Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Well, after yet another (unplanned) hiatus from this little piece of Blog-land, I am going to close the year with a running update of the past year and a better plan for the next.

Let's start from the youngest and move our way up...

The Tater grows! At almost-two-and-a-half, she smiles for some people now. She has a deep affection for the people she knows but it still takes her a very long time to warm up to anyone. Once she knows you, trusts you and loves you - watch out! - there is no bottom to this love. She picks up language skills faster now although it is still quite frustrating to work out a lot of the things she says. At the same age, Girl-chick was running circles around us with her extensive vocabulary and impressive enunciation (but we're not comparing our children!). She will get it when she gets it. She has other priorities in mind. Stay little my Tater and play all day!

Girl-chick too is shooting up like a weed. Once I got around to finally installing the growth charts on their doors and measuring them, we discovered that she attained 3 whole inches in the space of a summer! Seriously! Things I made calf length are now hovering above the knee. My little itty-bitty who came to us a mere 16 or so inches now stands a good 3 feet and 3 inches! She will most likely be starting school next September but we are petitioning the school board to have her placed in Grade 1 and skip Kindergarten altogether. She can already read at a first grade level which is kinda cool for a four-year-old!

Da Man has enjoyed yet another year at the Government office he has been contracted out to. This means he drives into town almost every day. He continues to be smoke-free and one year after he butted out, he has now started on Phase II of the Da Man Improvement Strategy - he is working out! And has developed an impressive set of pipes I may add.... Of course, things don't fit as well anymore and we will have to figure out a way for him to have a shopping spree for better fitting clothes but it is something I am happy to pay for!

As for me, work has been busy. Things pile up. I try to keep a sort of balance in check between work and family. The priority is still the family but I have pulled many a ten-hour day starting in the wee hours and dragging myself along right up to 4PM! I am considering asking for a modified work-week, perhaps dropping down to part-time for a brief period. There is so much more to life than work that I want to explore. Sunfish Creations needs a leg up and it needs a huge investment of time! Of course, I gave a lot away as birthday, baptism, shower, Christmas and just-because gifts in some sort of desperate hope that someone else may see it and want another of it and pay me for it. Don't get me wrong - all the ones I gave away, I gave freely of my heart and soul into because I love the people I was giving it to. I enjoy sewing, making, creating - I want it to be more than just a hobby - just to see how far I can take it. I did have grand plans to sell some through a small shop nearby but when it came crunch-time, work was too swamped and something else had to give.

It has never been my intention to abandon this blog. It is a means of chronicling for myself, my family and my friends what we have been up to. We have done lots! Things I mean to post about, things I have fodder for, things I alas have no time to document. As I told a visitor the other day, my wedding album (and we are coming up on ten years folks!) is still only a quarter-done.

This is a rough outline for the upcoming year:
Monday: Girl-chick retains her spot as first-born
Tuesday: Tater keeps this day too
Wednesday: Da Man - this may be the one most left off!
Thursday: Craft - I have already commited to the Embroidery Companion sew-along at A Simple Breath
Friday: {this moment} a la Amanda Blake Soule
Saturday: Weekend around the shack
Sunday: *no posts*

Ambitious? A tad bit. We'll see how the momentum builds up. I have to commit this as me time. This is admittedly, for me. For me to remember when my littles were little. For me to glimpse into their future. For me to showcase what I am capable of doing, craft-wise. For me to show my faraway family what we are doing.

We want to wish all our friends and family who took the time to read these ramblings a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We already did the mass-mailing of the cards and pictures and most of you should already have received it. I do it every year because it is expected of me. I try to green things up most of the time but children are only young for such a brief period and there is magic in ripping off Christmas paper on Christmas morning. There is joy in being able to decorate our tree with cards from loving family and friends.

I won't let practicality get in the way of wonderment. Everybody needs magic in their lives.

Have a magical season!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tater: TWO!

Can't believe my Tater is 2. Years. Young.

Has it been that long? How is it possible that the sweet, impatient baby we were expecting for Daddy's birthday is now a sassy, imperturbable toddler? When did my cuddly little potato become such a whirlwind of obstinance?

Tater's birthday started off with a family birthday close to the day she was actually born. Her godparents came out to share that day with her and it gave me a chance to do dry runs of her cake (it's supposed to be a rainbow - I have given up decorating with whipped cream icing and it may be upside down.)

and also give her the gifts we had planned. Family gifts.

She received the most adorable play barn and sippy cups from DaMan's brother and his family. They had a giant IKEA right across from the hotel they were staying at when they went to Wonderland.
Cousins from California sent her the cutest pair of boots we hope will fit around Easter.

