Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A sprain in the ass

I trucked the kids off in the bike trailer this morning to the park. Our local city park, Greenboro, has a great wading pool and sprinkler plus a decent playground. The library and community centre are right there making it a childhood (and tired mother's) mecca. We're there a lot.

I dismounted the bike, had Hope in one arm, our bag of gear in the other, Emily tagging along. I took one step and my ankle rolled off the paved path and into the soft sand beside it. The distinct crack I heard told me there was likely a torn ligament. Me hitting the ground like a bag of wet cement told me that I was going to have a shitty time at the pool today. I do credit myself however for hanging onto Hope as well as I did. She held on and giggled thinking my wincing and yelping was part of a new game.

As I gasped in pain, holding Hope and trying to answer Emily's questions, I flagged a lifeguard who brought me some ice packs. As I was on City of Ottawa property, the (very) young male lifeguard had to do an incident report. He asked my age. "Thirty-five," I said. "Oh," he said, "I would have said twenty-five. " Flattery will totally get you everywhere. I truly believe this boy deserves a raise.

The lifeguards propped me up in a couple of lounge chairs with my foot elevated. They were great. We girls ate our snack. Not wanting Emily to miss out on her swim, I changed them (somehow from my chair) and then painfully hobbled over to the shallow area where I plopped down Hope and prayed that Emily would listen and stay close. She did. I actually couldn't have had a better behaved toddler this morning. She did everything I asked, she played in the water without me with no complaints, she helped me carry things and even got ready to go home with no crying.

I'm so glad I biked there this morning. I was able to bike back without too much discomfort. I wouldn't have been able to walk back. I would have had to take Mr. Lifeguard up on his offer to piggy back me home.

The sprained ankle sucks but I'm choosing to look at it from a different angle - this gives me an excuse to sit on my ass and be pampered for a bit.

We're off to the cottage again tomorrow with some good friends, Meredith, Ron, and their kids, Ella and Duncan. More hands to fetch my drinks and fluff my pillows.

I think the ice did help at the pool. Here is the swelling I've got now. Left is bad ankle, right is normal ankle (I guess that was kind of obvious) - no comments about my skinny, bony feet, please - they keep me upright, well, most of the time:

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A reason to have kids

The phone rang this afternoon. It was my sister-in-law, Sue. We started chatting and Emily, as has been typical lately, starting peppering me with "What you talkin' bout, Mummy? Mummy, what you talkin' bout?" I kept talking, ignoring her for a few seconds, hoping she would get the hint to, um, shut it.

I guess to get my attention, she pulled out this gem, from where I'll never know but it made my afternoon: She started patting my chest (for some odd reason) and said: "What you talkin' bout, little fella?"

Just awesome.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Proud mama

I finally get it. I finally understand the overwhelming pride I've heard from other mums when they describe witnessing their kids' achievements. Not that I haven't been proud of Emily before. Of course, I have. But last week I was actually choking back tears and cheering and then couldn't stop cheering and felt like she was possibly the most amazing kid in the world - don't you see it!? Did everybody see it?! She is the most amazing person in the world, isn't she? Why isn't anyone else crying? You should all be crying!

I finally get what Shannon felt when she watched Abby sing as the only member of the choir. I really get it now.

Last week we went over to Steve's cottage (Steve is married to John's sister, Sue) in Orillia. Steve's grandpa, years ago, had devised a nifty little ski-board for the kids so they could have any easier way to water ski. Essentially it is a piece of plywood with a very short ski rope handle on it that they stand on while pulled very slowly behind the Sea-Doo in a little circle near the dock. Rather ingenious. Emily's cousins went first and Emily, to my amazement, said she wanted to try it. I held her in place and pushed her up and got her going and, whoa, off she went all by herself. Staring straight ahead with her little arms pulled right in, not moving a muscle she went for the whole circle and didn't dump until her dear mother fumbled the ending and caused her to face plant in the lake. Oops. Unfortunate because it kind of ruined it for her but not for me. While she did her tour I was working hard to swallow the lump in my throat, my arms raised in the air, clapping and cheering. She didn't see any of it because she wouldn't move her little eyes from looking straight ahead, concentrating with all her might. I was so completely proud of her. I couldn't take my eyes off her. Wow, she's mine.

Turns out she unseated her cousin Claire for youngest to ever successfully ride it. She broke the three year old barrier. Go, Em, go! Sorry, we were all so riveted to watching her, it wasn't captured on film so you'll just have to take my word for it.

