Sunday, October 30, 2011


(Figuratively... not literally.)

Tonight caps off a weekend during which our whole family was down and out sick. Liam has been sick for almost 2 weeks now, first with a fever, then a cold and a terrible cough, then a stuffy nose, and a wavering appetite the whole time. Chad came home from work on Friday at noon and hardly got out of bed for 24 hours and when he got out of bed, like ships passing in the night, the kids and I came down with it. Mallory had a high fever, Liam had stomach pain, and I threw up three times.(At least the kids and I got to enjoy Gramma's birthdy on Friday night; Chad...not so much.)

This seems to wrap up how this fall has gone for me in a nutshell. The past couple of months have been one nonstop cycle of being sick, trying to get better, and always feeling like there are not enough hours in the day. So many things I had wanted to do but either didn't have the time to do, or didn't have the energy. We never made it to the apple orchard or the cornfield maze. All the cute Halloween ideas I pinned on Pinterest will have to wait until next year. I had beautiful mums on our front porch that were decimated by wind and I replaced them three times before finally giving up, and in the end I resented the time and energy that I had put into trying to make them work. We did make caramel apples, but they were pretty much a fail - the caramel all slid off within a short amount of time and they didn't come clean off the wax paper, either. Yesterday afternoon, as Chad was on the verge of perking up and I was starting my downward spiral, we decided to get our pumpkins carved. (Good thing we did because had we waited a couple more hours, it probably would not have happened - Liam did not feel well all day today.) I think Mallory's fear of pumpkin guts is more than just a passing phase as she took one look inside the cut pumpkin and burst into tears again this year. She just doesn't like them. Liam made up for that by drawing his own face onto his pumpkin and carving it himself like a big kid. But did I get a picture of the finished product? No - story of my life these last few months. By the time he was done, Mallory and I had both fallen into a feverish sleep on the couch.I'd also meant to get out with Liam to take some pictures of him in his Halloween costume this weekend, which didn't happen, and today the kids missed a Halloween party they'd been invited to - which upset them a little, but not all that much, because neither one of them got out of their pajamas until it was bathtime tonight. I think they both realized they were in no shape to go anywhere.I just noticed today for the first time that Liam had put up his Halloween decorations from last year on the bulletin board in his room. At least someone in this family is on the ball. (He also made that plasticine witch up top.)And so, that's it - fall is pretty much behind us. Starting first thing on Tuesday morning there will be Christmas carols and candy canes everywhere you go, and to be honest, I am good with that. I kind of feel like I missed out on fall this year and I am ready to start fresh with a new season, one that I hope to get a good head start on and enjoy day by day.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Hopeful but realistic

Last weekend Mallory had ringette two days in a row, and I think we can safely say that we have turned a corner. She hardly complained about going before we went; she didn't get off the ice early; and oh my goodness - what is that? Is that a smile I see on her face as she is pushing that ring around the ice?Thank you, mouth guard, for falling out of her mouth so that I can see that she is actually smiling while she skates.At this rate, I think she is even hoping for an extended cold snap that might freeze the creek so we can take it outside this winter. Of course, I'll need to find some rings somewhere, so she can push them up and down the creek. And you know what - the creek will be the perfect place to do that - there's a very long straightaway that I can picture her zipping down.I'm glad that ringette doubled up last week, because there is no ringette on Halloween night. As much as Mallory is starting to like it, she is just a normal kid - and given the choice between ringette and all-you-can-eat candy, she'll take the candy any day.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The shape of things to come

The question came out of the blue on Sunday afternoon. She came up to me as I was reading a book and touched my chest.

"What are these called, mom?" she asked. I asked her to repeat the question to make sure that I was interpreting correctly.

"What are what called?"

"These." This time, she very deliberately cupped them.

"Those are my breasts, Mal."

"When am I going to get some?"

"Oh, maybe when you're about twelve or thirteen." That must have satisfied her curiosity, because she walked away and started up something else.

The funny part is that it wasn't difficult answering her question... it was just difficult holding back my laughter. I am in for a ride with this one.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

At the patch

On the weekend, we took advantage of the beautiful weather and met up with some cousins at the pumpkin patch. We couldn't have timed it better - it was the perfect fall day. And with only ten days until Halloween, it was none too early to get some pumpkins!As usual, Liam played the role of Mr. Muscle Man and insisted on doing all of the heavy work. I was afraid he would strain something and miss out on hockey later that afternoon, but he survived. Toward the end of our visit he figured out that rolling the pumpkins to the wagon rather than carrying them would save him some energy... smart kid...
The patch we visit is not really a 'patch' per se, but there are enough other decorations there to make up for it... though I think perhaps they had scaled back a bit this year. They have three locations in town now rather than just one though - maybe they have spread themselves too thin?
Mallory selected a couple of pumpkins but mostly she ran around instructing me to take her picture. "Take my picture with these pumpkins, mom!" "Take my picture with THESE pumpkins, mom!" "Now take my picture with this witch!" "Now take it with this black cat!" My goodness, words like that were music to my ears... not so much in that particular setting, but if she wants to play model for me??? I will be over the moon!!
I was a little bit afraid to take her up on these offers because we had plans for later that afternoon to attempt a Christmas card photo. Yes, Halloween and Christmas all in one day. If you're going to do a picture you'd might as well do it when the weather is good... there is nothing worse than trying to get a natural smile out of kids while they are freezing to death - I know this from personal experience. We did get a couple of keepers, though this weekend I did photos for two other families as well and there are a few keeper shots in each of their sets that have me wishing I'd used their locations rather than our own. (The grass is always greener, and all of that.) Anyway, Mallory had not used up all of her modelling energy at the pumpkin patch and still had a little left in the tank for the afternoon. Now to plan a few more sessions with her... I have not been shooting very much lately and am missing it a little, and would very much love to take her up on any future offers.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Halloween party

