Thursday, September 24, 2009

My New Plan

Among the reasons I love Facebook are the ideas that get shared.

A friend from University updated her status by saying that she was making tomorrow night's dinner far to late in the evening.

Tomorrow night's dinner.

Revolutionary idea!!

I tried it. It was great!

I made a stew and when I got home (okay when my SIL got here because I was so late) the pot of stew was put on the oven to heat and ... boom! dinner is served.

I am going to try this more often. Make a sauce in the evening, cook the pasta when I get home.

Cook the chicken in the evening, steam the veg when I get home.

It puts a smile on my face just thinking about it.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Apple Picking

We took the kids to an apple orchard today.

The same apple orchard that my parents took me to when I was their age.

We went with my brother and his family. Our kids are all the same age and I just love spending time with them, as it is rare and precious.

Jill has been excited about this trip all week (about the maximum amount of lead time I will give her for an event of this nature!). She was buzzing the whole time. There wasn't a single part that she didn't think was the greatest thing ever.

Watching her was the greatest thing ever.

She picked apples off the trees, let her uncle help her climb a ladder to pick one off the top, left the ones with holes in them for the caterpillars, and never stopped grinning.

She made a mental list of all the things we have to make with the apples that we picked. Pie, sauce, cake, crumble....

She picked an apple off the tree and ate it. Best apple ever.

Cait loved walking in the long grass. She let her daddy hold her up to the tree so she could pick an apple. I have no idea how many she ate. I do remember the sound of her laughter as she and Rob threw apples in a game of catch with the orchard dog.

Best game ever.

Jill played in the hay pile with on of her cousins while Cait discovered why you shouldn't eat cow corn with the other.

They both loved the corn maze and I loved the seriousness of the older kids as they protected us from bug-a-boos with their corn swords.

This will be a family tradtion, like it was when I was growing up.

I have no idea what I am going to do with 10 pounds of apples.

I don't care though. I was ready to pick 30 just to keep watching the kids today.

Any one want pie?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Nuckin Futs

Jillian is going to an alternative school.

I don't think I am an alternative mom.

We had our first parents meeting at the school tonight. I just don't get it. I want the same things for my kid, really I do, but I just want it without all the granola.

I promised the principal I would stick it out. I don't mean by keeping Jill in the school longer, I am comfortable with her in the school. I mean me being involved.

She is looking for parents to support the 'other' view of alternative education. Not the view that thinks their kids are at a free private school.

That is a big view to support. I will do it because I want the school to succeed and grow. I know of families who pulled their children out at the last minute because of the overwhelming attitude of some of the parents.

I believe one family referred to it as the 'freak show'. I didn't argue.

As long as this is the right place for Jill it will be the right place for me. If her needs change .....

Saturday, September 12, 2009

One Down

I just finished my first week back at work.

My biggest struggle has been dinner. I was a huge fan of my slow-cooker .... until it broke.
Now I am a huge fan of anything quick. On the advice of a loving aunt I am going to try some frozen dinners. They heat up quick, are portion controlled and more healthy than most of the other things I can choose for a quick meal (like ordering in, or picking up at a drive-through).
I am sure I will get it under control as the year goes on.

If it wasn't so hard to find something we could all eat (see previous posts) then it might be ok, but I can't make noodles and sauce every night, I will go nuts.

I am going to have to menu plan. I am not good at planning. I am not good at menus.

I look in the cupboards and figure something out. Tonight, for instance, was rice casserole. Brown rice, frozen veggies, can soup sauce and cheese. The only problem with that on a school night is it took 50 minutes to cook - 20 for the rice and 30 in the oven.

As far as I am concerned at the moment pizza is the perfect meal. Bread, veggies, meat, cheese. As happy as that would make me to have pizza every night for dinner, I am not sure what the Ministry of Health would have to say.

Yes I am. They don't like that idea.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Where on Earth?

Jill was an easy toddler in some ways. Because she is actually 35 and only living in the body of a small child, she understood certain rules seemingly without effort. Only with Cait do I realize that that was not completely normal.

Cait puts things in her facial orifices. I have found banana stickers in her ears, pencils being stuck up her nose, and you name it in her mouth.

