Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Urge for Going

I get the urge for going/
When the meadow grass is turning brown/
Summertime is falling down and winter's closing in.

Ah, Joni.

This is the last post, Hat-side. The packers come tomorrow, and the movers the day after that.

It's not as easy as it would have been last year, or even six months ago; with each day that passes, our roots grow deeper, and we create more memories with the friends we have made, and the eagerness to rejoin "civilization" -- as we've been calling it for the last three years, almost entirely due to the selection of restaurants -- is tempered with sadness: it's bittersweet.

We left Ottawa as newlyweds, which is different from best friends. We packed up and Went West, like you are supposed to do, on our Grand Adventure. We're coming back now, as best friends, and with two very permanent souvenirs, very much changed from the people we were.

We've learned that starting over is hard, but not impossible.

We've learned that great people are everywhere, and you can build friendships and bonds over the smallest things.

We've learned that cable is actually a good thing.

We've learned that we can survive on a whole lot less sleep than we thought possible.

We've learned that a baby can physically spit up more than 6 times what went in.

We learned that one good friend can get you through.

We've learned that a house becomes a home very quickly when you bring a baby home from the hospital.

We've learned that life went on, without us (gasp!), and that the Ottawa we're returning to isn't the one we left.*

But we've also learned that it's where we want to be.

So cheers to all who participated and shared in our Grand Adventure, making it so Grand. We look forward to this next one.

*For example, Vanier is now an "up-and-coming" neighbourhood. (see also, Dowisetrepla)

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Cranky Book Reviewer: Not Cranky at All!

I am in love with Sandra Boynton.

From Moo Baa La La La! to Hippos Go Berserk! she has not only delighted me and taught me counting, but animal noises too. Seriously, every third night, at least, is a Boynton book for bedtime, and I can recite most of them off by heart.

And now she's put a song in my heart and a dance in my feet!

We picked up Blue Moo at the library last week, and I've already ordered it. I WANT it. I NEED it. I GOTS TA GOTS TA have it.

It's a CD of super fun Soda Shoppe-type songs, sung by some quite famous people (like Brian Wilson, Davy Jones, and B.B. King), with a follow-along book that also has the music and chord changes in it.


Every song is catchy and gets stuck in my head, but in a good way. Like the Gorilla Song, by Sha Na Na, in which 97% of the lyrics are "banana", so it's easy to fake. And Loud!/Quiet! which involves a lot of yelling, followed by whispering, and some stomping (well, when I sing it, anyway), and my personal favourite: The Uninvited Loud Precision Band, which marches up to your house, strikes up a march, and goes up your stairs, through your kitchen, and out the back...and then shows up at your grocery store later. So fun.

So, two thumbs up, and yay for finally being a non-cranky book reviewer!

Oh, and Vaughn likes it too.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Rootin' Tootin'

A bit of background: it's been a bad day. A bad week, really.

There have been several phone calls each day to Utah, where Fis is currently doing science stuff*, with somebody sobbing and screaming unintelligibly: possibly me, possibly Vaughn, possibly Ailsa, but most likely all three.

Did I mention it's been a bad week?

So, tonight, I was making dinner: steak, carrots, and potatoes, and decided that, while the barbecue was warming up, I'd change the bottoms of two happy little kids.


I somehow unleashed hell's fury by just suggesting we go upstairs. Thirty minutes later, I call Chris. "I. CAN'T. DO. THIS." He talks me down a bit, and then I go over to the corner where Mr. Snots is still screaming his indignation over having a dry diaper reapplied to his cute little bum, and demanding both a nap and his blankie, like the autocrat he aspires to be.

I sez, "Are you done? Can you have dinner now?"

He quiets down a bit, gives a long, shuddering sob, and sez, "I sorry," which is the cutest thing ever (and almost worth stuffing him into a corner just to hear), and then gives me a hug and a very soggy kiss (I'm choosing to believe it was tears, not snots) and I lift him into his high chair.

