Thursday, March 31, 2011

An assortment of things

While the kids are in the other room building a suspension bridge, or an arch bridge, or a highway or something, I sit with a cup of coffee and think about how our kids must perceive us. Sometimes helpful, sometimes frustrating, sometimes totally daft???
One things certain, my eldest is one to let us know how things should go to best suit her. I'm not certain she executes that in other areas of life. I'm happy for her to practice it at home, and hope she can find an appropriate amount of assertiveness to carry through life with her. It always interests me the guidelines she likes to lay out.
Nadine is a snuggler. One of her favorite things is to snuggle with her dad. She has some rules and guidelines about this...
"Dad, your air is getting on me." "Dad could you roll over so I can't smell your air."
She likes to be cozy, snugly, and draft free, and interestingly she's not much for the smell of coffee :)

This evening I had the interesting opportunity to talk with the oldest 2 kids about what they'd like to be when they grow up. Nadine's holding out to be a pink kitty, or a kangaroo, or maybe an animal doctor. "Did you know that kangaroos can not sweat and living in the hotness of Australia they lick their arms until they're so wet it cools them off?" She's a funny kid.
Ryan would like to be a backhoe, or a concrete truck. " I NEED to pour some concrete mom, I NEED to." Although with that said, he is presently set on being a steam roller, complete with mashing of anyone or anything in his path. He's a funny kid.
Without being able to outline exactly what he'd like to be, I'm thinking Braeden was trying to outline for me that he is planning to be a Major League pitcher or some other form of throwing occupation. I gleaned this as he whipped a piece of chicken past my head so there is a bit of assuming with that. It's also possible he might become a custodian. He loves to sweep the floor AND today I caught him washing the kitchen floor with about 1/2 litre of apple juice...Mommy's little helper ;)

Post supper Nadine informed me that she and Ryan were going to hide from us. "We're hiding and you're not going to be able to tell us what to do anymore. You can't tell us what to do but you still have to feed us, clean up after us, help me get ready for school. But you can't tell us what to do anymore."
Me: "How do you think that will work out"
Nadine: "Not very well, which is really irritating."

So there you have it. My children's present thoughts, irritations and future goals and aspirations. They're quite a group.
I carry on in my pursuits of photography and running. I'm on a learning curve with my new camera but I have a few great resources both book and human to help me through the many buttons and dials. These still look pretty wintery but it felt pretty springish at the time. There's a LOT of melting to be done.

stage one...digging

Braeden spends a lot of time like this when we're outside. He takes the time to peer between his feet after hitting the ground
it gives him hat troubles
which leaves him peering beneath his toque a lot
and sometimes he just relaxes this way for a while.
Perfect snowman weather. Though the big one is supposed to be scoop the backhoe and the one Nadine's beside is supposed to be a beautiful pink princess kitty.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I'm sorry, that is not the correct answer

This is Ryan's new politically correct form of disagreeing with me. Disagreeing about going home when he'd rather not, snack negotiations, bedtime. He also uses it when he's quizzing me about mighty machines, road construction, or the difference between various types of bridges. Lately we've had some heavy duty road construction under way at our house. The odd bridge is thrown in for good measure.
Bob the Builder has been teaching us about Roads and Bridges at our house. I hope to pay closer attention in hopes of doing better on the pop quizzes.
"Mom do you know what stage one is?" asked Ryan
Racking my brain, and trying to recall the song, I foolishly guessed making a plan.
"I'm sorry, that is not the correct answer. FIRST you make a plan nice and clear so everyone knows your brilliant idea, but STAGE ONE is digging" I was informed.


Most of our roads are made of playdoh here. The great thing about playdoh roads is once you've with it for long enough it becomes perfect for stage 2, which as it was laid out to me, is building a foundation. Rocks, hard playdoh is perfect...perfect. It also seems to make a great snack for Braeden but I try and discourage that.
Thanks to a couple February boys birthdays, and an uncle who 'chose to de-clutter his office', we've recently developed an awesome arsenal of road construction equipment. Fantastic :)
and the little backhoe has seen better days.

The phrase "I'm sorry, that is not the correct answer" is most likely to be used when I'm failing at machinery quizzes, perhaps because I get a lot of these quizzes and I'm not evidently very good at them.
There's often a distressed form of "I'm sorry that is not the correct answer" when we're on our way home from Grandma's or Auntie Jo's house, then it's definitely not the correct answer :(
Bedtime is not usually the correct answer, lack of a snack in light of it being too close to get the idea.
Nadine isn't fond of being told she has uttered an incorrect answer. Prefaced with the 'I'm sorry' doesn't seem to make the 'that is not the correct answer' any more appealing when coming from her brother. Ultimately it just means he asked the wrong question.

