Friday, May 22, 2009

Our amazing new dishwasher

The new dishwasher arrived last Sunday. It was supposed to arrive on Saturday but The Brick screwed up.

(Even though I said I wanted it delivered, they processed it as a pickup, so when we called on Saturday morning to say where's our dishwasher they apologized for the error and arranged to deliver it on Sunday. It was only then that we realized that we never paid for delivery and they delivered it.)

It took Ryan the better part of the day to install it. And when he was done, we filled it with the dishes that littered the kitchen and turned it on.

And when it finished, we were amazed. Totally amazed.

Seriously, did you know that dishwashers could get your dishes that clean?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I've gone completely crazy

This morning, I set my alarm for 5 a.m., managed to drag myself out of bed and by 5:30 a.m. I was running.

Yup, the sun wasn't even up yet and I was out running.

Running in the ungodly hours of the morning is something new I'm trying out, and today was the first day.

I know many people who say they love exercising in the morning; that it energizes them to get on with their day. But for me, at the moment anyway, I'm doing this for practical reasons -- right now, and for the rest of the summer, our evenings are so busy (with swimming and soccer and baseball) that I don't have much time to go out when Ryan gets home. And if I ever want to be able to run a 10K, I have to get out there and run. So instead of going out in the evening, I figured I'd go out before he leaves in the morning (and he leaves by 6:30 a.m.)

And it wasn't bad. I can't say I loved it because one of the things I enjoy about running is that it helps me unwind and de-stress at the end of the day. And let's face it, I'm not stressed about anything at 5:30 a.m. except maybe for the fact that I'm not still in bed.

But once I got going I enjoyed myself. The first half of my run was great but I started to tire on the second half and well, it was a long way home. But I was home by 6:15 a.m., just as the sun was starting to come up.

And I ran 4.3 kilometres. When I first realized that, I thought "damn, that's it" (because I can do 6K or so now). But then I rethought that reaction because, seriously, not only did I run that far before breakfast, but I ran that far immediately after getting out of bed -- which means I didn't have any coffee!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ants, ants, ants. I hate ants

We have ants. And I think it's pretty safe to say that we have hundreds and hundreds, maybe even thousands and thousands, of ants.

Thankfully, there are (so far) only a few dozen finding their way into the house.

We've had an ant problem for years; pretty much since we bought the house, I think. At first, we didn't really care. Terrible to say, I know, but we didn't really use our backyard very much for the first two or three summers we lived here. Because, well, it was a pretty crappy place. (Remember?) And since we didn't have kids, there wasn't much need to hang out in the backyard when we could hang out on the front deck when we had company.

So that's what we did. And we ignored the ants. Although occasionally I'd be back there and I'd see how many there were and I'd boil a couple of pots of water and kill 'em. But otherwise, I didn't care.

Then, in 2007, we started to redo our backyard, and we cared. But here's the problem: we didn't care enough (or maybe we cared too much) to use poisons and other forms of ant killers. So, we dumped boiling water, used the power washer and tried other natural ways of ridding them (all ways were found thanks to Google). No luck.

The following summer (last summer), we removed the old patio (because we had put in a new patio) and in the process, Ryan dug and dug and dug and I poured gallons of boiling water in the area all in an effort to get the ants on the surface and the ants deeper down in the tunnels.

They came back.

And two weeks ago, as I'm closing Alex's curtains at nap time I look down and see ants. Yup, they finally found a way through the cracks in the back wall and into the house.

I decided enough was enough and that afternoon, Ryan stopped at Canadian Tire and bought three different type of ant killers. (And then we bought traps for inside a few days later.) I know I've always been anti-poisons and anti-chemicals, but I don't want to have ants anymore.

So for two weeks we've been laying down liquid poison in the wall cracks they keep finding their way into and spraying Raid foam killer down into the ant hills. Over and over and over again.

And they're still coming back.

Which leads me to my opening the sheer number of ants we've probably killed off by now, I'm sure we have ants by the thousands and thousands out there.

