Sunday, July 27, 2008

we are building a religion

No, wait - It was only a playground.

This past weekend The Man joined 20 or so others for a few days to build a new park out west at our camp. For those who have never been, we have a holiday trailer permently parked at a private campground by Nordegg, along with a few hundred other people. Everyone who camps out there is either a former resident or a decendent of a former resident of Nordegg, pre-ghost town days. Miner's families, basically. The Man's grandfather grew up in Nordegg, which is how a couple of peacenik vegans ended up members of th N.R.A. (Nordegg Recreational Association).

So, this was our weekend. Packing up: Stopped to pick wild strawberries out by Shunda viewpoint on our way out. It would be so very peaceful if it wasn't for the likelihood of stumbling on a feasting bear. We had our strawberries in pancakes. Soooooo goooood!

Little Birdie deals with his aversion to the outdoors by sleeping alot. In his snuggly: In mama's arms:
In the trailer at night, with, omgthankgoodness, his sleeping sister:
Smootch made a few friends and basically played her butt off all weekend. Turns out that the most exciting part of the playground is the turf they dug out to put in sand: I can't even tell you how much fun these kids had on a pile of dirt. Something we forget in this time of stuff. I know my kid is happiest when she's using her body and brain - playing imaginative games with basically a blank canvas (dirt and rocks). Toys, well, unless someone will play with them with her, she has no interest. Which tells us it's the people she wants, not the stuff. Okay, down off the soapbox.

But it is good to remember it is the people she loves, not stuff.

Lovely weekend.

Monday, July 21, 2008

busy weekend

We've just been running lately. Today is thankfully free of events so while Smootch and The Man do a bit of shopping at stupidstore (which Smootch calls Super Store in rebellion - she also refers to Crappy Tire as Canadian Tire, just to irritate us), I get to one hand type at you all while Birdie is melting on my lap.

Holy Hannah, it's hot. Hot as balls. (That would be my newly lifted technical meteoriological term from my friend down in Miami, where, it appears, they know of such things.) I had to forgo my usual tactic of hiding from the sun in the basement this past weekend to celebrate J & S's wedding on saturday. Okay, I didn't know the bride and groom, seeing as I was the groom's second cousin's significant other (but hopefully sometime in the future we will become aquainted), but it really was a lovely ceremony and great reception. You may find it strange for this resolutely shacked up lady to be so into weddings, but I almost cried during the ceremony. Thankfully I had a couple of live ones on my watch that distracted me from getting overly emotional. And bigger thanks to the live ones, who were incredibly well behaved. And cute! Even though Smootch told me that gray isn't a pretty colour, I believe she looked quite nice anyway. The guys clean up pretty good too:
I made Birdie's outfit too. We were going for hippie casual (well, The Man was, I just followed orders) and I think he looks pretty spiffy but relaxed. I learnt a few things about my camera too. Such as if you cover up the little light sensor thing with heat swollen fingers, you get pictures that look like this:
It's not my fault. The heat made me stoo-pid. Hot as balls, it was. Birdie spent most of the evening reception doing this:
Relaxed, he was. Smootch was looking forward to this wedding probably more than the bride and groom. It's all about the dance to her. But, by the time the dance rolls around, after a some eight hours of ceremoney, visiting, eating, speeches, and more visiting, when the music starts, Smootch is NOT. HAPPY. ANYMORE. Past her bedtime and she keeps complaining that everyone is rude to her and no one will dance with her while doing her best to ignore the mountains of evidence to the contrary. Her perscution complex is really enhanced by a late night after a couple of glasses of soda.
See Smootch pout. See Smootch whine. See Smootch's mommy decide the this was a good night to start drinking wine again.

Sunday. The fair is in town. We waited until the last day so we could go see Franklin on stage, which was mericifully short. Smootch loved the rides. We were stoo-pid (see: 'hot as balls' above) and didn't buy her an all day pass, but she did manage to get one free ride (as in her dad just lifted her over the fence and told her to hop on) plus whatever her 22 tickets bought her. The boy basically laid in a puddle in the bottom of his snuggly. Poor guy does not do heat at all.

It is so much better now that she is big enough to go on the kiddie rides herself - more rides she can ride and less bored parents. Because last year doing our third round on the choo choo charlie I was contemplating throwing myself on the tracks. The only ride I joined her on was the carousel. The horses were too high for her and it wasn't a well greased ride. The horse was jerking around like it had it's knees on backwards, which made Smootch a bit nervous: But she's a trouper.

Hope every one else had a good weekend :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

back from camp

Miss us?
Our first trip out to camp this year and first one ever for Birdie. Poor little guy. On the way out he develops an eye infection which clears up about the time we get home. Spent the whole weekend getting breast milk squirted into his eye (I'm not weird - breast milk has antibodies in it. Repeat: I'm not weird. It's medical science. Breastmilk is amazing stuff folks!)

