Thursday, January 21, 2010

The View From Here

Warning: This is a seriously picture heavy post.

When I first found Marit’s blog, I thought she must have, and continues to have, one of the best views from her house that I have yet to find on the Internet, let alone in knitting blogdom. I know I found Marit’s knitting blog through another knitting blog though I cannot remember which one at the moment. I seriously consider packing it all up and moving to Norway each time she posts a new view picture. Have a look for yourself - I will wait patiently while you go check it out. Back? I didn’t lie, did I?!? Can you imagine waking up to that each morning?

In September when the deal on the first house fell through, several people assured me that that only meant that the next one we found would be even better. I had a hard time believing that at the time. Turns out there was a very silver lining in our cloud. Here is the view from any window in the front and front right side of our house.


The view on the inside is not as nice.

I should be embarrassed to post this picture but our stuff arrived a week ago and I only managed to get most of our belongings under one roof on Tuesday. Those are my excuses anyways. Piles of stuff around does mean that lots of boxes have been opened and put aside. It’s the putting away that is killing me right now.

We were due for a snow storm yesterday (and we got it) and the weather on Wednesday was simply too beautiful to ignore. Knowing that we likely wouldn’t be able to get out on Thursday (and we didn’t) I ignored the unpacking and Para and I took the boys for a small hike. As you can probably tell, Iain was thrilled with the idea:

Aidan seemed up for it too:

Our house is situated just across the road from the East Coast trail (if that sounds familiar, it is because the first house we ‘bought’ in September was also similarly situated). We also live on the better side of the road for young children as this section of the trail is bordered by sheer cliff. Sheer cliff does make for spectacular views though and that is certainly what our neighbours across the street have. And, don’t worry. We were very, very careful on our walk.

Most of the trail along this section follows a grassy field with enough room for vehicles to drive on so there was plenty of room for our little convoy without worrying about one of us going for a plunge.

I am terrified of heights and it was safe enough for me to feel comfortable.

The possibility of these types of views out our front window is one of the reasons we moved home.

Iain had a blast and Aidan is really enjoying the new wagon Grandpa D gave him and Iain from Lee Valley.

It is a great little wagon and has already allowed us to get to a bunch of places that are inaccessible to us with the stroller.

The wheels are rubber and fantastic on rough roads. They can also be swapped out for skis when there is enough snow. I hope to try out that option soon.

Here is a cute brother shot as Iain gives his slumbering little brother a kiss.

Shortly thereafter, giving-up-on-his-naps-boy climbed in the wagon on top of his brother (I shifted Aidan around so that he wasn’t too squished) and ‘let’ Mommy pull both of them back up to the top of the hill and home while he drifted off into an almost slumber. A bit of a work out and, turns out, not nearly as difficult as I had thought at the bottom.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Short Holiday

For a treat, and as part of our ‘thank you for putting up with us’ present for Mudder and Fadder, DH and I planned a night for all of us at the Sheraton St. John’s last Saturday. Like the best laid plans, we neglected to book the weather appropriately so we had a wee snow storm instead. Therefore, we postponed the holiday to Sunday. We had a great time. By the time I got back to my parents on Monday evening, I felt like I had been away for a week!

We checked in around 5:00 PM to two lovely rooms (we had the room with the two doubles and Mudder and Fadder had the room with the king sized bed to themselves). Great service – there was milk and cookies waiting for us in our rooms when we arrived! After changing, we all traipsed down to the pool and hot tub. Aidan and I spent most of our time poolside taking pictures. Actually, Aidan spent all of his time pool side.

I managed to get in the water for a couple of laps before we decided supper was way overdue for the toddler.
After the pool and cleaning up, we went to the Narrows Lounge (the only restaurant open in house as they are currently working on renovations to their eating establishments) for a gorgeous supper meal. The staff was very accommodating and we practically had the place to ourselves. Aidan slept through the whole meal and Iain was in a television induced coma which assisted the adults in having a conversation.

