It’s not as scary as it used to be.

Neil flew to Vancouver Thursday morning for work. He’s tacking a trip to Kelowna on afterwards, so he won’t be home until Monday afternoon. So that means I’m single parenting it for almost five days. Usually in this kind of situation I would go stay with my mom and dad for a couple days, but they’re in Mexico right now, so that’s out. I’m on my own.

And the thing is, it’s not as scary as it used to be. The kids are getting bigger, and even though I’m grossly outnumbered, it’s not that hard anymore. Yesterday I took four kids to swimming lessons, and wouldn’t you know, the bigs got ready for their lesson all on their own, and even Oliver walked to his class all by himself so I didn’t even have to go on the pool deck once. Ivy behaved herself for the entire 45 minutes, and then Seth and Ben got themselves all dressed back up while I helped Oliver, and we all met in the lobby a mere ten minutes after the last class ended. It couldn’t have gone better. Well, it could have, I guess, if Oliver had actually listened to his teacher. I’ll be very surprised if he passes this term, since he resolutely refuses to blow bubbles in the pool.

Yesterday was smooth sailing too, although it helped immensely that a friend came for coffee in the morning. It’s always nice to have grown up conversation. In the evening I got the kids’ favorite babysitter to come so that I could go wander around Superstore all by myself.

This morning I slept in until 8:15, when I leisurely wandered out of my bedroom to make coffee and found the kids all fed and watching cartoons. Freaking angels I tell you.

Then we went to Seth’s soccer game. I’m really enjoying the fact that I can take four kids out on my own and it’s not a total gong show. It’s a good, good feeling.



(Seth, after another victory, and his final game, barely obliging my request for a photo.)

The afternoon was pretty chill. Ben went to a friend’s and had a great time but I ruined his life when I told him we were having spaghetti for supper. End. Of. The. World. Still, he was hungry enough that he ate it. What kind of kid doesn’t like spaghetti??

I got all the kids (and myself!) bathed, which is a small miracle. Hygiene isn’t a huge priority around here lately. 

Everyone went to bed and fell asleep with nary a “Mom!” or “I need a drink!” to be heard. Winning.

It’s not so scary as it used to be, being the sole parent. I don’t even mind it too much.

Because they’re good kids and I like them.

Especially when they’re sleeping. 

Benji shoots his teeth out, turns seven, and holds a sugar glider.

Ben’s front teeth were so wiggly over the last couple weeks. At one point he came home and his tooth was so wonky, he looked hilarious. He took matters into his own hands, fetching his Nerf crossbow and some heavy duty thread, recruiting his mom for tooth-tying, and promptly shooting his front tooth out of his mouth. He’s so brave with his tooth losing, I can’t believe it. He repeated the whole thing six days later with his second front tooth, leaving him toofless for his seventh birthday two days later. I’m in love with his face.

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For his birthday we had Prairie Exotics come and show the kids a bunch of snakes, geckos, tarantulas, frogs, and even a sugar glider. Ben was very very excited for his birthday. His original “invite” list included eighteen children and his bus driver (?). I got him to narrow it down to a generous ten, but after handing his invitations out, he realized he’d forgotten three of his “best friends” so three more were added. Thankfully three kids couldn’t make it, because ten seven year olds is a lot, y’all. A loud, rowdy, extra cute lot. Those kids had some serious fun, and they loved the reptile show so much. It was awesome and so fun to see Ben with all his buddies. He has friends from mutliple classes and it really makes me proud how good he is at making friends. He’s obviously very well liked, and it just makes me happy.
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His gift wish list this year included Pokemon, Lego, a clock, and clothes. He got lots of everything, plus a pile of gift cards and cash, making for a happy boy. (That cake was green ombre, just so you know. I forgot to take a picture of my hard work. And I’m pretty sure the kids didn’t even notice, besides Ben.)

