Thursday, April 30, 2009

As promised

As promised on Monday, here are a few more pictures from our beautiful weekend.

Enough. With. The. Snow.

Dear Newfoundland,

The purpose of this letter is to inform you that snow is neither necessary nor appreciated on the last day of April. Perhaps you find it amusing to tease me with 60-degree weather one day and then rain down a cute little sprinkling of snow only four days later, but I am not amused. I don't care to be your April Fool.

My husband refused to let me hide in my bed this morning, hibernating, while he stayed home to wrangle children instead of going to work, so I decided it was time for a letter of complaint.

This cannot go on! It's only 30 degrees out there, and my babies miss their sandbox and their miniscule slide. The newly-sprouted crocuses are having a fit! It's really not fair. If you don't care about me, think about the babies and the flowers.

I know what you're capable of in the weather department, Newfoundland. I really do. I've heard the stories and seen the pictures. I have witnessed the gale-force winds firsthand. You have made your point about winter.

Now please let me see the beautiful Spring and Summer I have also heard tales of. No one likes a tease. I request that you refrain from all further displays of Winter until no earlier than November.

Thank you for your time.

Respectfully, Pleadingly & Sincerely Yours Until the Tiger Deems Otherwise,
Betsy

P.S. Tomorrow is May 1st, just in case you forgot. No one wants to see snow in May. Really.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Not good.

Not good. That's the only way to describe the week so far.

The gorgeous weather of the weekend has given way to a clammy drizzle. The temperature in our house fluctuates based on the presence of the sun, and since the sun disappeared over two days ago, not to be seen since then, the house has taken back on its winter chill. Flannel jammies and slippers have been resurrected--mine, not the kids--and even hot tea isn't warming me up. I've heard there have been flurries in some parts of town, but I haven't seen any yet, just in case you're wondering why I'm blogging and not hiding under the covers in my bed.

Yesterday morning the kids and I were eating our breakfast when Kyle threw up all over the table. Brandon stared while I rushed around trying to clean up Kyle, clean up the table, clean up the floor, and answer questions from Natalie like, "Mommy, what happened?" and "Mommy, why did Kyle make that mess?" and "Mommy, I'm done with my breakfast, so can you wipe my hands and face for me?" And then I guess Brandon decided he was done with his breakfast, too, since he started yelling and banging on the table and trying to climb out of his booster seat. Mornings are always chaotic, but someone must have decided I needed an extra challenge yesterday morning when they threw in the vomit.

All of this is on top of the fact that I haven't been sleeping well lately, and I'm starting to fear that I'm going to turn into an insomniac. I wish I could blame the lack of sleep on the fact that I'm nervous being in the house at night without Shaun--he's traveling for business right now--but I'm so exhausted from taking care of the kids with no relief that I'm definitely tired enough to sleep through any fear of evil intruders, baby thieves, and dying alone in my sleep. I just can't fall asleep when I go to bed at night, or if I manage to fall asleep quickly then I'm inevitably awake from 2 A.M. until about 4:30, and then I want to cry when I hear all three kids start talking to themselves over the baby monitors at 6:15. Don't worry--I don't actually cry--I drag my butt out of the bed and shower and rescue my kiddos from their bedrooms, but there's that moment when I whine in my head, 'Nooooooo! It can't be morniiiiiiiiiiiing! I'm tiiiiiiiiired! Why couldn't I end up with children that like to sleep iiiiiiiiiiiiiiin?! I'm not even asking for 9--just 7:15. Is 7:15 A.M. too freakin' much to ask for?'

*Sigh*

Did I mention that Shaun's traveling? This tends to make me whiney and cranky.

