Monday, December 29, 2008

Yup, I needed this break!

Aaaahhhh. Hear that? That's a sigh of relief. Relief that Christmas is over ... isn't that just sad? Lol. I still love Christmas, don't get me wrong ... but it's just so much work. Yet, I still made it to Christmas on time after all. Sister D picked up her package at the post office on Christmas Eve, and all was well!

So we actually had a pretty low-key Christmas, all things considering. A nice dinner at my sister M's on Christmas Eve, and then turkey-and-all-the-trimmings here on Christmas Day. Despite agreeing on a one gift, $50 limit policy between the husband and I, he spoiled me terribly ... among other things I got a Senators blanket, Senators travel mug, Senators slippers, Senators scarf (if you sense a theme going, you're on the right track!), Senators tree decorations, and a gift card to the spa. I was also spoiled with scrap stuff, by the boy and Sister D (and have been in a creating frenzy as a result).

The dog got spoiled too ... not only did she have a stocking stuffed with chew toys and treats, she also got some chew toys from the boy AND the girl AND Sister D sent her this cute Wubba toy, which Lexi loves very much:

I've managed to spend a few hours in the scrap room ... the first hour or so was spent cleaning up of course. Here are some of the layouts I made:

Frozen Fun

Supplies include K&Co patterned paper (Amy Butler) and gem, Queen & Co felt border (gift from Sister D), flowers and ribbon slide, Making Memories snowflakes, gem brad and rub-ons, K&Co gem, and American Crafts Thickers alpha (gift from Sister D). The woman in the picture is my friend Carrie and the layout is all about the fun we have at their hunt camp in the cold of winter.

Summer at the Narrows

This one did not turn out the way I had seen it in my head - oh well. Supplies include K&Co patterned paper (Amy Butler), Making Memories patterned paper and journaling pad, American Crafts alpha rub-ons, dollar store foam alphas, and Prima flowers (gift from Sister D). I really felt like making a summery layout but I think the pink is just too much!

Can You Believe It?

I just love how this one turned out. Supplies include DCWV Pet Stack patterned paper (gift from the boy), Making Memories metal word (old stash!) and journaling pad (great use of scraps - the other half is on the previous layout!), American Crafts rub-on alphas and rick-rack, Prima flowers, Basic Grey brad, button unknown, and the big sunflower is from a silk flower bouquet that was my mother's, which I took apart. This layout is all about how the girl didn't want a dog, and despite having fallen in love with the dog, still thinks we shouldn't have gotten a dog. I can't believe what a cute little puppy Lexi was, and how much she has grown!

Thanks for visiting - ciao!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Update on Errant Package

Ha! The Canada Post site says it's reached its destination - well the post office anyway. Hopefully Sister D got home in time to pick it up. Gotta give it to Canada Post - apparently they make it to Christmas on time!

This could be the year!

Every year, I worry I won't make it to Christmas on time. And every year, somehow, I do. But I'm actually wondering if this will be the year where I in fact am late for Christmas. Decorating is done, cookies are made, presents are bought and wrapped; and I'm on schedule for everything that needs to be done for tomorrow's Christmas dinner. However, I just checked the Canada Post website where I've been tracking the delivery of a Christmas package to sister D, and according to the site, the package has been in Quebec City since 5:09 a.m. yesterday and doesn't appear to have moved since! Aaaaargh! Sister D, if you're reading this ... and you don't get the package today ... just think of it as strettttttccccchhhhing Christmas out a few days, ok? :o(

I managed to get some gifts made for my staff (biscotti and personalized ornaments). I'm happy with how they turned out. Ah, the joys of using up scrapbooking supplies for non-scrapbook things ... MM rub-on alphas were just perfect for this project (and I became very creative at creating missing letters out of miscellaneous body parts of other letters!).

I think my favorite Christmas decoration this year is my new Senators nutcracker. I bought it for myself, from Avon. It sits in the hutch in our front foyer which 11 months out of the year holds various crystal pieces and other decorative objects. Around Christmastime, it becomes a display case for my nutcracker collection. I just love my nutcrackers, and I absolutely love my gift-to-myself Sens guy!

Well, I had better get back to Christmas preparations. While they're (mostly!) on schedule, it's a tight schedule. By 6:30 p.m. tonight everything has to be done, as we're going to my sister M's for Christmas Eve celebrations.

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones. Catch you on the flip side!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snowed In

and couldn't be happier about it!

