Wednesday, 26 September 2012

DG Presents: SNBs,* Halloween edition

This morning, with the Amazing Amanda busy, the kids stayed home with me till just before lunch.  Being home on bedrest anyway, it was no problem at all.

Rest, my foot.

I decided to buy some Halloween cookie cutters yesterday at Bulk Barn (yes, of course I had a coupon).  The Warden had left for her art class, so I snuck out to buy some deeeelicious raspberry leaf tea (delicious in a uterus-toning way only), and noticed that they not only had copious amounts of crap-in-my-mouth** on special, but also some fun cookie cutters.

During dinner (roast chicken on a bed of garlic, onion, fresh rosemary and white wine - the DG is down but not out), I mentioned to the kids that I picked up some neat cookie cutters, and asked what kind of cookies they thought we'd need for Halloween?  Vaughn guessed the ghost and bat, and Ailsa chimed in with "punkin!". 

I made the dubious call of telling them that we'd make cookies in the morning.  This meant no sleep for anyone, because Baking with Mommy is Very Exciting.  In a Mommy-needs-a-drink and you-kids-need-a-timeout kind of way.  But the results were delicious. 

No photos were taken during the process, as I needed both hands for smacking little hands, fingers, noses and mouths that kept trying to incorporate themselves into the dough.

And now, for that rest.

* Unfortunately, inside jokes are only funny to a few people.
** See above.

Friday, 21 September 2012

LA "vacation" - Part 2 - "Guess I was wrong"

So, day 8 of our "vacation", we bit the bullet and headed to Disneyland.  I know, I know, who in their right mind would take a 1- and 3-year old to Disneyland?  Chris, however, convinced me that because we travelled on points, stayed in a hotel that his conference was paying for, and we had come SUCH a long way, how could we not?

I countered with, "it's going to be soooo crowded", and "they're far too young", followed by "it's awfully expensive for somethng they won't remember or understand", also adding, "they have no idea what Disneyland is, and won't miss out."  But Chris insisted (and possibly reduced Vaughn's reported age by 3 months or so, in the interest of thrift), so off we set.

The first person we saw when we got through the gates was Mickey, leading a marching band.  Both kids yelled, "MICKEY!!!!", unprompted by us.  Guess I was wrong.

The day was still unseasonably cool, which was AWESOME.  Being robust, stalwart Canadian types, we enjoyed the quiet grounds (even though it was a Sunday, and March Break, the park wasn't busy at all), and just made sure to keep our fleeces zipped up.  With only two exceptions, we didn't stand in line for more than 5 minutes.  Yep, wrong again.

First stop, the carousel.  I was still feeling ill, tired, and sad, but tried to enjoy myself.   The kids' smiles and giggles really helped - they were so blown away by everything they saw! 

There is a picture, taken in 1974, of my mom in front of this very whale.  I made Chris take it despite my feeling a bit maudlin, as in the 1974 picture, Mom was very pregnant with my sister.  I was very aware that, despite hopes and plans, I was most definitely not.  (Guess I was wrong; it turns out that I was, but my body wouldn't tell me for another month and a half.) 

On the walk over to It's a Small World, we stopped to watch a drumline.  Vaughn and Ailsa caught the beat, then Vaughn got to join in the drumming.  What a great experience!  Small World was delightful, and the kids still hum the song and sing a few words, five months later.  Guess I was wrong about their memory, too!

Next stop, ToonTown!  We followed Goofy around till we got hugs, and for something so big and, well, goofy, he wasn't scary to the kidlets at all!

We finally met the man, the mouse, the legend.  Mickey was in the middle of filming a movie, but took the time between takes to meet his fans.  This picture doesn't do the kids justice - they were so excited that the 15-minute wait flew by!  After the starstruck photos, they each gave him hugs, lots of waves, and "Bye, Mickey"'s ... and still talk about it. 

We stopped for lunch, then when Ailsa conked out in the stroller, Vaughn and Chris went for a drive.  I believe Chris operated the pedals, and Vaughn steered them into everything he could!  He still talks about his orange car, and Chris still laughs (nervously) about the experience. 

