Sunday, June 29, 2014

I need time to get things done!

I didn’t get to finish writing yesterday because Andrew came flying into the room and wanted to have some mommy/son time.  He wanted to make some collages in Photoshop.  He usually makes them with James and I was impressed with the skills he’s picked up already!

Decluttering a bit has left me itching for more organization.  Things are getting there, though I know it’s impossible for things to ever stay how I’d like them to with 3 little kids around!  I really want to tackle my closet properly, once and for all, and have it exactly how I want it.  I vow to maintain it once it gets there, it’s just getting there that is the issue.  There are always things that are higher on my to do list than cleaning my closet, and rightfully so, but still, I know I’ll feel so much better once it’s done.  Same ol’ story, not enough hours in the day…

I have so many things I want to accomplish and all of it is organization, it’s like I can’t see past that because there’s so much of it, and yet I also get bogged down with it because there’s really very little time to take care of it.  I don’t just mean cleaning out closets, I’m more so referring to organizing our hundreds of thousands of pictures taken in the past 6 or so years alone….I’m talking about figuring out a better way to back things up than JUST having everything on a mediadisk that could potentially get damaged or destroyed which FREAKS ME OUT EVERY TIME I THINK ABOUT IT.  I’m thinking youtube could be a good option?  But keep it private of course, as I don’t plan on sharing every video of the kids with the world.  I’ve got to get that in order, I have to finish the babies’ baby books, for crying out loud!  I have so many little projects that I want to do for the kids and I am so BOGGED DOWN.  Very little ever gets done because I’ll have 15 minutes here and there to work on things, which isn’t really conducive to the type of projects I’m wanting to work on.  I need a proper allotment of time but another same ol’ same ol’ sob story of mine is how little help we have and how impossible it is most days to steal much of a break at all.

Anyway…I won’t go on about that.  Instead, I think I’ll go organize some pictures, while I’ve got the time!  I still need to write more about the girls' vocabularly though...and so much more...I'll add that to my list of things to do =)

Catching up on recent events...

We had a garage sale today and I have firmly decided that I will NEVER do another garage sale EVER AGAIN.  Basically if I can’t sell it on Craigslist, it’s going to goodwill.  It’s so much work to put on a sale that, in this case, gained us almost zero cash.  I advertised as well as I could, but we had a poor turn out (likely the rain had something to do with that) and the people that did buy stuff only got a few things at almost no cost.  Depressing, when I think of all the work I put in to get everything organized for it!  And it’s not like we can just put on a sale simply, we had to get help with the kids and it was a whole to-do, and then….blah.

BUT lesson learned, and we took a huge load of stuff to Value Village so we have definitely freed up space, which was the ultimate goal.  AND it’s over and done with so now I can move on!

A week ago Friday Andrew had his Preschool graduation.  It was such a sweet little ceremony they put on for the parents!  I didn’t realize beforehand how much his ‘grad’ would feel special, but it was just so cute, and made it sink in (a little bit, I’m not quite ready to face it completely) that he’ll be starting ‘real’ school in the fall.  My baby boy is so grown up!  This Momma is definitely not ready to let go.

They had set up the preschool-sized chairs for parents to sit on (so uncomfy, but super cute to look at when we walked into the room!) and the kids were all wearing little paper graduation hats.  The teacher gave a little speech and got choked up saying how she’d miss the kids so much, which put tears in my eyes, too.  Each child went up and got their diploma, and the teacher said what their favourite thing about preschool was (Andrew’s was playing on the slide and climber, the same answer as most of the kids gave) and what they want to be when they grow up (Andrew’s answer was Robot Maker!)

Then on Saturday he had his last t-ball class, which he really enjoyed doing.  We found it really hard to make sure he got there for the Saturday class.  We’d never done a weekend class with him before because I’ve always done stuff like that for him during the week, and then the weekend is free for family stuff or whatever plans we might make through the week.  Signing up for a Saturday class proved challenging, but I know it will be our only reality soon enough, once he is at school 5 days a week and we have to plan everything around that.  Can you tell I’m struggling a bit with the changes that are coming up ALL TOO SOON?!!  I know it’s just the start of the summer, so I’m going to relax and enjoy it, but the fall is looming, and I’m really nervous about how much our lives are going to change, and how much less time Andrew will be with me from now on.  Not thinking about that right now though…!!!

