Wednesday, January 25, 2012

One Word

Why, when I had such a good streak going last week, have I not continued adding to my blog this week?

One word.

A word that strikes fear into the hearts of parents everywhere.

A word that seriously ranks right up there with horror movies and surgery for me.

A word that I naively thought I would never have to deal with as a parent.

A word I have learned so much about in the past two days.



Poor Janelle. She has such beautiful hair, and so much of it! I have never wished her hair was short before today. It takes over an hour to comb through it each time. We've done it twice so far, and I plan to go through it again tonight, and every day for another week or so. And she is an absolute angel, not complaining even once about the pulling or the long time sitting still. Oh, and did I tell you, she's also sick with a miserable cough and cold?

So I am far too busy checking heads (none of the rest of us have shown evidence -- Hallelujah!), doing laundry (and more laundry, and even more laundry), vaccuuming, tying up bags of stuffed toys, calling the pharmacist to find out why those critters are still wiggling a day after treatment (not to worry, I did it right, and I'll just have to remove by hand for a few days), and trying to keep up with all the things that were originally on my "to do list" for the week. No time for writing.

One more word: EXHAUSTED!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Disney Dizziness

We told the kids at Christmas that this is the year we'll finally be taking a family vacation to Florida. We know we'll be going in March. We know we'll be spending part of the time in Zephyrhills with Chris's Dad and Doreen. We know we'll be making a long-awaited visit to Disney World. That's about all we know.

This morning Doreen called just to check on the dates we plan to travel, which led Chris and I to sit down and finalize when we actually plan to go. So now we at least have a timeframe. But now I'm also full of questions.

For example: How many days do we need at Disney? Do we want to visit all the parks, or choose a couple of them to focus on this time? Do we need hopper passes, or will regular passes do? What about water parks? And do we stay at a Disney resort, or a nearby hotel off Disney World? Do we spend a few days in Orlando and then commute from Zephyrhills for a couple of days? Do we buy a Disney vacation package with dining including? If so, do we need table dining, or will quick meals suffice? And most importantly, how soon do I have to have all of this figured out?

I would be happy to accept any and all advice available. I've decided to devote today to Disney research. I don't want to go anywhere today anyway. The rain has finally turned to snow, the world is white, and I am cozy inside. My gloomy moodiness has turned to Disney dizziness! Does anyone have a cure?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


My backyard today - January 17, 2012. What???
I am not innocent of complaining about the weather in January. I can recall far too many mornings when the car wouldn't start because it was -30C outside. Living on Crocket Street in Fredericton, I was forever complaining about the height of the snow banks as I was trying to back out onto the busy street. And last year in London I was appalled by the terrible condition of secondary roads where snow removal was all but ignored. So I hate to complain today, when it is 8C outside and only a few stubborn patches of snow remain in the corners of our yard. But I will. It is absolutely gloomy out there, and the gloom seems to be invading my home as well.

Here in Canada, our bodies and minds are used to the changing of the seasons. Like clockwork we prepare our yards, cars, homes and closets for winter. Last year in London it arrived with a vengeance, almost before we were ready for it. Connor had already worn out a pair of snow pants by this time last year. But this year, it doesn't seem to have arrived at all, and I'm finding it a bit unsettling. In fact, it's a little creepy, like global warming is becoming all too real in our own town. It is a frequent topic of conversation: "Can you believe this weather?" "Is it still raining out there?" "Yep, but it's better than snow!" Well, today I would like to object to that conclusion! It's not better than snow! This is JANUARY! There is supposed to be snow on the ground! When the kids come home from school, I should be able to send them out to play in the snow! Who wants to play in the mud? It's too cold to have fun outside without snow. There is no tobogganing, no snowmen, no snow angels. I can't sit by my window and watch thick snowflakes gently falling on my street. No, instead I am listening to the rain beating against the windows, and I don't like it.

I guess the gloom outside has affected my mood. Tune in next week, when, inevitably, I'll be complaining about shovelling and below freezing temperatures. Gotta love living in Canada!

Monday, January 16, 2012

New Camera Practice

I got a beautiful new camera for Christmas, which was a total surprise, and I absolutely love it! For the past several years, since I entered the digital age, I've had a great little point-and-shoot Nikon, but recently I've been frustrated by its limitations. Specifically, at Connor's basketball games it's pretty useless unless the gym is very well lit, as well as for anything on a stage (Christmas concerts, school presentations, etc) or extreme close-ups. I thought I needed to get an SLR camera to overcome these problems, and never thought I was ready for the learning curve that would be involved in that. I had no idea that Chris was researching the right next camera for us until I opened it on Christmas morning. He got me a Nikon Coolpix P500, which has an extended zoom, some high speed capability, and a lot more bells and whistles than I've ever had before. I love it! And this past weekend Connor had three basketball games in Windsor, so it was the perfect opportunity for me to practice.

I could write another blog about how much fun it is watching my son play basketball, but I've done that before. This was a pretty full day. We left the house at 7:15 and arrived at the gym two hours later, to find a game already in progress. One of the teams was really dominating the other, and we knew that was the last team our guys would be playing later in the afternoon. That was a bit daunting, but our team took the court with confidence anyway. During our first game the teams traded the lead back and forth the whole time, and in the end, the game went into overtime. Our boys were able to take the lead early in the overtime and won by 5 points. The second game started immediately, playing the team we had seen lose when we arrived. Our team won that one, too, but not by nearly as drastic a margin as the first team had. I was proud of Connor, as always. He concentrated hard on defense, and was able to sink a basket early in the game. We went out to Subway for lunch with most of our team and recharged before our final match up. The boys all knew this was a really hard to beat team, but they went into the game excited anyway.

