Saturday, October 03, 2015

Family game night

Today my nana and aunt came over to visit from Nanaimo.  They always bring a bag load of goodies for the kids, and this time one of the things my nana had got for Andrew was the game Uno.  It’s some sort of special edition with extra game pieces (I can’t remember what it’s called right now) that add another dimension to the game.  I’ve actually wanted to own the game Uno for YEARS but for some reason just never got around to buying it.  My nana was thrilled to bits when I told her that I’d always wanted that game, and that on our summer trip to Parksville the townhouse we stayed at had it and Andrew loved it too and wanted to get it.  So that was definitely a huge hit.  Andrew basically played the game the whole rest of the day, with everyone at the get together, and then even by himself if no one was able to play with him.  A little before the girls’ bedtime James got a fire going in the fireplace, and after the girls went to bed, he and Andrew and I played several rounds before it was Andrew’s bed time.  

It was really fun to sit around by the fire and play a game.  Pre-kids James and I LOVED playing board and card games together, it was one of our favourite things to do.  I love that Andrew is old enough to get into a lot of different games now, and I’d say after this year when he’s reading a lot more on his own, there will be so many more games we’ll be able to play together.  I’m dying to break out Scattergories again!!  There are a few games we have that Margaret and Emily will be able to start playing soon, too, given that they’ll be 3.  I do want to hold onto my babies and keep them small a little longer, I’m so not ready for them to be all grown up like they’re getting, but at the same time I really do look forward to all the fun things we’ll be able to do together as they get a bit older, and playing games as a family is definitely one of them!

Friday, October 02, 2015

Shopping with twins, and Halloween decorating

When I only had Andrew I feel like I took him out so much more than the twins, I guess just by the nature of only having one little one to be accountable for, instead of 3.  And even when Andrew’s not with me, taking 2 little ones out at the same age is not without its challenges, and in earlier stages of their lives felt literally impossible.  Because of this, I feel like there are some pretty basic outings that the girls have never, or at least very rarely, experienced.

For example, they've literally only been to the mall a handful of times.  And I could lose a few fingers and still count on that hand how many times they’d been!  And almost all of those times would have included going to get their picture with Santa, which shouldn’t even count!  Yesterday, after stopping by someone’s house in New West to buy them some cute little dresses for when they’re a bit older (they’re size 5T so definitely big right now!) and realizing Hume Park was a no-go because it was all dewy and unusable, I decided to take the girls to the mall.  It wasn’t actually open yet, because we’d headed out right after dropping Andrew off at school, but Walmart was open so we went there first and checked out their Halloween section.

I love how the girls don’t have to be in a cart anymore, and I sold the stroller last week so we literally don’t even own a stroller anymore, which is AMAZING!  What a sign of our children growing up!!  It’s nice to be able to take the girls out and not have to think about bringing so much stuff along.  We went and looked at the Halloween stuff, and then I told them I wanted to get them some fancy shoes for when they’re dressed up, and of course they were ALL over that!  They love dresses and shoes and, apparently, dress shoes!!  We looked at Walmart first, and I figured we’d look around a bit more in the mall, but they found what they wanted there so we got them.  Size 8 with little kitten heels, which is RIDICULOUS considering that the highest heel I’ve ever worn in my life was a kitten heel, and I was 11!  LOL  But they seemed to walk in them fine right off the bat and they’re really super cute.  They’re black with little silver, sparkly dots, and a silver bow at the toes.  If they were red, they’d look like little Dorothy shoes from the Wizard of Oz.  So cute!  

When we left the store to head into the mall, which by this time had just opened, Emily insisted on carrying the bag with the shoes in them, even though I could tell it was a bit of a struggle for her after a while.  She was just so excited, she had to carry them!  We went and looked in a few stores for dresses for them to wear on their birthday, but when I picked out a super frilly, adorable fuschia pink dress that I was SURE they would love and said they could get it, Margaret said, ‘Put it back, Mommy.  I don’t need it.  I have dresses at home!’  Emily agreed, and that was that.  LOL!  I was fine with saving the money if they didn’t want a new dress, so luckily I do have a ‘3’ shirt I bought from Old Navy ages ago, with cute silver star leggings to match, and a few days ago I went to Sears and got them little tutus that can go over top, so they’ve got a special birthday outfit anyway.  And if they change their mind and want to really dress up, it’s true, they probably do have something fancy they can put on!