So the girls are talking IN SENTENCES.  They are 20.5 months (I think that’s right?!) and, just like their brother, are growing up before my very eyes and WAY TOO FAST.  They are still super cuddly little girls and babyish in certain ways, but they’re also definitely crazy toddlers who want to explore their independence!  They are talking so much, and understand just about everything, or so it seems.  Emily uses sentences more than Margaret, which I find interesting.  Margaret started saying words before Emily, but Emily uses sentences first.  Anyway, they both love to say, ‘Yeah!’ a lot, which is awesome since I’m POSITIVE Andrew’s favourite word at this stage was, ‘No!’  (They do say no a fair bit as well!)

To be continued…

Monday, June 16, 2014

A surprise party and Father's Day weekend

On Saturday we hosted my grandma’s surprise 80th birthday party.  She thought she was coming over from the island for a weekend visit with ‘just’ us, but what she didn’t know was that my uncle and his partner, and several of my cousins would be joining us as well.  With my parents and bro and sil there, it was like a mini family reunion, given one cousin, for example, hadn’t even met the babies yet.  We also rarely all get together at the same time, so it was a good visit.  My grandma was definitely surprised.

Sunday was Father’s Day and I knew I wanted James to get several hours of time to himself so in the morning I took the kids over to my parents’ place (so I could see MY dad!) and we had another little visit with my grandma before she had to head back home.  James got about 3 hours to himself, then we came home and I put the babies down for their much needed nap about an hour or so later than usual.  James’ mom came over in the afternoon to watch the kids while James and I went out.  Our original plan was to go kayaking and we were REALLY looking forward to it, but it started raining, and it wasn’t just a sprinkle but a torrential downpour.  So any outdoor activity was basically a no go.  We were a bit bummed about that, but we went to Brown’s and shared some nachos, and then we went 10 pin bowling.  It was our first try at it, and it was definitely different than 5 pin bowling!  I have really small hands (like, pretty much child-sized, seriously) so I found it challenging to get my fingers to fit in the holes, and the balls were SO heavy (that sounds so dirty, haha).  It was fun though, and it was glow bowling, too.  We just played one game to try it out but I think we’ll try again with more people sometime.  We didn’t want to leave after one game so we played pool for an hour, which was also fun since we hadn’t played it in YEARS.  I felt like I did horribly at both the bowling and the pool, although we each won one game at pool (I lost at bowling, boo…and usually at 5 pin I win, so…!)  It was fun though.  For Father’s Day Andrew made his daddy a little jar of Hershey’s kisses with a poem on it in his preschool class, and he also gave him a blue Henley shirt from American Apparel that he picked out himself.  The girls gave him Vader’s Princess, a book that follows from the Vader and Son book Andrew gave him last year.  And from all 3 kids he got a gift certificate to his new favourite bike shop. 

It was a good weekend, but a total whirlwind, and I felt like we didn’t actually have much time at all for anything.  I felt a little bummed by Sunday night, I just wish there was more time.  I always feel sad after a date with James ends, because I honestly don’t know when we’ll get the chance to go out just the two of us again, and that always makes me feel sad.  Plus, 2.5 hours out on our own never feels like enough time.  I wish we could go out for an entire afternoon at the very least, but it just never seems to happen. 

Andrew’s sobbing and it’s his bed time so I think this post ends here…

Monday, June 09, 2014

Time to think...

I always feel like I’m running on borrowed time once the babies have been napping for a chunk of time.  Emily is a little more predictable with her naps – she would sleep for 3-4 hours if she could.  Margaret, on the other hand, with her you just never know.  One day she’ll have a good long nap (never longer than 2 hours but usually more like an hour to an hour and a half) and the next she’ll sleep for 20 minutes tops.  You just never know.  I never feel I can allow myself to get accustomed to nap time being a solid length because I know Margaret will do her best to switch things up!  And I’m saying this knowing full well that it’s only a matter of time before they cut nap time out altogether (which will make me CRY…!!!)  I’m hopeful napping won’t be a thing of the past entirely for a while yet, as by this point (almost 20 months…can you believe my ‘babies’ are almost 20 months?!!) Andrew had already stopped napping for quite some time.  The girls aren’t showing signs of resisting entirely, although Margaret tries at times.

