Grandmama!

Posted March 20th, 2015 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

We fit in a lot this past week with Grandmama. We joined Leena for her Music by the Season class, went for Afternoon Tea at Gryphon d’Or, had a Doc McStuffins birthday brunch for Leena’s 4th birthday followed by a Disney cartoon and pizza movie night. There was an epic sled walk, swimming at the YMCA, and a visit to my friend’s bookstore Drawn & Quarterly. We spent time with friends and neighbors, played cards, charades, and other games. We ate at Burger Royal— TWICE. And Big D and I even slipped away for a date night.

There was sewing time, microscope time, and a portfolio night at Sonya’s school. There was a French lesson at the market and one-on-one time at the gym to kickstart my Going to Iceland Fitness Plan. And we (really D) managed to clean the hall closet as a jumpstart to spring cleaning! Lots of productive fun!

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Party on Pi Day 3.1415!

Posted March 16th, 2015 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

So on Leena’s actual birthday, we had gifts and cake, but what made it the most special, of course, is that Grandmama arrived to help celebrate! For the record, Sonya is an incredible Birthday Sister— good-hearted, good-spirited, and good-all-around at making sure her sister Leena felt especially special.

Leena’s party on Saturday was awesome. It just evolved from breakfast with Alice. The fact that it was a pyjama brunch party set the vibe. Plus there were two kinds of cake and homemade bumbleberry pie.

There was singing and dancing to Yellow Submarine, I Want to Hold Your Hand, Feliz Navidad (why not? there’s still snow outside!), La Bamba (since we were already in a Spanish groove), and Pirouette Cacahuète (for a little something French) thanks to our talented friend Cam.

But most importantly, the birthday girl had fun.

Today you are You! That is truer than true!
There is no one alive who is You-er than You!

— Dr. Seuss

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Four

Posted March 12th, 2015 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

I vividly remember the day she was born. An echo of that same euphoria washes over me again every year on her birthday as I reflect on what a joy, what a treasure, what a remarkable blessing entered my life on this day.

She writes the two Es in her name with at least five arms reaching for the N. She likes to “play babies” with Sonya, giving check-ups to all their “stuffies.” She also takes very attentive and responsible care of her baby brother. In fact, Leena often asks, “Can I do ______ ?” Whatever she sees us doing or whatever she thinks needs to be done. She is helpful, she is kind, she is thoughtful, she is brave. I love her.

The Birthday Breakfast she requested was “poached eggs and hot dogs” (or breakfast sausages) with Heart Toast (and strawberry jam). She is wearing her very special, very sparkly, pink tiara headband — a gorgeous handmade sample from a local boutique. It just seemed like the perfect birthday present for a very special girl who’s four.

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Spring Break Recap

Posted March 10th, 2015 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

March arrived. Drex came back! And we had the whole week off to hang around together. First off, we had to thank two amazing ladies who helped me hold down the fort this past month. We had lunch at my new favorite Montreal restaurant Burger Royal. Dangerously located right around the corner! Dr. Pepper barbecue sauce! Fudge and brownie milkshakes! Atomic fries! Warm skillet cookies with scoops of Oreo ice cream on top!

And then home for some hangout time with the best women. Baking, knitting, talking, discussing, debating, playing games, making plans to run some races together. Because winter is for the spirit, but summer is for the body! And here we are at the pivot of spring!

Last year, Leena received e-tickets for her birthday to visit the Biodome, Insectarium, and Botanical Gardens. On the day they were going to expire, we finally went! It was awesome! Drex masterfully French braided hair. He gets phenomenal mega points for Leena’s.

The tropical forest was a bit toasty in my down jacket, but Jubble McJubble was asleep, so I sweat it out until we got to the penguins in the subpolar dome. Most memorable: in the Laurentian zone, we saw battling raccoons. They were not behind any sort of enclosure. I imagined one of these things landing on some gawker’s head (like mine). But I couldn’t look away.

We paid another visit to Clip n Climb in Laval. The girls are amazing climbers! With Achilles tendonopathy (poor Drex) and a baby in the mix, the grown-ups saved our climbing for another day.

We also began our Annual Family Barefoot Snow Walk Challenge! Made it about a yard between two towels before our feet started to burn. It was (yeah, surprise, surprise) SUPER DUPER COLD! All participants got hot chocolate.

We’ve really been into card games lately. Before going to a Piano Guys concert (which was SUPER DUPER COOL!), Leena and Sonya played a mod version of War. After the concert, Derek and I stayed awake until the early morning hours playing Nertz. He defeated me soundly. My reflexes are slow!

Leena took this amazing picture of me with my Adventure Buddy. This is what I’d like to think I look like on an everyday basis during mat leave.

Oh don’t you dare look back
Just keep your eyes on me.”
I said, “You’re holding back,”
She said, “Shut up and dance with me!”