Today after school I got snacks prepared into little plastic bowls for each of the kids, piled them into the car (after everyone went to the bathroom, which is mandatory before we leave the house now that everyone’s potty trained!) and let them eat while I drove to Dollarama to check out the Halloween stuff there.  Which made me realize that I have NEVER taken the girls to the dollar store before!  Andrew LOVES little outings to the dollar store, just him and I, and yet I’ve never taken the girls.  Although I quickly realized why that’s a good thing once we got there, because of course they fell in love with everything and wanted it all!  They each got to pick out two things.  Andrew got a little Lego-type army figurine, and a ball and chain Halloween item.  Margaret kept picking things out and then putting them back, but settled on a skeleton head on a stake (for the yard but of course she just wants to carry it around!) and a cotton candy flavoured lollipop.  And Emily...oh, Emily!  She was just the cutest ever with her purchase.  She had originally picked out a little black cat stuffed animal, but then she saw this little barbie type doll with different hair and clothing that clips on so you can give her several different styles.  I wish I could have captured the look on her face when she saw it, took it off the rack, and realized that she could actually get it.  It was SO priceless, there was just no way I could say no because the way she reacted to it was just so sweet she HAD to have it!  The way she carried it to the till and out to the car actually melted my heart!  It turned out that the plastic outfit pieces are pretty hard to actually clip on the doll so she needs a lot of help with it, but as Andrew said, ‘It’s still pretty good for a dollar store item!’  LOL

Yesterday we decorated outside for Halloween, not 100% but pretty close.  I’d wanted to wait but people in the neighbourhood started in the last week of September (which seemed a bit crazy to me!) so I felt like we had to because Andrew kept asking why other people had decorations out and we didn’t.  I picked up some super cool colour changing spider lights today and those are the best addition ever!  I LOVE having lights up for Halloween now, since Xmas lights are one of my favourite things ever, so now for the month of October we also have cool lights to enjoy!

The inside of our house is of course decorated, too.  I love how much the kids are into it, it’s definitely the funnest holiday in my books!  

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Point form weekly happenings for the win!

About 2 weeks ago I picked up a little weekly calendar white board from the dollar store.  It has magnets on the back so I can stick it to the fridge.  It’s totally cheap, and likely if I continue on using it for a while I’ll upgrade to something a bit better, but for now it’s working great.  For the past week and a bit I’ve been jotting quick notes under each day’s column to remind myself of what happened that day.  No more wracking my brain trying to figure out what in gawd’s name we did a day or two ago!  Such a simple thing that I could have been doing all along, but the point is, I’m doing it now, and it appears to be sticking!

I need to erase the board so I have room to fill in this weeks' happenings, so here's what I've got for the last week+:

Sunday Sept 13 - Had our garage sale (LAME-O, and NEVER AGAIN!)  But it was a learning experience, so there is that…

Monday Sept 14 - School day.  First PAC meeting of the school year at 9am.  Went to my parents’ place with the kids after school.

Tuesday Sept 15 - School day.  Cornstarch and water play with the girls after dropping Andrew off.  They actually played for close to an hour with it, which is an AMAZING length of time for their usual attention span, especially Margaret!  It was a mess but well worth it.  (Pretty sure I already wrote a bit about this in my last post).  Andrew had a great day of reading and being enthusiastic about it, so I took him to get his medal from the library that evening for completing the summer reading program.  We also got a few things at the dollar store for our Halloween decor collection, and went to Red Robin for French fries and ice cream!

Wednesday Sept 16 - School day.  Girls, especially Margaret, are enjoying watching The Return of Nanny McPhee.  Margaret calls her ‘Annie Mackfee’, the way she says it is sooo cute!  In the evening I took Andrew out to return his school bag to Bentley...OH YES, that was a nightmare, I will write a post dedicated to that in the near future...Note to self (and everyone else): NEVER EVER EVER shop at Bentley ever again, even if they were selling the last bags on earth DON’T DO IT.  (My personal opinion, of which I’m entitled!)

Thursday Sept 17 - School day.  We went to a school fair, where Andrew won a candy jar with 100 candies in it after guessing randomly how many were in it!  He also dunked someone in the dunk tank that he knew from a complex near where we live.  The girls enjoyed a lot of the games too, and they all came home with prizes, cotton candy, and bellies full of popcorn.  It was a lot of fun!

