Saturday, January 30, 2010

Family Photos

You may remember this post about me winning a photo shoot. It took a while to actually nail down a date to get them done because Old Man Winter kept screwing with our plans but we were able to get our pictures done a few weeks ago.

I am super excited to pick up the disk tomorrow from Leanne and see the rest of the pics but for now, head over to her blog to get a sneak peek!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Q & A postponed

For you 4 that asked a question and are awaiting your answers, sorry to be the bearer of bad news but I have to postpone til tomorrow or maybe even Sunday. Its been a long, tiring week and I'm just not feeling it.

Sorry my 4 curious friends! :)

Should you have a burning question and want to get in on it, ask away!


Last week I gave the opportunity for you to ask me anything and I would answer. So, here goes....

Raelene said...
I have 2 boys as well, and people always ask me if I want to try again, and see if I get a girl. Do you wish you had a girl? Do you want more kids?

More kids? HA! No, seriously, I always thought that I wanted 4 but now that I have 2, I know that this is what I can handle. Plus, we want to be able to give our kids things that having 4 wouldn't financially allow us to do as soon as we would like (ie: Disneyland). Its kinda weird. When you are done, you just know. And I know in every fibre of my being that I am done. When I see a brand new baby I don't get that longing in the pit of my stomach like I did before we had Levi. Now when I see a new baby I think "Oh, so sweet, so tiny. So glad its not mine!" LOL

I would have loved a girl, but we got boys and I love having boys too. Girl stuff is so pretty and cute and all, but hey, I don't have to deal with all the peaks and valleys of teenage hormonal craziness!

The Tompkins Family said...
What's your most hated household chore? And one you enjoy? (if there is one!)

I really, really, really hate to wash dishes by hand. We didn't have a dishwasher growing up (my parents live in the country and there wasn't enough water pressure from the well to run one properly) and so that was the main chore shared between me and my sisters. We fought. We argued. We manipulated to get out of doing dishes. I will do them now when I have to, but let me be honest, I put everything that I possibly can into the dishwasher!

I actually quite enjoy vacuuming. Don't know why, I just do. Maybe the fact that I can't hear the kids fighting when I'm vacuuming....;)

CanadianMama said...
Okay, I want to know how you met your hubby and how you and Dee came to be friends and how your husband's came to be best friends LOL. Seems to like a tv show or something :)
Ok, well.....
Chris and I went to high school together. We weren't what you would call High School Sweethearts though. We did "go out" for a short while when we were both in school but it didn't last long. He was a grade ahead of me so while he was away at his first year of post-secondary we remained friends and right at the end of my Grade 12 year we started dating again and the rest they say is history. We will have been together 11 years this May and married 8 this coming September.

Dee and I met on moving in day at Augustana University College in our first year there. We lived directly across the hall from eachother in residence. We were friends then but actually didn't become close until the following year and each year following we became closer and closer. Now we are like sisters. Dee was my Maid of Honor in my wedding.

Layne and Dee got married in July 2004, where I was one of her bridesmaids. Chris and Layne didn't really become friends (other than knowing eachother through their wives) until September 2005 when Layne came to work at the same company Chris did. Turns out that Chris was the one to train Layne so they spent many long days together driving and got to know eachother. It didn't take too long and they were friends independent of Dee and I.

We are so fortunate to have a relationship like we do -where all 4 of us are friends, not just the wives being friends and the husbands just getting along. A once in a lifetime friendship, that's for sure.

Also, do you think you will go back to teaching full-time when Levi is in school?

Teaching full time when Levi is older. Now that is the million dollar question. Honestly I don't know. All I ever wanted to do was teach, then I did and I don't know anymore. I guess my priorities changed when I became a mom and the additional work and pressure involved in teaching is just really hard to balance with having a young family. The more I sub, the more I realize that I do miss aspects of teaching full time (like developing relationships with the kids and seeing them grow and change over the year(s) ).
But, I did have a really challenging year the year I was pregnant with Levi and the memory of that has tainted my view of being a part of a school staff full time. Hopefully with time that will change.
So, the short answer is " I just don't know."

Writer Mom said...
How are your Tuesday and Friday assignations coming along? :)"
Ok, well, this might be TMI but let's just say that scheduling time with your significant other when you have small children is a must. It has definitely made a change in our relationship! And I'll leave it at that. ;)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I love this lady!

I went out for supper with some friends last night and we had some really good conversations about motherhood and womanhood and all the good and bad that falls between.

I was going to write about insecurities that we as women and mothers experience, but my friend beat me to the punch. And again, hers is waaayyyyy better than the way I was going to write it so once again I am going to just steal her thoughts.