Fortunately, things are looking up. Shaun will be home this evening, I think the weather's supposed to improve by Friday or so, and I haven't seen any vomit for close to 30 hours. It's the little things that count.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Message for Pop-pop

I could hear Kyle, in another room, talking to himself, muttering about something, with the word 'Pop-pop' thrown in every couple of words. Every day. I get this from him every day. I think he misses his Pop-pop.

video

A beautiful weekend

The sun was shining, the temperatures were warm-ish (you know, relatively speaking), and we spent our entire weekend outside. We broke out the little Kangaroo Climber slide we bought when Kyle was a year old, and Brandon had a blast with it--as did Kyle and Natalie despite being way too big for it. We also dug the froggy sandbox out from it's winter home underneath the back porch and filled it with sand. We hit at least two playgrounds this weekend. And we even took a Sunday drive to check out the scenery, picnic, and hunt some icebergs. Here are a few pics. I'm saving the rest for Thursday.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Question of the day

Blogger advertised this website called Plinky a few weeks ago, and it provides daily prompts for blogging/writing topics. I was checking out the website, and I love reading other people's answers, but I never seem to have an answer to the questions available right off the top of my head. I'm not good at one-liners or making my point in a few succinct sentences--you may have noticed that I tend to ramble. But I saw this prompt a few days ago, and I immediately knew what my answer would be.

You're stuck on an island with plenty of food, a companion, and a relatively stress-free lifestyle. What do you say when the rescue ship comes?

My answer: "Does this boat have DirecTV?"

Friday, April 24, 2009

Spring-for-SIDS Day

Today is Spring-for-SIDS Day.

My moms' group in Sugar Land, First Colony Moms, has been participating in Spring-for-SIDS this year in memory of Kristen Clarke Reed, the 4-month-old daughter of one of our members, who passed away on March 6, 2009.

This national event is sponsored by the American SIDS Institute with the purpose of raising awareness of SIDS and raising funds for SIDS research. Participants are encouraged to spread awareness about SIDS and wear their festive Spring outfits in recognition of the day.

First Colony Moms has already raised about $2500 in Kristen's memory between online and in-person donations, and online donations will continue to be accepted through April 29th.

If you'd like to learn more, or if you'd like to make a donation please visit http://www.springforsids.org/ and enter the team name First Colony Moms when asked 'Team or Baby's name donation is in honor of'.

Please remember these 3 important things you can do to prevent SIDS.

Smoke-Free: Do not smoke during pregnancy and don't ever let anyone smoke around the baby.
Back to Sleep: Place the baby to sleep (day and night) on her back in a crib or bassinet with a firm mattress. Place the crib close to the parents' bed.
Bare Crib: Nothing should be in the crib but the baby and the clothing needed to stay warm (but not too warm). This means no pillows, blankets, toys, bumpers, or positioning devices.

You caught me

Alright, you caught me. Yesterday was Thursday, and I didn't post any pictures. I am all pictured-out with all these birthdays and Easter. My neck was starting to hurt from carrying around the camera.

I know, poor Betsy. She's got such a hard life--hanging out with her kids all day (two of the three, anyway), spinning class, playgroups, web-surfing, blogging. We expect her to take pictures of her kids, too?

I'll have more for you next week. Just go back and watch that cute little video of B pushing Nat around the kitchen again. Or gaze at the culinary wonder that was my cupcakes a few days ago.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cautiously optimistic

The kids and I ventured out to a playground yesterday afternoon for the first time since October, and I have to say that it was wonderful. The temperature was still only about 55F, and the wind was chilly, but my definition of comfortable has definitely changed since moving to Canada. I'd say it was comfortable out there this afternoon. Had this been eight months ago I would have stated that comfortable is any day that's slightly overcast and between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit--in Houston the weather doesn't get any better than that. Now comfortable is anything between 55 and 75F, regardless of precipitation, visibility, cloud cover, or anything else but the wind--please, please, no wind.

Our last measurable snowfall was on April 14th, and I know that was only nine days ago, but this time I feel like Spring has arrived for real. I don't think we're being faked out by winter again. I mean, it's almost May. It wouldn't dare to snow in freaking May, would it? I'm probably jinxing myself by just asking the question. But it better not snow in May.

The weather is supposed to be gorgeous this weekend, and I can't wait. I'm already plotting our attack on the weekend, and Shaun is assembling our brand new barbecue grill. Spring and Summer don't last long around here, so you have to jump right on them as soon as you get a hint of nice weather. And the days become extra long just to give you more time to enjoy the nice weather. It'll be interesting to see just how long the days are when we finally get to June since it's already light out when the kids wake us all up at 6:30 in the morning, and it stays light out until about 8 PM.

