Thursday, January 19, 2012


I am so behind in blogging.  I apologize!  I've been super busy these days--with what, I can't imagine--and I always seem to be in I'll get to it soon mode with Mothers of Change OR ye olde blog.  I think a bullet post is in order...

-Brent started a new position at work.  He's quite happy there and its intellectually stimulating and a nice change for him after 4 years on the road.  I'm happy for him (very) but the juxtaposition with my life and the fact that I recently quit my job makes it difficult for me.  Not hugely, but somewhat.  I feel a bit like I'm watching him takeoff in his career just as mine halts for good.  I mean, professionally I wanted a change anyways and I'm certainly filling the small amount of extra time I have with artistic and advocacy pursuits, but my gut reaction to this change in Brent's life is to feel a bit small and unimportant.
Always awesome, he's quick to reassure me that our family is the main focus of BOTH of our lives, and that given the CHOICE, he wouldn't work, but since we need an income he may as well do a job he enjoys.  So that's amazing.  He's just so good, and knows the right thing to say all the time.  =)

-Our van heater died all the way.  A few weeks ago, when we got back from Vernon.  There's nothing like something not working at all to make you appreciate what you had, even when what you had was the burn and freeze.  No sooner did the van heater die, and a cold front arrived, complete with ice, frost, six inches of snow, blowing wind, and bone chilling cold.  It is remarkable how ironic this is.
I appreciate two things about this situation.  First, that the van heater held out in burn and freeze mode for the entirety of our trip through the mountains to my parents' place and back after Christmas.  Second, a friend of ours has volunteered her boyfriend to help scour the auto wreckers in our area for a new heater, which can cost the value of our commuter car when ordered new through the dealership.
At this point, the kids wear full snow gear to survive even five minute trips in the van, and I have a new appreciation for moms in colder climates, because it really does take an inordinate amount of time to gear up four kids and one mom for deep cold.  Like, twenty minutes.  Yes.  Seriously.  Normally I'm military about car seat and seat belt safety and nobody wears their coat under their belt.  But I tell you, there's no way around it at sub zero with no heat. 
If I could park the van in the garage it would really help because at least the seats and the air in the van would be warmer than outside temperatures but right now they are bone chilly.  Our van won't fit in our garage~not because of stuff in our garage, but because our garage was built in the 80s with two small sedans in mind.  There's a supporting beam smack in the middle that won't allow the van to advance far enough into the garage for the garage door to close.  It's probably not that helpful to park in there anyways, since the garage is almost as cold as the driveway.
And who knew a working van heater was so fundamental to quality of life anyways?  But it really does dictate my day.  I HATE getting in that van and will avoid it at ALL costs, even preferring to walk to the pool in a snowstorm yesterday with Amarys on my back and Riley in the stroller rather than get in that thing and drive.  It's the new way to be green.  Amarys hated me for that entire walk, I tell you.  If babies could swear she would have been all over that shit, yo.

-The kids are doing well.  Amarys is so close to her first birthday, it is scary.  Where did that year go?  Wow.  She's standing and walking quite a lot: she is on the verge of switching permanently from crawling to walking, but hasn't developed full confidence yet.  It is funny how different each child develops; Ayden took his first steps and within two weeks was walking exclusively.  He only crawled for two months because once he realized he could walk, that was it.  Riley took his first steps at two months older than Ayden was, and walked exclusively about three weeks later.  Maybe four.  Amarys took her first steps in November and still isn't confident in her ability to walk rather than crawl!  We're all different.
Riley is in full three year old mode.  REEEEdiculously cute, and violently annoying, simultaneously.  He just had a bad bout of some sort of Norwalk like virus.  Lasted 2 full days and ruined one of our cushions.  Poor kid.  (and poor me.  That was a lotta watery poop).  He is in love with snow, and his imagination is SO cool to watch in action.  He's hysterical.  He still loves pink and purple, diggers, Mighty Machines, My Little Ponies, and recently pointed to a drawing full of Disney characters and said, "THIS ONE is my favourite," indicating Snow White.  I love him.  He's his own man.
Matthew.  Well.  Matthew's getting his own post in the coming days.  Stay tuned.
Ayden is good also!  He joined the gifted kids program at school and seems to be enjoying it.  He still eats like a bird.  He loves gymnastics.  His life is calmer and more fun now that violin lessons have finished; he's such a serious soul that it is very good for him to be able to let loose and play, and I hadn't really realized how much the daily commitment to practicing was taking away his let loose time and enforcing that serious side of his personality.  Not that I'm happy to see music lessons put on hiatus for now, but since it was financially necessary I can see a good side to it, for now.

