I figured out why I'm having so much trouble learning to set posts to autopost! Yay!
Um...it's because I only have a basic Typepad account and apparently need to upgrade to be able to use that feature. Ha Ha.
So, no autopost for me. I'm a mom on a budget!
I don't want the blog to languish while I'm off on vacation though and had planned a couple of posts to post when I'm away. Here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to go ahead and polish up those posts and put them up later today. You just don't read them today, ok? Read one tomorrow or Thursday, another Saturday...spread them out, you know? It'll be like I was never gone! I'm afraid if you read them all at once though (and let's face it, I would) you'll have nothing new to read until I get back on Sunday.
Oh, and I'll catch up with you all on Monday. Don't go having all the best giveaways while I'm gone!
(Here's where I mention that over at 5 Minutes for Mom they've been having the most amazing Back to School Giveaways and I only noticed today. Yikes! That's what I get for getting behind on my blog reading. The giveaways are open through August 12th, which is also TODAY. I'm hoping that means that we can still enter! Did you know about this? Go on over and get your button and join in the excitement. Good luck!)
The newest member of the family arrived yesterday, safe and sound. It was a joyful delivery, filled with smiles and excitement. Sweetpea yelled "it's finally here!". I think I might have shook a little as she was handed to me.
We had been worried. We had built dreams around an earlier expected delivery. We waited and waited, counting the days, until that heart-wrenching news no expectant family wants to hear: "We're sorry, it's lost.". We were afraid to try again. Perhaps it's not meant to be? Perhaps we should be content with what we have? But the dream was strong and we were not without hope. We decided to give it another try, and we're so happy we did!
Isn't she lovely?
Come to Mama!
So young, and she's already growing...
(Sweetpea calls them the Daddy lens and the Baby lens and wants to play with them)
We'll be going camping together tomorrow, where we'll take our first toddling steps and really get to know each other (though I don't think she's going to be allowed down at the beach yet). When we get home, we'll share how that went. We'll also begin attending school, exploring our space and, of course, visiting all of ourbestfriends. We'll continue dropping by the ranch for inspiration and taking notes from all around the net. We may even ask the new neighbour to play with us. You never know!
We hope you stay around for the journey (and a few million more photos of my 3 kidlets). Tips are welcomed!
Things have been a great mix of lazy and hectic the last few days. We're enjoying our visit with my mom; eating out for breakfast, trying on bridesmaid dresses, laughing and reading showing off our trampoline skills. This is the first I've logged in and I'm doing it with mom right over my shoulder as we look at some of our photos. I'll be around for a few days as they leave tomorrow to check out the Cabot Trail, and then we'll be joining them later next week for some much anticipated camping. Yay!
Today we were busy with our community fair. The girls and I walked as members of Girl Guides. We didn't have a float this year as too many are off at the Avril Lavigne concert (deserters!) but we had quite the adventure walking. The girls were bored, then excited, then tired. They wanted to hold the banner, the candy, my hand. The little beach wagon we were using to pull the candy lost it's handle and I had to carry it. We got behind everyone. We walked faster and things got congested. The Princess lost her pin from her badge scarf but didn't want to go back for it. We ran out of candy half way through the route. We waved madly at Granma and further up at Daddy. But at least it stopped raining for the first time in weeks to let us walk (it rained before and after though).
In short, it was a typical small village adventure, and we loved (almost) every minute!
Here are some parade pictures taken by Granma:
After the parade, we got to do the usual fair things:
1. get our faces painted by the Girl Guides (and Mama worked the booth at the end)
2. play lots of games and then bounce in the bouncing castle (which one's me?)
3. feed the animals at the petting zoo
4. eat a very big lunch! (no photos of that, we ate it too fast!)
The sun came out for a few minutes but it was raining again by the time we broke away with hopes of making it down to the lake. We had a quiet afternoon at home and now are doing all of our planning for next week. Phew! It'll be nice to take a little breather in the middle, though the kids might not agree. They just love it when Granma comes to play!
So my mom called tonight. From her hotel balcony. Where she was watching the beluga whales.
And I'm stressing about clean sheets and looking for cobwebs in corners? Nah, I'm going to do what every proficient procrastinator does: head to bed and worry about it in the morning.