Check out her post about our vulnerabilities here.

I may never need to write a blog post again now that she's a blogger and writes so well! :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Mmmmmm, cookies!

Head on over to Picky Palate's blog to enter a great giveaway for a cookie cookbook!

Makes me want to go find some cookies! I'm sure I have some in my freezer...

Friday, January 22, 2010

5 Question Friday

Head over to Mama M's blog to participate.

1. What is better, growing old with out money or dying young and wealthy?
Obviously growing old without money. I'd much rather spend a long life with my family than to miss out on all the events of their lives by dying young with tons of money. This one's a no-brainer for me.

2. Who takes out the garbage at your house?
Usually me. Mostly because I am the one that remembers that it is garbage day. Chris is getting better at helping out in this area though.

3. Have you ever had the same dream many times?
Yes, when I was younger I often would dream that I was at my Grandma and Grandpa's house in Red Deer and the giant dog from The Neverending Story was chasing me. That's about all I remember but I was always scared when I woke up. Weird, I know.

4. Can you play a musical instrument?
I played flute in Jr. High and can still play a little bit. I've always wanted to learn to play piano. Now that I have my grandmother's in our living room, it calls to me to learn. Currently it is used for our boys to give concerts on.

5. If you owned your own store, what would you sell?
Easy question. My dream is to open a children's book store. I have many ideas floating around in my head to make it a unique store that kids would hopefully want to come to and parents too! Maybe someday I will see this as a reality.

Friday Night Leftovers

  • Its been a long week. Emotionally and in terms of laundry. Luca and I are still battling the poop war. More to come on this saga soon - it definitely warrants its own post.
  • I subbed in Kindergarden twice this week in the same class. Its a class I really enjoy, I have been there ofetn enough now that I know all the kids by name and the classroom routines. It kinda, almost, sorta, maybe a teensy weensy little bit made me get a small urge to one day return to teaching full time. But only a little bit. We'll see what the future holds.
  • Levi has been biting. Luca never had this problem so I am new to the biting game. Suggestions anyone?
  • Last weekend Loki caught her rear flank on somethign (we have NO IDEA what) and tore a gash in her side. After being grossed out whenever I looked at her, it is finally starting to scab over and heal. Now I can snuggle by dear dog again without feeling nauseous. Before you think that we did nothing about this gash but let it be, let me just say that we did treat it, but she continued licking it (even with a cone on- she was very determined and found away around it) so it took a little while to dry out enough to scab.
  • I really, really, really hope that this will be the last post that I say that the bathroom is almost done. Scheduled for this weekend is the installation of the shower door and glass wall as well as the bathroom door. That's IT!
  • Chris is heading North next week for a few days and I am scheduled to work all week at the high school in town. Plus bootcamp Tuesday and Thursday and stamping club on Wednesday. Its going to be busy! So if I don't post next week, you'll know why!
  • For the first time in a long time, my house is very clean. I was so frustrated with the Luca/ Poop / disobedience saga yesterday that I put all that aggressive energy into scrubbing toilets and tubs. So, after a few hours and 4 toilets and 2 tubs, I felt a little better. And the house looked a little better too!
  • Bootcamp kicked my butt, quite literally, yesterday. My shoulders and glutes are so sore today. I almost had to teach kindergarden with bed head because my arms DID NOT want to reach up to the top of my head. But, for fear of scaring the 5 year olds, I managed to pull my hair back into a ponytail.
  • This weekend I have a surprise in store for Chris. Well, the beginnings of a Valentine's surprise, anyway. Stay tuned for details! Also a ladies night out with a few friends Sarturday night and hopefully my parents are coming on Sunday. My dad is on his week off from work and we haven't seen him in a while. Its snowing a bit here now so hopefully the roads are ok by then.

If you want to take part in Friday Night Leftovers, head to Sippy Cups and add your name to Mr. McLinky!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Go Ahead, Ask Away!

Ok, friends! Here's your chance to ask me anything you want. I've seen this done on many other blogs and its kind of a fun way to get to know random things about the blogger.

I'll do my best to answer your questions as truthfully as possible. You will have until next Thursday to submit questions. Watch for my answers in next Firday's post!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Canadian Pride

I was going to write about the Olymipc Torch Relay going through town last night but my friend over at The Dream to Write said it better than I could have. So, I am just linking you there to read her account of the community spirit and Canadian pride demonstrated in our little town of 2500 last night.

