Sunday, May 30, 2010

My Fish Story

Today we made use of the early summer weather and spent the morning at the beach.  While my children and husband played in a giant hole dug in the sand, I decided to go for a swim.  We'd gone into the water together a few minutes earlier, but the adults only made it in up to our ankles. 

The water at Burlington Beach takes forever to get deep. By the time it was up to my hips the people on shore were the size of sand flies.  I was watching a school of minnows swim by when, suddenly, I came face to leg with an enormous creature.  The fish, which was about the size of a small dog, swam right up to me.  I gasped and jumped a little.  The fish had the same startled reaction (if you can picture gasping without lungs and jumping without legs).  I lost interest in swimming and ran to tell my family what I'd found. 

A passing kayaker identified the beast as a carp looking for a mate (sorry, fish, I'm married).   Wikipedia says the carp is related to the goldfish.  Now that I think about it, it did kind of look like those big goldfish they have at the Mandarin, only this one was much larger, and less festively coloured.

Of course, when I waded out with my family to show off my discovery, my gigantic swimming friend had already disappeared into the deep.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Girls' Day Out!

Today William went off with Daddy to watch drag racing and go camping, so Jadzia and I had a girl's day out.  I put out the APB on facebook that I was looking for a fun girl's playdate, and two of my Mommy friends responded; Zoe's Mom, Columbia, and Leyla's Mom, Cara.  Zoe and Leyla are older than Jadzia, but since she thinks she's three that wasn't a problem.

Our recent aquisition of Summer Bronte Creek Passes made it the agreed upon favourite place to hang out. We planned to see the old Victorian farm house, but it was closed. We did, however, enjoy some pigs and peacocks nearby.  The male peacock even spread his tail feathers for us and did a little mating dance.

After snacks it was off to the play barn (which meant driving to another section of the park). On our way to the parking lot, another Bronte visitor let us pet her dog, much to Jadzia's delight.  "Buster" loved the attention and didn't want to leave all the friendly preschoolers. Nor did Jadzia want to leave the dog.

Eventually we made it to the Nature Centre near the play barn (which is hardly ever open when I go).  Jadzia was delighted to watch the bees in the beehive, but backed away when I held out a cuddly stuffed larva for her to hug.

Next more pigs, goats, chickens, and finally the play barn. If I'd brought William, he would have been all over the upper level of the play barn, running, sliding, and jumping.  The girls, on the other hand, seemed content to hang out with Jadzia on the slower kiddie slide. I can imagine William being jealous when he sees the pictures of his sister hanging out with his girlfriends.

By this time it was past lunch time, so we all went out to an Indian buffet restaurant for lunch.  Some of the dishes were a bit too spicy, but they had lamb so I was a fan. Among other things, Jadzia scarfed down like five little dessert cakes (I don't know what they're called but they are like TimBits drenched in syrup). 

I had a wonderful time.  And Jadzia did too, as evidenced by her screaming as soon as she was alone in her carseat.  But the tears were short lived, and she soon fell asleep. She's been dozing long enough now for me to have a shower and write this blog entry.  Huzzah! 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Super Happy Jen invades Daylight Atheism blog.

I'm guest moderating at Daylight Atheism, while the blog's author gets married and goes on a honeymoon.  Today I used my powers for evil and wrote a short guest post. I warned him that if he gave me this power his blog would become a parenting/star trek blog.  Parenting, check.  Now I have to figure out a way to tie Star Trek in with atheism.   Enjoy!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Rattray Marsh

Recently Adam started a local photography meet-up group, because there wasn't one in Burlington, and because he was jealous that I meet with a writer's group every three weeks. So far the group has had two meetings, one at the Royal Botanical Gardens before sunrise on a Saturday, and another today at Rattray Marsh in Mississauga at a more reasonable hour. I joined the group of course, despite my lack of a single lens reflex or desire to spend a grand or two on accessories.  William recently got into his kiddie camera, which he brought with him (his isn't an SLR either, but it shoots video aswell).

