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Showing posts from 2008

Happy New Year!

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While I like to think I'm my own person, travelling along at my own pace and on my own path, happy with who I am, there is a part of me that wishes I was more. Why else would I look forward to January 1st every year? The promise of changes for the better, a new year and a clean slate fill me with hope and excitement. The Captain never makes resolutions for the new year, claiming it's melodramatic and we should be working on our stuff all year round. The Captain is a party pooper.
I've been giving a little thought to what I want to accomplish in 2009, and here's what I've come up with:
1. Organization: This year I will finally gain control of my space. We are overloaded with all manner of crap, the worst offender being the boxloads of books we've lugged from province to province since we were university students. The Captain is partial to his books, so getting rid of any of his collection is out of the question. However, I have many that could go. Craft books I&#…

Should Auld Acquaintance be Forgot

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When I was a little girl living in England, New Year's Eve was the best day of the whole year. We always spent Christmas at home in Essex, but on the 31st, we'd pack up our enormous family, hop on the train for the 3-hour trek to Oxford and stay overnight with our grandparents, Nanny and Bampy, who had a party every year without fail. New Year's Eve also happened to be Nanny's birthday, so I'm thinking that probably had a lot to do with this tradition as well. However, I cannot ever remember seeing a birthday cake or hearing anyone sing Happy Birthday to her. I don't even remember ever bringing her a gift (though I seriously doubt my mother would've turned up without one). But there was often a gift from Nanny for us.
On New Year's Eve 1981, I received my first knitting book. My sister got her first cookbook from the same series, and we both still have those books to this day. My knitting book was full of patterns for toys, doll clothes, handy kitchen i…

The Big Recap

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Isn't the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve the best one of the whole year? You have a perfectly good excuse to hit the stores (because the sales are so great) AND a perfectly good excuse to stay home (because it's the holidays). There's still New Year's Eve to look forward to (the food, the outfit, the HANDBAG!) and, most importantly, the insanity we parents call "Santa" has passed for another blissful year!
So, here are the highlights of our crazy Christmas. I doubt there will be any heartwarming made-for-tv movies based on it next holiday season, but it was all ours and we liked it just fine.
The kids let us sleep in until 8 yesterday, and they were still pretty excited about the moderate number of gifts under the tree this year (we pared back all-round in an attempt to not set a precedent of shameful excess for future holidays). Firstborn's favourite stocking stuffer, the lowly whoopie cushion (a name he was simply unable to grasp, preferri…

All I Want for Christmas...is a Bunch of Unattainable Pipe Dreams!

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Excitement is high around here today. Firstborn is back to talking about wanting Santa to bring him a Jack-in-the-Box (do you have any idea how hard it is to find a Jack-in-the-Box in the year 2008?!) and Rosemary's Baby is running around without any pants on (nothing new there). It has been decided that Santa will be treated to a mince pie and a beer this evening, and no one seems to have any worries about him getting stuck in the chimney and having to be pulled out by the RCMP, so it's all good.
I know I've already posted my Christmas wishlist, so I won't regale you with more consumer-driven gift requests. But here are a few other things that I think would come in really handy right about now.
1. Polygamy. No, I'm not talking about the creepy stuff going on in BC with all that victimization of young girls and whatnot. Eww. But an extra husband around the place could potentially be really helpful. Between the truck that still needs a new turn signal, and the 2 brok…

It's A(nother) Celebration!

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Here at 2kids, 2dogs, we like to celebrate the little things. And this last week, I got quite a lot done. Granted, those sewing projects I swore were my top priority still exist only in my head, and I have yet to set foot in Michaels, but I did accomplish a couple of things I'm happy about.
For the last 12 Decembers, the Captain has been nagging me to create an angel topper for our tree. He had one growing up that he thought I could replicate pretty easily, and I promised I'd get on it...12 years in a row. Well, I finally got around to it. I'm ashamed to admit it only took about 2 hours in total to complete. It was a piece of cake, and now it sits atop our tree as if it had always been there. So, to reward myself (because when it takes you 12 years to complete one simple task, don't you deserve a reward?!), I made myself a pair of pretty beaded earrings with some tiny grey swarovski crystals I got on sale this past fall, using some tree ornaments I made as my template. A…

Not Going to Jail at Christmas for Murdering Your Spouse? Priceless.