Friday Sept 18 - School day.  Just as I got the girls to sleep for their nap and lay down on the couch to have a snooze myself (I felt like a zombie that day), the phone rang and it was Andrew’s teacher calling to tell me that he wasn’t feeling well and needed to come home.  He did complain of a sore throat the night before and that morning, but I thought it might be the kind of thing that would wear of quickly.  Unfortunately not, so I had to get the girls up to go pick him up.  Which sucked...but luckily after another hour or so I was able to get them back down for a later nap.  Andrew definitely came down with a cold, but it was relatively minor, luckily without a cough (so far at least!)  In the evening I went to Ikea with my mom, didn’t get anything major but stocked up on batteries, got some cool little touch lights for under the cupboards in the kitchen that give a cool ambience to the room at night.  It was nice to have the outing with my mom and we had our dinner there as well, but Friday night at Ikea is not advisable.  Definitely a lot busier than when we’d usually go.

Saturday Sept 19 - I had my hair coloured in the early afternoon.  My hairdresser is going on maternity leave for a few months, so while I wasn’t really due for a haircut just yet, I did need my colour re-touched.  I was planning to just get the same thing done, keeping my natural colour for the most part and just getting some bright red low lights.  But my hairdresser suggested the idea of changing things up a bit, and a few hours later I had bright blue low lights!  I got chunks of hair bleached out and dyed blue.  I had purple and blue hair (full head, not just pieces) when I was in my early 20s, so this wasn’t a HUGE change to me but kind of a throwback to earlier times!  Definitely a lot of fun.  I know it’s going to be more maintenance, but I’m willing to do it for a few months at least.  I’m going to have to now!!  After the blue fades I’ll most likely switch to purple, but we’ll see.  My appointment was WAY longer than I’d expected, but I still met up with my parents and bro and sil at my bro and sil’s house, which happens to be in the same building as my hairdresser (not a coincidence!)  I ordered some Chinese food to take home for supper so neither James or I would have to cook, since I was exhausted from my hair appointment (am I the only one who gets super tired at the salon?!) and James would no doubt be tired from being on his own with the kids for a huge chunk of the day!

Sunday Sept 20 - We drove out to Queensborough area to check out the Halloween store we’d gone to last year, only to discover it wasn’t there this year (even though the top search on Google would have you believe it was still there!)  It was OK, though, as I knew there was one where Target used to be at Metrotown (which is where this one went this year instead of Queensborough) so we just reversed the order of what we were planning to do.  We also get firewood from out that way, so we picked that up first (just enough to fill the ‘trunk’ of the van, which isn’t a ton but enough for us since we don’t have much space for storing the wood, anyway) and then went to Metrotown and checked out the Halloween store.  Andrew got the Scream mask and I got a little mask that I might use this Halloween instead of the same one I always wear (I don’t dress up other than the mask part!)  We also got some fries at the food court, and then checked out the Disney store as I was considering getting the girls Minnie Mouse dresses for their Minnie themed bday party coming up.  I didn’t like them, though, so decided against it.  I did, however, have James distract the kids at different sections of the store so I could do a power shop for the girls’ bday as well as a few items for Christmas, which was awesome.  I hate Metrotown so if I don’t have to go back AT ALL, I’ll be happy!  Got what I needed, so there should be no need to return for a very long time.  In the evening we enjoyed our first fire of the season, and it was cool for the girls because they don’t remember ever seeing a fire in our fireplace.  We had a couple last year but that was it, as they were at a bad age for fires and wouldn’t have understood the way they do now to stay away from it.  Our outing on Sunday really proved to us that we’ve turned a corner, and life has definitely gotten easier now that we have an almost 7 year old and almost 3 year old twins!  We had a great family day, and the kids were so well behaved.  While the girls napped (before we had the fire), Andrew and I took down all the summer decor from out front and put up a few fall items.  With the firewood stocked and our summer stuff put away, I guess it’s time that I embrace the fact that fall has officially arrived.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Mommy's little helpers

This morning after dropping Andrew off at school, I decided to head back to Value Village with all the garage sale stuff to finally be rid of it.  It’s all stuffed into the van to the point that the kids have to climb over it to get to their carseats, and I’m sick of the constant reminder of our failed garage sale when I open the van doors!  The girls were on board with the little ‘road trip’ to VV, so off we went.  Only to get there and discover that while, YES, the donations area WAS open, there was a huge transport truck blocking the entire entrance, and no one was around, nor was there any room for me to place the stuff near the drop off zone.  It was also raining so I couldn’t just leave it off to the side.  MADNESS!  Why is it so freaking hard to get rid of stuff the right way?!!  Seriously, I’m close to just dumping it all into a dumpster.  I wouldn’t actually do that, but really.  I know there are other places I could drop the stuff off but in general thrift shops are so strict about what they’ll take, and I refuse to go from one place to the next in order to get rid of everything.  VV is the only one I know that will just take it all and sort through it themselves.

