Category: Birthdays

Catch up birthday

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gummi worm volcano cake

We had a big windstorm overnight, and a power surge that blew out part of the hydro wire running to our house in rather spectacular fashion with firecracker pops and flashing blue light, which made it hard for everyone to sleep last night. Luckily, the line is being held up by the tree in our front yard, so it’s not downed, and is still providing electricity. Don’t worry, we’re doing all the things we’ve been told to do, it isn’t a danger to anyone, currently (so to speak), and all will be repaired soon.

But it was a disturbed night. And it’s AppleApple’s birthday. Maybe we should let the kids stay home from school today, came the pre-dawn thought.

Really?! Yes, really. The joy was unanimous. Some are still in pajamas and it’s nearly 4pm.

I also intended to catch up on things left undone, but have only been partially successful in that.

Still, it seems we all needed this catch up day. It ends at 5 o’clock when the evening activities kick in, but it’s been sweet.

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On the weekend, we celebrated AppleApple’s birthday, a small party with long-time friends that allowed her to relax, play, and hang out, which seems to happen not frequently enough. It was a “baking and board games” theme. The girls baked the cake and fashioned a gummi worm volcano in the middle.

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We had spaghetti with meatballs and caesar salad, and I thought, looking at the table, that I’m a lot like my dad in my over-estimation of food amounts: ain’t nobody going hungry at my table!

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still ten

Here’s the birthday girl last night, when she was still 10. She had a loose tooth, which she pulled right before bed. “Don’t forget about the tooth fairy,” she said, and when, about half an hour later, I climbed up to her bunk with a toonie to exchange for the tooth, she whispered, “Mom, I’m still awake!” “Do you want the tooth fairy to come tonight?” I asked, being on my way to bed. “Mom, I’m actually asleep.”

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definitely eleven

And here she is today, officially 11, blissed out with dogs and book. Yeah, she’s wearing the same pajamas she was wearing last night. I think that means she’s having a happy birthday.

Today

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Today was a good day.

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We had a birth in the family. As of 9:40 this morning (Friday), my brother and sister-in-law are parents of a gorgeous baby boy. I got the phone call at 4:15 AM, and went over to help doula for the birth, which happened at home, in a warm and calm space, almost peacefully, I would say. There are lots of beautiful and memorable things that I get to do, and this is one of the most extraordinary. Being witness to the birth of new life.

I’m getting weepy just thinking about it.

Maybe also because I’m running on slightly less sleep than usual. And because my little brother is a papa.

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I’d promised not to disturb the new family this evening when stopping by to pick up the camera I’d forgotten, but there was a new baby in the house. The kids so so so wanted to meet their cousin. He wasn’t even eleven hours old yet, we calculated. They squealed in the car on the ride home over the cuteness, the tinyness, the babyness.

Today, a good day. A breathtaking day.

Projects and tangents

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Ten years ago, in late June, we moved into our house, two little babies in tow: Albus had just turned two and AppleApple was seven months. The house seemed enormous, and almost unfillable, but we seem to have solved that problem. Our bedroom is perhaps the one room in the house that remained untouched over the past decade. We added drapes. We moved bassinets in and out and in again. For awhile, my writing desk and computer were crammed in a corner (I wrote virtually nothing publishable during that stretch; weird, huh). But the walls remained the unpainted dull white plaster through which the lathe could be seen. Yes, that’s how unpainted our bedroom has been for the last decade.

So it took an invasion of bed bugs to move everything out and paint. Well, at least it happened.

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Kevin stayed up late last night to finish it. We decided to go with a darker colour field on one wall against creamy-white ceiling and other walls. We chose a soothing deep blue with hints of purple.

“Your room looks beautiful!” Fooey told us this morning.

We’re debating whether there’s time to paint the living-room, too, which came freshly painted when we moved in, which was, as noted, ten years ago, and is now, not surprisingly, full of holes and scrapes. We are, however, also hosting a party for our eight-year-old tomorrow evening. Can we do it all?

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birthday cake for birthday girl, with scrounged candles from junk drawer

Meantime, I actually (unbelievably!) turned over the last page of my manuscript yesterday evening, the version that holds my editor’s revisions. That doesn’t mean the book is ready to send back to her, but it does mean I’ve now worked through every single page and addressed every comment. Today it’s back to the beginning to see whether my many many many changes hold together. Good grief. I’m in a state of anxiety, let me tell you. I also note that we’ve got less than three weeks left of summer holidays. That’s me you hear crying out from the heart: nooooo!

:::

Here’s my tangent, which I post at risk of sounding ancient, crusty, and out of touch with young people these days (say that last bit in a quavery old woman voice for full effect).

