Zoom! There went December. And holidays. And 2012.

Despite the fact that we were on holidays from school from about the 8th, the month was very full. My list had several things checked off, but not as many as I liked. We got to see friends that the busy-ness of fall schedules had been keeping us from for several months. My old, second-or-third-hand oven finally bit the dust on Dec. 22, and we got a new one (which I LOVE!) And Jason got a promotion.

There is more to each of those stories, but they all seem a little too lengthy to try to cram into one post. Suffice it to say that Jason is now working as a System Analyst, a position that was handed to him within minutes of him receiving a job offer as a Project Manager for another company. The jobs were so similar as far as benefits, pay, and other things, that Jason struggled with the decision for about a week, initially thinking he would take the Project Manager job. He had no peace about it until he decided to stay with Northlands School Division as System Analyst, however, so that is what he did. We are very grateful that our belts can loosen a little, and that Jason gets to stay in a work environment he enjoys, making a wage he is happy with.

The kids were happy to start school again after our four weeks off. Last Sunday night, Jabin commented that he thought the holiday was TOO long. Didn't expect that. I could definitely have used another week, but my "to-do" list has significantly more items on it than theirs does! Especially for the last two weeks of the break, when Jason was off, too--there were a great deal of video games played during that time. It's good to know that they do see the value of structure and learning at times. :-)

My To-Do was more various forms of work, but fortunately, they were mostly ones I enjoyed:
  • sew
  • knit
  • write patterns
  • update web stores (all of them)
  • start newsletter mailing lists for various businesses
  • Plan Science for the remainder of the school year
  • do my books for the past year
It's the last one I have yet to tackle. I'll get to it soon. Most of the sewing was to make things like pajamas, mitts, and toques that my kids (or other family's kids) were short on. I am very much looking forward to making myself a new dress, which I purchased the fabric for a month ago and have been looking longingly at ever since.

Maybe this week...

Top Ten Reasons I Love Working From Home

There are always downsides to everything--most of us know this. But while there is the odd time I think that maybe a dedicated ten-hour stretch without the interruptions of home life would enable me to accomplish so much more, really, I absolutely LOVE that I get to work from home. And here's why (in no particular order):

  1. Conducting business in my pajamas.
  2. When I put my makeup on, my husband knows it's for him, not someone at the office.
  3. When dealing with a particularly frustrating "Customer Relations" issue, I have the advantage of being able to take a few hours, cool down, and think about it before responding.
  4. Home schooling my kids.
  5. On my break, I get to go outside and enjoy my beautiful property.
  6. Conducting business at night, after my kids are in bed.
  7. "Going on vacation" does not necessarily mean I stop making money.
  8. My business is portable--not just for vacations, but for moves.
  9. It saves on gas.
  10. I get to raise our kids, not a babysitter.
Hey, all you work-from-home moms and dads--do you have some reasons unique to you why you love your "job"?

Yay! for Spring

What a difference a week can make, right? Last weekend: snowed in. This weekend: signs of spring are everywhere.

Signs of early spring I noticed yesterday:
  • The trailer was warm enough to open the windows.
  • The hundreds of gallons of water in the form of ice crystals covering the landscape was transforming back into its liquified form. In town, this meant there were several teams of town employees pumping out ditches in danger of flooding the road--or the trailer park. Oops! Too late for the trailer park! It was a lake!
  • No coats, no winter boots, bare arms.
  • Lineups at the car washes in town around the block. (I decided to wash my van another time.)
  • The snow in my yard was soft enough that a half-hour or so of shovelling revealed the walkway that disappeared about three weeks ago in winter's final death throes.
  • The sudden urge I felt to buy a place setting for ten of polka-dotted melamine dishes, a matching pitcher, and a salad spinner, with the intent of making our summer entertaining much more comfortable this year.
  • The also-sudden urge to go find picnic table plans, with the same intent as the last point.
Unfortunately, the only one in my family who has not been ill this week is me! (Well, I feel fortunate, but not so much the rest of the family.) Jabin and Jason have been sick since the beginning of the week, with Jason taking three days off of work. By Thursday, the other two boys had succumbed, so we declared "no-school days" for Thursday and Friday. However, since we have just started our unit on the Ocean, the days were not completely uneducational--they watched two hours of BBC's "The Blue Planet: Seas of Life" each of those days. Fabulously-done movies.

Not teaching all day meant that I got to take a walk in the sunshine, and also succumb to another Sudden Urge--spring cleaning!