She also tried the inflatable water slide and loved it, for a while. Until she did a naked face plant and decided it was no longer fun. I have video of it. I had it posted here and after going back and forth I decided it was probably really irresponsible to put that up here. Just assume that it is damn cute and really funny. It is.

My other proud moment was later in the week when she, on her own, figured out how to use the inflatable ring to swim. That was it for her, there was no stopping her, or the begging to be in the lake at all times.

Hope was her usual mischievous self, sleeping so-so, getting a tooth and being the most amazing baby, bar none.

We're making it a bit of a habit (not that I'm complaining) to stop at the Wilno Tavern on the way home - about 40 minutes outside of the east gates of Algonquin Park. Emily calls it the Pirogi Restaurant. The Wilno Tavern is in Wilno, Canada's first Polish settlement. I guess I don't have to tell you that people would likely commit terrible crimes for their pirogies. Emily included. Of course, put a bowl of sour cream in front of the girl and she considers it a meal.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Might be a sellout but at least I'm clean

About three weeks ago I received an email from a very nice woman in California asking if I would be willing to review a laundry detergent, which she would mail to me at no charge, and then post my review here on my blog.

My first thought was: wow, seriously? Do that many people actually read this that someone wants to use me to market a product. I was feeling kinda good, a little proud. But then I started thinking: if I do this, am I a sellout? Will people think less of me? More importantly, will people be less interested in reading the blog?

I thought about it for a day, and after confirming that I could be as honest as I wished, I accepted. Pretty much it came down to this: no salary starting in August, free laundry soap.

So, for those of you in the U.S., keep reading. The detergent I received is Wisk 3X Multi-Action. When she told me the product name I got a bit nostalgic because my mum used Wisk (the original version) throughout my childhood. Turns out though that Unilever, the company that makes Wisk (and who by the by, hired me to do a Dove commercial several years ago but that's another post for another day), took the brand out of Canada a few years ago. I realized this while I was perusing the shelves at Loblaws looking for it. It seems that Unilever replaced Wisk with Sunlight in Canada. So, we do in fact have Sunlight 3x Multi-Action but it has different flavours as it were. Don't know why they did this but right then I decided I better not like the Wisk too much or it would be tantamount to developing a taste for Payday or Baby Ruth.

Anywho. As detergent goes, this is pretty damn good. It smells good (original scent is what I have) but doesn't leave much of a scent on the dried clothes, just a hint of one, which I really appreciated. It gets the clothes very clean - cleaner than my clothes have been in a long time. Sorry, Tide, seems you've been replaced. It also doubles as a stain treater. How cool... that means one less bottle of stuff in my laundry room. If you check out the Wisk website you'll see that beyond its cleaning power, Unilever is really marketing this as an environmental product. Through a little caluclator program you can determine how much less gas, plastic and cardboard you will help to save by using the product. The reason behind this is because you use 3x less detergent per load than a traditional detergent. I found this pretty damn cool too. Really - you won't believe how little you actually put in. So there. I liked it. I'll very likely buy the Sunlight version. Now I go into my honest bit.

If Unilever is really serious about the environment, they would sell this in bigger bottles. If you really want us to save on plastic, scrap the tiny bottle this comes in and sell it in the traditional big bottles, at least as an option to the consumer. Yes, the price would be quite high, but I'd be buying the equivalent amount over time anyway. My next issue: why, seriously, do detergents need dyes? I couldn't find out on the Wisk site if there is a dye-free option. Sunlight has one (dye and scent free) called Sensitive Skin. Come on guys... why do you think I need my detergent to be a very "clean" blue colour? I get it, you're trying to play with my mind and make me think that because it is icy blue it somehow has more cleaning power. Please, just take out all the dyes. I know it gets clothes clean. We all do. Give us some credit and do a little extra for the Earth.

Now for my really big beef with laundry detergent and all liquid cleaning products: I honestly can't see any reason why there aren't refill stations in the grocery stores. In our local environmental shop here in Ottawa, Arbour, you can refill a number of cleaning products, saving countless plastic containers, fuel and energy to carry and produce them, not to mention the energy to recycle them. Why not the big companies? I see this as a huge opportunity for a company like Unilever to take a serious leadership role in making a big environmental impact and in so doing, gain some serious customer loyalty. If they took the step to do this, they would have me for life.

As I mentioned, I liked the product. I'll buy the Sunlight version. I liked the mild scent (can't speak to Sunlight's) and I liked how clean the clothes were and how little detergent is used. There is a high-efficiency washer version too, by they way. Now, if Unilever would just take my other suggestions I might just turn this into the Unilever fan club site.

