Ummm… Hi?

It’s October. 
School routines are well established and everyone is grooving along.  Interims were great!   We are humming along.  I haven’t had much to write about it would seem – for a while.  Or maybe I do but finding the time to collect the thoughts and type them in is the issue…
I started guitar lessons – which have been on the “list” forever!  I am terrible but having fun!
We had a fantastic summer – so many memories!  Canada, Beach… easy days and mellow nights. 

New Garage doors (and lots of repaired siding)

BIG hair chop back in June.  It’s mostly grown in again…

Front page when Chicago beat Boston.  🙂



My niece!

Ken’s side (a few missing)

Favourite pic from the summer.  The kids had no idea this water was not yet 70 degrees!!!!  It was awesome. 

Cousins!  (my side…)

Friends!  Captain style!

Matt got used to the freezing water… 

Birthday present realized… Jays game, jersey and Independence Day rolled into one.
We are starting a new house project in 2 weeks – THAT I will blog about!  🙂



Last weekend was the most perfect February Sunday Weather we have had in a long time.  Somebody else’s disorganization (that I won’t go into here) resulted in my kid and another (few…) being left out of some fun – so we made our OWN fun.  (Am I still a bit bitter?  Yes.)
This is Amelia riding up our street.  She wants so badly to go with only two wheels – but still freaks out when she hears a car coming and heads for the ditch – so I don’t think we are anywhere close to her being actually ready for total control.

Cute though, eh??

Amelia and P adore each other.  This kid can RIDE.  He’s going to be a future cyclist!

It was a lot for them to get up this hill but they did it!


Christmas and New Years Catch Up

This was the scene a very few minutes before the children woke up and complete, total CHAOS ensued.  For like 8 days!   We had a houseful this year and it was awesome!  Great to share holidays with those you love and the kids had a great time catching up and reconnecting.
We had an awesome dinner of turkey and ham, potatoes, celery root puree, brocoli au gratin, gravy, buns, dessert!  Wine!  BUTTER.
Ahem.  The Vegan went Ve-GONE for about 8 days.  Currently in detox (literally) and back on the wagon now…
As is becoming the “norm” – we headed to the NC Mountains for New Years.  First time we checked out Lake Lure area – definitely nice, but totally different than Boone or Blowing Rock.  The weather was great and the house very nice.  We all had a good time!
Sunset over the Chimney Rock stretch of mountains.  
New Years Eve day, 2012.  Ainsley, Matthew and Amelia.

CB and Amelia traipsing through the stream.  The house we rented had a winding stream beside it and came fully stocked with rubber boots in nearly every size – so this was an epic Play Thing for the kids.  Thank heavens it was warm because they were soaked up to their eyeballs!



Group shot.

SOAKED.  But happy!

While in Asheville we came across a street that had MY name!  My friend Ann “famously” takes pictures almost every year of her children standing up against street signs that share their names when she comes across them – never in a million years did I think I’d find a “Sayles” Road!!  My dad was tickled when I sent this to him!
During the break I read both Wild and Tiny Beautiful Things – both by Cheryl Strayed who now I want to meet and have coffee with.  These two books have stuck with me – especially Tiny – just such wonderful messages and great perspective.  Both also rec’d by LauraC… So this year, one of a trend/pattern/trait that I am going to work on improving is GRACE.  
I KNOW that I am rough sometimes around the edges.  I totally over-react, over-analyze, over-interpret and over-judge.  Grace is about elegance and refinement.  It’s about honour.  When I do or say things without thinking all the way through, it is not elegant.  Or honourable.  
Happy and peaceful 2013 everyone.  Peace and GRACE to you all!

Somehow These Grew Within Me…

Can We All Teach Them?

A few weeks ago there was a breakfast at MTB’s school for honor roll and I had volunteered to get 24 donuts and grapes as part of the contribution to the feast for the kids.  We headed out a bit early to hit Dunkin on the way to school – except it’s the opposite way from his school and traffic was INSANE on Falls of Neuse… but we made it with about 32 seconds to spare.

Annnnyway – the line in Dunkin was about 12 deep.  I had a mom behind me, with her son who was right around MTB’s age.  I got to the counter for my turn and the cheery helper behind was happy and adorable.  “2 dozen donuts please!  Just pick your favourites!”.  He rang up my order and I paid, and then moved to the side to wait for the boxes of donuts.

