On a previous Sunday, Ryan and I decided to go to the Farmer’s Market out in St. Norbert. We were so excited—it’s been forever since we’ve been. The last time would have been when we lived on Pembina near the perimeter, so only a short drive or really long walk that we never took.

As we drove there after scouring the house for loose change, our reusable bags in hand, the excitement continued to mount. What kinds of foods would we get to sample? I was hoping for brownies (there’s a vendor that makes hot pepper brownies, and usually makes a regular batch for the kids and us picky eaters.

Ryan was looking forward to some bison or other meat samples. Even the fun-flavoured perogies that are the signature of another vendor crossed my mind.

Our taste buds were ready, my stomach was practically growling. Of course, when we arrived it looked like a ghost town. I swear I saw tumbleweed roll by.

Our plans for the day were shot. Here I was, wearing a lovely strapless sundress in the hopes of evening out some of my tan lines.

I suggested the zoo. (I still wanted some sun.)

Didn’t seem like it was going to happen.

But we kept driving.

Headed down McGillivray, Ryan suggested a cheap movie. I love going to the movies. It has nothing to do with the movie at all, it’s totally about getting movie theatre popcorn. But that’s not the point. We were nearing the theatre and normally I would be all for it, but I couldn’t justify spending a beautiful sunny day inside a cold, dark theatre.

Hmm.

We’re already on McGillivray, why not FortWhyte?

So we did.

Using a lot of our change, we paid for the two of us, me getting my student discount because my student card is technically valid until August, or so I keep telling myself.

It was fantastic. We walked the paths, we crossed the boardwalks. We even found a trail that was slightly flooded. Do you think that stopped us? Of course not! Mind you, when we got to the other side of the trail, we had to crawl over a big horse with a sign that read, “Trail Closed Due To Flooding.” Oops.

The mosquitoes were a nightmare. We did eventually find some spray and kind of went nuts with it. Oh well.

After, we headed to the bison lookout. On the way was the pioneer mud house. There was a chalkboard outside reading, “The Pioneer is IN,” whatever that meant. I figured there would be someone around the house doing pioneer-y things. There wasn’t. What a disappointment.

As I neared the house, however, I thought I heard something inside. Maybe it was my imagination. But now I was curious—what was inside the house? Could we go in? I wanted to, but what if we walked in on someone doing, well, anything really.

I reached my hand to the handle, prepared to push it open. My knuckles grazed the door, barely making an audible sound.

Then footsteps.

Large, creaky footsteps.

The door opened wide to a smiling British man dressed as a pioneer who invited us in and showed us around his home. It was a pleasant place. He had some of his long underwear hanging out to dry after doing the washing (obviously a permanent fixture). If you looked close enough, you would immediately see the human hand sticking out of one of the arm holes. A leftover remnant of Halloweens past that had slowly made its way as part of the exhibit. (As it turns out, the Pioneer is IN every Sunday.)

After our visit, we headed out to the Bison Viewing Mound. We passed some teepees, stopped inside for a few secret kisses and continued on our trek. It was a short walk, just over a km, but when you’re wearing flip-flops, that’s one long walk. We also climbed the Saturn Family Treehouse where Ryan somehow didn’t see the sign that read, “Watch your head” and managed to bang his head on the low ceiling.

We managed to spend several hours just enjoying the natural wildlife reserve right inside our own city. Oddly enough, Ryan has never been there! I don’t know how, but I guess it’s like the number of people who live in Winnipeg who have never been to The Forks.

While walking, I came to the conclusion that I was going to ensure I was not one of those people. I decided I would explore Manitoba on a limited budget doing mostly day trips. So that’s what the purpose of my “Around Manitoba” blogs will be: detailing the fun adventures of affordable places in Manitoba that are big tourist attractions, or at least could be.

 
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Today I discovered that mustard is a weed. I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that people eat it since they drink dandelion and fennel teas.