Today I’ve taken advantage of the time I’ve had.  I did a really quick tidy of a few things but decided I didn’t want to waste my ‘me time’ (Andrew is at his nana’s today, or else we’d be having ‘mommy/son time’ during the girls’ nap!) on chores.  I quietly opened up the back door (the girls’ room is right above it) and sat outside in the sun on the comfy ergo chair for about 15 minutes or so to catch some rays.  I’m hoping to actually get a bit of a tan this summer!  Then I came inside, FINALLY finished my journal about our trip that I started days ago but of course never finished (it was long-winded, I know…) and started working a bit on changing my blog layout.  It’s definitely a work in progress, as I’ve said several times already I really want to make changes to my blog, but it’s so hard to find the amount of time necessary to truly get creative with it.  But at least I’m finally getting started!

I wish I knew I had a certain amount of time while the girls nap so I could truly get into something, knowing exactly when I’d have to set the project aside.  There’s something about the not-knowing that makes it difficult for me to relax fully, but I have to say I am LOVING this sunny, summery weather.  It feels so good to be spending so much time outside.  Filling up the kids’ pool has become a daily occurrence, we spend a lot of time in our backyard during the day and at night after the kids have gone to bed  I’ve taken to sitting out in our front yard on the swinging bench.  It’s so relaxing and peaceful and I love to look up at the trees and the sky, or watch out over the neighbourhood and see what’s happening (which generally isn’t all that much!)  Our neighbours were away for one night this week and I really noticed the lack of cigarette and pot smoke wafting into our yard/house.  It was sooo nice to just breathe in actual fresh air for a change.  We saw boxes outside their front door, and their other neighbour mentioned something about them moving, which I still don’t know for a fact if it’s true but I’m REALLY crossing my fingers on that one!  It would be so wonderful if we got nice neighbours in there.  Nice, quiet, non-smoking neighbours…With kids in our kids’ age groups…Is that so much to ask?! =D

A whirlwind trip to the island(s)

Last Wednesday night we had James’ cousins from Wales over for dinner.  We had a great visit with them.  They brought Andrew the cutest little Paddington Bear EVER and a book of Paddington, and for the girls they brought a Peter Rabbit doll, a Flopsy Bunny doll, and a touch and feel Peter Rabbit book.  So thoughtful!  Andrew made them a little picture book and even wrote their names on it really neatly.  On Thursday he went downtown with James early in the morning and was dropped off with the mil and the cousins, who were on their way to Victoria and then Saltspring Island, and were taking Andrew with them.  He spent most of Thursday with James’ dad and his partner, checking out their new place and playing soccer in the park.  It was the first time ever that Andrew spent time with them on his own, so we thought it was great that it finally happened.  The mil, cousins and boy made their way over to Saltspring in the evening to visit James’ brother and to go camping at Ruckle Park for a few nights.

On Saturday morning James, the girls and I set off to meet up with them on Saltspring.  The trip to the ferry went well, although I had to keep feeding the girls snacks in order to prevent them from napping.  It totally worked out, because we got to the ferry about an hour early and ran them around at the playground till it was time to board the ferry, then gave them their bottles and they fell fast asleep as we were getting on.  They literally slept for the entire ferry ride, woke up just as we docked, and got out not long after that because we were stopping at the Saturday Market before heading to James’ brothers’ place.  We couldn’t believe our good fortune on that one!!  It honestly couldn’t have gone any smoother than that.  We just sat in the van for the trip over, which was fine by me (I took the ferries so much back and forth to Nanaimo back in the day and would be just fine never being on a ferry again, so it’s not like I felt I was missing out on the amenities upstairs!)