Mom and her son are next and move up to the counter.  She orders a coffee and the kids says “I want a donut.”

So I kind of side eye, look over… the big pause… and then say “Please!” in a happy and light way.  He looked at me and blushed with a smile and said “yeah, please.”  I smiled and said something like “I forget too sometimes!” to close the loop.

MOM WAS SO PISSED.  OMG if looks could kill I’d be a very dead woman.  Like she wanted to completely deck me!

Guy behind the counter looked at me, nodded and smiled… he was thankful. 

Did I overstep there? 

Because if it was me half asleep ordering the coffee and my kid ordered a donut without saying please – DUDES I would totally expect you to guide him and do what I did.  I seriously would.  I would never be offended – I would probably hug you and say THANKS. 

Because I (we) cannot possibly do it ALL – alone.  We are thinking, processing, planning, itemizing – hell sometimes daydreaming in those little moments here and there.  I absolutely do my best to guide and teach my children the appropriate ways to act and respond in any situation I can think to expose them to – but I know they are not perfect.  Just as I am not.  Sometimes I need you to jump in.

Did she think I was judging her?  (I wasn’t.)  If she did – why is that the first reaction?

These days it’s like we are to keep our hands and hugs to ourselves.  Our opinions and mouths shut – ALL the time.  I don’t want to be that way – I want to help you – and I want you to be happy about it!  If I have 5 extra minutes to sit at daycare and let your kid write letters with me – HELLS YAH – we are going to do it!  And I know (in this case…) you will be HAPPY – because you take the time when you have it to read my kid a book or draw her a train.  🙂  Mannlymama knows what I am talking about here because LTM and I spent some quality time this morning practicing letters…

If you go on the field trip and post pictures I want you to know that I LOVE IT – I love that you specifically found a moment to snap one of my kid having a super fun time – and I got to see it.  I know you are not rubbing my nose in the fact that I am not on the field trip (again…).

If you are having a day and you need something done, asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness.  It’s a sign of human-ness.  When I am having that same day please don’t trash talk me behind my back if I am asking you for help back. 🙂

I wish for more village. 

As this year slips and slides to the end – there has been this thing sitting in the back of my mind, or just in the pit of my stomach sometimes about this blog, and its connection to this life I live – how there are posts balled up inside of me that need to be posted but I stumble on the words and doubt the legitimacy of the thoughts.  I don’t know… 

Today – all I want to tell you is that I am a villager.  And I want you in my village.  I promise to do the best for you, as I would for my own. 

Oh yeah – the mom, she didn’t beat me up.  She ignored me – but her boy waved goodbye as I left.

Just Happy Halloween…

Not all the best quality pics – but some very excited kids getting ready for October 31!

The First Thanksgiving

We celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving every year – sometimes it’s a big crowd, more often than not it’s just us and the O’Brien clan.  It’s like our own little tradition.  My kids are American and we embrace everything that being American means – but there is a slice of Canadian in there too and we don’t want to forget that part of our heritage.

This year Thanksgiving was cold, damp and rainy.  The girls had some friends over in the afternoon to play while I got dinner squared away.  This might have been pushing the limits a little bit given that it was 49 degrees and gross outside – but they were happy.  For the record – nobody is sick (yet.)

Kelly is celiac so our Thanksgiving is gluten free for the most part.  We do 2 separate stuffings to keep everyone happy.  And stuffed!  This year we (meaning Ken and Amelia) baked gluten free apple pie!
The pie turned out amazing – we surprised ourselves!
19lbs of Turkey Love here… stuffed with fresh herbs and lemon.  He actually cooked REALLY fast – 15 min a pound (unstuffed) at 325 put me at just under 5 hours but he was cooked and popped the button in 4.  That kind of sucked because they do get dry if they cook too fast IMO.  I use 2 cups of broth in the pan and keep him tightly wrapped for the first 3 hours… he was pretty good.  A touch, touch dry but overall – still really great.
I wish I had remembered to take pics of us all at the table – but I forgot.  It’s one of those in your head moments I guess – sometimes those are better…
The giggles and laughter and love around the table make my heart sing.  
We planned beach trips next summer, listened to the teens and tweens lob shots across the bow at us old fart parents, and Amelia closed the act by running to the potty half way through dinner and announcing via a yell that she just “had the biggest poop of my whole entire life!!’
Happy Thanksgiving indeed!

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