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I can’t believe my chubby little baby is seven already. He’s such a great kid; I just love him. He’s such an entertainer, and can laugh AND cry on demand. I’m talking real tears, if he wants. This boy better take drama class in high school because he’s totally convincing. It’s awesome. He loves making people laugh, and he’s pretty good at it. He loves music and dancing, although you’re unlikely to see evidence of this if you’re not family. He loves clothes and takes great care with his appearance. He’s good at pushing people’s buttons, and irritating his siblings when he wants to. He hates doing chores, and has no problem letting you know it. He can whine with the best of them. But he has the best smile, the tightest hug, the sweetest kisses, the biggest heart, and still the chubbiest cheeks, so I’ll keep him.

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I love you Benji, so so much. Happy 7th birthday.

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ps. When Ben turned two, three, four, five, and six

Big and good news that I forgot to tell you about.

Neil had some diagnostic tests to check up on his Crohns in November. You have to wait forever for a follow-up to actually hear the results of the test, so he finally had his appointment a couple weeks ago.

And the big and good news is that the doctor declared Neil’s Crohns officially “inactive”, or in remission. Neil’s graduated to twice a year check-ups instead of every three months, and had to have his medication increased, because he’s gained over thirty pounds since last summer. Crazy how being able to eat food will do that to you. Neil looks so great.

Anyway this is very good news for Neil and for our family. It’s really amazing what a huge difference there is in Neil’s health compared to this time last year, when he was pretty much constantly sick and in pain. It is the best ever to have him feeling so good.

We’re obviously very very happy! We love this man so much!

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(hashtag best dad ever!)

Haircuts.

This is old news, but Oliver and Ivy got haircuts in December. Pretty drastic ones.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that I have a hard time parting with Oliver’s hair. I don’t know why, I just do. It’s gotten fairly long from time to time, and I only took him for cuts begrudgingly after people start referring to him as a girl more often than they referred to him as a boy. I knew it was time again in December, and I was feeling ready to see a bit more of his head.I hadn’t really seen it since he was a bald baby. He’s starting to lose the bit of curl he used to have, and it was starting to fall straight in his face more often than not. He was starting to get hair in his mouth when he ate, and had food in his hair from time to time. Time for a cut.

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So I did it. Well, my friend did it. She took out the clippers and I almost had a heart attack inside but I stayed strong on the outside. I knew it would be okay. And it was. His new hair cut is super cute and I love it.

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I’m not gonna lie, I still miss his long hair sometimes.

Ivy needed a hair cut too. That was hard for me, too, since she’s my first and only girl and a part of me wants her hair to be as long as Pocahontas’. Except she’s only three and her hair is kind of thin still, and she was starting to refuse any kind of ponytails or braids. Time for a cut.

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Obviously her haircut turned out obscenely cute too.

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I love it so much, and she hasn’t complained at all about losing her princess-y hair. She has a good imagination and often points out her beautiful (invisible) Elsa braid to me. Works for me.

Those baby bangs!

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To the zoo.

I was really looking forward to a day at home today; no plans, nowhere to go. I felt lazy and tired this morning after working yesterday evening. I was having trouble getting going.

And then I thought, let’s go to the zoo guys. I’ve been wanting to go for ages, especially since its been so mild out, but it’s hard to find time to go. Weekends are always over in the blink of an eye, and it just wasn’t happening. So we bailed on Neil and Seth and Ben, and I took Oliver and Ivy.

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I love the zoo so much. We got a membership last summer and I’ve tried really hard to make good use of it. All the kids love it, though, so we always end up spending lots of time there when we go. Today I thought we’d even just go see the polar bears, but we still ended up spending over two hours there.

The arctic foxes were pure white, and running around playing right in front of us.

The wolves came and stood right in front of the glass where we were standing. They’re so amazing, and especially in the new Journey to Churchill exhibit- it’s just so neat to see them running around in all that open space.

Of course the polar bears are my favorite. Today they were swimming and even wrestling in the water. It is seriously mesmerizing watching them swim.

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After the zoo we zipped to Ikea for a cheapie hot dog lunch, then came home where I napped on the couch while Ivy and Oliver watched tv. When the boys got home from school we hit up the library.

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I’m totally wiped but it was really refreshing to be so spontaneous with my littles today. They’re cute and I like hanging out with them.

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Christmas 2014

Alternate title: Was that really almost a month ago?

So Christmas 2014 was amazing. Neil took a whole two weeks off work and we all spent that time being gloriously lazy together. It was perfect.