There you have it folks. Hope you come back for some regular, product-free posts. But hey, I'll be smelling good and looking clean for a couple of months.

Home again

While Emily and I certainly didn't want to, we returned from the cottage yesterday. The house is in shambles, the laundry is in limbo, there is grocery shopping to be done and yet Emily is watching Blue's Clues while I play around on the internet looking for things to keep me away from everything I should be doing.

We had an amazing few days. The days were spent swimming and playing. The evenings, after the kids were asleep, were spent reading Harry Potter aloud to each other. We're about 65 pages from the end and we're totally loving it.

I'll post some good photos, some good stories and even a short video later today (or tomorrow depending on how much I get accomplished today).

We're going back next week for the long weekend. Hurrah!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Hope Corleone

It took 4 days. Four days of, at times, awful crying, of lots of rocking, of singing, of tears (hers and mine). This morning Hope fell asleep after 10 minutes of crying, this afternoon after about 2 or 3 (and her favourite song of course). Tonight it was mere seconds. Yeah, it was worth it. Yeah, I probably fretted about it too much, particularly since this is my second child and I should know better. But you know what I've learned, or at least, remembered? Even if it is your second or third or fourth, it hurts just as much to have to make the tough decisions and you wring your hands about it just as much.

There is one lasting effect from all of this trauma. Hope is hoarse. Her voice? Gonzo. She seriously sounds like Marlon Brando. She has a raspy laugh and an even raspier cry. Poor kid. It's a lasting reminder of what we've been through together the last few days.

I solicited advice because we never did this with Emily. She was a barfer if left to cry on her own. Not worth it, let me tell you. Things are different this time in another way - I have Emily to think of. I can't take the time to gently coax Hope into sleep when Emily is playing downstairs. It would take at least an hour and by then Emily would have the kitchen on fire or at least be making vanilla pizza.

You laugh. She seriously did this one day when she was left in the kitchen for only a few minutes. Vanilla. Pizza. Vanilla all over everything. No actual pizza though. Damn. That could have been good.

Where was I? Right. Hope, sleep, Emily wreaking havoc. Hope is in the unenviable position of being second child. I just can't lay down with her or sleep with her or spend a lot of time coaxing her into sleep (as I did with Emily, admittedly). At this age, she is forced to figure it out. This is especially true now that Emily has decided that she is afraid of airplanes (a bit of a problem when you live right near an airport) and usually wakes up once a night to either tell me that or cry about that. If she doesn't wake up for that reason, she wakes up to go pee (yes, friends... pee! She is diaperless at night! Emily. My Emily. Can you believe it?). Only a month ago she had reverted to pooping in her underwear, something I never divulged on the blog because I was so SICK of talking about Emily's poop and bemoaning the fact that she wouldn't use the damn toilet. I reintroduced Smarties, other rewards, the small potty and voila! here we are. No Pull-Ups, no accidents (I know I'm tempting fate, but damn it, I'm proud!).

Let's move on now, shall we?

We're going to the cottage tomorrow. Third trip this summer which means one thing: this summer rocks!

See you back here in a few days with some photos and the usual, and given the weather in Ottawa, probably some monster vegetables in the back yard.

Oh, and I'm on Facebook now with the 1 trillion other Canadians who are joining in record numbers. Nothing like following the crowd. An upside? I'll never be going to a high school reunion.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What's cooking Wednesday

When you looked at the picture below you probably realized that a zucchini got away from me in the garden. I don't quite understand it. This one was there among all the tiny ones. When I saw it I knew that I would be stuffing a zucchini this week and thus, this week's What's Cooking Wednesday.

Straight from the much-used Moosewood Cookbook comes Zuccanoes (read that zoo-canoes), or Stuffed Zucchini. Note: you'll need 1 1/2 cups of cooked rice for this so do that first.