— lyrics to Shut Up and Dance With Me by Walk the Moon

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Magnum Paints

Posted March 2nd, 2015 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

Leena wanted a warm, cozy cowl big enough to stretch up over her face. Destiny led me to Cascade Magnum Paints in Dark Berry (hand dyed no. 9738)— which happens to be Twilight Sparkle colors! Leena’s favorite My Little Pony! Destiny, I tell you! At times, it felt like knitting with cartoon yarn. Super bulky 100% Peruvian Highland Wool on 10 mm circular needles. Holy smokes. I was blazing! Finished the whole thing in a couple hours while nursing The Jub.

Then I whip stitched a custom woven fabric label with our Ruthsteam Adventure Buddies badge as a finishing touch. I even had enough leftover Magnum Paints for a second cowl! Possibly even a third.

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Snow Cave

Posted February 27th, 2015 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

The four of us spend a great deal of time outside— shoveling, building, stomping, rolling, crunching, walking, sledding, and climbing the snow, the snow, the glorious snow. Everywhere, everywhere, SNOW! Jubjub in my coat and the girls running around, we’re all tired at the end of the day. Early to bed, early to rise, like the winter sun.

We are the music makers / And we are the dreamers of dreams.

— Arthur O’Shaughnessy, Ode

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With Both Hands

Posted February 25th, 2015 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

We have hands; we can stand on them if we want to. That’s our privilege. That’s the joy of a mortal body. And that’s why God needs us. Because God loves to feel things through our hands.

― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

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More Winterrr

Posted February 23rd, 2015 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

Sonya handcrafted an iPhone 6. Temperatures in the minus double digits have inspired many creative indoor winter hours. I’m grateful that my little humans are self-directed. I can leave them in the living room and make myself busy elsewhere in the house. At least for a few minutes. Sometimes as long as an hour! Leena is an amazing and trustworthy caretaker.

A few times a week, Alice or Megan or Molly Ann babysits the three of them so I can slip away to the gym for some ME time. Whew! The girls eagerly await this opportunity to curl up around an iPad to watch Phineas and Ferb. Getting ideas for summer vacation. Sonya built Agent W and Agent P out of Legos (a whale and a platypus).

In honor of the Lunar New Year, we’ve been eating longan, which are in the lychee family. “They look like eyeballs,” Sonya said. In China, they’re called Dragon Eyes. Unpeeled, they’re white and squishy with a hard round black seed in the middle.

Sonya has a new smile without her two bottom front teeth, and Leena captured this wonderful image, an ordinary moment I’d never photograph myself. Here I am, on my knees at the end of the day, tired, counting down the minutes until I can fall asleep, knowing I’ll have to get up at least once, probably twice, in the middle of the night, and then start the next day before the sun comes up without Derek here with me. We all miss him very much.

I put some longan in the freezer to chill. When the house finally got quiet, I sat with my glass of Dragon Eye Brandy to knit and watch Oscar highlights. I haven’t seen any of the nominated movies, so it mostly reminded me that I’m sadly behind on pop culture.

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Pretty Snow Ladies & Joy Bear

Posted February 21st, 2015 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.

— Roald Dahl

Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.

— C.S. Lewis

February has been a gift. I’ve surrendered myself to the mundane— stopped making lists, stopped holding myself to daily word counts, and stopped even remotely trying to be efficient. I intentionally unschedule each day. I allow time for meandering walks through the snow. Long meals eaten slowly. Reading books. This month, I’m a consumer, not a creator. No pressure to produce.

The Bear still wakes up twice at night, but in the morning, I get about a half-hour face-down pillow-time while the sisters play with him. Leena is especially reliable, nurturing, and attentive. I get far more done when the girls are at home. We’ve been skipping Fridays at school (oh, it’s terrible, I know) to get started on the weekends early. A nasty habit we’ll have to break in the spring. But right now, I consider these “skip days” highly necessary winter mental health days, both for the girls and for me. Treats for the psyche.

These three fill the house with so much energy, purpose, and joy. I get swept along in playtime until I remember “oh! I should prepare a meal for us to eat!” or “oh! I should start the laundry before we go out, and then the load will be ready for the dryer when we get back!” I feel so lucky to live in Quebec, where I’m afforded a year’s paid maternity leave. Being American, it seems like some kind of suspicious and miraculous trick. Any minute, the auto-deposits into the bank account might stop. I’m astonished but finally accepting the fact that I inhabit a society that acknowledges the importance of work-life balance. The importance of women’s work in the home. The importance of nurturing young children. Happy homes build happy societies. This is such a special, privileged time that I get to be here at home, pulling people places in a sled, taking it easy, making sure that each day, I am the mother I want them to remember.

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Precious Time

Posted February 10th, 2015 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

Yesterday we baked oatmeal chocolate chip mini muffins for Nala, Timon, and Pumbaa’s birthday party. Jujubear suddenly seems so sophisticated in his Bumbo seat, right in the middle of all the action. He’s been alive for 109 days. Leena has been alive for 1,431 days, Sonya has been alive for 2,036 days, and I have been alive for 12,011 days! Over one billion seconds! If I live to be a 100, I’ll live around 3 billion 155 million 760 thousand seconds! Which means I’ve lived almost a third of all my seconds! Whoa! I need to make every second count! But first I need a few nights of uninterrupted sleep!

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