Thursday, December 31, 2009

Resolutions

I tell you people, 2010 is my year. I can feel it!

2010 is the year the Captain comes home safely from Afghanistan. 2010 is the year I take my very first warm-weather winter vacation. 2010 is the year that Rosemary's Baby and I have our first back-and-forth conversation. I am already counting down the minutes to midnight. I am entering the new year ROARING!

My resolutions are the most unimaginitive things ever. Like everyone else on the planet, I need to step up the exercise a notch. For a long while there, I was a runner. In fact, after losing my baby weight when Firstborn was a wee one, I went on to lose another 30 lbs and three dress sizes. It was exhilarating. But last year when I started having a little knee pain (due entirely to my half-assed stretching regime), I took the workout down a little. And then a little more. Now, I take the treadmill at a leisurely senior-citizen's pace, sometimes while eating chocolate. Even the music on my ipod has taken a downturn. FYI, REO Speedwagon can really not be considered motivational workout music. So, back to running--and stretching properly--it is.

My next resolution is to be the best advocate for my kids that I can be. To be truthful, Firstborn doesn't need me to do a lot of advocating for him. But when he does need me, for any reason, I will of course be just as dedicated to him as I am to Rosemary's Baby. Because I have two kids, and when one child has special needs, that's a very important thing to remember. For now, the majority of advocating has to be done on behalf of my little one. I won't get into a full-fledged rant here, but I will say this. My child has a neurological disorder. That is a MEDICAL condition, and the fact that the expert who diagnosed him promptly handed us off to a social worker and washed her hands of us is a freaking TRAVESTY. In 2010, my child's disorder will be treated both with traditional therapy, and with proper biomedical interventions. Because if this was epilepsy, or MS, there'd be no question that the doctors would want to do something. I will not accept a lesser standard of care for my child just because they don't know enough about his disorder. End of rant.

And finally, my most fun resolution! I've been reading a lot of Trinny and Susannah because their books have been discounted at Bookcloseouts.com the last few times I've placed orders there. I cannot tell you how much I have learned about my body shape and the clothes that flatter me! So, in 2010, I'm going to dedicate myself to dressing well. I will follow the rules of dressing for my shape, which for me means no more high-necked tops, no hip-hugger jeans and nothing baggy and mom-like. I plan to pare down my wardrobe and love what I have instead of always wanting more. I did really well for the last 1/3 of this year in my quest not to make any more impulse purchases, and I hope to continue that trend, now having a better understanding of what makes me look curvy and cute, and what makes me look like an overstuffed schoolbus barrelling out of control towards the scrap yard.

And I think my resolutions need to stop there. Having too many is just setting myself up for failure. New Year's Eve is my favourite holiday of the entire year, hands down. I love looking forward to a new year and a new beginning, and I love hearing other people's plans to change their lives, so do let me in on your resolutions as well.

Next year is going to kick 2009's sorry butt. Bring it on, 2010!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Recap

I know you've all been on the edge of your seats wondering if I pulled off the big Doggie caper. Well, wonder no more! Firstborn found Doggie under the tree on Christmas morning and was impressed enough with Santa's magical search-and-rescue powers that he informed me over breakfast "Doggie was the best Christmas present of all!"


This is pretty good, considering ALL I have heard about for the last month is how desperately Firstborn wants "Lego Indiana Jones: Ambush in Cairo", which, for those of you not familiar with these things, is a piddly little $13 set that there was never any question he'd be getting in his stocking. By Christmas morning, I'd heard it over and over so many times, it had become our family's version of the "official Red Rider carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time."


So, I think it's safe to say that Firstborn had a very Merry Christmas. Rosemary's Baby's haul was first-rate too. Because they're both still young, I didn't spend money until my credit card melted. But, judging from the way Rosemary's Baby reacted to his Slinky, I'm pretty sure I didn't need to.

And if your memory is really good, you might recall my plan to resurrect our Christmas Eve tradition of getting a Chinese takeout. It was pretty close there (the restaurant ran into a glitch with their ventilation system and only opened the doors 5 days before Christmas), but I drove through the unplowed streets of town after a rather large snowfall, almost got stuck twice, got my takeout, and it was delicious. The kids weren't impressed, but that just means more leftovers for me.

I hope you're all having as nice a Christmas season as we are! Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Christmas Miracle, By Design

Firstborn has, since the time he could crawl, been dragging around this stuffed dog that Sister #3 gave him. We call him "Doggie". We're not very creative around here.

In the beginning, Doggie was soft and fluffy and cute. But over the years he's taken a bit of a beating. Here's a recent shot Firstborn took of him with my camera.


That's a computer cord he's wrapped up in. And notice he's had eye surgery. Doggie has definitely seen better days.

But, like a good friend or beloved family member, it doesn't matter what he looks like. Firstborn still loves him more than any of his other stuffed animals. He comes in the car with us. He sleeps on Firstborn's pillow. He can often be found sitting all floppy-eared on the dining table watching us eat. Doggie is no less a member of this family than the real dogs. He just sheds a lot less.

