Thursday, May 30, 2013

Every little thing is gonna be alright

Despite having some misgivings about how Finnegan occasionally treats Lucy, we are feeling pretty confident these days that the two beasts are going to be forever friends. He does still occasionally stalk her as if they are both contestants in The Hunger Games, and she puts up with a lot of crap from him that I think she could kibosh if she really wanted to. Remember, she still has her claws; he doesn't.
From his point of view, the kitten brings a lot of perks. He prefers her food to his own, and I also don't think he's used his litterbox in the basement since the day he discovered hers on the main floor. It will be a rude awakening when hers eventually migrates down the stairs to join his. I have no intention of keeping a litterbox in the living room for the long run!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dental drama

Last week I took the kids to the dentist, and I thought I would be able to find an old post around here somewhere that I could reference rather than just typing the whole story out again. Because the trip went pretty much the exact same as it did last year: Liam cooperated beautifully, and Mallory was a nightmare. She refused to open her mouth. She cried and cried. We begged, threatened, bribed, and cajoled her. I left the room, and I came back in. When all was said and done, all we had to show for a half hour of the hygienist's time was a visual inspection of her front teeth (they're crowded, no surprise; she's going to need some work), a small amount of tartar removed from one front tooth, and that's it.

Mallory knows that I was none too pleased. She did not get to pick a prize out of the prize jar the dentist keeps on hand, and she went to her room when we got home. I get that at age 3/4/5 she could have been scared, but this is getting ridiculous now. It's not like she's had something traumatic happen when at the dentist's office before - she is just being a brat in this case. Am I wrong? Should we be cutting her some slack or dropping the hammer? I told the hygienist that I would crawl over the chair and pry her jaws open with my own two hands if she thought that would work, and she didn't take me up on the offer. Maybe she thought I was kidding - but I wasn't!

Monday, May 27, 2013

RetroFest 2013

 On Saturday we took a break from the rock-hauling and went downtown to enjoy RetroFest. This is the weekend of the year when classic car enthusiasts from all over converge on Chatham to show off their rides and talk shop. All over the downtown core, the cars are parked with their hoods popped and their owners ready to talk about horsepower and spark plugs. Or so I imagine; I haven't stopped to talk shop with any of them.
Because the event is getting so big, now they're adding family-friendly activities into the mix, so it's not surprising that we bump into friends on the street. These friends just happen to have a baby named Lucy so we thought it best to inform them that we just named our cat after her and ask for forgiveness.
Here's what the main drag looks like... old cars. Hoods popped.
 This was Mallory's favourite find of the day. No surprise there.
Here's Liam in front of the original Batmobile. The most fun part of the day for me was the classic movie cars that were brought into town for the event. They were all on loan from assorted private collectors who, oh yeah, just happen to have a DeLorean parked out back.
Yes, I know how to spell DeLorean now.

The other car on stage with it is the General Lee from Dukes of Hazzard.
Liam doesn't know what a Flux Capacitor is. Clearly, he needs to see Back to the Future. But then I think, some parts of that movie weren't so kid-friendly. Libyan terrorists, anyone?
 Back out on the street... multiple Elvis impersonators.
We went over to the park and found what the kids had been looking for: the zip line. Unfortunately, Mallory was too small to ride it. This was kind of a drag as we have plans to go zip lining "for real" in the future, and Liam is enthusiastic about it, but Mallory is less so. This was going to be a dry run for her but in the end, it didn't work out.
Liam sure did enjoy it, though.
I don't think Mallory minded not zip lining one little bit. She got a balloon and a bag of kettle corn, and she was happy. We rounded out the day by getting Liam a giant pickle on a stick, because there ain't no festival in Chatham that's complete without a stop by Mr. Pickle. And with that, off we went back home, to shovel more rock.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

At 8

I was editing and uploading some photos tonight (have you seen the new version of Flickr? Am I the only one who hates it?) and it occurred to me that I haven't yet finished this year's birthday photos. We went out with cousin Jonah to do all the shots at once. Liam started having trouble with his eyes that day; we now think he has seasonal allergies, and is reacting to the pollen. He spent most of the night rubbing his eyes and tearing up a little, but even though I did not get a lot of him that night, and most of the ones I did get have puffy eyes, luckily I did get the one shot of him that is "the" 8-year old shot. I think this is the shot that I will have printed on canvas to finally have something to match the giant shot of Mallory that's above the armoire in our living room; I love it that much.