The last ride we went on was Nemo's submarine, after a 30 minute wait, which I expected would be awful - really cool effects, beautiful scenery, and the Nemo storyline, too!  They weren't scared of the shark or the angler fish at all, and just felt really lucky to have been on a submarine!  Guess I was wrong.

After 5 1/2 hours of walking around the park on his own two feet (our little man is incredible...yet sometimes is "too tired" to walk to the end of our street!), we made the requisite stop for Ears.  Still smiling, and full of memories, Disneyland was something that I'm so glad we experienced together.  Vaughn, of course, is full of stories and specifics (and "It's a Small World"), and Ailsa, as her language develops more and more, brings up surprising facts, which up to now have been hidden inside that amazing little brain of hers, about the day.  Guess I was wrong!

I'm not going to say that the vacation was in any way relaxing (even the spa part was somewhat stressful, due to the unfortunate "naked" bit), or good for my health, but I can't thank everyone enough for their support and guidance, especially Diana, vacation-planner extraordinaire, who gave me the low-down on all the attractions and what the kids would like, Chris' parents, who took the kids and gave me time off while they spoiled them rotten, and of course, Laurel and Mike, with whom we shared precious grown-up time.

Was it worth the (surprisingly limited) expense?  Definitely.  The kids had new experiences every day and remember the oddest little tidbits about their adventures, not to mention the bonus time they had with their grandparents, who they don't get to see enough of.  The stress, illness, lack of sleep, and hormones I could have done without, not to mention the no-vacation-for-me-because-this-is-it (and no, bedrest is not a vacation)...and I would have loved to have Chris share in observing their curiosity and pure delight at everything we saw, but all's well that ends well, I suppose.

After all, the next one will involve THREE Hufflings, and we'll look back upon this "vacation" as easy.  Gulp.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

March "Break" in Los Angeles (retro post, part 1)

March Break 2012, Chris had the luck to have a conference in LA.  "You and the kids should come!" he said. 

Hmm... let me think on this.  He'd be in a workshop all day, every day, with some dinners and meetings in the evenings.  I'd be using up my entire vacation allotment for the year, staying in a single hotel room with two small children of inconsistent delightfulness, pretty much by myself, unable to even watch tv after their 7:30 bedtime.  "Thanks," I said, "but I'll pass."

He finally convinced me by saying that both his mom and his dad would be able to visit the kids while we were there, and... (guilt kicks in) how could I say no to that?  I finally agreed, with the explicit understanding that he'd owe me.  Big Time.  And of course, my favourite person on the planet, TP#2, had recently moved there, and maybe I'd get a half day's escape to hang out with her...?

The night before we left, I started feeling lousy... streppy throat, fever, chills, body aches, migraine... now THAT's the way to start a vacation!  The kids were wonderful travellers, as usual, but I was unable to appreciate it, as I was far too sick.  The week was fairly rough, health-wise, as "sleeping" in the room with the kidlets wasn't really sleeping, V came down with a cold that required being propped up to breathe (enter body pillow/Mommy), and generally, I didn't feel better at all for the first 6 days.  I tried to be a trooper for the kids, but I was fairly cranky to Chris, every chance I got.  (sorry, babe!)

For March in LA, I was surprised by the Canadian weather!  We left 24-degree days, and arrived to 50-degree days.  As I have no idea how this Farenheit thingy works, I just knew that it was chillier than at home, by far, and the wind was cutting.  It didn't stop us from bundling up and exploring, though.

We started out small:  the local Santa Ana Zoo, which promises to always have 50 monkeys on site.  For an intro to the vacation, it was small enough to be manageable, but still interesting for our little monkeys, reasonably-priced...and 5 minutes from our hotel! 

That afternoon, we caught up with Grandma and Grandpa Huff.  Chris went to a meeting, and we went on a long, ill-fated, GPS-ruined (it lies!) walk to find dinner, but were eventually saved by Grandpa's brilliant solution:  In and Out burgers.  The day was saved!