But I also discovered that mustard oil is used to make soap.

That got me thinking. About Alvin and the Chipmunks (the cartoons, not the live action movies—still haven’t seen ‘em (although the chipmunk movie where they are in a race around the world in hot air balloons was pretty awesome; if I had it on DVD (I sold my VHS copy) I know what I’d be doing today…)).

Or more specifically, it got me thinking about Theodore.

Theodore was a little butterball—like the turkeys. I wonder if he used mustard soap and fell asleep on a pile of wheat near a lettuce patch—would people mistake him for a turkey sandwich and eat him?

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Animal Farm 07/21/2010
 
I have been doing a lot of reading lately. All kinds of books, too. I’ve currently got about 8 or 9 things on the go (what can I say? I’m a multi-tasker!):

  • 7 Pillars of Health
  • The Big Cook
  • Compost! Growing Gardens from Your Garbage
  • Good Housekeeping: The Complete Household Handbook
  • The Idiot’s Guide to Organizing Your Life
  • Jesus in Blue Jeans
  • Made To Stick
  • Organizing Your Day
  • The Path
  • Shameless Shortcuts
  • Weeds!
  • Wolfsbane and Mistletoe
  • Your Global Warming Survival Handbook
 
OK, so that’s actually 13.

Plus I just finished Animal Farm. (Ha! So I do actually accomplish things, not just start things—take that unbelievers!) I’ve never read it before. Really. It was actually somewhat overwhelming. I made my hubby read it too just so I would have someone to discuss it with. I was frustrated with Napoleon (really, who wouldn’t be?!). I kept thinking about poor old Boxer and his work, work, work mentality. I wondered how Mollie was making out in her new home and what she was wearing in her hair—and if the book took place today, what would she be wearing instead of ribbons? A crooked ball cap? A trendy headband? My heart still hurts for the poor scapegoat (scapepig?) Snowball. Suddenly all of his past transgressions are overlooked when you see him in the shadow of Napoleon.

But most of all, I cannot stop thinking about Benjamin. Wise, pessimistic, grumpy Benjamin who sees the corruption of the farm unfold and does nothing to prevent it or warn others of it. It made me wonder how many people are really like that. He’s going to die and remain miserable. For what? He could have done something, he could have spoken up—saved them all.

Benjamin finally opens his mouth when Boxer, his only friend, is being taken away to a special hospital in a van labeled “glue factory.” And even then, it was all for naught. All too late.

Of course, I also wonder if Benjamin had spoken up earlier, would it have mattered? Or would PR professional Squealer have spun stories to shame Benjamin before having him executed by the pack of vicious puppies. I love puppies, but I’m suddenly not looking so forward to taking care of my sister’s dogs for a week now. Mind you, Boston and Brooklyn, my black lab nieces, don’t have a sadistic pig as a guide to do evil and commit murder, and then another pig that specializes in public relations to clean up their mess.

Nope, I’m the one who will be cleaning up the mess. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to use the pooper-scooper.

 

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I didn’t plan for it to turn out the way it did, it just sort of happened.

On June 30th, I asked my hubby what he wanted to do. I didn’t want to stay at home on Canada Day. I always seem to stay at home. He had no idea. Just sort of whatever we come up with.

Hmm. Whatever we come up with. I’m a creative person—what can I come up with?

Naturally, I turned to Google. “Canada Day in Winnipeg.” Yup. How’s that for creative?

But I found a few things. Mostly it was all about The Forks. They had activities for the whole family all day long. I never go to The Forks on Canada Day. In fact, I rarely go to The Forks period. But I thought, hey, why not? It’s Canada Day—let’s celebrate with fellow ‘peggers and experience Winnipeg top-tourist spot.

So I went back to Ryan and said, “How about The Forks?”

“Yeah?”

 “Yeah. Why not? There’s lots to do there. Heck, we can even bike there!”

“Yeah?”

