15 April 2014


Thursday evening we threw the kids in the car and drove.  It took 15 hours to reach New York City and it was only then, on the George Washington Bridge, that we told The Bairn we were going to stop and see my brother and his family.  The Bairn was thrilled.  "Oh, [Bairn] so 'cited!"  He was also thrilled by the many buildings, cranes, and "traffics."

Steve is always very excited when we visit America, too, and he walks around exclaiming over the size of the squirrels (huge!), the price of gas (low!), and the late night talk radio (crazy!).

Steve slept at my brother's place during the day and I took the kids to the park across the street, where I met a very nice Russian grandfather who used to live in Arkansas and told me that The Bairn is so coordinated that he'll probably be a famous Canadian ice hockey player one day.  I did not tell him that if The Bairn is ever a famous sports player, it will make his father cry.  Then I strolled with my wee ones to a Pakistani restaurant and got some goat curry to go.  I love America.

The Bairn and his cousin played in the afternoon and I ate Indian sweets and tamales.  I mean, seriously, I really love the US.  And then we packed the kids back in the car for another night drive to Tennessee.

14 April 2014

Hello, Tennessee

I was not kidding about making an escape from the Canadian spring.

We're in Tennessee and it's just like heaven.  The weather's warm.  The trees are in bloom.  The grandparents are doting.

03 April 2014

It was representative of the whole day.

Magnetic Measuring Spoons +  Metal Muffin Tin + 
Fussing Baby in Sling + Distracted Mama + 350 F Oven =

01 April 2014

Some People are My People and Some People are Not

We took the kids to an indoor play place near Halifax on Saturday.  Ellen was almost immediately surrounded by admiring 5-year-old girls and The Bairn spent a lot of time looking perplexed at the Lord of the Flies play style of his peers.  He's a very gentle soul and he doesn't really know what to do when kids are pushing and pulling and grabbing (although he loves being chased around and tickled by the older children at church).  I spent a lot of time being perplexed by the other mothers with their jeggings-wearing babies.  And then we went to the craft store and I was perplexed by the price of plastic Easter eggs and fake flowers and bunny paraphernalia, so we took a trip to Costco where I happily ate my weight in samples and spent money on things that make absolute sense to me, like giant blocks of cheese.

30 March 2014

The Bairn's Book Club: 2-Years-Old

A lot of the books The Bairn loves at the moment are books that he's loves for many, many months now.  Here's a selection.

And the Train Goes by William Bee
I love the illustrations in this book about a train leaving the station.  There's a lot going on in each one, and there's a recurring snail on each page, which The Bairn's cousin was very interested in when she read it at our house.  The Bairn loves all train books, especially if they involve train noises, but this one is especially nice because of the design, I think.

Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert
The Bairn started reading this alphabet book when he was about 18-months-old and he would pretend to eat the beautiful fruits and vegetables on each page while declaring all of them, "Liscious!  Oh, liscious!"  He's still very interested in the illustrations, but he also wants to discuss the letters on each page now and enjoys matching up the letter sounds to the correct foods.

Little Tug by Stephen Savage
This story of a little tugboat who helps the bigger, faster boats is very simple with minimal text and, again, lovely illustrations.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
The classic.  The only downside to reading this one is that The Bairn has begun "nibbling a cocoon" all the time, meaning that he grabs food from the counter or toys or my arm and gnaws on it without warning.

I'm Fast by Kate and Jim McMullan
A train and a car race from Sacramento to Chicago (spoiler: the train wins).  The Bairn LOVES this book and I tolerate it.  I've learned more about freight cars and diggers and construction sites than I've ever cared to know in the last year since my child has begun reading picture books.

If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff
The modern classic.  The Bairn likes all of these books (of the four we own or have checked out of the library) except for If You Give a Moose a Muffin.  That one scares him.

The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson
I've just discovered Karma Wilson and The Bairn and I both love her books, especially Bear Says Thanks.  These books are right at The Bairn's level with nice illustrations and interesting stories about animals and friends.  I find a lot of mediocre children's picture books in verse, but I love these.  The verse never seems forced.

Ben Loves Bear by David McPhail
This is a board book about a little boy and his teddy bear.  It's very simple and I would have thought that it would be a little young for The Bairn, but he loves it.  In fact, today we had to act the story out.  He was the bear and I was Ben.

Cars and Trucks and Things that Go by Richard Scarry
Oh my goodness, this book is too beloved.  I have read it nearly every day at least once for months and months.  I hid it for a while just to get a break and now I've put it in the church bag so that The Bairn can enjoy it without forcing me to read it so often.  We own a number of Richard Scarry books but this is definitely the favorite.

Oh, and this one reads too.  This is not a staged photo.  She just happened, appropriately, to be reading One Duck Stuck while wedging herself into the couch.

27 March 2014

March is the New February

Last month my friend Chou posted this nice blog entry with a picture of flowers to counteract the ill effects of February.  In the past I have railed against February, but now I live in Canada, so I know that the cruelest month is actually March.  At the beginning of the month, Steve came home with real flowers to help get me through the month and keep me from threatening too often to either (a) run away to warmer climes or (b) murder people in their sleep.  

This week is by far the worst, though, and Steve can't even restock the flowers, because we had a blizzard yesterday and the snow drifts are higher than the snow blower and the snow shovel got buried in a drift somewhere, so our cars are trapped in the driveway.  If I can't get these kids outside soon, we're all going to go mental.  Today we did successfully, as per The Bairn's request, create the most ghetto little puppet theater you've ever seen out of a cardboard box and some old fabric.  It stars a lopsided felt puppet named Chicky Bick and a paper moon, star, and comet on popsicle sticks.  But it's not enough.  I must leave the house soon.  We got Ellen's passport photos earlier this week but if we had her actual travel documents in hand, I'd be shoveling out that driveway with The Bairn's plastic beach shovel and heading to my parents' house in Tennessee.

24 March 2014

Talking to The Bairn, Part 2

Back in January, The Bairn asked me if his Aunt Jean kept her "magics in the basement."  I thought he was talking crazy talk, but then this weekend Steve got out our matches to light the barbecue and The Bairn said, "Oh, Daddy brought up the magics for smoking the fire."  Magics=Matchsticks.
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