Monday, April 27, 2009

Pillow Talk

I've been absent from the blog-o-sphere (again) for a very good reason (honest!)

We're moving.

Well, not moving house, exactly... but there is a serious re-shuffling happening inside the house we already live in.

My husband is moving his office home, not only for economic reasons, but also so that he can be here next year while I return to university to complete my post-graduate studies. In order to make room for his enormous desk, filing cabinets, book cases, and maze of electronic equipment, we have had to move the girlies' playroom.

And the less said about THAT re-shuffling process the better.

Suffice it to say that my children have WAY. TOO. MUCH. STUFF.

Toys'r'us has NOTHING on our collection.

And, if I weren't so exhausted from moving stuff from one floor to another, carrying furniture to-and-from the loser cruiser and shoving it around across the hardwood floors (screeeech!!), running up and down ladders, rolling gallons of paint onto walls and ceilings, and replacing electrical outlets...

I'd have one HELL of a garage sale.

But lucky for the girlies... their mother IS too tired.

I think what finally finished me off was coming home from teaching my literacy programs at the library on Saturday afternoon, and discovering a large, white toilet sitting smack in the middle of the downstairs hallway, in front of the mudroom door.

During my two-hour absence from home, my handimaniac of a husband apparently caught the renovation bug, and decided to rip out and replace the bathroom floor.



Sludge and slime and unmentionable bacteria-spreading that the World Health Organization would be fascinated to examine?

Oh, most likely.

The kind of disaster one wants to return home to after trying to corral 30 four-to-eight-year-olds on a gorgeous, 27-degree Saturday afternoon, and attempting to convince them that they really WANTED to be stuck in a classroom reading books that they couldn't have cared less about had they TRIED?? NOT.

Oh, it was a weekend, all right.

On the up-side, after much marital strife, battles that involved industrial-strength adhesive, large, lethal power tools, and exhausted every last syllable of my fruity and fluent knowledge of swear words...

The new floor looks fantastic.

By eleven o'clock last night, the bathroom had been put back into some semblance of order, sanity was restored (well, as good as it gets around here, anyway), and weary bones were dragged off for a long, hot soak in the upstairs bathtub.

I had just switched out the light and snuggled into bed, when I heard my husband's trade-mark elephantine thundering up the staircase. He sneaked into our darkened room, closed the bedroom door, and enveloped me in a warm embrace.

Him: (whispering tenderly into my ear) The toilet's overflowing.

It's not so hard to be married,
When two maneuver as one.
It's not so hard to be married,
And Jesus Christ, is it fun.

--"The Little Things You Do Together" by Stephen Sondheim

Monday, April 13, 2009


This morning, Wee Three was perusing a book of nursery rhymes at the breakfast table, whilst waiting for her peanut-butter-on-toast to arrive in front of her.

While she is making progress on the reading front, I have found that giving her books of stories and poems that she is already familiar with can often be a good "spring-board" for getting her to de-code new words by herself.

Today, however, "Jack and Jill" took a slightly different turn than usual:

Wee Three: (enthusiastically) Jack and Jill went up the hill,
To fetch a pail of water!!
Jack fell down, and broke his crown...


I like to think she gets this from me.

Not just for bird watching...

Caught In The Act.

Child Number Two taking a sneak peek at the garden with her grandfather's binoculars, just before the family's big chocolate Easter egg hunt.

Is a girl after her mother's own heart.

We will do ANYTHING for chocolate. Including cheating.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Easter, 2009

From our house to yours:

love, blessings, and of course,

xoxo CGF

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wherein we discover that hindsight is NOT 20/20.

Old is the tale that mothers sport eyes in the backs of their heads.

And long have I prided myself in the success of threatening my own progeny with being able to see every criminal activity that they attempt behind my back.


Over the past thirteen years, my rear-vision has become well-honed... I could even swear that a sixth sense kicks in sometimes, and I can FEEL one of my children about to commit wrong-doing, even if we're not in the same geographical location at the time.

It's uncanny.

And most of the time, frighteningly accurate.

SO accurate, that one afternoon a few years ago, my second child came weeping towards me complaining of a headache. When, after a hefty dose of Children's Advil, my sweet daughter was still shaking and sobbing inconsolably, I realized that there must be another reason for her distress.

I asked her if there was anything else bothering her besides the headache. At first, she shook her head no... but after some more gentle questioning, she burst out:


Poor little kid.

Once I stopped giggling, I assured her that "back-eyes" were things that developed after having children... they just kind of appeared. Like stretch-marks and cellulite, only WAY more useful.

Well, today we were roaring around town in the loser cruiser, trying to run errands in the precious few hours granted to me when the older kids are in school. Wee Three was strapped firmly into her car seat, one row behind me, on the passenger side of the car.

We were listening to some good music, and I quickly took my eyes off of traffic to glance into my rear-view mirror, to see if the Wee one was enjoying the tune as much as I was.

Instead of performing a "chair dance", as she usually does when The Groove strikes her, my littlest girlie was clearly concentrating on other things. She had her hands up around her face, and a quick glance at her furrowed brow led me to believe she was hard at work on her latest nasty little habit...

Me: (sharply) HEY. Tell me that you are NOT biting your fingernails!! They're right down to the quick, for goodness sake!!

Yep, she's a nail-biter all right. Her hands look as though they've been ravaged by a pack of wolves... and nauseatingly, I was told by my husband the other night that he caught her in a corner taking her socks off, so that she could bite her TOENAILS as well.


We've tried it all. Taping them up with bandaids. Old Wives' Tales. Threats of bodily harm. Threats of POLICE ACTION.

Even a vile nail polish product called "Stop'n'Grow", which is supposed to make the nails taste so completely revolting, the Savage Biter quits willingly, immediately, and cold-turkey.

Wee Three, of course, proclaimed the taste, "DELICIOUS".

Her two older sisters have tried talking to her, as well. My first two children have beautiful nails, and have to remind me to file and shape them for them once a week, they grow so rapidly.

After one such earnest conversation, Wee Three questioned Child Number Two:

Wee Three: YOU ever bited your fingernails?

Child Number Two: (beaming with pride) NOPE! I never have! And just see how nice this pink nail polish looks!

Wee Three: (pausing for a moment to admire, but then reconsidering) You should try the biting. They taste REALLY GOOD.

Little twerp.

NOTHING IS WORKING. Not even bold-faced, cold-blooded bribery.

As a result, I have to keep a constant watchful eye on her, and am constantly reminding her to GET HER HANDS AWAY FROM HER FACE.

Mother: (gently menacing) I SEE YOU WITH MY BACK-EYES, KIDDO. Put your hands down!! Don't you bite nails ANY MORE, or I'll pull this car over, and I MEAN IT!

My littlest girl immediately whipped her hands onto her lap, but shouted back at me:

Wee Three: (adamant) I NOT BITING MY NAILS!!

Mother: Oh, yes you WERE. I SAW you with my back-eyes!! You can't fool The Mother!!

Wee Three: Oh, yes I can!! I NOT biting my nails!

Mother: Oh, really??? And just what, pray tell, WERE you doing with your hands just now?

Wee Three: (shrieking with glee) I PICKING MY NOSE!!! HA-HA!!!

I think I feel a headache coming on...

Final Score:

Child- 1,000,001
Mother- (still) 0

A pain in my...

The weather is swinging back and forth from "positive" to "negative" territory nearly as wildly as the stock markets these days... And that is saying something, people.

Snow just before Easter Weekend is definitely a "downer" in my books, and most certainly in those of the three little people I share this house with. However, in perusing the older posts on this blog, I have come to realize that spring is ALWAYS like this for us. We get a little teaser of beautiful, spring-like weather, and the girlies burst forth to bring out their bikes and tricycles and skipping ropes, and the begging for FRESH SAND IN THE SANDBOX!! begins...

At first, I am pretty good about approaching the Promise of Spring with caution... I try ever so hard not to get TOO excited about it. I appease the children and bring out their toys, but leave plenty of room in the garage to shove them back in there, if need be. We compromise on a new bucket of coloured chalk to make hopscotches with, rather than re-filling the sandbox...

But then, after a few days, it happens.

I get a whiff of the fresh, dark earth in my garden, and glimpse a peek of green poking up out of the soil.


And the *^%$#@@! squirrel bandits haven't even eaten them yet!!

Spring Fever hits me hard, and the next thing I know, I'm hauling that sand, ordering top-soil to be delivered, and lining up all of my gardening tools... Sure, the ground is still frozen down at a certain depth... but that doesn't stop me from trying to turn over the soil that has THAWED, does it?!

It SO does NOT.

I ignore my long-suffering and sainted mother's Golden Rule of "NOTHING Before the End of May!!" and go-to-it with gusto.

My girlies and I shed our winter boots for wellies, our parkas for lightly fleece-lined jackets...

We clean out the car.


And that? Must be what finally trips Mother Nature's big ol' breaker switch out there in the ether, somewhere-- she suddenly decides that we've become waaaaaaay too cocky, or happy, or something.

She sends snow.

Not light, fluffy snow that melts upon impact with the ground.

Heavy snow, mixed with freezing drizzle, that lasts for DAYS, makes transportation treacherous, and life generally miserable.

To top it off, we've all started getting colds.

Now, no one has a fever, as yet-- we're just at the schnuffly-nose-tickle-at-the-back-of-the-throat stage. So, we're proceeding with school and playdates, and just coughing into our elbows when need be, packing extra tissues, and washing our hands till they chaff...

In short, this isn't anything a Good Canadian would complain about. As far as wintertime goes, this is pretty much business as usual.

Unless you're a MAN, that is.

Well, I'm sorry to say that he is STRICKEN, people. He's apparently got a fatal case of The Sniffles, and he's making damn good and sure that I know all about his suffering.


Picture this, yesterday morning:

Me: (madly racing around the house, trying to get beds made, laundry sorted, bathrooms scrubbed, children dressed, and off to school)

Him: (in hot pursuit) ...and my nose is dripping, and my feet are sweating, and I can't find any kleenex, and I... (breaks into a spasm of exaggerated coughs)

Me: (glaring at him, then slamming the door on the way out)


Me: (frantically preparing dinner whilst juggling the telephone, answering e-mails, simultaneously helping two children with completely different homework, and supervising two four-year-olds with a PAINTING craft on the kitchen table)

Him: (languishing over a cup of steaming hot lemon tea I have just made him) ...and my chest feels tight, and my brain is foggy, and my throat hurts, and I think I've got a touch of tendinitis in my back, and I think I might be developing those migraines you say you get, you know the ones?...

Me: (throws bottle of Extra-Strength Tylenol at his head)

You know that eternal question, if a tree falls in the forest and there's no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Well, I'm starting to wonder: if my husband is sick, and there's no one around to listen to his whining, does he keep complaining out loud, even when I'm not in the house?!?


Me: (having just endured the super-fit-of-a-lifetime with Wee Three over whether or not she can sleep with her light ON all night, then reading just ONE MORE STORY about thirteen times, performing the almost obsessive-compulsive little ritual of lining up her stuffed animals in the correct order, hugging-and-kissing-and-high-fiving ALL OF THEM, selecting the correct lullaby, blowing on her dream-catcher to clean it out, and checking both the closet and under-the-bed for Monsters)

Him: (standing just outside her bedroom door in his rattiest pyjamas) ...and I need a little humidifier, and I can't find the Vick's Vapo-Rub, and the Tylenol bottle is empty, and I think I'm getting a little touch of tendinitis in my right knee, because I've got a pain...

Me: (emerging from the room and closing the bedroom door) I'm sorry, dearest. You've got a pain? YOU'VE got a pain???! YOU'VE GOT A PAIN???!!!

Me Again: (head splitting open and flames shooting out of my neck. Seriously.) I'VE GOT A GIGANTIC PAIN. RIGHT. IN. MY. A$$.

There was silence.

I think I could actually HEAR his sinuses draining.

And then, a little voice from behind the closed bedroom door rang out, clear as a bell:

Wee Three: (sternly) Well. DAT'S not a nice thing to tell a little girl at BEDTIME...

Mother Nature?

Give. Me. A. BREAK.

Because YOU must have a man in YOUR life TOO, right????

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My other favourite William...

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordsworth was born on this day in 1770.

"I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud"
Poems, in Two Volumes
[London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, 1807]
from Volume Two, "Moods of My Own Mind" #7

Saturday, April 4, 2009

My magnetic personality...

We're still celebrating here...

Even though this new journey on the road of life has opened up a whole new can of worms that I never in a million years thought I'd have to deal with...

I've got to arrange for funding, and apply for as many scholarships and grants as I can before September.

I've got to WHIP THIS HOUSE INTO SHAPE before I'm too busy to de-clutter and re-organize it.

I've got to arrange for HELP around here... How on earth do I find people to "replace me" and do all the things I have to do in a day-- from the mundane, like driving, making beds, shopping, and meal prep, to the REALLY important stuff-- the CHILD CARE...

Because that's the part that frightens me the most-- the "being absent" part. I know it's only for 10 months, and I KNOW how important it is for me to complete my education with this bit of "icing", because it's the "icing" that's going to GET ME THE JOB...

But still.

I've never been away from my girlies. For thirteen years, I have had the privilege of being their stay-at-home-mother, and they have been the centre of my universe. Any work that I've done over the years has been done with their well-being at the forefront of my mind, and arrangements have been made to keep their lives as "normal" (for us, anyway) as possible.

I have somehow managed not to miss out on a single minute of their little lives.

It's been wonderful-- for ALL of us.

And now all of that will change.

I'm not good with change.

Especially when my wee one's very first response to my happy news was to burst into tears and ask, "WILL YOU STILL BE MY MUMMY????"

I need Mary Friggin' Poppins, people.

I sure hope she's out there somewhere. I'm going to start searching for her, first thing tomorrow morning. Wish me luck.

In the meantime...

I thought you might enjoy a guided tour of my refrigerator magnet collection. I CANNOT RESIST BUYING THESE SILLY THINGS, even though I don't have a magnetic refrigerator. These ones clutter up the front of my dishwasher, instead. People are catching on to my little collection, and are giving them to me as gifts-- soon, I'm going to have to put up a big magnet board on one kitchen wall, to accommodate them all.

Here are some of my personal faves:

Ah, yes. Tell me THIS ONE didn't just scream out my name.

Given to me by one of my best friends' eleven-year-old son. He picked it out for me himself. Tell me THAT'S not a flattering gesture... He and I share this evil little philosophy (right J??!)

Some days I WISH...

Let's face it. The little things are WAY more important... If it weren't for people who take care of the LITTLE things, there would be no way that anyone could get to the BIG THINGS. Yessir, the "little things" add up to great things.

Sadly enough. Well, not till this summer, anyway.


The person who said, "Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit" never met MY FAMILY. We're just one loooong, never-ending episode of "Fawlty Towers".

'Nuff said.
(I bought this one for myself.)

The secret of life, my friends.

The secret of life.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Dancing into it.

"Education is the movement from darkness to light."
--Allan Bloom

The News From Here...

I've been accepted into my program at university.
Not only the program that I wanted most, but also one other (so far).
I never in a million years expected to be so fortunate as to have a CHOICE...

I'm dancing.


Brace yourself.


Here. I. Come.

Thanks, my DLB... for your constant love, patience, support, and faith in me.
Especially on those really hard days, when I need you most.

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