 “Yeah!”

(You can tell communication is one of our strong points.)

Ah, to be young and foolish, thinking far more of yourself than you should. Don’t get me wrong—I love biking (mostly because it takes too long to walk), but I really haven’t done much of it at all this year. A few 4km rides here and there, but nothing major. And this trip is to The Forks. I’ve never biked there. I always wanted to, but I’ve never done it.

Well, July 1st arrives and I’ve lost all motivation to cycle to The Forks.

Ryan has not.

So we do it. We ride the 8km to The Forks and the 8km home. We walk around with other locals and tourists, just appreciate the festivities. We enjoy an ice cream that melts too quickly because of the intense heat. We get more tan lines because we don’t have enough already (I am currently still trying to get rid of a line across the middle of my calves from when I fell asleep one afternoon while wearing capris). We meet up with a friend, walk along the river, watch a magic show and get a free pair of neon green shoelaces (insert sarcasm here: thanks HOT 103, we’ll definitely be wearing those! (After wearing neon jammer pants in the early 90s, I think I’m done with neon for quite a while. Even the car—just the name brings back horribly bright memories!)).

After our bike ride home I realized spending the day with 100,000 other people really isn’t so bad. It’s actually kind of nice. It sort of gives you this great feeling of community. So I figure I’ll ride the feeling a bit longer, you know, just see where it takes me.

And if that means it takes me on another bike ride, well, if you’ve seen my belly, you know I could use it.
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Scout's Honor 06/17/2010
 
I got this quote in an email once. It was interesting. I don’t know much about Malcolm X (never saw the movie, and I’m Canadian, so I didn’t learn about him in school), but Denzel is a good actor. So I figured why not—I like time and planning and the future and things like that. Maybe it’ll be my motivation for a week?

 
"The future belongs to those who prepare for it today."

                  - Malcolm X, American spokesman for the Nation of Islam
   

I like being prepared. I know I didn’t really stick with Brownies and Girl Guides, but I would have made a really good scout. I’m almost always prepared. When you need something, I’m usually the girl who’s got it. You should see my backpacks—no wonder I have back problems.

I just like knowing that things will be taken care of.

But something’s got to be said for not knowing what’s coming up and just dealing with it. I like those people—the one’s who don’t a have a worry because they have faith that everything will work out (or they’re just really ignorant and totally have no idea what’s going on in life. I know people like that too—I blame the _____ (insert whatever word here)).

I like being spontaneous. Really, I do (despite the fact that I pretty much planned my entire Chicago trip day by day). It’s quite a rush not knowing what’s coming next. Of course, there’s also fear involved in that rush.

But when you plan everything, you’re left with a lot of discomfort. You’ve got a purse that’s way too heavy because you’ve got everything in there that anyone you meet will need (I was trying to avoid that old cliché about some kitchen item that you wash dishes in that isn’t the dishwasher). Your car is packed full with stuff
just in case. In the end, your life is filled with clutter in the event that one day you might need these items. And you know what? Often I don’t need them.

So here’s to back relief and lighter purses and emptier wallets. Here’s to room in our cars and space in our medicine cabinets. But mostly, here’s to tomorrow, because who knows what’s going to happen?

(Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go write my to-do list for tomorrow.)

 
 
I have spent the last two years (basically since my hubby bought the XBOX) trying to get achievements on Bejeweled 2. Let’s just say it’s almost next to impossible (for 10 points, I have to beat 280 levels; after more than two years, I'm still only on 151). I don’t play too regularly, just every once in a while for a few minutes.

While waiting for some dishes to dry, I thought I would put in a few minutes this afternoon, which got me thinking about what day it is.

It's Tuesday which means that NXT is on. I love wrestling, and I love even more that my husband encourages me to watch sweaty, half-naked, super ripped men roll around with each other. (I really do have the greatest husband of all time.)

