in a nutshell

snow, snow and then a little more snow. winter boots and long armed mitts adorning little hands as snowballs were thrown and snowbanks toppled.

spinach and ricotta cannelloni with garlicky caesar salad and red wine eaten in quiet without interruption as the children slept soundly in their beds, awaiting santa on christmas eve. butter tart squares and mom's shortbread with milky sweet cups of coffee for dessert.

grandma reading cohen's new christmas eve book, alphabeasts, by the light of the tree.

late night bailey's on ice and reading in bed

grandma and baka pulling still sleepy children into their bed as i slept just one half hour more

eggs benedict with perfectly runny yolks and crispy fried potatoes, glasses of orange juice filled to the brim.

cohen opening his gifts one by one as ada napped, his excitement brimming off of him and spilling on everyone around him. each toy was given plenty of playing time before another package was opened, the process taking all morning and part of the early afternoon despite there only being 9 gifts.

ada unsure about paper ripping and box opening, her brow furled as she watched on from a distance. stuffed cow we named jersey (despite the fact that it is a holstein) = ok, stuffed doll with hightop boots and curly hair = no thank you, take that thing away please.

a visit from my brother and his kids, the sounds of laughter and joy echoeing down the hall from cohen's bedroom

juicy roasted ham, scalloped potato's and baconed sprouts with a glass of pinot grigio and the good candle sticks lit in the middle.

tipsy after dinner walk in the snow with both mothers to buy coffee cream at the all night corner store, a stillness in the air

head hitting the pillow hard after a day spent with the love of family.

it was good year, i hope yours was too.

as is the custom around here, the slideshow is up. if you are new to this game then there are two warnings: 1. it is 200 mb and may take up to 10 minutes to upload 2. it is just pictures of my family and it will last almost 14 minutes and be set to cheesy music (although this year i didn't give the music a lot of thought and just put the songs that other family suggested, so it isn't as cheesy as years gone by). having said that though, if you have nothing better to do, or happen to be family (or are friends that are like family) then it just might be your thing!

it wouldn't be a highlights reel without some photos, and of course by now you know where you can find the rest.


first night of winter

there is no end in sight

i first met her a couple of days after i moved into this house. her name is irene and she lives in the little grey house across the street. she is elderly, into her eighty ninth year now, and rather grey looking, much the same grey as her house in fact. she has this warm voice that immediately makes you think of wisdom and experience. i was drawn into her the moment i met her. it only took a minute though to realize that she wasn't completely there mentally, her stories repeating like a broken record, her stare unwavering. marko and i entertained her cyclical conversation for five, maybe even ten minutes, and then we made up a reason why we had to leave. she was enamored with ada, touching her toes and smiling off into the distance.

i just realized that i am talking like she is dead, but she isn't. this isn't about death at all, in fact it is almost about the opposite.

mostly the relationship that i have shared with irene has been from afar. i later learned that she lives alone in that house, except for the home care workers that come to see her for an hour here and an hour there, making sure all her ducks are in a row, pills taken, stoves turned off. she has lived there, in that very house, everyday of her 89 years. in fact, i am told, she was born there, in the grey little house. she lived with her parents and then when they died she stayed on and kept living. she has a sister who wants to put her in a home, but irene knew what was coming for her and she made it clear before it was too late that she didn't want that, she wanted to die in the home too, it only seemed right. so she is over there, across the street, doing whatever it is she does all day, and waiting.

a kilt maker by trade, she worked for a fancy boutique on granville street, but one day, when she couldn't take her boss anymore, she decided to try it out on her own. legend says that she was even commissioned to make a custom kilt for the queen. "it isn't easy getting it just right you know, not just anyone can do it". so she lived with her parents and made kilts for the queen and never left.

all through the summer i would watch her as she sat on her front steps. it is a steep set of stairs that leads to her house and she would often sit, in the early evening, right in the middle, and she would look around carefully like a cat. her face was always set the same, serious with deep lines carved into the skin. sometimes the soft last light of day would hit her just right and i would grab my camera, but i couldn't take the shot from my house, it wouldn't work through the trees, and i was much too afraid to ask her. i dreamed of that photo though, every time i saw her out there, it must have been two or three dozen times. often as people walked past she would say hello and they would say hello back, a familiarity seemed present. if a block has a matriarch i guess she is ours.

