Saturday, September 29, 2007

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

We have some new neighbors across the street. They are proving to be a pleasant addition to the neighborhood in so many ways.

For instance, last night they made sure the whole neighborhood could enjoy their party music and laughter. AND instead of going to bed like the rest of us, they made the sacrifice of partying till past 5am just so the rest of us didn't have to lay in our beds doing anything as boring as sleeping. I really appreciated it.

Today, even though they must have been hung over, they dragged themselves out of bed and hung around in their driveway drinking and cussing just so I had something interesting to watch while I painted our house. Now that's a good neighbor. They didn't even take a break from the driveway when they needed to settle some domestic issues and let the whole neighborhood hear and witness some Jerry Springer moments right on our own street! What could be better on a Saturday afternoon? Nothing. That's what.

Later, even though their own preschool children were busily playing in the road unsupervised as usual, they didn't let that stop them from bashing some beer bottles all over their driveway (and one on the street), screaming the F word at each other for a while, and then climbing into their car and driving away while still making sure to take some swigs from the beer bottles to just boggle my mind in case I was getting bored with the driveway performance. Always thinking of others before themselves. So unselfish. (I appreciated that most of all. I haven't got to call the RCMP for a long time, and Glen was expecting a phone call and we wanted to make sure our phone was still working.)

So, to my dear friends across the street, welcome to the neighborhood and thanks so much for making my afternoon so pleasant and relaxing. I'm really looking forward to forming a closer relationship with you... Er... I mean... The RCMP dispatch officer.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Fall Photo Shoot: Second Attempt

I know my blog lately has been almost entirely about my children, and for some of that is probably kind of boring. The thing is, mostly all I think about is my dad and my kids right now. Since we post all of our Dad updates on his new blog, all you may be getting for a while are posts about Ben and Sam.

The leaves are rapidly being blown off the trees and everything is starting to look less picturesque and more dreary and depressing, so I dragged the boys out for another attempt to get some stellar fall photos...
I think I may be almost satisfied. If there's time I'd still like to stick them on some hay bales and possibly take some action shots of them playing in a big pile of leaves. But if I don't I think I can just about persuade myself to let it go.

If you'd like to see more of the same, or you just want to comment on the individual shots, or if you're like me and can't stay off of facebook for longer than a couple hours, here is a link to the rest of the pictures I took in both shoots. (You can also just click on the photo to see it bigger.)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

So Proud!

Today I dropped Ben off for preschool all by himself. (The last two weeks I have been the parent helper.) First we dropped off Glen at the high school. Then we drove the block or so to Ben's school. I unbuckled him from his car seat, set him on the sidewalk, and turned to get Sam. Ben said, "Okay, go then." LOL. He wanted me to just leave him in front of his school the way we leave Daddy. What a kid.

He is loving preschool. When I came to pick him up, his class was just on the way back from the nearby train park. Most of them were running helter-skelter, but a few of the more sedate children, including my little man, were doing as they had been instructed... Walking calmly along, holding onto Sammy the Snake. SO cute. (He was so engrossed in the snake and his teacher he didn't even notice me there on the street.) Ben really seems to be getting the hang of this school thing with no troubles. I'm so proud of him. I peeked in the window in the door after they got back to the classroom and watched him dance and do some of the actions to the songs his fabulous teacher, Mrs. Haider, was singing and performing for them. He looks so little from far away... Sigh. I want to hold onto him tighter at the same time as I feel so proud and happy that he is "out there on his own" a little, and DOING GREAT!

Monday, September 24, 2007

I can't believe I'm saying this...

... But you know Stupidstore? That place that fills me with rage like no other? (Except maybe Walmart.) I am loving their new line of clothes, especially the stuff for kids. In the past, shopping for boys clothes at Stupidstore has been frustrating, to say the least. For one thing there was almost no selection. Usually I could count on about ten items in a given size. (This is especially frustrating when the girls clothes take up three aisles. It's like people think little boys don't need to be dressed, or they can just wear the same outfit every day. Grrrr. Deep breaths.) The other thing was the items that were available had Elmo and Winnie the Pooh splashed all over them. (Don't get me wrong, I love fuzzy little creatures as much as the next person, but I don't like to look at them splashed all over my child's chest in garish colors.)