Now, NXT is like a reality wrestling show. It’s not the greatest, but then there has only been one season so they were still finding their sea legs. Tonight is the beginning of season 2. That means there are 8 new rookies who all want to get into the WWE and live their dreams of being a Pro Wrestler. We’ll see.

But playing Bejeweled got me thinking about last week’s finale. David Otunga, the fiancé of Jennifer Hudson, was one of the top three finalists. Part of his character includes his $300 haircuts, which basically is just a shave of his head with some fancy design in it. Sadly, they’re not always very good (you should have seen when he had RAW written—it looked oh-so-tacky (you know what? you can! I managed to post a screen shot)). Last Tuesday was no exception. Mixing it up, he decided to bedazzle his hair.

Yes, you read that right—he literally bejeweled his hair. Without question, I think that was the worst style I’ve ever seen on any wrestling show.

Hair is an important part of each character’s persona. Typically it is longish, or shaved close to the head. There are a few who dare to be different, including Chris Jericho who often gets flack for his cut. But it suits him and it makes him stand out.

Perhaps that was what David Otunga was after? A chance to stand out and be remembered? I just don’t know if bedazzled hair is quite how he wants to be remembered. But then again, he isn't exactly a wrestler (if anything, he's the worst wrestler on NXT), so maybe his bedazzling skills are all he's got.


And the fact that he met the President.


Twice.
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Ah, the hideous "RAW" haircut

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I'll admit, some of the designs were kind of cool.

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For the Finale, Otunga came out with some smarts--he came out hooded, even though he always came out wearing his hoodie.

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From the front, he even looked normal...

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...and then he started to fight and the camera gave us a taste of his love for bedazzling.

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And we eventually saw it all, and it was horrible. Oh Jennifer, what were you thinking, letting David leave the house with his hair like that? (please don't let David Jr. take after daddy)

 
 
Over the weekend I had the thickest, meatiest pizza of my life. Delicious, but I don’t know if I could do it again.

After babysitting a not-quite-one-year-old and an energetic 4-year-old, the proud fathers bought us all pizza. The two brothers-in-law spent the weekend moving items into storage while the women-folk went to the States for a weekend of shopping (and some time off from parenting—something we all need every so often).

Naturally, Skyla, the infant, didn’t indulge with us, not having teeth and all. Sophie, a spunky hand-full-of-a-blond-sweetheart managed to down a single corner piece. Mostly.

Both brothers-in-law are originally from Saskatchewan (Sheldon still lives there and drove in just to help his sister and her partner, Keane, do some heavy lifting). There is a pizza place that originated in Saskatoon in 1990 called Vern’s Pizza. It is the home of the 10-pound Mama Mia pizza, and it’s pretty much all meat.

Sheldon, living in Esterhazy, SK, isn’t within delivery-range of a Vern’s. And while there is a Winnipeg location on McPhillips, Keane doesn’t frequent it. First of all, you need half an army to eat one of these suckers, and second—it’s a little on the pricey side, at least for those of us who are accustomed to dialling a string of 2s for cheap, mediocre pizza.

But now that the boys were together, plus me, my hubby, and little Sophie, they couldn’t not order this feast fit for 5,000.

Coming in at around $50 for a 15-inch pizza, it arrived in a regular box. It looked slim, normal. These boys promised me that it was as thick as a cheeseburger, but it didn’t look so big to me.

Then Ryan, my hubby, picked it up. His jaw dropped and he immediately passed it along to me. Holy smack, that sucker is heavy! (No, not like disgustingly heavy, I can’t carry it because I’m weak heavy, but heavy for a pizza.) The 18-inch Mama Mia is the 10-pounder, but this little guy sure packs some punch.

So we began to dig in to the pie cut into squares.

First piece. An end piece. Holy meat, batman, that’s all I can taste.

Second piece. A corner piece. Lots of crust—hey, I’m a girl, I like carbs! But still, way too much meat!