Environment Canada is calling for 15, maybe 20 cm to fall today and the way it's falling right now, and blowing around, looks to me like their predictions will come through. Knowing that I wouldn't want to be on the roads today, I made a final push yesterday to finish the Christmas shopping. I was at it until suppertime - came home for a bite, then went back out around 9:00 pm to do my Christmas groceries. Three things about doing groceries late at night. 1) It's great, because you can actually navigate the aisles without having to dodge people especially the large families who seem to enjoy doing groceries together on a busy Saturday; 2) it's not so great, because many items need restocking and people have picked out all the good produce earlier in the day; and 3), it's not so great because there's only one cash open.

So today, because of the weather, we decided not to go to hockey practice and we're also not going to go for our weekly visit to my mother-in-law's. You know what that means? I have a whole, entire day at home to Get Stuff Done. So far I've finished decorating the tree, have put away all the Christmas storage boxes, folded a few loads of laundry, made a batch of biscotti, organized all the presents, and done some wrapping. And it's barely lunchtime.

The boy had a GREAT time playing outside in the snow with Lexi ... until she stole his hat right off his head and played catch me if you can!

I still need to bake some more cookies, keep wrapping, and put together the 8x8 adoption gift album (pages are made, just the cover needs to be decorated). Lots of work to be done, but I'm just so grateful to have a full day at home to do it!

Speaking of the gift album, here are a few sample pages ... you'll just have to imagine it filled with pictures of a sweet two year old toddler from China! In case you're wondering why there's both French and English titling ... little Noah will be raised in a bilingual home.

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Monday, December 15, 2008

I Don't Like Mondays

Mondays come way too fast. I spent the weekend avoiding thinking about the bus strike and this week's commute. The plan for today is to ride in with my sister, along with one of her colleagues who has a parking pass. I'll have to figure something different out for the rest of the week as my sister won't be going downtown after today.

Got some house cleaning done on the weekend, and the beginnings of Christmas decorating. Hoping to get the tree and lights up tonight, and ornaments on the tree tomorrow night. Whether it gets done remains to be seen!

Some days, I wish I could just stay tucked in bed ... in my safe place ... where the world can't get at me. Guess the dog shared that emotion this summer - she found herself the cutest little safe place in our back yard:

Supplies include Making Memories patterned paper, Chatterbox stickers, Dollar store chipboard letters, and Making Memories suede flowers.

I'm getting lots of mileage out of those layouts I created at the end of November! Don't let these frequent layout posts fool you - I'm not getting much scrapping done at the moment. Although, I am 99.9% finished a gift album for a friend who's adopting ... I'll be posting that here soon. I've had lots of fun creating with the Basic Grey Archaic line of patterned paper and embellishments.

Here's hoping you have no problem getting to where you need to go today!


Friday, December 12, 2008

Public Transit, I Miss You ....

Blog readers from outside my hometown are probably unaware of this, but Canada's Capital is currently in turmoil. Nah, I'm not talking about coalition governments and political subterfuge. I'm talking about the crippling transit strike that has made the last two days a living hell for anyone needing to get to and from the downtown core. Day 1 of the strike was coupled with the tail end of a winter storm that dumped close to 40 cm of snow on us and made street parking an impossibility. By the time I made it downtown, parking of any kind was impossible to find (though I tried - and ended up damaging my car to the tune of $2,000 or so when I scraped a post in a tight-squeeze parking garage that, to add insult to injury, had no parking spots available anyway). I ended up parking about 15 minutes away from work. Yesterday was not much better. I took a ride in with a colleague; it took 1.5 hours to get downtown, and after driving around for an additional half hour looking for parking anywhere in the downtown grid, my colleague ended up at a shopping mall about 15 (walking) minutes away. Last night when we left, it took 45 minutes to make it from the parking garage to the Queensway (main expressway through Ottawa) - which normally takes under 3 minutes.

I can't believe the amount of wasted time and productivity this strike has caused so far. Personally, I have worked just over half my scheduled hours in the last 2 days. So, today, I've decided to forego the commute from hell and work from home. In my Senators jammies, no less. I don't officially start til 9 so I have 5 minutes left to whine at you about how horrible this transit strike is.

While my car is still driveable, the panels on both passenger doors will both have to be replaced, and possibly the back quarter panel too. When I drive over 40 km an hour, the wrecked door handle rattles in the wind. The word "scraped" doesn't completely describe what happened. It's more like "crushed as though the outside of the car was nothing more than tin foil". Ugh. Hopefully my father, who gave me this car, is way too busy doing whatever people in heaven do to notice what I've done to it. Thankfully my husband, who tends to get upset about these sorts of things, has been really sweet to me about it and even gave me a pep talk to the effect that I am not in fact a bad driver and that I shouldn't be nervous behind the wheel just because this happened.

