Pesto? No.

I can’t seem to convince our family to enjoy curry (aside from our second born), but we do have a varied and mildly adventurous menu. Our boys enjoy shrimp and seafood, olives, and I do not shy away from adding a little extra heat to the main dish. We regularly try new recipes, and some have become favourites. Gnocchi with pesto is always popular with our crew.

A few years ago our toddler was quietly finishing his lunch, content in his highchair. He was always a jolly little guy, so when I heard a small voice say, “Uh, oh” I turned quickly  to see what was wrong. He held up a chubby little hand and repeated, “Uh, oh.”

Poor little guy. He got pesto on his hand.

I grabbed a cloth and wiped his hands and fingers. Then I carried on with folding laundry and he continued his lunch. Or so I thought.

A moment later, “Uh, oh,” and the chubby pesto-covered hand. I wiped it off again.

Sheesh, he’s really make a mess of it today.

Laundry-folding and lunch-eating ensued again.

Two seconds later he held up his hand and beckoned for help.

Where is all this pesto coming from? Poor little guy keeps getting in on himse–wait a minute. I didn’t serve him pesto today. Where is all this pesto coming from? It’s not pesto. IT IS NOT PESTO.

——

When was burning a wash cloth your only real option?

Kids These Days

I was enjoying a quiet evening at home. Just me, my M&Ms, and a few TV shows to catch up on. And then I heard it.

The bass. Thumping loud enough that I could hear it over the TV while in the back of the house.

Argh! Those neighbour kids! Didn’t they know it was Thursday? So rude.

We’ve had our share of rowdy parties in the neighbourhood. Enough so that I now have the by-law complaint number written on the wall in our bathroom to save me looking it up. Yes, I am that neighbour.

I can tolerate a lot before 11:00pm as long as the language isn’t too questionable and nothing gets thrown onto our property. But something about pounding bass really gets under my skin. So I decided to investigate. I stood in our kitchen to see which direction the music might be coming from. It was strange that it was quieter near the neighbours who typically like to live it up. But that didn’t stop my inner curmudgeon. I went out back to see if the noise was actually travelling from farther away. No, still pretty muted. Guess those guys weren’t doing karaoke that night.

By this point I concluded that it must be the neighbours who don’t really party, but who do play the drums. Once I know the source of a bass line, I can calm down a bit. So I accepted that it was our kindly drummer and tried to tune it out. I settled back in to watch my show.

The noise ebbed and flowed for another twenty minutes or so. Then I realized that it wasn’t just drumming, it was definitely party music. What’s going on?! I have to work tomorrow. I cannot sleep with that racket. It was only 8:30pm, which gave me lots of time to stew about potential annoyances to come.

I resigned myself to the fact that I might need to do some complaining inquiring next door.

You know, we pay to live here, too.

When we bought this house, I did not sign on for loud parties. Especially midweek loud parties.

We have young children. Sheesh!

So inconsiderate!

We don’t have to take this.

I won’t take this.

I HAVE HAD ENOUGH.

Wait.

Hold on.

Never mind. Someone left the music on in our basement.

—————-

If you ever need someone to yell at kids to get off your lawn, I’m your gal. How do you like them apples?

Because I’m Four

Join me as we take a peek into a typical day of the average four year old kindergartener.

_________

Ah, good morning! I know it’s morning because everyone is still asleep except me. Rise and shine, family!

Seems like no one has heard my beckoning so I’ll need to go with Plan B: walk stealthily to my parents’ bedroom and stare at them silently until they sense my presence. I know they are ready to start the day when Mommy finally opens her eyes and seems surprised to see me. I have to remember to ask her what “serial killer” means.

Once the mundane task of choosing my clothes is done (no, not that shirt, no, no, maybe, okay that one, wait, let me see the first one again) we move on to breakfast. I prefer my cereal with just a splash of milk. Not too much or the whole experience is ruined. Daddy seems to have that mastered, but I don’t put much faith in Mommy.

And now we’re off to kindergarten!  Oh, wait, Daddy is insisting I put on a coat. Fine. I can do the zipper myself. I got it. WHY ISN’T HE HELPING ME?!

