Friday, April 27, 2012

Back in business

We are up and running with a new computer, and while I am not thrilled to incur the unexpected expense... it's lovely having a fast, sleek new machine. No crashing, no being bogged down in old files... it's great. I celebrated by putting together a scrapbook page, though I use that term loosely. These days all I do is slap a few words on top of my pictures and call it done. But it serves the purpose and that's what matters. I think Liam will get a kick out of seeing this one day.

Monday, April 23, 2012

RIP, squared

It's official - the computer is dead. And there is a new one winging its way toward us even as I type this, though by 'winging' I mean 'it could take up to a week'. Not sure why Apple can create technology that blows your mind but they can't get a computer out the door faster than that, but whatever. At any rate, there's your explanation for the lack of graphics accompanying this post. No photos, no Photoshop, no iTunes or podcasts... you get the idea. It's like living in the dark ages. In other sad news, Liam took the loss hard and personal when the Penguins were kicked out of the playoffs yesterday. He tried to keep a stiff upper lip but it definitely got to him. Please be gentle if you see him this week - he needs a boost. He is calling a Rangers-Kings final showdown with the Rangers taking it all. That might be a long shot, but he called Seguin to win for the Bruins in overtime yesterday, and that's exactly what happened... so he does know his stuff.

Friday, April 20, 2012


This week, our Mac died. Then it came back to life. Then it died again, and we were on the brink of hitting 'buy' on a new one when it took another gasp of air. It's running right now but I am pretty sure we are on borrowed time. Still, I am thankful to have it. I literally twiddled my thumbs for a day or two while it was out. I could not upload and analyze my run, upload these photos from Mallory's last gymnastics class, edit a photo session, check the weather to get clothes ready for the kids' next day at school, reply to a bunch of emails, get a photo order ready to ship off... man, is my life ever tied to the electronic box.But I digress.
This week was Mallory's last day at gymnastics, at least for the current session. We'd thought we'd end the season here but she is still enjoying it so much that we signed her up for one last ten-week stint. Given that this was the last week of the current session though, we were invited to bring in our cameras. I gave this a big HELL YEAH because Mallory has been in gymnastics since September and we have NEVER been allowed to bring a camera. So I was all over this.So were some of the other parents. We all showed up with lenses and flashes at the ready. The guy sitting next to me in the gallery started firing off some shots as the kids started out on the vault, and the instructor promptly turned around and told him to stop, that the flash was going to blind some of the kids vaulting and that we were not allowed to take pictures of the kids at the facility. This was perplexing, since a letter had come home saying we could take pictures, and he said so. The woman relented and said pictures were OK as long as there was no flash.Then the instructors invited us down out of the gallery to join the class on the gym floor and get some shots from there... which we did. Except that I got to about shot number five and another woman then hauled me off the floor, saying the gym did not have insurance for us to be out there. Back up to the gallery we went.Then we were told we could not take any pictures, because there could be other kids in our kids' photos, and that was not allowed, at least not unless all the parents agreed to it. I quickly made a pact with the other parents that we could all take photos even if they included the other kids. But to be honest, that was the point at which I lost my mojo. The whole photo-taking episode was too much of a clusterf*ck and I packed the camera away at that point. Besides, I was finding taking pictures there really tricky. I thought I'd chosen my lens wisely but it was turning out to be a lot more challenging than I'd thought.
Mallory has now passed 3 out of 4 levels of Kindergym, the program for 3-5 year olds, and she is stoked to try to clear the last level and make it into the class of 6-8 year olds while she is still just 5. I am not sure that she can pull it off during this one last session of the year, but if not then she is gung ho to go back in September and clear it then. Maybe by then I will have my camera gear sorted out, and maybe by then the gym's policy on picture taking will actually be consistent.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A good old hockey game

