31
December

100 Push-ups

A few weeks ago some friends on twitter started talking about doing the 100 push-up challenge, and I got it in my head that this was something that I should agree to doing. This doesn’t make much sense for me, as I have ALWAYS hated doing push-ups, and never been able to do any great number without almost having a heart attack from the exertion, looking like a tomato in the process. So I give up, and vow never to waste my time doing a push-up ever again.  Yet here I was, agreeing to start a six week plan that could get me to 100 push-ups.

Willy and I have contemplated starting this in the past, but have never actually started together.  He started once, but did not make it much further than a week into the plan.  I’ve always been somewhat scared, and also somewhat skeptical.  I didn’t think that there was anything that could guide me to doing 100 push-ups, not in six weeks, not in sixty.  Still I started and didn’t tell him, as I didn’t want him to beat me at it :) .

Three weeks in, I believe. Starting this, I would not have guessed how quickly I would see a difference in the number of push-ups that I could do, and how much push-up make a difference in my biceps and pecs.  There have been a couple of stumbles where I haven’t gotten my three workouts in in a traditional week (what – your week isn’t eight days long???), and many a day where I have been really sore.  The first week was a hard adjustment for me, even though the demands were not too great, the recovery was longer than I thought it would be.  The third seems to be kicking it up a notch, so that I am just on the edge of not being able to complete the sets, and jello arms for a long time after. But I am still with it.

Today?  I did 100 push-ups.  It was over five sets, but it was still 100. When I started this, my initial test result was 12, and it damn near killed me. I didn’t try it, but know that there is no way I could have done even one more in another set that day.  I am not saying that I will be able to finish this in the six weeks that some can finish in, but I am OK with that. I’ll keep going to see how far along I make it, but even if I don’t get much farther, I’m really happy I am doing it!

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27
December

My Christmas 12

Andrea over at a peak inside the fishbowl hosted an hourly photo challenge on Christmas day, and I played along.  Our day was crazy hectic, my battery died halfway through, and I did not always have the camera so my photos are not exactly an hour apart, but there is one from every hour between 7:00am and 7:00pm.

1/12 Stockings (7:30 AM)
Stockings are opened

2/12 New Jersey (8:30 AM)
Then the presents

3/12 Quiet Moments (9:30 AM)
Some quite time

4/12 Breakfast (10:30 AM)
Breakfast!

5/12 Naptime (11:30 AM)
Some of us were overwhelmed

6/12 New hat and outside fun (12:30 PM)
Some played outside

7/12 Nestled in (1:30 PM)
Some played with new toys

8/12 Caught (2:30 PM)
And some got caught working!

9/12 Kitchen helper (3:30 PM)
Lil helper bee

10/12 Is it done yet? (4:30 PM)
Cooking time!

11/12 Set (5:30 PM)
Table is set

12/12 Decisions, decisions (6:30 PM)
One last treat before bed!

Hope you all had a very merry Christmas!!

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23
December

Boundaries

Last evening I was sitting in the kitchen with the lil peeps when the phone rang.  I picked it up, noting that the display was telling me “name and phone number unavailable”.  I answered, and the caller asked for me by my first name.  I let him know that he had reached me, and he identified himself as a reporter who was doing a story on something related to my work, and he wondered if I would be available for comment.

I was floored.  ”This is my home you have called” I said, hoping that he would realize just how wrong this was, and that would be the end of it.  It wasn’t. He explained that he called my office, and heard on the machine that it was closed, but he was really hoping for a comment.  He failed to mention that the message also says to leave a message, and that calls will be returned. Apparently this was lost on him.

Other than my name, my personal contact information is in no way linked to my professional contact information. I have never had anyone that I work with call me at home, in the ten years that I have been working in this field. It was shocking to me, and I asked him how he got my number.  He let me know that I was the first hit on Canada411, and his tone told me that this in some way made it acceptable to him.  I tried to explain that this crossed a line, and that he should have some boundaries.  He was unapologetic, taking our executive director’s media contact information and seeking that all important quote.

I work in the criminal justice field, helping those who are harmed by violent crime.  The vast majority of the people who I work with have lost a loved one to homicide.  It can be a very demanding and draining job, but I love what I do and the people who I help.  I do not, however, bring my job home with me.  This is in part to preserve my mental health, but also because my family is not prepared for, nor should be hearing, the things that I hear of on any given day.  This call came in at 4:40 on a weekday, when I was with my very young children.