As for Mallory, I really did not get anything great of her, and I have been meaning to get her back out to try again, but if I do that now then the woods will be full-blown green rather than the just-emerging greenery that you can see here and that I like so much since it really signifies the start of spring and the kids' birthdays. It will be our little secret that it was actually already May when I took this photo, since spring was so late arriving this year; had we gone out the week of the kids' birthdays there may well have been snow on the ground.

(I am a little bitter that there is a frost advisory yet again tonight, so once more I spent time tonight covering the yard in assorted blankets, towels and plastic garbage bags. This is probably the 5th or 6th night I have done this, and yet the frost hasn't materialized once; but I just know that if I don't cover the plants, that'll be the night it hits.)

Anyway. Mallory's birthday shots: still on the to-do list, six weeks later.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Family time

In addition to hauling large quantities of stone last weekend (which we will be continuing this weekend - oy),  we had some family time with a trip to Stratford.
(I can't decide if she looks more like Katrina or like John.)
The visit was great fun for three-fifths of the kids in attendance, because the April and May birthdays were celebrated. Luckily, Lillian was too young to realize that she was left out, and Thomas was a great sport about it, though that might have been because he was more stoked about Henry's gift than Henry was.
How to keep a couple of 7- and 8-year-old boys entertained for a few hours: give them each a Super Soaker, turn on a hose, and let them have at it.
If it had been hotter outside, I think they would have come back in totally drenched. Liam got cold as soon as he got a little wet, so he was able to rein it in.
Not only were there gifts - there were cupcakes! Red velvet, s'more, apple caramel... lots of decisions to be made.
And we finished the day with a soccer game, to work off the cupcakes.

There are no family reunions in the works for us this weekend, but we do plan to head down to Retrofest. This is the weekend that our hometown becomes the "Classic Car Capital of Canada". Lots of antique and retro cars are rolling into town, and this morning as I drove past the radio station I spotted the Delorian from Back to the Future and the Batmobile parked outside. I was late getting to work so I didn't have time to stop, but I'd like to go check them out on display. I maintain my assertion that Back to the Future is one of the best movies of all time, so I am particularly geeked about the Delorian.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Double trouble

We did it... we brought home another furry critter. Liam found the gray tabby kitten he'd been wanting, and we snapped her up.
She's only about 8 weeks old and she is TINY. It is shocking to see her next to Finnegan. She is just a little ball of fluff - weighs practically nothing. Finnegan hissed at her once and since then has been very watchful over her. He attacks her and pins her to the ground but she keeps going back for more... we THINK it is playing... he does not seem to be hurting her. Still, they only have 'supervised' playtime. During the day when we're not home, she's confined to the front room.

Girl cat names are a lot harder to come up with than boy cat names. We are giving Liam the final vote on the name and so far, he is favouring Lucy, though he does not seem 100% sold on it yet. But he's shot down all of our suggestions (I wanted Scout, Chad wanted Gertie, and Mallory wanted Moonbeam) so for now, Lucy it is.
Lucy is small enough that we are not even officially her owners - we are actually fostering her right now. After she gets her final shots and is fixed, she'll be eligible for adoption. I doubt we will choose to give her back, but it's kind of nice to have the ability to take her for a test run like this.

I am not really a fan of kittens... I prefer the sleek beauty of a full-sized cat... but I have to admit, she is kind of cute, and her antics are pretty funny. We'll see how much I am still enjoying her in a few weeks when she grows beyond 'cute and helpless' into 'hell on wheels' material.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mulch ado about nothing

So it's hard to see, because somehow I only managed to save a thumbnail, but this picture shows two buckets of pine mulch and six buckets of stone mulch, plus 8 5 ft tall cedars. Guess what we spent our weekend doing? The pine mulch went into the front yard and the stone mulch into the back. The back yard used to be pine mulch as well, but over time we were sorry we had made that decision. The mulch blows into the pool and across the patio, and let's face it - mulch is kind of a racket. Every year or two you have to order a fresh load, pay a hefty delivery fee for it, and then spend the time to spread it. The stone work has been incredibly labour-intensive and hard physical work, but it should last for, like, ever.