Now I’m satisfied. I’m never satisfied after 2 squares of Pizza Hotline. Never.

But Sheldon described it earlier: it’s so thick and meaty that most people only need a single piece (not slice—they don’t slice the Mama Mia, they square it). Eat two, and you’re super full, almost uncomfortably full. Eat three and you’re going to want to throw up. It’s just too much meat. (Remember that season of the Amazing Race where they had to eat 5lbs of meat? You’d be sick like that, only you’re not going to get $1million for doing it—although you do this often enough and you’ll be forking out a million to pay for the surgeries and health bills to be that obese.)

But like I said, after two pieces, I was just satisfied. I wasn’t uncomfortably full. Now, every diet and health book I’ve ever read says to stop eating when you’re satisfied. Too full, and you’re destroying your efforts. But I’ve got to know—what happens when you down three pieces?

So I do it. I’m surrounded by big boys, I’m a big girl—I’ve got something to prove here!

Third piece, another corner piece. And I actually felt fine. Not sick, not gross like throwing up, just really full.

And as I waited, pleased with my accomplishment, Sheldon and Keane decided to tell me that the rule of three only counts for inside pieces (or 2 inside and 1 crust piece)—corner pieces are just scraps for the dogs and kids. I ate two corner pieces, that doesn’t mean anything.

As they are describing all of this, the meat is beginning to settle. And I’m feeling really gross. My stomach is hurting. A lot. I think I might even throw up.

(I do, of course, but I wait until I get home a little while later. I would just feel awkward throwing up in someone else’s bathroom. Don’t ask me why, I’m just weird like that.)

So it’s true—three pieces of Vern’s Mama Mia Pizza and you might just throw up. But man, if you’re into meat, I tell you, you’ve got to try it at least once. Just to say you’ve eaten the meatiest pizza of all time.

And survived.

(I wonder if Vern’s sells T-shirts that say that?)
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I think my lettuce might be dying. Also, my neighbours now hate me.

We’ve had a lot of rain lately.

As I’ve mentioned before, I like the rain, which is why I think I would do OK living coastally (either coast. Heck, even in the South Pacific—they’ve got a nice coast there). But this past weekend, the rain has caused a bit of a battle. I haven’t yet decided if I want to be the North or the South in this Civil War—I mostly just want it over.

My neighbours spent the May long weekend building a beautiful little deck. It’s really, really nice. Originally, they just laid out some mats and threw on a patio set. But then they decided to go all out. Soon one of the women (they are two divorcee-female roommates with all of their kids (I think there are 6 people living in that 3 bedroom in total)) brought out a bunch of two-by-fours and was busy sawing away.

By the end of the weekend, they (although mostly just the one) had put up an entire impromptu deck complete with stones, a little fence, planter boxes, and a new barbecue. Like I said, it’s really nice.

Or at least it was.

Until it rained.

A lot.

The deck area is basically three or four inches high, solid from the ground up. Our yards are kind of uneven. And this deck wasn’t exactly well planned out. So when it rained, the slightly uneven deck didn’t keep much water on it—it all rolled down into our yard.

If we were living in a house with huge yards, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. But we’re not. We live in a townhouse (although our lease says Condo—towncondo?) and our yards are tight! (Hence the reason I’m planting lettuce in my front flower bed.) Our little front yard was filled with at least three or four inches of sitting water. That means my “garden” was entirely under water.

OK, so now my plants are dying. That’s kind of annoying. But maybe they’ll pull through right? No need to complain about anything just yet. Everyone is flooding (except the neighbours and their higher deck, but whatever).

As I’m working downstairs, my daughter and I hear a funny noise. It sounds like water running. But no one’s showering, the washing machine is running—what could it be? Oh. It’s just the walls. They’re LEAKING!

We have two big bolts sticking out of the wall in our basement where the stairs are attached outside. The water in our yard was so high that it was actually leaking through the little holes into our basement. Gross!