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I've mentioned in the past that the media makes a big fat lie out of the military reunion. Those unaccustomed to the reality of the situation see the hugs and kisses and miss the part where he messes up the house with his stuff and causes fights and arguments with his inability to just blend into the life we've created without him.
It's not that I'm not glad he's home. And in a week, we'll all be back to normal. The mess won't be so irritating. His need to comment on every little thing I say or do will have died down a bit. We'll both have mellowed some (because I admit, it's not just him). But for right now, I'm having to strongly resist the urge to hit him over the head with our cast-iron frying pan. So, what's a girl to do when the Captain comes home and presses all the wrong buttons? Luckily for me, the answer is a fun one. I'm going shopping! That's right. Having been through all this before, I anticipated these problems and made …

Celebrate Good Times...C'mon...

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I have this memory of myself as a teenager making a chocolate cake out of an ancient cookbook I still use to this day for my mum's birthday. It might be good to mention here that, until I met the Captain, cooking of any kind was limited to heating up something in the microwave. My mum wasn't big on it. Having been forced at a horrifically early age to cook for her family, then going on to have a husband and seven children of her own to feed, cooking never felt like much fun. So the first time I went over to the Captain's place and watched him make me french onion soup, my jaw dropped. He never even picked up a can opener!
You can imagine what this cake ended up looking (and tasting) like. The icing was too runny, so when I tried to spell out "Happy Birthday" in red, on a sheet of green icing, what I ended up with was a drippy brownish blur. Between that and the fact that the cake had the consistency of a brick, by today's standards, I'd have considered it…

It Just Isn't Christmas Until You Insult an Obnoxious Celebrity

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Firstborn is home sick today, and Rosemary's Baby decided it was time to get up and come jump on my bed at 4AM, so I'm a little dizzy this morning (or is it afternoon?). Since the day is obviously a write-off, I thought I'd get started on my end-of-year greeting letters. Here's what I've come up with so far.

Dear Mr. Cruise,
Can I call you Tom? On second thought, let's not get too familiar. I'm a little afraid you'll lure me into the Scientology Celebrity Center and my friends and family will never hear from me again. First there was the couch-jumping incident. Then came the forcing of your adorable third wife to give birth to her first child with no drugs and in complete silence (you really ought to have been there when, after 26 hours of labour and 4 hours of pushing, Firstborn's enormous head finally emerged, ripping half my insides out with it, to understand how truly and deeply this offends me). Recently I read that you showered your toddler with…

The Best Gift of All is Time

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Am I the only one who feels like there just aren't enough hours in the day anymore? No matter how focussed I am on getting all the drudgery around here completed, turning off the computer so as to completely avoid all time-sucking distractions, it just seems like there's always one more thing to do before I can move onto anything fun.
Well, yesterday, I decided it was the season of giving. And what I wanted to give myself was a new apron (I know how uninspired and pathetic that sounds). I've been wearing the same filthy, homemade denim apron in the kitchen for about 5 years now. When I put it on, the Captain never misses the opportunity to make fun of me. The thing is a little too short (or so the Captain says--this doesn't actually bother me since I rarely slop soy sauce on my legs while cooking), and it's covered in all manner of things that never came out in the wash. I realize that's the point of an apron, but for a while now I've felt it was time for a…

Part 3

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Is anyone sick of me making lists yet? Because I've spent the last day or so wandering around the house taking pictures of a few of my favourite already-received gifts from Christmases past, and a few other occasions. And here they are:

Bags of all sorts, from homemade (note the red dog print lining on the black tote!) to functional to fun. Some people just know what I like.

Things that make me feel like I'm eating out, when I actually live 45 minutes from the nearest restaurant, are always a good bet. The napkin holder was made by Sister #3 in shop class when she was a wee thing, and graces my holiday table every year without fail, despite the fact that no one in this pig pen would ever actually think to use a napkin.
Books (or gift cards that allow us to buy books--thanks Brother #1!). Where would we be without them?