So eventually we’ll be rid of that stuff.  I think I’ll feel a lot better once that’s over and done with.

When we got home the girls played while I made us some breakfast, and then they helped me make soup in the crock pot for dinner.  It started with Margaret unwrapping the little veggie stock cubes and tossing them in, and then Emily caught sight of her sister helping and scrambled to get a chair over to the counter so she could help, too.  So I got out 2 plastic bowls, and each time I chopped a vegetable I put half in each bowl and they got to dump them into the crock pot.  It’s so cute how eager they are to help, and I love that they’re getting to an age where they actually CAN be helpful!  For example, at my mom’s birthday party on the weekend I gave Margaret the forks and napkins and asked her to hand one out to everyone, and then Emily grabbed some away from her and made sure she was helping with it, too.  For now they’re at an age where they’re eager to help, so we’ve got to enjoy that while it lasts!!

After getting the soup going (I love the crock pot, soooo easy!) the girls were both still wanting ‘something to stir’ so I got them each a little bowl of cornstarch and water and gave them each a spoon and an extra little container, and each a little plastic lion toy (random!), and they played with that mess for about an hour!  It’s definitely messy and no matter how many times I ask them not to get any on the chair or the floor it always inevitably happens...But if they’re content to play with that for a good chunk of time while I clean the kitchen and chat with them, I’m happy.  I’d much rather that than just plug them into the TV, which I’m making a good effort not to allow.  They still watch it sometimes, but I’m just very conscious of how much time is spent in front of the TV lately, and I find they’re pretty receptive about playing with toys or doing a craft or activity of some sort instead.

I was really impressed this morning when as soon as I got up, Andrew ran out from his bedroom carrying 3 early reader books with him.  He said he’d just been laying in bed reading, and he’d just read all 3 books and loved them and wanted to keep reading!  He went through a terrible phase this summer where he ‘hated reading’ and really resisted, but I know it’s because it’s challenging to learn how to do it, and he wanted to just know how without having to put in any effort.  He’s still got a ways to go, as he read a book to the girls this morning and probably only got half the words right, but he was still making up a story as he went along, which I encouraged when he started getting a bit frustrated at not getting it right.  I love that he’s exploring books and wants to learn now, and that he took it upon himself to have his sisters sit down and listen while he read them a story.

Babies are adorable and I was looking back at pictures of Andrew and the girls as babies last night, which made me long to cuddle their teensy tiny little selves again.  Just to have a bit of time with them again as little babies, oh how sweet that would be!  But in reality, they are so much ‘easier’ now and so much more fun because we can have full on conversations, and they are able to let their HUGE personalities shine at all times, and I love them all so incredibly much, and more and more all the time.  It’s amazing to see them as the little people they’ve become, and I love all the ways they’re the same as well as all the ways they’re vastly different.  As much as I sometimes miss the smell of a newborn and the teensy tininess and their inability to move or talk (LOL!) I REALLY prefer them as somewhat-independent little helpers who are always up for whatever adventure that might be had!

The last garage sale ever. And more important stories!

Andrew found out who his teacher was on Friday afternoon, just in time to be finished his first week.  In all honesty, I still find it ridiculous that it took an entire week of school to get the classes sorted out, but at least it’s finally done.  And he got into the class we were hoping, a grade one/two split, as opposed to having him in the Kindergarten/grade one class.  