I woke up to a breezy 50F this morning, the sun is shining, and I'm cautiously optimistic that Spring is here to stay and the snow is gone until at least October. Fingers crossed. I'm going to ignore the fact that the forecast calls for rain later. I don't care--it can rain. At least it shouldn't be turning to snow at these temperatures. And if it does I'm just going to drag myself to my room, curl up under the covers of my bed, and go to sleep until Spring finally gets here. Just wake me up when it's warm, Shaun.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Super B

I couldn't figure out what Natalie and Brandon were laughing hysterically about in the kitchen yesterday afternoon, but they were making a horrible sound by scraping the kitchen chairs along the hardwood floors at the same time. Brandon likes to push the chairs around the kitchen, so I wasn't sure what was so funny this time until I peeked into the kitchen and could see him pushing his sister around in the chair! I don't know if he's just that strong or Natalie's just that little, but it was pretty cute. Once I broke out the camera Brandon decided the show was over, but I did manage to get a little footage.

video

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bonne fête `a toi

My favorite moment of the day yesterday was when we all ran in to wake Natalie up first thing in the morning. I went to get Kyle and Brandon out of their beds first so that we could all go in together. We all ran into Nat's room, Brandon grinning, Shaun and I shouting, "Happy Birthday, Natalie!"

Kyle ran in behind me and shouted, "Bonne fête `a toi , Natalie!" Shaun and I looked at each other, mouths open in awe. (I even had to look up that circumflex and accent just to type it, thank you very much.)

"What did he just say? Kyle, could you repeat that a little more slowly, please?" I said. "I think he's speaking French."

This, my friends, is what a little bit of expat life will do for you. My four-year-old speaks French. And I didn't even know it. Go figure.

Princesses, tea parties, little girls and birthdays

My Little Pony? Dora? Princesses? Fairies? It's a very difficult thing when you're turning three to decide what kind of birthday party to have! After much debate Natalie and I finally decided to throw a tea party for a couple of her closest little friends. We made sandwiches, cupcakes, lemonade and tea, and we invited everyone over to play with baby dolls and dress up. (Yes, I said it. I made those cupcakes all by myself. Two successful baking attempts in 8 days--it's like freaking Martha Stewart has taken up residence.)

I'm totally in love with this new princess phase we've entered--I'm thinking the princesses alone will make up for the attitude my little angel seems to have developed in the last few months--or I'm hoping it will. Anyway, Natalie decided to attend her tea party as Cinderella, and I think she was a pretty cute Cinderella, sunglasses and all.

All of Natalie's time yesterday that wasn't spent tea partying was spent playing with her brand new Cinderella's Castle, her birthday gift from her Grandma. Natalie fell in love with Cinderella's Castle when we were at Disney World, gasping in wonder every time she caught a glimpse of it from wherever we were in the park. She squealed with excitement yesterday morning when she got up out of bed, came down the stairs, and saw her very own Cinderella's Castle! She then proceeded to make Cinderella and the Prince kiss each other while standing on top of the castle, much to her daddy's horror.

Shaun: "Whoa! What was that?! Kissing?!"
Me: "Yup. That's what princesses do."
Shaun: "But where'd she learn that?!"
Me: "Have you even seen the movie Cinderella?"
Shaun: "Natalie. No. Kissing."

Have I mentioned that I love it that my husband has a daughter? It provides endless entertainment. I can't wait until she's a teenager.

Friday, April 17, 2009

My girl is growing up

Two birthdays in 8 days! Craziness! What are the chances that I might be able to talk Brandon and Natalie into sharing a birthday party one of these years? Slim, I'd imagine. If I didn't do it this year I guess it's very unlikely to happen at any time down the road. It's difficult to combine a princess party theme with any boy party theme.

Last year Natalie's second birthday was a fly-by-night affair squeezed in eight days after her baby brother was born, six days after we came home from the hospital, the day before my mom had to leave to go back to Virginia. Natalie was suffering from her first illness of any sort, she wasn't sleeping well, and she was miserable with a new baby in the house. Despite her fiercely independent streak, my girl was still so much of a baby herself at the time that she didn't understand why her mommy had a new baby.