With that said, it's a nice way to be disagreed with. It seems less defiant or oppositional when put that way. I think I'm going to apply it to my opportunities to disagree with people. We'll see what kind of responses I receive :)

Unrelated...I got a new camera, so here's what we look like today :)

I could go on and on about how much I love this new camera, but I'll just leave it at the fact that I think it's fantastic!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Filtcher, the identity crisis continues.

Thankfully it was a beautiful day out today. Time to ditch the cabin fever and head outside. We've been a bit cooped up lately and that catches up to us. Our kids were made to be outside as much as possible. Though playing "video game playing puppies" can pass some time on a -35' indoor day.

The kids thoroughly enjoy any time they can spend outside and so do I (for both them and me), especially when all the appropriate factors align just so and Braeden and I can get outside as well.

And we gain the dogs attention by tempting them with cookies.
And we climb up the "snowy mountains"

After a few trips up the man made snow peaks in our yard and some time spent entertaining the dogs...and the human dogs...I was asked by my oldest child. "Mom, aren't you getting chilly?"
"Well a little bit but I'm not too bad." was my response.
"You should go inside and pour yourself a cup of coffee" she advised.
I agreed, given I was just thinking about topping up my caffination. "Stay in front of the house where I can see you guys through the window, ok?"
"um, you'll be watching though the window?" Nadine asked me.
"Yes" I replied
"Could you not?" she asked
"Why what are you planning to do?" I replied
"Nothing that we wouldn't be allowed to do." she tried to say convincingly
"Just stay in front by the house please."

After they came inside my apparent ineptitude at naming children continued to be apparent. After the great fiasco of not thinking of naming Ryan 'Helen' it has now been brought to my attention that Nadine was really destined to be called Filtcher.
Nadine: "Mom why didn't you name me Filtcher?"
Me: "I had never heard of the name Filtcher when we named you Nadine. I also really liked the name Nadine."
Nadine: "Can we name me Filtcher now?"
Me: "Well no, but you could pretend to be Filtcher. Then some day when you grow up and have a little girl you can name her Filtcher"
Nadine: "Well that would be just ridiculous!"
Me: "Yes I suppose you're right."

Filtcher, for those of you who are not aware, is Bob the Builders cat, well at our house anyway. Evidently his real name is Pilchard but try to tell them that.
So although our identity crisis continues, I'm sure of one thing, these kids are growing up really quickly and I am sure trying to enjoy the ride.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Frozen metal and tongues

There are several things I'd like to be able to teach my kids without them having to experience it first hand. For example the 80's are not worth revisiting...
Tonight at supper one of those things came up. "So mom...what would you do if your tongue was stuck to a bike?" Nadine asked me. This inspired a discussion about tongues and metal. A discussion I had with Ryan a few times earlier this winter. We cried, her with tears of sore tongue and me with tears of trying not to laugh and look insensitive.
I told her the story Stewart McLean tells about Dave sticking his tongue to the antenna on their roof, we laughed a bit.
I also recalled one of my cousins mentioning to me that she spent a winter with her son making sure to carry a cup of warm water with her wherever she went, definitely worth considering. I considered doing that earlier this year with Ryan who seemed to like to affix his tongue to metal here and there. He seems to have either given it up or stopped telling me about it. I'll be curious to see if Nadine has learned that lesson or will revisit the cold metal.
Spring can't come soon enough. Although, I'd like it to wait long enough for Ryan to no longer consider himself an insectivore...Spring will be bittersweet if he has not moved past that.
And in other news while standing by the tub waiting for his bath Braeden pee'd in my slipper. I'd also like to teach the kids that peeing in peoples footwear is ultimately not very socially acceptable. But really I'm not always totally socially acceptable either :)
Good day all around

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Really, who says that?!?!?!

Sometimes I'm struck by how my children's minds work. Often I'm left thinking, really?!? or who says that?!? or boy that reflects poorly on my parenting ability...oh well.
Yesterday we spent a MARATHON day in town. I'll preface this by noting that the kids did really well in town running errands for 8 hours, mostly really well anyhow. There was a period of time while we waited outside the bank that Nadine and Ryan were sure, absolutely certain, that their dad had run away and wasn't coming back. Truth is I was kind of starting to wonder the same thing myself but if you let the kids smell your fear, you're sunk.