Quite a Few "Winter's Days In"


That's what my van looked like for all of last week. (The amount of snow covering it varied.)

After a spring snowstorm, where large, fluffy flakes the size of hamsters floated down for the entire weekend, I backed up to leave for Swim Club last Monday. After making several attempts at the driveway, I realized that it was pointless, then backed up far enough to get back into my parking spot into some unpacked snow. My tires quickly transformed the slick, wet hamsters under them to solid ice, leaving me stranded in my own yard for the rest of the week.

We missed getting a flag out in time for the county grader to clear the driveway out, so it was not until yesterday, when our friend B brought out his MAX and plowed us out, that I finally achieved freedom. I am looking forward to getting to town today, and Jason is looking forward to doing a lot less errands in town for me this week. (Thank goodness he has 4-wheel-drive on his little Ranger!)

As mildly frustrating as it was to be stuck at home, I did enjoy a week that was a bit more relaxing, and took advantage of it to finish a few things on the "to-do" list.

In fact, yesterday I decided that I just might be addicted to finishing things. Don't get me wrong--starting things is fun. But sometimes I wonder if the only reason I start things is so I can finish them, and have the satisfaction of crossing them off the list. And I don't just cross them off--I use a highlighter. It's a habit I picked up years ago when I worked at Rogers Video in Calgary. Finished things got highlighted. It really makes them stand out on the list--I tell ya, the sense of accomplishment increases exponentially when you see all that neon green, yellow, and pink smiling up at you from your list! :-)

So, here are a few things I accomplished last week:
  • Year-end business reconciliation
  • 2010 tax returns!!!! (Yippee! First time I've been on time with that in four years, at least! First time I've been early since beginning my business in 2005!)
  • Various kitchen chores that I had been falling behind on
  • Jason's Valentine's Day socks. Started at Christmas--still not enough time.
    Jason's Farrow Rib socks
  • Almost (read: 1 more hour of work) finished some little "Keyboard Mitties" for myself. My hands get really cold when I work at the piano or computer for a long time on cold winter days. Colleen cued me in to the benefits of fingerless mitts for inside in the winter. (I never could see the value in this climate, before.)
    Keyboard Mitts
  • Season 1 of Glee (a show for which my reviews are mixed), which Jason had bought me for Valentine's Day.
That's it, but not bad for a week, I'd say. I also took a little celebratory leisure time after finishing the taxes to start learning how to use Google Sites. The "learning site" I am developing is just a showcase of our home school activities for the year, but I am checking it out to see if the tool would be suitable for a few other purposes I have in mind. I'll keep you posted on that, most likely.

Sadly, I have accomplished very little with the musical this past week. Last Sunday, I finished some demo recording, and am about half-way through another revision of the script. For some reason, my energy levels this weekend were just extremely low, and my motivation matched. I am blaming a week stuck in the house (still recovering a little from being sick the week before) and the never-ending-freakin'-snow-and-overcastness outside! I am SO ready for spring!

Anyway, that was my week in a nutshell. Happy Monday, friends!


A cup of black tea when what I really want is a nap.

Rebellion when what I really want is understanding and acceptance.

A day hitting the books when what I really want is a day lost in a book.

A trip to town through the snow when what I really want is to bunker in against the snow.

Whoever said, "Accept no substitutes" must not have been a mom.

So much to do...

Jason had an extra-long weekend this weekend, with both Friday and Monday off. With me still being a bit "under the weather", this has been especially nice.

But, in all honesty, the weather has nothing to do with it. In fact, we have been watching the last remnants of snow melt away from the shadows, and our yard dry up over the weekend. The sun has been inspiring lots of motivation to get started on the umpteen spring projects I've been thinking about all winter. Here is just a smattering from the list I put together for myself for the weekend (just so I would remember them all):
  • Build chicken brooder
  • Build chicken tractor
  • Make garden box covers (to protect against the deer)
  • Make a proper compost bin
  • Make front room drapes (The sun is back, and already there are days where our living room is a bit unbearable--we need some kind of solar regulation, here!)
  • Build clothesline
  • Trench phone lines (Looking forward to no more dropped cell calls!)
  • Build a permanent chicken coop (for winter)
  • Plant garden
  • Build porch (This is actually Jason's project exclusively)
  • Maybe even build a root cellar?
That's besides whatever landscaping and other yard improvement work we can squeeze in.