i have come to accept that i have a bit of a fascination with irene. i think it is because i don't understand what it feels like to stick something out so fully. sometimes i wonder if it was giving up more than staying put though. i have often thought that irene's story is a sad one, tragic even. no children or grandchildren to fill her quiet life with joy, hardly any visitors and then alzheimer's to leave you confused and frustrated. she has people who come and take her out, and others that bring baking and groceries by, but by and large she is in the house, alone.

i was brought back to thinking about irene this afternoon as the snow fell. you see, living in a house there is a certain amount of work that needs to get done, garbage taken out, leaves raked, lawns mowed, that kind of thing. periodically throughout the summer i would see someone over there mowing, or raking, but i never gave it much thought, i guess i thought she had a gardener, but then today something unexpected happened. after more than 8 inches of snow fell, leaving everything white and new, six of my neighbours showed up in front of irene's house with shovels in hand and they cleared her walk, her stairs and iced, and then they each went back to their own home. a few hours later they came back out and did it again. there seemed to be a silent understanding. it wasn't just adults either, a couple were teenagers, no doubt sent out by their parents, but there they were out none the less. for me it seemed like a scene from a christmas movie, the cheesy moment where everyone comes together and spreads love, or something, only in real life it didn't seem cheesy, it seemed kind of incredible.

when i saw another neighbour hours later and i asked about it she said that they all pitch in to help, that it was each of my neighbours in turn that i had seen mowing the lawn or raking the leaves last summer. "some who can't help physically bring by baking and dinner already cooked", she said. even the wreath hanging from her grey door was brought over by someone who thought she could use it.

i have never known this vancouver. i have never even heard about it through legend. it seemed like a scene from the seventies, when no one locked their doors and everyone had neighbourhood barbecues. too good to be true, and yet it is. everyone doing something that gets them nothing in return, other than the right to say they are a community, that they are neighbours in the true meaning of the word.

i am not sure why i wanted to write about her tonight, so many times i have thought of it and turned it down. maybe it is because i am a pessimist, the one in the room who can be heard whispering, "i hate people", but then there is this, the opposite of what i have known, and it filled me with optimism and hope. maybe it is because i think her story needs to be shared because maybe that is what she is to bring to the world, a reminder of the way things used to be, could be, everywhere again. if the worth of a life is the mark it leaves on the world, then from over here it seems like she is doing alright.


sometimes once is enough

my kids don't like to shop. it's ok, they are in good company, their parents could usually do without it as well. i rarely take them to the grocery store, opting instead for late night superstore runs alone, and although we do take them to costco on the weekend, it usually involves snacks and a lot of looking at toys. my mom says i am not doing them any favours by avoiding it and she is probably right, but i am doing myself one, and sometimes that has to be enough. i know one day they will grow out of it so until then i just don't do it.

of course every now and again an exception needs to be made, usually out of necessity, or on days like today, out of sheer unbridled optimism and a need to torture myself. i am a sucker for tradition and am more than a little sentimental, so i wanted a photo with santa. i thought of going back to kingsgate mall and having it done with possibly the worst (and most drunk) santa in town, but then i thought maybe i should branch out, you know, now that i have a car. so we went there, the most dreaded place of all. i had read about the train over at the cheeseblog and thought cohen would be interested, a little tit for tat. i buy three items from three different stores, make him take a photo with santa, and he gets to go on the train. i probably don't have to tell you what happened.

we went into old navy and he started moaning, then there was a little arm flailing, and verbal protesting, but i persevered. i wanted to see if they had a cute christmas dress for ada because it occured to me last week that i have a little girl and she can actually wear things like a christmas dress, and it sounded kinda fun. even i lost patience in old navy. the music, the bright colours. nothing immediately caught my eye so we left.

next was winners. we only made it past the front door and ada started crying. i decided that i didn't need it that bad.

