Monthly Archives: September 2013


On this day fourteen years ago (really?), in the company of family and dear chosen family on a spectacular autumn day, I married my best friend.

Fourteen years later, we have not only owned our house for three years, complete with HRH-directed and -tailored renos, but we have two absolutely wonderful children who remind us daily that life is spectacular in so many ways.

Today also marks the fifteenth anniversary of HRH and I doing our first road trip together, one of the joys I have continued to experience with him throughout our marriage. Doing them with not one but two children has stretched the associated definition of “joy,” but it’s only getting better! A new car makes the upcoming trips feel even more exciting.

We don’t usually give ourselves anniversary presents, but this year I bought HRH a new coffeemaker, a fancy one that you can program the night before so that he can have coffee as soon as he gets up. These days it’s been hard for him to find the time to finish his first cup let alone pour a second, with two kids to get moving and breakfasts to make. And he is buying me a subscription to the new Ply magazine for spinners. Let’s tally up this year’s celebrations:

  • ordered sushi from our favourite restaurant last night, during which we
  • watched Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiere, followed immediately by
  • watching the first episode of the fourth season of Downton Abbey
  • a new coffeemaker for HRH
  • a new spinning magazine for me

That summarizes our relationship rather nicely, doesn’t it?

I love you, HRH. I’m looking forward to many more years together of joy, love, laughter, supporting one another, and sharing our lives.


Balance is what I’m trying to maintain. I have had so many ups and downs this past month or so.

About three weeks ago the car started sounding throatier. It went from ‘somewhat throaty’ to Yikes That Sounds Expensive two weeks ago when Sparky and I were coming home from the doctor. HRH dug about under the car and discovered that the flex joint that connected the exhaust system to the engine had rotted through, so I was essentially driving a car with no muffler, despite the fact that there was a lovely, healthy muffler system there. It was a fix HRH couldn’t do, so it had to go to the car doctor last Thursday morning. This was the most recent in a series of small things going wrong with the car. We paid it off this past spring, and we wanted to get through the winter with it before looking at a slightly larger car. If this pattern continued, I wasn’t going to feel comfortable trusting the car over the winter. It was ten years old, and there was nothing immediately wrong with it apart from the fact that things were starting to wear out, and constantly replacing them and not knowing how much it was going to be was stressful. We’d rather get a new-to-us car and know that a set fifty dollars a week is going to pay it off. So we started researching cars in earnest instead of idly, as we’d been doing for a few months.

I had Thursday off since my deadline had been Wednesday night, and HRH booked the day off work to take the car in to the garage. Right next door to our garage is the used car dealership that we’ve dealt with forever. And they had two SUV/crossover cars in stock that we’d been researching for the past few months. So we got to go kind-of car shopping together and take test drives! Part of me just wanted to trade the current one in right then before something else happened to decrease its value any further, and drive home in a new-to-us Saturn Vue or Dodge Journey. Well, we tested the Vue first, and we liked it so much that we only took the Journey out to confirm how much we liked the Vue. (The huge blind spots in the Journey were dreadful, and the engine just wasn’t big enough to haul the weight of the vehicle around without straining — no, thank you.) We sat down with the salesman and we discussed options and trade-in value, and we ended up deciding to buy it, doing the pre-sale paperwork right there. The Ion wouldn’t be ready before we had to leave to pick up the kids — the job was bigger than the garage had initially thought, which made us a bit anxious about the cost — so the dealership gave us a loaner car, and we agreed to pick up the new car Saturday morning.

Saturday morning came, and we took the whole family over to pick up the new car. And we discovered that the garage had comped the job on the Ion. Hadn’t we traded it in, the garage manager said? So it wasn’t our problem. Happy new car. We were completely blown away and are now trying to figure out a way to give both the dealers and the garage guy a treat to say thank you.

New car!

We took it over to Grandma and Papa’s house to show it to them and have lunch together. The next day we took it out on its first road trip, to spend the day at Upper Canada Village with t! and Jan. It was a lovely day, despite the chill and the showers and the lack of a real nap on Owlet’s part.