Since my brain is busy cleaning my house over and over (Do you do that too? Do things in your mind at least 10 times before actually doing it? Is it just us procrastinators?) I'll just share the random tidbits that occasionally float to the surface in handy bullet form.
I've received two separate order confirmation emails but no shipment email on *my* camera. How soon do I get to start worrying?
Did you see how many comments I've gotten on my last post? I believe it has set a record. It's not because it's my best post ever, it's because I joined the blog train. There's a neat button too, but it's much to late for me to start playing with html and my sidebar. Rest assured, it will magically appear one of these days soon. Thanks to Kelsey for coming up with such a great idea and seeing it through!
Remember how you had a word or two that you just couldn't say right when you were a kid? Mine was "pacific" (always came out specific--as in California is beside the specific ocean). Then there was paterkiller, pissketti, and eventually ek=stacey. I had a friend in high school who could not say cinnamon (me? I just have trouble spelling it). My kids? Cannot say animal. It always comes out "aminal". Cutest. thing.
A couple of new families have moved into our ward at church and I was gifted with a wonderful new sister to serve as a counseller in Primary. We're finally working as a complete Primary Presidency; just in time to crank out the sacrament presentation. Phew! The new sister is not only delightful in every way, but she's jumped in with both feet, has a ton of great new ideas and is willing to implement them, has adorable children and is a photographer. I could just cry, but I don't want to scare her away with my crazy. It's like God said, I know what you need and sent her just for me. All the way from California I might add. I will be struggling not to stalk her.
I love whale watching. I wish I was sitting on a balcony watching whales right now.
Not to embarrass him, but I wish Hubby was beside me watching whales on a balcony right now. Lately I am just so in love with that man. It amazes me that love, while constant, also ebbs and flows and swells and calms. Right now it just seems to be bubbling up. Maybe it's because we have an anniversary around the corner. Maybe I'm just blessed.
As long as I'm sharing the love, I love my in-laws too. Hubby came as a great package deal. I got a great pick me up phone call tonight.
Tomorrow and Thursday is the finale for "So You Think You Can Dance". Is it rude to only talk to our guests during commercials for the first two nights they're here?
This morning we saw a couple of sea gulls in the parking lot after dropping Hubby off at work. Sweetpea yelled "Look! Eagles!". I laughed a bit and gently corrected. "Oh honey, those aren't eagles, they're gulls. Sea Gulls." She nodded sagely. "Of course. Seagles." Of course. Makes perfect sense to me.
Enough random for you? Aren't you glad tomorrow is a Wordless Wednesday?
She won't arrive until sometime Wednesday, but knowing she's on the road has the kids excited and me in a bit of a tizzy.
Now I promised myself that this time I wouldn't go all crazy with the cleaning and the scrubbing. I've worn myself out before trying to be "ready" for her visit, and I'm not doing it this time. She's not coming to inspect my house or comment on my housekeeping (I repeat over and over to my neurotic self). She's coming to see me and play with her grandchildren. But that doesn't mean I can't put out clean towels and maybe, just maybe, put most of the laundry away, right? Right? Just because I'm not knocking myself out this time doesn't mean I have to err on the side of slovenly.
(Hoo Boy, have we become slovenly! All that time away from the house means no one has been picking things up, and you can certainly tell.)
Frankly, I'm afraid I'm starting to stress more about not stressing than I used to when I just let myself go crazy with the cleaning.
So I need you to talk me down a bit. How much effort do you put into getting ready for out of town visitors? Do you go to greater lengths for some than others or does everyone get equal treatment? (I don't get all crazy and neurotic when my in-laws visit, just my mother) Where's that line between "good hostess" and "crazy nutbar"?
And, if you have any diabetic-friendly meal suggestions, I'd love to hear them. My mom's fiance was only diagnosed a few months ago, and my mom assures me that I don't need to go to any extra trouble--but I still worry that our carb-loving household might not work well with his diet.
Anyone who has been here before knows that I love photography and am actively seeking to improve my own fledgling skills. I read a LOT of photography blogs and am really drawn to natural photography, the kind that tells a story right away, as opposed to "group and grin" shots as my mother calls them. That's why I'm super excited that an old (young) friend has joined the blogging world so I can give her a big shout out.