I had wanted Andrew to go through the market with me, but he only seemed interested in the booths with kid stuff, which weren’t many, so I left him with James and between James, his mom, and the cousins, they managed the children while I looked through the market.  I felt a bit rushed because the mil seemed to really want us to get to the bil’s place, but I saw what I needed to.  I only ended up buying some hot pepper jelly (one peach, one blackberry) for us and my parents, which is random I know but I just didn’t feel like spending a ton of money on anything.  I loved a lot of what I saw, but I couldn’t really justify buying any of it!  I hadn’t been there since I was pregnant with Andrew, so about 6 years ago, and I’d bought him (we didn’t know at that point if he was a him or a her!) a little tye dye onesie.   I thought it was pretty cool that the same company was set up with their tye dye stuff this year.  I had hoped to buy something for the babies at the market but I just didn’t see anything that I could afford to buy 2 of, truthfully.  That’s the thing with having multiples, not that my girls really want for anything because they have so much as it is, but I saw some adorable handmade dolls that I knew they’d love but they were $30 each – which is a fair price for a handmade doll, but when you have to buy 2 of them, you really have to think about the purchase!

Anyway, when I was finished looking around the market, we did a little grocery shop and headed to my bil’s place.  He lives right on the lake and I was actually shocked by how out of the way his place is.  The ‘driveway’ felt like a crazy rollercoaster ride, with tons of bumps along the way and I found myself gripping the car and feeling completely tense the whole way down!  He’s literally a stone’s throw from the lake, with his own little dock and tiny boat.  It’s so peaceful there, not even within cell phone range so it really feels like you’re away from civilization.  The girls luckily were really good about not going to the dock and when we told them how far they could go in the direction of the lake, they obeyed and didn’t try to go any farther without us, which I was amazed by at their age, but they seriously understand SO much and while they have their moments of purposely disobeying us (cough, cough, MARGARET!!), for the most part they are so good about listening to us.

I was amazed by how many big beautiful butterflies I saw within minutes of being there.  I was holding Margaret at one point when a big brown butterfly landed right on her foot!  I also saw a snake (and would see another at the park the next day).  There’s apparently a resident beaver at the lake but I wasn’t fortunate enough to see it myself, though the cousins from Wales did, which I was glad of given it’s Canada’s mascot animal!

We basically hung out at the bil’s house (who himself didn’t arrive till nearly bed time, but anyway…I won’t get into that), had dinner sitting outside, and then called it a night somewhat early.  We brought pack and plays for the girls to sleep in, which worked out well once we were finally able to get them to go to sleep.  Emily was particularly bad about staying up late (the first night she didn’t go to sleep till after 9:30, when her usual bed time is 7:30 at the latest!)  It’s funny because at home Emily is the ‘easy’ one to put to bed, whereas Margaret usually fusses and wants to stay up, but on this trip it tended to go the opposite way.  I think it’s because Emily loves her own bed so much, and her little routine, and having that all switched up made it difficult for her to give in to sleep.

I had a headache that night and in general slept really poorly.  I’m also not used to getting up at the crack of dawn with the kids, but basically once one person was up we all had to be up.  Luckily Advil helped my head, and once we got some coffee made James suggested that I go sit on the dock by myself and enjoy my coffee in peace.  It was absolutely amazing!  I had 10 minutes to myself to just BE.  I loved looking out over the water, it was warm and the sun was already shining bright before 7am.  I loved listening to nothing but nature around me, it was all so calm.  I loved having that bit of time, though of course I’d have loved to have been able to share it with James.  Unfortunately it just wasn’t possible, as no one would look after the kids for us to be able to do that. (sigh...)

We packed up all of our things and headed back to Ganges to check out the shops a little bit…or should I say for me to check out the shops while James dealt with all 3 kids at the playground…I felt a bit rushed because I was worried how it would go for him on his own since the babies have a tendency to run in opposite directions but I had a little look about.  The only thing I bought were 2 tubes of bubbles for the kids.  LOL  It turned out the bil’s best friends’ kids were at the park at the same time we were there so they got to play for a bit, which was cool.  From there we headed to Ruckle Park, and after a few wrong turns we got there and wheeled our stuff to the campsite (where the mil and cousins were staying, and where Andrew had stayed until we got there) in a wheelbarrow, courtesy of the park!  It was basically a mini family reunion, with several people from the mil’s family attending, and James’ dad even came over for it (which was a big deal, as his parents hadn’t seen each other since our wedding, and that will be 7 years ago next month).  It went well, it was tiring with the babies since they were quite busy, but they seemed to really enjoy themselves, and Andrew had a great time playing soccer, trying to get his kite to fly, and playing other sports with whoever would play.  The kids all skinned their knees tripping on the gravel between the bil’s place and at the park, but it didn’t stop any of them from racing around and enjoying the outdoors!