Iain does not get to watch much television. DH and I do not watch much ourselves and I really do not want our children watching much. It has been a struggle with guilt over the past few months to accept that perhaps the television is not as evil as I sometimes perceive it to be. It might actually help me get supper ready without the screaming matches that usually occur when I am unable to find something else for Iain to do. And the DVD player has really become an asset in the van when I have to pull over to nurse Aidan or when Iain is yelling “OUT!” of his car seat. The poor child really has had to endure quite a bit more driving than he has ever been used to these past few months as I have been driving back and forth from Upper Gullies to St. John’s for children’s programs (not that there aren’t any closer to where my parents live but I stubbornly wanted to get to know families in the area where we were looking for a house rather than starting over again when we finally found a home).

Anyways, that long story is to introduce this picture of Iain in another television induced coma as I desperately tried to get us out the door to a program at 9:00 AM on Monday morning.

I wonder if all children are like this when they do not watch a lot of television? I’m pretty sure I look like this when I am watching television...

The child was too enthralled to even smile for the camera with me (cruel mother that I am, I am holding his head towards the camera in this, the best of all four shots)!

Here is Aidan enjoying his view on the floor.

He is almost ready to move off that quilt under his own steam and has progressed to being up on his knees and rocking back and forth this week. Heaven help me!

DH, the children and I enjoyed breakfast and the sunrise over The Narrows. Both bedrooms had a view of The Narrows and Signal Hill and it was just gorgeous.

All in all, it was a great break and did not even feel that short. Next I’m off to find a chocolate bar. Elizabeth tells me that that is the secret ingredient to getting through this move. I received a 1 kg bar (so more of a chocolate slab?) of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate from the motherland of chocolate (the UK – my brother was there before Christmas. Thanks again!). Now, all I need to do is find the box I put it in…

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Packing Time

As we get ready to leave Mudder and Fadder’s, I have to keep reminding myself of why we have been ‘in the process’ of moving for the past six months – short term pain for long term gain. I know that we are moving to a location and into a house that will provide a longer term, stable environment for us and our children (it was looking like four moves over the next five years with the CF, starting this coming summer). We look forward to becoming re-acquainted with old friends, making new friends and living near them for years and years and years.

All that still does not make me look forward to the coming weeks.

DH went to NS and packed the house (with the local moving company). He got back last Thursday and we hope to be reunited with our belongings after almost six months this week. But, you know what that means? Boxes. Lots and lots and lots of boxes. Boxes that I have to systematically open, sort, wash their contents and stow away. Boxes that might become furniture as it might take me that long to unpack them.

I will try to be optimistic and look at it this way: it will be a little like Christmas as I have no idea what is in any of those boxes. It will also offer the opportunity to start getting rid of things because, if I have not really needed all that stuff for six months, it might be time to say that I do not need it at all.

Hmm. Nope, still not looking forward to it. Sigh....

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Comedy à la Toddler

Warning: If you are not interested in reading about bodily functions involving a toilet training toddler, skip this one.

Life with Iain is a pretty wild ride. He is able to make me laugh hysterically and then do something to drive me around the bend within seconds of each other. He is inquisitive, joyful, serious, introspective, stubborn as heck and expends a crazy amount of energy. He can melt my heart with his “I love you, Mommy” before bed time and almost cause an aneurism any other time of the day when he jumps off the toilet, throws open the door (I’m not allowed in there for the most part anymore) and runs screaming towards Mudder’s nice cream coloured couch before I’ve had the chance to wipe anything.

His vocabulary and sentence structure amazes me as does his elephant-like memory. The boys and I are not in NS helping with the move because Iain still wants to go to ‘Iain’s house’ in Nova Scotia. He remembers it and the toys it contains vividly and gets quite upset when we mention that we are moving to a new house in Movieland (Iain’s word for Newfoundland). We were afraid that a visit back would cause too much confusion for him. I guess the decision for DH to retire from the CF so that we would stop moving was a good one especially in light of this little piece of Iain’s personality that we are just getting to know.

