Monday, November 18, 2013

26 things about 26

•Clubs are too loud
•I'm going to let my grey hairs stay because I think I'm cool enough to pull it off.
•I'm not at all cool enough.
•Concerts are too loud.
•I think a lot about savings accounts.
•Sirens are too loud.
•I budget for things like therapy and home renovations.
•Vacuum cleaners are too loud.
•I am obsessed with vacuum cleaner reviews and trying to find the perfect vacuum for the best price.
•I use anti-aging moisturizer.
•My kids are too loud.
•I can't find boot socks in any store, likely because boot socks are totally two winters ago.
•I still want some anyway.
•The mall is too loud.
•I call 24 year olds "kids".
•I make my bed.
•Motorcycles are too loud.
•Motorcycles are also basically a death sentence.
•30 is a real, actual number.
•I wear a puffer coat and I don't give a fuck.
•I gain 5lbs for every chicken finger I eat.
•I don't like to run in the winter mostly because I'm afraid to slip.
•Movies are too loud.
•I cry at every one of my child's school assemblies, and I haven't pinpointed why.
•School assemblies are loud.
•I have bags under my eyes. Always.

Friday, November 1, 2013

You guys, Mariah Carey potentially saved my life this morning..

It's November 1st. 

That was my first thought as I woke up today. And then absolute, uncontrollable panic. I don't know why it affects me this way. I do know that it's irrational, but that awareness only makes me more frustrated. I turn 26 this November, and birthdays, mine in particular, remind me that time is passing and that I'm not where I want to be or who I want to be yet. It's insane, I'm aware. I have plenty of time, and there is no need to feel rushed or behind, or be focusing on these negative thoughts - I know. 

So on the drive home from dropping Elise at school, I was trying to gift myself a day, today, to do whatever I thought could change my mood. I was relieving myself of the supper dishes from last night that are still in the sink, and the laundry that hasn't been touched all week, and the guilt that comes with all of that. "It'll be there later, what do you really want to do, right now..." Except I could think of nothing. I didn't want to shop, or go for coffee, or come home and read, or catch up on Grey's. Nothing sounded good, and I was resigning myself to this mood. 

And then..

THIS came on the radio. And I turned it up LOUD. And I car-danced my heart out, not even cooling it a level when I passed other cars. 

And I could see the pink in the sky, and I knew I just needed a tea and a shower, and maybe to write this. And that I'm not as deep as I sometimes perceive myself.  ;)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Stay you.

When you asked to cut your hair this Spring, I hesitated. I wanted to beg you not to. It's so fine and it grows so slowly. But I reminded myself to let you be you, and off we went to the salon. I liked the cut, but I couldn't have prepared myself for how grown up it made you seem. You loved it. I thought it would be a phase, and you'd let it grow back out, but no. You wanted it cut again before your birthday. I dig that, kiddo. I think it's really fricken sweet how you know what you like.

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 You choose to play the piano and to join the swim team, even when all your friends choose dance or gymnastics or soccer. Your favourite color is green, and you listen to some of the coolest music on the planet. You think it's pretty much the luckiest thing ever that you have a freckle on your right hand, because it's a constant reminder for you of what's left and what's right. You love your friends, and your sister and your Daddy and your Nana all so big. We feel it Babe, we know your love and we are grateful.

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You weigh 41lbs. You ride in a booster seat in the car now, and you are super proud of it. You learned how to swim AND how to ride your bike without training wheels this summer! You read better than some adults. Like, seriously child, you have a gift. You've had a slightly loose tooth for months, and you are getting so impatient waiting for it to fall out. You are FUNNY! And it's because of how smart you are. You can make up a fierce pun on the fly, kid. You are still fidgety, and you probably always will be. Fidgety body, fidgety soul. I'll take the credit for that when you're ready to lay blame.

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We made a big decision together about your school this year. You chose to give up your friends, and all the familiarity of last year, and switch to a different school - just so you can learn to speak French. Someday you will know just how brave of a choice that was for a 5 year old girl to make. I am proud beyond measure.

As you embark on the adventure of French Immersion first grade, and you make bunches of new friends, and they think that One Direction is the coolest band, and that sparkly pink is the prettiest color - remember that it's okay. It's okay to disagree, it's cool even. Different is so good. You are special, you are are perfectly you, and that is especially perfect.