I’ve been listening to top forty radio this summer. Sometimes all I want is a singable song while I drive home from a soccer game. Unfortunately, the songs with the good hooks seem to be highly inappropriate, not to mention misogynist in tone. (Blurred Lines, I’m frowning at you, with your fun sound and sticky bass line, which I would like to enjoy listening to, but can’t without censorship: there are kids in the car! And I’m a feminist!) So it was an odd relief to get snagged on Lorde’s Royals while stuck in traffic with CJ the other day. We both liked it. I think my ears were craving that clean choral sound, and a subject unrelated to booty, booty-calls, getting booty, shaking one’s booty, and anything else booty-related. It’s the female body as material object mixed up with materialism itself, and I hate the juxtaposition, and the shallowness and amorality underpinning it. There aren’t even any interesting metaphors in these songs. You know you want it. Um, no, I don’t, not all the freaking time! You’re boring me! C’mon top-forty songwriters! And then I came across Macklemore’s Same Love, and felt relief, too, to hear a straightforward political song with a lovely singable hook, on a top forty station. But I miss K’naan. Where’s he gone? Any other pop fans out there? Who are you listening to this summer?

Birthday eve and birthday morn

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Birthday eve, ready for bed. Still seven. Photo bombing by 5-year-old brother.

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Birthday morn, in her new favourite outfit (from Grandma Alice). This is the dog who loves to pose. The other dog was lounging nearby, unwilling to join in.

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Pancakes for breakfast, then presents. Everyone got a birthday crown.

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Even me.

I also got an early morning visit to the dentist (no cavities!). And now we’re prepping the house for a major non-birthday-non-fun-related project. I’ll tell you about it tomorrow. The excitement never ends around here. The birthday girl is being very accomodating and understanding, and we’re trying not to let it take over the celebration.

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“Every morning, I get up, get dressed, and check the mirror to see if my outfit is appropriate — for me. If it’s not, I go and change.” Fooey is our earliest riser, arriving downstairs every morning with brushed hair and a happy “good morning!”, ready for the day. She is highly organized, friendly and fun but also independent and quietly creative. She is far and away our most decorative and styling child, with a strong sense of personal taste. She would like to be a veterinarian when she grows up. I think she can do anything she puts her mind to (her dad would agree).

Slow down, you move too fast

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We’ve been off this weekend. Both kids played in soccer tournaments. I’ve still got my own game to come this evening. I’m a bit soccered out, truth be told, so let’s see if my enthusiasm holds over for a few more hours, in what looks like it might be rain.

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I was thinking today that soccer tournaments had become part of my interior landscape: the jam-packed parking, the noise, the music, the sight of game upon game, the whistles, the cheers and cries, and the bright team colours. I saw my kids come out to play. They didn’t come to watch, they came to engage, and that was a joy to witness.

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Unfortunately, I forgot to pull out the little camera after the opening moments of the first game. And my real camera’s memory card is broken, so I lost the other photos from the past week (some fun ones of the kids making boats for a bathtub race, and of CJ showing me his new tricks on the parallel bars: all gone.)

This coming week is so jam-packed that you may suspect I’ve decided never to blog again, again. It’s the last week for nursery school, I’m heading to Toronto to meet with an editor, we’ve got soccer games galore, swimming, there’s a county track meet, a kindergarten picnic, several appointments at the allergist, and that only takes us to Thursday. So …

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Here is Fooey’s photo of her giant Duplo tower, right before I made her take it down. You’ll note that I was on a mission to clear the living-room and vacuum up the dog hair — someone is shedding right now. The mission was sparked by another mission to find a lost library book. I turned the house upside down searching, finally admitted defeat and stopped in at the library on my way between running children to picnics and soccer games and back again that evening. I spent about fifteen minutes searching the library’s shelves — and lo and behold, there was the lost book! That was my entire Thursday in a nutshell: minor complications solved with some effort and irritation on my part.

It’s nice to have something every day to look forward to, amidst the busyness. I often find many somethings, the moments when I’m relaxed into the scene at hand (say, lunch!), aware that more needs to be done, but not going there yet. I try not to go anywhere until I need to, literally or figuratively. I think that’s why all of this busyness never feels like too much.

What we’ve been up to since last I posted

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Someone got glasses.

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All four kids had cavities filled at the dentist. (Popsicles only incidentally implicated.)

Kev and I cleaned the house and yard (not pictured).

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I baked a cake. (Party cake # 1!)

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Twelve candles were blown out.

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Soccer girl and mama went on a road trip. Too much sun. Too much chlorine. Hotel dreams. Big saves in net, sweet passes from the wing, and a game-winning goal. One proud mama, too tired to type more than this.

But tomorrow’s a holiday, may we all sleep in.

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