Here are some cute (I think) Iain stories that I do not want to forget and want to share.

While at Dominion in August, Iain, Aidan and I were in the paper products aisle picking up toilet paper. In his toddler voice, which is just a shade below 'bellow', Iain says

"Toilet paper! That's for wiping my penis!"

I smiled and agreed with him. And I’m pretty sure the man a little further up the aisle didn’t hear… (I decided this one was blog worthy after all, ML!).

While at home (currently Mudder and Fadder’s house in Upper Gullies), Iain can usually be found in his birthday suit. Luckily, he is a bit reticent about meeting strangers at the door at any time so, by and large, I do not mind his streaking around. He tells me that he wants to be cold when he is covered in goose bumps and I have tried to cover those goose bumps with clothes but, frankly, it is not worth the fight. Sigh. Besides, he rarely has an accident and almost always tells you when he needs to go to the toilet. Sometimes he even goes on his own. That can be very exciting let me tell you.

He was sitting at the kitchen table for breakfast with Grandma awhile ago and dropped whatever he was eating on his chest. As he was wiping it off, he said to Grandma,

“Uh oh. I’m going to have to change.” Mudder told me I had my work cut out for me when I got back to the kitchen.

During a bathroom visit when I was wiping Iain’s rear end, I commented on the fact that he must not have had a BM because there was no, ahem, evidence on the toilet paper despite the fact the he told me he had. Puzzled, Iain’s little head peered into the toilet bowl for a minute. He then looked at me and said, quite seriously,

“It’s hiding.”

Grandma (what am I going to do without her when we move???) was folding laundry the other day. That is a chore neither her nor I enjoy doing around Iain. Months and months and months ago, DH taught Iain a fun game involving throwing dirty laundry in the air on the way to the washer. Unfortunately, toddlers cannot distinguish between fun games and clean versus dirty laundry. Therefore, he has been a bit of a nightmare with respect to clean laundry and dragging it all over the house ever since. Iain noticed that Grandma was folding laundry and ran over to help out. Nothing but nothing pleases Iain more than to be helping out (bless him!). Mudder was trying to convince him that helping her was not a good idea and finally said something to the effect of “but you don’t know how” to which he responded,

“Maybe you show me?”

And tonight on the telephone he said “I love you” to his father for the first time.

Thank you so much for spicing up our lives, Iain.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

My Kind of Diet!

Fads come and go. I am a child of the 1970s and was a teenager in the 1980s. Although there are fads that I cannot believe have come back from those decades (e.g. shag carpet which, horrifyingly enough, I’ve discovered that I want. In the form of a shag rug. In black. In my living room. Go figure), there are also a few that would be kind of neat to see again. My favourite colour is orange after all.

When I mentioned to Mudder that I was interested in a Weight Watchers cookbook for Christmas this year, she pointed me in the direction of her cookbook collection. I should probably add here that my parents have a motto: If we ever had it, we still have it. If objects from the late 1960s and on can be considered vintage, then look no further than my parent’s basement. Off I trotted to find the cookbook she was talking about.

The premise behind the 1981 publication that I found is the provision of a menu for a year – all 365 days of it. The first section is divided into weeks with menu suggestions for each day of a given week. If our scanner upstairs was working, I would scan day one of week one to show you because this is really the type of food lifestyle change that should be making the public sit up and listen. Amongst the food options for the midday meal, with your cauliflower and zucchini soup and your shrimp scampi, you also get to enjoy 4 fluid ounces of champagne.

For Christmas this year, I was lucky enough to receive a (new) Weight Watchers cookbook, new running shoes and a treadmill (I was also assured that no one was trying to tell me something…;)!). Combined with Mudder’s ‘old’ Weight Watchers book, I should be able to exercise, drink beer (or champagne), and lose weight. Now that is my kind of menu planning!

Excuse me. I’m off to check out Weight Watchers’ 1981 take on chocolate…

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Where Was I?