So, I'll keep spraying the foam and squirting the poison. Unless someone has a better idea of how to get rid of them for good?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I know I wanted a new dishwasher but...

Last Saturday night, Ryan and I had an at-home date. Life has been so busy lately, that when we discovered we had no weekend plans, I suggested we feed the kids dinner and then sit down to a nice dinner once we put them to bed.

So, steak, baked potatoes, ceasar salad and a bottle of red wine was served at about 8 p.m. Alex was in bed but Austin was sitting quietly watching a movie while we enjoyed our dinner -- and commented that dinner date music has changed over the years. Instead of listening to jazz or other tunes, we were listening to Austin's movie -- The Muppet Movie (yes, he was watching the original 1979 Muppet Movie).

After an awesome dinner, we shipped Austin off to bed and headed downstairs to watch a movie of our own (Zack and Miri make a Porno -- pretty damn funny, by the way). But before we flipped on the movie, we turned on the dishwasher.

And about 20 minutes later, we heard drip, drip, drip. Drip, drip, drip.

Our dishwasher was leaking through the ceiling and onto the basement carpet.

Definitely not a good sign.

Ryan ran upstairs to the kitchen and I followed close behind -- but not before sticking a bucket under the rapidly spreading wet spot on the ceiling.

The kitchen floor was flooded and when we opened the dishwasher the tub was full of water. After mopping up the floor with towels and sucking the water out of the tub with the wetvac, Ryan determined that the dishwasher wasn't draining because the pump was shot. The water just couldn't drain, so instead it did the only thing it could -- flow down to my basement floor.

So, on Sunday we went dishwasher shopping. And on Wednesday night we went shopping some more. We found one we liked, but we haven't actually got it yet. Hopefully, it'll be in my kitchen by this weekend.

There's two good things that came out of this experience. The first is that we always, and I mean ALWAYS, turn our dishwasher on before we go to bed instead of before we head downstairs to watch TV. I don't know what possessed us to turn it on earlier that night, but it's a good thing we did because otherwise, we would've woken Sunday morning to a flooded kitchen and a flooded basement.

And the second good thing that came of this is that we've been wanting a new dishwasher pretty much since we bought the house but could never justify the expense when we had one that worked. The one in our kitchen was about 25 years old (yup, that old), sounded like a jet engine coming through the house whenever it was turned on and, lately, only got the dishes sort of clean. So now it's dead and we have to get a shiny new one.

But of course, not having a dishwasher, and not having a shiny new one yet means I'm stuck washing everyone's dishes by hand.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The stay-at-home mom's guide to Mother's Day gifts

As a stay-at-home mom, I think it's fair to say that every day is Mother's Day. I don't need one day of the year for the kids to lavish me with attention because, they lavish with me attention at least 12 hours a day. For better or for worse.

And as for gifts, spending 12 hours a day with them is a gift. For better or for worse.

So, this Sunday, on the one day of the year that is designated as Mother's Day, I propose the following, not-so-traditional, but totally awesome gifts for a stay-at-home mom.

1) Peace and quiet while in the bathroom.
My kids love the bathroom. I don't know why, but if someone's in there -- whether taking a shower or sitting on the can -- they have to come charging in and bang around. One starts opening drawers and cupboards, the other tries to flush the toilet 14 times. And God forbid you lock the door before they have a chance to get in!
So, this Sunday, I'd like to take a shower in peace and quiet. This means that no one is a) banging on the door; b) crying at the door; c) opening the door; d) throwing toys or other assorted items in the tub with me; e) trying to flush the toilet.
Actually, what I'd really love is a hot bubble bath, a glass of wine and a book. But that might be asking for too much peace and quiet. Because have I mentioned how much my children love being in the bathroom?

2) New clothes that don't yet have puke, snot, spit, ketchup or other assorted stains them.
I'm not asking for much -- just a chance to buy some new t-shirts from a cheapie store. I mean, they're just going to get stained within 2.2 minutes anyway.