So when Doggie goes missing, it's quite a frantic affair. We're turning over couch cushions and reluctantly reaching under the furniture, wondering what on earth we're going to find in those dark recesses of our house (whatever we do find is usually covered completely with dog hair), and we rarely give up until Firstborn is reunited with his best pal. But this week I made an exception.

Doggie went missing on Sunday, and I did have a good search around the living room and over most of the main floor. When he didn't immediately appear, I made a mental note to have another look, but never got around to it, despite being reminded 86 times by my increasingly concerned 6 year-old. With Christmas coming, things have just been busy. I know you all know how it is.

Tonight, I was reaching up to a top shelf for something when my hand rested on a soft, familiar item. I grabbed Doggie and took 3 triumphant steps towards Firstborn's room, when something stopped me in my tracks. It occurred to me just at that moment that this was an opportunity to add a little magic back to my kid's Christmas. His dad's not going to be here to celebrate with him for the first time ever, and that's enough for a 6 year-old to deal with for one Christmas. The jerks at school have already been blabbing about there being no Santa, and I've successfully made it clear to him that that's the craziest thing I've ever heard, but I'm thinking a little extra proof can't hurt. So I stuffed Doggie into the bag of stocking stuffers I have hidden in my closet, and tomorrow night, I'm going to place Doggie under the tree with a note from Santa saying he'd found him in a secret hiding place.

Firstborn has actually made a "Lost Dog" sign to put up at the post office, so I'll have to find a creative way to forget that at home tomorrow. And the poor kid has already yelled from his room once tonight asking if I've found him yet. I admit, I do feel a little guilty secretly holding Doggie for more than another 24 hours when he misses him so much. But the end will justify the means, right? When Firstborn sees Doggie under the tree on Christmas morning and reads his note from Santa, that extra little bit of holiday magic will be worth the wait.
Now, I'm off to practice disguising my handwriting...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's Just Not Christmas Until the Pee Starts Flying

Rosemary's Baby likes to clean the toilet for me. Only, his version of "cleaning" really just involves taking the toilet brush, or plunger--it doesn't matter which--and splashing toilet water all over the bathroom. It's delightful. Really.

So, this afternoon I was busying myself with all kinds of important Christmas preparations. Or, I was browsing Zappos for sale-priced open-toed shoes with a four-inch heel that I can't afford, or ever possibly use. I don't remember which. But anyway, it occured to me that Rosemary's Baby was giggling in the bathroom with the door closed. And that could only mean one thing. So, I hot-footed it in there to find him in his favourite toilet-cleaning position, grinning at me from ear to ear. There was water absolutely everywhere.

And then the smell hit me. Someone hadn't flushed.

Rosemary's Baby is still not partial to peeing in the toilet, so it wasn't him. I don't subscribe to the "if it's yellow, let it mellow" philosophy, partly because my dogs like to drink in there and they're just not that discriminating, and also because I like to at least live in a house where there isn't pee in the toilet at all times. I don't think it's that much to ask. So anyhow, this means it was Firstborn. I can't really yell at him though, because he learned it from his father.

So, I spent the next half hour scrubbing down the bathroom with the freshest-smelling household cleaner I could find and hoping I hadn't missed a spot. And now my bathroom smells faintly of pee and orange Lysol.

I'd put coal in his stocking, but I'm pretty sure he'd find a way to turn it against me.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Floored!

I'm not doing too well with posting OR commenting lately, so forgive me. I feel like I'm running out of creative steam for the year. But rest assured, my mojo will return. Firstborn's last day of school is tomorrow, and for two weeks, I will have the alarm turned off and I'll be enjoying that extra cup of coffee in my pyjamas in the morning. Unless Rosemary's Baby has other plans. And he probably does.

So, in lieu of a proper post, here's a glimpse at what I've been up to this week. Any longtime follower of my blog knows that Rosemary's Baby has a history of poo incidents. And by history, I mean dating up until this past Tuesday. But it's gotten a lot better.

Back in the summer, I lost my temper and decided it was just more hygienic to remove the carpet from his basement bedroom. For the next 4 months or so, his room looked like this:



Well, okay, not exactly like this. I forgot to take a "before" picture until I was a couple of rows of tile into the flooring project. But you get the idea.

Anyway, I finally rolled up my sleeves and decided to do the job. I had to clean the floors and prime the concrete, and then I put down vinyl plank flooring, which is exactly like the sticky vinyl tile (the only flooring I have the skills to attempt on my own), except that it comes in strips to give the illusion of hardwood. Brilliant! I had few problems getting this job done in one afternoon while Rosemary's Baby was babysat by Scooby Doo (worst mother EVER!).

Here's the final result:



I'm very pleased, and Rosemary's Baby has not yet pulled it all up, which is a good sign. Disasters usually strike within the first 24 hours, so we may be safe!

And now that I've accomplished this, I'm feeling motivated to tackle the eleventy million other jobs that need doing around here, starting with the dining room walls. So if you don't hear from me for a while, you'll know I'm in my sweats trying to peel green and gold wallpaper from 1967.