The boys both fell asleep when we were driving around town. This gave Nadine time to think.
"Mom, can we change Ryan's name to Helen?" she asked. I told her that ultimately we'd have to ask him if he wanted to be called Helen. So when we got to the furniture store and I took my entourage of peeps to the bathroom which is a production in and of itself.
"Hey Ryan." Nadine gets ready to make her pitch, "wouldn't you like us to start calling you Helen?"
"No" was the brief and immediate response.
Nadine shrugs "I guess he doesn't want to be Helen mom...too bad"
Later that day, like several hours later. I'm in the Canadian tire bathroom with Nadine.
"It's sure too bad Ryan doesn't want to be called Helen." she says "I wonder what's wrong with him?"
"I guess he just likes his name to be Ryan" I told her.
Then as they sat on the Canadian Tire quad selection pretending to race while Braeden chewed on a dirt bike tire Nadine tried it out anyway. "Helen, hey Helen, HELEN." But with no response from her brother whose name she feels was chosen poorly she quickly gave up, thankfully.

At Boston Pizza I learned from Ryan that "I'm a hungry insectivore. I eat insects". Now at Boston Pizza as we were ordering bugs and cheese for the kids that worked out just fine, however I'm hoping he will have left his insectivore ways behind him come spring and summer...Hopefully it's just a dietary phase that I can be thankful came about in the non insect season.
Then I learned my attempt at teaching Ryan manners has fallen short of the mark. As he states to the waitress, who thankfully didn't notice "Hey, I'm out of juice, get me some coffee"....really?!? Tim said it was reminiscent of many airline pilots he used to work with ordering coffee.

Are you aware of how many ways there are for a 4 year old boy to ask to go his Grandma's house?
We start at a few rounds of, "Mom can I go to Grandma's". and "Mom, it's time for me to go to Grandma's." If he states it confidently he may at some point trick me with that one if he thinks of it before I've had enough coffee.
If and when that's not effective he asks "Mom can I load the trailer?" "What trailer Ryan" I ask. He shifts a little and says "uh, the Grandma's house."
Then we move on to "Mom I told Grandpa I'd go help him clean the shop. Could you drop me there please?"
"Mom Grandpa needs my help with the backhoe, could you drop me there?"
"Mom my hand is broken, I broke it, see (while flapping it)...broken...I'll need to go with Grandpa to his 'poinment" (that being a physio appointment)
"Sure mom lets have some lunch and then we can head over to Grandma and Grandpa's house"
"Well, I suppose I should head on over to Grandma's house I guess"
Then at some point we come scrambling down the stairs in a tearing hurry and exclaim "Mom HURRY QUICK we have to get over to Grandma's house!!!" as though if he were to surprise me in hopes of getting me in a flap I'd race right over.
Then we have lunch.
Literally all those requests and several more happen in the span of just a couple morning hours.
By afternoon we review the above requests and at some point state "BUT MOM I NEED to go to Grandma's for 20 days!"

I've really got to learn to bake better.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cardboard engineering

Nadine got a hold of a large Cheerio box. Her request was to convert it into a kitty house. A place for her animals to sleep. For a kid who doesn't sleep much it's amazing how important it is to her that her stuffed animals get an adequate, even an exceptionally large amount of sleep. She will lovingly tuck one or many animals into her Cheerio sanctuary lean her beaming face up to the door and say "I love you guys." It's really sweet. She is such a sweet and tender girl. We're all to "keep it down would ya" when her animals are sleeping. Not a practice she sees any need in applying in circumstances when her brothers, or parents are sleeping.

Perhaps she wants to have them well rested for their job as night watch peeps. You see if the monsters in the night get past the first line of her peeps, and even past the second line, there's a couple goons right by the foot of her bed to save the day.

Then Ryan was the lucky recipient of a large Cheerios box. His plans were to build a machine shed. A shed just like Uncle Doug's. Though he was hopeful I could build a set of by-fold doors for it just like Grandpa's shop has. Unfortunately my skill in cardboard construction is limited to making holes and removing pieces, maybe a bit of tape to make a pointy roof with the already existing flaps. By-fold doors would definitely be beyond my skill set. Thankfully Ryan tolerates me anyway. He tucked all his equipment into his new machine shed, leaned his beaming face in by the door and said "I love you guys"

