All hockey, all the time.

Today is “Hockey Day in Canada”.  I know that this is a creation of the CBC, and can be pretty gimmicky, but it gets me every year.  I love hockey, have all of my life, so anything that glorifies it is OK with me. The fact that I get a solid ten hours of TV on hockey, dissecting hockey, showcasing hockey, with three one anthem games interspersed?  Icing on the cake.

This hockey day is a little more special to me, as Woo has started to get really into hockey, so I have someone new to share it with!  He insisted on dressing himself in his hockey themed clothing (including Senators socks), and playing indoor hockey during every spare minute of the morning – until we headed off to the rink.  He was at the rink for just over four hours this afternoon, and his skates were on/stick in hand the entire time he was there.  We couldn’t get him off, even if we tried.

I didn’t play hockey, or even skate as a child, but we had a local rink, and my dad and brother were active in the rec hockey league. We spent many a saturday hanging out there watching my brother and the other teams play.  I took up skating and playing hockey in my early thirties, and long for the time to get back at it.  I absolutely love to play hockey and want to improve my skills.  Skills like stopping, for example!

My house was a house divided.  My dad was a Leafs fan, my mom a Canadiens fan.  We all knew that the leafs just suck, but the week before my dad died, they played each other.  The Leafs somehow beat the Habs 7-4, and my dad managed to stay up for the entire game, ribbing me all along.  The hockey gods smiled on the Leafs, and that was the last time that I spent with my dad where he was happy and relaxed.  I stayed with the Habs faithfully until I became a Senators season ticket holder in 1996. My Habs jersey was the first that I ever got.  I was about six and it was 4 sizes too big for me, but I wore it with pride.  It still hangs in my closet, just in case one of the lils loses their way and ends up a Habs fan one day.

Some of my best memories are rooted in hockey, like the Canada-Russian Junior game that I went to with my siblings at the Civic centre in the mid?late? eighties, when the Russian team, who had clearly never seen the wave before, stopped playing for several minutes to watch it go around and around and around. The night that Gretzky made that pass to Lemieux to score the goal that won the 1987 Canada Cup, interrupted in our house by the mouse that chose to make a visit.  Watching the 67′s win the 1999 Memorial Cup, even though they were down and out in the game, and by the fact that they had been sitting waiting for the tourney to start for sixish weeks.  Willy was a newby hockey fan at this point, and I think this week of non-stop hockey hooked him.  The night that Steve Duchesne put the Sens into the playoffs stands out as one of the best and hands down the loudest Sens game that I have been to, and spawned a tradition of playoff tailgates hosted by my brother that continues to this day. The 2007 Stanley Cup finals, right after Woo was born, and the 2008-2009 WJHC right after Goose was born.  Both were awesome rides, and both marked the occasions that I left my new little babies with sitters for the first time.  Watching games with Goose and Woo, including the 2010 Gold medal game, when they were just as excited as we were.  Taking each of them to their first hockey games, and seeing the sparkle in their eyes.

So I’ll embrace hockey day, and continue to build on it with the family.  Today was a good start!



Hijinx at bedtime

My grandmother moved in with us when I was five or six. Glammy was my mom’s mother, and she stayed with us for about ten months. This was a temporary stay, as she was between homes. She lived with us after she sold the family home until she bought a new, smaller home.

I have few memories of that time. It was certainly a disruptive on some level, although I don’t recall that. My dad got along very well his mother-in-law, but I am not sure how well that played over this extended stay. I know that I could not live with my mom again, not for ten days, let alone ten months, but there was little friction. The three kids must have been somewhat inconvenienced too, but that didn’t have a lasting impression. I know that Glammy slept in my brother’s room, and he was clearly displaced, but I don’t know where he went, if he got the basement, or moved into Neeroc’s and my room and we went to the basement, or what happened. I am pretty sure that I got to stay in my room and my siblings had to move artound (I was the baby after all).

My best memories of this time are of cuddling in bed with Glammy. She would tuck me in at night, or I would sneak into her room in the morning. We would hide under the covers and laugh and tell silly stories, watch tv in her room, or just hang out together. My clearest memory is of one of our tuck-in cuddles. We were lying in the dark, and I was telling her all about the many stuffed animals that were piled all over my bed.

There were at least fifteen, and each had a name, a story, a blankie, and a special place in the bed. This night, as she had done before, Glammy patiently played along with me and listened to each story. The stories were going smashingly until we got to “Mousalita”, my little stuffed mouse*. At this point she started shrieking “there’s a mouse in the bed, there’s a mouse in the bed”. I laughed and tried to explain that it was a stuffed mouse, but every time that I said “mouse”, she started shrieking again, to my great amusement. It went on for a while, getting more and more giggly. My mom, finally came in and broke it up and I went to bed. This became our thing though, and was repeated on many a night.

I thought of this last night as I kissed and tucked Woo and Goose in before I went to sleep. Their beds, you see,

are piled high with stuffies and blankies, just like mine always was. Wonder when we will start to hear all about them at bedtime.