I think he's got some sort of aversion to the outdoors. Night and day these kids. Smootch loves outside. She loves nature. She loves the wind and sun and rain. The boy, well, not so much.

But he's okay, see:
That was taken on his camp bed on sunday, so, despite the goopy eyes (and dirty belly button), it was a good first trip for him.

So, camping. Serious lack of wildlife sightings this year. However, there were gnomes so it wasn't a total waste.Granny's poor gnome home. Every year comes Smootch the Destroyer.Smootch has been nasty to those poor little guys. She still owes Granny a gnome to replace the head she cracked early last year. (Note to self: must acquire gnome soon.) But, seriously, her kung fu is strong, she just needs to learn to control her strength.
Or maybe just needs discipline, probably.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

oh, lookie! A whole 5 minutes to actually post something!

First of all, y'all should pop over to here to see Smootch's tutorial. She's been watching how-to videos on you tube and has decided that she knows tons of really usful information she simply has to pass along. I have no idea where she would get this from.

She's definitely entering the 4s. As in the two year old says 'no', the three year old says, 'look at me' and the four year old says, 'why'. Oh the whys! This kid can not have enough information. Her favorite books right now are non-fiction fact books and kid's magazines about animals. If it's quiet enough you can actually hear her brain making little wet sucking noises as her spongey brain soaks up information.

Another exciting thing is watching Smootch develop an imaginary friend. "Pretending Baby" (that is her name) is, at last quiz, speaks Chinese, has a broken leg and must be carried around in Smootch's pocket. As Pretending Baby's biography gets longer, Smootch's play gets more interesting to overhear. It's like having another kid.

Little home improvment in the front yard:

I will go take a pic when its all done, but we got rid of our lovely grass filled prickly pear patch and built up a bed with field rocks. It's going to look much sharper out there when it's all done. In the meanwhile, the kids will play...

Hope y'all have a good weekend :)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

my mommy style

Wow, there is such a difference between a healthy baby and a 'health challenged' babe. Birdie is getting to be about the age when Smootch had her surgery. I've been looking back at photos and videos of Smootch at the same age and there are so many similarities between them, they both like to kick and move the same, but the differences between them are glaring. First one, Birdie is almost twice Smootch's weight at the same age. He really is a tank.

Second, Birdie is so social compared to Smootch. Smootch spent a lot of time asleep, or looking lethargic, or, you know, just being withdrawn and sick. Birdie lives for someone to sing to him, or talk to him in babiese, or bicycle his legs for him. I can list a dozen or more things that Birdie likes or doesn't when I'm playing with him - Smootch only liked her bath. She didn't like needles or getting her blood pressure. That's all the social behavior she exhibited. I think she was just busy trying to pump her busted little heart and didn't have a lot of energy to begin to develop particular tastes. She would make eye contact, but she'd rarely smile. Mostly it was just to give a heavy browed frown.

Another thing about the sick baby versus healthy baby is that the parents act very, very differently. Oh, the constant survelliance of Smootch as a baby. It was terrible. We never had a baby monitor because there was no need - we were never far enough away. I remember not being able to sleep unless The Man was awake and watching her or she was hooked up to beeping machines that would sound an alarm if her heart beat slowed. Whether or not Smootch had to go back to the hospital was based upon tiny degrees of wellness, whether or not The Man and I could 'sense' that she was just not as well as she should be. The closest she ever came to death was with her renal failure, and we had to convince the hospital that she was sicker than she should be based upon a few vague symptoms: extra sweaty, spitting up more, etc. When we took her in they still weren't sure until they started running tests. A few hours later we were being forced to leave our two month old baby in intensive care while they sedate her to put in an IV into a main vein in her groin because she was too dehydrated to find a lesser vein (that was when they shaved half her head to try to find a vein there - and the nurses were scared to tell me because they thought I'd be upset about the hair. And I just thought, screw the hair, SAVE MY BABY!)
Anyway. My point is that we practically had to watch Smootch's every breath to keep her alive. It was necessary, but not exactly a great way to develop a healthy parenting style. So with this guy, I'm able to relax quite a bit and sort of - I hope this doesn't sound too dumb - come into my own as a mama. I've always believed I'd be one of the relaxed moms. More bohemian and earthy than uptown. Able to have fun with the kids and not be hysterical over every sniffle or bump or try to control their every move. But hyper-viligence with Smootch was at first vital, but has become a bit of a habit. It's not too bad these days, but I still struggle with balancing my (and her) needs for safety and health with letting her struggle and figure it out herself.

Along comes mr big healthy baby and things seem a whole lot more relaxed this time. Maybe with happy little guy I can let go a bit further and enjoy the whole mama trip even more. I know Smootch benefits when I'm more relaxed and I'm definitely better off when I can be awed by how she is growing and learning and not freaking out about how she could hurt herself by falling down the stairs/off the monkeybars/tripping when running.

Because she really is the very picture of health and vitality now. She has more than enough personality for three kids. She's amazing. And I can stop holding my breath watching her breath.