And another joy is that the first accelerated government payment for Owlet’s daycare tax credit came in last week. Here in Quebec we have 7$ a day subsidized daycare, and if you’re in a private non-subsidized daycare you can apply for a monthly refund for a portion of your costs, calculated using the cost of the private fees and your family income. The idea is that since the subsidized 7$/day daycare spaces are hard to come by, the government will now subsidize the cost of the private ones. Well, my refund was awfully large — larger than my fees, in fact — so I did some math and it turns out that the information the government is using is based on the cost of a full-time place, not part-time, and they’re overpaying me. So unless I wanted to get dinged at tax-time and have to pay half of this money back, I needed to do something. Well, I talked to HRH, and we decided to ask if we could send Owlet full-time, because we knew there was room, and with this monthly refund it works out to $7 a day exactly, which I can totally afford! The daycare director e-mailed me inviting me to switch Owlet to full-time just as I was sitting down to write to her, and so it’s all set: Owlet is now full-time in daycare, and everyone is thrilled, especially her. (Well, no. The lady at the deli counter in the supermarket today was disappointed that Owlet wasn’t with me. Owlet is her favourite customer, she tells me.)

I dyed Mum’s luxury yarn last week, and it looks AWESOME. It’s a stunning rust/terra cotta colour that just glows in the sunlight. I’ve never dyed so much yarn — remember, we’re talking 1700 yards, and about 13 oz of fibre! — or used so much dye at one time. It took 10 g of dye powder, when the most I’d used at one go before was 1 or 2 g, and I mixed the colour myself from two others. I hope she likes it. I have some touch-ups to do where the dye didn’t quite penetrate past figure-eight ties, and then I shall post pictures.

And a friend who is moving back to the UK has given me a pile of games, electronic equipment, books, and toys. I’m feeling particularly spoiled by life in general these days, and so very, very grateful for all our good fortune. I know we’ve been putting in our time this past year, and everything comes to those who work and wait, but the harvest — if that is the correct word, seeing as how that’s the time of year? — is so very appreciated.

Owlet: Twenty-Five Months Old!

All right; school and rush jobs for work have settled, I am over my stomach flu, and so I’m finally editing and posting Owlet’s 25-month post, and backdating it. It seems that I didn’t take many pictures this past month, so I am sharing ones taken by Scott and my father, too. (They take better pictures than I do, anyway.)

In general she is perky, strong-willed, and cheerful. She is obsessed with bagels. We have finally hit the toddler whimsical nature when it comes to eating — some nights she will just shove the plate of supper away, even if it is all things she loves. HRH introduced her to Shreddies, which she thinks are just marvellous, and the idea of cereal with milk, which she loves eating off his spoon. (She’s not so fond of it in her own bowl, however.)

She has been at daycare for a month now. She’s attending three days a week, and she loves it. She will frequently repeat the names of all her friends and teachers to herself while she’s at home doing something by herself: “Go June’s. Jacob. Ella. ‘Lista. Baby Ryder. Cahanne. Play.” There are never tears when I drop her off; in fact, I usually have to call her back for a kiss, or even just to take her coat and shoes off because she just walks right in and starts puttering about. Integration went so well in the first couple of weeks that they started potty training the kids the second week, which meant that our cloth diapering has pretty much stopped, other than naps and outings when she’s home.

I’m actually kind of frustrated about toilet training at the moment. She was in a good place in the late spring when we started working on it at home, but then summer happened, with everyone home and the daily routine all topsy-turvy and lots of distraction, so she regressed. And now it’s even worse; while she cheerfully sits at “cool,” she violently refuses to at home, so we’re backing off a bit here.

The toddler stubbornness is becoming more evident in other ways, too. We usually go down the front steps together, with Owlet holding on to the railing with her right hand and my hand with her left. When we left to meet Sparky at school the other day, I locked the door and held out my hand to her, but she waved her hand at me in refusal. “Go away,” she said. “Go car, Mummy.” And she would not budge until I went down the stairs and stood by the car. She went down the stairs on her own.

When she wakes up in the morning, gone are the days of half an hour of quietly talking to herself and her animals. No, now it’s a very imperious “AAAAAAALL DOOOOOOONE” a moment or two after she opens her eyes. Her favourite books are what she calls Princess Bag (the Paper Bag Princess), Toads on Toast, and Mud Puddle. She loves to sing, and her favourite songs right now are “Six Little Ducks,” “Rock-a-bye,” and Raffi’s “Peanut Butter Sandwich” and “Brush Your Teeth.”