Some groovy shoe-gifts from the Captain.



Nothing says "I Love You" like a homemade gift from the heart!



I never leave the house without these.



And there are…

...And These are a Few More!

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Oprah has nothing on me. One special a year on her favourite things? Come on. I could do this all month!
Of course, what I couldn't do is give everyone thousands of dollars worth of my favourite things to take home. So I guess we'll say Oprah and I are even. For now.
I've gotten to a point in life where I don't actually ask for Christmas presents anymore. The Captain likes to come up with his own stuff for me, and I have various agreements with various family members on what our gift exchange should look like. Sadly, none of those agreements result in me getting to ask anyone for expensive booty. I think that's called being a grown-up.
Anyway, as I may have mentioned, I'm all about the lists. So, without further adieu, here is a list of items Santa would leave under my tree if I wasn't on his Naughty list:

The Grey Handbag: A few days back, I came across a picture of my latest dream purse. Like Alice after the White Rabbit, I followed it through cyberspace unti…

These are a Few of My Favourite Things

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Well, we're in holiday mode here on the farm. The house smells like baking (and sometimes diapers), the last of the Christmas mail has gone out, and Firstborn is excitedly adding an ornament to the advent calendar every morning, feverishly awaiting #13, the snowman, because he knows that this is the day Daddy comes home. By early next week, we should have a Christmas tree and a decorated living room. We have kid-oriented celebrations to attend both this weekend and next, with a grown-up party to get me out of the house in between. Christmastime is here! Now, you know I love a good list. It's the nerd in me. I was reading a magazine last night that suggested I make a list of all the things I love about Christmas and focus on those, getting rid of the stresses and things I do only out of obligation or a feeling that I should, because I always have before. Though I think we can all agree that eliminating the Christmas stress is unrealistic, it doesn't mean we can't all m…

The Season of Giving is Here!

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Sorry to the two or three of you who actually read this stuff and expect a new post in a timely fashion. The end of November/beginning of December is crazy around here. Between the mail-outs, preparing for the Captain's triumphant (and likely noisy) return home, and Rosemary's Baby turning three this past weekend (yes, it's true. Be very afraid), the posts that have been forming in the back of my mind have had to stay there temporarily. But fear not, I have lots in store this holiday season!
In the interest of paying it forward, I must tell you about a blog I love. It's called 2BKrafty and it is the brainchild of the fabulous Janine, who just happens to live in my old stomping grounds of Southwestern Ontario. Now, I'm about to risk sounding like an exciteable 12 year-old at the Twilight premiere here, but this lady's creations are AWESOME!! She is a serious stamper and her blog inspires and amazes every single day. This week Janine announced that she was hosting…

It's a Dog's Life

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For some odd reason, American Thanksgiving seems like an appropriate time for an embarrassing confession: we bought our house, and the five acres on which it sits, for the dogs.
Don't get me wrong. We like the place, and the privacy. There's nothing quite like heading out back to hang laundry on a hot July afternoon, wearing a dirty old t-shirt and your fat pants and belting out the entire score of Grease, secure in the certainty that no one will ever know.
But the driving force behind purchasing such a property, with its hours and hours of lawn-cutting, pipes that freeze every winter, and garden that needs constant attention all summer long, was having a place where our dogs could run free.
After 3 years of moving from military base to military base, and living in married quarters with nothing more than an unfenced postage stamp for a backyard, Rusty and Jerome were getting a little on the portly side. Letting them off-leash was a bit of an iffy enterprise because they were neve…

Pardon Me While I Collapse From Exhaustion

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I have reached my breaking point. This happens every time the Captain goes away. For the first few days, I'm dealing with a child with separation anxiety and trying to make things consistent. Then, for the bulk of the separation, I'm in my groove, getting things done, falling into comfortable routines, occasionally dropping Rosemary's Baby with a sitter so I can have a day to buy groceries and get a head start on the Christmas shopping. And then the last 3 weeks is upon me and my body realizes I'm in the home stretch and gives me permission to give in to the exhaustion. This is where the proverbial you-know-what hits the fan. When my brain catches up and realizes my body is screaming "ENOUGH!!", it wants to help me out. And I love it for that. Unfortunately, in these situations (and many others), my brain is like a friend who means well with her indulge-yourself advice, but just ends up getting me into trouble, and lots of it. When I want to sit on the kitche…

Hi. I'm Knitwit, and I'm a Purse-a-holic.

