Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Halloween Eve

There are some moments I wish I could bottle, capturing every sound, smell, sight, thought, and feeling, and keep it safely stored on my bedside table forever.  Last night was one of those nights.  It was one of those nights reminiscent of my own childhood, where my family would gather together to prepare for an upcoming holiday and when our home was filled with laughter, music, and the smell of mom's baking.  It was nights like these that made me yearn to become the mom of my own family, and last night reminded me of just how much I love being that mom.

Let me try and recreate the magic for you!  It was dark and rainy outside.  Zoe was sitting at the table finishing up a music essay that was due the next day.   Psy's Gangnam Style was playing in the background and the boys were dancing and singing.  Excitement infused the room.  It was Halloween Eve, and Shenanigans Inc. was in the midst of all things Halloween-y.

Candy Apples

They were so delicious!

Even teenagers, who were not feeling so Halloween-y, enjoyed them.  

Sugar Cookies

Mmmmm . . . .

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Yummy and healthy for you.

Pumpkin Carving
(and if I may add, both of these pumpkins were grown in our very own garden!)

Mr. Level-Headed decided that the boys were old enough now to carve out the pumpkins themselves.  I was a nervous wreck.

They did an awesome job, though, and even more importantly, there were no injuries.  Yay!

The pumpkin on the right is Avery's.  His name is Stephen, and he is a game-show host . . . tee hee!  Where does he come up with this stuff?

At 9pm, when all things Halloween-y were ready for the big day, Mr. Level-Headed announced it was time for bed, but I didn't want it to end.  I didn't want to let this moment slip away.  Just a few more minutes . . .  please!  The music was blaring.  Zoe was writing.  The boys were hovering over their new library books, and I was standing in the kitchen soaking it all up, savouring every last morsel.  Avery ran up to me, and hugged me around the waist.

Mom, you must really love Halloween!

And I laughed because, truth be told, I don't.

Actually, bud, I just really love you guys!

Happy Halloween everyone!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Playing Hooky

Sometimes I can be a real stickler for routine.  We have a scheduled routine for homeschool, I have a meal plan for the week, and I have a daily chore list.  I have learned over the past few years that without these schedules my very busy household will quickly fall into disarray.  It isn't pretty . . . trust me!  Plus, these schedules help this mama, who in all honesty is trying to do too much in a day, keep her sanity, and I have also learned that sanity is important.  A little boring, but important nonetheless.

Last week was a bonkers week for us here at Shenanigans Inc. with Zoe having to go to the IWK and then having to be picked up early one day because she was too sick to be in school.  Luckily, it was our scheduled week off from homeschool (we do school for 7 weeks and then take one off in lieu of taking the public school days off), because I would never have managed.  Unfortunately, all of the fun field trips the boys and I had planned to do on our week off had to be put on hold.  By the time Friday came, I was itching to get out of the house, but I just didn't see any way to do it.  Laundry was piled high, none of the housecleaning had been done for the week, and supper was not made yet.  As I started to tackle my never ending to-do list, I noticed that the boys were fighting.  Like seriously fighting, and they wouldn't stop.  It dawned on me that they too were probably feeling just as shack-whacky as I was so I dropped what I was doing (yes, I abandoned my schedule and my list . . . gasp!) and told them to put their bikes in the car because we were heading to the Irving Nature Park.

Now, so as not to give the impression that I am a reckless soul, who casts off her motherly mantle with ease, our first stop was a visit to our favourite barber, Dom Scichilone.  Okay, so I couldn't abandon the to-do list entirely . . . tee hee!  They look so much better, though:

Then we hit the park, and, truth be told, it was exactly what we needed:  fresh air, wide open spaces, and exercise!  Sometimes, when I am cooped up in the house for too long, my world becomes very small and all  my worries begin to weigh  heavily upon me, but out here, they all disappear:

By the time we returned home, I was able to put everything back into perspective, the boys stopped fighting, and my to-do list just didn't seem that important.  It was a perfect afternoon.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Fleeting Fall Fun

With the threat of "Frankenstorm", Sandy, looming, I announced to my family, last night, that we needed to clean up the backyard.  As we picked up the remnants of summer, broken pails and shovels, deck chairs, and bicycles, I mourned the passing of my favourite season once again. I know what you are thinking, get over it already girl, but I truly despise Fall.  She's a flirt.  She coaxes you into thinking that she is the best season of them all by parading around in her lavish earthy tones and slight, cool breezes, but once you become interested, she turns her back on you and leaves.  Her colours fade, the wind begins to bite, and the sun grows tired.  In my opinion, though, she doesn't leave fast enough.  Rather than let Winter jump in and rescue us all from the bleak wasteland that Fall leaves behind, she lingers.  She grows even colder and darker until, finally, you grow tired of her games and retreat to the welcoming four walls of your home, where you pull out movies, boardgames, books and hot chocolate to pass the time away and commence your annual hibernation.  Fall, we are so done!

Anyhoo . . .

So, last night, we were cleaning up the yard.  Even Scouty got into the spirit of our clean up and retrieved his favourite pal, Pooh Bear.

While Mr. Level-Headed and I, lugged chairs up the hill and stored toys safely in the shed, the kids decided to play.  Surprise!  They raked up all the leaves and jumped in!  They rolled in them, they buried each other in them, they threw them, and they squealed.  For a fleeting moment, I thought:  "Perhaps I have been too harsh on Fall and maybe I should give her another chance."  Look at how much fun she is!