I look at Natalie now and I can't figure out at what point during the last year my baby girl grew up, but she did. She's not a baby. She's not even a toddler. She's a preschooler now, I guess. She's my beautiful little girl.

*Another sigh--much like last week's sigh over Brandon's first birthday.*

Why didn't someone warn me that motherhood, once it begins, is a life-long exercise in letting go? Why can't I wrap these little people up in plastic wrap and preserve them just as they are right now? Okay, I say that, but, in truth, I honestly can't wait for the days where they can put on all their own clothing, go to the bathroom by themselves, and buckle their own car seats. At the same time it's so nice to have them here, safe in my protective little bubble, requiring nothing more than construction paper, glue sticks, a little Dora the Explorer, and my love to keep them happy.

Here are some pictures of my Natalie to celebrate her upcoming third birthday.

I think my favorite part is watching the curl progression!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Easter pics

How sad is it that I've been saving up Easter pics just to have something to post today?

Brandon playing outside

Kyle hiding on his boat

Natalie's Easter morning hair

"Look what the Easter Bunny brought!"

Brandon says, "Ball?"

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

If you haven't already seen enough

If you just so happen to find yourself with an enormous amount of time on your hands and are filled with the sudden desire to look at pictures of my family I wanted to remind you of my Shutterfly site.

Family Pics on Shutterfly

There's also a link in the sidebar of this blog... over there to your right... down a little further... yup... that's the one.

I keep the site updated with the latest and greatest of our pictures--you know, all the obnoxious, repetitive stuff I don't post here but can't talk myself into deleting. 'He looks so cute in that one,' and 'But her smile is just a little bit different in that one.'

Check it out if you feel like being sucked into the delusions of a mother with a camera and unlimited digital storage space.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

An anniversary

The RMS Titanic struck an iceberg 97 years ago tonight about 350 miles from where I now sit in St. John's, Newfoundland. Just before midnight on April 14, 1912 the ship struck an iceberg and sank in the early morning hours of April 15, 1912.

There's a really interesting Titanic exhibit here in St. John's at the Johnson Geo Centre.

The only wireless radio station on land to receive a distress call from the Titanic was at Cape Race, Newfoundland.

I find the entire Titanic saga even more captivating now that we're in Newfoundland, I have seen an iceberg, and I have felt the frigid wind that tears through St. John's. I can only imagine what it felt like out on the water that tragic night almost a hundred years ago.

You have got to be kidding

That's what I actually said when Shaun woke me up this morning with a tired, "It's snowing outside."

"You have got to be kidding," I said as I jumped out of bed to look through the window.

I had been feeling so optimistic that winter was over and we wouldn't see snow again until October. For a split second I was sure that Shaun was attempting to play a late April Fool's joke on me--I mean, it's still April. The last measurable snowfall on my Winter '08/'09 Snow Log was on March 25th, an entire 20 days ago. It was a rainy, 48F yesterday. That's beautiful weather by Newfoundland standards. It couldn't be snowing!

I peeked through the blinds covering the bedroom window and was greeted by this:


*Sigh*

I know it's not a lot of snow, but it's still snow, and when I was so hoping for sun today. Blech.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Icebergs? Check!

There are three things I'm determined to see while we're living in Newfoundland: moose, whales, and icebergs. My friends have all seen each of these, but I had yet to see any of them until Saturday. I was sitting at my computer, minding everyone else's business via Facebook, when I saw a friend's status update saying she was at Cape Spear looking at icebergs. That's right--iceberg season has arrived in Newfoundland! There have been quite a few iceberg sightings in the last couple of weeks, but I hadn't gotten a chance yet to drive around with the kids tormenting each other from their carseats to look for these icebergs.

Cape Spear is the Eastern most point in all of North America and a prime location for viewing icebergs. The icebergs we see here in Newfoundland travel here from Greenland via the Labrador current. The common path these icebergs take is often referred to as Iceberg Alley, and we're situated right along Iceberg Alley here in St. John's. There's even a website devoted to tracking the icebergs in the area: http://www.icebergfinder.com/.