*Remember also, to wash your hands - every chance you get, with soap. And to be kind to every single person. No matter what, you treat everyone with kindness and an open mind. If someone does something that isn't kind, you forgive them, and treat them with even more kindness. 6 years old is too early to start giving up on people, okay Babe

You're going to do so well, you're going to be so great at this 6-year-old-first-grader thing.

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Love, Mama.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Calendar Claustrophobia, and a Summer Photoshoot.

You know the people who are really great at keeping busy? They have something on the go every weekend, and most days of the week? It makes them feel productive, or satisfied or whatever.

I am the very opposite of those people. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the anticipation of an upcoming weekend trip, or the hustle bustle of taxiing my kids to their different extra-curriculars (I really do), but for the most part - I thrive on spontaneity. I'm not talking crazy let's hop a plane to anywhere spontaneity (although, if I had the ability...) I'm just saying I like to decide how to spend each day when we wake up in the morning. I like to get in the car, not really sure where we are headed. The idea of a full calendar gives me major anxiety, claustrophobia almost. A flexible schedule has been a huge part of my adult life thus far, I am lucky enough to stay at home with my children, and for the most part we do as we please. However, I am increasingly aware that, for us, this chapter is coming to a close. Elise will be in school full time come September, and Tessa will be at PreK 3 days a week. I am currently partway through the enrollment process for some courses that will start in January. AND THEN I WILL HAVE/WANT TO GET A JOB!

I am both crazy-excited and crazy-terrified at all of those prospects. It will be good, I know, forward motion is good. But I can't help but feel a bit winded at the idea of not being able to just pick up and head to the water, or the city on a whim. That makes me sound spoiled, perhaps, but it's honest..

*now, imagine a beautiful, eloquent transition into how quickly time is passing and how the girls are growing*

When we collected Elise from school this afternoon, we had an hour to kill before piano lessons. I have very recently picked up my dslr after an extended hiatus (blame Instagram) and I thought it would be perfect to grab it and head down to the water with the girls for a quick shoot. They have changed so much since I last took quality photos of them. Luckily, they were super cooperative and the results are pretty lovely indeed, so here's a taste.

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She vogued all on her own, I swear.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Really Good.

I'm procrastinating. But I need to take a break and go to my happy place. And I want to take you with me. *arm scoop* C'mon.

We went to the beach today. Twice.

The beach, you guys. And we were hot and it was sunny and the water was calm and beautiful and ice-free. At first I thought we'd just stop by our little secret spot to check up on it before we had to pick Elise up from school. Let me tell you, it became more than that. It became some sort of spiritual, sedative, intimacy. I sat on that beach, and stared into that still water and took it all in like I might never have the chance to do either, ever again. I reconnected with our water, but also with myself, and isn't that always such a relief? To touch base with your heart and your mind and your body, all in just a short time? And say "Great, we're all here, let's focus everything, in these moments, on being really happy and humble." It's a relief to me, anyway.

And my sweet and thoughtful beach baby? It was like she had never left. Like winter had never happened and she'd been there every day before, splashing, wading, and gathering wet sand and sticks. As I was watching her play, she looked up at me and said "Are you having peace and quiet Mommy?" Oh yes Babe. This. Is. It. And I'm having it.

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 *At one point I put her sunglasses on and she, quite genuinely, told me "Those fit you really good! But not really really good." Can you imagine if you lived in a mindset where me, wearing child-sized Minnie Mouse sunglasses was really good? As if "really good" was as bad as it ever got?*

We drove with bare, sandy feet, to pick up Elise and then home to grab our beach toys and we were back at our spot before we'd been gone 20 minutes. We stayed for another 2 hours, and I wish we hadn't needed dinner and had been able to stay as long as the sun. There will be many more hours and days spent this way, and for that, I'm so so grateful.

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Just a little check in.

Sorry to have left you with nothing but that dresser incident for nearly a month!

I wish I could say we've been so busy, too busy to sit down and write. The truth is, we've kind of just been hanging out. Easter came and went without too much to talk about. The girls had lots of fun, of course, and we had my mom and cousin down for the weekend, but it was pretty low key.

Elise's Spring Break is coming up the last week in April and we have plans to head to Edmonton and there will be lots of experiences to be had, I'm sure. I told the girls we could do anything they wanted that week, eat at a fancy restaurant, go to the museum, the art gallery, anything. You know what they want to do? Take the bus. They are most excited to ride the city bus... I can't say I'm as thrilled, but we'll be sure and try it out. My silly, small town kids. Maybe we'll take the LRT for a real thrill!