Naturally I called our landlord. I was a little, um, annoyed, shall we say? Fortunately she wasn’t available, so I just left a message. She called back shortly after—her phone had been ringing off the hook all morning. She spoke to my husband and agreed that the neighbour’s new deck has to go (and be rebuilt properly. The landlord will even have it paid for—so no harm done, right?)

She came by a little later, checked out the front yard, and then called on our neighbours.

Needless to say, they’re really peeved off. The one who spent all the time working on it immediately asked, “Can I at least keep my garden?” Really? Your garden? Mine’s dead, thank you very much!

Of course they complained a lot, saying that their deck has nothing to do with the flooding (because the little waterfall I saw coming off of it onto our yard was my imagination, right?). Also, there were a lot of expletives targeted toward us. (It’s amazing what you hear when you’ve got your windows open.)

Fortunately the ground eventually sucked the water up after it stopped raining. Maybe, just maybe, there is hope for my lettuce. I’d like to say the same for my neighbours…

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It’s been cold and rainy all day. 

I don’t mind it at all, really. In fact, I like the rain. It’s pleasant, cleansing. I don’t even mind the thunder and lightning that has accompanied the showers that have been spending time in Winnipeg for the past several hours. Lightning is really beautiful—it’s the thunder that is leaving me with memories.

I miss my dog: Viper, the world’s best poodle.

Probably not, but he was to me.

Viper hated thunderstorms. I don’t blame him—he’s so tiny and they’re so, well, big and loud and scary. Whenever the first rumble would whisper in the darkening skies, he would make his way under my parents’ bed or under the couch, or on really rare occasions, under my old bed. His heart would race, and he would shake and shake and shake. I couldn’t help but hold him. I wanted to keep him in my arms, slow down his pulse, and let him know how safe he was. I would protect him from the thunder and the rain, and our house would protect him from the lightning. (Technically, the house would also protect him from the rain, but really, I’m trying to be the brave protector of smallish dogs here, so work with me...) Yet despite how smart he was (he really was—I taught him how to play hide and seek, but he was better at playing dead. If he kept wagging his tail, I would ask him if dead dogs wag their tails, and of course he would stop, because they don’t. Clever little pup he was!), he never quite understood that he wasn’t in any danger. Sure, he had a huge vocabulary, but he had serious fear issues. (You should have seen him when the vacuum came out.)

I only hope he wasn’t afraid when he died.

Or rather, was shot.

Yup, good ol’ dad brought out the rifle (he had just reapplied for his hunter’s license for the first time in years with my help. Yup, that’s me—helpful dog killer (not on purpose—I had no idea. I’m like a getaway driver who doesn’t realize that his friends are going in to the bank to rob it—he just thinks they all have business in there, and it’s cold, that’s why they’re all wearing ski masks)). He took Viper out to my aunt’s farm and put himself out of his misery.

By himself, I mean my dad. Both my parents, actually—Viper was really old and peed everywhere! (plus a few other little “accidents”) Not to mention he barked non-stop at everything and was just a pain in the donkey—kind of like kids, right? (I can say that—I was one. Although I didn’t pee everywhere, just the bed for a little longer than most kids…)

In the end, Viper was old and dying anyway. At almost 14, my parents looked into putting him down, but that cost $200! A box of shells only cost about $2. You can see how economics plays in here…Blame it on the recession?

So yes, Viper was “put down”. It was a downer finding that out. It probably would have been easier to handle if I hadn’t read it on Facebook first. But oh well, that’s what social networking is for, right?

In the meantime it’s still raining. More of a drizzle now, though, and I’m OK with that too. It’s helping my lettuce to grow out in the front flower bed. (I live in a townhouse—I don’t have room for a garden) I am still thinking about putting some tomatoes out there, I just don’t know where yet. I guess I could move that really pretty flowery plant that my mom says is a weed. I dunno, I really like it—it just adds so much to the front of the house. Plus it brings out the yellow in my dandelions.
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Yes, I have better pictures of the sweet little guy, but he's just so adorable here. My brother was teasing him, but that's what family is for--to piss you off so you pose for really unnatural photos!