so we found santa's castle and much to my delight there was not one person in line. i am led to believe this is a christmas miracle unto itself. ada started crying before i even attempted to hand her over. i have learned in recent weeks, through various christmas soirees, that she is not super keen on strangers. cohen was fairly outgoing at her age and rarely played shy, but she panics whenever she smells unfamiliar. it usually isn't just a whimper either, more of a wail, some might even say a blood curdling scream. santa was obviously not on her list of laps she wanted to sit on today. the nice photo lady told me that i would have to be in the photo if this was going to happen. great! good thing i had a shower and brushed my hair before leaving the house today instead of just putting on a hat and then taking it off before the camera clicked, trying desperately to part my hair with my fingers. cohen wouldn't sit on his lap either. he just stood in front of him eyeing him up, cocking one eye in confusion. finally st. nick asked if he wanted to sit on the seat beside him. cohen thought about it and then obliged. as she focused the lens santa laughed and said, "i guess my job is easy, no one is even sitting on me!" it seemed like a strange thing to say, but he does sit in there all day, it must make you a little weak in the head after awhile.

we don't get the photo for a couple of days but i am sure cohen will be grimacing and leaning away from santa in a grotesque manner, i will have my hair sticking straight up with a look that says "this probably isn't worth it", and ada will look like a deer caught in the headlights, only with huge wet crocodile tears pouring off her cheeks. so in other words, it should be pretty good.

the train was a success, but then we had to leave because i can't just ride a train all day, well i could i guess but i didn't want to. when good things end two year olds generally don't nod and say "thanks mom, that was fun! i guess we have to go now". i pretended that was what he was saying though as he demanded "no! train! go!" and then cried and cried and cried.

it was an adventure, no doubt about it, but it's true, sometimes once really is enough.


evening out the sides for balance

the house is quiet right now. mostly anyway, i can hear cohen snoring down the hall, yet another thing he picked up from his dad. i am alone in the silence and it is beautiful. i haven't had much of this all week. it has been a tough one.

when cohen was ada's age it was common practice to lie down next to him in our bed for nap time. when he fell asleep i would wedge pillows on either side of him and then get up and attempt to be productive (except for days when i gave up on productivity and voted for napping instead). i would keep the house quiet and listen to hear him babbling upon waking. it was a system that worked. some people rock, or cradle, or stroke soft little foreheads, we always laid next to him. we still do most nights, so it wasn't a surprise that this is the same approach we would take with ada. this method became null and void near the end of last week though when she fell out of bed for the sixth time (five here, once at grandma's). i know, i know, six?!? there should have only been one i suppose but i kept tempting fate, believing i would get there fast enough when she woke, and probably a little of being lazy as well. it would work if she wasn't so quiet when she wakes up. silent. there is no other time in the day when she is quiet. she makes parrots and monkeys seem sedate, always singing and shouting, or crying. all the time, except when i want her to. she is that kind of a kid.

so last week when she fell again without warning i decided that enough was enough, never again. sleeping has been a disaster ever since. she doesn't want to be rocked and will pinch your cheeks hard and then harder until you stop with the rocking. cradling is a no go as well, fidgeting and rolling over in my arms is her solution for that one. i tried lying down with her on the living room floor on a blanket but she wasn't going to be fooled, the moment i thought she was asleep and attempted to get up she started to crawl away, smiling. so then what?

crying. that is the cold hard fact here. it is either crying, letting her stay awake all the time, or going for trips in the car every time i want her to sleep. the last one does seem tempting and might even be the solution if cohen wasn't so uppity about leaving the house. so we have been letting her cry to get to sleep. this has worked out ok so far at night, as she goes to bed before cohen, but for naps it just isn't working. she has stamina and conviction, she is, as they say, a tough cookie to crack. so i let her cry and then i go lie with cohen, but then her cries step up a notch and i feel i should go see her and cohen gets up to follow me. this goes on for half an hour or more some days. he can't relax if she is crying and i can't go in and calm her (somehow?) if he is awake and stepping on my coat tales. it is an impossible predicament. napping with two takes impeccable timing, rock solid instincts and significantly more patience than i currently possess. today the process took 2 hours. 2 hours! just when i threw my hands in the air and thought "to hell with both of you, if you don't want to sleep then fine don't sleep, see if i care!" i look in and he is fast asleep, exhausted from his attempts to foil me. today it was 1:45, a decent time. yesterday it wasn't until 3. i guess i should just be glad he naps at all. i know.

right now i am glad to have this moment of silence. i think i will go make myself a cup of tea. of course as soon as the water is boiled one of them will wake up, that is just how it works. until then i will let the fantasy be real.

this is the latest in an installation i like to call "cohen's head wounds". this one was achieved last night when he ran into the car door. ouch.


