Josée in Ottawa


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Gimme a T! Gimme a V! Gimme a P-V-R! Goooooooooo cable!

Television is back, thank God. Glee (so sad about Cory Monteith), The Good Wife (best show on television), The Amazing Race (love Phil!), Elementary (Lucy Liu and Johnny Lee Miller are terrific together)- it’s a television cornucopia just in time for thanksgiving and I couldn’t be happier. September kicks my ass every year and the only thing helping me through it is television. The month of September is always one big to-do list for us. Between the return to school and routine, the (usually) colder temperatures that require complete wardrobe overhauls, and our many family commitments (everyone in our family seems to be have been born in September), it’s go-go-go all month long. Today is the first weekend day this month where we don’t have anything scheduled. Being able to wind down with a good show in the evenings lately is a real treat. (Alcohol doesn’t hurt either. Note to self – buy more wine!! :))

bob's television dream by Robert Couse-Baker (Flickr Creative Commons)

bob’s television dream by Robert Couse-Baker (Flickr Creative Commons)

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Things Kids Don’t Know That We Don’t Realize They Don’t Know (Or Maybe it’s Just My Kids)

At supper the other day B.G. let out a big fart and then started giggling. The following conversation followed:

Hubby: “You know, it’s not very polite to fart at the table.”

B.G:  “Mme X at school always says “Get OUT!” when someone farts in class. I don’t think that’s very nice. What are we supposed to do?”

Hubby: “Hold it in!”

B.G. (perplexed): “…What do you mean, hold it in? I don’t know how to do that.”

Bonhomme (waving his hands in the air): “Oh, I do! I do!”


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It’s a Bit Much, Don’t You Think?

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Every forty feet for forty kilometres.

After spending five glorious and relatively ad-free days in the Canmore-Banff-Lake Louise region, Sis, B.G. and I headed into BC. We drove forty kilometres down Highway 95 between Invermere and Fairmont, and the highway looked like this the whole way. Each billboard was like a slap in the face: “HEY! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! NEVER MIND THE MOUNTAINS – LOOK AT ME I HAVE SOMETHING TO TELL YOU! LOOK! AT! MEEEEEE!!!!!”

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More ad space than ads. If you look closely you can see five billboards at once.

Yeesh. Shut the &*% up already, would ya??


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Bonhomme and Bunny, Bestest of Friends

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Bonhomme luuuuvs his Bunny. These BFFs regularly have long, drawn-out conversations; Bunny’s voice is remarkably similar to Bonhomme’s, just more high-pitched. Bunny lives in a carrot house in Bunnyland; unfortunately Bonhomme is too big to visit but Bunny has told him all about it. Bunny is four like Bonhomme, or six like B.G., or sometimes even an almost-grown-up seven years old! Bunny knows everything, and isn’t shy about sharing his knowledge; whenever we give Bonhomme exciting news (“Hey, we’re going to Grandma’s tomorrow!”) he replies, “I know. Bunny told me!” Bunny occasionally gets a bath, much to Bonhomme’s chagrin. Like most BFFs, Bunny and Bonhomme hate being separated, even for a minute. When we leave the house (mean Mommy has decreed that, with few exceptions, Bunny is not allowed out of the house unless it’s for a sleep over) Bunny sits by the door anxiously awaiting Bonhomme’s return. If Hubby or I are staying home, we’re instructed to take good care of Bunny and to hug him if he cries. If I put Bunny on Bonhomme’s bed when Bonhomme is away, his first words upon coming home are always “Where’s Bunny?” Bunny loves to play hide-and-seek, especially at bedtime, so that Bonhomme can delay a few minutes more while he searches for his pal. Bunny loves being swaddled and tolerates being dressed up. Bunny has an injured ear that is barely hanging on by a thread, but has thus far refused any medical attention.

Bonhomme loves playing with the camera and Bunny is his favourite subject:

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Thinking about a day when Bunny is no longer the center of Bonhomme’s universe, well… I’m just not ready for that yet.


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My Little Adrenaline Junkie

Can you spot the child in this tree? Way, way up there, near the top?

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She loves climbing trees, riding horses and white water rafting. She taught herself how to do a handstand. She loved the helicopter ride we took one Canada Day, and she didn’t flinch at all during her first airplane ride when the plane accelerated for takeoff, or when we encountered turbulence. I should have seen it coming: once while driving around I had turned up the radio because one of my favourite songs was playing, and she yelled from her car seat in the back: “I love it when you drive really fast and the music is up loud!”

