me wonder if there's some higher power's influence or perhaps star or planetary alignments that are conjuring all these turn of events.

There was dani's news and then beachmama's news. Thinking fondly of you both.

There were two different playdates arranged with some great women I wanted to spend time with that never materialized. Sigh.

And then last night. Not the worst event of the week by any means. Just the cherry on the sundae. This company we deal with invited us all for a sunset cruise on the Ottawa River including appetizers and open bar and viewing of some international fireworks. The kids were excited. The twins looking forward to their first boat ride. And did I mention that this whole excursion was FREE!!!

So we show up, start riding down the river, looking at some sights, hubby and I have a glass of wine, kids having fun waving at people on other boats and sipping their ginger ales. Ahh, blissful. And then it starts drizzling. We take shelter. But before long, it's not only raining its POURING as one of the hugest downpours. The fireworks, to my dismay, still went on although with the low lying clouds their spectacular effects was diminished. And along with the manmade fireworks came the natural fireworks: lots of ligthning. And the rain kept on coming. Most people on the boat couldn't care less, alcohol tends to dull the senses;). But there was a table of women in a panic mode and freaking everyone out, arghh. Had to reassure big sis. And the twins in all this? They enjoyed the whole thing: the ride, the appetizers, the ginger ales, the glow sticks I had previously gotten for them, riding UNDER the bridges and just fell asleep in our arms when they got too tired. All in all, despite the horrible weather (as in the boat's captain said he's never been in such a horrible storm in the past decade he's been manning this boat) it was an adventure. Four hours on this boat and the kids behaved exceptionally well. So proud of them. But boy were we soaked ;)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

lazy in the summer heat

It's been hot all right, tending to stay inside to be cool or going outside to splash in the pool with friends over or at other people's places and their pool. It's been humid too as attested by a mass of unruly frizzy hair. Blame it on the weather, but I've been lazy, not doing much of anything and my mind is sluggish too. The renos are done and we are down to the details and I've run out of steam. Everything is at a standstill.

Check out my 31C she wears an orange polkadot bikini. As if. Those days are long gone. Went for my physical last week and just as I feared, put on 10 pounds since last year. Damn. Pissed off with myself. She mentioned something about my thyroid gland and I'm like, right, it's more like too much fun sipping fancy drinks and eating fun foods and too much sitting on my ass with no real form of exercise. Am waiting for a motivational lightning strike to get me off this lazy mode and back in gear. All right, lets aim for September, kids back in school, all 3 FULL TIME, should definitely have more time for myself. So that gives me one more month of indulging :) yep, great attitude.

Found a quick quiz over at kate5kiwis, something easy to do for a lazy bone and it confirmed my state of mind:

You Should Spend Your Summer at the Beach

You're a free spirit who is always thinking of new ways to have fun.

And you don't just love summer... you live for it.

So, you really should blow off your responsibilities and head to the beach!