I just have to remind myself: Rome wasn't built in a day. Neither does the Winters Homestead need to be.

Five Random Things Monday: Jabin

  1. Mr. Independent: Jabin earned this title early on in life, always wanting to do everything himself from the moment he discovered food could come from something besides a breast. Lately, he has been pressing to remain the Reigning Champion of the title, no longer being happy to let someone else butter his bread, put condiments on his food, open his bananas, etc. For the most part, this is a welcome change--now, if only we could get him to figure out how to do up his coat zipper, we'd be laughing!
  2. Scissors: Lately, Jabin has been the "King of Cutting". He is not happy colouring a picture, unless he is also allowed to cut it out. His skill with the scissors has therefore been improving exponentially--but sometimes, I think he cuts off Roo's tail, or the snowman's hat, or the sun's rays on purpose, just so he can then use some clear tape to put them back together! (There was a line there, right? Why else would they put a line there unless they wanted him to cut it?)
  3. Socks: Jabin was the lucky recipient of the first pair of socks I have ever made. I finished them Friday--one week per sock, with fairly consistent daily work on them. They are uber-cute, especially on his little footsies--but it didn't take me long to decide that the next pair would be made from a larger-gauge yarn! (I just don't want to take two weeks to make something as small as socks. Call me crazy if you must.) He loves them, which warms my cockles. How gratifying is it, after roughly 30 hours of work (and a new callous!) to tell the boy that his socks are finished and have him jump up and down excitedly while yelling "Yay!" not once, not twice, but thrice?
  4. Motor Skills: Of my three boys, Jabin's fine motor skills have probably developed the earliest--he is a champion colourer, he loves to paint with watercolours and acrylics, and his cutting obsession has already been described. Although most of his recent colouring work has fallen prey to his scissors, I managed to save one from the guillotine for posterity:
  5. Helping: Jabin loves helping--and he is getting old enough that occasionally, he can actually be helpful! Okay, he might not do the most stellar job of wiping down walls, sweeping the floor, or picking up toys--but he is trying, he's learning, and he loves feeling useful. Everyone's gotta start somewhere!

Signs of Spring

While Colleen has been obnoxiously posting colourful pictures of trees exploding into bloom over at The Pancake Chronicles for the last week, I have been bemoaning the fact that there is still about 18 inches of snow over most of the ground in the view out my window. (After nearly eight years in Yellowknife, I do not begrudge her her right to celebrate a British Columbian spring--I am just feeling a little jealous.)

However, after days of sunshine, my heart perked up today as I noticed that we, too, have some signs that spring may not be far away:
  • the streets in town are covered in water
  • people are walking around with heads uncovered
  • people smile at you for no apparent reason as you walk down the street (unless it's that you seem to be smiling at them for no reason!)
  • the icy snow on my roof has been falling off in large, clattery clumps at random intervals throughout the day, scaring the pants off of me
  • I've been able to shed several of my layers for the last week or so
  • the cats actually don't mind being outside most days
  • my thoughts are turning to gardening
  • the thermometer read on the "plus" side of freezing today
  • people (including Jason and I) have started to think it might not be a total waste of money to wash their vehicles
  • I've started wondering what kind of dress I should make this spring (my annual "spring dress"--traditionally, the only dress I make in a year, although I've thrown that balance off over the last year) - I have a California wedding to go to in May, after all!
  • We've started counting down the weeks until we are finished each school subject (By "we," I mean Jude and me--it's looking pretty good to be finished almost everything by the end of April! Yay!!!)
So, we haven't seen a robin redbreast yet--but, on the 25th of February (dare I say it?), it is starting to feel like Spring! in Northern Alberta.

Unfortunately, I've lived here for enough years to know that no matter how convincing the false start might be, chances are we've got at least one good -20C snap yet, and more than likely a snowstorm or two. I am not normally a pessimist--but I would call this realism, not pessimism.

For now, though, I will not think about that. For now, I am going to revel in sunshine on my bare hair as I walk my dog... in my Sorels... through 18 inches of snow!

Five Random Things Monday: Noah

Noah, in many ways, is still a mystery to me. But a fun mystery. I love peeking into his world, as often as he lets me. Those glimpses into the windows of his mind become ever more frequent as he gets older, and his communication skills improve.