She’ll be base jumping by the time she’s sixteen.

Hubby and I are in so much trouble.


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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:

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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?):

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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:

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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:

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Today the fantasy and the reality were one.


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Summer Fun, Family Style.

The reality never quite lives up to the fantasy, does it? You’ve planned a wonderful outing for the family. Lunch, snacks, and suntan lotion are ready to go. The car is full of gas, the route is laid out. You are going to have some FUN! The kids are excitedly running around gathering up hats and toys. It’s go time. And then…

And then it slowly starts to unravel. One child can’t find his favourite hat. The other can’t find her sunglasses. You find substitutes but there is a bit of grumbling. You’ve got them in the car; one decides they need to go potty one more time. Back in the car, you’re three blocks from home when you realize you forgot the bag containing lunch. An extra spin around the neighbourhood and this time you’re really on your way!

Fifteen minutes into an hour-long car ride one child won’t stop calling the other names and the other is screaming. You pretend they haven’t just had breakfast and raid your stash of snacks just to get ten minutes of peace. The child sitting behind you won’t stop kicking the back of your seat and you’re two kicks away from pulling over on the side of the highway and strangling both children right there.

After another potty break for the child who refused to go before you left and a Tim’s break for much needed coffee for the grown ups (and a box of Timbits to assure another ten minutes of quiet) you’ve arrived at your destination.

One child is thrilled to be there (a sentiment that lasts approximately five minutes until he realizes that you ran out of snacks during the car ride over and you refuse to pull out lunch since it’s only 9 a.m.) while the other proclaims that “this place is soooo boring” and wants to head home immediately. You plaster a smile on your face, grit your teeth and exclaim, “We are going to have so much FUN!”. You fail to notice that all the other parents are going through the same thing and assume that every other family on the beach is having a great time.

After an hour of listening to one child complain that they’re starving and the other complain of boredom, you decide that 10 a.m. is a perfectly acceptable lunch hour and set out the picnic. You’ve packed two ham sandwiches and two tuna sandwiches; both children want bologna. You eat the packed lunch and spend $34.50 on hot dogs and french fries for the kids; they eat approximately half a hotdog and six fries between them before declaring themselves full. Ten minutes later they spot another child eating an ice cream cone and act like they can’t live without having one too. You can’t live with the whining so you give in, handing over another $7.10 in the process.

Half an hour later one of the children is puking on the beach.

At least there’s plenty of sand around to cover it up.

By 11 a.m. everyone is cross and exhausted. You throw in the towel and head home. The car ride is eerily silent; the kids can sense that mom and dad are right on the edge. When you get home everyone gets sent to their respective rooms to decompress.

The next day the kids tell grandma about their outing and declare, “It was so much fun!!”

You know that you’ll do it all over again next year.

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The Mad Men Option

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Sometimes I fantasize about quitting my job and just staying home eating bonbons all day. The other day I told Hubby to consider what I call “The Mad Men Option”. I told him that if he agreed to move to a less expensive house in the country somewhere, so that I didn’t have to work to help pay the mortgage, I would do the following:

  1. Get the kids ready every morning and put them on the bus;
  2. Do all the cleaning;
  3. Do all the cooking;
  4. Keep track of our finances;
  5. Schedule all  play dates, doctor and dentist appointments;
  6. Work out for an hour every day;
  7. Have a drink ready for him at night when he walks in the door.

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Surprisingly, he hasn’t called the real estate agent yet. Huh.

Maybe because I already take care of numbers 2, 4 and 5, part of 1 and am already (somewhat) attempting 6. And we both know that if I was in charge of 3 we’d all starve.

Perhaps I need a new strategy.


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Our Trip to the Rockies, Statistically Speaking

  • Kilometres flown: 2,874 x 2
  • Kilometres driven: 1,529
  • Provinces crossed: 3
  • Number of beautiful lakes we dipped our toes in: 4
  • Number of lakes I wouldn’t let B.G. dip her toes in due to warnings about “swimmer’s itch”: 1
  • Average temperature of the lakes we visited, in degrees Celsius: 4
  • Visits to the hotel pool: 5
  • Hailstorms endured: 1
  • Hotels we slept in: 3
  • Number of times B.G. puked: 1
  • Number of times I was puked on: 0
  • Cowboys we saw during our trip: 2
  • Ice cream cones eaten: 5
  • Number of mountains we saw: Lost count
  • Number of times I said, “Oh my God it’s soooo beautiful here”: Lost count
  • Chances that we’ll return to the Rockies: 99.9%

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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.