Hiding underneath that sheet is a wooden play kitchen that DaMan set up the night before and we did our darndest to keep the kiddos out of the basement the whole day. I don't know if I can do this but here is a video of the reaction (boots and all!):

It is unfortunate that she went off camera but the squeal is priceless! As was the whole body shaking with excitement. Those kids LOVE their play kitchen and it was well worth the money spent on it. Originally, DaMan had promised to build them one from the wood left from building and then salvaging the Murphy wallbed in the old house. The project got bigger and bigger and slightly out of hand (my bad - there's just so much I want to have for the kids). Anyway, DaMan and MrG (the neighbour) agreed that it may as well be easier to buy the kitchen if I could find one for a reasonable price. The salvaged wood will become garage shelving and furniture.

We did have little friends over on the weekend for another birthday party but silly me, in the midst of the cooking and getting ready, I didn't whip out the camera for pictures. Oh well.

Here is the Tater on the day she was brought home (a week old):

At 1:

And now:

My darling girl, don't grow up too fast!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Girl-chick: Routine

Around our shack, we bathe the kids every night. It's not that they need it but it is a part of the routine and it is a comfortable routine that the kiddos can look forward to every night. Sometimes we skip it. We may take off to the cottage for the day and have too much fun until much too late. We may decide to go to CrazyCo instead. BUT we're talking about a routine here people.
Bathtime starts obviously in the bathroom. DaMan used to have the "Bathtub Express" but lately it's been abandoned. It was quite funny to watch him go "Chugga chugga choo choo" all the way up the stairs with two little kidlets in tow. Even the Tater would perk up and go "Choo choo" when it was mentioned.
After baths, we all jump onto the big spare bed in Girl-chick's room to dry off and get dressed. There is a ritual around this too. First, we get dried off and in the case of the Tater, greased (right now we are using Avene and the rashy areas have calmed down a lot). Then, the hair dryer is brought out. DaMan combs out Girl-Chick's wild locks, ever so gently. Me, not enough patience and that always ends in tears (hers, not mine). Tater has not much to speak of yet and still, what is there is starting those delicious little curly edges.
Tonight, Girl-Chick got braids. Because I had the patience.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Slowly building momentum...

Sorry it's been busy around here again. I did get a good start with the girls' days for two whole weeks but other things happen around this household too you know... chores have to be done, bills have to be paid, sewing has to be completed, curtains have to be put up, lawn has to be mown... etc etc. I have updates and stories to tell a-plenty! I just have to get around to uploading pictures and writing them out for all and sundry.
In the meantime, we are not getting caught in the wave of back-to-school flurries, we are lazily enjoying the rest of the lazy, muggy days and we are all looking forward to a few fresh feet of glorious snow! (But not before I sew up some jackets please!)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tater: First haircut

My sweet little baby got her first haircut. The long strands of fuzz were getting into her eyes and during baths, she started to look like the dude from the Fifth Element with the funky lopsided hair.

Here is her hair from the back in three ponies and clippies to keep it all under control. It is very fine baby hair but "they" say that if you cut it, it will get thicker.

She sat very very still for Sparkle and checked herself out in the mirror the whole time.

Way to go my big girl!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Girl-chick: Larnin' the trade!

We are very much a do-it-your-(own-damn)-self kind of family and firmly believe that we are the best teachers for our children.

DaMan took the opportunity today to show the girl-chick how to mud.

We had these two ginormous holes in the powder room wall from a badly hung glass shelf. DaMan finally got sick of things wobbling about and sliding off said shelf so he took it off. Huge. holes. (Wish I had a picture now but imagine holes the size of a dime).

Yesterday, we made the obligatory "I'm bored, nothing to do" run to Home Depot. Girl-chick brought a bucket of mud (a.k.a. drywall compound) to the cash.

Today, Da Man gave her a thingamabobber (what the heck are they called? Trowels?) and showed her how to slap mud on the hole. (Yes mum, she's standing on the toilet lid. We have warned her not to do it unless instructed to do so by a crazy parent.)

DaMan: You see how you can put it on really thick.... and you can use the big flat side to smooth it out. You can put lots on but not too much. It's like when you put on make-up, you can't put too much on or it will look ugly.

Yes mum, he did say that.

And the Tater wanted to get in on the action too...

Next week: electrical wiring maybe?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tater: Free-Range

We're not helicopter parents. Never have been and never intend to start. The kids are allowed to test their boundaries (within certain limits) and they are encouraged to learn. on. their. own.

Why am I writing this?

Because today is the first day of Yaya's vacation.
Because today I had a mother's helper while I tried to work.
Because I sent my mother's helper home before the day was over.

It was not her fault. She's only 14 and learning how to herd cats.

Tater figured out where I was and kept hammering on the office door for attention.

So, in the downpour today, on came the boots and out went the Tater to explore rain...

Red boots and all...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Girl-Chick: Soccer


On Sundays, Girl-chick goes to soccer. It is a parent-and-me skills development thing five minutes away from our house and she gets to spend a whole hour

running after the ball

doing something called "bobbling" (?)

and kicking the ball.