And now we’re off to kinder —- my hood! my hood is interfering with the comfort of my body! I cannot walk to school under these conditions.

And now we’re off to kindergarten. We seem to be walking fast today and Daddy is muttering something about being late. Guess he shouldn’t have overslept.IMG_1487

I love going to school, but I think Daddy misses me, so I like to make a bit of a fuss about lining up, just to make him feel better. He pretends he does not want me to cling to his legs, but I know he secretly likes it. I line up and then make one or two return dashes for one final hug before the bell. You have to invest in relationships.

I wonder what we’ll do at school today? I hope the teacher got new glue sticks because the ones that were out yesterday tasted awful. I think I see some fresh play-doh, that’s good because I may or may not have sneezed on the last batch.

We finally all get our coats and shoes put away and now it’s Carpet Time. I’m not sure what “criss cross applesauce” means exactly, but if you tuck all your body parts in, you’re good. We check that everyone is present, I like to help the teacher by telling her if someone is at school or not, by calling out “not here” at random intervals. Her voice says “stop it” but her eyes are saying “thank you”.

Uh oh, I feel a booger in my left nostril. This cannot wait. As long as I don’t make eye contact with my teacher, I can extract it undetected. Almost….almost….got it! Quick and easy disposal in my mouth, mission accomplished. No, I wasn’t picking my nose, it was just itchy way high up.

Centre time! Where should I start? Sand? Paint? Blocks? Maybe the Discovery Table? No, I saw Jason lick all the pine cones yesterday. Paint it is! I create a fantastic piece using mostly swirls. It’s definitely fridge-worthy.

I think I’ll head over to the blocks. My buddy and I build an elaborate garage for the cars. It is great until Jason thoughtlessly knocks it over. The maker is the breaker, Jason.

The rest of my day passes in a bit of fun-filled blur. I spend some time writing about my snack (it is an apple and a Wagon Wheel – delicious). I rebuild my garage and put pylons around it to keep Jason at bay. Change my book at the library (yes, I’m a bit winded, but that doesn’t mean I was running in the hall). I help at tidy up time and show off my sweet dance moves. We play outside until someone pees against a tree. My teacher and I read together and now I can find the words “is”, “mom” and “me” all by myself.

The next thing I know, it’s Home Time. The day went by so fast. I get all my stuff shoved into my backpack and I’m all set. Oh, wait, forgot to change my shoes. All set! Oh, yeah, that’s my lunch bag you’re holding up, just give me a second to pack that. All set!

And there’s Daddy, waiting for me. He’s always early because he misses me so much. He gives me a big hug and rubs my head. I grab his hand and we head home.

As we avoid all the goose poop on the pathways Daddy asks me, “What did you do at school today, bud?”

I give him my standard reply.

“Nothing.”

It’s not Tobacco

Before matching storage containers were a thing, before IKEA became famous for it’s storage solutions, before pinterest, parents stored toys in whatever reusable vessel they could find. Our parents were “green” before “green” was even a thing.

Did you ever store your marbles in a Crown Royal bag? Then you had such a parent. A mom who bought margarine in the gigantic tub and then stored your barbie clothes inside. A mom who kept shoe boxes that were just the right space for your Rubix cube and Monchichee.

We didn’t question these storage choices, it was just the way things were done. I even do a bit of that now with our crew. The oldest stores his Pokemon cards in a gift box that once held lavender soap and foot lotion and he doesn’t bat an eye.

I do wonder about some of the choices (not the Crown Royal bag, that was the result of sound reasoning).

Don't worry, it's EXTRA MILD tobacco
Don’t worry, it’s EXTRA MILD tobacco

What could be inside this tin of wonder? Crayons? Glamour Gals? Marbles? (no, of course not marbles, those are in the Crown Royal bag). Maybe some Little People accessories? Legos?

No, silly. Isn’t it obvious? The tin that at one point held my grandpa’s pipe tobacco was the perfect vessel to house:

Your very own yarn ball collection
Your very own yarn ball collection

When I discovered this gem in my parents’ basement, my first thought was, “Who would use an old tobacco tin for their kids’ stuff?” which was followed quickly by, “Who keeps it for almost forty years?” But now I think it needs to be hermetically sealed as a tribute to all the craft projects my sisters and I never finished. Right beside all the partial rug hooking kits (don’t worry, they kept those, too).