Either that, or I'm watching Scooby Doo.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My Christmas Wishlist. Aaaaayyyyyyyy...


I am now less than two weeks away from the night when Santa squeezes himself down my chimney and rewards me for being good all year! My only major transgressions this year were betraying the Captain by buying a fake tree, and occasionally forgetting to water his plants (RIP aucuba japonica). So naturally, I'm expecting a serious haul when I wake up on the 25th. Here's my wishlist:


Adobe Photoshop Elements 8: I decided to take my (VERY amateur) photography to a new level this year by learning to use the manual settings on my camera. It really changed the way my photos came out, and while I will never be someone who cares about the technical information associated with each and every photo, I do like to fool around with my pictures after the fact. Something a little less basic than the program that came with my camera would really kick things up a notch.


Dyson DC25 Vacuum: Last year around this time, the Captain went to do a little light vacuuming in the living room. But when he turned the upright on, there was a big poof and a sound that was a little like screaming. We figured it was an old vacuum, shrugged our shoulders and grabbed the ShopVac instead. He plugged it into the same outlet and...the exact same thing happened. Turns out during the kitchen renovation, someone hooked up one of the outlets to WAY too much power, and now both of our vacuum cleaners were toast. We blocked off the faulty wall outlet, got another ShopVac, and things have been fine since. But after a year of lugging that giant thing all over the house to clean up after Rosemary's Baby, I've had enough. I need something easier to haul, and this baby is the one!


LG Ultra-Capacity SteamWasher: Am I starting to sound like a 50's housewife yet?! I am, but I SO need a new washer. Our LG is about 8 years old now, and every cycle requires me to go in there at least once with a hammer and hit it in just the right place to get it going again. I'm the Fonz of the front-loader. It's humiliating. This one is not only even more environmentally friendly than our old one, but it comes in red. SOLD! To the lady in curlers and an apron...


Tassimo Coffee Machine: The Captain has this restaurant-quality espresso machine that he understands like Mr. Miyagi understands karate. Sadly, I am no coffee sage, so I can't figure out how to get the thing working without heating it up for half a day. In short, it's a pain in my butt and I never use it. I love coffee and hate hassle, so I'm the person for whom the Tassimo was created. The Captain would divorce me if he came home and found it sitting on the kitchen counter. I'm still debating whether or not this is a fair trade-off.

And that's my list! What do you guys want for Christmas?

Friday, December 11, 2009

I Heart Edward

I've been a little remiss in keeping up with my blog lately. I could blame it on being alone here with kids, the snow, Christmas etc etc etc. But the real reason is this:


Yes, it's true. I've finally given in and joined the cult.

So far, I'm about ten chapters in. I haven't seen the movies, and I'm not sure I will. All those teenagers, and me being closer to 40 than 30? I dunno, it seems a little creepy. But ask me again when I've finished the book. Because, make no mistake, what this author lacks in her writing, she makes up for in plot. And smouldering. Lots of smouldering.

In any case, I'll be back with my Christmas wishlist and all kinds of festive chatter soon. In the meantime, Firstborn doesn't have to be gotten up for school for another eleven minutes. And that can only mean one thing.

I have a date with Edward.

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Little Love for My Siblings

Blah. We are well and truly into December. We now have six inches of snow on the ground and the temperature out there makes me wish the Captain had chosen a job that allowed us to live somewhere a little less frigid. Is it so much to ask my 38 year-old husband to switch to professional surfing?

At this time of year, I naturally start thinking about family. I saw an Anne Taintor inspired card in Paper Crafts magazine a while back and vowed that when I came across the right vintage picture, I was going to make it for my sister. Recently, I came into some old children's books from the 60's and because I so love to repurpose old junk, my one card turned into one-after-another. So, today I would like to send out some heartfelt greetings and a little holiday cheer to my six (yes, I said six) younger siblings.
*
Sister #1 is adjusting to life with 3 kids and trying to get Christmas organized just like the rest of us:

The sentiment was lifted straight from that Paper Crafts project.

Sister #2 also has 3 kids under the age of 6, a new job in the spring, and is continuing her education in her "spare" time:

I'm going to be honest here. The expressions on these kids' faces made me lose bladder control.

Brother #1 shouldn't take this personally at all:



I don't actually hate Brother #1, but this picture could honestly have been lifted out of our childhood on any given day.


Brother #2 is working on his PhD in Chemistry:


This card illustrates perfectly my understanding of what someone with a PhD in Chemistry does.
Sister #3 hates her job:


This is how I felt in my early 20's when I was broke and overworked. It does get better.

And finally, Sister #4 has recently become a mom to 2 dogs:

Please note that no dogs were actually harmed in the making of this card. But the minute I saw this picture, I imagined the guy in the hat swinging by the farm to apologize for accidentally shooting a dog. It's just the way my brain works.

I still have about a dozen more of these hysterical old pictures. I'm kind of on a roll, and contemplating hitting the thrift stores this weekend to see if I can find any more. You know, if the snow melts.
TGIF! Enjoy your weekend, my loyal subjects!