*I was very original with names, others included Liony, Beara, Leo (a leopard, of course), and my favourite, Rabbadoodazz.



Wordless Wednesday – Vacation

Slightly bigger waves
Pretty Flower
Beach Play



Pass it on

The lils had cameras stuffed in their faces since birth.  Their lives have been well documented, and they are very comfortable having cameras in their faces.  Both have gone through phases where they balk at having their pictures taken, but for the most part they play along by ignoring me or smiling occasionally.

For Christmas last year, Woo’s cousin gave him a small digital camera. She already had one, and he had been coveting it.  He loved it and still does, using it most days.  in some ways is is perfect for him.  Designed for little hands, and rugged enough to handle the inevitable drops from those same hands.  It takes pictures and video, and he has a blast with it.  There are two things that limit it though, it is fairly low resolution/low quality lens, and the pictures are erased when the batteries die.  He really loves it.

Woo is also becoming more interested in my photography.  He was always asking questions in the fall, when I took a photography class, wanting to know why I went and what I learned.  Then he started composing pictures for me, asking that I take a picture as a memento of something or because he found a particular scene “really beautiful”, like this one (taken under his direction):

Woo's sunset

While we were away last week, he started monkeying around with the underwater camera that we had borrowed from Uncle Matt. He took a couple of funny pictures of Willy, who was hamming it up for him. Here’s one:

Then the night before last Willy was taking pictures of the lils, and Woo asked to use his dSLR.  Willy was comfortable with that, so he was allowed to do so under Mommy’s careful watch.  After a couple of false starts, he produced some more passable pictures, including this one, which I like.

I am impressed with how well he framed it, considering he was looking through the viewfinder – no live view here!  The best part of these endeavours is that he really enjoyed both the responsibility and the act of taking pictures.

So yesterday I decided to give him our old point and shoot to use. I charged the battery, plugged in a memory card and sat him down educate him on taking care of the camera and to show him how everything works.  Then I let him go.  No hovering, guiding, coaching or unsolicited help.  He’s getting the hang of it!

As I tucked him in tonight, he wanted to talk about putting the pictures on the computer, so that he could look at them all the time, when he would get to take pictures again, and how he wanted to take pictures just like Mommy.  I am so excited and proud.



Signs that your children might have the plague

When we got on the shuttle to the hotel upon arrival, there was a family of four sitting on the bench seat behind Goose and I.  It was a short  ride to the hotel, but all the children behind us did during that ride was cough.  Loud, phlegmy, cringe-inducing coughs.  With each one I cringed a little bit and leaned forward a titch more, thinking “please don’t give it to us, please don’t give it to us”.

Fast forward a week, and I felt like we were that family on the shuttle to the airport.  As much as I would like to blame the family from our arrival, there seemed to be a pretty widespread

So now they are sick, and have been since a day or so before we came home.  I know that they are sick because they have the normal signs; runny noses, red chapped noses, constant coughing and a fever that goes up and down like a yo-yo.  These things I can normal handle easily, but this week was a long week, compounded by a few extra, new symptoms that let me know that they are really feeling like crap.  Stuff like:

They now scream instead of talking.  To me, to each other, to Willy. Until we ask them to speak normally, and then they mumble incoherently.

They rarely fight with each other, yet this week they have been fighting all the time and picking at each other.

When they are not fighting, they are tattling.

They are clingy as all get out.  Normally sickness makes them subdued, but now they want to attached to me much of the time.

We have gone through six boxes of kleenex in less than a week. I know that they haven’t been wasting it either, as they both yell “boogie” with increasing alarm every time their noses need blowing.  Until I blow their noses. if I ask them to do it, they tell me that they have forgotten how.

I left them alone in the kitchen drawing with markers one morning so that I could take a shower and they didn’t do anything, other than draw on their papers.  Not themselves, each other, the table, the walls, just the paper.  The fact that I left them like this is likely a good indication that I am now also sick.

We had a house guest this week too.  I hope he bring this home to his family, though he was warned and stayed here anyway.



Apparently Air Canada isn’t a list-maker

We just returned from a great vacation to the Turks and Caicos.  All four of us had a wonderful time.  Parts of it went really well, exceeding expectation, parts were just as predicted, and parts were downright crazy.  There will be more on the good later, but this post is about our trip home on Monday.

We booked our trip on so that we traveled on Mondays, as that was when the direct flights were offered.  We didn’t take direct flights last year, and quickly saw that as an error in judgement during the sixteen hour travel day that only included a little over three hours of flying time.  The direct flight and on-ground transfers were two of the big reasons that we chose the Beaches in Turks, a short 4 hour flight, followed by a 15 minute drive from the airport!

All was smooth on the way down, so we hoped for the best on the way home.  On departure day, we hopped in the shuttle just as the skies opened in a torrential downpour.  We got to the airport and it was chaos.  There were several flights departing within 30 minutes of each other, and many people were waiting.  The space was small, and there was limited counter space for each airline.  Air Canada had two counters, and it moved very slowly, especially after the agents noticed that they had mistagged all of the luggage that had been received prior to our arrival, and had to re-tag it all while we waited in line, a mere three groups from the front.