It was also interesting to meet more of the mil’s family, and one in particular I got on with right away because she’s a restorative justice volunteer in prisons, which is exactly what I was so passionate about during my degree program.  It really reminded me of that passion, and made me realize how truly far removed I am from that aspect of myself right now, but of course my world revolves around the kids and that’s just how it needs to be right now.  It was still great to have a chat about the issues, I really hope to do more in my life at some point to utilize what I took from university.

James and I got the only time of the entire trip alone together while everyone chipped in and watched the kids for us.  Out of a 4 day trip, literally we were gone for a 15 minute walk/sitting by the water.  It was so nice to have that bit of time together, but as much as I love spending time with the kids I found myself longing for more of that time just the two of us.  It felt so peaceful and more like how a vacation should feel!!  But alas we had to get back…I did take Andrew on a fun little excursion just him and I to some rocks by the water, and we checked out the sea anemones and looked for crabs but all we saw were the world’s tiniest little fish or SOMETHING moving around in the little pools of water!

We took the ferry to Victoria early Sunday evening and checked into the Best Western Carlton Plaza Hotel downtown, which is perfectly located both for visiting James’ dad and partner at their new place, and doing a bit of downtown browsing.  We were originally going to have the fil and significant other (SO) over that evening for a visit at the hotel, but it was so late and we were all so tired by the time we got settled in.  The room we got was perfect, and such a good price for what we got.  It had a kitchen, dining table, living room, space for 2 cribs, Andrew had his own queen sized bed, and there was a separate bedroom for us with another queen sized bed.  It was a perfect amount of space for 2 nights in a hotel with 5 of us!  And to have people come over for a visit worked great in that space.

On Monday morning the plan was we would get up, eat breakfast, and meet up with the fil and SO at Beacon Hill Park at 9:30.  We had the valet bring the van around just after 9, and while James and Andrew were getting the key, I took the babies out to wait by the van, only to look down at the back tire and discover that it was completely flat.  We’d had a slow leak in it for some time but we’d put more air in it and it always lasted for several weeks at least.  My dad had put air in it before we left for the trip and we thought we were good to go, but my guess is that the crazy potholes and many gravel roads on SSI had done a number on it.  It definitely changed the course of the day for us, but I’m SO glad I have BCAA because we were able to get someone there in 15 minutes to put air in the tire, and then we were able to drive it to a tire shop to get a new one….Which we ended up having to replace 2 tires…So $315 later and we had a really boring major purchase, but at least it was taken care of and I no longer have to worry about that tire going flat when I’m on my own with the kids!  While we waited for the tires to be done, we were able to walk to the fil and SO’s new place for a short visit there, then we went to Pluto’s Diner for lunch (just the 5 of us).  We never go out to restaurants with all 3 kids so it was interesting!  Definitely not relaxing for me and James but it went pretty well, and we were there at an off time and partially sitting outside, so it wasn’t overly stressful.  It was so cute, particularly watching Margaret take a piece of a grilled cheese sandwich and carefully munch away quietly on it!  Emily was looking all around and pointed up to the ceiling and said, ‘Star!’ because there were little yellow stars painted all over it.  Margaret then looked up and saw the earth painted there and pointed and said, ‘Ball!’  The girls know so many words now, I’ve lost track, although I want to post soon about their vocabulary and all the other amazing things they’re up to these days.

