30
June

A day late and a dollar short

Busy vacation meant I missed my “wordless wednesday – at the zoo” yesterday. Oops.

Shiny hog

Penguins

Giraffe

Grumbly faced

Zebra

Rhino

Butterfly

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27
June

Lead the way

We set off on a long drive to visit family this AM, and made the decision to take the road less traveled, and make the drive just a wee bit longer.  The lils were excited, Willy was excited, and I had coffee.  We headed out. 

As we drove in the beautiful sunlight, we noted what a great day it was to take this drive.  There were few cars on the road, and the scenery is pretty stunning.  Quick stops were a breeze and both lils liked the new route. It was a good choice for a lazy Monday drive. 

We’ve started doing picnic lunches on long drives where ever possible. The trick is to find the right park that is safe, but entertaining for the lils, but also lets willy and I chill for a bit. Luckily, there is an app for finding parks. Sadly it failed us today.

We pulled into the town we were near at lunch time and prepared to drive around. We were in luck, spotting both the local coffee shop and community park within seconds of hitting town. The park was crowded with a school picnic, but it dispersed seconds after we pulled in so we stayed and had a nice lunch and run around. 

I pulled out my camera to take a few pictures before we left, and noticed that there was a little bird’s nest tucked in the rafters of the shelter for the picnic tables. I stood on the tables to take this picture, much to the amusement of the lils. They soon joined me on the table, and stayed there after I got down. 

I was walking away when Goose called to me for help getting down. I asked her to wait a moment while I set down my camera. When I turned back around I watched as Woo very patiently and carefully showed her how to safely get off the table. He took his time, making sure that she was able to do all the steps, and waited for her each time before he showed her what to do next. 

It was so sweet to see. Willy and I just watched in awe. He was so gentle. He didn’t grab her and haul her off, yell for us to come, or shove her off the table. He led her through the steps in such a wonderful way. 

I’m so glad that our many paths took us to this park today, so we could see just what a great brother, teacher, and leader he is becoming. Moments like this make all the trying ones melt away. 

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22
June

Wordless Wednesday – Sunsets

Beach Volleyball

Britannia beach

Life saver

The sailing club

Young love

Grass in the wind

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21
June

No more daddies

Driving up to the cottage this past weekend we passed several cemeteries. As we drove by one of the last ones, curious lad that he is, Woo started to ask about the people who were buried there. Who they were, why I didn’t know them, when they died, why they died. I answered to the best that I could and we continued along in silence. I thought the subject was put to rest. It never is with four-year olds though.

Several kilometres had passed when he started asking about my dad, who passed away long before he was born. We talked about where he is buried, and Woo’s desire (and my shared want) to go visit his grave. We moved on to his middle name, which he gets from my grandfather, Willy’s father and my dad. We were fortunate that they shared the same name, so were able to honour them all in his naming. We talked about their greatness, and how special it is that he shares their name. He paused for a minute and said, “so you and daddy have no more daddies, then.”

No more daddies.

It really hit me. We don’t. We are fortunate to have my grandfather still, but we are now both without our fathers. This weekend marked the first father’s day since Willy’s dad passed away, and I didn’t really connect the fact that neither of our dads are still with us until now. I should have, really.

I am struck almost every day, in small ways and big ways, by how much I miss Willy’s dad. My father has been gone for over twenty years, but Willy’s dad passed away in September and it is still fresh. Raw. I see now what an influence he was, a force in both our lives. We were never what I would call close, and I never thought of him as my dad, but for a long time he was my only father figure. He pushed me and supported me, infuriated me and loved me. Now he too is gone.

I miss them both, and wish they were still here.

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20
June

Fickle

Little Goose is a stubborn one. I know that she gets it from me, and I am trying really hard not to engage in a battle of wills each with her each time that she digs her heels in. Some days I remember not to give in and we move on. Those days I feel this makes things better. On the others, we either have epic battles, or I don’t engage and think she sees my decision as a sign of weakness. Her smug look tells me that she knows she is winning, even if she doesn’t get her way this time. Yes, she is two, but I can read that look in her eyes. I have given it many a time.