And then, moments after I went inside, the sun sank, and the boys quickly returned home, whining that they were bored. Ugh!  You almost had me, Fall . . .  you almost had me.  Luckily, I know how to combat you:


And the smiles return.

tee hee!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Life-Altering Discoveries

Being a boy mom can be difficult.  They are always too loud, too rough, and too busy.  They are impossible to take anywhere except the soccer field, and their favourite outfit is a pair of jogging pants that are five inches too short with ripped knees, a sports t-shirt and rubber boots; hence, why you can't take them anywhere.  They care very little about what anyone else thinks about them, which makes them appear rude in social settings, and they have an affinity for all that is gross, distasteful, or inappropriate.  But, if you can look past the scruffy looks, the dirty face, the unkempt hair, the boisterous energy, and the armpit farts, you will find an endearing creature who, without even trying, will make you laugh and will make you fall in love with him over and over again.

And that is exactly what happened yesterday afternoon, when I walked in on these shenanigans:

tee hee!

On Wednesday, while Zoe and I were in Halifax, Elliot broke his iPod Touch when he accidentally shut it in the car door.  It was broken beyond repair, but as soon as he recovered from his shock and despair, he became excited at the prospect of being able to take it apart and see how it all worked.

I'd say it was finished.

So, when I walked in and saw the boys hunched over the iPod with their ski goggles on to prevent glass from getting into their eyes, and Avery holding the flash light for Elliot as if he was performing a life-saving surgery, I had to giggle. I love how their minds work!

Then Elliot exclaims: "Avery, we are about to make a life-altering discovery here!"  I kid you not.  At this point, I lost it. I was laughing so hard, I had tears running down my face.  Avery, being all Mr. Level-Headed-like replies: "Elliot, I am sure the world knows what the inside of an iPod Touch looks like.  Someone  had to make it you know."  Elliot, who refuses to ever allow logic to dampen his enthusiasm, cries out: "Okay, okay, but this is a huge discovery for children everywhere!  We are the first kids ever to see the inside of an iPod.  I am so excited!"

And then he peeled away the first layer:

I was called over to document the discovery.

And he found . . .  another screen!

Ha, ha!  It was a little underwhelming, but Elliot did not let that stop him.  He spent all afternoon taking apart and examining each section.  It was like Christmas for him.

In spite of all the headaches they cause and all the damage they create in my home, I can always count on these boys for a good laugh.  Thank heavens for little boys!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Road Trip!

Yesterday, Zoe and I hopped in the car and drove to Halifax for the day because she had an appointment at the IWK.  Zoe has been sick for two months now, and was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis three weeks ago.  It hasn't been easy for her.  In fact, if you ask her, it really sucks, but she is handling it like a trooper, and I am really proud of her.  But, now that you know, you must promise me to NEVER, EVER look at Zoe any differently.  This is her biggest fear.  She does not want your pity, and she really does not want her illness to define her.  She is the smart, strong, sensible Sporty Spice.  Ya' got it?  Good.  Okay, so maybe that is not how she wants you to define her, but I think it fits.  

Anyhoo . . .

 I love car trips, and I am sure if you asked Zoe, she would say that this one was extra special.  Who wouldn't love being locked up in a confined space with their mama for a whomping eight hours . . . tee hee!
We grabbed some snacks, blasted the tunes and sang our hearts out.  We tossed around Christmas gift ideas for everyone in the family, discussed Halloween costumes, and laughed at all the small town "claims to fame", like halfway between the Equator and the North Pole.  Okay, so that one is pretty cool, but you get the picture.  I tried to convince Zoe to jump out of the car a couple of times so I could take her picture with some cows, but she wasn't game for that.  Ugh . . . teenagers!  

The highlight of our trip, and I am sure Zoe would agree, was, as we passed Springhill, NS, I told her all about my favourite kids' song when I was growing up:  "There's A Hippo in the Bathtub" by Anne Murray.  I went on to describe how my best friend, Connie Winchester, and I would sing along to that song on my front step, while we blasted it on my kid-sized gettoblaster.  Ah, the eighties!  I confessed that this song had inspired me to become a Country Music Star someday.  Zoe, feeling ripe with hilarity, replied: "Ah, another failed dream" . . . tee hee!  She really is a brat!  In spite of how much this song meant to me, I couldn't remember how it went so Zoe found it on Youtube, and then kicked herself for doing so because I sang it the entire day.  Sorry, Baby Girl!  If you want to stroll down memory lane with me, though, here's the link.  It's so awesome!

It really was a great day.  The sun was shining, and the trees were adorning their fabulous Fall wardrobe.  We must have driven past at least five bright red fields. They were stunning, and this one, in particular,was really spectacular:

As much as I hate the cooler Autumn temperatures, I have to admit that Fall is the prettiest season.

At this point, I could lie and tell you how I love car trips because they give me time to reflect or distance from all my cares and worries, and they do, but in all honesty, I love them because they give me an opportunity to indulge in one of my guiltiest pleasures:  junk food!

Ohhhhhh, not Rotten Ronnie's!

Admit it, your opinion of me has gone down a notch.  It's okay, really.  I don't blame you.  

I am so bad.

So, that's how I spent my day yesterday; just me and my baby girl driving, singing, laughing, admiring, and eating.  At one point, while listening to a song titled "Live Like You'll Die Young", Zoe pondered out loud what it would be like to be given only one day to live.  I jokingly answered: "Well, I am not going to get drunk and sleep with everything that moves like this song suggests."  We laughed, and she rolled her eyes at her lame mother.  Later that night, after we arrived home safely, called everyone with the doctor's update, and were tucked in bed, I kept thinking about her question:  what would I do if this was my last day to live?  Then, a welcoming comfort of peace enshrouded me, and I was humbled, once again, by the recognition of just how truly blessed I am.  Perhaps, I would have invited three more people along for our car trip, but, ultimately, I wouldn't change a thing.