3) Pretty toes.
I'm going to wear sandals this summer... a lot. And while wearing said sandals, my feet are not going to be hiding under a desk at an office downtown. They're going to be on full display at playgrounds and wading pools across the neighbourhood. All the other moms are going to see them. So, they have to look good.

4) Flowers.
Sounds traditional and expensive but not when they come from my three-year-old and one-year-old. As a kid, I remember how proud of myself I was when I'd bring my mom flowers picked from the front lawn. And she'd act all happy and put the pretty yellow blooms in a glass of water on the table. Yup, hint, hint, nudge, nudge. Send the kids out front to pick me some dandelions for Mother's Day. That'll melt my heart and I'll proudly display them at the centre of the table.

So there you go. I don't need big gifts, expensive meals and hours of being doted on by my family. I just need some stain-free clothes, a chance to show off my feet, some beautiful yellow flowers and the ability to pee in peace.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Crafting corner Part II

Believe it or not, me, the self-proclaimed uncrafty one, has been reading a handful of crafting blogs on a semi-regular basis.

Now, before you start being all impressed with my new-found abilities, let me rephrase that these crafty blogs are mainly kids crafting blogs. In other words, I read them solely to get ideas of crafts to do with the kids.

And, I'm learning that it doesn't take much crafting ability to make my three-year-old happy. It just takes a little creativity. So, over the last few months, we've made snowmen, fire trucks, garbage trucks, dinosaurs and boats out of contruction paper, paint, glitter glue and more. And we've made sock puppets and painted shamrocks using potatoes. And I'm also learning how to get Alex involved in the making of crafts as well -- because anything her brother's doing, she wants to do too.

So, at least three times a week, the three of us will sit at the little craft table and 'make something'. I'm pretty proud of this -- because let's face it, it's me making something out of, well nothing but my imagination and some dollar store supplies.

So, without further ado, I'd like to share a few of those projects:

Let's make some music

This one took weeks of preparation because I needed to save enough material to make two drums, two shakers and two guitars.

The drums are made out of an empty formula container and an empty coffee canister. We wrapped them in paper and then coloured them with markers and crayons.

The shakers were made out of empty vitamin bottles with childproof caps so that the tops didn't need to be glued shut. One shaker was filled with rice and the other was filled with beer caps. Again, they were wrapped in paper and then decorated with glitter glue (although Alex didn't hang around for the decorating, so I got into this one).

Finally, the guitars were made out of empty Kleenex boxes, paper towel rolls and elastic bands. We changed up the type of decoration again, this time using stickers.

Hiding behind a mask

These paper plate masks were an all-day project. First, we cut out the eyes. Then each kid decorated their mask. Austin asked to make an elephant, so I got out some blue paint for him and he painted away. I decided Alex should make a tiger (or a cat) and gave her some crayons to colour with.

Once Austin finished painting, we found something else to do while the paint dried, returning a few hours later to glue the trunk on (a toilet paper roll). A few hours after that, we returned to glue the ears on (that we had cut out and glued together earlier). Finally, the next morning, I attached the string and Austin ran around the basement looking like an elephant.

Alex, on the other hand, coloured her mask with crayons and then found something else to do while Austin worked on his. And Austin was only too happy to finish hers by sticking on the ears for her.

Monsters stay out! This is my room!

Austin's been having nightmares again lately -- screaming out in the middle of the night that there are spiders/crocodiles/snakes/sharks/monsters in his room and that they're going to get him. Every time this happened, Ryan or I would put a post-it note on his door for him that told the unwanted creature to stay out.

So, one day, we painted more permanent signs for his bedroom door. Really, this was just a painting project -- although I threw in some letter practice by having him write his name on one of them (top right) so that the monsters would know not to enter his room. So far, the signs have had the desired effect -- the unwanted creatures have stopped visiting him.
And of course, Austin insisted that Alex needed to paint signs so that the monsters didn't visit her when they discovered that they couldn't go in his room.