When I heard there were icebergs (that's right, icebergs--plural icebergs) to be seen from Cape Spear I decided it was time to load everyone in the car to go forth and take pictures. We drove out to Cape Spear, climbed all the way to the top of the hill to the lighthouse, and there before us was a beautiful, enormous iceberg. Further South there were even more, smaller icebergs. The pictures don't do them justice, but they were amazing. I was filled with awe to be standing at the very edge of the continent, staring at these icebergs from Greenland.

Now, to find a moose.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Interesting Easter tidbit

I'm sure this happens to Spring babies all the time, but I found it interesting that Brandon celebrated his first birthday yesterday without having celebrated a single Easter.

Easter was celebrated on March 23rd last year, so Brandon was born a couple of weeks after Easter. This year Easter is on the 12th of April. So, all of the babies born between March 24th and April 11th of last year didn't get to celebrate Easter before they turned a year old.

I know Easter bounces around quite a bit, so each time Easter falls later in the year than the previous year there's an entire group of babies that this happens to. Not a big deal, I know, but it had never occurred to me before that it happened.

Interesting, right? At least I thought so. And now it's too late for you because you've already read about it even if you don't think it's interesting. Ha!

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy First Birthday, Baby B!

My littlest man is one year old! Brandon loved the presents, he loved the cake, he loved the wrapping paper, and he really loved having brand new toys that his brother and sister were not allowed to take from him!

We have plans for this evening, and I rarely let Brandon skip an afternoon nap (unless I'm feeling daring and wacky and decide I want to entertain Satan from 4 to 7 P.M.), so we decided to enjoy the birthday festivities this morning.

We started with presents and breakfast and followed up with cake and ice cream for our morning snack. My children demand snacks around 9:30 A.M., so I thought that sounded like a perfect time to break out Elmo. And he tasted just as good as he looked. Kyle requested Elmo's nose, but I didn't feel like carving the nose out of the center of the cake, so we just worked our way in from one side--he can eat the nose tomorrow.

Anyway, it was a lovely, laidback birthday for my little man. If I've learned one thing as a mother it's that babies do not care about their first birthdays. A cake and pictures are required for posterity so that someday when Brandon is a teenager he won't insist that I don't love him because I didn't even have a first birthday party for him, but the baby won't actually remember a thing. A little wrapping paper and a chocolate cake do, in fact, make a party.

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Take that, Martha Stewart!

Oh yeah, that's Elmo. And I made him. Not bad for my very first attempt ever at an Elmo cake.


Who cares if he's a little pink instead of bright red? Natalie thinks it's cool. So what if I ran out of red food coloring? Do you know how much red food coloring it takes to make frosting red?!

Taking inventory

Ahh, how quickly a baby's first year passes. A year ago today I was packing my hospital bag, putting the infant carseat back into the car for the third time, packing overnight bags for Kyle and Natalie so they could stay overnight at a friend's house, and preparing to check myself into the hospital overnight to be induced early the next morning. I was seriously looking forward to being able to sleep on my stomach again after months of rolling around like a whale in the bed every night.

I was also panicking a little bit about what kind of disruption a new baby was going to cause in our organized little life and how Natalie was going to take her displacement from the position of 'the baby.'

I wasn't suffering from the second-time mommy uncertainty of how I was going to possibly love another baby the way I loved my first. I already knew how that worked. I was looking forward to having another little munchkin to love.

My Brandon turns one tomorrow, and I cannot believe it. It's been such a busy year--Brandon was only about a month old when we found out we were moving from Texas to Newfoundland. With each child the first year passes more quickly, and with Brandon it's seemed to fly right past us since he's been so eager to grow up.

Brandon kisses, dances and gives high fives on request. He has four teeth, making him the toothiest of all my kids at a year old. He walks--no, he runs. He doesn't drink from bottles anymore, and he's lived in two different countries. He also says Mama, Daddy, Brandon, hi, ball, book, Pooh (as in, Winnie the Pooh), uh-oh, and thank you. None of them sound much like the real word, of course, but he knows what they mean, and he's trying to say them. That's what counts, right? That's a pretty good list of accomplishments if we're taking inventory. Okay, it's impressive to me, but I'm biased.