Sometimes it seems that we have the same battles over and over until a winner declared. Lately it’s getting fussy about the foods that I prepare. I know that there are some things that are just not to her taste, and I don’t ask that she eat them. I also know that she happily eats absolutely everything that she is presented with at daycare, so I do encourage her to try to eat new things. This week though, she hasn’t even been eating the old things. It’s frustrating, especially when she wakes at 4:00 am with a grumbling tummy from not eating her lunch OR supper. Things came to a head yesterday when we went out for lunch for Father’s day.

We went to Boston Pizza, and she happily announced that she wanted Bugs and Cheese. We have been a few times, and she always asks for spaghetti, but she has seen Woo’s bugs before (and tried them, I am pretty sure), so we rolled with it. Then the food was delivered and she flat-out refused to eat. Refused to try, just kept repeating that she didn’t like it. It’s essentially Kraft Dinner, yet she was not even considering it.  We would have been OK with her not liking it if she had actually tried the pasta. She didn’t, and got by with her veggies and some of Woo’s fries. We didn’t push it, but if she asked for something else to eat, we told her that she needed to at least taste her meal first. She didn’t and we packed up the leftovers.

Dinner rolled around, and I offered the bugs, reheated. She was hungry, but started saying that she didn’t want them, didn’t like them. I was seconds away from offering her the back up meal (even I am not that cruel :) , when I asked her one more time why she didn’t want to eat the bugs. She looked down at her plate, filled with red, white, and purple bugs covered in a cheese sauce and said, “I only like the white ones”. One quick sort and she wolfed down all of the white pasta, happily.

Of course that was the problem.

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19
June

Do-over

We firmly believe in celebrating the awesome all of the time, and do so with regularity. I have never been one to buy into what I call the “Hallmark” holidays, but we do celebrate Mother’s day and Father’s day. This is partially because the lils are taught about it at daycare and make a big deal about it, and partially because it’s kinda nice to be spoiled for a day, and to be able to take a rest, guilt free. From the very first Mother’s/Father’s day free for all, we have evolved into a way more low-key day for either parent. The key is that you get to do what you want on your day.

Willy deserves a do-over on Father’s day this year. He is most certainly NOT doing what he wants right now. He is currently sitting in the airport in Toronto, waiting for his second delayed flight of the day. He left home before we ate supper, one of his absolutely favourite meals and was stuck with airport pizza. He spent the lils nap/quiet time packing and making last-minute plans, not stopping to catch his breath or tinkering with things that he wanted to tinker with. We went to lunch, but his little Goose was overtired and cranky, and refused to eat and kicked up a fuss. He didn’t sleep in this morning, and few love sleep more than that man. Instead he got up and made the lils french toast so that I could sleep in. He did this because I took the lils away for fri-sat so he could work, and barely slept due to their nocturnal behaviour. I feel immense guilt about this, but with him travelling and the lils on the edge of sick, I needed that extra hour, and he would have it no other way. Did I mention that he worked all day Saturday too?

Today we did have a good day, and got to do some fun things with the lils, including lunch out, watching a boat travel down the Rideau canal locks, and attending our first Kinderconcert at the NAC. Willy also got some nice gifts from the lils and I, and they weren’t steamers at all! The day was a good day, but I think he would have liked a little bit more relaxing and pampering. The nice thing about not giving in to the Hallmark days, it will be really easy to declare NEXT sunday as Father’s day!

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15
June

Wordless Wednesday – How is that comfortable?

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13
June

The steamer

I have been racking my brains trying to come up with a gift for Willy from the lils for Father’s day. It’s not that we couldn’t just buy him practical stuff that he will use, or make him something crafty from the lils, I just like to buy him something that I think he will want and NOT buy for himself. In my list book, one of the lists is the gift idea list, and there is a big fat nothing associated with him. Father’s day is less than a week away, and now, more than anything, I am afraid that we will pick a “steamer”.