While you are there, read through her previous posts (she's new to the blogging world so there aren't many yet). She is an amazingly talented writer and I have been honored to be selected to proof some of her work already. The latest, just today, made me cry. I'm hoping that she'll share it with you all soon. She has also completed a screenplay (so awesome! Another of my honors to proof for her!) that is hopefully going to meet the right eyes soon and with any luck sold and made into a movie!

So head over there and see for yourself the way she has with words and the down to earth, honest and often times hilarious writing!

Oh ya, and since this was supposed to be a post about the Olympics......GO CANADA GO!!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Getting to know you

Got this idea from MannLand5 and thought I'd take part. I think I might be a little late but I'm going to take part anyway. So, here it is:

Today's questions are..

1. Hair color..Au naturale..or not? I'm naturally blonde and am generally some shade of blonde but right now am brunette and am loving the change.

2. If somebody has food in their teeth or lipstick on their teeth do you tell them? Depends on how well I know them. If I know them well enough then yes, but if I hadrly know the person then probably not

3. Would you rather have a million dollars or your vision of the perfect body? The money for sure. Then I could buy my perfect body among other things. Haha

4. Favorite magazine?
It used to be celebrity gossip magazines but lately its been scrapbooking magazines.

5. Bra style..lacey or plain? Plain. More comfy that way

6. If you walked into Victoria's Secret..would you most likely come out with something sexy or comfy? Most likey comfy unless I was thinking about what Chris would like. ;)

7. Do you fake and bake? Nope and I'm a sunscreen girl in the summer too

8. What's your favorite body part on a man?" Arms. And butts. LOL

Confessions from a Working Mom

This week's question is:
How has motherhood taught you to let go?

There are definitely a few ways that I have let myself go since becoming a Mommy.

  • I tend to stay in my pjs all day a lot more often than I did before kids. Not that I'm complaining, I love jammie days, but it just happens A LOT.
  • Ponytails are almost the norm for me. I used to do my hair every day but who has the time?
  • Makeup, optional.
  • Showering, optional. Well, not really, I do love to shower, but often times it happens while the boys nap in the afternoon, after we've already gone out for the day. With me looking like I just rolled out of bed, threw on some sweatpants and put a ponytail in my hair. And well, that is most often the truth.
  • Anyone else eat their kids' leftovers at McDonald's? Not so good for the figure....
  • Intimacy with darling husband?.......only if there's time between cleaning up, doing laundry and sleeping. (I'm really working at trying to do better in this area!)

There are several ways to play along. Feel free to leave a comment with your answer, or you can post about this topic on your own blog, or head on over to Confessions and leave your website onto her McLinky.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Is this not the most handsome man ever?!?

I was just perusing some photos and came across this one of Chris and I at my sister's wedding in October. It is one of my absolute favorites of us.

I love this man more than I can say. Immensely just doesn't even being to describe it.

I love you, babe! XOXO

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Budgeting for Dummies

I've been hearing a lot about the "jar method" of budgeting lately. Probably a combination of Gail Vaz-Oxlade's new book coming out right around Christmas time and some friends using this method.

So, I decided to check her method out. I'm still waiting for the book to arrive at our library and then I am first on the list for it. But I checked out her online interactive budgeting worksheets and I have to say,I think I'm converted to this method.

You enter in your monthly income and fixed payments. The site calculates what percentage you are paying in taxes and also tells what percentage you should be paying towards your housing costs, savings, debt repayment and life. AND, it tells you exactly how much money you should put in your weekly jars for things such as transportation, food, entertainment, etc.

We are very guilty of using our debit cards too often. A couple dollars here, $20 there, it all adds up and we end up wondering what we spent our money on. This way, we won't be able (should we have the will power. And by we, I mean me) to use our debit cards. We will need to take cash from the jar and what we have is what we can spend. Nothing more. I'll need to take my calculator grocery shopping and it will definitely make me think twice or even three times about whether I really need something before buying because I will be able to actually see the money in the jar dwindling.

The other aspect that I am really excited about is that Gail's worksheet makes you enter a savings amount and it goes into your budget. Her recommendation is 10% of your monthly earnings. This will hopefully force us to actually save that money so when something like a "forced bathroom reno" comes up, I won't be as stressed about the finances.