  1. Babies: Noah keeps asking for us to have a baby. (So does Jabin, as a side.) He is completely fascinated by them right now. This morning, while we were at the swimming pool waiting for Jude (his first swimming lesson!), there was another mom there with a small baby, maybe six months. He spent fifteen or more minutes sitting next to the baby's infant carrier, gently patting her or looking at her. Later, when I ran into an acquaintance at Walmart who had her infant son with her, he kept patting his head and commenting. I dunno why he does it, but it's darned cute.
  2. Mario Kart: This is still Noah's favourite video game or pastime of any kind, really. (It's for the Wii.) Lately, it has received some competition from Jude's new Ninja Turtles game (the boys all love the kung fu in there), but as his AWANA car selection hinted, it is still the reigning champion. One day, I listened to Noah and Jabin "playing Wii" for a good half-hour in the living room while Jude and I were doing school in the dining room. They were deciding which characters were driving their cars, which races they were doing, and which cars they were driving. They were crashing into things and doing jumps, and I could hear the cars whizzing around the racetrack, motors gunning. When Noah got up to go to the bathroom, he even exclaimed, "Jabin, don't. touch. anything!" so Jabin wouldn't mess up the settings of the game in his absence (as the stinker is prone to do). The best part? It was all pretend! They are only allowed to play Wii on the weekend! ("Wii-kend!" Hee.)
  3. Math: Tonight, Noah and I attended a "Family Math Night" put on by his school to help introduce parents to a new curriculum, and show them basic math games they can play with their kids. Of course in kindergarten, it's all about patterns. Noah has always been strong in math-related activities, but I was still a little surprised at some of the creative patterns he came up with tonight. I am really looking forward to teaching him next year and watching that develop.
  4. Communication: Noah got re-assessed by a speech language pathologist last fall, and was found to still have a mild speech delay, so he has been working with her once or twice a week since then. It is kind of weird for me, since she does it in the afternoons while he is at school, so I have not been able to sit in on any of the sessions--meaning I really don't know what she does with him. He doesn't tell me anything about it. They just started in January, so I can't say as I have noticed any significant changes yet. However, anything that makes Noah more confident in himself and easier to understand is a good thing, in my opinion. He has a habit of "jumping into the middle" of a story he has already been telling in his head, so you have no reference point to what he is saying to you (unless you witnessed the incident yourself firsthand.) When he does this, we have been trying to get him to backtrack a little bit and tell us all of the information, but it's a process. He gets a little better everyday, though.
  5. Food: Remember the broccoli hoarding incident? Well, some things never really change. This boy still literally gags at certain food textures. Okay, maybe its the fact that he tries to swallow foods he doesn't like without making them any smaller. Last winter, he actually spewed on his plate after trying to swallow a piece of cooked cauliflower whole. He figures if he can swallow without chewing, it will be over faster. While I am not going to classify this as a "step up", exactly--at least he isn't hoarding it in his cheeks for two hours anymore! (No wonder I usually blend up his cauliflower and hide it in his pasta sauce!)

Five Random Things Monday: Jude

I almost forgot about this again, since today is the Family Day holiday. Fortunately, I still remembered in plenty of time to think of the Five Things!

