Josée in Ottawa


I Think We Just Had The Perfect Day. Huh.

And it happened completely by accident. Many, if not most, of our family outings turn out more like this.

It’s a rule that you can’t plan a perfect day, it just has to happen on its own. We didn’t have any plans today, so there were no expectations. We lazed about all morning, and then decided to take a bike ride along the Rideau River. B.G. is finally able to ride at a reasonable speed, and Bonhomme is still light enough to be pulled in the Chariot trailer, so this is the first summer that we can all ride together. We packed a snack and headed out.

It was quite a sight to see B.G. happily pedalling hard to keep up with Hubby, her skirt fluttering out behind her. (My tomboy princess loves her dresses and skirts. No shorts or jeans for this girl, no siree. Sigh.) B.G. absolutely loves riding her bike and didn’t complain once about being tired (I’ll be diplomatic here and just say that she was uncharacteristically bubbly). Bonhomme, snug in the Chariot with his juice and snack, had no reason to complain either.

We made it all the way from Strathcona Park to the Rideau Falls, where we stopped for a rest:




We saw the royal swans and a few of their friends along the way (note the black bird sitting on the rock in the upper right-hand corner of the photo – a cormorant?):



We had such a great time that I would have called it a perfect day even if the fun had ended there, but we happened upon a police training exercise later in the day:



Bonhomme was in heaven. Hubby was admiring the  bikes (I could read his mind; he’ll get a bike over my dead body!) and I didn’t mind the view one little bit either. 🙂

And then, my favourite event of the summer, Fortissimo on Parliament Hill:







Today the fantasy and the reality were one.


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Please Stop With the Bodily Fluids. Please.

Grass. Toilet. Garbage Can.

Grass. Toilet. Garbage Can.

**Warning, this post is all about puke.**

My kids are what I would call “surprise pukers”. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to what sets them off, and there is very little warning that it’s about to happen. We recently had to train B.G. in what to do when she felt it coming on, because her default reaction was to come over to tell me all about how bad she felt, which led to a couple of incidents where I was left with puke literally soaking my pants and even my underwear. Yuckity-yuck-double-yuck. One of the incidents happened on the front porch of her friend’s house when we were dropping her off for a sleepover. – they had to hose down the porch. (“Really, she was fine five minutes ago. Guess we’ll be heading home… So sorry!”) I was so grateful that it didn’t happen inside the house five minutes after we’d driven off. The second pants-soaking incident was at a friend’s birthday party, where I vainly attempted to contain the disgusting waterfall in the plastic plate that held my supper. Not surprisingly this method was not effective.

If you think you’re going to be sick, we told her, find grass, a toilet, or a garbage can. DO NOT TELL MOMMY YOU’RE GOING TO BE SICK. Grass. Toilet. Garbage can.

Just a few days after the last B.G. incident, I was with Bonhomme at the Home Depot. He was sick in line at the cash, right as it was our turn to check out. I don’t know what the cashier thought when I asked her for a bag in case he was sick again, and then had her go ahead and ring my items through. Every time I leave the house now I have a couple of plastic bags hanging out of my pockets so that I can easily whip them out as needed.

How are the kids after these incidents, you ask? I might be a bit more sympathetic if they weren’t complaining about being hungry and wanting something to eat before I’ve even changed out of my vomit-covered pants.

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Until she was about five, B.G. would not wear her socks right-side-out. She insisted that the seams “hurt”. This drove me crazy. She had all sorts of adorable little girl socks with cute patterns and designs on them, but she would only wear them inside out. All you could see was the crappy side covered with thread.