Photo credit for this one goes to Cindy, who snapped a shot of the kids at a Halloween party at her house yesterday. In fact, they did not just have a Halloween party - she also took them to Jungaroo AND to McDonald's for lunch. I don't think I could have planned a fuller PA day, and Chad said Mallory began to cry when he arrived to pick them up because she didn't want the day to end. Good times indeed.

(I have not gotten out to do some shots of Liam in his Halloween costume yet, but here's your preview!)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Quite possibly the very best day of her life

Following her day as Happy Helper, Mallory came home to find an envelope in the mail from her beloved Nicky. This is what was inside. She opened it up, took one look at the penguin, asked us to read what it said to her, and then got tears in her eyes... the good kind. I did not know that a four year old is capable of crying tears of joy, but there you have it. A very good day indeed.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Oh happy day

Today is Mallory's day to be the Happy Helper.

What this means is that she gets to sit in a special chair beside Mrs. Garrow while the other kids have to sit on the carpet, and Mallory gets to do some of the writing on the chart, and she gets to pick a friend to go with her to take attendance down the hall to the school office (she thinks she is going to pick Carmindy). But most importantly of all, she gets to bring an item in the Treasure Chest to tell the class about, kind of like show and tell.

She has been talking about this day coming since the first day of school when Mrs. Garrow introduced the kids to the concept of Happy Helper, and today they have finally worked their way alphabetically through the class to the Ms and it is Mallory's day.Here she was on Friday with the treasure chest, which she lovingly filled as soon as she got in the door. She took her job as Happy Helper very seriously, though, because yesterday Gramma and Grampa wanted to take her to the movies and she said she didn't think she would have time because she had to make sure the treasure chest was ready to go and packed in her backpack correctly. She must have checked it a hundred times over the weekend. Not sure why she thought this would be so time consuming yesterday; we did manage to talk her into going to the movies after all.What she chose to put into the treasure chest is the princess charm bracelet she picked out as a souvenir at Disney World. The same charm bracelet I tried to steer her away from, because there were lots of cute necklaces and bracelets that I thought were pretty, much more so than this gaudy one; but Mallory was sold on it. She has not worn it at all since it came home with her, but she keeps it in a special box and checks on it frequently, so for $8 I suppose it is providing some entertainment-type value.

Several times over the weekend she commented on how the kids in her class "are going to freak out" when they see her bracelet. Her words entirely. They "are going to freak out" because they will be expecting her to bring a toy but no... it will be a bracelet!! Man, she cracks me up.

Speaking of school, she brought home a picture from school on Friday that she was quite excited to show me. She had drawn the two of us, going for a walk and looking at a chrysalis in a tree together.As for Liam, school is keeping him busy, too. He was very proud on Friday to bring home some plants that he has grown - some kind of wheat grass. Captain has nibbled these grasses down to little nibs now, which is kind of ironic because every once in a while I see cat grass selling at the grocery store and spend $4 on a pot of it for him and he never touches it. I think that jig is up now.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Having an average weekend

We've been having a totally un-scheduled weekend (if you can count two trips to the rink as 'unscheduled') and it's been lovely - except that Liam has been sick. The same sickness that he had early last week seems to be back and settling in his lungs - he has a fierce cough. As a result, things have been pretty low-key (and the two trips to the rink got changed to 1). Since I've had some time to putter around the house I thought I'd put some of it to good use by polishing off the extended cut of the vacation movie I started after the highlight reel was done, and finally today I called it good. The photos from the highlight reel show up here again, but most of the video footage is fresh. I wanted to put this together because there were some longer video clips that were worthy of keeping (e.g. Mallory's reaction to the Kitchen Sink) but they were just too long to squeeze into the 4-minute highlight reel. Now we have them captured for posterity.

And yes, now that the highlight reel, photo book and extended cut are all done - I promise to stop reliving this vacation. Onto planning the next one now!

Disney 2011 - Extended Cut from carriecook on Vimeo.

(I couldn't fit a 14-minute HD video onto Youtube, so this is not HD and it's on Vimeo instead... what gives, Youtube????)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It's always something

(photo by Megan!)

