Monday, April 30, 2012

Mini Bathroom Reno

The linoleum in Chey's bathroom has been peeling up at the bathtub edge since we moved in. I kept "meaning" to fix it, but like so many other things, I never seemed to actually get around to it (nor did Dale). A couple of weeks ago, I turned to Dale and told him that it was ridiculous that we couldn't seem to fix something so minor (but that could save us thousands of dollars if we fixed it BEFORE the bathtub ended up in the Living Room due to rotten floors). It's our most expensive investment, shouldn't we take better care of it?? That did it for both of us. We decided to replace the linoleum with tile and while we were at it, we decided to paint and do some other minor fixes.

And we rock.....

Before: This picture is from when we first bought the house. You can barely see the yellow walls and lino

After: The walls are a nice mint/sage green

We geeked it up and  hit the Calgary Comic Expo this weekend (It was Crazy Busy! Fire Marshals shut it down on Saturday and they stopped selling tickets shortly after we arrived on Sunday Morning). I even made (yes, made... as in forced, although they were quite happy about it) the kids don their Hallowe'en costumes. I wanted to show them off in a place where people would appreciate the work.... and I was right. Several attendees asked if they could take the kids' pictures (Chey was Yoshi and Eli was Link). Eli's, in particular, was a hit. Probably because he looks like Link in or out of costume...... The cosplay costumes were amazing! Everything from several other Links (Eli's was the best, of course), pikachu, Freddy Krueger, Dr. Who, Zelda, Midna, ghostbusters, Dr. Arliss Loveless (the dude with the wheelchair from Wild West (his was one of the BEST)), various super heroes, barbarians and knights and many other characters that I am not familiar with. 

We even came across Midna (Link's Helper in Twilight Princess). 

 Even though it was uber busy, I thought it was fun (stressful, but fun) and we will go back next year.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Just add "Doggy Stylist" to my resume...

I do it all baby....

Here is a picture of Jade, looking more like one of the Three Stooges then a poodle..... Even she looks embarrassed....

And here she is after SEVEN hours of grooming....... looking rather happy, I'd say.... The picture outside is a few days later..... I just like it.

PS... the poms on her feet are at Dale's request...... Quite the change from "We can get a poodle, but it better not ever LOOK like a poodle"... He looks adorable walking her (the fluffy poodle and the dude covered in tattoos)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Total Bedlam... and I love it!

Today was day two of Knit Club at my Eli's school and the club has grown totally of a proportion at which I am confident that I can teach the kids anything. There are now 30+ kids (and more want to join, but we've had to turn them away) in the group and two adults. Today we learned the knit stitch. Or rather, we TRIED to learn the Knit Stitch. A half an hour is just not enough time......

I'm hoping I can go into the school and give mini-lessons to a few kids during the day so that I can have a few kids that are more confident knitters to help with the rest......

Here is a link to the full "Knit Class" pdf that I made up. I haven't broken down the other parts so you'll have to download the whole thing to check it out.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Proud Parents!

I had to share this tonight... I'm too proud and excited not to.

I received a phone call from school last week from Eli asking my permission for him to compete in his school's Canspell competition. He was the best speller in his class and was now eligible to compete. I, of course, said yes! I was so proud of him for even entering. He turns green before every piano recital and hates speaking in front of people so a spelling competition is a BIG deal......

Tonight was the competition and he was cool as a cucumber... maybe not a cucumber as he acted more like he had fire ants crawling all over his body the entire time (6-8 pm is not his best time of day, his ADHD meds have worn off and he is in a bit of rebound, so he gets pretty wiggly and excitable), but he was calm, cool and collected each time his turn came.

Canspell is a heartbreaking competition (and nerve wracking!). It was a school wide competition and I was surprised to learn that the grade Fives would be competing with EVERYONE (grades 5-8). No separation of grades. Yikes! I nearly cried when the first two kids were eliminated  (both were oopsies not spelling error... that was HARD to see) and every round I held my breath and closed my eyes while Eli stood up to spell. He took his time and asked questions and spelled all of his words correctly. He was almost disqualified for an incorrect letter, but he corrected himself BEFORE finishing the letter (a completed incorrect letter, even if immediately corrected is a disqualification).... As each round progressed and more and more spellers left the spelling circle, I was both relieved, stressed and proud. Relieved because he made it one more round, stressed because he made it one more round.... Proud, well, you get it.

He was finally disqualified for the word "waiver"(he spelled in the incorrect homonym)  with only 3 other students still standing. His overall place was a tie for Third with both second and first place students being from grade Eight.  He won a $50 Gift card for placing First in Grade Five! What a fabulous job he did! Way to go Eli!!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Teaching Kids to Knit: A simple knitting course.

Lunchtime is a busy time at my son's school. In order to keep 700 plus students occupied during their lunch break, the school has a multitude of clubs. When I heard that anyone could offer up a club (they must be "sponsored" by a teacher) I decided to start a knitting club.

The plan is simple. I will teach 15-25 pre-adolescent students to knit squares which I will then sew into a blanket that will be donated to the Foothills NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) via the WCOBBS (Western Canada Oddball Baby Blanket Society). Once the students have learned the basics, they will continue to learn on by choosing a project on their own.