turning our blue day red

indoor days
i am certain that the above scene would have made marko more than a little nervous. him and i don't see eye to eye on the use of paints in the house. i see where he is coming from, why risk such an enormous and unnecessary mess? he says i grab too tightly to hippy ideals. i am not sure i would use the word hippy, but i have been known to utter something about allowing the freedom to express ones self in an artistic way, even if it means splatters on the wall. i should back up and say that i am all about expressing oneself in all kinds of ways, not just artistic, although i won't lie, i get a certain type of joy from seeing my kids express themselves with colour. it wasn't that crazy anyway, there was newspaper covering the floors and the paint was as washable as they as come.

besides, i seriously contemplated, albeit only for a moment, having them both get down on the floor and finger paint together. i would have done it, but the logistics of the after huge mess bath got in the way. that good time may have to wait until spring.


29 months

pouring sand
** if sentimentally saccharine blogs make you queasy then you are going to want to sit this one out, consider yourself warned **

i meant to write this post on monday, but then like most things, i completely forgot. i had to use the fingers on both hands to add up the number of months. i get asked often for the number and every time i have to do the same. no space left in the brain for that tidbit of information i guess, or my brain is easily fooled by how it keeps changing.

as most of you know i don't do these updates on cohen anymore as the blog has become mostly anecdotal. this month seemed like a good time to shake it up though. you see, for the first time in a very long time things have been going well, better than well, i might even use the word perfect (albeit very quietly). for a few months the tv was on around here almost non-stop, i couldn't figure out sanity any other way. these days it is hardly ever on, opting for playing at home or embarking on adventures instead. often the two of them play together in the afternoons while i make dinner, a time that was previously far too difficult to manage without the tv. i didn't think they would entertain each other until she was at least one, but it just isn't the case. they have become fast friends and can't seem to get enough of each other. seeing them laughing at a game of peek a boo, or chasing each other on hands and knees around the kitchen table makes it easy to remember why i entered into this arrangement of insanity. it brings back those feelings from when cohen was brand new, the overwhelming joy that seems to fill you to the edges.

this wasn't supposed to be about me though, it was about cohen.

too busy to look

when i was a child i was shy, painfully so. i would well up with tears at the very suggestion of an uncomfortable situation. i lived more within myself then out wild in the world. reading was my passion. i didn't make friends easy because i didn't have the courage. i always held back. there is still some of that here with me, i'm sure, but i'm not the same anymore. life trains you to change, to adapt. still, i always envisioned my child being quiet, reserved and shy, someone who curls up in bed and reads pictures books all afternoon. it's crazy i know, but there it is. of course cohen isn't this at all. he is more like marko as a child, exuberant, full of life. he lives close to the edge and puts himself out there any chance he gets. every park visit is an opportunity to meet someone new. he sizes everyone up as we approach the playground, and decides who he will engage in a chase or a slide. if his target rebuffs his attempts he just shrugs and moves on to the next. he thrives on making friends. he is brave, perhaps too much so. he always gets back up and tries again, even when he shouldn't. he doesn't like being told what to do, or having his clothes changed. he is fiercely independent and yet he continues to want to cuddle. each morning he drowsily stumbles from his room to ours and climbs into bed next to me, puts his warm little head in my armpit and doses off to sleep for another few minutes. he is easy with his kisses, if you don't ask too much, and when he is in the mood will give a hearty pat with his hugs. he is always challenging me, but he also makes me laugh more than anyone else i know, so i forgive him his stubbornness.

since my last post he has become somewhat obsessed with the fridge, spending a good part of the day opening it and bringing me various items from within it. a plate from the cupboard and a container of yogurt delivered with a grin. when he is not opening the fridge he can be found perched on any of a number of surfaces turning on and then off the light switches in each of the rooms. "on!", "off!", stir and repeat. his other big thing is cleaning and organizing around the house. i know, you are all saying, really? i didn't see it coming from him either. he loves to line all his cars up in one long row with the fronts facing one way, "one car, two car, three car...". he won't sit in his booster chair if there is even a scrap of food from the meal before, and him and the dustpan have become close friends. at the end of the day when it is time to clean up the toys in his room all i have to say is "clean up" and he is taking apart lego and throwing books into the basket. this is such an enormous departure from where we have been that it leaves me a little dizzy. in fact, in general he is becoming so much better at listening and reacting in a timely manner. it is almost as if by learning to switch the light on and off in the house, he was able to do the same within himself.