The next day, I drove for an hour and a half to meet up with them again (cursed the GPS again - it was only 15 minutes away!), and we all went to the beach; their hotel was right across from Huntington Beach.  Despite the briskness, the kids loved it!  Sand, surf and sun, and smiles all around!

This pic made me reminisce about his last beach experience - check out the last photo from this post.  He's gotten so big!!!

That night, we met up with Laurel and Mike for dinner - so great to see them again!  I was also able to impose on Grandma and Grandpa's good will - the next day, I dropped them off again (hey!  it was only 15 minutes away!) and went off alone, to meet Laurel.  I started out at a Starbucks, then we drove down to the Barboa Boardwalk, where we walked, lunched, met with a psychic, then sat on sand dunes to watch a pod of dolphins and some pelicans have lunch on a school of fish.  Amazing.

We took a day for the hotel pool and some shopping (for fleeces!  brrr!), as well as a trip to the Discovery Centre, starring Dora and Diego!  Laurel was kind enough to come along - I have no idea how I would have managed without a second set of hands (and two more sets of eyes - hey-o!).  With it being March Break, the place was lousy with daycamps. Despite the crowds, it was a really cool experience!  That night, we said goodbye to Chris' dad and stepmom.

The very next day, who should arrive but his mom and stepdad!  Grandma and Grunkle were ever-so-happy to join us for meals and a few outings.  They declined the invitation to Legoland on the Friday, but joined us for breakfast before we went.

I can't believe I forgot my camera - we spent 3 hours in Lego heaven!  As it was the first amusement park we had ever gone to, there weren't any tears about being too small for most of the rides.  We went on Fairy Tale Brook, which was fantastic for both of them, and Vaughn got to go to Lego Driving School, which was hysterical - he drove a car all by himself, while I offered encouragement from the sidelines.  There were a few that Vaughn could have gone on with me, but Ailsa couldn't (and it felt wrong to strap her in and leave her in stroller parking), so we spent a lot of time looking at massive Lego reproductions and the neatest interactive musical lego fountain ever.  So cool.  Vaughn was a trooper, walking the whole time, but I started to get a bit frustrated at the end of the day, trying to find one more thing to ride, but my amazing boy said, "Can we go on the little green boats again?"  He just melts my heart.  Again, no camera.  Humph.

Chris, Grandma and Grunkle took the kids on Saturday, when I was released again to spend time with Laurel, this time at a spa!  Mani-pedi heaven.  I didn't know what I was getting into, but they had the full experience, with baths, steam rooms, etc, and not being prepared, I had to go... (kaff) European.  I apologize to Laurel, again.  And to all of California. 

It being Easter-y, they found a bunny carousel - so much fun for everyone!

I don't know who smiled more on that trip - Ailsa or Grandma! 
She gladly watched the kids on Saturday night while we escaped again for one last outing with Laurel and Mike.

Part 2 to come - one more day left in LA - what could we possibly do to top all this?

Well, that was fast...

2 weeks ago, 28 weeks along

After a quick stint of (dubious) respectability, I will be leaving the shiny golden hallways of SSC to go on "modified" bed rest,* effective 2 pm today.  Woo. 

The lesson we have all learned from this is, "Be careful what you wish for," closely followed by "Practice abstinence." 

The baby is fine, but my doc is quite worried about it planning an early escape (hopefully not too early, but if it's NOT too early, I will lose my doodle. Seriously). 

I went to the hospital for a steroid shot in my leg, so that, if Houdini arrives this weekend, its lungs will be nice and ready.  And I get another one today! Possibly in the butt!  Admit it, you wish you were me.

I digress.  For any fun/witty/snarky comments, stories, and forwards, please send them on to me at home where I will be lounging about in my jammies, possibly unwashed, and wallowing in self-pity and daytime television. Visitors welcome, as are anonymous deliveries of bonbons.

Texts are good, too, if you're too damn lazy to pick up the phone to actually talk to me.


PS - please don't mention this to anyone on hiring boards (R-squared), just in case they don't want to call me in for an interview...

* I choose to include Starbucks, DQ, and lunch with friends in the term "modified".  Call me.  I may even shower.