Anyway, we are just trucking along, waiting for nice weather. We have so many fun things coming up over the next few months, it's hard not to wish the time away! I'll be back to blog about our week 's adventures around the end of the month, if not sooner.

Happy Thursday!

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The girls got these straw glasses in their Easter baskets and they have been a huge hit. And our precious Guinness, down in the corner. Our poor puppy went missing from our yard on Tuesday and hasn't been since. We are hoping the hope.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dresser Scare

After a lot of extra cuddles and a bit of a post-bedtime breakdown on my part, I am ready to say this, if you have a dresser or a bookshelf in your home with small children - you MUST secure it to the wall. We've all heard it, and probably lots of you are proactive and sensible enough to have already ensured that your home is safe in this respect. I wish I could say the same.

Before I start - we are all safe and unhurt for the most part. But it could have ended very differently and I, for one, am guilt ridden.

We were all in my bedroom with Nana on FaceTime. Elise and I were on the bed and Tessa was playing around on the floor. I heard a noise and in an instant saw the tall dresser (with a giant, old tv on top, so ashamed to say) tipping over almost as if in slow motion. I just knew she was under it. I got to it in time to stop it from falling completely onto her, with the help of the bed also in it's path. The tv came crashing over my right side into another dresser and then the floor. All of the drawers opened onto her, but none of the weight of the dresser hit her, and I was able to stand it up. The worst part is that she kept apologizing! She thought Daddy would be mad about the tv, bless her little heart.

I can't even believe it happened. She wasn't climbing on it, just trying to reach a Barbie shoe that was sitting on top of it. I am sick to my stomach thinking about if I hadn't been right there. I'm more thankful for a jarred knee, broken tv and two fucked up dressers than you could ever imagine. So just strap them to the wall, ok? Because you don't want to feel how I feel right now, or worse.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Don't show this to my kids.... Or maybe do.

So about a week or so ago, Matt tried to get me to admit that I liked the smell of his armpits. I was all "omg how is this my real life? I DO NOT like the smell of your armpits, not a little bit, not secretly, you're seriously messed up." Then he tried to get me to say I liked the smell of my own armpits. I was already almost sleeping, but I'm pretty sure I denied that too.

Anyway, in the last.... I paused here for a couple of minutes because I was trying to figure out how many days it had been since Sunday but I kept getting distracted so I never actually counted.

*Ahem* I say again, Since Sunday, I have shared with you a picture of me in bed, terribly hungover, a picture of my barefoot self in a pub dancing on a stool like a.... Well, I don't really want to say what it was like, because my family reads this blog.


And then today I posted a picture of my disgusting, teenager bedroom. So in hopes that this isn't too much of a good thing, (the good thing is that I'm keeping it real ok?) I am going to share with you a confession. I kind of do like the smell of my armpits. Like, I don't want a candle made out of them or anything, but I don't find them in any way offensive. I don't know why I am putting this on the internet, but I feel committed to it. I feel like this blog has no apparent purpose. I should change the header.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Haters gon' hate.

Like much else, it's a toss up between those who love and those who loathe Valentine's Day...

So, I'll warn you loathers that you may not be into this post. I'm not a mushy girl, and I don't need a special day to celebrate love or kindness, but it's no secret that I'm a sucker for a reason to decorate my home and to put my girls in a themed outfit...

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I mean seriously?!

 Plus, they are just so fun to celebrate anything with. That kind of unbridled excitement and joy simply makes it impossible for me not to go all out. Elise had school all day today so we did some fun, Love themed things yesterday. Some cookie decorating (and eating - someone save me from myself!), and a little project for their Daddy's office. They are so easy to please, I don't know how I could not indulge them!

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Elise also proved that the apple doesn't fall far from the dorky, holiday-loving tree when she excitedly hammered out 22 Valentine cards in one sitting the other afternoon! Girl loves to love. Making Mama proud.

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Lovers keep on loving!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Grow Slowly

 We had a party, and it was fabulous.

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Favorite people, favorite treats, favorite colors, favorite activities.

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 I thought I should blog for her last night, but no words would come. It still didn't feel real. We woke up early for school this morning, she opened her presents and we played most of the day with them. I wished her a Happy Birthday several times, called her my Birthday Girl and took her out for her dinner of choice. The Servers sang and she blew out another candle, this time on a brownie. We talked about the day she came into our lives, how we felt, how her Sister reacted. She loves when we talk about that, we both do. Her Daddy put her to bed and I spent about an hour feeling really restless. Now, I've lit some cinnamon-y candles, put on some mellow writing music, but the truth is, it still doesn't feel real. That she's been here, in her olive-toned and soft body, in my life, for four whole years. And at the same time it feels like she's always been.