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OK, here's a better pic. This is the one who would lick away my tears and come for walks at Birds Hill Park and get covered in ticks with me. Oh the memories...

 
 
Today is my daughter’s 10th birthday. And it’s also my nephew’s 4th birthday.

That’s pretty neat, knowing that two cousins have the same birthday. Right now, they are the only cousins on my husband’s side. My sister is going to have a baby soon (due September/October), and as long as it isn’t born on my birthday, that’s cool. (I said it’s cool for other people to have the same birthday! I’m selfish—I don’t want to share! Well, OK, maybe if we did have the same birthday it wouldn’t be the end of the world…) But until that baby’s born, it’s just the two of them.

Leah and Jacob.

So for the first time ever, we get to have a dual-birthday on their birthday. Really it’s just a barbeque for family where the two young’ns will get gifts, but hey, there’s nothing wrong with that! I like food and I like presents—sounds like the ideal birthday to me. Plus, these two kids love each other like crazy.

Jacob being four looks up to his older, mature cousin. Leah, at 10, is like any preteen (yikes—I’m actually calling her that! I won’t call her a tween, though, not yet) with self-esteem still in development. She’s got someone who admires her completely, and that will make anyone feel good about themselves. Also, Jacob isn’t very good at hide and seek yet, so her hiding spots, no matter how many doors she hides behind, are just awesome!

So I am trying to decide what still needs to be done today in preparation.

·         I will try to vacuum, although our vacuum is still broken.

·         I’ve got some veggies to cut. (I am currently resuscitating some limp celery in a big glass of water in the fridge as we speak (read?))

·         Decorating! I could be doing that now, but do I really feel like blowing up balloons before I brush my teeth? I mean, if those things pop, ugh—morning breath!

·         Food preparation. I should probably make a salad, but my mother-in-law will be bringing a salad, and how many do you need at a barbeque? Plus, you have no idea how much other food we’ll have. In fact, my husband doesn’t even know that I’m planning something else! (He will now, since he reads this, but ha—you won’t know what it is until you get home, sweetie! Hee hee, I’m so bad…)

Wow, is that it? I guess it helps that I got a lot of the major stuff done yesterday. Presents wrapped, groceries bought, kitchen cleaned. Well, Ryan cleaned the kitchen—I’ll give him total credit. I made iced tea and he swept and mopped. Boy do I love that man!

I also don’t need to do a cake. That’s awesome. For the first birthday, I don’t have to worry about a making a cake (or on lazy years buying one!). My sister-in-law has that covered. Very awesome.

Although, thinking about it, this last year I totally forgot about my hubbie’s cake.

But it wasn’t entirely my fault!

OK, mostly it was.

Probably all my fault.

Ya, I’ll just take all the credit. I went to get my hair done for his birthday. I figured it would take 2 hours max—it took about 8! That’s just gross. Basically his entire shift. So while I was planning on baking while he was at work after my hair was done, I didn’t get the chance. And when I got home, I was just really focused on making him awesome, awesome chilli (his request) and totally forgot about the cake. Until, like, the next day or even day after. I don’t remember. I felt horrible! Thankfully we live close to a Safeway that makes a good half-carrot cake. It was just perfect for the two of us.

But today, I don’t need to make a cake. I don’t say bake because I don’t always bake them—some of the best cakes I’ve made have been ice cream cakes! Although that Hamburger Cake I made Ryan our first year together for his birthday was pretty sweet…literally, because it just looked like a burger, it wasn’t made of ground beef.

Ew, a ground beef cake…

But then again, I do like meat. Maybe I could make Leah another castle-shaped cake, but this year, it will be out of chicken! Yum!