-Amarys also had this weird health thing.  She was born with this prominent lump on the back of her head, and in recent months it really was getting more noticeable.  When she was born my midwife examined it and declared it normal, especially because it was bilateral.  But it isn't bilateral anymore.  And it is huge.  So I took her to the doctor for an in depth look over, and didn't really sleep much in the days leading up to the appointment.  Our doc said it is simply a bony prominence in her skull and nothing to worry about, although we are to go back in six weeks for another look.  An x-ray or a CT scan would be the next investigative step, and she (and we) doesn't want to expose Amarys to unnecessary radiation if we can help it.  It doesn't really seem to bother Amarys, although if you poke it a lot she jerks her head away.  If you poke her anywhere she pulls away.  Most people do.

-Fly lady is awesome.  My house has undergone a revolution and a tidy kitchen is the new normal.  This has had the unexpected and pleasant result of all of us working harder to keep things clean.  I have areas of my house which I haven't fully tackled yet: the playroom and spare bedroom are the worst, and the kids' bedrooms are rarely clean.  Our bedroom is moderately messy, but we now make the bed on a regular basis so it looks better.  But the KITCHEN IS CLEAN.  Wow.  This is a first in my life.  I always cleaned it every day before, but in a different configuration.  Before, I would clean it before I made supper, and be too tired to clean it again after supper.  AND the key to a clean kitchen, I have found, is an empty dishwasher.  Who knew?  Same with laundry; the key is folded and put away loads.  Focus on the end, and the beginning will take care of itself.  Wow.  Who knew?

-Also, I have to find a new shipper for Wild Arbutus.  My first order was placed through Etsy last week, and I mailed the toy I charged $15 for and it cost me nearly $12 to ship it.  WOAH NELLY.  Canada Post sucks my ass.  There has to be a better way (AND they offer an admittedly slow shipping option to the United States which costs $5.75 so essentially you can mail a package to a different country and it costs less than half what it costs to ship a package in our own country.  This is ludicrous).  Oh, and I discovered that shipping costs for a company like mine include the cost of the packaging... Nearly $2 per envelope, if you buy it at the post office.  There's gotta be a better deal in bulk somewhere, I just need to find it.  This is called the learning curve.  BUT it was exciting to get an order!  Even if it was placed by my mom (thanks mom!).  =)  Don't forget my shop if you are thinking of a home crafted toy for any kidlets in your life... If you are local I can hand deliver rather than ship, so will save some cost.
Yay Wild Arbutus!

-I posted this on Twitter today and I wanted to share it here because it made me cry I laughed so hard: Is it *actually* bad parenting to say, "Stop acting like an asshole" to your 7 year old?  Because if the shoe fits....

I'm so funny.

-Also, I love the snow.  Yes, it is too cold in my van, but aside from that I LOVE the snow!  It reminds me of Russia in winter, which is hilarious because I grew up in a very wintery climate so you would think it would remind me of home.  But instead, it reminds me of Russia.  I think this is because as an exchange student I lived in an urban area, but I grew up very rural.  So the urbanish area I live in reminds me more of Nizhny Novgorod.  Actually our aforementioned trek to the pool in a snowstorm had less to do with avoiding the van and more to do with wanting to walk in the snowstorm.  I really, really love snow!

-I made home made sweet and sour pork last night.  Sweet and sour pork is one of my all time favourite dishes in the entire world, so it was AWESOME to find a good recipe to make it myself!  There is a lot of sugar in sweet and sour pork, I discovered.  But it was delish!

-if there was a way to make my three year old stop talking to me for just one second of my effing life, and still be nice to him, I would pay over a million dollars for it.  OMG.  I used to wait in gleeful anticipation for Ayden to learn to say "mommy" and now I hate that word.  Hate it.  HatehatehatehateHATE. Hate.  Hate.  Venom.  The number of times it is said in a demanding tone to me in one single day is herculean.  And apparently I needed to vent a little tiny bit about that.  (I may have some cabin fever.  Just a touch.)


Louise Chapman said...

So much to say but all I can remember at this point is:
1. I love, love, love sweet and sour pork so much as well.

2. SO SUCKY about the van heater. I don't even like walking the 20 steps to our detached garage to get into the van in this cold.

3. Shipping: I buy my envelopes (mine are padded cd mailers) at Walmart in bulk, much cheaper. Dollar stores too. There's probably something cheaper but it's under $1/mailer. Secondly, I use Canada Post, but mine are obviously cheaper to mail because of the size. However, you can get a small business discount. Just sign up and you get 10% off each shipment. It's called a Venture One card. I never ship to the states so that's probably where the large cost comes in....

mom of four said...

Hi Melissa,
I am friends with Louise and linked to you from her blog:)

I would love to help with the van. Let me know if you still need a heater, my husbands shop is in Surrey by the auto wreckers and he can just call to find out who has a heater for your van, and they give him GREAT deals:)

Have a great day!

melissa v. said...

Stephani, oh my GOSH that would be awesome!! TY!!!! =) PLEASE HELP! This whole frosty driving dealio is just too much...

shoot me an email! melissavose at yahoo dot ca