Olive Background


Monday, September 29, 2008

Laundry Musings


As I wash and fold laundry (all in the same morning......a real journal entry) I find the following statistics comforting:

100% of young men under the age of 13 who live in this home changed their underwear at least once last week.

75% of young men under the age of 13 who live in this home changed their underwear at least twice last week.

25% of young men under the age of 13 who live in this home changed their underwear 4 or more times last week.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Running for Cancer

Today was the Terry Fox Run at both schools my boys attend. Students and teachers ran and raised money that will be donated for cancer research.

I remember Terry Fox. I was a child, maybe 9 or 10 years old, when he began his run across Canada. He had one leg and a prosthetic on the other after an amputation due to cancer claimed his leg. He was a young man when he started his run and he died a little more than a year after when cancer was found in his lungs. He ran from the east coast to Ontario before he had to stop and he was only 21 or 22 when he died. That was 28 years ago and we remember him by continuing what he started.

I am so glad that each year my boys are reminded of Terry. The fundraising efforts he began are, of course, amazing and so needed as cancer still claims so many loved ones. But what I also hope my boys learn is the gift of sensitivity Terry had and of his desire and determination to make this world a better place. He died a giver rather than a taker. If we could all be more like him I think we could change not only the face of cancer, but the whole world.

Here's the Terry Fox Foundation website: http://www.terryfoxrun.org/english/home/default.asp?s=1










Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Good Day


Each month our school has a recognition assembly for the children. This month Jackson was one of the recipients. He received his certificate and pencil today.

Today I was inspired by a 10 year old autistic girl singing our national anthem.

Today marked the first time Jared had two great days in a row.

Today was a good day.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hee. Hee. Hee.

My drywall-ing men arrived this morning. My basement is going to have walls that go ALL the way to the floor. Can you see my smile?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

What a Safe Country We Live In

Jackson: Mom, did you know in some countries there are spiders that hide under the toilet?

Me: There are?

Jackson: Yeah. I'm really glad I don't live in one of THOSE countries.

I'm going to check my toilets for spiders.

While the Hen was Away




I would be the hen....and these chickies are some more of my friends that I was so happy to see again. Even though it has been just a few short months since we left the island, in some ways it seems like forever. I love these girls!!!!

While I was away and up to no good at all, Sean was hard at work on our house. What a project we took on. It makes me a little sad that we won't end up staying in the house. I am choosing all the things I love - cabinets, colors, floors. It makes me tired to think I will have to do it all over again.....a few more times if we decide we like this house flipping thing.

This is what the kitchen looked like before we bought the house.

This is what it was looking like after I left.

And this.

This is not a week for my main floor to be pretty.

With the drywall repairs done, the cabinets started to go up.

Sean finished up the flooring.

We still have the same square footage but the kitchen feels larger and we have so much more storage space. There is still some painting and cabinet hanging and backsplash tiling and door handles and countertops to take care of, but it's coming together better than I had imagined.

Someone is really going to enjoy our house.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Family Day


Yester-day my brother Chris, his wife Jen, and I went to Coombs to do some goat hunting and shopping. They had never been to Coombs and I knew Jen would love the Old Country Store there. The big attraction besides all the fun and yummy things you can buy are the goats that live on the roof of the store.

We enjoyed a beautiful island day - sunny, very warm, tempered by a cool breeze. Perfect.






We found lots of cute little goats running around. This past spring one of the goats was pregnant. There were a number of babies running around so I would assume there was more than one goat that had babies.




We found great things to buy inside the store. They have wonderful breads, and food, and items imported from many other countries.

We walked around the other little shops in the area. We sampled lots of fudge so I bought a slab. I am trying to save it for home. It is absolute torture.



We devoured sushi and oysters for dinner at a Japanese restaurant in Nanaimo and stopped at the Walmart in Duncan for some extra treats to compliment the strawberries Jen bought in Coombs. It was sunset when we arrived. The moon was over Mt. Tzouhalem.....such a lovely sight and no where but a parking lot to take the picture. Too bad.

We were exhausted when we arrived home. I managed to stay awake long enough to eat a dessert of angel food cake with strawberries drizzled with sweetened condensed milk and whipping cream on top. Yummy.

It was a great day. Chris is 10 years younger and I was married and having babies while he was still growing up. Yesterday was one of the rare times he and I and his wife have had the chance to spend quality time together just as siblings.

It made for good memories.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

My High School Reunion.....Sober

I learned something tonight. I wasn't the only one nervous about the whole event. I was remembered more than I thought I would be.