language is still a work in progress, these things take time. he isn't one to say the alphabet when asked, but the other day while i was doing the dishes he sat at the kitchen table with his cars and sang the alphabet song (it doesn't help that his dad, raised in yugoslavia, doesn't even know the alphabet song). he also counts to thirteen when he is by himself (why thirteen i don't know). in general he won't answer a question or recite anything if he perceives the listener to be too eager. this stands to reason with him though. he is starting to say thank you, well "tank choo" on a fairly consistent basis and "dove choo" which seems to mean love you. so i am pretty sure he will be telling me some crazy toddler stories soon. i can't wait.

this afternoon while ada napped, i thought cohen and i could have our lunch in bed. we were at the library this morning and got a tape on visiting a farm. i made grilled sandwiches, washed some grapes, and brought lunch in on a bed tray. his eyes lit up when he realized that he was going to get to eat lunch in bed. i tucked myself in beside him as he pointed at the tv, and exclaimed "cow! mooooo", his excitement at the world bubbling over. pulling the covers up over my legs, i couldn't help feeling overcome with the enormity of it all. i know it is ridiculous to say, but after dredging through the trenches for so long, the sun seems sweeter somehow, warmer on my face. the best 29 months of my life, no question about it.


did you see what just happened?

last night cohen woke up around 11pm. this isn't so unusual. normally he would start to cry or moan, or he would run out into the living room with an exuberant "hi!". it is the latter that you need to worry about. nothing makes him get back to sleep when he's ready to party. last night was different though. we might not have even realized he had woken up had we not heard the faint pitter patter on the wood floor. he went straight into the kitchen, opened the tupperware cupboard and pulled out one of his cups, then with his eyes still half shut he opened the fridge, pulled out the juice container, and walked over to my desk. he stretched both arms out to me and muttered "joosh". i poured an inch or two in the cup and handed it to him. he tilted it back draining the glass, then handed it back with a "tank you". what came next is the crazy part though, he turned around and walked back to his room, climbed into bed and went back to sleep. on his own. without a fight. seriously?

marko didn't see it all happen but knew he was awake, so he said "you want me to go put him back?". when i told him what happened he said, "what?". what indeed. i like to think it was his penitence for the sleeping week from hell, but i can't help but wonder, do you think there will be a day when that happens all the time? it gives me hope.

**i know this photo has nothing to do with the post, but i like it, so i put it anyway. it is the view from our living room window. the tree is almost naked, which means raking is almost done. phew.


a liquid cure

appah joosh

after a couple of weeks of holding, twisting, licking, shaking and tipping, today she finally figured it out. oh how her eyes lit up as cohen's watered down juice hit her tongue. she's got perseverance, i'll give her that.

out for a walk

a new take on an old idea

through the glass he taunts


if you could only take one

the rain was coming down hard today as i waited in the parking lot outside marko's work. i have only listened to the radio a handful of times in the last five years, having gone full speed ahead with modern technology. it is shameful, i know. the closest i have gotten is subscribing to several cbc playlists. i almost never remember to actually listen to them though, they sit in my itunes for months and months before i get around to deleting them. having a car has changed all that. we do have a six cd changer and a tape adapter for the ipod, but i usually just put on the radio. maybe it is my attempt to stay current with the times, or simply an act of laziness, either way it didn't take long to realize that the radio is fairly awful (exception being the cbc, but often it doesn't do it for me while driving). so today i am sitting there listening to some song i have heard fifteen times in the last week, feeling slightly agitated, and i finally decide "enough!" and put on a disc. it was james taylor.

i don't know what it is about this guy, but he has it in spades. somehow just the sound of his voice takes me to a happier, peaceful place where livin' is easy.i imagine this is what it is like for a baby to put a pacifier in it's mouth. listening to carolina in my mind today i thought of this post over at the cheeseblog. it would seem that in these troubling times as a parent that perhaps music is the thing that takes us back from the edge. i am not going to say he is my favourite, i am not sure anyone is, favourite being the jargon of the young, but i am fond of him, and were i told that i could only have one disc with me on the stranded island, his might be it. i don't even have any particularly pleasant memory that involves him, i suspect it wasn't, and still isn't, cool to admit to liking him. i'd bring him anyway, cause i know that after a few weeks the desertedness of the deserted island would start to wear out it's welcome, the stress would kick in, and i would need sweet baby james to wash over me like a blanket of calm. too much? probably.