This new budgeting is only a small part of our financial makeover but in the end it will play a big part and I am actually excited about budgeting. How lame is that? But with this website, it is so easy, you can't say no!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Here are my Friday leftovers:

  • I'm feeling better about some financial stuff that we've been talking over lately. I won't divulge the details, but I am less stressed and think we have made a good decision for our family.
  • Luca and I are still wrapped up in the potty battle. For most of the week he has been bottomless. Its not really doing anything to encourage him to use the toilet but, meh, it means less underwear to clean. At least this way he at least holds it until he absolutely can't anymore. I'll let you use your imaginations as to where Wednesday's poop ended up....
  • The bathroom is thisclose to being done. The tile is laid. The grouting is done. The painting is done. The sealing is done. The toilet is no longer a make-shift night stand for Chris. All that's left is to silicone the edges, reinstall the glass wall and door of the shower and voila! We have our bathroom back! Oh, and put the bathroom door back up. That would be good.
  • Our furnace broke yesterday. Some little part that Chris has in his hot little hands and will be coming home shortly to fix. At least the weather isn't -30 anymore. Thank God I have a handy (and handsome!) husband to fix these things!
  • I'm going on a date tonight with my very best gal. No kids. No husbands. Need I say more?
  • Family pictures are being done tomorrow. Yay! We haven't had one since Levi was 6 weeks old, so we're due. I had won a giveaway from this lady a while back for this gal to do a photo session. Our prior plans were cancelled thanks to Old Man Winter in December but tomorrow's the day!
  • I discovered this weekly post idea from this blog while I was creeping around. Love the idea. Love her blog.

How to enjoy the leftovers
1. Write out all the random thoughts swimming in your head that don't quite constitute a blog entry of their own.
2. Copy and paste the Leftovers photo onto your post.
3. Link back to Sippy Cups.
4. Enter your name and address into Mr. Linky. (Now, Mr. Linky has not been kind to me lately, so if he doesn't work, then screw him and leave your blog address in the comment section instead so that others can find you.)
5. Visit all the other leftovers and leave your love over the weekend.

Popping the Question

A few days ago I commented on this blog that I would write my own engagement story. I didn't get around to it. Til now.

So, here it is.

Christmas Eve 2001.

During the day I was working at the hospital 7am-3:30pm. Chris had come to Ponoka from Edmonton and we were planning to spend Christmas Eve with my immediate and extended family at my mom and dad's house and Christmas Day with his family at his parents' house, which happens to be about 7ish kilometers from mine.

Unbekownst to me, Chris had called my dad earlier that day to see if he was going to be around "to talk". My dad confirmed that he would be around and Chris went to my mom and dad's place earlier in the day, before I was home from work. After puttering around for a while, Chris and Dad went into town to get a few things and small talk ensued (or so I am told).

At about 3pm and only about a kilometer from mom and dad's house, Dad finally says, "so, you wanted to talk about something....", opening the proverbial door for Chris to jump right in.

Chris stammers out a "well, I bought a ring....." to which my Dad replies "I'm already married, but thanks". (You see, making jokes is how my family deals with awkward situations. Or any situations, for that matter.)

So finally Chris gets to the point and asks my dad if he would give his blessing for Chris to ask me to marry him. My parents, already expecting this to be what Chris wanted to talk about, were thrilled. You see, we hadn't (ok, I hadn't) really made it any secret that I was anxious to get married and start a family (something my brother in laws like to bug me about...Tom! Dan!). So, that part was out of the way and a bit of a relief for Chris, I think.

I'm an old fashioned kind of girl and Chris knew that this archaic tradition was important to me. And I love that it is part of "our" story.

So, we go through Christmas Eve celebrations with the family - dinner, gifts, The Christmas story, visiting, etc. My parents have this little "secret" with Chris. I am wondering why everyone is acting so weird.

Turns out, Chris had the ring in his pocket, just floating around in there with his change, and was just waiting for the right moment. Or a time when he wasn't crapping his pants he was so nervous. Not sure which one, really. Haha

The end of the night nears, Chris goes to start the infamous Bronco (the brunt of many jokes in our family, maybe one day I will write that story) to warm it up. We were both heading over to his parents' house to spend the night and have Christmas Day. (You see, when I moved out to go to college, I lost my bedroom, so there was no longer anywhere for me to sleep).

We said our goodbyes and headed out.

About half way between my parents house and his, Chris stopped at the side of the road, under the guise of something being wrong with the truck. If you know about this truck, you know that this was super believable to me and I was bordering on being pissed off.

The weird thing was, Chris went around the back of the truck and came to my door, opening it and asking for a hug. Me, irritated, was like, "What?".

After some convincing, I unbuckled my seatbelt and got out to find the love of my life on one knee in the snow, in the dark, at the side of a country road with the ring that we had picked out together months before.

I'd love to say that I remember everything he said to me, which I know was really sweet, but in reality I don't really remember any of the conversation. In my mind's eye, I can see the scene clear as day but can't remember any of the words except these:

Chris: "So, what do you say....."
Me: " didn't ask me anything."
Chris:. "Oh, Will you marry me?"
Me: "Of course!"

