Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Curing the Grumpies

I confess it, although it's probably no secret - I am a Pinterest addict.  I love it!  I love new ideas, stumbling across brilliance and dreaming of what I will make/create/do/craft.  Especially when I am feeling bogged down in the the yuckiness of daily life, I can find all kind of joy there.

The last week or so has been rather grim.  Between an unexpected $800 + car repair, LB deciding that sleeping is for dummies and he isn't going to do it, his resulting grouchiness, lots of talk about a possible teaching strike and colleagues acting like babies, I haven't been feeling especially chipper.  I was needing something silly to cheer me up.  I found it on Pinterest!

I wanted to find something for Easter.  I can't send food treats to Pk's class (we aren't allowed) but we can still take things to daycare and to friends at church.  I was browsing and found the idea of "egging" someone.  It's like "boo-ing" someone (something I discovered last year when we were "boo-ed"), you leave a surprise treat with a chain letter type deal and pass the fun on.  For this challenge, you have to leave a dozen plastic eggs with treats, the letter and a sign to be posted to tell others that you have already been egged.  This link had all the information and everything you need to get involved.  Buying pretty pastel eggs, fun tattoos, baskets and candy was just what I needed.

 The best part of this was the fun that Pk and I had getting our baskets together.  We jammed the eggs filled with chocolates, jelly beans and gummy bunnies.  We assembled them and then went for a drive.  It was hard to choose which two friends we would surprise so we ended up doing three.  I like the fact that Pk wasn't concerned about herself, she just wanted to give to her friends.  She was seen at two of the three houses, which for her, made it all that much more fun.

I'd love to make this an annual tradition.  It's nice to think that, for a few friends whose last bit has been as frustrating as mine, we might have given them something to smile about for a few minutes.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

March Break Moments

I don't think that you want to know every moment of our March Break but I thought I would share a few.  I often wonder why a blog - I am just another mommy blog and seriously, how many pictures of my kids do people really care to see?  I was pondering letting the blog go but then, I decided that I enjoy it.  I like sorting through the events of my life and the things on my mind and, when you stop by a comment, it makes it so much more fun.  Truly, though, this is a kind of scrapbook for me and I have always been one to enjoy going back down memory lane.

This March Break started out roughly but has just gotten better and better.  Wonderful weather, time with my immediate family and visits to both sets of grandparents, quiet domestic time at home, going back to work with the days feeling longer (I adore daylight savings time) and the knowledge that summer holidays are getting closer.  This break has been so full of wonderful little moments I wasn't expecting.

Of course, we started with the flood.  Dh and I had a laugh today - the minister showed a video about water problems around the world (our Lent project is raising money for wells in Africa).  Dh leaned over to me and said that they could have filmed our basement a week ago.

 I don't know what we would have done if f.i.l. hadn't graciously volunteered to come and support dh through the repairs.  He truly was a blessing to us!  He and Dh also got in a lot of soccer-watching (m.i.l. won't let him have the soccer pay-per-view channels) so there was lots of father-son bonding.
 One of my favourite parts of the break was the slower speed.  Bedtime stories were more leisurely and the cozy evening routine didn't feel so urgent.  We had a canine houseguest for a few days and she wanted to hear stories too.  LB is now obsessed with "Goodnight Moon" and "Ten Tiny Babies", both of which I am very happy to read.
 Do you ever have recipes that you have never made that someone become a part of the family culture? These Hamen's Ears cookies were that for me.  They began when Dh was teaching the Esther story to his Sunday school class and I knew that they are a traditional Jewish treat for Purim.  I tried the recipe from Beth Moore's Esther study and while they were delicious (I was told - I've given up all sweets for Lent and haven't tried them), they were horribly difficult to work with.  I cheated, making my usual sugar cookie recipe, filling them with jam and folding them to be triangles (I am sure that no Jew would recognize them but the idea is there).  Surprisingly, they were a huge hit.  I had one mother from the Sunday school ask me for the recipe for the "earmuff" cookies that her children couldn't stop raving about, I made a batch for my class and for Dh's class for Purim and then, my f.i.l. sampled some leftovers here, fell in love and I made them for him as a thank you.
 Up at the in-laws LB managed to even get Pk involved in his ball obsession.  In this case, it was basketball with oranges and a mesh garbage can.
 The grandson of a good friend of my p.i.l. came over for a playdate.  It was love at first sight and Pk and he had to be moved outside before they trashed the place.