After lunch we got the van and drove to the park, where the kids played for several hours and we visited with the fil and SO.  Eventually the girls got quite fussy because they hadn’t had a proper nap, so James and I walked them around a bit while the FIL watched Andrew at the park, and they napped for a bit in their stroller.  Margaret woke up super cranky so we decided it was time to go back to the hotel for a while.  While James and the girls hung out in the room, Andrew and I went to check out a few shops (but not a couple that we’d really hoped to go to, because he’d had a tantrum earlier in the day and didn’t handle it well so his consequence was not going to the game shops).  We ended up going to Zydeco on Johnson Street, just a few blocks down from the hotel.  It’s a store I used to go into with my brother when we’d do day trips to Victoria with my parents when we were kids.  I love that store!  Andrew enjoyed looking around there, too, and scored some pretty cool zombie finger puppets, which are right up his alley.

Then the fil and SO came over with pizza and wine.  It turned out they’d been given the wrong pizzas, and instead of 2 vegetarian pizzas, we were given 2 with meat, which of course we couldn’t eat.  But it wasn’t long and the pizza place delivered 2 fresh veggie pizzas, and we ate and drank and had a nice visit.  We invited the fil and SO to breakfast at the hotel restaurant the next morning but they had other things happening so we said our goodbyes to them that night. 

In the morning we did venture down to the hotel restaurant.  The food was good but there was only one server so it felt slow getting our food, which isn’t the greatest when you’ve got lots of little ones with you.  We did everything we could to distract the girls, but they got kind of loud and basically once James was done his meal he took them back up to the room so Andrew and I could finish our breakfast in peace. 

We met up with James’ sister at the petting zoo at Beacon Hill Park, which was cool to go to with the babies now, too, since we’d made it an annual event with Andrew since he was 2 years old.  This was the girls’ first time there, and they loved the peacocks and the goats (as did Andrew).  They had lots of cute baby goats, and they were named after the characters from Frozen, so we saw Olaf and Anna and Elsa.  So cute!  At one point Margaret ran off toward the barn and when James went to go get her, he found her kissing a little boy about the same age LOL!  Emily was really brave and went right up to a peacock and started touching its long feathers.  The bird just sort of cocked his head to the side and stared at her, like ‘What do you think you’re doing, miss?’ but she just kept on doing it!

The kids played at the playground across from the petting zoo for a while, and we had a bit of visit time with James’ sister.  Then she had to leave so we decided to go get lunch at Red Robin.  Our original plan was to catch the 7pm ferry home, but we realized it was still quite early in the day and we had one more stop to make to visit James’ godparents, but we didn’t have much else to do so we decided to try for the 5 instead.  We went to the beach for a bit before going for the visit, which was nice to do just the 5 of us.  The kids all enjoyed throwing rocks into the ocean, and Emily played with the sand a bit (Margaret didn’t like the way it felt between her toes) and then it was time to go.   The visit was good in that James’ godparents hadn’t even met the girls yet, but it was a total gong show trying to keep them in one place and not let them roam around a house and garden that wasn’t kid-proofed at all!  We ended up leaving JUST in the nick of time to catch the 5, and almost didn’t get on.  We were about to get on the bottom deck when 3 cars ahead of us the ferry attendant motioned for them to turn around, which I thought meant we weren’t getting on and had to re-line up for the 7.  I was seriously about to cry when we were motioned another way and went on the upper ramp and were one of the last cars to get on the 5!  We were SO relieved as it would have been a nightmare trying to keep the kids happy for an extra several hours at the terminal.  They all napped for about 20 minutes of the boat ride, then we took them upstairs and they played at the kids play area till it was time to go.  We got home, I unpacked the van as quickly as possible so it wouldn’t just be left sitting in chaos all night, and we called it a night.

It was an absolute whirlwind of a trip!  The only thing I found disappointing was the lack of anyone suggesting James and I get more than 15 minutes together the entire time.  Between all the people we were with, I feel we could have got the chance to go for coffee just the two of us, or for a longer walk, or SOMETHING, because everyone knows we never get the chance to go away, let alone even go on dates often when we’re home.  But, it is what it is, and in all honestly while we were hopeful for more time, we didn’t actually expect it, so it wasn’t a huge disappointment not to get it!  We really enjoyed our time with the kids despite the chaos, and I loved seeing what a great time they were all having, and all they were getting to experience.  It was a lot of fun, and while we were tired physically after all was said and done, it energized me for wanting to spend more time outdoors and going on little summer adventures.

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