The Tater gets to hang out with me at home to clean and cook supper if it is too hot out or if it is nice, we go too and wander the woods and trails around the soccer pitch.

Occassionally, we let her chase the ball too.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

June... already??

I have to sincerely apologize to my readership of... 1 (erm, sorry mum!) for not updating this blog lately.

Many, many things are on the go.

Many, many things have happened. Milestones achieved. Yadda yadda yadda.

Let me recap the last two months real quick and maybe later on I'll sort of back track and fill in gaps...

1) The great basement re-do is finally finished!!! YAY. As of Monday May 31st, the nice people at Westboro slapped on the carpet that matched our stairs and we let the kids roll around in it at the end of the day. But not too long. The whole reason the rest of the house is hardwood is to help Girl-chick cope with her asthma. True enough, within 3 minutes of being in the stinky basement full of VOCs, she was gasping for breath. So, we called supper time and went back up, after all the windows were opened to air her out (Shoulda done it earlier, I know). Da Man and I are after cleaning up the basement and vacuuming it up so that we can eliminate more of the loose VOCs and other debris in the air.I worked in my nice new little office space on Tuesday and cracked open all the doors and windows. We're still waiting on Bun to tell us it is OK to move the rest of our remaining sticks out in the garage in so we can organize. Oh and get this, we just realized last night that we didn't budget for furniture for the basement! So, my work desk is the antique sewing machine table that was gifted to me by a co-worker, the kids toys are in that bin organizer thing that Aunt Carolyn passed on to us and everything else is in a box, or a basket or randomly occupying the floor. We can make do for quite a while I think and we are realistic enough to know that our whole house will be empty for a while - doubling the size of your house will do that to you!
2) Da Man went to his IPSC course and had fun! At least I think he had fun. He ditched us girls last weekend and headed out to EOHC where it was a full day of "Load, Aim, Fire!" all day long. Or was it "Run, Aim, Fire!". He has been whining since he got back on Sunday that he aches all over and his brain took a wander and hasn't returned (apparently they make you think when you're pointing a gun at a paper target). And yer walk funny too bud-deee!
3) NO more training wheels!!! On Friday May 14th, Da Man took off the training wheels and pushed Girl-chick down a hill (OK, his words: "nudged down a small incline") and she took off!!! She has discovered a better speed without them clunky training wheels and zips around all. the. time. Thank goodness we took the time to teach her proper bike riding and street crossing. I am proud of my four-year-old Girl-chick.
4) Tater talks. Tater chatters. Tater tells us stuff. In sentences. We have finally hit the language explosion phase of the Tater's development. Yes, as a second time around, we are always comparing her: Girl-chick was doing this at that age, etc. But, developmentally, she is pretty much bang on. She ran over the other day with her shoes from the porch and said "Mama, shoes, out, NOW, peeeease?". Yeah. I got the hint. She loves Crazylegs fiercely. Crazylegs is her "bibby" and Bunny is her "Bundy". Maybe sometime soon I will make more Crazylegs' and even clothes for the poor nekked dollie. As soon as I can organize the office in the basement (see #1).
5) Me? I'm status quo. Work is work. Sunfish Creations has taken a backburner for a while. The Etsy shop cannot be stocked until I sort out the office. I do have some twirly skirts coming up for order for Canada Day with the R.E.D "Tourist Trap" beavers. I think Sue is taking them into her shop and selling them for me. Girl-chick needs new duds too and Tater has grown so much I have to dig into the 3 year old dresses and skirts to dress her modestly. This mornings outfit was just barely past the bottom of her bloomers (Size 2). I am currently completely deaf in one ear and partially deaf in the other - no worries mum, just a sinus infection. I'll shake it off soon enough and if not, I'll fill in the scrip for the antibiotics.

And.... that's it! Camera is somewhere.... Photos may be available... Soon?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Easter

The crazy Dawson crew woke up early to a breakfast of bacon and toutons and then we went to...
We went to Stanley's and met up with some friends.
On the way there, Girl-chick decided to wear her Easter basket as a hat.

They have a fantastic play structure and Tater did a lot of swingin' 'cos that's what she likes to do. All. Day

Girl-chick took off for the rest of the playstructure.

But she eventually came back to the swing too and enjoyed a quiet bit of a taffy treat.

Then it was off to the rocks!

There was time for Mummy-love.

There was time for Daddy-love.

The last thing we did was go on a wagon ride. Girl-chick "drove".

Thank you Barry. Thank you Chris.

And the lovin' continued at home too!

We hope all our family and friends had as wonderful day as we did!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mamma! Wan' dub-dub peeeeeeeease!