Saturday was my mom’s birthday.  She and my dad were going for brunch with my bro and sil so we decided we would have them over for dinner and dessert.  I wanted to get a key lime pie for dessert (as well as a small cake since I wasn’t sure if the kids would like the pie!) but key lime is hard to find!  We ended up making a family trip to Superstore in the morning, which is probably a first for us as I rarely go to Superstore (mainly because of the location, but also in part because I hate having to bag all the groceries at the end...and I hate the store layout…!!!)  So even though it seemed like a totally boring thing to do (go to a grocery store as our ‘outing’), it was fun for the kids because they’re not used to going there.  AND they were starting to get their Halloween stuff in, which of course the kids thoroughly enjoyed checking out.  They all fell in love with a life-sized Medusa head that talks, and some of the snakes’ heads moved.  It was pretty cool but I didn’t buy it!  It was of course a serpent green colour, well Emily requested that we buy one in pink!  LOL

We got the key lime pie, and a small chocolate pudding cake, and a few random groceries, including a ‘club size’ veggie lasagna for dinner, which ended up being a great choice.  I’ll admit there are products at Superstore that we rarely get because of how infrequently we go there that I really DO like, I just wish the shopping experience itself could be more pleasant.  I’m actually considering the idea of having my parents watch the kids one night so James and I can go do a shop there TOGETHER.  We rarely grocery shop together anymore (like, maybe once every several YEARS, I’m not kidding) so it could potentially be an OK experience if we were picking out different things and making it seem fun!  (Sad when that could be considered a date night, but hey, we could maybe go for coffee afterwards, too?!  Livin’ on the edge, that’s us!!) :D

Anyway, the dinner went really well and it was actually nice enough that the majority of the party was able to be in the backyard.  It felt like a last little taste of summer, and my mom really seemed to enjoy her birthday.  

I made a really stupid last minute decision to have a garage sale on the Sunday morning.  SOOOOOOO stupid.  I’d been toying with the idea of it for a while, one day thinking it was a great idea and the next saying there was no way I was doing it.  But by this point I’d posted ads up about it on numerous sites and felt like I had to follow through.  So James and I went around and put a bunch of signs up throughout the neighbourhood and surrounding area.  I’d had a huge pile of stuff to get rid along one wall in our bedroom, accumulating over the past two weeks as I’ve gone through things I want to part with.  So it’s not like it took me ages to get everything sorted for the sale itself, and I didn’t price anything so thank gawd I didn’t spend any extra time on the sale than what was necessary.  But we LITERALLY had maybe 6 people come to it, SERIOUSLY, that’s it!  And we made a whopping $8!  WTF???!!!!!!  I have no idea how that even happened.  We mostly had baby and kid stuff for sale, so I realize it was a niche market, but really?!  Wow.  Andrew was so sad and I felt bad for him, because he had a little lemonade stand set up and last time we had a garage sale (which went poorly but nowhere near as bad as this time around!) he made $20 selling his lemonade, whereas this time aside from me, James, and the girls ‘buying’ some, he only sold one cup (at 50 cents per cup), and another guy gave him a quarter even though he didn’t actually want a drink, just to be nice.  Which WAS nice, but wow, what a low turn out!  

I vow this time with 100% certainty that I will NEVER, I repeat, NEEEEEVVVVEEEER have a garage sale ever again for the rest of my life.  I told Andrew that when he and his sisters grow up, if they ever want to have a garage sale AT THEIR HOUSE and they want my help, I will help them, but beyond that, NOT HAPPENING!

I felt pretty depressed the rest of the day because by the time it was done, and I’d driven to Value Village to drop off all the stuff (which I should have done in the first place), only to find their drop off zone was CLOSED and under surveillance so I couldn’t even dump the stuff without a potential fine given they’d get my license plate, meaning all the stuff IS STILL PILED IN THE VAN till I can get back there again when it’s open...I felt like it had been a completely wasted day.  And the sucky thing is that it was potentially the last ‘summery’ day because the forecast turned to lots of clouds and rain moving forward (unless that has changed since, I can’t even bear to look at this point!!)  So yeah...Live and learn, right.  I’ve definitely learned my lesson on that one!

Today James worked from home so I could attend the first PAC meeting of the school year.  We got to the school and Andrew had to show me where his new classroom was, since we hadn’t been told on Friday at pick up time.  It turns out his class this year is on the opposite side of the school from where it was last year.  Which is cool in the sense that it’s something different, but also sad because one, there was more room for the girls to run around on the other side, and two, we’ll rarely see his Kindergarten teacher anymore since we won’t be on that side of the school.  We also won’t see the kids and parents that we got to know from Kindergarten who are in the grade one class beside the Kindergarten class.  It’ll take some getting used to for sure, but I’m also happy about the change.  Something I loved was seeing Andrew go into the classroom like it was old-hat, and I could tell he felt completely comfortable already.  He gave me more hugs and kisses than any of the other parents got, which for him is totally normal and I expect it, but I thought it was cute how some of the other parents thought it was the sweetest thing ever because he is so loving toward me and you can tell he genuinely wants me there.  I savour this time, knowing I don’t have long before he won’t even give me a hug or a kiss in front of his friends, if at all!  He’s still a total mama’s boy, and it’s still a cute thing for him to be that, so I’ll take it while I can!