Given that our wait at the airport spanned Goose’s naptime, I had promised her she could have a nap in my arms when we got to the airport.  I meant after we had checked in, cleared security, and were sitting at the gate enjoying our last Turk’s Lager of the trip.  She took it to mean that she could sleep the minute we walked through the doors, and demanded to be picked it.  I did and she promptly fell asleep, all thirty-eight pounds of her!

We finally checked in, and wandered down to security, where we stood in a VERY long line that we quickly realized wasn’t moving.  It’s small airport that uses stairs for deplaning.  That rain I mentioned?  Apparently made the stairs too slippery for the people arriving and it slowed the boarding of of those ahead of us, so they stopped processing people.  While I was still carrying sleeping Goose.

We made it through in time for Goose to wake and to get called to board.  The plane took off on schedule, and we settled in for the flight.  About forty minutes into the flight they started meal service, Willy headed to the potty with Goose, and I chilled with Woo.  Shortly into the meal service an announcement came over the speakers letting us know that they were unable to serve hot meals as the ovens were broken.  Then I started hearing the attendants tell passengers that they were out of all the food, offering one of two lonely vegetarian sandwiches, some chips or some oatmeal. By the time they got to us, I snagged the last two sandwiches, leaving the rest of the plane with nothing to eat.  There were a good fourteen rows of hungry people behind us.

Willy and Goose had returned to our seats at this point, in time for another announcement, letting us know that the lavatories hadn’t been emptied, and we needed to land to empty them.  At this point they locked the doors on the washrooms, stopped “food” and beverage service, and started a fast decent into the Bahamas.

We landed in Nassau, and were on the ground for about 40 minutes. The crew was very forthcoming, letting us know where we were going, how we long we could anticipate being delayed, and what they were doing about connecting flights.   They truly tried to make the best of a bad situation, one that was clearly stressful for them too.

It got me wondering about how this could happen? And what else are they missing? It was a  regularly scheduled plane full of small children, flying over the dinner hour.  Did the delays, extra fuel and any other fees they incurred by an unscheduled landing not cost them a pile of money? Passengers and staff alike were inconvenienced and upset by the delays and lack of preparedness, and the disruption to their travel day.  They had many hungry passengers, who were given little choice for food at the airport, and would rely on getting something on the plane.  There must have also been disruption for the passengers on the flight that was held for connecting passengers on my flight.

I understand that delays are a fact of life when travelling, but this one seems to have been entirely avoidable.   A simple checklist that included the item “plane serviced and refreshed” would have saved us all the bother.  I had plane snacks on my list, so we (and the people I shared with in front of us) were actually OK foodwise.  good thing I’m a list-maker!



Wordless Wednesday – Recovered

I recovered these pics from a CF card after it was messed up by my former card reader.  They aren’t all necessarily good pics, but they are good memories and I was stressed when they were “gone”.




Overheard at naptime

While away on vacation last week we had to spend the afternoons parenting apart – one of us sitting in the room while Goose “slept”, and the other off playing with Woo in the water park or pool, or both!

More often than not, I self elected to monitor goose, as it let me do some chores like downloading pictures and, well, napping. Sadly Goose got herself in a vicious cycle where she was either really overtired and face planted immediately upon being put in the crib, or she was super keyed up and fought her nap with all she had. She knows that I am in the room with her, but tends to forget and babble to herself. This is but a sampling of what she had to say on one of these days…

You’re my cuddle buddy

Baby, do you wanna cuddle and sleep?  I will tuck you in.

Baby, we have to sleep now. Stop talking.

Cuddle me or you will have to go outside.

You’re stinky.

Lie down. Now put your bum down and go to sleep.

“oh no!” “what?” you’re wet.” “it’s ok, I’m getting dried off.” in different voices, I’m not sure which was Goose and which was Baby. Neither was wet.

Shhh. No talking.

(after baby was bashed against the side of the crib a few times) You will have a time out because you hit me. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-9-10. Ok, you’re done. Cut it out.

Bounce bounce bounce. You’re a horse – I enjoy riding you. (I assume this was to Baby)

When is Judy coming to clean this room? (Judy is our cleaning lady at home.  She did not come on the trip with us.)

Can I have a piña colada?

I see you mommy – there you are. Hi.

Love shack, love shack B-AAA-BY

Mommy said blah blah blah

Why is it nap time?  I wanna play

Hahaha I toooooooted

Yohn Yacob Yingleheimer Yidt… (she sang the whole song, each word starting with a Y)

Ready?  Baboink!  Ready, set?  Roar!! (I wish I knew what she was up to here)

I sleep all the time, so not today.

Look! A parasailer!! A parasailer!!  It’s gone.  It was baby’s parasailer and now it’s gone. Oh, I maybe see it!  Yup. But it’s gone again. It fell.  (She did see a parasailer, but it didn’t fall, it just moved from her view.)

It’s a good thing she does not know just how much she was making me giggle. She eventually fell asleep, shortly after I gave up on the hiding, moved to the bed, and napped.

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