Cyndal Lorch is a sweet, funny, TALENTED girl woman who has grown up to become quite the photographer. I met Cyndal and her family when we attended church together in little Walkerton, Ontario (yes, the water scare one). I was doing my OACs and impatient to be grown and gone and her older sisters were in my Young Women's group. There were a few years between us but we quickly became friends. How could I not? Their entire family was warm and giving and mature and fun. I didn't get to know Cyndal as well as her sisters, but I appreciated her outlook on life. She always had a great comment for things and was not at all pesky (as little sisters are rumoured to be). Now I appreciate her outlook even more as a photographer--and I think you will too. Her goal is to help you "expose your personality" and here's her blurb from her Facebook group:
Getting your photo taken shouldn't be painful. I love photographing people, that's all there is to it. I love photographing people in their natural element just being themselves, or maybe slightly crazier than normal. Yes, you get into some posing and stuff occasionally, but by no means is it studio portraiture. Fun and fresh is key. So if you're into having some unique and fun photos done, give me a shout, and I'll make it as painless as possible. ;)
Who do I photograph? Anyone ages 0-100 who's got some spirit and spunk...although, if you're over 100 and still want some photos done, it's on me. Seriously. #1 Rule: Don't be afraid to get a little dirty, should the need arise. And on a side note: there's no need to smile all the time...I know all about face cramps. Like I said, getting your photo taken shouldn't be painful. Just be yourself!
See what I mean? Visit her at her new blog here and give her some love. If you're in Ontario and you need a photographer (don't we all), I think you'd be very happy if you gave her a call. I'd link to her business site but Explorer isn't playing nice today and I can't see it. You can follow the link in her sidebar or attempt to go to silverlinesstudio by yourself. Maybe Explorer likes you better (or maybe you're smarter than me and using that Firefox thingy).
No photo in this post from me--Go see some of Cyndal's! You'll be glad you did!
P.S. Cyndal, I'm sorry I almost called you a girl. It's hard for me to remember that you guys all grew up after I left. But I'm happy to see that you all grew up so splendidly!
P.P.S. I told some of you that I was purchasing a new camera (with help from the good fairies) and got some great advice. I discovered that I'm a Canon girl at heart (who knew?) and wanted a Rebel. Or maybe to rebel? I did order an XTi back in June but it was LOST IN THE MAIL. Oh the pain and horror! Maybe I'm not meant to be a Rebel? I've decided to give Canada Post another chance and have ordered another. If you could spare some good vibes that THIS time my camera would get to me (hopefully in working order), I would appreciate it.
Friday morning dawned grey and dreary, much like my mood. I had tried to make it a good week, really, but so many things kept going wrong. My attempts at perfection had turned into a farce, and my esteem for myself and my parenting skills were at a low. Sometime during the night I had let go of my dream of planning the perfect summer experience and was shooting for survival. The only bright spot as I could see it was that it was finally Friday, and I'd have a weekend to recover before having to get through another week. I wasn't even going to tempt fate by thinking that nothing else could go wrong (because isn't that when it does?).
We were a subdued crew getting into the car, and at the pool it seemed everyone had fallen still and silent under the gloomy skies. The usual noise in the change rooms was dulled, and everyone seemed to swim in slow motion....it was actually kind of nice and cozy, the quiet and the water, the simple companionship.
When it came time to leave for our picnic I faced a problem. It wasn't actually raining yet, but it was so overcast that the pregnant clouds appeared ready to deliver at any second. We needed to get under cover. I chose that escape hatch of parents everywhere--McDonald's. We took our picnic lunch in with us and I bought a big bunch of chicken nuggets for us to share.
What is it about that place that brightens a child's day? I have not figured it out, but it always works. We didn't even stay to play on the tiny slide (we didn't have socks and I wasn't buying some). Instead we decided to try out yet another library, this one hidden on the other side of the pool. I hadn't even known it was there until the day before when I drove in the wrong entrance, but it seemed as good a place as any to spend an afternoon hiding from the weepy skies.
We dashed into the library...and stopped. It was a GREAT library. Bright and airy, with big displays set up for the children's programs that run all summer. It had computers, a puppet theatre, and lots and lots of children's books, with the shelves set up in a big rectangle that separated the children's section from the rest of the library, while still being part of the whole. The girls took turns on the computer while the Boy and I read and he put on several puppet "shows" for me. After an hour they switched. I even managed to look through the adult stacks while the girls put on shows for each other. I had the camera with me but didn't even think of taking pictures. It was just restful for us all. Once the Boy's computer time was up we had another hour to kill, so they each chose a stack of books and we curled up together on the cozy couch in the back and read them all. The girls even took turns doing some of the reading.