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Welcome to Grade One (sort of!)

Today was Andrew’s first day of Grade One.

Except not really.  Because he was only there for one hour, in his old Kindergarten classroom.  And tomorrow won’t really be his first day either, or the day after that.  Because the classes haven’t even been determined yet, and he won’t find out who his teacher is going to be till the end of the day Thursday, or possibly Friday morning!

I find this process ridiculous, to be honest.  I get that the first day is just an hour, but ‘back when I was a girl,’ we went for that hour, found out who our teacher was, and we went into the classroom we would be in for the year.  The next day, we started full time.  If they’re just going to be in limbo for almost the entire first week, why not start school on Friday?!  Or next Monday.  And just start fresh on a new week.  I don’t get it.  It’s a pretty big deal to be starting a new school year, and I think it toys with kids’ emotions when you make them think their holidays are over but you don’t actually get them excited with their new class starting.  I don’t know.  If they had it figured out just fine when I was in elementary school, why does the system seem so much slower now?!  It’s not about class size because my class sizes were, if anything, larger than the class sizes at Andrew’s school.  I guess there’s a reason for it, but it annoys me, and it’s upsetting to see Andrew confused and not excited about school because he knows he’s not actually starting properly for another 3 days, yet he will still have to be there all day.

But anyway...We got up this morning and I found myself thrown full force back into the school routine, just like that!  Goodbye summer, hello crazyness!

Yesterday we decided to make the most of Andrew’s last official day of summer holidays.  Luckily the weather was cooperative (unlike today, when it decided to rain).  It was actually quite hot out.  We took the kids to 4 different parks, two before the girls’ nap and two after.  

We decided to try the girls completely diaper free yesterday and there were no accidents while we were out!  Which was awesome.  They also napped with no diapers and did great.  Margaret peed her pants later in the afternoon but that’s to be expected that there will be accidents the next little while.  I just think it’s great that we’re finally taking the plunge and getting them diaper free!  I imagine it will be inconvenient at times, when I have to rush to find a bathroom and drag all the kids along even though maybe only one of them needs to go.  But it’s going to be great to not be buying diapers anymore!  We still have quite a few of the walmart brand pull-ups, so I honestly think I won’t be having to buy them ever again (at least not till we have grandchildren!)

I had 15 things on my summer Bucket List this year, and I went through and discovered we ‘only’ did 7 of those things.  BUT we also did a lot of other things that I hadn’t thought to put on there, and some of them I’m glad we didn’t do for various reasons.  So I think overall we had a pretty successful summer in terms of all the activities and adventures we had with the kids.  It’s just hard to believe we’re doing the school thing again already.  Time just goes by way too fast.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Labour Day weekend

Yesterday we took the kids to the little train ride near Confederation Park.  We’ve taken Andrew every year for the past 3 years or so but the girls had never been.  I told them in the morning that we’d be going for a miniature train ride after their nap and they were so excited, they kept asking if it was time to go yet.  It was the first time we’d taken Andrew that he was fine to sit by himself without one of us holding onto him, so I sat behind Margaret and James sat behind Emily and Andrew rode up front.  It was so cute listening to their reactions to the little figurines and things they saw along the ride.  

After the train we went for a hike through some trails nearby, and while Andrew started off sulking at the idea of a hike, he warmed up to it and it ended up being a fun little family adventure.  We came across a tree with all these green spiky balls (for lack of a better way to describe them!) underneath and it turned out there were chestnuts inside them.  So we spent a bit of time looking for chestnuts (for fun, not to eat!) and then we walked back to the van to head home.  

Tonight James and I are making up for last weekend, when we were supposed to have our date night but lost out due to the windstorm.  I’m excited that we’re actually getting to go out tonight, and do something we don’t normally get the chance to do.  My parents will be here in a little while to look after the kids.