He didn’t know that I have young children at home, but they are only part of the reason why I am upset about this call.  I just can’t fathom why he thought it was acceptable to search me out.  The issue he was calling about was old news, something that our office had commented on a week prior.  This was neither a scoop nor pressing news, yet he still felt it justified and necessary that he call my house. I am thankful that this was an isolated case, but saddened by his cavalier attitude and implication that this was somehow my fault for having an unusal last name, and daring to have my phone number listed.

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16
December

Blogging at Kids in the Capital today

I have a post up at Kids in the Capital today, talking about how our family is trying to incorporate giving back to the community into our 25 days of Christmas.

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15
December

Wordless Wednesday – New toy

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14
December

Almost missed it.

Today’s 25 days of Christmas activity was a fun one for the lils, having a peppermint bubble bath, with an added twist of green water!!  I use food colouring to dye the water near most special occasions (red for Valentines and Canada Day, green for St. Patrick’s day, pastels for Easter, black or orange for Hallowe’en…).  It is a big hit with Woo and Goose, and really easy to do.  The water doesn’t stain the skin, as you only use a smidge of food colouring.  You might have to clean the tub after, but that is why I planned this one for the day before our cleaner comes!

We had a crazy late start to dinner, so were somewhat disorganized in general.  Woo then had an accident and needed an early start to bath, but Goose was a pokey eater and very late to the party. In all the hubbub and confusion, I forgot to put the dye in the water, and never even mentioned to Willy about the bubbles.  We all carried on in oblivion, until it was time to go to bed.

Woo goes to bed a few minutes after Goose, so he and I headed down to the playroom to tidy, while Willy and Goose went for her stories.  We were cleaning up the books, when Woo spotted the Grinch, and asked if I could read it to him at bedtime.  A little ding went off in my head, and I realized what had happened.  We’d forgotten.  I panicked, but tried not to show it.  The last thing that I wanted was an upset Woo at bedtime.

A million contingencies went through my head, and the best that I could come up with was that Woo would get the story tonight, and that would be our activity.  It’s planned for next week, but I needed something!  I also felt badly that it was cheating Goose, but figured that she was in bed by this point.  She is really fast to go down most nights, and once in bed, we try not to disturb her.  A break in her personal wind down routine (and it is a routine!) usually means chaos for a while before she passes out.  We’d make it up to her in another activity.

As we headed upstairs I heard Willy finishing up with her story, meaning that we could involve her, even if it pushed her bedtime later.  This solved the problem!  Then I looked up and saw the mistletoe. The mistletoe was my holdback activity for exactly this scenario, my back-up plan for the night when nothing went to plan.  I ran to her bedroom and dragged them all to the hallway where we exchanged kisses under the mistletoe.  It was perfect.

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12
December

This quality parenting moment brought to you by the letters B-E-E-R

Today was a day of ups and downs. It started late and was filled setbacks and chance returns to being on schedule. Both Willy and I were afflicted, and had to overcome forgotten grocery lists on an early run before coffee, a forgotten wallet with a cart full of goodies at Canadian Tire, running out of money on a Christmas shopping tour and the normal hiccups that occur in the course of the day. Somehow we kept our sanity and managed to get most things done.

By the end of the day we had but one thing left on the to-do list, today’s 25 days of Christmas activity of donating our empty beer and wine bottles to the Christmas Exchange at out local beer store. I had mixed feelings about including this as a family activity, but we want to show the lils some of the small things that we can do to help others out, so we kept it on the list. As luck would have it, Willy ran in to some bad customer service while on the last set of errands late in the day so were rushed leaving the house. He had also noticed that the closest beer store was not collecting earlier in the day, so we headed to the bigger store near our house. I tried to verify that they were collecting and noticed that the bottle drive ended at 5:00pm. It was 5:02. We headed there anyway, figuring that we would at least cash in the empties and make a donation later if they were gone for the day.*

We arrived minutes later, and noted that they had been collecting donations at this location, but were gone. We parked the car and decided to get beer now too – we were at the beer store after all. I asked Willy if he and the lils were coming in, and he gave me the “why not” shrug. I ran in to get a cart** and he got the lils out of the car. Once I loaded the boxes on the cart, Woo asked if he could get on. We figured it was harmless, and let both he and Goose climb on. They were pretty cute about it, Woo putting his arm around her so she would not fall off, her eyes lighting up like it was the most fun she had ever had.