*Sigh*

Tomorrow I'm going to be happy and excited, and I'm going to sing and wear a party hat. I'm going to take a ton of pictures of the Elmo cake I'm going to try to make in a little while. (That'll probably end up being a blog post all by itself if my culinary experiences up until now are any indication.) But today I'm going to be just a little bit sad that my baby will be one tomorrow.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bear attack

It's Thursday... and Thursday means pictures! There hasn't been a whole lot of photo-taking happening this week, but I did get a few shots of Brandon playing with Kyle's gigantic teddy bear for the first time. I think he's in love.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Do you want a sticker?

We've always had success in the past with the naughty chair, naughty corner, and now the naughty step when it comes to discipline. I should clarify that we don't have three separate naughty spots in the house--just a different naughty spot in each house we've been in. But I've noticed that lately Kyle and Natalie take advantage of us when we're out somewhere and absent a naughty spot. It's as if they know I'm limited to threatening them under my breath or pleading with them when we're out in public and they choose not to listen. I don't buy them toys on demand, I don't cave to temper tantrums, and I give good behavior pep talks before we go somewhere, but lately my son seems to think he doesn't have to listen to me. He's even told me he doesn't have to listen to me--though he later sees the error of his ways when he ends up alone in his bedroom.

I'm thinking it's time for reward charts. To a certain extent I believe the kids need to learn to listen to me regardless of whether or not they see something in it for them, and good behavior is expected rather than rewarded. This kind of discipline works for Natalie. She's the kind of child I was, and I understand her. Time-outs are effective because they're an insult to her pride, and honestly, she's fairly docile anyway. She has an attitude, but she doesn't act up when we're out somewhere.

Kyle, on the other hand, has a personality that I adore but can't really relate to. He's sociable, easily influenced by others, and always silly if he thinks he has an audience. He's grasped the idea that there's not a naughty step when we're at a restaurant. I think to make good behavior a habit for Kyle there's first going to have to be an incentive for him to behave--hence, the reward chart.

It's somewhat common knowledge that Kyle will do almost anything for money. Around the time of his first birthday when presented with an apple, a book, and a dollar bill (some kind of Russian tradition that tells you what you child will aspire to as an adult--something like health, knowledge, or wealth) he raced his little legs over to that dollar bill faster than you could blink. He was potty-trained with promises of pennies and dollar bills. He'll raid his Pop-pop's pockets for change at every opportunity. And one time we were touring a friend's new house, Kyle spotted a pile of change on the nightstand in the bedroom, and he ran to it and started shoving every last coin in his pockets (that one was pretty embarassing). But don't worry--I'm not planning to reward him with money--even though I seriously considered it. I haven't decided on a big reward yet, but I think a good smaller reward might be extra stories at bedtime or an afternoon trip to the playground--you know, once the weather warms up... in July or so.

Anyway, 'listening' is going to be the goal of our reward chart with a few little things like 'tidying the playroom' thrown in for good measure. I figure we have to put something doable on the chart, right? I also have a feeling that the reward chart will be cake for Nat while Kyle struggles a little at first. I'll keep you posted on our progress since I'm sure you'll all be waiting with bated breath to hear how it's going and since I have nothing better to do during naptime than blog.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Max & Ruby... Ruby & Max...

The big day arrived. Yesterday was Max & Ruby day!

I went to incredible lengths to get these tickets! There was only one show originally scheduled for 1:30 PM, and it sold out in less two hours, but after numerous phone calls, tens of minutes spent on hold, strategizing my call time, and blind luck I managed to get tickets for Kyle, Natalie and I, and two of our very best friends to an 4 PM performance that was added when the powers that be could see that the children of St. John's either LOVE Max & Ruby or are simply desperate for something to do on a Sunday afternoon. I think it's a little of both.

I know Kyle and Natalie definitely love Max & Ruby. It's the one show we have to be really careful they not catch a glimpse of before they head upstairs for their baths in the evening or we have to let them stay up to watch the whole thing. They couldn't wait to see Max and Ruby and Miss Spider onstage. We'd been to see Sesame Street Live in Houston last year right before Brandon was born, so expectations were high.