It was clear from the beginning our guys were not going to win this one. The other team took an early lead and held it. The last half our boys were able to win back some of the ground they had lost, and they were not as soundly beaten as the first team we saw go down, but it wasn't enough. We later found out that this team has been playing together for four years. They have an excellent coach, encouraging and offering constant constructive criticism, and fantastic team spirit. I noticed little things about them that contributed to their team's cohesiveness, like how every member of the team wore one white sock and one black sock, and how at the end they always cheered for both teams, shook hands with the opposing team, and then ran down a high-five line of all their parents. Our team could learn a lot from this one, and I'm glad they had the opportunity to play them.

But this wasn't supposed to be a post about basketball! I guess I just couldn't resist. No, this post wasn't even going to be about words. This post is one about pictures, and I think they tell the story better than I could anyway.
Number 7 is my boy!

Cheering on big brother!

Connor has the ball!

Connor takes a shot!

Love this shot!
Two minutes left in overtime...

This is why I love my new camera! I was sitting all the way across the gym when I took this.
Look at that intense brown eye!

Janelle entertained the other little siblings.

Tip off in the last game. Our team changed into their white jerseys for this one.

Good game, guys!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Resolution Recount

New Year's resolutions make my stomach hurt. I just don't feel up to the task anymore. I've made so many, and kept so few. I don't have any faith in my ability to keep them anymore! Every year I start with the most wonderful intentions. I come up with three or four creative and personal ideas that I want to carry through the year. I can count on one hand the resolutions I've seen through to completion in recent memory. In 2005 I read the Bible through, Genesis to Revelation, in less than a year. In 2006 I invented a job for myself (the best job I've ever had!). And in 2009 I let go of my own strongholds and fears and agreed to pull up stakes and move. But how many years have seen me determine to do something (often involving diet and exercise), only to give up by the second week of February?

Does this sound like I'm giving up on making New Years Resolutions? I'm not. I think, in part, I am too much of a perfectionist. If I don't start on January 1st, I've failed and there are no "redos". That's not what is happening this year. It is January 11th, and I really haven't gotten much of a start on any of my resolutions, but that's okay. I can start now. I can start next week. As long as I determine to start! So, here goes. Here is the 2012 list.
  1. No more buying books. This is the only one that I have actually started already. I've encountered a number of gasps when I tell people this. It seems buying books is a very intrinsic component of my personality, and few of my friends actually think I'll be able to follow through. I do allow a couple of exceptions: a) I can download books to my Kobo if I have a gift card (and I do have a couple of gift cards handy in case I go into withdrawal), and b) I can use credit at the used bookstore, meaning I have to get rid of books to get books. Hopefully those two caveats will carry me through a year of no book buying. My sister-in-law is already playing devil's advocate trying to trick me into buying something, but I'm onto her game. Clearly I have more than enough books on my shelves and my Kobo to carry me through a year without adding to them. I'm actually curious to see how many of them I can get through this year. I think it might be fun!
  2. Diet and excercise. I don't think I really need to expand on this one. It is as distasteful to talk about as it is to do. But I'm going to do it. The virtue I am teaching this month in Sunday School is self-control, so I should be ready to go by the end of the month! I made it through an entire evening without a snack last night, even while sitting next to my snacking husband on the couch (Don't think I didn't give him guilt for it!). I am armed with a new Jillian Michaels exercise video. I haven't tried it yet, but I shelled out ten bucks for it, so I am determined to use it. Starting tomorrow.
  3. Writing more. I guess I could go to extemes and say I'm going to blog every day, or every school day. I've done that before. But blogging isn't the only writing I'm planning on doing, so I don't want to commit to that. I will blog more. In fact, a mini-resolution is to write more than 65 blog posts (my 2011 number) in 2012, and maybe even beat my 2010 number of 139, which is basically three a week, and that's my goal anyway. But this post actually grew out of a fun writing exercise I tried, so maybe it will all sort of grow together. Who knows? I guess I'm starting this one today.
  4. Finding my path. I almost didn't write this one down, since it sounds kind of airy-fairy and hippie-dippie, but it is a pretty important one. At the beginning of 2012 I find myself at a place where I have no idea what I want to do when I grow up. Okay, so that's not completely true; I know I want to teach, but that doesn't seem to be in the cards, at least not at the public school level. So it's time to branch out my search and see what is out there that could turn into a career for me. We really can't afford the luxury of me staying home forever. This was supposed to be the time in our lives when we become a two income family. So I guess it's time for me to figure out where that second income is going to come from. Time to send Connor out to work, I guess! *hahaha*
So there we are, four resolutions. Nothing too terribly daunting (except that second one, ugh. Good thing I have an awesome FB support group! Hang tough, girls!). If anyone has any tried and true "resolution keeping" advice, I'd be happy to hear it. I know I've kept resolutions before, and I know I can again if I really try! And if you have made any resolutions of your own, let me know and we can keep each other accountable. Happy New Year! Starting today!