Yup, that is the Tater's first real sentence.With an object, subject and predicate and some other sentence-y things thrown in for good measure! That's what she said today at supper time, asking for ketchup. Am I proud? I am proud.
My little Tater is growing so fast and is so very naughty and yet I love her.
We have had a rough few days. First Girl-chick woke up early Monday morning barfing in her hair. And she was poorly for two days, absolutely miserable. Luckily for me because I had a boat-load of work to plow through that Da Man stayed home Monday. I got enough work wrapped up that we even managed a quick trip to Home Depot but the Girl-chick just sort of *drooped* all over the car-cart that we normally never get to score. By Tuesday she was on the mend though. And she said to me in the afternoon, "Mummy, I am going to be not sick tomorrow and I am going to daycare. I don't like to be sick."
Wednesday morning, the barfies struck yet again. Poor Tater was kind enough to stand up along the crib rail and yuck onto the floor but splashback caused me to have to change the sheets anyway.
There's a lot of laundry waiting around in piles.
By Wednesday evening, she was better and, because of the same boatload of work, called up my daycare provider and asked if it was OK to bring her back and she said yes. (You're a SAINT). She did have an amazing day.
Me, Thursday, not so good. I did get through the boatload of work. I also did manage to get to a sink in time. 'Nuff said.
What was Girl-chick's fist bona-fide sentence? It was approximately three years ago, almost to the month.We took her out to the park and asked her which way to go. She pointed 'thataway' and said, "Wan' that way!".
Did I mention the laundry in piles?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Xin nien kuai le!

Today is the Chinese New Year of the Tiger (our year, so guess how old me and Da Man are?). It also happens to be Valentine's Day AND on Monday, Ontario Family Day. On Tuesday I have the day off to take the Tater to get her 18 month needles (coincidentally, she is 18 months old on that day!).
Do the math:
Saturday + Sunday + Family Day + Tater's Day = Loooooong weekend

At daycare on Thursday, they did their Chinese New Year celebration and we dressed both kiddos in whatever we could find was traditional.

Friday was Valentine's Day at daycare so we slapped them in hearts:

Saturday was Chinese New Year's Eve which is the traditional day of family reunion. My mum and little bro were at the aunties' house for the reunion dinner. We had no one else but us so we did our own version of a nice Chinese dinner (that involves a lot of cooking on my part and crying on the part of the Tater). We did call in the morning to speak to Poh Poh to wish her and Uncle Al a "Gong Xi Fa Cai".

Here's a picture of the grub.

Girl-chick learning the chopsticks.

Tater tried to figure out chopsticks too.

And dessert was red bean ice-cream!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Been busy

Since the last post, we have had family birthday for Girl-chick and a birthday party at gymnastics the ensuing weekend. The Tuesday after that saw Girl-chick and Tater at the pediatrician's office; one for her four-year-old check-up and the other for some tummy troubles. Nanny was then dispatched at the airport to fly out to New Brunswick to the other Dawson crew. We are now settling back into a routine.

Things are shaping up fast house-wise to which is good. Our friend has set a start date to completing the basement and we are quite excited because that means more spaces to play for all of us, more of our stuff languishing in the garage get to come in and be stored away in their homes and the poor little car gets to sleep in the garage once again. We have had some days of bitter, bitter cold and mornings with the little fireball has been of whining and complaining. (I mean the car but in retrospect it applies to Girl-chick and Da Man too!)

Today was a stay-at-home day for me. Quite unexpected but the Tater woke up spewing forth partly digested supper and blazing hot. By the time morning rolled around she was still hot and so I bravely "volunteered" to stay home. Tomorrow Da Man is home anyways and I will take the early bus into town and work until 2. Lots of work to do!

I have to go and finish off some blankets - my first commissioned pieces of 2010!

Monday, January 18, 2010

What I did on my Christmas vacation - Tater's story

I had a lot of fun too!
I rolled around on the floor with Mamma.

We found out that my big sissy fits into my party shoes (they are way too big for me but the package said 16 to 20 months).

Remember it's mine OK? Give it back when I can fit OK??

Mamma let me feed myself chocolate mousse.

Some parts of the vacation was too long and I became a basket-case.

I helped Mamma with the laundry. Boy-howdy it's cold in the laundry room! I swiped Sissy's hat while she was a gymnastics.

We did art. Smooshy, colorful art.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What I did for my Christmas vacation - Girl-chick's story

I had fun.
We decorated the tree.

We hung our stocking at the fireplace.

Santa brought me a guitar.
I played in a laundry basket.

We made snow angels in the backyard.

When we came back inside, my snow pants ate my boots and it was very silly!

Mummy made chocolate pudding mousse for dessert! I got to lick the beater.

We did a lot of crafts.

We also made rice krispies squares but I did not like it because it was too messy.

I made funny faces. Lots of funny faces.

I had a lot of fun at Christmas vacation with mummy, daddy, tater and nanny. I was glad to go back to daycare because I missed my friends.