 This is the year where she'll lose all her baby, she might learn to swim, she'll go to preschool and make her own friends. She'll start to pronounce more words like a big girl. Her feet will grow. How I wish they wouldn't, that they would stay wide, chubby little baby feet that I would always want to nibble on. Maybe she'll stop being so picky, too, about her food, and her outfits, and her books and her shows. Maybe she won't.

 I think it doesn't feel real because I'm not really ready for it to be real. While I look forward to learning even more about her in the coming months, I'm just a little tied to who she was over the past twelve, the past 48. Good thing she seemed just like my same old girl today.

So here's to taking it slow Baby Girl. Grow Slowly so my heart can take it. Happy 4th Birthday Tessa Winter Jacqueline, you sweet and stubborn baby.

Monday, January 14, 2013

La Cabane a Sucre.

On New Years Eve, Cheryl and I were talking about Bonhomme Carnaval and La Cabane a Sucre. When we realized that the boys had no idea what we were referring to, we decided it must have only been a French Immersion thing - (I just assumed the whole Elementary school would have participated).

I decided right then that since neither of my girls will be in FI, I would make this awesome treat for them at home!

After Cheryl posted about the Deep Freeze Festival in Edmonton this past weekend - I was inspired! We did a Cabane this morning and the girls LOVED it! Elise said it was "the best thing she ever had, ever". We had fresh snow falling, but that isn't really necessary. Making the candy is super easy. Heat about 3/4 cups of real maple syrup to about 230F, and quickly poor into packed snow. You should be able to roll the candy up on a popsicle stick, hand them out and let the kiddos have at 'er! We will definitely be making this an annual thing in our home.

There was a moment of panic when she realized it was stuck STUCK to her mitten, but I was able to save the day - thank goodness.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I want to talk about all the music I bought, basically.

There was so much good in music this year and I really wanted to chronicle some of my favorites so I'd be able to flip through later on. I have this fear of "forgetting about" a good song or a great artist. Hopefully you will find something new, or decide you want to be my newest best friend because I have such impeccable taste and ability to string an album review together. Probably you'll just be disgusted at how much of my bank account I blew on records this year. Again, these are simply MY favorites - so if you don't see YOUR favorite, don't flip your lid telling me I missed something, cool? Here we go, in no particular order.

 I like the one that goes "eee eee eee eeeeee Anything can happen", and the one that goes "gotta do much more than buh-leeve if ya wanna see the world change" the best.

 Just kidding. That was dictated by my 5 year old when I asked what her favorite songs were over the past year. She's totally on to something though!

  Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel
I've been waiting years for this album. Believe it or not, I was graduating High School when Fiona’s last album was released in 2005. Suffice to say, much has changed on my radar, but her trademark piano sound and lyrical genius hold true throughout The Idler Wheel, making this record – without a doubt – worth the wait! If you loved this album, you might also enjoy The Ol' Razzle Dazzle, Missy Higgins’ 2012 album release, or Little Broken Hearts, Norah Jones, released in April. (Yes, that’s totally my way of sneaking more music onto this list! ;))

  Mumford and Sons - Babel
Although it wasn't even released until the last quarter, this is probably the record I listened to the most this year. The perfect mix of hope, sadness, rainbows and rage – ideally suited to my every mood. If you thought you’d save a few bucks and skip the Deluxe Edition – you are really missing out. The bonus tracks include a killer rendition of “The Boxer” that effortlessly challenges the original and, my favorite Babel track, “Where Are You Now” which closes the listening experience with a soft and thoughtful vibe.

See? We listen A LOT.

 Ingrid Michaelson - Human Again
I bought it the morning of its release date and I just knew it would be exactly what I needed. Though not nearly as intimate as Ingrid’s previous records, our prize is well worth the trade.  This album starts out in a desperate, inwardly focused, orchestral storm.  As it continues though, we hear it symphoniously and lyrically lilt toward clear and hopeful skies, especially in the last few tracks.

 The Lumineers - The Lumineers
This debut album from Colorado was *this close* to making the number one spot on my list. It was love at first listen, for me. A Mumford-folky mix of sound with lyrics that provoke feelings of nostalgia – and just so catchy! Again, a record I could throw on in almost any mood and feel comforted and satisfied. Brilliant, really. If you loved this, you'd love The Carpenter, The Avett Brothers and The Head and the Heart's self-titled 2011 album release.