  1. Food: Jude is my "meat-and-potatoes" kid. He loves roasts, mashed potatoes, gravy, the works. Unfortunately, he is also fairly addicted to wheat products and sugar. He doesn't get to indulge his addiction often, because Mom and Dad keep him down to a reasonable amount, but I wonder what will happen when he is out of the house. Hopefully, he will understand the value in limiting his own consumption by then (and have developed the self-discipline to do it).
  2. Cooking: Will Jude follow in my creative cooking footsteps? I don't know. However, I was a little astounded a few weeks ago when he invented "Chocolate Oatmeal Pudding" out of his head, wrote the recipe down, then bugged me until I let him make it. I guided him into a few minor changes, but for the most part we created his original idea. Did it taste good? Um, I didn't care for it, but Jude liked it! What I liked was that he came up with the whole thing, then went for it! I hope to see more stuff like that in the future.
  3. Stewardship: Since the New Year, we have been studying various units under the character trait of Stewardship: Environment/Ecology/Conservation, Time Management, and Money Management. In the Money Management unit, we read one of the Financial Peace Junior children's books every day. In one of the stories, Junior visits an orphanage and discovers that they have very few toys to play with, so packs up many of his own toys and gives them to the orphanage. I figured this would be a great thing for us to do, too. I had originally planned to tackle the "toy-editing" process myself in a few months, but now changed my mind to allow the kids to have a say in the decisions, allowing them to not only learn about giving, but also NOT being a pack-rat at the same time. So, today we sorted toys, requiring that the toys we kept all must fit within a certain size box, and the rest must be given away. I was surprised and impressed with some of the decisions Jude made, and the maturity he displayed. (I thought he might be the most selfish with the toys, not wanting to give any away, since this has typically been his response in the past--thus the reason I was going to do this all by myself, preferably on a day the kids were elsewhere!) I like those kinds of surprises.
  4. Phobias: Not long ago, we discovered that Jude has a fear of bears. This is probably not unrelated to the fact that a few weeks after we moved onto this land, Jude and his friends happened to see a black bear at no great distance while playing in the trees. However, Jason did not know the reason that day in January for Jude's irrational wailing when he left him behind in the field to try and get back to the house quickly, as he was carrying Jabin. (Jabin's short legs and short boots don't mix well with 18"-deep snow.) It wasn't until Jude finally got into the house as well that Jason was able to address the whole situation, discovered the reason for the overreaction, and sat down with the boy to have a lesson about bears. I don't know if he is less afraid of them now, but he is at least relieved to know that the chances of being attacked by a bear in an open field, in the middle of winter, are slim to none! I guess we'll see how things go come summer...
  5. Animals: Jude loves reading, and he particularly loves reading about animals. "Mom, did you know that an octopus can change the colour of its skin?" "Mom, did you know that moles clean their worms before they eat them?" "Mom, look at this picture of a house made with mammoth tusks!" It's so cool to see him just delve into stuff like that. We don't have Discovery Channel--but thank goodness for the local library!

Five Random Things, er, Tuesday? : Me

So, I just realized that I totally botched up "Five Random Things Monday" on my second week in. Oops. I thought about blogging yesterday, but thought, I don't really need to. Oops again.

So, here we are, a day late, but hopefully not a dollar short. Since I'm the authoress of this blog, I'm going to have to get creative to think of something that I haven't mentioned at least once in the last four (!) years. Speaking of which, I just noticed that, once again, I let my bloggiversary slip by unnoticed on Sunday. Happy Birthday, Winters' Day In!

Time for four, originally uploaded by Anniko 1996.

  1. Eggs: As a child, I didn't like eggs, but I could eat them if they were scrambled. What I really didn't like was the yolk, especially if it was runny. I couldn't handle fried eggs until I was a teenager, and then only if the yolk was broken and cooked hard. Over the last five years, though, I have slowly developed a taste for over-medium, and then over-easy eggs. I especially love poached soft on toast with butter. Mmmm... Just goes to show ya: You CAN learn to like something that's good for you!
  2. Cooking: Speaking of eggs, you'd think I would have learned how to boil them by now. For a while, I seemed to have a perfect system. However, every cooktop seems to be a little different, and--judging from last night's effort--I need to rework my current method. Sigh. (See, Rohini? I still screw up boiled eggs, too!)
  3. Knitting: I have decided it's finally time to learn to knit socks. In the past, I've kind of muddled my own way around and figured out how to do a short-row heel (which I used to design slipper-socks), but frankly, I never really saw the value of spending the amount of time it would require to make this rather mundane project with millions of teeny stitches on teeny needles that would just get worn out quicker than most... until recently. Actually, it started in 2006, when Vogue Knitting published their winter edition with a sock focus, and I started to see the potential for beautiful gorgeous, brightly-coloured socks that let you try out new techniques on a small canvas. The clincher, though, was getting frustrated at how very quickly commercially-made socks seem to wear out on little boys. I'm hoping that a pair of well-made, wool socks will keep their feet warmer for longer. I hope it won't just be that I'll have spent more time and effort to make something that wears out just as quickly! I guess we'll see.
  4. Leadership: Lately I've been pondering about the many leadership roles I have filled in my life. I have been thrust into them since I was quite young, and seemingly often. I have never campaigned to be put there, or gone to seek them out. I do them because they need to be done, I have the skills to do them, and someone has to. I feel a responsibility to help shape the world I live in, instead of complaining about it ("Being the change I wish to see in the world"), so I step up and fill the need. I'm not complaining about this--it is obviously a gift God has given me, and to not use that gift for good would be, in my opinion, ungrateful, as well as showing me to be a foolish steward. But honestly, when it all comes down to it? Most times, I'd rather stay home and knit. Let someone else take the flack and the stress that comes with leadership. (Don't worry, I'm not throwing in the towel anytime soon. Like the character Cicero says in the movie Gladiator, "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time I do what I have to.")
  5. Typing Speed: According to this site, I type at a net speed of about 71 wpm, with 95% accuracy (when I'm trying, apparently.) But if I could take a test using the text I type every day several times while doing my business e-mails (since there are a few things I just have to type with every transaction I have), I bet it would be about 150 wpm with 100% accuracy. I don't really know how to find that out without a friend and a stopwatch. (Also, I bet if I re-take that test tonight, when I'm not sitting square in the middle of a sunbeam during my afternoon lull, my score will go up. If I remember to try it again later, I'll let you know.)
Edit: I just noticed on Wikipedia that an average professional typist reaches about 50-70 wpm, and that the "average computer user" is considered "fast" at 40wpm. Suddenly, I feel better, for some reason!