When I went in to get the cart, I had noted that there were a number of people turning in empties, and warned Willy of the potential wait. What I had not realized was that there weren’t actually a large number of people turning in empties, there two guys returning a lot of empty bottles and cans. I don’t mean a couple of carts full of empties, there must have been at least 50 two-fours, and many, many bags of cans. They entire beer store stank that really old stale beer smell, they were still unpacking, and we were behind them! Turns out that the line was allowed to move around them, thankfully. They unloaded cans the entire time we were there, faithfully counting them aloud. They kept asking for more garbage cans to put them in, the whole time we were there. That must have been quite the party!

I thought that the lils would get tired of the ride when we got in line and stopped moving, but they didn’t. They just kept asking us to keep them moving. So I did what any parent in this situation would do, I spun them around in circles, like an amusement park ride, empties and all. They loved it even more now, and kept saying “again Mommy, again!” It felt very wrong.

We got to the front of the line, and I emptied the cart. Goose and Willy had wandered off at this point, but Woo was still with me. As soon as he saw the cart was empty he pounced on it and, while I ordered the beer, drove it over to Willy. His sister hopped on the cart and he started pushing her around the store. I managed to convince him to drive her over to the cart corral, and steered them to join me in the entrance while waiting for Willy. I took my off of Goose and she made a gleeful break for the outside, right into the parking lot. I ran after her and managed to almost catch her as she tripped and went sprawling to the ground. Her hands were now dirty and her pride was hurt. She burst into tears.

I carried my howling little girl to the car, hanging my head in shame. How could such a well-intentioned outing go so bad? Did it really look as bad as it felt?? Usually when we go out, we get the occasional “look at how cute/busy/well-behaved your children” are comments. There were none of those tonight.

* we ended up donating online via their website

** yes, we needed a cart. It’s been a while since we returned empties, I swear!

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8
December

Wordless Wednesday – Cupcakes!

Look what arrived at my office!

They were DEVINE

They came with a card!

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7
December

Blogging at Kids in the Capital today

I have  a post up at Kids in the Capital today, talking about our weekend baking!

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7
December

I did not think this through

Our 25 days of Christmas (which I will likely post a lot about this month) is going really well.  In addition to lighting the Christmas lights for the first time, we’ve written letters to Santa, decorated the family room, bought and donated toys to Toy Mountain, baked shortbreads, and made a gingerbread house.  The lils have really gotten into it too.  Woo walked into the house on friday and asked “do we have a christmas activity for today?”  They have both asked at least once a day ever since. I love how easily this has become a daily event for us!

I, however, have not fully thought this through.  The activities have been great fun, especially for Woo and Goose, but the last couple have focused on baking, and sweet treats.  The shortbreads that we made are delicious, and reminded me that I have ABSOLUTELY no will power when it comes to shortbread.  Their buttery, sugary goodness with a cherry on top is completely irresistible.  I think that I have eaten at least 18 cookies out of the six dozen cookies that we made today alone!  I am scared, because we need to make more for our guests arriving in a couple of weeks.  This is not going to end well for my waistline!

Today’s activity was a gingerbread house.  I caved and bought the kit from Loblaws, as I have never successfully made one from scratch, they always fall down under the weight of the icing.  I suspect that it has something to do with the fact that I start decorating too soon.  I did not want that to happen to their first gingerbread house, so kit we bought.

We set to it after “nap”*, when only the three of us were home. This was a tactical error, as it meant that I was helping both of them, catching the candies that were dropping all over the floor (those little sugar balls are hard to hold on to, apparently), and trying to take pictures.  There was no one to watch the candy eating, either.  I think that they were pretty good about it, but they very rarely get candy, so they were pretty crazy by the end.  Woo only put the icing bag in his mouth once. I am pretty sure I caught him before he ate too much!

Little hands, little candies

We did settle in to a good routine after the initial excitement, and both lils were very keen on their decorating.  They each did one tree, and half of the roof. It took about an hour, and both wanted to do another tomorrow.  They ran around like crazy people for about an hour after dinner, and then both crashed pretty quickly.  Here is our finished product.  There are a few more pictures on my flickr stream.

Finished Product!

*no one napped today, which is not the norm for Goose.  This may have contributed to the early crash.*

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