This year, there was really no question that we would be doing something hockey-related for Liam's birthday party. The plan fell perfectly into place after we spent a fun afternoon playing floor hockey at the Y a few months ago on a cold winter day. We decided to rent the gym for a floor hockey game as the main event at the party. After looking into the Y's birthday party packages a bit further, we also decided to rent the party room and the leisure pool for an hour apiece.
We started out playing hockey... having split the kids into two teams, Red Wings and Leafs, by virtue of dollar-store hats.
The kids were verrrry into it. Even the ones who don't play hockey. I cringed a little, because they were playing pretty aggressively and nobody was wearing pads. I don't think anyone's shins took too much of a beating, though... Mallory fell once and there were a few tears, but I think that was the extent of the injuries.
From there, with the game tied at 3-3, we moved into the party room. We originally had the party room booked after the pool, but there was a bit of a scheduling mess-up and the order of things changed. So we opened presents before we served 'dinner' at 4:30 p.m.
Liam really wanted the hats, after he saw Mallory's party hats. In some ways he is still very much a little boy. Got to hang onto that as long as we can.
Pizza, juice, fruit... and then it was time for cake. Liam had a hard time deciding exactly what kind of hockey cake he wanted. A stick? A puck? A jersey? We looked at lots of pictures on the internet but he did not like any of them - instead trying to describe what he wanted. I was worried that I wasn't 'getting it' and that he would be disappointed with what he got. But it all worked out in the end when he saw a hockey cake in a grocery store advertisement, and decided that it would be perfect. Problem very easily solved.
It tasted pretty good, too, despite the weirdo face you see here.
With full bellies and despite the fact that it is counter to everything your swimming lesson instructor ever taught you as a kid, we then hit the pool. There was a woman talking on a cell phone in the pool who didn't get out even after the lifeguard put up a sign indicating the pool was closeed for a private rental. About ten minutes in, I went over to her and told her, point blank, the pool was closed for a private event. She rolled her eyes at me and said, "I know. I am PART of the event. I am a GUEST at it." I looked her square in the eye and said, "I don't think so. I have this pool rented for my son's birthday party, and I don't know who you are." She rolled her eyes some more and gave some big sighs as she told whoever she was talking to that she had to deal with something, and she finally got out of the pool. I think I was supposed to feel bad for inconveniencing her... but I didn't.

And with that, Birthday Season 2012 is over. Well, at least until my big day rolls around in May. I wonder what is in store for me?? :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Seventh heaven

SOMEBODY in our house is seven years old now. Holy cow. How did this happen? I know I say the same thing every year. Wah wah wah, the kids are getting older, I can't believe how fast it's going. But this time I have to say, truthfully, that it just keeps getting better. I loved my kids when they were small and chubby-cheeked and couldn't pronounce anything properly. And I love them even more now that we can hang out together and share interests and have conversations. I love the way Liam likes to call, "Incoming!" - and then launch something (nonbreakable) across the room. I love the way he watches Sports Center last thing at night and first thing in the morning to keep up-t0-date on the NHL. I love that, now that spring is here, he begs me to go for bike rides together. I love to read the papers that come home from school, with snippets he has written about books he likes or what he did on the weekend or what his favourite food is and why. I love that I know him more every day not just as my child, but as a person, one whose company I truly enjoy.On Friday we made some cupcakes to celebrate this very special person. We had pizza for dinner (his request), opened some gifts, and lit up a number 7 sparkler just for him. He promptly imitated his dad and made Mallory laugh by attempting to blow it out. Then we called it a night, relatively early. The birthday was over, but the celebrating continued the next day with the birthday bash. More on that in a bit.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The best day ever

Seven years ago today, Liam was born. By this time then he'd already been here an hour. I think we were still holding off on making celebratory phone calls in order to let our family and friends finish their sleep... but I don't think we held off too much longer. :) I think that April 13 will always go down as the happiest day of my life. That's not to say that I don't love Mallory every bit as much as Liam, but there is something extra special about becoming parents for the first time that cannot be repeated.

Seven years have passed in a blink. Really, a blink. I catch my breath to think that in seven years more, he will be taller than me, and in high school, and within a few years of leaving home. It goes by so, so fast.

Happy birthday, Liam. You are simply the best.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


On Monday, Mallory turned five. This was a bit of deja vu, since it was Easter Monday and she was actually born on Easter Monday. The nice thing about it was that it was a school PA day and Cindy took the day off, so I also took the day off, to stay home with the kids. The only thing that I really wanted to do was get some birthday portraits taken of both kids, and I wanted to do them at Wilson's. I pretty much had to drag the kids out there, and to be honest we got there later than we should have - the sun was high in the sky and most of the pictures did not turn out that well. I did, however, get a few of Liam that I *love*, and I had to drag the kids home kicking and screaming because they were having so much fun there.

The other big deal about this birthday was that Aunt Amy came home from London with us on Sunday and spent the night before taking the last train out on Monday. So having Aunt Amy with us on her birthday... yes, I think it made Mallory feel pretty special.