Then one day I was cutting the tags out of some of my new shirts because I can’t stand the feeling of the tags against my skin – it hurts– and it hit me:




Explaining “Aunt Rose” to a Six-Year-Old in an Airport Bathroom



Any men reading may want to skip this post. 🙂

Soon B.G. and I will be travelling by plane to visit my sister. Of course it looks like my Impeccable Menstrual Timing (IMT – I coin the phrase!) will strike again. It will be difficult (well nigh impossible) for me to get into a bathroom stall without MiniMe, who doesn’t like to stand outside the stall by herself where strangers could possibly glance her way (oh the horror, shudder). I’ll have to get creative:

“Hey, that door looks loose. Can you please turn around and push on it and make sure that none of those scary strangers break in?”

“What’s that on the floor? NO, NO don’t touch it!!!”

“Is that an Air Canada sticker on the ceiling?”

The stalls are small and there is only so much to distract her.

Men never have to deal with stuff like this.

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Baby Bookworm

Bookworm by Midnite Sky (Flickr Creative Commons)

Bookworm by Midnite Sky (Flickr Creative Commons)

While other kids were out playing in the park, watching tv, or annoying their siblings, I was reading. I spent so much time at the library that they offered me a job when I was in the tenth grade. I don’t read as much as I would like these days, but I am devouring John Sandford’s whole Prey series featuring his Lucas Davenport character whenever I have a spare minute.  (Highly recommend it if you like detective/crime novels.)  So needless to say, literacy is very imporant to me, and I desperately want the kiddos to be avid readers. And right now, at this very moment, B.G. is sitting upstairs in bed, reading a book by herself, for the simple pleasure of it, for the very first time! Colour me one very proud mama. 🙂

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Kids Are Natural-Born Minimalists

“What?!”, I hear you say. “Have you seen the state of our toyroom??”

It might not seem like it, but it’s true. Kids really are natural-born minimalists. Since I last posted about having thrown out three garbage bags full of toys, my stealth decluttering of the toy boxes has continued. (In an upcoming blog post I’ll set out some tips on how to cull the toys.) I estimate that I’ve probably gotten rid of half of the toys, and nope – my kids still haven’t noticed. I thought for sure they would start asking questions when I approached the one-third mark, but it hasn’t happened.

“How could this be?”, I’ve been wondering. Then…

Bonhomme is great at inventing intricate games using whatever materials are at hand. This morning he invited me to play “soldiers” with a few lollipops from his Hallowe’en treat bag! He’d already spent at least thirty minutes sorting and stacking his candy, and the lollipop soldier game kept him occupied for another fifteen. Who needs expensive, battery-operated toys when you have a few lollipops? Kids will use their imaginations and will find ways to play with whatever is at hand.

Thinking about this brought to mind another instance of kids making do. A few years ago B.G. excitedly called me into the living room to play store. She had set out some toys to “buy” on the ottoman, and had angled it so that you had to walk along it like you do at the grocery store checkout. She made a point of telling me that the colouring book placed at the end of the line was not for sale. I obligingly picked out a few purchases, and was surprised to find her “scanning” the items across the colouring book before putting them into a grocery bag. That day I happily put our rather large second-hand plastic toy checkout counter (complete with cash register, scanning wand and safe) in the donate pile. She didn’t notice then, either.

If you limit the toys, kids won’t suffer – they’ll simply (and happily) make do with what they do have.

What so you see?

Lollipops or soldiers – what do you see?


A Short Conversation with B.G.

Care Bears lineup by johntrainor (Flickr Creative Commons)

Care Bears lineup by johntrainor (Flickr Creative Commons)

B.G. sold a few toys on Used Ottawa recently, and to my dismay she couldn’t wait to head to the store to spend some of her money.  At the time, she was hoping to find a stuffed Care Bear. I tried to convince her that it might be a good idea to save her money but she wasn’t buying it (pun intended :)). Our conversation on the way to the store went something like this:

Me: I’m not sure we’ll be able to find a Care Bear today. They might not have what you want. If you can’t find one, you could save your money and put it in your piggy bank. 

B.G.: If they don’t have a Care Bear I’ll get something else I want.

Me: What else do you want?

B.G.: I don’t know, I don’t know what they have!

Me: *sigh*