4 medium-sized zucchini (or one mother zucchini)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups minced onion
1 tsp salt
1/2 lb mushrooms, minced (we were all out of mushrooms so I used finely diced green pepper)
6 medium cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1 1/2 cups finely minced (or ground) almonds
3 tbsp lemon juice
black pepper and cayenne to taste
small handfuls of freshly minced herbs, if available (I used chives, thyme and basil)
optional: 1 cup grated Swiss cheese (I used parmesan)
optional: tomato sauce or some sort of sauce on top (although stated as optional, this would be pretty bland without it. More on that later)

1. Cut zucchini lengthwise down the middle. use a spoon to scoop out the insides, leaving a canoe with 1/4 inch shell. Finely mince the scrapings; set the canoes aside.
2. Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized skillet. Add onion and salt, and saute over medium heat 5 to 8 minutes, or until the onion is soft.
3. Add zucchini innards and mushrooms, and saute another 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic during the last few minutes.
4. Place rice and almonds in a medium-sized bowl. Stir in the saute and lemon juice and mix well. Season to taste with black pepper, cayenne and optional fresh herbs.
5. Preheat oven to 350 F. Fill the zucchini shells, top with cheese, if using, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until heated through. Serve hot.

I made Red Pepper Puree to put on top and let me just say, it totally made this dish, which is good on it's own but really flies with the sauce on top. So, it's really easy. Here you go:

Chop two red peppers into large chunks. Steam them over boiling water until they are very soft. Puree in a food processor or blender and then pass through a sieve. Add some salt and pepper and one clove of minced or mashed garlic. Pour on top of the Zuccanoes.

Just to keep you on your toes, switching topics in the blink of an eye, thanks everyone for your advice regarding Hope. Things still suck. She was up from 3 until 5 crying last night. Yes, I feel really shitty about it but I don't know what else to do. If I rock her she just wakes up when I try and put her in her crib. I pretty much have to wait until she is so exhausted from crying that she passes out when she finally hits the mattress. We're sitting her right now listening to her cry again. Although this is Day 3 of the crying, we're not seeing any progress but we're keeping it up for five days and then we'll reassess. I'm sure it's developmental and it will all pass but Sweet Marie, is it hard to hear her cry. I just have to keep telling myself that this is working towards something. Damn, I hope I'm right.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I thought it was supposed to be easier

When you're pregnant with your second child you hear over and over again how it will be easier this time. For the most part it has been but for the past two months, it hasn't been the case, at least in regard to Hope's sleep. Or, lack of sleep in fact.

When she hit 8 months old, she stopped going to sleep on her own, she stopped sleeping through the night on occasion. She started waking up A LOT. She started wanting boob every time she woke up. She became difficult to get to sleep. If the boob doesn't do it, I'm pretty much sunk. Like right now. She's wailing up there again.

John and I have decided to take some drastic action. We are not "cry it out" people. We don't like it. It didn't work with Emily the odd time we tried it and both of us have a hard time listening to our kids cry for us and ignoring them. We've also found that it doesn't work that well, it doesn't teach them to fall asleep on their own in a nice way. On the other hand, I can see why some people get desperate enough to do it. I've done it with Hope before but I never let her cry more than 10 minutes and in the past, that was all it took before she fell asleep anyway.

These days it's a completely different story. We're at a loss of how to get her to sleep. Singing, rocking, letting her play in her crib, using her crib aquarium thingy, breastfeeding... none of it works right now. So, we resorted to the method we've shunned in the past. Last night we let her cry for an hour before going in. Tonight, she's crying again and from experience, I'm betting she'll cry for an hour again before we go in. I wonder how long she would go if we didn't go in there. I'm not willing to find out.

You're probably wondering why we're letting her cry for an hour and then going in there anyway. Seems cruel, I know. However, last night, after the hour was up, I went in, picked her up and she instantly fell asleep in my arms. Of course, then I have to try to get her out of my arms, which often means she wakes up again. You see the problem. Anyway, last night, she did stay asleep and then slept until 4:00 a.m. 4:00 a.m.! We're hoping that this is teaching her that we won't hold her the whole night long, that we have to leave the room, and that, damn it, she better get on board with this whole sleep thing.

I know this is opening up some potentially nasty cans of worms out there. Everyone has an opinion, parent or not, on letting kids cry. I'm sure do. I just needed to get this out there so you can see the pain of what we're dealing with right now. I hate hearing my kids cry. I hate to be the reason for it. I also hate getting up 3 or 4 times a night or more and then getting no breaks during the day so that I feel like I'm constantly on the verge of tears just from shear exhaustion.

In other words, nah, it's not really "easier" the second time around.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Cottage time is good time

Well, it is only a week later and I'm already getting up the post on our week at the cottage. Must be some kind of record for me. I guess I'm just that organized.