I can’t believe tomorrow is Andrew’s last day off before the new school year starts.  I really can’t get over how fast summer went by, and I still feel sad about it.  But I know it will be good once we’re settled into our new routine...

Friday, September 04, 2015

And then it was fall.

I’ve been resisting the whole notion of fall settling in, and I actually think it has had an impact on me emotionally since the windstorm started.  It’s finally sunny out again today, but it’s not hot anymore.  It doesn’t feel like summer at all.  

It felt like such a different summer this year because it was SO HOT and for such a long time.  I don’t remember us ever having no rain for such a long period of time in my life!  While it definitely could have been a few degrees cooler to make it perfect on the especially hot days, I would take that heat in a heartbeat over feeling cold.  I love summer, I love the sun, I love feeling like our house has several more rooms in it because our yards are extensions of the living room and kitchen.  We’re actually now considering holding off on extending our back deck and doing a lot of the work to get the yard up to speed with the new fence until spring, because I doubt we’ll be out there much now that the cooler temps have settled in.  So sad, and to think we missed out on the last few weeks of awesome sunshine in terms of using our yard because that’s when the fence was being built and the trees were being chopped down.  I feel like we didn’t even get a proper chance to say goodbye to summer!  It was just suddenly swept away.

BUT as of this moment I am willing to admit that there are feelings associated with fall that can also make me happy, even if I wish I didn’t have to layer up and start wearing socks again (especially since socks mean wearing close-toed shoes, and I HATE wearing close-toed shoes!  ‘Flip flops or I’m not going out’ should be my motto!)  I do love the sort of nesting feeling I get around this time of year, where the weather keeping us indoors means getting projects done that were too hot to think about in the summer.  I do look forward to getting creative with craft projects with the kids on rainy days, and this year I’m determined to make space in our outdoor storage for lots of wood so we can use the fireplace more, now that the girls are old enough to know to stay away from it.  I’m excited about those things, and about the girls’ birthday coming up, and then Halloween shortly thereafter.  Which I just realized means I (we!) get to start decorating for Halloween in just a few weeks, as we’re known for being decorated the entire month of October!  I LOVE Halloween and the kids do, too, and it’s going to make the month of October an exciting one around here.

I think the hard part is knowing that we have a whole lot of crummy weather ahead of us, way more months than I want of it, before spring arrives again.  And that always makes me a little sad.  Spring is wonderful because it marks the beginning of what’s to come.  The world feels fresh and new, the flowers start to bloom, and we know that we still have months of good weather ahead of us.  And after such a hot summer, there’s going to be high expectations for lots of sunny days next year, too!  Knowing we have to wait so long for it is slightly unbearable.  Fall also marks the beginning of the school year, and I can’t help but associate that with the weather, because who wants to get 3 little kids ready and out the door on a day when it’s pissing with rain and is cold and miserable only to drop one of those kids off at school and then have to bring the other two home, soaking wet and freezing cold, only to have to go back less than 6 hours later to repeat the process?!  

I miss the days before Andrew was in school, when bad weather didn’t seem as bad because we just wouldn’t venture out on the rainier days.  Knowing you can stay indoors with the furnace cranked and just look out at the weather while staying dry makes it seem a little more cozy and a little less dreary than knowing you have no choice but to go out in it.  It is what it is though, this time of year creeps up on us every 12 months.  Only about, what, 8 more months till spring?!  I guess in the grand scheme of things, that’s not so far away…!

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Technology addicted?

It seemed like an odd coincidence that I was just thinking about my desire for less technology when we were suddenly left without power for 3 days.

I have to say, it was a real eye opener to just how reliant we are on having power, and our expectation that technology will always be at the tip of our fingers.

It sucked being without power because I wanted a hot cup of coffee, dammit, and I wanted to heat up my hot pack and lay on the couch with it (oh, first world problems!)  But those were small potatoes, and I could live without those things.  It was an inconvenience to not be able to play music or watch shows (although I WAS able to charge my phone in the van, and then play a few songs here and there so the kids could dance some of their energy out!)  But ultimately none of those things were THAT big a deal.  I didn't particularly like having to view everything by candlelight by a little after 8:30 at night. And it did feel like a big deal to be without my fan for sleeping, but that’s just because I’m so accustomed to the ‘white noise’ of it that I’m more sensitive to all the sounds around me when it’s not on.  I guess I could get used to that!  But not having a phone or internet was REALLY tough, I’m not going to lie.  