Rattray Marsh is a beautiful boardwalk trail on the shore of Lake Ontario. I ended up spending most of the meet-up today with William and Jadzia, divided between two awesome 80s-retro playgrounds near the trail, both with sand (Jadzia's current favourite food).  William must be growth spurting because he downed two peanut butter and jam sandwiches, an applesauce snack, and nearly half a pint of strawberries.  We brought Morty the jackapoo, who happily ran up and down the play equipment after I "accidentally" let go of his leash.

I finally convinced the kids to find Daddy, and we miraculously tracked him and his new photography buddies down, even though we stopped to throw rocks in the water, and paused every few steps to have yet another strawberry.  The photographers were on a part of the boardwalk overlooking the swamp, taking pictures of egrets and swans.  I later asked Adam how he thought the group went and he pronounced it "Okay" and said he was "glad somebody showed up."  I think he had a fabulous time.

*I should note that all the photos in this post were taken by me, and not a real amateur photo enthusiast with a suped up SLR.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Annoyances and Joys.

I give you a list of minor annoyances that are giving me a bad hair day (am I the only one whose hair gets static when I'm stressed?)

  • This morning William wanted to play with his activity book that comes with a dry-erase marker.  I gave him two rules: not on your skin, or on the floor.  He proceeded to draw a "hole" in the carpet.
  • Yesterday we were refused admittance to the walk-in clinic because William's healthcard is expired.  I wish they still gave out the red ones.  The man in front of us in line had a healthcard that is older than both my children combined and HE got in.
  • I was going to get a new health card but couldn't find the accordian thingie with all our documents in it.
  • Raccoons (or some other creatures) helped themselves to our green bin.  I don't mind if they eat our garbage, but is it too much to ask that they do it neatly?
  • This morning my parents' dog (who is staying with us for a couple weeks) woke Jadzia up 20 minutes before she would've woken up naturally.  That means, before 7 am, which is against my religion.
  • If I hear a sentence that begins with "I want" one more time, my head will explode.
  • Jadzia has hidden my watch somewhere.


  • I found that accordian thing.  It was on the black shelf where we always keep it, where I looked at least seven times.
  • On Tuesday, my fabulous husband took me out for a delicious lobster dinner.  I love lobster.  I wish it were cheaper so I could have it every day.  Okay, maybe just once a week.
  • I got an appointment with my doctor, who declared my children healthy.
  • My fabulous husband cleaned up the raccoon's mess this morning.
  • He also filled the dishwasher.
  • I got into an Early Years program where they mind the kids for two hours while I sit around and listen to a talk.  What's the talk on? Who cares!

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Nap-Time Drive

William does not like to sleep.  Nighttime involves a long Super-Nanny-style routine of screaming, guiding him into his room, more screaming, more guiding him to his room, negotiations for water, milk, stories, hugs, more screaming, and finally silence (theoretically sleeping but could also be laryngitis from all the screaming).  Luckily, Daddy usually handles the nighttime routine.

The same routine, attempted at nap time, achieves all the same results except the silence.  Once, after an hour, he agreed to "go to sleep", dozed for precisely 3 minutes, and then declared nap time over.

Time to give up naps?  In fact, William only has a nap about every other day, when I determine that he really needs it.  Some indications that William needs a nap:
  • He has 2 or more meltdowns in the span of five minutes.
  • He hits me, or Jadzia.  Or he hits me because I caught him hitting Jadzia.
  • With no prompting whatsoever, he says "Mommy I'm not very tired right now."
  • I observe him taking thirty-second cat-naps on his tricycle, train table, or on the floor.
  • He asks me to read him ten stories in a row.
  • He becomes slightly more demanding than usual.
  • He giggles like an insane-asylum inmate.
  • He throws his toys.
  • He demands television, and a glass of milk.
  • His listening drops from around 40% to -50% (the negative meaning he actively does the opposite of what I'm asking).
The only way I know of to get William to sleep is to put him in the car and drive until he dozes off.  I used to time every outting to end around nap time so he would fall asleep.  He soon got wise to the fact that I was taking the extra-long scenic route home from playdates.  I would make up bogus reasons for the detour.  In winter, we were looking for snowmen.  In spring, we were looking for new parks we could visit later.  The moment I see that he's konked, I drive home and transfer him, and his sister, into their beds.