See... I've always intended that when I had kids I would dress them like little adults. (Just like I intended to never let myself go, or buy a minivan.) No tacky Spidermen, or plastic jeeps for my kids. Now, I've had to relax this standard a little, okay... A LOT. (Ben has both a Spiderman shirt, and a shirt with a large plastic monster truck glued to the front.) I guess at the time I made my plans I hadn't accounted for the pleasure I would gain dressing him in things he likes. What can I say? I wasn't a mommy yet. I didn't know how your own child's smile can transform a day from dreary to magical.

What I did account for was the pleasure of dressing children all matchy-matchy and slick like the kids on Gap ads. Since I don't have girls, and I don't get to do braids or sticky-up pony tails with ribbons and little flower barrettes, I figure I should at least be allowed to make my boys sometimes look they stepped out of a Gap commercial. Is this excessive? Is this wrong? (Don't answer that.)

Till recently, that has been difficult. Yorkton doesn't have a Gap or even an Old Navy for me to shop at, and let's face it, I can't really afford to shop at either. (And don't tell me Old Navy is cheap, because unless you hit a good sale, it's not that cheap. AND when you do manage to hit a sale, the selection in the boys' department is picked over and pathetic.) So all I had was Walmart, Zellers, and Stupidstore.

Walmart is crap. Their boys' section is as pathetic as it gets. Almost everything of the very little they have is ugly/tacky. The only thing they have going for them are the pants with the adjustable waists that rock my world. (Ben is so skinny, without adjustable pants I'd have to start tying up his jeans with a shoelace like I do my own. Don't ask or comment.)

Zellers is only slightly better. They tend to have a little closer to an even mix of boy vs. girl clothes, and what they do have seems to be better made. But it's still hit and miss most of the time, and I often leave there without getting what I want.

Onto Stupidstore... The last few months I've been noticing a startling change going on over there. I find myself being lured away from the quick walk down the diaper aisle to peruse the cute shoes and snazzy shirts being offered. (Don't even get me started on the girls' section! It makes me want to cry a little. They have this jacket right now... And these little cord dresses and knickers... I drool almost as much as Sam does whenever I give into temptation and find myself caressing pink tights with a glazed look on my face.) Yes, Superstore has overhauled their apparel sections, and I couldn't be happier with the results. (Ben and Sam are sporting some of their new Joe fashions in the fall photos I took of them this weekend.)

So, I can't believe I'm saying this... But way to go Superstore. Your new Joe Fresh Style line is fab, maybe even super fab! And you've made this mommy very happy.

(Now, if you could just make some of your women's clothes in my size I might even stop calling you Stupidstore on a regular basis.)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fall Photo Shoot: First Attempt

Fall is here. And that means? Time for the Fourth Annual Fall Photo Shoot. Last year's shoot got a little tense. We did it in October though... So I was under pressure to produce a good shot before all the leaves were gone and all I had were some naked trees looking all forlorn and stuff. Last year I also had it in my head that I could capture perfect shots of both boys in one attempt.

This year I am approaching things a little differently. For one thing, I have learned my lesson and started early, giving myself plenty of time for multiple shoots if they become necessary. This helps keep my tension to the minimum by letting me adopt the attitude of: "If I don't get it today, I'll get it tomorrow." You may be amazed to hear this, but children don't smile very well when they have been posing for over an hour while their mommy snaps at their daddy for not positioning them properly. Go figure.

Why, you may ask, would I stress at all? The answer? I don't know. Part of it is that fall is my favorite season and the pictures I will most likely want to frame and put on my walls someday will be the ones taken with beautiful leaves and little boys dressed in cozy looking outfits. The other answer is that I am have issues. I know I said once that I was going to try and relax with this whole photographing every moment of our lives, but I can't seem to get a handle on it and I'm not sure I even care to try right now. Actually, I don't really care to try and get a handle on very much of anything right now...

... But more about that later. For now, here are some of my favorite pictures from my first attempt to get the perfect fall picture of my boys. I'm still hoping for a better one of Sammy and a really nice one of the two of them together. (If you click on it you can see it a little bigger.)
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Growing Up

Well, it's happening. Benjamin is growing up. He hit one of his first milestones yesterday... His very first day of school.