We spent many a Saturday night together in the basement rug hooking while we watched “The Love Boat” and “Fantasy Island”. I don’t think any of us thought ahead enough to contemplate what we would DO with those hooked rugs once we finished (we never did. Not even one rug. So maybe even then we knew we lacked follow through). My favourite part was squishing the yarn packets, so there’s really no doubt as to why I never finished a project. Somewhere in my childhood home I bet there’s a pickle jar full of half-finished yarn bracelets, right beside a bunch of partially-knitted leg warmers.

It doesn’t hold tobacco anymore, but it does hold memories. I call dibs.

My Precious

I love chocolate. And peanut butter. Chocolate and peanut butter together. Whoever this Reese person is, I applaud him/her and the inspiration that is Peanut Butter Cups. Hands down, though, AMERICAN Reese’s peanut butter anything beat those found in Canada. It’s a fact. I have years of anecdotal evidence to support this claim. Not sure what it is, probably looser FDA approval processes or something, but those are so good.

Recently, I learned via Twitter that in addition to peanut cups and Easter eggs, PB Pumpkins exist.

Peanut butter and chocolate deliciousness wrapped up in the shape of a pumpkin. Be still my heart.

This is where true friends come in. One of my good friends was taking a weekend trip to the states. All it took was a quick text and another follow up explaining that they are pumpkin shaped, not pumpkin flavoured and then this happened:

If you happen to be the recipient of such plastic-wrapped delactabilityness, there are some things you need to know.

First of all,  it’s best if no one else knows it’s in the house, but if that’s not possible, then never open one when small children are around. Or if you do, have decoy candy on hand. Oh, you don’t want this. Here, have some old jellybeans instead, aren’t they yummy? 

The fact that it doesn't look like a pumpkin is irrelevant. Who are we to criticize Reese?
The fact that it doesn’t look like a pumpkin is irrelevant. Who are we to criticize Reese?

Second, a treat like this needs to be savoured so wait for the right time. Brew some coffee (if it’s nap time) or pour yourself a class of wine. Light some candles, put on some music. It’s okay to wear yoga pants, PB Pumpkin doesn’t judge.

Coffee and PB are second only to wine and PB.
Coffee and PB are second only to wine and PB.

Third, take your time. Even though those little pumpkins are more than half your daily fat allowance, they are small. Take a moment to enjoy each little bite.

When you finish one, there’s a bit of let down. That’s when the second one comes in handy. It also helps if you tell yourself that the second one is the last one and then surprise yourself and crack open the third.

You’re welcome.

Let’s Get on the Bus

No childhood is complete without a ride on the bus. The city bus. So being responsible and caring parents, we recently packed a backpack full of water, snacks, and spare diapers and hopped in our van to begin our latest family adventure: Moyer Bus Day.

It was raining quite a bit that morning, so Bearded Husband kindly dropped the five of us off at the depot while he parked the van. As I herded my crew into the main foyer, we got to see the security guard shoo away the “greeter” from the front door. Good times, I felt very safe now.

The Bigs were quite excited to note that we would be using an escalator. An escalator. We might not need to take them to Disney after all. The thrill of riding the escalator was only matched by their anticipation of using it again upon our return.

With bus passes in hand and our route mapped out, we went to find The Number 7 (real bus talk, guys, that’s how you say it). Littlest was quaking with fear, but I reassured him and hopped on. We found six seats facing each other and waited and watched.

Stay with the group
Stay with the group

I forgot. I forgot what it’s like to ride the bus. I forgot about the cross-section of society that you can observe on the bus.

First I spotted Vacant Staring Guy. I smiled at him since he was staring, but got nothing so then I had to focus on not looking in his direction (but I could still feel the stare, the vacant, vacant, stare). What’s your story, VSG?

Next onto The Number 7 were The Nails. These girls had the longest fingernails I had ever seen. Even though I knew they were fake, I was in awe and kept looking. Now who was staring awkwardly? How did they get such amazing texting abilities? How do you anything without hurting yourself?