We arrived in Huntsville on Thursday around supper so headed over to our favourite fish and chip joint, Westside Fish and Chips. Life was grand, we were officially on vacation time and then Emily puked all over the floor - chewed up fish and chips among other unrecognizable things decorated the carpet around our table. She was fine one minute, coughing the next, sticking her fingers in her mouth and then, pow. We had a few theories: choking? carsick? Veggie Booty gone bad (and later recalled)? We never quite figured it out but it was a nasty way to start the week. Emily was fine afterward and, to John's amazement, after I cleaned up the floor, I sat down and ate the rest of my dinner. No way I'm letting a little barf put me off my fish and chips.

On Friday, Emily, Hope and I left John to work on his writing while we went over to the Henkelman cottage. Beth and Graeme were over there and they invited us for the day so I could ride in the newly christened electric boat hand-crafted by Graeme's brother, Jonathan. I also wanted to see frequent-commenter and Graeme's sister, Erika. It was a great day, made greater by the fact that Jannie, Graeme's mom, took Hope for a few hours so Emily and I could tour Lake Rousseau in the boat. The boat was beautiful, the weather sunny with a little breeze. We went through the locks and into Port Carling reliving what many cottagers have done for eons - shop by boat. We pulled up to the butcher shop, the liquor store and the grocery store. I'm having trouble describing how it felt - nostalgic and yet I'd never done it before; historic, but that seems cliche; peaceful and yet we were shopping with many other people. Anyway, if you are ever in a situation where you can do it, please do, it just feels good.

The best part of that afternoon was a memory I'll recall a lot over the years. Emily slept in my arms for about 30 minutes on the boat. It took me back to her baby days when she often needed to be held while she slept. I spent those 30 minutes remembering that and peering into her sleeping face. I think that face is the most beautiful creation I saw last week.

On Sunday Beth and Graeme came to our cottage for the rest of the week and then on Monday, we left the men to their writing again and all the girls went over to my dad's wife's cottage near Gravenhurst. Emily had a newly bought paddle. She eagerly jumped into the canoe with Donna and one of her nieces ready to set that paddle in motion. They returned to the dock about 5 minutes later. Emily declared "I'm fustated!". Seems the paddle doesn't quite reach the water very easily when you are 3 feet tall.

On Wednesday, Beth's close friend and cottage regular, Sara, arrived to spend the rest of the week with us. You know when you get that perfect balance of people together so that every conversation is pretty much great? That is this group of people. We spent every night talking or playing games (and talking). It's pretty memorable when you can spend a night talking about everything from why a person would possibly own a season of Alf on DVD to the pros and cons of using Wikipedia as a source for academic research to why KFC's fries really should have been labelled "steams" and why people actually ate them for so long. Although it has been a common occurrence in my life, I almost peed my pants on that one.

Saturday was the big baby shower. The weather held, there was a lot of bocce ball played, great food and Beth and Graeme did well on the gifts. The best bocce shot of the day was performed by one of Graeme's uncles who managed to sink it down a groundhog hole under our neighbour's cottage. One in a million, I say, one in a million. It was a really fun afternoon. The rest of the baby shower photos are on Flickr.

The not mentioned parts of the week were spent doing some minor renovations on the cottage and disposing of many (I think last count was seven?) mice. Seems it is an outright gang, possibly even an organized ring.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Happy Ending

You may remember that a while back I was forced to cancel our much-anticipated trip to Boston. You may also remember that not only was I seriously disappointed as it was the first regular kind of vacation we would have had in a LONG time but also that I had to submit a travel insurance claim to a big, bad American insurance company and hope that they would have mercy on my pathetic little soul.

Well, turns out that they did! Yesterday I got a cheque (oh, it's an American company so that should be "check") in the mail for the entire amount I claimed! Yes! That's right! THE ENTIRE AMOUNT.

Let me just say: woohoo. (I couldn't bear using one more exclamation point.)

I'm rather pleased. One less month eating Spam.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Wanted: 40 winks

The last 36 hours or so have gone pretty much like this: girls did not nap at the same time yesterday so no break for me yesterday afternoon; Hope didn't go to sleep until 10:00 last night; Emily got up at 6:30 this morning; took girls on a "tourist in your own town" adventure today which required me to push Emily in the stroller all over Parliament Hill and Byward Market while carrying Hope's 20 pounds on my back; Emily didn't nap today; Hope napped for 1 hour; took Emily and Hope to playground late this afternoon pushing Emily on her tricycle and carrying Hope, again, on my back; tonight I fixed Emily's tricycle and started to assemble bike trailer for tomorrow's adventures. Somewhere in there I also cooked a decent dinner. I don't have the energy to post the recipe. It was meatballs on skewers with pineapple stuck on the bbq. Sounds good in theory but the meatballs fell off. Not worth sharing the recipe.