After some hugging and kissing, my now fiance, ruins the moment by saying this:

"You were crying the ugly cry"

Yup. Romantic.

And the rest they say is history, folks!

Here we are on our wedding day, September 7, 2002:

Us with my Dad's truck, 1956 F-100. His baby.

My wedding gift to Chris was a corvette as our wedding car for the day, borrowed from a friend of the family.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Calling all Book Lovers!!!

I got this little tidbit of info from my friend's blog. Apparently every once in a while Crown Publishing does a little thing called "Read It Forward". You can go to their site and request 3 FREE books. The 3 books up for grabs are not yet released and all look enticing. You just give them your address and they will be delivered to you! How cool is that?!?

Rumor is that the books are delivered to your door via UPS, so you don't even have to go to the post office to collect your parcel! Even better! haha

I've already been there and requested mine. So hurry, there are limited quantities!!!

Friday, January 01, 2010

2009 in the Rearview Mirror

Hard to believe that it is 2010. Where did 2009 go??
Here's 2009 at a glance for the Graham family:

  • Levi turned one, conquered walking and is beginning to be quite a talker. As he gets older, the fights with his brother get more intense and less single sided. Watching him watch his brother and figure things out is so neat - you can almost see when he gets something figured! He's such a fun little guy and gives the sweetiest litte kisses. At the moment he is asking for a "nack". (snack) How cute is that? ;)
  • Luca turned 3. Need I say more? We have struggled with his attitude and determination to be independent in all things BUT pooping on the potty. Well, actually, he is being independent in choosing not to but I really, really hope that 2010 brings an end to diapers for this family!! Luca is hilarious in his off the cuff statements and has a memory like a trap. Don't promise that kid something that you aren't willing to follow through on or that you might forget, because he won't let anyone forget!
  • I returned to work part time. Subbing allows me to choose my days and to have some flexibilty that having a full time teaching position just doesn't. I can still be a stay at home mom the majority of the time but I can also be the "other me" a few days a week. Its a nice balance for us.
  • We bought a newer, much larger trailer than we had before in May and got tons of use out of it this summer. We did many camping trips to the mountains, a trip into Montana, a trip to Drumheller in the rain and a few trips to Central Alberta. We love the space in the trailer and the great features that we didn't have before - like a bathroom with bathtub! And air conditioning...not that we could use it this past summer!
  • I had surgery in September to remove my gall bladder. Turns out that wasn't the primary source of my pain, but its out nonetheless.
  • In September we celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary (10 years together). In love more today than we were the day we married!
  • Also in September, we took a trip to Las Vegas with our best friends Dee and Layne. Our 4 days were filled with sightseeing, shows, shopping, good food and NO KIDS! We had a fantastic time!
  • September also had us bidding farewell to Chris' beloved Nona. A very tough time for everyone. Its never easy to say goodbye.
  • We attended a few weddings this year, but specifically of note was my little sister Jessica's wedding to Brock in Canmore. It was absolutely gorgeous and it was wonderful to see Jay and Brock so very happy.
  • In response to the economy, Chris had to take a salary rollback and just before Christmas it was announced that his company is going to be rolled in with a larger company, effective today. These are supposed to be good changes, so we'll see what it brings.
  • If you are a regular reader, you know about our mold issues in the ensuite bathroom. I won't say more now except that this weekend it should be grouted! Yay!
  • I volunteered myself to be on the Steering Team for my MOPS group, which I have really enjoyed doing. It is nice to be behind the scenes on something that I enjoy so much and need as a mom.
  • I also volunteered myself to be on the Crossfield Library Board. This is a completely new type of venture for me, but one that I am enjoying. I have come to really love our little town and I like being involved in one of the services it provides. That and the fact that I am a book lover and collector!
  • In the Spring I joined a bootcamp class and found myself loving it. I even started running FOR FUN! I really didn't think people did that, but I found it to be quite relaxing. I'm too much of a wimp to run outdoors in our winters though, so that halted when the snow flew. I participated in bootcamp throughout the summer but had to take a break from it in the fall when I had surgery. I am set to return to class twice a week for 11 weeks starting on Tuesday. I can't wait! There's just something about the aches and pains of working out that feels so good!
  • I am tutoring one little guy once a week and am enjoying the one on one interaction that this provides.
  • I joined a stamping club that meets once a month as well as a calendar club that met once every 2 months. I took my first real venture into scrapbooking and loved it. I now have a lovely calendar to display throughout 2010 while I work on one for 2011!

Well, those are the main points that come to mind. Happy New Year everyone! May your 2010 be filled with joy, laughter, an abundance of love, health and good fortune!