so tell me who you would bring if you could only bring one. or tell me why i am wrong and i would ultimately wish i had acdc's back in black with me.


seven months

7 months
if i was going to sum ada up in one word, i suppose it would be strong. since she was just a few days old it has been the one trait that everyone makes mention of, that and her big eyes. she wasn't even two weeks old when she started rolling from her back to her tummy (& immediately refused to sleep on her back), and tummy to back followed shortly after. by the time she was 4 months old she could sit on her own, although there was a bit of a lean, and by 5 months she could get herself from lying down to sitting up with ease. these days she is a master of crawling, so fast that sometimes i lose track of where she is in the chaos of our house and will find her down the hall in the bedroom. always looking for new adventures, she has now branched out to standing, and spends almost all day standing at various perches around the house, cohen's train table, the ottoman, our shoe bench. she loves being at cohen's level, able to get at all of his things. which is ok with him, since they are quickly becoming best friends.

she is strong in other ways as well. at the halloween party a child who looked to be a 18 months grabbed the toy she was playing with, but instead of crying she lunged herself onto the child, tugging on his rhinoceros horn. he cried, then dropped the toy so that he could run to his mom. ada smiled and picked the toy back up. having an older brother makes you more prepared for this kind of thing i think.

she is also strong willed. so far she is the most interested in galena's cat dish, the cord maze under my desk, and galena's tail. no matter where we put her down in the house she will immediately take off to one of these three things. she is determined, and much like her brother, becomes frustrated when her plans are thwarted. lucky for me her scheming is fairly predictable so far, i know it won't always be the case.

this was taken last week. you'll never guess where she learned how to do it...


well on our way to hillbilly village

today we went to trains 2008! it is the third such show we have been to this year, what with a husband who aspires to be one of those "train people" and a boy who runs around all day yelling "choo choo, all aboard!", it was little wonder that we found ourselves deep in the heart of burnaby, basking in the glow of the gymnasium lights. this show was supposed to be better than the others, it was "the" show of the year. i was underwhelmed, if that's a word.

still, there were trains! and they "choo chooed!" so for the boy it was a pretty good time, and really who are we kidding, it was because of him that we went anyway.

one thing that always strikes me as odd at these things though is how abrasive the train men are. sure they are old, having taken up trains as a way to pass the time in their retirement, and so they are more prone to grouchiness, but still, it is a train show with a kidz zone (as a society we really have to stop doing that), there are going to be kids. there were sideways glares and downward smiles at every corner. turns out they weren't super cool with the whole stroller thing. i guess i don't blame them, they are done with kids, they have moved on to trains, and this isn't a game, it is serious business. they don't need little people running around making things fun, someone might have a heart attack.

as you can imagine there was a lot of shop talk, and if you think computer people are the ultimate geeks, you have obviously never been to a train show. however, for all their grouchiness (and i should be fair here and say that not everyone was crotchety, in fact some people were over the top friendly and interactive with cohen), i have to hand it to them, they put a lot of work into these layouts and have found something to keep them smiling (when there is no stroller around, presumably), so good for them. still, i secretly hope that marko doesn't become one of them, although i think he is already well on his way.
hillbilly village


in like a lion and out like an elephant?

we have had the car about a month and a half now, not very long in the grand scheme, and yet sometimes i forget what it was even like before we had it. i can't believe how quickly the progression from refusal to drive, to terrified but out there, to excited at the prospect, to resentful at the chore was. most days it seems like work now, not that i am complaining, i am not, the car has hands down made my life more enjoyable. our mornings are often filled with drop-in gym time at one of four community centres in our area, or science world, and tomorrow morning i think i am even going to go over to the west side family place (as recommended to me by a play gym mom). i have met quite a cross section of women at these places, and have even been accepted into a few groups of regulars. it makes me laugh, seeing myself this way. coffee in hand, kids in tow and a cheery "hello! how was the weekend?" or "how is he making out with the potty training?" so many tips and pieces of advice and knowledge, not just of parenting techniques, but preschools and gymnastics, breakfasts with santas and babysitters. they know the best ones and aren't afraid to share it. my life has opened up to this enormous world of motherhood just by having a car.