Last night was swimming lessons, and I had to stick around the office late for a meeting so Chad took Mallory. Imagine my surprise when I got over to the Y and met them coming out of the building as I was on my way in, 15 minutes before her lesson was due to end and with her hair still dry. Turns out that her (female, teenage) teacher was sick and her replacement was a large, imposing, long-haired guy... who I have seen teaching lessons before, and he seems hilarious and like he is really good with the kids... but Chad said 3 of the 4 girls in the class were crying, they were all refusing to go with him, and only the 2 little boys in the class were following through with their lesson.

*sigh*... remind me why we sign up for these activities again??

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lord of the rings

There's no rest for the wicked, and no rest for ringette players even on a holiday weekend. Last night we were back at the rink, and to be honest, I was dreading it a little bit. Ringette has not exactly been going swimingly these past few weeks. We'd heard great things about the program but have been a little underwhelmed so far. The first part of the hour is a free skate and after that the kids are split into groups based on skill for instruction. The way things have been going is that Mallory stands around doing nothing during the free skate, and then doesn't know who to follow during the lesson, and usually winds up skating over to us to start gesturing through the glass that she wants to get off the ice. Part of the problem is that parents are allowed on the ice with the kids and we have no idea who is an instructor and who is a parent. One night I ran out and bought a helmet and got on the ice with Mallory, thinking that would help... but all that happened is she wanted me to pick her up when she fell. And she is very capable of doing that on her own. I got back off the ice when I realized what was going on.
Anyway, to make a long story short, it's been a bit of a struggle. But last night we finally saw light at the end of the tunnel. For the first time, the kids were allowed to take their sticks out on the ice with them, and there were rings a-plenty.
Although she started out dragging the stick (and the ring) behind her, she quickly got the hang of pushing it in front. During free skate time she took that ring up and down the ice several times. During lesson time, she went through the drills with the kids on her side of the ice, but then got sidetracked with her stick and wandered over to the faster kids' group, where she stayed for the rest of the night... keeping up with them and their drills just fine.
She did come over to me at the side of the ice one time, and I was worried she was throwing in the towel. Nope: she just had to pee. That was an endeavour in and of itself, getting her out of all that gear and then back into it again, but she happily went back out onto the ice and resumed pushing her little ring around. I'm hopeful that this bodes well for the rest of the season. We have an extra practise night this week, so here's hoping her enjoyment continues.

Friday, October 7, 2011


It was another crazy week when I had to travel out of town for a customer meeting. Another 9 pm departure and midnight hotel check-in. But luckily, this is the last trip on the horizon for me until next spring (as far as I can tell right now).

Because I'm still not feeling 100%, wanted to get some rest, needed to get some stuff done for the upcoming weekend - I thumbed my nose at the pile of stuff still on my desk from when we were on vacation in August, and took the day off. Chad went to work and Liam went to school. Mallory and I had a girls' day. You might think we'd play dolls and paint nails, but neither one of those things happened. Instead, Mallory really wanted me to get her a copy of the Sears Wish book so she could start making a Christmas list. We did that to make her happy and we ticked a few things off my to-do list, too. It was a good day.And because it was pushing 80 degrees, and because I'm scouting locations for photos for the next few weeks, we ran out to Wilson's Conservation Area and Mallory did a dry-run of her Halloween costume. I am not all that thrilled with these pictures, as I think we were out there about an hour too early and the sun was hard to work with; but Mal is thrilled with her costume. I kinda sorta wish I'd spent the extra $30 and gotten her the Disney-licenced version of the costume... then I quickly remember that she wears this ONCE in public before it hits the dress-up box, and I think the knockoff version is just fine.

Liam's costume was also purchased online and today I found out it was accidentally routed to Kingston and as of today, is sitting in the Ottawa post office waiting to be re-routed. Hoping it gets here soon so we can do a dry-run with him before it gets cold enough for him to require his winter coat over top... these 80 degree days are not going to last long.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

He shoots, he scores!

Sunday morning was a time of great excitement in our house... err... arena. Sunday mornings are Liam's hockey practises, and for the first time this year (game slot or practise slot) the teams split the ice and played a scrimmage game. Liam spent a lot of time this morning face-first on the ice and I was wondering why his feet seemed to be getting out from underneath him so much... and then it happened. He made it to the puck first... kept it on his stick as he skated down the ice... turned the corner without dropping it... aimed for the net... and with a slight bounce off the post, the puck slid in.It's not really appropriate to whoop and holler during a scrimmage in a practise, right? So my immediate response was to murmur my appreciation of the event to Chad. Keep in mind, this is not Liam's first goal this year... this is his first goal EVER.Of course, it figured that I had my camera at the rink yesterday and not today, but in hindsight it really wouldn't have mattered. The way the bleachers are set up at Thames Campus, even if I'd had my camera, it would have been a lousy shot. I'll have to hope for another goal someday at Erickson to capture for posterity!After practise, we went to Tim Horton's for a doughnut to celebrate. Liam chose a Long John. After we got home, we called all the grandparents so Liam could fill them in. It was a happy day... hopefully the first of many this hockey season!