Five Random Things Monday: Jason

I recently saw this idea in a scrapbooking magazine--jot down five random facts about your life and who you are. Great idea! I thought. Why not do it for the whole family? We all change over time, and I think we would all like to look back at a little "snapshot" of who we were at certain times in our lives.

I decided to start with Jason, by right of him being the head of our family, as well as getting the least personal attention on this blog, in general. (This is due to him being the least willing photo subject in our family!)

  1. Pumpkin Pie: Hands-down, this is the man's favourite dessert. It is followed closely by Chocolate Chip Cookies. I don't make either very often, which he occasionally laments, but even if I made them both every week, I get the feeling it still would not be often enough!
  2. Bike Trip: Jason and my second-cousin Mark (yes, Colleen's Mark) once rode their bikes from Sylvan Lake to Thetis Island (near Vancouver) for Bible college at Capernwray. For those of you not aware of the geography between those two locations, it meant riding over every mountain range between the plains and the Pacific Ocean! He says that after that trip, his legs were in the best shape of his life!
  3. UFC: This is Jason's current sport of choice to follow. He no longer makes a date to go watch hockey games or golf matches at people's houses (we don't really have any TV channels to speak of), but I can count on at least one evening every month when he will be "out with the guys" watching UFC. And plenty of nights in between watching interviews with the fighters on the internet.
  4. Career: Jason's career path is taking another turn, as he is beginning a new job today. After exactly a year working for his friend Wes, he is beginning a job back in the IT industry today for one of the school divisions. He is filling a newly-created position as the "first contact" tech guy for all of the schools in the whole division. Part of the "breaking-in" process will include some traveling to the schools to see how they are all set up. Some of the schools are so remote, they are fly-in only! But, other than that, he gets to leave later, he will be home earlier, and he will actually get a few weeks holidays every year. He is excited for the new challenge, and to be back in (one of) his fields of training.
  5. Coffee: Like myself, Jason did not start drinking coffee until college, much preferring tea. However, there is nothing like long hours of working and studying and exams to inspire a serious caffeine habit! Also like myself, a plain cuppa java is not his idea of a tasty beverage. Adding plenty of sugar and cream (I use honey, but Jason doesn't like honey in his coffee) makes it palatable, but still not a first choice. He has had many periods over the years where he has not drunk much coffee, but the last year has not been one of them! It is awkward to bring tea and honey and cream to work all the time, and the availability of free coffee right there in the station all day every day made it all too convenient to imbibe! He has been tossing around the idea of going on a "coffee cleanse"--you know, before anyone at the new job knows that he drinks it! I guess we'll see how that goes...

Little Big Man

Jude, I love that you are a big enough boy to:
  • Help with the vacuuming.
  • Help your little brothers with their chores and coats
  • Help Daddy at work once in a while
  • Pull your brothers on the sled
  • Watch Lord of the Rings with us
  • Learn to play Settlers of Catan with us
  • Start the van (Command start!)
  • Read The Fantastic Mr. Fox, James and the Giant Peach, and Nicholas Nosh at Sea all by yourself, to yourself.
But I also love that you are still a little enough boy to:
  • Want to cuddle up next to Mommy on the couch at night while we read together.
  • Want to exchange "what I'm thankful for today"s every night before bed.
  • Want to give me a hug and a kiss before you go to sleep.
Sometimes you drive me crazy, but mostly, I love the stage you are in.

And more than that, I just love you.