i should say that i am not totally open to seeing myself that way yet. you would think that having two kids, and being a stay at home mom would make me firmly grounded in mommy-ness, and yet there is this part of me that resists the identification. i suspect it is more to do with the denial of the other parts, the movie watching, book reading, live music going woman, who has an opinion about lots of things that have nothing to do with children, things that just never seem to come up at play group. still, it is nice to have others around that are going through the same thing. it is also nice to have somewhere to go where i can set the toddler loose and tire him out so that he passes out upon our return home.

one of our favourite community centres has become sunset. it is a beautiful new building with tons of natural light in the gymnasium and unlike some centres, their drop in equipment is always very clean and my kids never get sick. it is here that i think we might sign cohen up for preschool, and it was here that we spent the morning on halloween.

i think it might be the best community centre function we have been to. it was $3 for cohen to get in, and it included a ton of fun things. there was a pirate bouncy castle, and since the party was for preschoolers there was little worry of cohen being pummeled (and only a small worry about him pummeling someone). it had a hug slide you needed to climb bouncy steps up to. it was a dream come true. he would go in the little door and bounce bounce bounce and then up to the slide and weeeeeee. over and over and over. then there was face painting (which we skipped) and a bunch of play equipment (which ada loves), an area where you could decorate a sugar cookie with 5 different coloured icings and a plethora of sprinkles, they even supplied juice boxes to wash the cookie down. there was a crafts table with sparkles and cut outs and markers galore. they even had a table for the adults with free coffee, fruit plates and baked goods, all from desirable bakeries in town. then, to top it off, on our way out they gave cohen a goody bag with some candy, a sticker, and a child's toothbrush.

it was funny to see all the bouncy castle kids in their plush outfits, sweat dripping down their foreheads as they frantically scratched their hot arms and legs. by the end most people had taken the costumes off and there were kids running around in pajamas, or tights, or whatever they had on under there. it was easily the best two hours october had to offer.

i considered staying in at night, having been to the other community centre party last friday as well, but in the end i thought it might be a good opportunity to meet some neighbours and see how they celebrate it here on the south east side. we only went down one block but it was enough for cohen to master the "trick or treat" as well as the "thank you!" which really was music to my ears (thanks for encouraging him grandma). i was worried that he would realize it was candy in his bucket and would pitch a huge fit for it, but he seemed oblivious to what was actually in the bucket, he was far too focused on the other kids costumes and remembering his lines.

the night ended with us eating some pumpkin pie i made from a few sugar pumpkins i roasted, drinking beer and eating candy with a couple of our friends and my mom, while giving out candy and wearing masks for cohen. if you like pie, i highly recommend that recipe, it was the best pumpkin pie i have ever had. honest.

so our first halloween in the house was a success and the masks have finally been put away for another year. now we move on to the raking of the leaves. gulp.


breaking him in one boo at a time

last night we went to a halloween carnival at the community centre. it was your standard fair of games and face painting, crafts and running around. there was even a haunted house. cohen's eyes lit up as soon as we got there, all of a sudden it made sense why we dressed him up in that ridiculous elephant costume. he ran over to the bowling game and waited his turn, he rolled the ball, laughed and then fell quiet. he didn't want to run anymore, he mostly wanted to hang out behind my legs peeking out every now and again. when i tried to coax him out he went for desperate measures and climbed into the back seat of the phil and ted's. i knew something was up, he hates the stroller, he would never go of his own free will, so i watched his eyes. turns out that he spotted a volunteer dressed as a ghost manning a game in the corner. he couldn't take his wide terror filled eyes off of him.

i thought i would be the good parent and take him over to show him that it is just pretend. i only made it five feet from the ghost and cohen broke out in screaming, clinging, shrieking, freaking. hmmmmm. really? my scared of nothing, dare-devil of a son is scared of a man in a sheet? how does he know this is scary? he didn't have fake blood on the sheet or a noose around his neck, nothing, just a sheet.