After Wilson's, and then lunch, I offered up a few choices to the kids (movie, swimming, etc.), none of which they were really interested in. Instead, we puttered, made some cupcakes, and then rode bikes to the park and played tag there. It was a beautiful day, so this was a great way to spend it.
(Rainbow cupcakes, of course!) For dinner, at Mallory's request, we had chicken fingers, rice, carrots, apples, and strawberries. I am pretty sure this is the exact same as her birthday menu from last year. Then Gramma and Grampa joined us for a cupcake. It's hard to tell from this picture but that is actually a number '5' sparkler. Sounds good in theory but the message is kind of lost when it is lit up!
Opening a few more gifts... including some $ from Gramma and Grampa to buy streamers for her bike handlebars.Happy birthday, baby girl. Hope you had a wonderful day.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter 2012

We are getting there... two birthdays down, one birthday party down, two Easter dinners down... onto the final home stretch of one birthday and one birthday party, and then life returns to normal. Whatever that means!

Here are some of the scenes from Easter day. Starting off with the mad rush down the hall when the kids first spied their Easter pails. I love that Mallory has Sidney Crosby and a new stuffed bunny that she got at her birthday party tucked under her arm here - they tend to tag along with her to most places she goes... And here are the pails themselves. With all of the egg hunting on Saturday, we figured it might be best if the Easter bunny mostly brought 'things' rather than more candy. Liam has an inside-joke chicken obsession going on right now so the chocolate chicken is a cute exception. He has been enjoying the Dr. Seuss journal that has blanks for him to fill in about himself - places he has been, things he likes and doesn't like, etc. He is totally the right age for this.
And Mallory's version. Even though there was not a lot of candy in the pail, she offered to share the Cadbury Creme Egg with me. She knows what I like!
Modelling some of the accessories that were in her Easter pail for us. I think she looks kind of like Nicole Richie circa 2008 here, during her 'headband and oversized sunglasses' phase...
Then we were off to church and from there, straight to London for Easter with the Robinsons. And guess who was there!:
Yep, it was another stellar holiday for Mallory because her Aunt Amy was around.
Easter dinner... the kids' side of the table.
Lillian is not so little anymore! She is pretty serious, but we did get a few smiles out of her.
After all the sugar, we walked over the park to let the kids run around a bit. And to let the grown-ups regroup.
Easter nephews.
We still have piles of Easter candy in the house (some from the bunny and some stashed in a drawer that we *thought* we'd need, but really did not need at all...), cupcakes from Mallory's birthday yesterday, and half of a coconut cake that was dessert on Saturday is in the freezer for another time. Working on a bit of a sugar detox right now before it's time for another birthday on the weekend.

Next up: Mallory turns 5.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Egg hunt

It has been a nonstop weekend, culminating with a milestone birthday today. I'm wiped (and if I told you how many photos I have taken since the start of the month, I think I would be committed.) So I will let the pictures do the talking. Scenes from Saturday's egg hunt.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Good Friday

We were in desperate need of a good day off. We took full advantage... I went for a long swim, Chad went for a long run, and the kids stayed in their jammies until noon. I came home from the pool with a DVD rental of "Hop" and we put that on after lunch as we set about the obligatory Easter egg dying session. Now we have 18 coloured eggs in the fridge that nobody is likely to eat... Liam has had a few but I don't think he enjoys bearing the full weight of the responsibility.I think I like decorating for spring/Easter even more than I do Christmas. There is less to put out, but I really like what we have.Be still, my heart. Sometimes the best photos come from the most unexpected moments. Here Mallory is waiting for her purple egg to take the colour, and while she's wearing a sweatshirt and her hair is a mess, I LOVE the expression on her face. But, this means that when I take her out on Monday to do her birthday shots - all dressed up - the universe will even out, and I will be unlikely to get anything that I like even remotely as much.
Getting the table all set for Easter dinner with the Cook family. I never used to set a fancy table, but gosh darn it, I kind of like it. We have nice things... might as well use them! (Note that my 'nice things' include several dollar store finds, such as the votive holders and the glasses...) After the table was set, the dining room had to be cordoned off, because Captain LOVES sleeping on a tablecloth.And after that was done, we couldn't bear to stay inside anymore - it was simply too nice outside. So we got out the bubbles for the first time this year...
...and Mallory got out the skipping rope she got for her birthday - she looks like she knows what she's doing here, but she really doesn't......and some action shots from Liam.

All in all, it was a pretty perfect day.