The final addition to The Number 7 entourage arrived at the first stop. This was after our 4 year old took a short fall off his seat when the driver jackrabbit-started at the same time he peeled around the corner exiting the depot. Man down!

Bluetooth was having a loud and detailed conversation with who I hoped was his addictions counsellor. In our brief time together, we learned that Bluetooth really wanted to kick his habits and stop the methadone.  Detox would help, but he needed a clean start so he wouldn’t fall back into old habits when he returned from up north. No Twelve Step program for him because he wanted nothing to do with any higher power. To his credit, Bluetooth kept his language clean and only raised a few uncomfortable questions from the boys. Mommy, what’s rehab?

Guys, this was only 4 minutes into our bus ride. FOUR MINUTES.

I forgot. I forgot what the bus can be like.

Boys, look! There’s the hospital where you were all born. Oh, I see a Tim Hortons. Yup, I saw that firetruck, did you? Well-timed questions can help diffuse awkward moments like full disclosure about substance abuse.

We had a great time schlepping through the rain and checking out some local sites. Another highlight of Moyer Bus Day was eating lunch at Taco Farm. Our oldest said, “Like, it’s not my favourite place ever, but I’d eat there again.” That is high praise coming from him.

We're going to walk in the rain and you're going to like it.
We’re going to walk in the rain and you’re going to like it.

Fed and rested, and grateful the rain had subsided, we walked to the bus stop. The anticipation was still in full force and the boys kept craning their necks looking for The Number 7. It arrived and we all piled back on. This time the bus was fuller so we scrambled to find seats. And this time, if was the 6 year old who took a short fall on the steps when the driver peeled out before he was seated.

The boys gasped and grinned and I had a smile plastered on my face enjoying their excitement. We shared a seat with a young urban professional and I broke the ice by pointing out, “This is their first time riding the bus, in case it wasn’t obvious.” Awkward chortle, chortle.

He smiled back, looked at the two boys sitting with me and replied, “I vividly recall my first time riding the bus. It was so memorable.”

I forgot. I forgot what the bus can be like. It can be an amazing adventure and that’s exactly what I hope our boys will remember.

Cause and Effect

Cause and Effect

Sometimes, you just don’t know how long you’re going to be.

One of the boys is clearly a very forward thinking child.

It’s good to keep hydrated – even better to keep a 1:1 ratio.

At any age a boy just needs some quiet time away from his brothers, I get it. Snacks help.

I’m afraid to check the contents of that drink box. It’s still sitting there.

Was the call of nature so intense that he couldn’t leave the drink in the kitchen?

All these thoughts and more raced through my mind. Your turn – explain.

Uncomfortable Truths

There is a woman in the US who is my American counterpart. It is eery how parallel our lives are and also our fondness for laughing at ourselves. Katherine puts the extra “u” in “humour”.

You can find me over there today, pinch hitting my Five Uncomfortable Truths. While you’re there, be sure to check out her posts (might I suggest other UCT to begin). And you can find her on twitter @grass_stains

Uncomfortable Truths at Grass Stains.

Moyerangelo

Welcome to the Sneak Peek of my upcoming Art Extravaganza! You might be surprised to learn I am just four years old, but talent and inspiration can strike at any age.

Currently, this exhibit is housed in my bedroom. I like to think of it as a constant work-in-progress since my roommate has very little impulse control.

This piece speaks to my love of gum. When I was young and reckless, I occasionally left my chewed gum on the carpet. Mmmm….gum.

Tribute to Gum
My Gum, My Love

This next display was a random inspiration I had when Mommy called up that it was time for breakfast. I tossed those sticker frames down and when I returned, I was just as smitten as you are.

The lines, the use of space. Inspired, I know.
The lines, the use of space. Inspired, I know.

It’s funny, when I began this particular piece, I was going to go with one or two sheets, but once I got started I realized more is always better. See how the creepy wooden bear accentuates the pumpkins? And I love how the multi-colured squirrel plays off the green in the monsters.

Haunted Monster Mash Up
Go Ahead, Choose One, But Not THAT One

I feel it’s important to encourage the artistic drive in others, so I let my little brother try his hand. I really like how he played up the different textures here: carpet, bed skirt, paper. He might be ready for his own exhibition soon, that little Picaso.