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We went to church on Christmas Eve, picked up Thai food, and then had Neil’s parents and grandma over. Christmas morning was as fun as always, and Santa delivered each child’s request (except for that Playstation Ben asked for last minute. Um, no). The big kids got Lego sets, Oliver got a Trashies garbage truck (that he’s barely stopped playing with), and Ivy got the brown lion she’d been asking for since she saw it in the Target flyer a month earlier.

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I got Neil new snowboarding goggles and he got me the housecoat I’d begged for from Anthropologie. It is seriously divine, and it has to be said that I probably would have froze to death while I was sick if I hadn’t had that housecoat. It saved my life.

We spent Christmas morning relaxing at home (I even napped on the couch!) and then headed to the Hennan’s for more Christmas fun. There were more gifts, but mostly more visiting and playing with cousins. It was a nice day out so we took the kids skating (it was Ivy’s first time) and then came home for turkey dinner. We headed back home that night, and returned to Portage for a repeat with the in-laws the next day. The rest of our holidays we left new toys strewn throughout the house and laundry accumulating in piles everywhere. It was amazing.

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I hope that Neil will take holidays like that every year, because it was just the best. I’m so happy that I have a family that likes spending copious amounts of time together.

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PS. Neil and I are ridiculously good looking together, right??

Ivy turns three.

Alternate title: I have a chest infection, feel horrible, and take basically no pictures of Ivy turning three.

On Friday evening I went to work, but by the time I left work I was feeling pretty crappy. By the time I got home I felt horrible. I was coughing so much I threw up, I was alternately way too hot and way too cold. I felt so terrible I started crying like a baby in the middle of the night. I was so upset that I got sick right before Ivy’s birthday. Of course I hadn’t done anything to get ready (although I had thought about it and told myself to prepare ahead for days…). There was no food for the party, no decorations ready, no cake made, nothing. I just straight up could not get out of bed, and I really wanted to make Ivy’s party special for her; she was so excited.

Thankfully Neil stepped up, like always. And thankfully I had only invited family to the party, so I took solace in the fact that no one would judge me if I laid on the couch only semi-conscious through the party. I scaled back my food plans, Neil grocery shopped and wrapped presents, and I literally did not get out of bed, except for a brief period where I managed to get the cake baked.

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On Sunday, Ivy’s birthday, I felt basically the same. Everyone hopped into bed with me while Ivy unwrapped a huge pile of presents. Backstory: we kind of missed the boat on Ivy’s Christmas presents somehow, so I was totally overcompensating. Nice thing about a kid having a birthday right after Christmas is that all the toys are on clearance. We loaded up on Sophia the First everything, threw in some jewelry, some ballet shoes, a fluffy housecoat, and her very own gum. She took her gift-opening very seriously, slowly opening and inspecting every gift, and then usually giving a small nod of approval before moving on to the next gift. I think the gum got the most fanfare; she is a gum fiend.

She spent the morning busily playing with all her new toys, until about 11 am where she had a meltdown and put herself for a three hour nap. I got up to ice the cake and went back to bed. Neil prepped chili, and when my mom showed up, she finished it off, although I had to open all the cans for her because the Pampered Chef can opener is too complicated. I can live with that.

The rest of the guests arrived and Ivy was totally and completely spoiled. She was just in her glory, getting hair accessories, clothes, play make-up, and her very own phone and wallet (that was very high on her gift list!). She put her “make-up” on at least twenty times. She loves that stuff so much.

We ate supper and then it was time for cake. Ivy loved having everyone sing to her. And that was the one moment I took my camera out and got a couple blurry shots.

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Happy birthday Ivy. You’re gentle and wild, sweet and terrible, generous and strong-willed; a study in paradox. And we wouldn’t change a thing. Love you babe.

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And just in case you were wondering, by Monday I felt even worse, so mustered up every bit of energy to go to the walk-in clinic. I got antibiotics for a chest infection, and today, Tuesday, I am finally feeling a little bit better, although I’m still wheezing a lot, and still tired, so I’m not planning on getting off the couch except to feed the children. Neil’s going away today for a few days so I definitely need to be on the mend!