In order to facilitate the teaching, I decided to do up a  PDF with the absolute basics that can be printed and handed out to the students for reference. I know my handout works because Dale learned to knit in about two minutes....... and his brain doesn't read instructions very well (not a comment on men and instructions, although it's painful not to go there.... this was Dale's very own glowing reference to my skillz)

I will introduce the PDF in several sections (to make downloading faster). The documents include; casting on, the knit stitch, unknitting, changing yarn, the purl stitch, binding off and mistakes and tips

I've embedded the first PDF (it takes a while to download) below or you can download Cast On, The Knit Stitch and Unknitting

Click the links below for embedded pages of the next two parts (I didn't want to make the download even slower....)

The Knit Stitch


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Neat idea: Bathroom organization

I need some kind of storage in my bathroom. My makeup, hair and miscellaneous "beauty" products are breeding uncontrollably and taking over. I thought a medicine chest might contain some of the mess, but I have two problems:

1) I think they are ugly.
2) I think they are too expensive for what they are.

So how does one solve such a conundrum? Creatively...... I went to Winners a few weeks ago and found a bunch of wooden boxes made up to look like books. I thought they were neat and I bought one. I held onto it for a few day unsure of why I bothered, when an epiphany struck. The "books" could be a solution to my problem! They were cheap ($10-15 each) and pretty. So I bought a few more and had Dale insert some shelves in a couple of them using square dowel (I'm sure it's called something else) and baseboard molding.

Today I installed them and they look great! I spent around $70 for all five (including shelving). Much cheaper than any medicine chest I could find that I only moderately detested. The beast is contained and I am content, thrilled even.

Neat, eh?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Things Kids Say.....

Kids are funny. We all know it, but how many of us write that stuff down??? I do. Not all of it mind you, but I have been writing a few things down since Eli first started to talk and with the advent of Facebook, many of my status updates involve funny stories about my children. Why stop the embarrassment there, I say!  Parenting is rough, but these sparking, hilarious moments make it all worthwhile and sharing them is pure payback....With that in mind, I've decided that, once in a while, I will pick something from the past to share about the funny/touching (mostly funny) things my kids have said/done. The story may be from my book (I literally started a book before Facebook for these moments) or it may be from Facebook, but I hope that it will make you smile as much as the original occurrence has done for me.

My first story is one of the most humorous. It happened when Eli was just under three years old, shortly after he had been potty trained and we were moving from Williams Lake (a small town in central BC) to Edmonton, Alberta. It's a long drive between the two cities, 12 or 13 hrs, and I never expected Eli to last the entire way. To avoid any messy accidents in the car, I explained to him that he was going to wear a pull-up for the drive "just in case".  Our first stop was only an hour out of Williams Lake and both of us took the opportunity to use the washroom. Our next stop was 4 hours later for gas, but he didn't need to go at that point, so we kept driving. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny, early summer day and as we drove over the Yellowhead Hwy towards Jasper, the views were magnificent. Eventually, Mount Robson began to loom on the horizon (hour 6). It was such a gorgeous day that I decided to pull out at the Mount Robson sign for a picture and to let the dog have a run around and pee. It was at this point that Eli informed me "I go PEE!" I looked around quickly, but no bathrooms.... no outhouses...  nothing. Now, here is a little fact about having boys that I have never read in any kind of parenting book (even the funny ones)........ and hadn't even considered up to that point because the men in my house are sitters (the deal is "sit or clean toilets, your choice Dude"). Here it goes.... are you ready??? When your son first learns to pee standing up, you must teach him to hold his penis to aim. In order to facilitate this process you will have to do it for him.......This is probably not that big of a deal to the parents of standers, but as I mentioned, we are sitters and this was Eli's first attempt at upright urination.  I took a deep breath and prepared to help him aim, only, he wasn't having any of it. He kept swatting my hand away and was starting to cry because he wanted a toilet. I gave up on the standing and tried to have him sit over the barrier with his bottom held into space, but the rough concrete on his penis wasn't helping the situation at all. We tried various other torturous/creative ways of sitting, but nothing could get him relaxed enough to let go. Finally, after 10 minutes of crying and frustration (and not only from him) I explained that he would have to use his pull-ups like he used to ("I NOT A BABY") and we would just change him when he was done, but first I wanted a picture of him and the dog in front of the sign. Here is the second thing I learned that day...... when taking a picture of scenery, you rarely notice the small details of the picture in the quest for the unified whole......

I set up the dog and Eli to take the picture and stepped back to ensure the quintessential Mount Robson photo. Mountain and sign, child and dog, blue skies and puffy white clouds, all were perfection. I snapped a picture. I snapped a second picture as insurance. I lowered the camera and saw, to my horror, that my darling, 33 month old son had made a final attempt at urinating in the vertical. He had clearly been holding it for a very long time as his stream was magnificent . He stood there and voided his bladder on a national monument with busy summer traffic streaming past and he was PROUD....... I had enough time to leap the several feet over to him to try to avoid the impending mess (He was NOT aiming), but I was too late.... We spent the next several minutes cleaning up. A change of clothes (there was nothing to be done about the shoes, I'm afraid) and the sloshing of water over the concrete slab he had been standing on were required, all while in a futile attempt to avoid the paroxysms of laughter that were attempting to impede my task.  I spent the remainder of our trip (6 hrs) bursting into uncontrollable giggles at random moments.

It was only when I was telling Dale about the story that I thought to look at the pictures........

The final lesson learned from that day..... Once your son has learned to stand up to urinate, you must teach him not to pull down his pants whenever he feels the need.... Like standing in line to pay for a membership at the swimming pool....... for example.