Unfortunately, this was no Sesame Street Live. The entire show was maybe an hour long, we saw more of Miss Spider than anything else, the audio was poor, the Bananas in Pajamas were like an intermission because all of the kids in the entire auditorium lost interest while they were onstage, I still have no idea what The Fairly Oddparents were doing, and Max was onstage for about 5 minutes while Ruby was on for about 10. Disappointing. I could tell Kyle was bored by the whole thing even though he'll swear he had a good time. Natalie really enjoyed herself but wished she'd seen more Max and Ruby.

We still had a good time with our friends, and we all went to dinner at East Side Mario's afterwards, so it was a fun afternoon, but those tickets were not worth $30 a pop and all the effort it took to buy them! $10 maybe, but not $30. Rip-off. I find kids' shows to be torturous even when they're well-done, but this was really bad. So bad that I was glad the show was so short--even if it meant I paid about $9/minute for Max & Ruby--mostly Ruby.

Friday, April 3, 2009

St. John's webcams

I've been meaning to post this website for a while, but I just hadn't gotten around to it.

http://www.ntv.ca/cams/othercameras.html

We found out that we were moving to St. John's in May of last year, and while we didn't get here until August, my mom immediately started scouring the internet for information about St. John's so that she could be sure Shaun and I weren't dragging her grandbabies to some remote wilderness where they'd have to live in igloos. Just kidding, Mom! :)

But she did come up with the website above that has views from various webcams around St. John's run by the local television station, NTV. Mom was on her computer in Virginia, and I was on my computer in Texas, and she'd call me and tell me she could see an iceberg on the webcams! It was very cool watching that iceberg cross in front of the St. John's harbour, and in light of the fact that we're about to enter iceberg season I wanted to post the link just in case any of you want to take your chances with iceberg-spotting.

Sometimes they have a webcam up called the St. Phillip's Cam, and I swear this is the view one of my friends has from the back porch of her house. I can't tell you how I envy her that view. (Hear that, Staci? Envy.) When I looked at that camera yesterday I could even see all the ice in the bay. It's an amazing view.

Really, this is an amazing place. I feel lucky to have found a temporary home here, and I wanted to share a little piece of it with the rest of you. Oh yeah, and email me if you see an iceberg!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Smile... it's Thursday!

For your viewing pleasure...





Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bottle-free

Well, I am once again living in a bottle-free household. Like every other transition is his life so far, Brandon decided to jump on the no-formula, bottle-free train with complete abandon. Unlike his brother and sister, who both fought every little transition tooth and nail, Brandon adapts to every little change we make and takes it one step further all by himself. Bassinet to crib, binkies, sleeping through the night, you name it, he made it easy.

For several months Brandon's been drinking four bottles a day and eating a ton of table food. He's never cared for baby food, and since I don't care for buying it or feeding it to him, we let him start eating whatever we were eating at mealtimes. About three weeks ago I decided to take away his bedtime bottle. He was eating so much at dinnertime that I really felt like the bottle was unnecessary as long as we replaced it with some milk in a sippy cup. I know he's not a year old yet, but I wanted to start the transition from formula to milk with plenty of time to spare--babies are creatures of habit, after all. Then he went and got another ear infection, and there was no way I was going to take away bottles when he was feverish and miserable, but once the ear infections cleared up I thought it was time to try to eliminate one more bottle from the routine.

A week and a half ago we decided to do away with the mid-morning bottle, and the little man didn't even seem to notice. That afternoon he refused to drink his after-nap bottle, too. I thought it might be a fluke, but he wanted nothing to do with his daytime bottles. Then last Friday he even refused to drink his pre-breakfast bottle. Saturday went the same way. Just like that. No more bottles.

Brandon inhales whole milk from a sippy cup all day long as he walks around the house, demanding snacks. He even tells me when he wants a drink by yelling, "Bot! Bot!" which appears to be his word for his cup. It makes sense--two weeks ago it was his bot.

I'm relieved to be done with bottle-making and washing but a little amazed that the transition was so easy. This baby of mine is determined to be a big kid. So much for my carefully planned six-week formula-to-milk switcheroo. The one thing all my kids seem to have in common is their inate ability to screw with my planning. And don't worry--I'm not getting cocky about how easy the third kid thing is--with every smooth transition I become more convinced that Brandon's going to be the one that refuses to be potty-trained until he's 8. He's just saving it all up.