Usually, I try to do an interview-type post with each kid on their birthday, but I missed all three this year, I think! So, here is the way the world looks to my kids right now:


What is your favourite food?: Ice cream
What is your favourite activity?: Play toys.
What is your least favourite activity?: Cleaning up. (Mommy thinks it's taking a nap.)
What is your favourite movie?: Enchanted
Who is your favourite superhero?: Batman
What is your favourite colour?: Pink
What's your least favourite colour?:White
Who is your best friend?: Jude and Noah
What's your favourite book?: I don't know.
What's your favourite animal?: Lion
What's your favourite game?: MarioKart [Wii] and Mario Party [8]
If you could go anywhere, where would you go?: To Tim Horton's
If you could have any toy, what would you have?: My favourite toy is Winnie-Pooh
Do you like snow?: Yeah.
Why?: Because I want to walk in it.
What do you want to be when you grow up?: Batman!


What is your favourite superhero?: Superman
What is your favourite food?: Pancakes and hot cereal
What is your least favourite food?: Mushrooms and pickles and tomatoes
What is your favourite movie?: All Dogs Go To Heaven and 3-2-1 Penguins
What is your favourite activity?: Play Wii.
What is your favourite game?: Stuart Little II & Bob the Builder (computer games), MarioKart Wii
What is your favourite book?: Bobcats & Lynx; The Cat In The Hat
Who is your best friend?: Quinton and Emily
What's your favourite animal?: Lion
What's your favourite thing to dress up as?: Lion costume [Still! After two years!]
Do you like kindergarten?: No. I love home school.
Why not?: Because I'm too old. I'm not going to be five, I'm going to be six, now. [In three more months!]
What is your favourite colour?: Green.
If you could go anywhere, where would you go?: Quinton's house. Quinton's house is good.
What is your favourite toy?: Donkey Kong monster truck.
What do you want to be when you grow up?: I just want to go to work just like my dad.


What is your favourite food?: Cake and waffles and pie [after much deliberation]
What is your least favourite food?: tomatoes and pickles
What is your favourite colour?: orange
What is your least favourite colour?: purple
What is your favourite subject in school?: Crafts and Spelling
What is your least favourite subject?: Phonics
What is your favourite activity?: Play with my friends; swimming and drawing.
What is your least favourite activity?: I don't have one... I can't think of one. My best guess is being alone. ("Why, Jude?" asks Jabin. No response.)
What is your favourite animal?: Cheetah
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?: To my friends' house.
Who is your favourite superhero?: Spiderman
What's your favourite movie?: Transformers
Who is your best friend?: Dawson
What's your favourite book?: There are so many books, I can't even think of one. (sigh) I don't have one, then. I have a whole bunch of favourite books.
I know that feeling, Jude. Can you tell me a few of them that you like?: Stuart Little; Dragon Rider; my dragon books [Dragonology; How to Raise and Keep a Dragon]; Sonic comics.
What would you like to do when you grow up?: Be a cowboy. ("Really? You're back to cowboy?" "Well, is there anything you can do on the water?" he asks. "Oh, yeah!"... and I list a half-dozen or so professions. After some thought, he decides he wants to be "a soldier in the air." Two days later, when I am finally getting Noah's section done, he decides he wants to be a Navy officer on a submarine!)

Things To Do While You Are Sick

  • Blog like a madwoman for a few days.
  • Begin reading Jane Austen's Emma. Neglect blog shamefully for duration.
  • Get so congested that I cannot sleep. Watch Pride & Prejudice at weird hours while waiting for sinuses to clear.
  • Try to teach school on four hours sleep the next day.
  • Break my strict "no-forwarding" rule by sending out nonsensical e-mails with some iffy anecdotal evidence about how to prevent illness to almost everyone on my e-mail list. I'm blaming the lack of sleep. Sorry if you were one of the "lucky" ones.
  • Dig up potatoes and pluck rosehips for jelly in a snowstorm. Makes sense, doesn't it?
  • Forget words frequently, thanks to sleep-deprivation.
  • Have a hallelujah breakdown when the sinus congestion finally passes. Now, instead of keeping my husband awake with a snorky nose all night, it can just be incessant coughing.
  • Oo! I remembered that peppermint oil on the tongue stops coughing! Yippee! We get to sleep at last!
  • Think fondly of last October, when we were in a much warmer, milder, less cold-prone climate.
  • Suck it up.
  • Finally get over the worst of it, only to discover that the bug has been passed on to one of my children. Spend week at home nursing child to health.
I think the main bugs have been exterminated. Hopefully, we will be better prepared next time!