It was the perfect day.
Somehow, when I stopped trying to MAKE magic happen, it just did. Quietly, while the rain fell outside and there were no planned or organized activities, the perfect day just folded around us and took us in. It was unanimous too. When we got to the car and everyone was strapped in, Sweetpea said "THAT was a Good Day, mama" and everyone agreed. Then they fell asleep.
I learned my lesson. I took a quiet recovery weekend, reading and resting and adjusting my thinking, and when we started back to lessons for week two, we just took our time. I didn't plan any special outings or rush us off to unique parks. We did manage to make it to the "new" library for their program on Tuesday. The girls participated but the Boy wanted back on the computer, and I was ok with that. Here he is, out of focus because he was bobbing his head in time while the other children sang.
It stayed mostly rainy all week, and that was alright. We found stuff to do. Besides the library there was the mall, there was grocery shopping, there were walks when it was clear and....you know what, I don't know. If you asked me exactly what we did last week, I couldn't tell you. But I CAN tell you it was good. Sure, there was the odd tantrum and some whining now and then. There was the day both girls were given free balloons and the Princess let go of her string (oh, the drama! the tears!). There was also the moment on Monday morning when the Princess surprised us all by jumping in the deep end with her class, when the week before she was afraid to get in the shallow end. The entire observation room of parents gave a little cheer and my heart almost burst with pride. There was the giant hot fudge sundae with 4 spoons and sticky smiles as I shared the secret of eating the ice cream first and saving most of the hot fudge for the end. There were hugs and laughs. There were no more injuries. There was joy.
Maybe it wasn't the perfect magical two weeks I had envisioned. Maybe there will be no moments from that time that will make it into starring roles in the film of my children's happiest memories. But there were plenty of good times that will be woven into the hazy category of "childhood" that will work to make that an old favourite, the kind that always brings a smile to your face when you think of it.
I'm not sure there are any scrapbookers left out there who haven't heard of Big Picture Scrapbooking. This great website, brain child of Stacy Julian, offers online classes, projects and more! Sometimes they even have FREE classes (my favourite kind!). If you remember me doing LOAD back in January, that was offered through BPS, where we not only had an amazing gallery to share our daily LOs but a message board and chat feature. It made the whole experience that much richer, knowing that there were others out there struggling (or not) to get their pages done each day, and to encourage each other through the process.
Just this week I decided to check out one of the Free "Projects Now!" classes being offered RIGHT NOW at BPS. It's called 10 Summer Photos to take right now!. You just register for the class, listen to the welcome message and download the project (.pdf file). Then you can share your photos with others taking the class whenever you're ready. I just love seeing how everyone's photos differ!
One of the 10 photos to take is "Fruit". We all have access to fruit year round these days, but who doesn't love fresh summer fruit in season? We know that summer has arrived around here when we can get fresh local strawberries. And I don't know about you, but watermelon IS summer. I can't even imagine eating it in winter. It would just be wrong!
I signed up for the class on Monday, and on Tuesday I decided to start looking for my "Fruit" photo. I bypassed all of the fruit in my fridge (though I still may HAVE to take a photo of the blueberries...they're so pretty!) to focus (get it?) on our own outdoor fruit. Here's my fruit...
the last two raspberries left on the bush
Black currants, ready to pick. MMMMMM.
Red currants up close. They were sparkling like jewels in the sun, but the camera chose to focus on the leaves. I shall continue to negotiate terms with the camera.
My very first tomatoes, from my very first tomato plant.
One of the apples on the apple tree...though these say fall to me.
Another try at those red currants. Don't they look yummy?
Oh, and my trusty assistant, aka "Fruit of my Loins"
What "fruit" would you photograph to mean summer to you? Why not go over to BPS and see what the other 9 summer photos are? I'd love to see your fruit!
P.S. Which one of the above photos would you chose to upload to the gallery? I'm thinking either the tomatoes or the red currant close-up. Thanks!
The title of this blog comes from my best friend's mom; who critiqued my high school English journal as "full of superfluous fluff". This is where I embrace all that fluff and share it with you in its pure, unedited, rambling glory.