The steamer has a long tradition in my family, one that I was part of from the beginning. Over fifteen years ago I was frantically looking for gift ideas for my brother-in-law. His birthday falls on Christmas day, and I was two ideas short with only a few shopping days left. I consulted my sister, and she gave me a couple of ideas, including a kitchen appliance. I ran out to Consumer’s Distributing to pick it up, grabbing the extended warranty. I wasn’t even going to tell him this, because I *knew* it would die days after the warranty would expired. He has my luck that way, and this would be a lovely surprise when it did die!

Christmas day rolled around, and the birthday gifts were last. I watched his face in anticipation, hoping that it would reveal his happiness at my choice. Instead I got a puzzled look, followed by him saying “This is really nice, but why did you buy it for me?” I think he thought that I had given him the wrong person’s gift. This started off a humourous discussion between my sister and BIL about whether or not he had said he wanted it. Regardless of who had misinterpreted who, it was clear that he didn’t need a vegetable steamer. It was returned and a tradition born.

It is not uncommon to hear one family member say to another, just prior to presenting a gift, “I am not sure, this might be a steamer”. Or to have a recipient, upon contemplating a gift that they have received, look up and say, “I am sorry, but it’s a steamer”. It’s actually really helpful, in my opinion. You can let the giver know that it is not appropriate for you without really hurting feelings. It’s absolutely clear when you call it a steamer.

Even though he wasn’t in the family when the original steamer was gifted, Willy and I have adopted the practice. We range between the blunt approach, when you open the package and just say “steamer” before moving on to the next, and the more delicate dance around the issue before finally admitting that a gift is a steamer. He favours the latter, and sometimes takes a while to admit that something is a steamer. I usually have to call him on it, and even then he will try to make an item work for him before finally admitting defeat.

Here I am. It’s not the gift that I purchase, but the associated the gift of time to play with something new, or an opportunity for exploring something with the lils that I am shooting for here. I so don’t want to give a steamer this year!!

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8
June

Wordless wednesday – Damn mosquitos

Woo, August 2008

Woo, post bite

Woo, post bite

Goose, June 2011

Goose, in the morning

Goose, end of day

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7
June

New perspective

Every time my backyard neighbour has started his mower this year I have cringed. Not because I feel that having a gas powered motor is unacceptable, but because their particular mower is a gas powered ride-on mower. So I’ve grumbled, given dirty looks thru the fence, sighed heavily, and tweeted my displeasure. Who really needs a ride on mower in the city? Yes, we have largish lots for the city, but they are still city lots, not huge. The saving grace here is that it takes about 90 seconds for them to mow, after which I mostly forget about the mower. Mostly.

I like to think that I am a pretty open minded person, and about many things I am. The line blurs when it comes to topics that I am more passionate about; the lils, my family, my job and crime victims, wine, my sports teams, and the environment. Here, I tend to draw a line in the sand and seldom waiver from my chosen point. So this mower has bugged me. It seems like an extreme tool to do a simple job, polluting as it goes.

This is where the mostly forgetting about the mower comes in. I don’t really forget and talk to people about it. I think that this is my way of processing, trying to work through my displeasure about the neighbour’s choice. In some way I think that I am also seeking to validate my opinion. For the most part, people voice their agreement.

Last weekend my sister and her family were over for lunch. In the course of our discussions, I called the neighbour out for mentioned the lawnmower. My brother-in-law thought about it for a minute and then came up with about six reasons why they might have this mower, some of which I believe not to be the case, and some of which I don’t know whether or not they apply. The fact that he came up with these reasons highlighted for me that I had been way too fast to judge without the whole story, and that I need to remember that my perception of a situation is not necessarily the right viewpoint. I am not sure if he intended to show me this flaw in my thinking, or if it was just a consequence of his openmindedness, but I am so happy we had the discussion. Happy and thankful that he helped to broaden my perspective a little.

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