Monday, April 26, 2010

White Pants After Labour Day?

O.k. fashion police - I need a ruling! Growing up in North America, there was an unwritten rule about not wearing white pants/shoes after Labour Day. Well, now what am I supposed to do? Labour Day here is next week - not in September like in Canada! And even though it's fall here, the weather is still sunny and 25C.

I realize the "no white rule" is probably more a practicality in the Great White North than bad fashion sense. Who wants muddy slush stains on your white pants or shoes? My question is - does the rule still stand in a warm weather place? And if it does, when exactly can you start wearing white again? That's always confused me. When does it go from "after" Labour Day to "before" Labour Day?

I've also started thinking about whether there's really a rule anymore? Is it more a suggestion than law? Or is the whole no white after Labour Day a thing of the past - something that only our grandmothers still follow? I know my grandmother would have advised against white - in the name of decorum. The same way she thought that "nice" girls didn't wear red shoes.

Unless the fashion police set me straight I may just have to chance it. I have a pair of white Banana Republic dress pants that I love and darn it, I'm going to wear them! But don't worry Grandma Currie, no red shoes!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Legacy of Love

When a parent dies, it doesn't matter what age you are, you can't help but feel like a lost, scared little kid. Today is the second anniversary of my Dad's passing. It's still not easy.
I know I was luckier than some. I got the chance to have my Dad walk me down the aisle, to have him hold my babies, to ride Thunder Mountain together, to say good-bye. I am thankful for those gifts. Still, I can't help but wish that he was here to see my kids grow up, watch Jack and Aidan play hockey, cook us his famous pineapple sweet and sour chicken, or flash me one of his amazing smiles.

Even though I miss my Dad everyday, I know he is not lost to us. I see him in my nephew Aidan's passion for hockey, Caitlyn's attachment to pens and notebooks, my niece Ainsley's love of reading, and Jack's infectious smile. I see him when I look at my brother and the devoted father he is to his children. My Dad lives on in us and in our memories.

Although I debated whether I should share my grief about the loss of my Dad in this blog I decided that all too often we hide our emotions, afraid of what others will think. Feelings aren't things you should have to hide or be ashamed to express. That was just one of lessons I learned from my Dad. He was the type of person who would rather hug someone than shake their hand. He expressed his love for his family and friends on a daily basis. Growing up that way meant we always knew we were loved, and that whatever we did, my Dad would be there for us. And it also meant that there wasn’t anything left unsaid. I'm thankful for that peace.

Today I tried to focus on all of the good memories - to celebrate my Dad. I cooked his pineapple sweet and sour chicken for dinner, laughed with my kids about some crazy Granddad stories, and let my family know how much I love them.
And his legacy of love lives on...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Man Cave

O.k., my existence is slowing deteriorating into life in a "man cave."

Our good friend Fred is staying with us right now until he gets some furniture for his own house. Fred's wife Shannon is back in Calgary packing up for their move to Brisbane. I really don't mind having Fred stay with us. He's an easy going guy and not very demanding. Fred's like a second brother to me - but one who doesn't comment on my wild morning hair or lack of makeup. He'll eat just about anything, though I have worked to make my menus a bit fancier since he's arrived. No more frozen meat pies shoved into the oven last minute - yet anyway.

So it's not really Fred. It's more the increase in testosterone in the house. Having Fred here seems to give my husband an excuse to go golfing, watch more sports, and play lame fantasy computer games. In the past week the "boys" have started playing World of Warcraft together. One sits at the computer nook in our family room while the other relaxes on the couch with his laptop. Being ignored each evening is the least of my problems. No, instead I can barely concentrate on reading or watching T.V. because all I hear is them (o.k. mostly Paul) bicker back and forth about where to go, who caused who to die, who is still looking for his body, etc. (If you ask me, all they seem to do in that game is die, run around looking for their bodies, then run around, fight and die some more. Clearly, I am not a role playing game affectionato). My only enjoyment has been razzing them about whether they are playing their male or female characters together. That and writing this blog about them (which they aren't too happy about either).

Last weekend the "man cave" grew darker - for me. At least when the boys play their "games" I have some control over the channel changer. Saturday night they got my hopes up by flipping to "Four Weddings and a Funeral", only to dash them by changing the channel to the Masters recap. I wasn't thrilled about the golf but then they started taunting me by flipping between that and a women's lingerie football game. Seriously??? Women playing football in bras and underwear? No thank you boys!!!

Enough was enough! Today I broke free from all of the male bonding. Caitlyn and I went on a girl's date this afternoon. We did a little shopping and then we went to a movie. No, not Clash of the Titans (like Paul dragged me to when we had a date night with Fred babysitting), but a true chick flick. We laughed, we cried, and we cuddled watching Miley Cyrus, Greg Kinnear, and Liam Hemsworth in The Last Song. Yes, it was sappy but we enjoyed seeing it together. After the movie we discussed how Paul, Fred, and Jack wouldn't have liked it. As Caitlyn commented, "boys don't like to show their emotions."