She’s starting to make her toys kiss, which is charming. She made HopHop wave goodbye to the cashier and then the packer at the grocery store the other day when they said goodbye to her, with a deadpan expression on her face. She didn’t say anything to them — she usually chirps a “Merci” or “Bye!” as we go — just waved the bunny’s hand at one, then the other, very deliberately.

Her attitude and awareness of her toys has shifted in a very interesting way. She held HopHop out to me the other day and said, “Talk, Mummy.” So I looked at the bunny and said, “Hello, HopHop. How are you?” “Snack,” said HopHop. I glanced at Owlet, but her eyes were on the rabbit, too. “You’re hungry, HopHop?” I said. “Peanut butter crackers,” said HopHop. “Those are a bit too messy,” I said. “What about some goldfish crackers?” “Fish!” said HopHop, very pleased. And then I looked at Owlet and said, “Would you like some too?” “Yes! Fish!” she said. So I got a little bowl of goldfish crackers, and I made sure to give it to HopHop and reminded him to share with Owlet. It was the first instance of Owlet pretending one of her toys was interacting with a real person and playing along with the pretend.

She got some PlayDoh for her birthday from Jeff and Pasley, and she loves squishing it between her hands and cutting out all sorts of shapes.

For the longest time when you asked her what colour something was she’d say “blue” right away. Then she added “purple” to her repertoire of answers. But a couple of weeks ago she held up a yellow crayon and said “yellow” unprompted, and she said something was green the other day. But most of the time things are still blue or purple.

She eats cherry tomatoes by the bowlful outside, standing by the garden and reaching a hand toward them, asking “Daddy? Mummy? Eeeyam? Matos?” She loves having freshly pulled carrots, too, going over to the bucket by the hose to rinse them off and then crunching away on them. She will swing for ages in our little wooden baby swing, saying, “Whee, whee, whee” as she goes back and forth happily. Moving large pieces of gravel from one place to another is still one of the most wonderful games in the world, and dropping them in the water bucket is a thing of joy. We have to keep an eye on her, though, because I found her sitting in that water bucket one day. It was a tight fit, and she couldn’t get out very well. I wonder how long she would have sat there in the water before calling for help if I hadn’t noticed her. (This isn’t the bucket; it’s a snow saucer! The kids pulled it out for water play on another day.)

She’s in size 7 shoes, size 4 pull-ups (they’re just that much looser and easier to get up and down), size 3 to 4 tops and mostly size 3 bottoms. I’ve thrown my hands up at most clothes sizing, actually. The dress she insisted on wearing last weekend was a size 4 and she was swimming in it, but she got a size 4 top for her birthday that barely fits. There is no rhyme nor reason to it all.

Mischief Managed

This past spring, when the new Pokemon game was announced for release this coming October and we learned that it was going to be made exclusively for the 3DS, I made a deal with Sparky. If, I said, he could save up half of the cost of the unit, we would pay the other half.

He has put every penny of his allowance into his piggy bank, put gift money in there, did extra chores around the house for money above and beyond his allowance for the usual chores he does, returned bottles and cans for the deposit money, and as of yesterday he had saved up just shy of his goal. As there was a good sale on this week, I said he’d just about done it, and so we made a date to pick it up this weekend. He would take any colour, he said, any at all; although purple was his first choice and black his second, he’d even take pink, he said earnestly. We assumed those were the only colours on sale, as they were the only three pictured in the ad.

The first store we went to was sold out and told us rather shortly that they had a limited quantity and if they were gone, they were gone. (Not only did this tick us off, because the ad had said nothing about limited quanities, it sent Sparky into a panic, despite having been told about rainchecks before we’d left.) The second store we went to had none left on the shelves, but when we asked, the clerk said she had one unit left behind the counter. It was red.

We are very, very proud of him. This was his first big test of will, saving up for something specific rather than just saving up money in general and then wandering through a store to see what he could buy with that amount. It wasn’t easy; there were several times that he pleaded to buy something, and I explained over and over that if he used some of the money in his bank he’d have to wait even longer for the 3DS. But he did it, and now he can start saving up for something else.

It’s charging up right now in its neat little cradle (oh, the agony of waiting another couple of hours!). He very proudly handed my DS back to me as we unpacked his new one. I think I’ll have find a secondhand Pokemon game so we can trade things back and forth and have battles. He’d love that.

I wish the photo of him beaming so hard that his teeth are bared and his eyes are squinched shut hadn’t turned out too blurry to use. You’ll just have to imagine the unbridled joy on his face instead.