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I've already admitted to having a shoe obsession, so you must've known this was coming. No one is obsessed with shoes and NOT also obsessed with purses. They're sister obsessions.
I was attempting to get Rosemary's Baby and Firstborn bundled up for our monthly pilgrimage to the town dump this morning, and couldn't figure out why the closet door was having such trouble sliding along its track. When I looked down, the reason became abundantly clear. The enormous Rubbermaid tub which houses my handbag stash was overflowing to the point that one had slid off the pile and was stopping the door from closing properly. After carefully placing the bag back onto the purse hill (remember Homer and the garbage pile?), quickly closing the door before everything fell out again, and loading the kids into the car, I got to thinking. Could it be time to get rid of a few of my purses? Like shoes, purses do not require you to lose 5 lbs in order to use them. They can be switched quick…

Defining Success

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Once upon a time, in a kingdom far, far away, there lived a little boy. Because this was a time before ADD was invented, most people just thought this little boy was wildly hyperactive, willfully naughty, and predisposed to being the complete centre of attention at all times. One day, the little boy was home sick from school with his twin sister and got bored. So he pulled out the paintbox and went to work on himself in green watercolour. And by "himself" I mean a certain body part. I won't tell you which one because I don't need to. I'm pleased to confirm that the body part you're thinking of is the correct one.
The little boy is now 31, and some sort of rocket scientist. Actually, he's an engineer, but he's in pretty high demand and has just recently started working for a little company you may have heard of. It's called NASA. Sigh... As the oldest of 7 children, there was a very brief period in my life where I was a family success story. I was t…

Crappy Driving Conditions are My Friend

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The alarm went off this morning at 0600, and I forced myself out of bed because today we had a plan. We were going to do the 45-minute early-morning drive into our nearest Booming Metropolis to run a few errands then stop in on a playgroup made up primarily of army wives. But plans changed. When I looked out the window, I noticed the early commuters puttering by on the highway at an alarmingly low speed. So I got online and checked out the highway conditions. If there was a condition called "atrocious", it could certainly have been used this morning. From here to Booming Metropolis, and on all the roads surrounding, there was ice everywhere, accompanied by a healthy measure of packed and blowing snow. We weren't going anywhere. And to be perfectly honest, it was the best thing that could've happened. A couple of hours later, we've been fed and we're all still in our pajamas. I'm about to go make myself a third cup of coffee and, although Sirius appears to…

Let's Get Crafty!

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After a couple of months of research into what people blog about, I've found myself considering starting another blog. I love the idea of keeping a blog about one specific topic, like crafting or cooking. But the problem for me is that I don't think I could keep that going on any sort of regular basis. Sometimes I want to talk about my latest knitting project, or post a photo of a few cards I've recently made, but I don't think I want to pigeonhole myself by setting up a blog where that's all I can talk about. Luckily, this little endeavour of mine has turned out to be pretty versatile in its ability to let me ramble on about whatever I please whenever I please. So why shouldn't I talk about the stuff I love to do once in a while?
This Christmas, all the gifts going home will be homemade. I've been doing this for a few years now and I find it's pretty successful in general. My siblings and I had a 7-way email conversation recently that got a little heat…

Remembrance Day

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On the last day of September, I awoke from a dream I'm still reluctant to describe. I have no idea where it came from, but I think I know what it meant.
The Captain and I were in a Nazi concentration camp. People were being shot. We were afraid to do anything, for fear of being shot too. But this wasn't the bad part, believe it or not. In the midst of the chaos, I felt something tug at the back of my shirt. I turned around to see Firstborn looking up at me, and my terror magnified by about a million percent. I pulled him close to me and wrapped myself around him, trying to protect him from the imminent danger. And then I woke up. After the horror wore off, and the relief set in, I tried to forget that dream, but of course I couldn't. I always believe that my dreams mean something, even when they're insignificant. And I knew right away what the message was. It's not all about me. The Captain goes away a lot. Most of the time it's a course or an exercise. But we ha…