 The weather was glorious and instead of snowsuits and shivers we had sweats and stripping off coats.  It was marvelous and worked wonders for my mood.

 We knocked several ideas for our alphabet challenge off the list including windmills, waterfalls, trains and tea parties.

 We got to visit with good friends (although, Kittenpie, we missed connecting with you so we will need to try to work something out soon!)

 I think the funniest part of the visit up north involved this little stinker.  We got up in the morning to heat BLASTING from the gas fire in the front room.  The little monkey had snuck the remote into bed with him and during the night, kept turning up the heat.

Can't you just feel the joy?

 Our tea party with our special guest from kindergarten.

 My little cutie as he erupts from his room every morning - soother, Rudolph and jammies.  This always brings a smile to my face, even as I beg him to sleep the tiniest bit longer.

 This was a "haircut" - it looked rather like torture to me.  One of the joys of this week was watching how close the two of them have become and how much they enjoy each other.  It is exactly why I so wanted two children.
 We finished up the week with a visit to a farmer's market with a farmer friend to buy chickens (live) and a morning at the farm.  LB was in heaven - tractors and gators made his little heart tremble with joy and he very obviously had plans to hijack.

 A morning at the farm wiped him out completely.  I was able to strip him from his outdoor clothing and change his diaper and he didn't stir.
 This is my mother.  We went down to the city for a visit and the best part was seeing how much better she is feeling.  Before Christmas, she was too uncomfortable to walk to the end of the street.  Now, she's playing in the park.  It is so reassuring.

 The St. Patrick's day meal verged on the ridiculous but that's the fun in the family :-)

Not every moment was spectacular (I did have a visit to emergency when my varicose veins and high platelets led me to be rather concerned about a new and intense pain in my left leg - I would say that I was paranoid but as soon as the doctor saw it, I was rushed for an ultrasound.  The narcotics addict in the next cubicle screaming and throwing things because they wouldn't give her anything made the visit... interesting) but overall, this was a week that made me feel so grateful for so many parts of my life and it gave me a good chance to reconnect with myself and what I want.  If only this feeling can last!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Getting Out...

I'm not sure what the weather has been like in your neck of the woods but we have been enjoying an unnervingly warm spell of weather.  Normally, we worry about going north to visit family because we run the risk of being trapped by bad roads.  Not this year - we were out without coats much of our time.

Personally, I don't detest winter as much as some but by about mid-January, I'm ready for more light and for less outerwear.  This year has been no exception.  These first really warm days fill me with a sense of hope and enthusiasm for all the things that I have been having trouble mustering my energy for.  Having this happen during the March Break is especially wonderful - I can be out during the day, going on long walks and hanging my laundry on the line!

One benefit of being a two-sporting-dog family is that we have a lot of motivation to be outside.  Pk is now old enough that she's happy to wander with us, finding pine cones, collection leaves and throwing things into the water.  LB is still a huge fan of time in the Ergo on my back, although we do break out the jogging stroller now and again, too.  We had two lovely walks this week I wanted to share.

The first was to a conservation area up north that features a lovely waterfall.  It's always steady but I have never before seen it raging like it was where we were there.  The view down from the bridge was quite amazing!

I'm always surprised at how much green is hiding under the snow and how quickly the forest greens up again.  There was moss everywhere and ferns starting to appear and all that green made me very happy!
 The dogs were thrilled to get a good run and to enjoy all of the smells that melted snow reveals.  Can you see both of them?
 The waterfall itself was so impressive!  The trail down the side was closed (boo) but from the lookout, we still had an impressive view.
 Earlier today, we enjoyed a trek that was a little more local.  The sun was shining and the temperature was perfect for a walk.
 Lucie, our younger dog, even decided that some water-stick-retrieving was called for.  She had a blast (and we were thrilled as she had gone into a disgusting boggy type place and needed a good cleaning!)
 LB and Pk found considerable pleasure in throwing pinecones into the pond.

 I was born in the city and it still amazes me when, on our walks in the forest, we encounter horses.  Children and dogs find this fascinating.
I hope you are getting to enjoy the outdoors right now in whatever way you enjoy most!