I don't presently have a third Cheerios box for Braeden to request a modification to. Thankfully, I'm a bit concerned that he would request a catapult making him better able to fling his food from his high chair tray when he's finished his meal. Two problems with that would be; I don't need the food to go any farther, and I think that would involve some assembly, I can't see how holes and cardboard removal would ever have me end up with a catapult. I would be curious if he would send the food off with an admiring "I love you guys" but that's probably never going to be known. He is, however, well on his way to becoming a boy who loves coffee. I have to fight him for it a little bit, although on this one particular occasion he ended his smelling of my coffee by hocking a big spit into it...what a guy :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Human nature and video games

So I highly recommend the handheld Leapfrog games we have for our older kids. I'm not much for kids and video games. I'd far rather kids play, inside or outside I'd FAR rather they were active and using their imagination. On a long car ride, or in the midst of a long stretch of -40' weather, or on a day when we all feel like crud I'm going to say they are the bomb. That is unless you have a child that likes to wash stuff. sigh.

Now obviously if I had been more aware of what my oldest wonderful darling beautiful and smart child was doing, her games and game machine would not have gotten washed. We have talked about washing toys and the appropriateness, or more to the point the lack of appropriateness of washing electronic toys. This wasn't our first time at the sink. Nadine likes to wash stuff. A trait she did not inherit from me but I digress. She's keen to clean, I hope it stays that way for a long long time :)
But when we have discussed not washing electronics, and she continues to wash, submerge and scrub them...what's a mom to do. I'll tell you what I do, I get on the treadmill.
Long story short, I figured out that I really don't want my children to think it is a greater offense to break or wreck something, than it is to, for example, lie, be mean or rude to others, etc etc. Stuff is stuff, people are important. I'm ashamed to admit it took me 4 miles to come to that conclusion.
Now although we had to address the fact that we were well aware that washing the electronics wasn't really a good idea I also wanted to reinforce the stuff is stuff concept. "Did you know that I wouldn't be very happy if you washed these toys" I asked. "Um, yes my brain did tell me that" I received in return. "Ok well lets remember to pay attention to that next time".
Our brain didn't apparently mention that picking at our brother until he's so angry he could scream in the car was a bad idea yesterday. It may have been silent on the issue. Human nature is apparently WAY louder than our conscience when we're...well any age... BUT when I mentioned that when we got home "Nadine you'll be heading straight to your room." Her brain did think to tell me several miles and some thought later "mom getting sent to my room doesn't help to make me be kinder to Ryan". I kick myself for not asking what it would have been that would have helped her to do that. I am afraid the answer may have been pink pony's, bunnies, and a zebra. "People are important, our family is part of that rule" I remind
"Um, Ryan, could I have a hug when we get home?"
Good thing that 99% of the time they are very good friends.

Birthday Boys.

So February is over, hallelujah. February has to be the longest short month ever. Snow, cold, and winter are surely going to dissipate within the next month...or two. I had never liked February. That is until our boys were both born in February.
There's really nothing much cuter than a one year old boy having a piece of birthday cake, or the excitement of a 4 year old boy opening a new bulldozer, farm implement, or other assorted "mighty machines". Thereby February has officially become a month that makes me mushy about my kids which is way better than irritated about the weather.
MAN have these kids changed in the last year. It would be really incredible if we were to continue to learn at that same rate as we do in our first year. Braeden has gone from completely immobile and dependant to a walking, running, climbing, gray hair for his mother making kind of guy. He can say a few words, definitely get his message across through actions and gestures. He's constantly learning and exploring things that are totally new to him. What a world that must be like.
Ryan has also learned and advanced in leaps and bounds. Between all the questions and that Leapster Explorer he's definitely surpassed my intelect level on a lot of topics...I'm still bigger than him though...for now.
So we had a collective birthday for them this weekend. With their birthdays just days apart I'm hoping we can do that for at least a couple years before they start to resent not having their own party. Maybe I'll really luck out and they'll always be happy to celebrate together. So far they seem to be darn good friends.
So here's some snippets
It seems like not very long ago that Ryan arrived

then shazam he was one

then two, and very excited to have cake.

we quickly skipped to three

and now how in the heck did he get to be four!?!?
Maybe if I just stop celebrating it he could stay four for a few years.

Braeden arrived and fit in like he's always been here.
Then shazam HE was one.
Braeden seemed to think cake was worth giving a go. I still can't believe he's one though.

we tried to get a picture with all 3 kids

but most of them ended up like this.

this pretty much sums up their relationship.

and here is my tooth.

I flew in help to make owl cupcakes...well I guess by flew in I mean picked up a talented cake decorator from the airport...A big thank you to my mother in law for being fabulous with icing.

So that's that. Birthdays for another year for the boys who make up 2/3 of my entertainment committee.