Sticker Carpet Study
Sticker Carpet Study

Here I tried a little something with metal and wood. I like the contrast of the black sticker against the white canvas of the closet door.

Closet Door: Gateway to Diapers
Closet Door: Gateway to Diapers

A different approach with furniture as my framework. Not as bold as the white, but the warmer look works, too, don’t you think?

Top Drawer
Top Drawer

Now this one I am particularly proud of. I tried my hand at something more whimsical here just for Mommy. “Oh, no, another diaper change – wait! What’s this? A darling sticker from my favourite son.” (I just know that’s what she’ll say).

Diaper Surprise
Diaper Surprise

This final selection has me stumped. I’m not sure which look to use. The first is the safe, classical approach.

Retro Sippy Cup
The Cup

This one is just a little edgier with the dirt clod in the background. Maybe it makes my work more accessible?

Retro Sippy Cup Slumming It
The Cup Rebellion

Please cast your vote to help me decide. Any art forms you’d like to see in my next exhibit? I’m very strong with glitter glue as well and I’m not afraid to delve into papier mache.

I Can Be Your Hero, Baby

I’m currently sporting bruises and scrapes in numerous places all over my body: arms, shins, wrists, bum. You will not believe how I got them.

I'll spare you the picture of the bruise on my behind.
I’ll spare you the picture of the bruise on my behind.

The boys and I were playing at the park the other day. It was gorgeous weather,  just the perfect temperature to be outside. We’d brought snacks along and intended to make the most of the morning. Suddenly, out of nowhere comes this little boy we’ve never seen before on one of those battery-operated Jeeps for lazy kids.

“It won’t stop! Make it stop” he screamed.

A good deal farther back was his very pregnant mom who was doing her best to catch him, but the odds were not in her favour.

My instincts kicked in immediately and I swiftly dismounted from the monkey bars, quite smoothly except for grazing my left forearm against the support railing. I didn’t feel a thing because when you’re being a hero, you ignore all pain. I hurdled over the springy airplane riding feature, banging my shin in the process. I dashed to the pathway and the run-away motorist.

Have you ever tried to stop one of those mini-Jeeps? Neither had I. He was moving at a good clip, but I caught up and was running alongside him.

“Press the brake! The brake!” I shouted.

“I AM, it’s not working!”

I grabbed the back to make it slow down, but that kid clearly had cruise control locked on “fast”. He was heading towards a hill which could have been advantageous except it was on a decline. With little time to think, I did what any hero would do: I jumped in front and stopped that Jeep with my own body.

Everyone at the park dashed over, clapping and cheering. Eventually his mom caught up to us and through tears of relief thanked me for intervening.

It was unbelievable. And I have the bruises to prove it. Unbelievable I tell you.

Unreal.

Like out of a made-for -TV movie.

Alright, alright. I wish I had an amazing story to explain all my recent injuries, but sadly, I do not.

Are you ready for the real story?

We were biking down the street and out of nowhere a baby stroller came careening down a driveway. I jumped off my bike, remembering to put the kickstand down first, and bolted —-

Alright, that’s not what happened, either.

Fine, the truth. I was washing the front windows and heard a cat meowing plaintively across the street on the neighbour’s roof. A vicious, probably rabid, racoon had it cornered. I threw down my washcloths and sprinted over, dodging several cars on my way —

Ok, Ok.

We were playing Smurf Tag at the park and I slipped on the mulch, scraping my shin in the process (couldn’t shave for three days while it healed).

The bruise on my bum and the scrape on my right arm were due to falling off a stationary scooter. I wasn’t even moving.

Finally, we were playing Canadian Ninja Warrior Tag at a different park and as I tried to elude Bearded Husband (the boys were playing, too, settle down) I slipped on the wooden railing, banging my left forearm, right shin (again) and the back of my right knee.

Nothing glamourous about those injuries, but I did live to tell the tale.

————–

Best injury story you’ve got – let’s hear it.

*If you’d like to read a true and entertaining injury story, check this post “Told You So” by Amanda over at http://www.mandiemarie.com – I like to call it “Line Drive of Doom”.