Ailsa, meanwhile, is still screaming from her playmat, so I put the bumbo on the table**, and put ClipClop (her horsie) into her lap.

I put dinner in front of us, pour meself a Strongbow***, and Vaughn picks up his sippy cup of milk and holds it out to me.

"Cheers!" he sez.

Suddenly, just like that, I'm having a delightful steak dinner with two adorable, happy and smiling children. Cheers, indeed.

But that's not the point of this story.

Right after dinner, I take Vaughn upstairs to go potty and get him into his bath. With my partner in crime away, I have decided that it makes more sense to bathe one child a night than to attempt to bathe them both on the same night, so Ailsa is lying on the bathmat, playing with a sock (is that wrong?).

Ok, so picture this: you're 21 months old, you've got a great sense of humour and generally delight in everything that's new and/or interesting. You're well fed, sitting in a nice warm bubble bath, you're surrounded by fun toys like Tubby Tater...but you're also kind of gassy.

Well, we all know what happens when you toot in the tub, even if some of us won't ever admit to having done so. It's funny as all get out, no matter who you are (well, unless you're not alone in the tub; then it's usually only funny to one of you, eh?), but can you imagine, to be that young and that amazed by the world at large, when you suddenly realize that something that makes you laugh like a maniac on dry land is even funnier when it also involves bubbles coming out of your butt.

I thought he was going to drown, he was laughing so hard. He couldn't even say, "toot", he was in such hysterics. And then he did it again! Oh my, what delight! What joy! What rapture! There's nothing like gasping belly laughs from someone that small - holy cow, did we laugh!

When he was out and dry (ish), he still had more in him, but I tried really hard to keep a straight face, to set an example, don't you know. How crass, but the little ripper (badum)... well, let's just say that he would have made his Daddy proud tonight.

What a day!

* I know! I didn't think they had science in Utah either!

** Yes, I know. But she was practically sitting in my plate, so it wasn't unsafe in the least. Pbblt.

*** 1. I needed it badly, and it was either that or an entire bottle of wine, so don't judge. 2. Vaughn now bellows, "Strongbooow!" and makes an archer pose. Ya just gotta love the kid.

Monday, 4 October 2010

A Day at the Park

As we're wrapping up our time here in the Hat (in theory), I thought I should capture some moments at our favourite hangout, the park.
Our townhouse complex backs onto the best park in the Hat, and we go there almost every day, sometimes just to walk through or to play in the field, but usually to let V run off some steam on the playground equipment. It's an awesome play structure, with a rubberized surface around it (no need to teach kids that it hurts to fall down... kaff...) and so many neat features. I have to say, it beats the crap out of the Tot Lot, although it's missing the necessary element of X-treme danger.

Giddyup, mousie! Yee-ha!

(In other news, I'm at home alone with two sick kids, Mr. Snots and the Snuffling Pug. Mr. Snots developed rashy hives today and a fever, which prevented me teaching this morning's step class, and the Snuffling Pug kept me up all night, since it is evidently impossible to both suck your thumb and breathe when you're all stuffed up.)

(And if YOU can't sleep, heck, why should anyone else?)

But, back to the park!

You want me to climb up there by myself? Seriously?

(For two sick kids, I must say that during daylight hours, they're ridiculously delightful, and aside from the runny noses and extra requests to nap (am trying to upload an awesome video which shows off Vaughn's awesome Napasaurus Rex-ness), there's nothing they're not up for. I keep them contained for the public health hazard, not for their own.)

I'm not quite sure what it is you expect me to do here...

(I can't wrap my head around last summer, when I'd take wee little Vaughn for walks to the park and tell him, "one day, you'll be running and playing all over the place," and now he can do so much! Snif.)

Watch me, Ailsa! I'll show you how to do it!

Food on My Son's Face (continued)

The first one was perfect(ly wrong) before I paused to run and get the camera; he must have smudged it while I was away. Pity.

Well, hello, Cookie Nazi!

These two were both lasagna-based.
I said, "Make a funny face." And, well, here we have it.
Mr. Personality strikes again.