 A Fine Frenzy - Pines
As the title indicates, this record is full of outdoorsy metaphors and imagery. It’s lush in sound and I think we actually see a much truer Sudol than in previous records. I had the privilege of seeing the band live in October and while she engaged the audience between songs, she seemed to disappear into them when she sang. Your husbands will think it’s weird, it will lull your babies to sleep, and it will make you feel delicate and strong, connected and far away – all at once.

 Dave Matthews Band - Away from the World
I almost didn't want to review this album (I still haven’t actually decided that I do). It seemed a little biased of me, and if I’m completely honest, it really didn't get the play a DMB record would typically get in my house. Don’t get me wrong, that is still a ton of listening hours and nearly a full 3 week stretch with nothing else on the go. When the single “Gaucho” was released, I kind of thought - here we go again. It seemed to mirror the last album’s themes and sounds so closely and I simply didn't know how that made me feel. Still, I was the first person in HMV on the morning of the release, because - let’s face it, I’m more than committed. What I expected to be another exciting, jazzed up party album, laced with wise lyrics and deep, worldly contemplation ended up really surprising me. This record is far more mellow than its predecessor.  It exudes an almost entirely different mood. Of course there are still some party tracks (“Rooftop”, “Belly Belly Nice”), an almost trademark long ass jam session track (“Drunken Soldier”) and it is still, of course, lyrical gold. At the end of the day though, my 5 year old will still choose Big Whiskey over the new album, and I think there is something to be said about that.

 Ellie Goulding - Halcyon
Ok – there are 18 tracks on the deluxe edition of this album! 18! To put 18 tracks onto an album and not have me want to skip over even one deserves a quick ‘Bravo’ before I even go on. This is my 5 year old’s self-proclaimed favorite album of the year. (The child is basically a genius.)  With a modernized Eurythmics feel and a snappy Calvin Harris collaboration – the listener literally gets the best mix of dark and dance. The record has been criticized for being “too much” – but I, for one, adore the courage and indulgence. A couple of related suggestions are 18 Months, Calvin Harris (2012) and Ceremonials, Florence and the Machine (2011).

 Allen Stone - Allen Stone (Self-released in 2011, Released in 2012 by ATO Records)
I was SO excited about this album in the beginning. I would play some of the tracks on repeat (“Celebrate Tonight”, “Contact High”) for hours, just taking in the soulful energy. When I sat down to compile this list, I revisited these songs and I was blown away again by the way he could sing a song about heartache that was somehow perfect for a warm, sunny day on the patio. Allen has a totally unique sound that relaxes you right to the core.

 Macklemore and Ryan Lewis - The Heist
I was hooked with the first two tracks I sampled. Give me horns, a Mary Lambert collaboration and purposeful lyrics and you’d find it pretty tough not to totally sell me.  Thank-you, Ben Haggerty, for fighting for equality and human rights – loud – for all to hear.  Buy this record if you bought Girl On Fire, Alicia Keys or Unapologetic, Rihanna. No, actually, buy it no matter what else you did or didn't buy.

 Alabama Shakes - Boys & Girls
Are you ready for me to gush? This was my FAVORITE album in 2012! Raw, raspy, with a kick drum beat and a “F*ck it” attitude. Not like anything else I listened to all year, or perhaps ever, save a Janis Joplin record or two. Brace yourself, maybe even take a seat, Brittany Howard will, literally, blow you away.

Notable EP's released in 2012-
LP - Into the Wild
Mary Lambert - Letters Don't Talk

I had to choose a Top Ten list of albums to write about, otherwise my children might have ended up bored and hungry, but I do want to quickly acknowledge the rest of the music that shaped my year.

The Temper Trap
Grizzly Bear - Shields
John Mayer - Born and Raised
Bob Dylan - Tempest
Newton Faulkner - Write It on Your Skin
Of Monsters and Men - My Head Is an Animal
Kathleen Edwards - Voyageur
Kimbra - Vows
Brandi Carlile - Bear Creek
James Vincent McMorrow - Early In the Morning
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - Here
Joshua Radin - Underwater
We Are Augustines - Rise Ye Sunken Skips
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals - The Lion, The Beast, The Beat
Regina Spektor - What We Saw from the Cheap Seats
The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow