Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Real Christmas Trees Versus Artificial: It's All About the Memories!

Every year the same debate arises: is it better to have an artificial tree or a real one?  People say the artificial trees are easier and less mess.  Exactly!  What's the fun in that?  I love to do things the hard way.  I mean, what I appreciate are the memories that go with getting a real tree.

Every year we drive out to a Christmas tree farm with my parents and our kids.  We walk through the grounds until we find a tree we like, and then we cut it down.

It's the adventure of it all.  The freezing cold wind.  The hot chocolate I bring in the thermos. The arguments.

Dragging an artificial tree out of a basement just isn't the same.  Will the kids fondly remember that?

I realize I'm biased.  And that there are other good memories such as decorating the tree with Christmas music on while drinking wine.  Or maybe that's just me.  (We do that too.)

I like that we have a tradition of always going to cut down our tree.  And the fact we are creating some memories they will have for always.

Like how the three kids fought all the way to the tree farm about whose turn it was to put the angel on the top of the tree this year.  That was festive.

And about how the kids couldn't agree on which tree to get, so there were two in contention.  When one was chosen, the child whose tree lost out starting crying.  See what I mean?  Good quality family memories they will treasure forever.

It's all part of the experience.  Someone's always crying or arguing anyway; it may as well be at a beautiful Christmas tree farm.  Am I right?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hey Rosetta! 'Welcome'

I love this song!  It's got such a catchy melody, and the lyrics are amazing.  They're about welcoming a new baby to the world.  I love these lines: "I'm sorry this is it/it's cold and hard/and badly lit/and there's no backing out of it."

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Those Pesky Apologies!

My son is having a very tough time grasping the concept of an appropriate, sincere apology.  The other day I told him he had to apologize to his sister for throwing his ball and hitting her in the head.  

Ryan:  "Sorry....SUCKER!"

Me:  "Try again!"

Ryan:  "You shouldn't have put your head in the way of my ball!"

Me:  "And...again!"

Yesterday my son Colin was practicing his trumpet, a brand-new instrument for him.  Very new.  Still very much a work-in-progress, shall we say.  Only a parent can appreciate the sounds of a child practicing something like a trumpet or a violin.  (You know who you are.  Thank you.)

Anyway, Ryan did NOT appreciate it, and he wasn't exactly shy about showing it.


"Ryan,"  I sighed, "Can you please ask nicely?"


That went well, I thought.

Ella ran up to me crying today because Ryan said her face was 'fat'.

"I meant fat and CUTE."


It reminded me of the time Colin accused Ryan of calling him an idiot.

Ryan protested, "I never called you an IDIOT."

Sigh.  Back to the drawing board.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Vance Joy at the Phoenix, November 1, 2014

Vance Joy makes me feel so old, but how I love him.  I love his music.  Every single song. I admire his songwriting.  His lyrics are old like me.  Listen to some of these:

"I know, I know that I can do no wrong in my father's eyes/And I swear I swear that I will test this out/before the day  I die." - Play with Fire

"And I will read in to everything you don't say/All of your silent ways" - Red Eye

"Think that it's worth it?  Well I hope that you're right/You're falling asleep/on the Red Eye tonight." - Red Eye

"Do you like walking in the rain? When you think of love/do you think of pain?" - Mess is Mine

"[You] Say I don't look much like a lover/Doesn't mean that I won't try/to set your world on fire/every once in awhile." - Best that I Can

"Don't walk too proud/don't talk too loud/And make it up as you go/And take whatever you are given/And leave what you think you know/at the door." - My Kind of Man

The concert was amazing.  He switched between two guitars and his ukulele.  He told us anecdotes; he was warm and funny.

Amazing music and a great rapport with the audience.  I bet the next time I see him, it won't be in a small place like the Phoenix.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Airborne Toxic Event October 11, 2014 - Amazing Show at the Danforth!

I saw ATE last night at the Danforth Theatre in Toronto.  It was an amazing show!  One highlight was before the band even began their set.  Queen music was playing on a stereo, and what seemed like the entire audience joined in together to sing 'Bohemian Rhapsody'.  Someone even waved his lighter.  Great moment. But of course, ATE was even better. I love this band, and I was so excited to see them.  They exceeded my expectations.  Mikel had tons of energy and enthusiasm.  His voice is unbelievably good - really nice tone, and he has a very good range.  The light show and the presence of all the band members was excellent.  Mikel and the band were obviously happy to be there, and it showed.  At one point, three of them were playing the drumset simultaneously.  Mikel was playing several different guitars as well as the keyboard and the drums.  I love the sound of the violin as well.  They have so many great hits, like: 'Sometime Around Midnight', 'Changing', 'Numb', 'Wishing Well', 'Innocence', 'It Was All for a Woman' - I could go on and on.  The Danforth was a great place to see them.  If you have a chance to see them and you're a fan: go.

Monday, October 6, 2014

My Husband is a Good Sleeper....Too Good, Really

The other morning I had just gotten up - let me rephrase that - I had dragged myself out of bed against the better judgement of every fibre of my being, because it was almost school time, and I knew I had at least one child to prepare for going to school.  My husband wandered downstairs looking disgustingly refreshed.  He saw my son sitting there, and remarked, "Why isn't he at school already?"

I looked at him closely to see if he was joking.

"Do you honestly mean to tell me," I asked slowly, gritting my teeth, "that you have no knowledge of the fact that he is sick?  That he was up at least three times in the night crying?  That not only did I give him medicine but I also gave our other child medicine as well?  That I also cleaned up vomit from the floor?!"

My husband backed away, shaking his head slowly, as if that would soothe me.

I continued, trying not to yell.  "I was up AT LEAST six times in the night, and I am now completely exhausted and hanging by an extremely thin thread.  And you are telling me that you didn't wake up ONCE?"

My husband regretted asking, I can tell.  I regret marrying such a sound sleeper.  It's downright annoying.  Yawn.

Monday, September 29, 2014

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back...

My daughter is sick today - coughing and feverish - so I'm keeping her home.  I usually work every day, so I thought, 'Great.  While she's lying on the couch and recuperating, I can get lots done in the house!'

I've been trying to clean my shower curtain by spraying cleaner on it and then scrubbing it while it's still hanging.  This has not worked well.  This was finally my chance to take the whole thing down and put it in the washing machine and hope for the best.  So I did.

A while later, I walked into the bathroom, and stopped short.  It was a disaster.  There was water everywhere.  Pools of dirty water across the entire floor.  Sopping wet towels were lying in the mess.  Even the cupboards were wet.  What on earth happened?

My son - and I am still in shock about this - had taken a shower voluntarily.  I don't know if he noticed that there wasn't a shower curtain up.  Does he even know the purpose of one?  Apparently not.  He could have gone to the other shower, but I guess that didn't occur to him.  So he just took a shower anyway.  And then left all the mess.

It seems so hard to get ahead, sometimes.

At least I got the rosebushes trimmed.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mini-Golf Mayhem

I have a list in my head of summer things to do with the kids, and mini-golf is one of them.  So I was excited about our outing the other day.  We hadn't yet made it to a course, and I was anticipating lots of fun.  That was my first mistake.  I even had a pre-game talk with the kids about good sportsmanship, positive that would prevent any issues.  That was my second mistake.

It was a pretty typical outing in that it all went wrong.

No, no, I'm exaggerating, of course.  We all had fun.  Just...not quite in the way I expected.

First of all, Colin lost his ball.  And I mean lost.  There was no getting it back.  It fell down between a crack in the rocks in a waterfall.  Gone.  So I gave him my ball.  He lost that one too.  Luckily I was able to retrieve that one, after long moments of fruitless searching, and then shoving my head into a very scratchy bush when I finally found it in order to grab it.  .

And Ryan got a hole in one!  Unfortunately it was on a hole we weren't playing, so I don't think that counts...

Then one of them started crying because he kept missing the hole and got frustrated.  Again, it wasn't me crying, so I suppose that was okay.

And although I kept informing Ryan that we were NOT playing baseball, he eventually wound up and hit his ball so hard that it flew at least 100 feet and actually hit a teenager in the chest.  It bounced right in the middle of his chest and then hit his golf bag.  The poor guy wasn't even ON the course.  He was lounging against the clubhouse.  (Once again, I am so sorry.)  

Oh well.  I think Ella had fun.  Next up - laser tag.  I'll try to be optimistic.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Chicago! It's Definitely My Kind of Town

We had a great family vacation in Chicago.  We stayed at the Palmer House Hotel, with the famous Empire Room - a place where people such as Frank Sinatra and Sonny and Cher performed, among multiple others. We visited the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, The Chicago Institute of Art, the Lincoln Park Zoo, and we saw the Blue Man Group show.  We also, of course, went out for deep-dish pizza at Giordano's and Molinari's.  Chicago is a beautiful city, especially (surprisingly) downtown.  Even the skyscrapers are beautiful, and I don't think that is something I have ever said before.  There are amazing and well-maintained green spaces everywhere.  The architecture is gorgeous.  There is tons of culture.  It's a healthy city, too, which I love.  There are runners everywhere and great places to run (waterfront trails and so on).  There is delicious healthy food easily available.  Sign me up!

Art Institute: (Monet, Rodin, Picasso among tons of others)

Lincoln Park Zoo:  (totally free and very amazing)

Shedd Aquarium: great place, kids loved it

City Scenes:

Field Museum: fascinating

The Bean: okay, I didn't get it.  People are just looking at their reflections.  It's a big silver bean.  Sorry, but ?

American Girl Store:  tons of girly fun!

Blue Man Group Show:  we all loved it!  Highly recommended.

If you have a chance to go to Chicago, go. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Coolest Fungus Ever?

I found this fungus while running on Lookout Trail in Dundas Conservation Area/Sulphur Springs.  It looks like a huge orange flower.  Apparently some people eat the margins (whatever that means) and it tastes like chicken.  But be warned - some people are allergic to it, and get very sick.  I just think it's look at!

Tobermory Views

Tobermory is so beautiful.  The views are spectacular.  We were just there, and there were lady slippers everywhere, growing wild by the side of the road.  The water was as calm as glass.  The temperature was 48 degrees in Big Tub Harbour, so it would have been much cooler in front of our cottage, where it is 100 ft plus deep.  But my boys jumped in there anyway (for about a second or two).  Hey, they are Canadian, after all.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Camping at Valens Conservation Area!

We camped at Valens Conservation Area near Hamilton Ontario on the weekend.  It was so great to see the kids 'off-screen'.  Our friends had power at their trailer, so the kids could have used their iPods, but instead they were happy to run and bike through the trails and on the boardwalks, build castles in the sand, swim in the lake, and kayak.  We had campfires and played card games.  We saw birds, caterpillars, and other wildlife.  We brought them home dirty, sticky, covered in bug bites and happy from tons of outdoor play.  What Minecraft?