For now, I will lay me down to rest.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

10 months

Dear Hopes (my newest nickname for you in a long line of nicknames),

You turned 10 months old on July 7 while we were all celebrating Baby Texan's imminent arrival. The day did not go by however without me quietly reflecting on all that you are to me. Today I was reminded again that 10 months can go by so quickly because in just one day I am seeing significant changes in you.

You spent today doing the following: pulling up on every piece of furniture or person or pully-uppy thing in your reach, learning to wave bye-bye, standing for just a few seconds all on your own. I looked at you tonight while I was failing to put you to sleep (I'm listening to you cry through the monitor as I type this) and no longer saw the baby that you have been the last 10 months. Instead, I saw the toddler that you are becoming. The toddler you became last night it seemed while you slept. Your hair is starting to curl at the back reminding me of Emily's toddler days. Your face is so expressive. You are strongly motivated to get what you want when you want and show your fury when you don't get it. You've developed a distinct scream to show your anger and frustration. But when you are really happy in any single moment, your face is completely swallowed by your wide smile.

You love me. You make that very clear in your tender moments when you are feeling a little sad or tired. It's always me you want. And I love it. Your face lights up when I walk in the room or when I start to take you out of your car seat or when you and I start playing little game of peekaboo. You wave your arms in anticipation of me picking you up and this completely makes my day each and every time you do it.

I'm so excited about the days, months and years ahead of us. So glad you are here my not-so-wee one. I better go get you now... I hear the fury of Hope building.


Monday, July 09, 2007

Long in the tooth

After months of speculation, Hope has finally produced a pearly white. Noticed just this evening as I prodded her gums between her body thrashing and screams, the little ridge of her first tooth has poked through her gums at the bottom front. Poor wee thing. She is unhappy (when not medicated) but prepared to move from gumming to actual chewing one of these days.

It's a big milestone. My kids generally get their teeth "late" if you believe the books. But now that one is through I know there are more to follow on top and probably in short order if she follows in her sister's footsteps. Ah well. Who needs sleep anyway? Really, it is for the weak. And the lucky.

Banner trouble

I noticed just now that my banner is gone. I guess while I was on vacation it decided to take the opportunity and make a run for it.

So, it will be plain Jane up there until I find the time to design something.


We're back from a glorious, if rainy, week and a half at the cottage. It was, as John put it, the best week he has had there in years. This was due mainly to the people we were with: Beth (my sister, Graeme (her husband), Sara (friend of Beth's that joins us there every year. It is now a requirement) and of course, us and the kids.

The week was coined as the best in a long time for a number of reasons:

  1. Emily's age means she can play for hours on end there without getting bored or needing help
  2. Hope handled being away from home like a trooper
  3. Sara is possibly one of the funniest people we know
  4. we spent hours in the evenings sitting, laughing, talking about interesting things, laughing again. Oh, and laughing again.
  5. Graeme tends to keep a miser's hoard of chips in his room.we got good work done on the cottage. A cottage that tends to need lots of work.
  6. I got lots of time with Beth. Awesome.
  7. I swam, read, ate good food. I didn't sleep a lot. That's Hope's fault. She's forgotten how.
  8. John and Graeme got lots of time for their writing and work which made the week less stressful for them.
  9. We were the only ones up there. It felt like we had a compound to ourselves.
  10. Finally, and simply, we were at the cottage and that makes the starting point for happy just a little higher anyway.
I'll give a full report later complete with photos. We did have a baby shower for Beth up there that was a lot of fun and the weather held for the few hours that we needed.

Last note is that the war of the mice has reached a pinnacle. Seems they gathered their forces while we were gone and came back with some mercenaries. We seem to be winning the battle, but I'm unclear on which side is winning the war.

Oh, and I'll have to inform you later on the weird discoveries that lead us to believe that someone has possibly been squatting in the cottage. Sadly, we've had to install a giant lock on the back door rather than leave everything unlocked as usual. I really liked that we've done that for so long. I like that we trusted the world to behave.

Okay, I better get some breakfast and then plan out what's going on around here. There is some stuff to do. Most of it laundry. None of it involving a stroller as there is a giant bin blocking our garage due to the roofing that was supposed to be done by now but apparently Ottawa has had a more rain that you can fathom and our roof is right now only partially covered in shingles. Rain. No shingles. Wonder how that will work out.