It is the mouth one that bothers me the most.

If it is small she has put it in her mouth. What really gets me is how much stuff have I missed? How many tiny princess shoes have I not fished out? How much money is sitting in her belly?

I started to write this because I had to fish another penny out of her mouth. I don't know where she finds them. Maybe she goes digging in the couch cushions for stuff to munch on. As I was typing I noticed though that she was being unusually quiet. I asked her what was in her mouth and she took off down the hall at top speed. I was finally able to dig a piece of cardboard out of her. Where on earth did she find that? I don't see anything with a bite missing from it.

Jill never did this. We told her that mouths were for food and that was it. We told her toilets were for pee and poop and toilet paper and that was it.

Oh, you know where I am going with this :)

So far we have been able to catch her in time and we make a habit of keeping all doors closed, but we have come close to finding all sorts of what-not floating in the toilet. Any suggestions? Any one else go through a 'can I flush it down the toilet' phase?

She keeps us on our toes. And looking up her nose.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Borrow Toys

A while ago I hinted that our place was overrun with toys. It wasn't an exaggeration. Quite the contrary.

When Jill was 9 months old a television show came and did a living room makeover for us. Why? Too much kid clutter.

Times that by 3 years and 2 kids.

We are blessed. Truly. Our children want for nothing. It is exactly what Rob and I wanted when we talked about having kids. It was also the running thought during many a hard decision that we had to make. We wanted to be able to give our kids everything they needed, as well as a good chunk of what they wanted.

One of the ways I thought to do that was by applying to be a toy testing family for a national parenting magazine.

We were accepted and from the time Jillian was 6 months old we have been receiving and testing toys a couple of times a year.

Since my immediate family has moved back to Ottawa our toy schedule has increased a bit.

It is great. We get as many (or as few) toys as I feel we can reasonably test in a three month period. There is paperwork to be done, but that is a minor piece for me. Quite a major one for the woman whose job it is to oversee all of this, collect the data, analyze it all and make the toy recommendations, but for me, it is a small piece.

The girls get to test new toys. Some aren't even available at toy stores yet. It is all geared to the Christmas toy shopping spree and the magazines articles about the year's best toys.

It's pretty cool.

This year we tested 35 toys. We live in shoe box of a condo. Some of the toys were quite large. That is why this is quickly becoming one of my favourite times of the year.

Donation time.

The catch to being a testing family is that you have to commit to donating all of the toys to charity once the testing period is over. That is the highlight for me. The girls get to play with great new toys, then they learn lessons on charity and giving.

Right now I make all the choices about where the toys will be donated to. My hope is that as they get older they will start to make the choices. For now, they come with me for drop-offs because I want them to see where the toys are going and who they are helping.

That is why we call them 'borrow toys'. We are just borrowing them to play with for a bit until they go to their real homes.

We just did a day of donation drop-offs.

Our place looks great! We not only took this years testing toys, but all of the baby toys that Cait has outgrown. It didn't just make a dent, it made a canyon.

A canyon that was quickly filled by other toys, but at least they aren't all over the living room anymore. They are all put away.

All but 2 boxes, one for Jill and one for Cait.

Let's see how long we can keep it this way!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I have a tummy ache.

Cait is slowly (very slowly) adjusting to daycare.

Jill is in her element.

Off to sleep and I hope to feel better tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Just What I Thought

I really like being back at work.

Ok, so I bawled my eyes out this morning when I dropped Cait off. I cried again when I told Rob about it. And again when I picked her up and heard she had a rough day.

But I really like being back at work.

Jill is doing great, she is a daycare superstar. She started with full days and loves it. She asked me today if I would pick her up a bit later then yesterday so she wouldn't miss free play and snack. She has even made a new friend.

I don't worry about how Jill is doing.

I worry about Cait though.

Through the worry and pride I really like being back at work.

I like organizing the paperwork and labelling the books. I like sorting the toys and setting up the centres. I like talking with my colleagues.

I have been doing a lot of that last one!

I know that Cait will settle in. I know that Jill might have some rough patches.

Same for me.

Ask me again next week if I still like being back. I have only gone 2 days, I think I might still be in the honeymoon phase!