Now I don't even bother lying, or timing my outtings for that matter.  If we're sitting at home, and it looks like he needs a nap, I'll say "I'm going to put you in the car and we'll drive until you fall asleep."  Why not?  If he had any power against the magic sleeping spell of the back seat, then it wouldn't work whether I lied or not.  Of course he fights me, but he still sleeps.

Today, I was driving around the neighbourhood, feeling like a failure because I didn't have a better nap time routine for my son, and because I don't command enough respect to prevent him from hitting me as I put him in his carseat.  Instead of driving around the block, I drove straight up Brant Street (past where it's still called Brant Street) into farm country.  As William began to nod, I saw a blue heron fly by.  As Jadzia started to look drowsy I turned around.

There in front of me was the entire city of Burlington, looking clean and new in the sunlight, and Lake Ontario beyond reflecting the brilliant Mediterranean blue of the clear sky. 

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Zoology lesson

Jadzia brings me her toy cow and farmer.

Me:  "This is a farmer and this is a cow.  Do you know what a cow says?"

Jadzia: "ROAR!!"

Monday, May 03, 2010

Dinner conversation with William

William: "If I eat my ribs all gone then I will grow bigger and bigger like a dinosaur and you can let me out of the house and I will just CRUSH all the cars."
Adam: "What will happen to the people in the cars?"
William: "Oh, they will just get hurt."
Adam: "You don't want to hurt people do you?"
William (cheerfully): Yes I do!

Later on:
William: "Mommy if you eat your ribs all gone then you will grow bigger and bigger like a dinosaur and when Daddy lets you out we can be a family"
Me: "But we already are a family."
William: "No, a DINOSAUR family."

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Our New Neighbours.

Everytime we drive into the carport, open or close the front door, the mother bird flies away.  It makes me wonder why she chose the top of our exterior light for a nest.  For warmth?  Unlikely, since the energy-saver bulb doesn't give off much heat, especially since we rarely turn that light on.  I do vaguely remember seeing a nature doc where some small creatures (hummingbirds, I think) nested near scary predators because they frightened other predators away. Perhaps the same logic applies here.

She doesn't fly far, usually sitting in the vines above the backyard gate, puffing up and singing presumably to distract us from her nest.   The nest is so high up that until today I couldn't even tell if there were any eggs in it.  Now I can see that there were eggs, and they've hatched, giving birth to some adorable baby birds. (Adorable, ugly and freakish-looking, same thing).

Saturday, May 01, 2010

California here we come! (But not today William, don't get excited)

We're going to California. No, we haven't won the lottery. No, we have no extra money. But, this is the first time since our honeymoon that my husband has had two weeks vacation, and we're not going to waste it hanging around Ontario! We'll be leaving in June, staying one night in Surprise, Arizona (where my in-laws have a house) and borrowing their car, then off we go to where all the themeparks are (Anaheim and San Diego), maybe do a whale watching tour, Hollywood, you know, California stuff.

William doesn't seem to grasp the concept of planning ahead for a trip and keeps thinking we are going to leave right now. "No, we can't go to the store right now, we are going to California!" I try to tell him that we have to wait a whole month to go, but he just acts like I'm being ridiculous.

Just before we go I plan to chop off my ridiculously thick hair that currently reaches the middle of my back. I had a dream that I chopped off my ponytail and it ended up looking sort of like this, so that's the kind of style I might get. That's obviously the most important preparation, not booking hotels or anything.
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