When I was in high school, kids would gather in the parking lot on a Friday/Saturday night to find out where the parties were. They would then all drive in their respective cars to the party location. Very inconspicuous. So it seemed fitting that 20 years later our reunion was held in the theatre, that was built onto the school after we graduated, that sits on the very parking lot that was the congregation spot so many years ago.

It was nice to see familiar faces and faces that weren't. Some had changed a great deal and some still looked like they did at graduation. Some were merrily drinking and some will not remember this evening's events. Some had given up the drink. We all still had fun asking the same questions over and over again and realizing that we had all grown up.




I saw the people I wanted to see the most.










Prominently they stand in the fondest memories of my school years.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Journey to My Youth

Flying just doesn't hold the same kind of excitement for me now that I have a husband and children. I find I am more tense and praying that nothing bad happens.

I flew back to the island today. My 20 year high school reunion is tomorrow evening and so here I am.

My first plane was an 18 seater where everyone had a window seat. I can't say the sensation of leaning forward while in descent mode or feeling like the only thing stopping you from sliding off your seat was your seat belt during same descent mode was the most enjoyable part of my trip. At least the next plane was a 48 seater and we had a great view of the ground for the entire flight. I must say the in flight snack has got me wanting some corn chips in a bad way.

Note to self: Must buy corn chips tomorrow.

I rented a car and survived the drive into Victoria on the Pat Bay Speedway. I am driving a rental.....stay away from my car!!!! That's all I ask.

This weekend I will have a chance to see friends I just recently said good bye to and friends I last saw on graduation day. I will see my family.

Sean and the boys are back home, and I have to say I miss them. While I hope to enjoy time reminiscing about the past, it is the present that brings me the most joy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

19 and Counting

It's fly season here in Southern Alberta. At first we thought something died in our house, but no it's just fly season. They are everywhere.

19 is the number I've killed in the last 15 minutes. To those who feel killing any of God's creatures is wrong, I am unrepentant.



Friday, September 5, 2008

End of Week Updates





Jordan was complaining about his cast so I took him to see the doctor about taking it off. This was what we found underneath. Yuck.

We had new x-rays taken today and it was apparent he needed a couple more weeks in a cast so he's got a new blue one stuffed with padding.








It's clean. It doesn't chafe the skin. Life is good.









Sean completed the paving stone work on our new courtyard and ran out of the 100 stained fence boards that James and I worked on last week. There is still house painting to do and a gate to build, but I thought posting some before and afters now would be nice. I plan on putting in some shrubs in pots though it may not be until the spring.

Before


Almost After




We finally picked up our kitchen cabinets this evening. Here they are!!

Pretty beautiful.

The electrician told us we lived in a miracle house. It's a miracle we haven't burned to the ground. We now have our new control panel with wires going into the right places. The air conditioner is disconnected. Next week we will have our kitchen electrical outlets. Something tells me the chaos is just beginning.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

My Eyes Were...Umm....Moist???

Yesterday was a much better day for Jackson. He made a friend. He ate most of his lunch rather than having it stepped on. He drew a picture of himself. He's gonna pass grade 1. I just know it.

Today when I took the boys to school, Jackson took off as soon as I parked the car. Off he went skipping down the sidewalk. I didn't get a goodbye. Not a hug. Not even a, "later". Gonzo. He left me with my other just as wonderful boys, who don't smell near as sweet anymore, to walk to the school grounds.

My eyes were briefly moist. His level of dependency on me just dropped a notch. He was entering a new chapter of his ever expanding world and embracing it with enthusiasm. My eyes teared up......for about 10 seconds.

Another mom and I were discussing the whole issue of "cutting the umbilical cord" and how hard it is. She with her firstborn, me with my baby. It occurred to me that I really need to celebrate that break. Jackson's growing and progressing and it won't happen if I hold the leash too tight.

So as I sit here and wonder what I will do today because I don't feel like cleaning my house, or reading a book, or sorting through the masses of school newsletters in front of me, I will rejoice in the journey all my boys are on.....with me at times on the sidelines cheering them on.

Now, I think I will make a strawberry banana smoothie guaranteed not to be shared with anyone.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Life Can Be Tough

While I was relishing in my new found childlessness, Jackson was having a different sort of day.

Yesterday was his first day of grade one and he was pumped. He's been pumped for the last two weeks. School was cool. School was awesome. School was full of friends. School was all that and a jug of chocolate milk.

I went to pick him up after school and found him in his classroom looking rather surly and a teaching assistant trying to coax him back into happiness. Battle lost. Jackson had a terrible first day. It was game over for the kid. He didn't want to do anything. No work. No pictures. He was quitting school. Who needs it anyway. He was a train wreck and nothing he could do made it better.