I expected to drop him off without any tears on his part, and maybe a few on mine, as I drove away. I expected him to have a fabulous time and have to be dragged kicking and screaming away from his new favorite place and little friends. It didn't quite happen that way.

First of all, I ended up being the parent helper so I stayed the whole time. (So I got to take lots of pictures!) I'm not sure if my being there made it worse or if it was a good thing, because he cried. Twice. Both times his teacher was directing all the children to an new activity and I wonder if it wasn't just too overwhelming, because right away he started looking for me and crying when he couldn't find me. Maybe he wouldn't have cried if he knew I had left, or maybe he would have cried a lot more.


Either way, I'm glad we signed him up. I think it will be very good for him. He is usually very friendly and confident, but he seemed so unsure of himself in this setting. I imagine that if we went to a bigger church with a Sunday School class full of children he would be a lot more accustomed to having a teacher and kids around him, but we don't. So I think this will be good. For all of us.

Next week I am the helper again. I kind of wish I wasn't. I tend to drag my feet when it comes to letting my baby go, but I find myself wanting so badly for him to find his own way, to open up his little wings and find out he can fly.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Missing

I did some reading, and watching today. I read through some memorial sites. I watched some tributes on YouTube... And I remembered how that day felt.

I looked at some of the faces of the ordinary people who died seven years ago. I listened to their voices talking to 911 operators. Some of them pleaded for help... Others were angry that it wasn't coming quickly enough. Just ordinary people reacting to fear and pain. I remembered feeling so helpless as I watched the news, wanting to stop it somehow.

Oprah did a show on the children of 9/11 that made me sob. I listened to the memories of the families left behind. My heart broke when I saw family members who were lost... Home movies of Dads wrestling with their children and photos of Moms giving piggy-backs. I remembered watching the news and crying at the footage of families putting up posters and wandering the streets with photos of their loved ones, hoping.

I remembered, but I didn't miss.

There are people who are missing someone today though... People whose hearts are aching for one more hug, one more laugh, one more touch, one more glimpse of a smile, one more "I love you"... And today they are on my mind, and in my heart and prayers.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I am so smart. S-M-R-T!

This evening, after psyching myself up for a while, I took the test with the rest of the nation. Last time I had to try and concentrate with that music that makes me tense and Ben running around. This time I opted for the internet option and there was no freaky tense music, plus Ben was sleeping soundly on my lap... A much better setup. I suppose I was also calmer this time because there were no painful math questions to make me feel all rushed and flustered. Grammar and talking stuff seems more clear cut to me... Either I know it or I don't, and, for the most part, I did.

I lay it all down to way too much reading and a little bit of luck, because I can tell you for a fact I still don't know how I guessed what the hoink a dépanneur is and if you ask me tomorrow I won't remember anyways. I don't mind having a little luck on my side though. I need these things to boost up my ego. Sadly, this time the test results don't class me as a genius or anything thrilling... There was only this uninspiring table...

Apparently, I'm astute. I looked it up in the thesaurus. Here are the words it came up with: adroit, brainy, bright, calculating, canny, clever, crafty, discerning, foxy, insightful, intelligent, keen, knowing, perspicacious, quick, sagacious, savvy, sharp, shrewd, sly. Bright? What's the point of scoring over 51 if I'm in the same class as people who didn't? Sheesh. Throw us a bone CBC! (Not literally, of course. That was an expression. And I would know. Heh heh.)

Anyways, I need a lot more glory than astute is giving me, so let's see if I can't do better than CBC did...


That's more like it. Ahhhh... The sublime delectation of conspicuous aggrandizement. Feels goooood.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A Perfect Afternoon

Summer's last
sunny breezes
whisper soft in trees
still wearing emerald green.

You and I
rock together
swaying back and forth
lying on a porch swing.

And above
rising to fall,
gently flapping sheets
first make walls then windows.

Your soft hair
delights my cheek,
and my heart is full
of sweet smiles and laughing.

Could I wish
for better still?
Or just make this now
my all and everything.