We’re so used to the internet being there that even having a conversation by candlelight, James and I found ourselves forgetting and trying to check for information on our phones.  Whenever we want the answer to something, we just look it up so we have the answer and can move on.  Not being able to do that felt so weird!  And not being able to make calls was beyond frustrating.  Some people we could text with and others we couldn’t.  At one point I tried texting James’ phone, in the same house as me, just to see if it would work, and it wouldn’t go through.  I really couldn’t stand my phone being rendered essentially useless.  And just not being able to get any information about the outside world.  What was going on; when was the power expected to be back on; was the storm over?  We couldn’t answer any of these questions if we didn’t have the ability to, at the very least, contact someone who still had power.

We were so lucky that my parents’ place never lost power, so we could go there to charge our electronics (LOL) and use the internet to ‘stay connected.’  (Not to mention, drink coffee and eat warm food!) And this is coming from someone who is on Facebook but otherwise doesn’t even use social media!  I don’t use twitter or instagram, I’ve heard of things like tumblr but never checked them out, I’m seriously NOT on the up and up of social media.  I can only imagine how lost a person would feel who is used to being on ALL those sites.  I’m actually not that huge of an internet user when it comes down to it, but I guess I just like to know it’s there if I need it!  

So, yes, I got more actual book reading done with the power outage, which was good because it’s got me into a novel that I want to keep reading, and I’m sticking to my decision of not-getting-sucked-into-a-new-netflix-series-for-a-good-long-while.  It’s just nice to have the security of knowing all that stuff is still there, waiting for me, rather than the other way around!!

Electricity is finally back!

September already, seriously?!  Me no likey...

I was so hopeful that by Monday morning we’d have power, so I could get up and all would be starting to go back to normal.  Unfortunately, we were some of the last unlucky ones still stuck in the dark.  Well, partially.  It’s true some lights worked, but most still didn’t.  We still had no internet or phone service, either, and even text messages were difficult to send.  (BTW about 50,000 people in Burnaby were without power during the storm, and we were in the last 6000 of those to get power back...But throughout the lower mainland and Vancouver Island, 710,000 were without power at some point through the storm, which is C-R-A-Z-Y!!  It was the worst outage in BC Hydro’s history).

By about 10am I was really getting concerned about the food in our fridge and freezer.  We were onto day 3 with no power, and what I’d read online (when I was at my parent’s place the night before, as we took our leftover pizza and ingredients to make a salad to their place for dinner Sunday night) was, ‘When in doubt, throw it out.’  It didn’t sit well with me that ALL our food was garbage, but I knew it couldn’t go much longer before it would be.  One saving grace is being vegetarian, because definitely any meat that thawed out or got above a certain temperature would have to be thrown out, but that wasn’t an issue for us at all.  But still...I’d just bought a bunch of frozen foods a few days before the storm, and there were some things in our fridge I really didn’t want to lose.  So I packed up our cooler bag and another bag full of food and took the kids over to my mom’s to use their fridge till the power came back on.  I left most things behind, just stuff I desperately wanted to save, and I’ve kept all our condiments and whatnot because I really don’t think they warmed up enough to warrant throwing them out.  Some people are more paranoid than me, maybe, but I think everything I kept will be fine.  

We stayed at my mom’s for a couple of hours and then went home.  When I opened the door the kids started cheering because the lights were on in the living room, so we knew right away that the power was back on.  After getting the TV set up again, I put a show on for the kids and got to work cleaning out the fridge and freezer.  I ended up getting rid of a fair bit of stuff, but not nearly as bad as it could have been.  

Ultimately the power outage taught me that we’re not entirely prepared for something that could potentially go on a lot longer than 3 days.  Although we did fine, and COULD have gone longer if we had to - it’s not like we would have starved or something.  Ultimately it was just a major inconvenience, but was frustrating, and there are definitely a few things (like a portable radio, and more battery operated lights, as well as a few flashlights) that I’d like to have on hand ‘just in case.’  I’m just glad we weren’t also without water during the outage!  We do have a giant container of water stored away for emergencies, although I’m not sure it would be enough for 5 people for a whole week or something.  If we had a garage I’d likely have several of those on hand, but we don’t have that much extra space at the moment and we don’t have a closed garage.  Maybe once I’ve downscaled what we own (which is currently in the works!) we’ll have the space for more.  I hate the thought of not being as prepared as possible.

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