So, after my girl time with Caitlyn today I feel like I can survive the cave a little while longer. Now if I can just survive Paul's man cold....

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The icing on the cake

I'm one of those people who firmly believes that you cannot have a birthday without the cake. Home-made or store-bought, chocolate or white, candles or sparklers, as long as you have a cake it feels like a celebration.

This year Caitlyn's birthday started and ended with cake. For breakfast I served up a piece of homemade chocolate banana cake. (O.k., it was Duncan Hines but I did change the mix by adding a banana instead of one egg and applesauce instead of oil. And I cooked it in the oven - so it was definitely homemade!) Seeing Caitlyn and Jack's eyes light up at the idea of cake for breakfast made me feel a little giddy too. Not to be a bad parent, I did follow it up with some scrambled eggs. That wasn't the best taste combination. Next time I'd skip the eggs!

I'll always remember one of the cakes my Mom made me when I was young. It was shaped like a little girl and was almost as big as me. It had gumdrop buttons and licorice hair, and a pink icing dress. I'm sure I didn't fully appreciate it then, but I recognize now the hard work and love that went into creating that perfect birthday moment.

When I was baking Caitlyn's cake the other night, I started thinking about another cake from my past - the money cake! Remember the days when moms used to bake nickels, dimes and quarters right into the cake batter? Kids didn't just lick the icing off that cake. Oh no, each piece was demolished and chowed down in a frantic treasure hunt! If you were lucky the coins were at least wrapped up in wax paper so you'd get a bit of a warning before swallowing. Otherwise you'd find your treasure when you bit down on the cold hard cash - and hopefully spit it out in time! We were tougher then - those were the days of no car seats and cement under the monkey bars - and the thrill of finding money far outweighed the risk of choking on it.

In our more safety conscious world, and without waivers from the parents, I have yet to resort to making my own money cake to excite the kids. Instead I have iced my fair share of Nemo, Mr. Incredible, Buzz Lightyear, Indiana Jones, butterfly and giraffe cakes. Hopefully when Caitlyn and Jack grow up they too will remember some of those cakes, and understand how much love I baked into them.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Happy Birthday Caitlyn!

I can hardly believe that nine years ago today I was getting ready to head to the Spa for a girl's weekend at the Banff Springs Hotel when my water broke. Ten hours later our precious Caitlyn was born! (Thankfully it was then and not on the highway to Banff, though, I would've had three nurses in the car with me! That would have been a real girls' bonding experience! Yikes!!)

Caitlyn came into the world at 2:42 p.m. on April 7th - more than one month early and a mere three minutes before my scheduled pedicure! Needless to say I never made it to Banff that day, and my Obgyn was kind enough not to mention my unwaxed legs and un-manicured toes!

Though some people have called her my "mini-me," (there is definitely some physical resemblance) I think Caitlyn's the real thing on her own. From the moment of her early arrival, Caitlyn has been a joy. Even before she used to eat crayons at her Auntie's house, we knew she had an artistic edge. When Caitlyn insisted on her and Jack being called LavaGirl and Sharkboy for months, we knew she was an adventurous, imaginative creature. And a mini-McGuyver too - creating time machines, churches, secret agent kits, and booby traps out of mere paper and tape! Our Caitlyn is the kind of girl who wears her heart on her sleeve, and who never goes through a day without telling us how much she loves us. She worries about other's feelings, helps those who need it but doesn't announce it to the world. She's our quiet, but goofy, intellectual.

For her birthday present this year, her only request was to spend a day with just Paul and I. I think she's really giving us the present.

Happy Birthday sweetie! We love you!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Easter Bilby

Usually my kids end up having three Easter egg hunts. (I know they're definitely spoiled!) One with my family, one on Easter morning at our house, and one with Paul's parents. That's a lot of sugar!! This year the chocolate high was a bit more contained - with only one hunt, in our hotel room in Cairns. I might have been tempted to hide some eggs outside but it was pouring rain, and given that it was still 27C outside, they would have quickly become Easter blobs. (Not that my kids are that picky, melted blobs of chocolate are still chocolate!) So, the hunt on Sunday had them checking around behind cushions and under tables in the small living area of our hotel room. Not too challenging, but they didn't care. This year we also went Australian. No Easter bunnies here! Going along with an apparently growing trend, their chocolate prize at the end of the hunt was an Easter Bilby! I guess since rabbits have been viewed as pests here in Australia, some people have tried to push bilbies as the "greener" option. Who knew chocolate could get so political! All I know is, whether it's a bilby or a rabbit - I'm still eating it ears first!