It's All About the Moola

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This morning I was thrilled to attend Firstborn's very first Kindergarten performance. With it being a Remembrance Day service, and knowing the disruptive mischief Rosemary's Baby would get up to, I booked him in for a couple of hours with a local babysitter I use from time to time. She's another stay-at-home mom just like me, and she takes kids in during the day to help make ends meet a bit. Rosemary's Baby loves it there and I never have to worry that he's doing anything dangerous because I know in my heart that he's in great hands. But I have one major issue with the Sitter, and here it is: she charges 3 bucks an hour. If you work out what that'd cost for an average workday plus travel time, here in Western Manitoba, the sum is comparable to what you'd pay for one child in a daycare centre. In short, it's perfectly average for where we live. Here's what bothers me. If I need my car, computer or refrigerator fixed, my labour cost alone is any…

My Milk Carton Baby

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Rosemary's Baby has started playing hide-and-seek. While this is usually occasion for a few motherly ooh's and aah's of adoration, another little milestone for my rug rat, I have other ideas running through my head right now. I'm just plain alarmed. Last fall, my little munchkin, then under 2 years old, pulled out all the stops. I have a friend, who is a great cook, a fun mom and a divorcee. I'll call her the Karaoke Queen, because she's that too. In September, the Karaoke Queen decided to move in with the Boyfriend, and because friends like to help each other out (and gab while the men do all the heavy lifting), I buckled the kids into our rusty old tin-can of a truck and headed over to her place to help haul a few loads for her. We put the kids in her living room with some toys and some kid-friendly cable programming, closed the french door so they were contained, and went to work. After 5 minutes of lugging a large entertainment centre up the basement stairs,…

You Barack My World, Mr. President

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Let me begin by mentioning that I generally don't talk politics too heavily, and certainly not in a public forum like this. And being Canadian, I'm even less likely to be heard discussing things like an American presidential election. But I do have family in the States who voted for the future of their nation yesterday, and I think we can agree that what goes on over there does end up affecting all of us the world over. So, with apologies to those who don't give a damn, I give you my comments on the events of last night. Let's be honest, I could talk about the economy, the war in Iraq, or the environment. I could talk about what a historic victory this is for liberals and African Americans alike. I could talk about the changes that are to come, that it's a new day for America, and that the future looks so much brighter than it did a few days ago. But it's been done. Everyone's talking about that. As always, what I have to say is far, far more superficial. Dam…

BOO!

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Halloween greetings, all! Firstborn has just gotten on the schoolbus in his Superman costume and I'm preparing for an early evening of trick-or-treating before handing out a few treats myself. Frankly, I can't wait for November 1st.
As a kid, I didn't really start trick-or treating until I was about 11. Before that, we lived in England, where that sort of thing just isn't done. But it didn't take long to figure out that it was the greatest candy-grab anyone could've ever come up with, and for the couple of years I was still young enough to participate, I looked forward to it, eagerly planning my costume from the first day of school in September. These days, I can't help but see it as one more thing to get through. It's a hassle having to put kids into costumes and strap them into the car (because we can't walk anywhere from here), then walk them all over some little neighbourhood, all the while having to rein-in Rosemary's Baby as he attempts to…

Taking the Easy Route

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Before we had kids, the Captain and I dreamed of living in the middle of nowhere, with a big chunk of land to call our own. The idea of growing our own vegetables, chopping our own firewood and working on an old fixer-upper was our idea of heaven. But after a couple of years (and a couple of winters) out here on the farm, I've learned something about myself that I think is pretty key. I am all about convenience. Today I will tackle the last 30 pounds of home-grown tomatoes. They will be stewed, strained through a seive, cooked down to a sauce and canned, to be stored in the pantry for those cold winter days when I want a taste of proper summer tomatoes on my spaghetti that you just can't find in a tin at Wal Mart. By the time Firstborn gets off the bus at the end of our driveway and demands an after-school snack, I will have finally finished the week-long process of canning a total of just over 100 pounds of tomatoes from our garden. And it's been hell. Last year, it was su…