Oh yes. We moved back to my home province late in July and DH began work immediately. His first ‘week’ of work was comprised of 12 days, non-stop and close to 16 hour days. That was a little scary especially considering that, on his first day of work, my parents traipsed off to Gander Bay for a much needed rest (for Mudder, work on their house for Fadder) and I was left with Iain and Aidan for my first hours on my own. After day three I was less scared = less cranky and found out that I could do it. Aidan is an easy newborn and has been a pleasure to incorporate into our lives, which has really worked out as Iain has been much more challenging.

For most of the month of August, we were lucky enough to share the house with my youngest brother and his family. It was a little difficult negotiating toys and sharing between my four year old niece and my two year old son. It was also difficult for both of them to share toys that they each considered to be their own (the toys that Mudder keeps here for visiting children to play with). I was also feeling a great deal of pressure with house hunting with a newborn and feeling bad that I had dumped my whole family, a lot of luggage and our three pets onto my parents (my parents have been awesome and, apart from both boys exhausting all of us, have yet to complain about the upheaval we have caused), so was more than a little cranky and stressed during this time and into the fall.

In August, we also put an offer in on a house in the Quidi Vidi area of St. John’s and were happily making plans to move and picking out great grocery shopping areas when, ten days after the deal was supposed to close in September, it fell through. We were devastated. Additionally, we had made the mistake of bringing Iain to the new house so he continually asked when we were bringing our stuff from Nova Scotia and moving, questions we both found difficult to answer and exacerbated our feelings of guilt. I stopped looking for a new house for a few weeks after that.

October found us on an airplane and a quick trip to British Columbia for the interment of DH’s mother’s ashes. That was Aidan’s first flight across the continent (not the last I’m sure!) and the boys were great on their way West. We were only in BC for three days, less the travel days, so it was a fast and intense trip. The ceremony at one of Victoria’s beautiful cemeteries was lovely and Aidan slept through the whole event allowing me to chase Iain around, only coming back to the ceremony when it was our turn to lay red roses on the plot site. The trip did allow Grampa D, Aunt V, Great-Aunt R and Great-Uncle G to meet Aidan for the first time and enjoy playing with Iain who warmed up to his relatives nicely after a remarkably short period of time. He is a good kid.

Finally in November, after Aidan and I (and, occasionally, DH) viewed many, many homes, we found another house in Torbay that we liked. Torbay is a community on the Atlantic ocean just outside the city. Our new home has a view of the ocean, many features that we were looking for and then some and is close to the local school. We are thrilled and, I am pleased to say, it became ours on December 16th. We even spent our first night in it as a family by sleeping on the floor (on camping mats!) on New Year’s Eve.

DH heads off to NS tomorrow (Sunday) morning to start the process of reuniting us with our possessions after six months of separation. His work over the fall has meant several trips away to locations such as Hamburg, Germany and Brest, France. He seems to be averaging a trip at least once a month which I am sure to find challenging when we move out into our own home and I am separated from my parent’s babysitting support. However, we are eager to live closer to the Military Family Resource Centre which has become such a support to us this fall, as well as closer to friends. Not to mention, I think it’s high time I moved our not so little family into our own home and leave Mudder and Fadder some peace and quiet!

Our desk top computer was fading and that created a few months of coordination as my family and I negotiated the use of one functioning computer. Finally, DH (bless him!) decided that I needed my own little piece of electronic heaven in the form of an HP Mini and it is from that little gem that I’m typing right now.

I know I have not written in forever and I apologise for that. Thanks to all of you who dropped a note to see how we were doing or dropped by the blog to check on updates. Hopefully this post will help ease the dry spell. I love this blog. I love to write and I love the fact that the blog ‘forces’ me to practice that craft. I really plan to get back into writing for it regularly.

And, seeing as you have not seen us for so long, here are a couple of pictures of us from a very special morning last week.

Happy holidays and 2010. Share with you soon!