We're not quite done - there's still a small pile on our driveway. We reached a breaking point around 4:30 Monday afternoon where we just couldn't do any more. We may also need to adjust the placement of a cedar or two that are not quite aligned. Hopefully we get some more work done next weekend, and then we can spend the summer enjoying the fruit of our labour.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


The close-up:
The pull-back:
Of course he thinks it's the coolest thing ever. He's an 8-year-old boy, after all.

Monday, May 13, 2013

It makes no sense

Tonight was the start of the soccer season. I wore my winter coat to the field and then when we came home, I ran around the yard throwing blankets and towels over my flowers and newly planted things, because we're supposed to be walloped with frost tonight. Then on Wednesday it's supposed to hit 87 degrees.

Anyway, the kids play soccer on the same night at the same time, which is convenient for us, I suppose, though it's kind of sad that we can't watch either game in its entirety. Mallory was pumped to be playing again; she decreed that she would score a goal on her first night out, and she did not disappoint. Liam seems a little more chicken of the ball than he was last year - he needs to get his edge back!

And now we have to find a way to break it to him in the morning that the Leafs lost. He is going to be mighty disappointed. :(

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

Happy Mothers Day to all the mamas I know. We survived another year!
This year I was spoiled by the usual assortment of homemade gifts... small potted plants the kids planted/painted at school and at daycare... an overload of homemade cards from Mallory. And Liam let me hug him, so you know, that was a win.

Mallory filled out a questionnaire about me and said:

My mom is: fabulous (!!)
Mom likes: taking pictures
She looks pretty when: she scratched out "when" and wrote "every day"
My mom always helps me: clean my room
My favourite thing to do with her is: make cookies
I was treated to a big waffle breakfast cooked on a new waffle iron, which might have been a little self-serving on the kids part... I think this means they expect more waffle breakfasts going forward. No problem; I love a good waffle breakfast.

My Mother's Day took an unconventional turn later in the day when I went for a bike fitting. My back gets sore when I ride, so I figured something must be out of whack. It turns out that I have abnormally long femurs, according to the bike fitter, and that my quads are disproportionately large to the rest of my body which should make me a killer cyclist. This is good to know, because a few weeks ago my swim coach told me my legs are too big and heavy for me to ever be a really good swimmer. Alas, the news from the bike fitter was not all good; he said that my inner thighs are disproportionately weak compared to my outer thighs and that I have trouble with my back because my glutes are comparatively weak and my back does a lot of over-compensating for them. Funny, I thought I was going for a bike fitting and in reality I found out just how biomechanically messed up I am.

But I will keep plugging away at it, because there are a lot of waffles to work off in my future.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

It's May!

I love May. I love the weather, I love that work (usually) slows down a little, I love the weather, I love the longer days and getting outside again, I love the weather... I love my birthday and Mother's Day, both occasions on which I tend to receive lots of homemade goodies from the kids... I love the long weekend... I love lilacs... I love May!

I love that May means triathlon season has kicked into high gear. This morning I was uber-motivated to roll out of bed and do my first brick of the season, a spin on the trainer in the basement (still too dark to head outside that early) followed by an outdoor run. Motivation at this time of year is at an all-time high.

I love that I can finally break out my cute spring clothes but don't yet dissolve into a sweaty mess by about 2 p.m.

I love that we might actually open the pool sometime this month. It still feels kind of far off but the weather this week has been a good start.

I love that when we're not busy with the kids' activities, we can spend our nights outside. Liam is loving his rollerblades (despite a couple of spills) and Mallory has really taken to her bike lately. Yay!! She says she wants to do a duathlon this summer. Lots of triathlons have kids events but duathlons... not so much. It's not just about racing though; she is also motivated by the thought of riding all the way to the Cone and Shake Shop one day.

Anyway, May promises to be full of good things. Bring it on!