I don't think I would even get out of bed if I knew I would have his kind of day.

He didn't make any friends on his first day. He played alone on the playground. He dropped his sandwich on the ground and some kid stepped on it accidentally. He fell and bruised his elbow. He scratched the side of his face. He scratched his eye at some point in the day. While I was talking to his teacher after school he got more upset and banged his head against the wall causing a bump to appear. He was mortified and tried to run down the hall away from us but tripped over his backpack and went crashing down. Even more humiliated he took off down the hallway, but eventually came back. I took him home and he found his hammock for his stuffies was broken and had to go in the trash. Later in the evening he brought his phonics books box to me for reading time and accidentally dumped all 21 books on the floor. He's worried he will fail grade one.

He knew his day was bad. That's as bad as it gets, I think. How sad for a mere six year old.

I gave him the pep talk this morning. I also told him even when things are bad, you still have to be nice to your teacher and do the work. Anyone can pass grade one as long as you try your best. Mommy loves you. School is a must job. Things will get better. Mommy loves you.

Then I left him to the wolves at school, keeping my fingers crossed that I will see him this afternoon in a better mood.

Yes, some days should be spent in bed away from the world.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My Babies Are Off To School!!!!

I AM the mother who does not take pictures of her children on the first day of school. Had a bad experience with that with J#1.
I AM the mother who did not cry when her firstborn went to first grade and did not look back at her.
I AM the mother who did not cry when her last born went to first grade today and did not look back at her. Sean and I did follow him and he did hug us when we left, but I think that was because the other kids were told they could hug their parents since we were getting kicked out.
I AM the mother who is cleaning her house happily today because it may actually stay clean for 6 hours.
I AM the mother who needs to start figuring out what she is going to do with herself now that all her babies are off to school.
This is truly a moment of transition. Sheesh!!!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Our Family Vacation


Last week we set out on a little family jaunt up to Drumheller to experience the dinosaur wonders of the area. I having been promising the boys for the last 3 years that we would go there, and finally with no ferry or 15 hours of driving to deal with I knew it was time to go.

We left early Friday morning with directions from google maps and set out on secondary highways through farmlands, a Blackfoot reservation, and a hidden valley called Hidden Valley to the badlands of Drumheller.


The Tyrell Museum is a must for any little boy or big boy who ever had a thing for dinosaurs. We really enjoyed the displays of fossils, bones, and re-creations. Sometimes it was even a little scary. Ask Jackson.




REALLY.......Sean is happy to be here. He loves family outings and vacations.
























After the museum we went back to town and blew $10 for the chance to climb some 108 steps to the teeny tiny viewing area inside the mouth of the world's largest Tyrannosaurus Rex. You do get a nice view of the valley, but once we were at the top the boys were ready to go down again. Appreciating the view was not on the agenda.

We headed on down the Hoodoo Trail to see ........hoodoos. They are the coolest looking things. We walked around the area to see ones forming on the sides of the mountains and ones free standing.

This is the best family shot we could get. I totally appreciate the difficulty in getting a good group shot....Shelli, I'm with you.......I think we all like being a family, but I'm the only one willing to document the fact that we are.















The Drumheller landscape is amazing to me. It's not the lush green of British Columbia, with it's trees and ocean and great mountains, but it's still beautiful to me. There's something gritty and raw to it's look. You find the layers of minerals and sediment that formed the terrain. There's nothing to hide behind. Everything is exposed.





After the better part of a day was spent exploring we headed to Calgary and stopped at Horseshoe Canyon. I was not sure what I was expecting, but I did not anticipate finding it in the middle of the rolling fields of whatever it was that was growing. It's this canyon shaped like a horseshoe and it's surrounded by flatness. Again, one of those amazing formations. It's would have been fun to hike down, but we lacked time and I lacked footwear. When we left in the morning I slipped on my $9 Walmart Birkenstock knock offs that are beyond falling apart. I wasn't even thinking and realized my error half way to Drumheller.

We stayed with my aunt and uncle, Toni and Brent, and with birthdays in the air we finished off our stay with a family breakfast party complete with prizes. James got to jam with my cousin Jake which was so much fun to hear. We left Calgary and headed back home and promptly went back to work on the house.

Re-entry was not eased into. The day before we left, James and I stained 100 fence boards. We are now in the process of putting those up, but unfortunately today it's raining. Hey, I thought we ran away from this when we moved out here.

School begins tomorrow and the boys are excited and I am very excited (with a touch of motherly nerves). My baby starts first grade and I am thinking I should be very emotional about this. I wasn't emotional about the first one starting school. There must be something wrong with me. Maybe it will hit later. I'll keep you posted.