then he noticed the kid in a spiderman costume, the adorned nylon over his face. oh dear. then there was another spiderman with the same thing (there were four spidermen there, the most popular outfit i think). by this time he had resorted to total silence and standing by the wall. we thought it was time to go, but as soon as we got out of the gymnasium he grabbed marko's hand and pulled him back in. this was a mystery he wanted to figure out. so he sat there and stared. eventually another volunteer in a scream mask was wandering around. i was worried that it would be the straw that broke the camel's back, but it wasn't, again he just sat trying to understand it all. marko thought we should take him into the haunted house, a throw him into the deep end to teach him to swim kind of strategy i suppose, but if anybody was going to be ok, it was going to be cohen. i said, ok, but only if he promised to get him out of there if the terror became vocal. turns out he was starting to dig this being scared stuff. there were apparently several people in masks in the room, many of whom popped out at you. sure he was startled, but he also laughed and when they exited, he insisted on going back in. now that's the cohen i know.

we have a couple of masks here at home, and this morning marko thought it would be fun to put one on. cohen started walking backwards slowly until he was practically clinging to the wall when he first saw him wearing it, but when he realized it was just daddy and that he too could wear the mask (and look at his strange self in the mirror), well it became pretty cool. so all morning he has been wandering around alternating between masks. he has also tried putting one on galena and ada, and gets pretty insistent that marko or are should be wearing one with him and growling. i think there just may be an actor in him yet.


first we pick 'em

not to be confused with the carving, and the lighting, those will both come later.

here is a comparison with cohen at this age, in the same pumpkin patch. i don't know why i keep comparing them, i guess i am just trying to figure out if they really do look alike or not. everyone says something different.

i know that there are way more of ada than of cohen, but he wouldn't sit still, there are kids playing mom! let me go! turns out toddlers aren't really into photos, so i thought i might as well abuse the somewhat docile infant. the photo i took right after this last one shows cohen as a blur across the screen, he had had enough, it was time to run.

not one to break things

here i am, making good on promises made. the video is really quick so don't blink, you might miss it. it goes out with a bang! though, which is why i am so fond of it. aren't siblings the best?


6 months

six months
the fact that it is now 9:30 makes me feel pretty cheated. i mean what the hell? i swear five minutes ago i was eating dinner, but it was more like three hours, two baths, one incredibly long hissy fit, teeth brushing, story reading, kisses and then more kisses, some feet stomping, and then laying beside the smaller one until she fell asleep, and then the back and forth with the other until finally, dear god finally, we are done. i shouldn't have said that, i know, and if you are a parent then you know it too. it will come back to get me every time, but for right now, in this minute, i am free.

today was ada's half birthday. i guess that is another way of saying six months, but the whole half thing makes an excellent excuse for cake, not that i need an excuse, i mean i am an adult which means i can have cake whenever i like. this one fact is sometimes the only thing that keeps me going, well that and knowing that there is a cold beer in the fridge. so happy half birthday to ada, yeah! i have this great video of her crawling, and i had every intention of getting it off the camera, uploading it and putting it here for you, so many lists. i'm with klay, let's just get rid of those damn things. the video will be here before you know it and just think now you get to have suspense as well, and it isn't even your half birthday! this means she beat cohen by almost three weeks in the crawling department. lucky me. it does make for some good times now though, i will put her down in cohen's room and then him and i will be down the hall eating lunch and we wait to see how long it takes her to get there. it really isn't as mean as it sounds.
six months
six months of course means eating solid food. i started a few weeks ago, but have been fairly haphazard about the whole thing until this week. even now it is just once a day at dinner. all that spooning and shoving and shoving and wiping and airplane noises and googly faces. it seemed so exciting the first time. all the wondering, will he like this? will he like that? now it is, oh yeah i have to steam some veggie or cut up fruit on top of cooking, i wonder when i can just feed her what we are eating? i can tell you that it will be a lot sooner than it was with cohen. i am all about the easy in this world of difficult in which i live. so far she loves the food, not just the spurting of it everywhere, but sometimes actually eating it as well.

blogging has been on my mind, with lots of things worthy of writing bout crossing my path, but lately sewing has taken over my free time (hopefully i will be able to share some of that with you soon), as well as staring blankly at the wall in the evenings in the hopes of recharging my brain. speaking of which, i taped about 13 hours of television from last night, and today at the superstore (ahh there it is again) i bought general tao chicken flavoured ripple chips to go with my dark ale, because really how could i not? seriously, it is going to be, like, the best friday night ever. righteous.