I've been a bit cranky over the last couple of days, but am feeling better today, what with staying in my Sens jammies, and also the possibility of going to the Senators-Tampa Bay game tomorrow night (the husband thinks he can score me some last minute tickets).

So even when life is bad, life is still good. There are far worse things in life than bus strikes and damaged cars. I know, I've lived through a few, and survived those, so this should be a breeze.

Here's hoping the city and the union manage to come to their senses over the weekend (although they're not currently talking), and that if you need to get anywhere this weekend, you have the means to do it!!


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Lexi Update

Surgery went well. Not sure who was more traumatized re the no food for 12 hours before surgery - Lexi or us. It sure was hard. She gives new meaning to "puppy dog eyes".

The boy and the husband went to pick her up around suppertime. She came home kind of groggy but showing definite signs of her usual self (as in, no one could open a cupboard or fridge door without having her trot into the room looking for handouts). She passed out early on her pillow in the family room, didn't complain when we sent her to her crate for an early bedtime and had a good night's sleep. She seems to be following her usual routine this morning.

All we have to do now is keep her fairly inactive for 7 days (lord help us - as a well-exercised, tired lab is a very good lab and an inactive lab is hell on four legs).

While the boy was worried about his dog, I think the husband was the most worried of all of us. It really warms my heart to see the connection between George and Lexi (I think they not-so-secretly worship each other). I never realized when we got a dog how profoundly it would change the husband. I can count on one hand (ok, maybe two) the number of times he's agreed to accompany me on a walk around the neighborhood in 20 years we've been married. But since we got Lexi in July, he's been for long walks with her every single day (and some days twice). He's lost weight and even feels comfortable running now. And it's not just good for his physical health - he's calmer and more patient, too - well with her, anyway :oP.

Supplies include Basic Grey patterned paper, Prima flower, Daisy D linen stickers, Making Memories letters, dollar store metal brad and Making Memories small brads, and I think both the little letter stickers and the journaling block are 7 Gypsies (but don't quote me on that).

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Weekend Catch-Up

For the first time in a long time, I actually feel like there's enough time this weekend. I've been wandering the house for the last couple of hours without being in any kind of "gotta get this done" frenzy. There's plenty to do, mind you; but not much point doing it right now. See, dh is getting the foyer area ready for painting tomorrow. There are plenty of nail pops which means plenty of plastering which means PLENTY of plaster dust. So no point in dusting and cleaning, right? And, no point in putting up the Christmas decorations, as they will get dusty, and in any event, my foyer furniture is crammed into the living room so no place for the tree.

And, no hockey today. The boys won the first game they played in the tournament, but then lost the next two so we're off the hook for today. It was fun, though. They were really, really good in that first game (it was a shut out, even) so things started off in a really great way. And while we were shut out ourselves in game 2, we managed to score 2 goals in game 3 against a team who hadn't allowed any goals in their 2 previous games (but 2 wasn't enough, they got 6 in - and our goalie had plenty of awesome saves).

We've had a good bit of snow this morning. It was fun to watch Lexi play in the snow, her puppy-ness sure came out as she pranced around attacking piles of snow and rolling her tennis balls through them. I wonder if she'll miss the snow when summer comes? Or if she'll have just as much fun playing in the water as she did last year ...

Supplies include Luxe Designs patterened paper, Making Memories journaling pad and my very favorite kind of foam letter - the kind from Dollarama! Flowers include Prima, Daisy D and I think Basic Grey.

Lexi is getting spayed tomorrow. Poor baby. We aren't allowed to feed her after 9 pm tonight; you have no idea what torture that is going to be for a lab and her lab owners! This dog LIVES for the HOPE of a MORSEL of food. She's going to think she did something bad and we're punishing her, or something. Poor baby. Wish us luck (and wish her luck as she goes under the knife tomorrow!). I'm planning on taking Tuesday off to keep an eye on her.

Maybe that's why this weekend hasn't felt rushed. I've had quite a few days off lately and I know I have one more coming. With any luck, I'll be able to do some Christmas decorating while Miss Lexi lies around quietly and recuperates (yah, right ...).

In other news, the girl submitted her university applications yesterday. So much easier now that everything's online. In my day (you know, before electricity), we had to fill out individual applications by hand for each school we applied at. Anyhow, within minutes everything was filled out and sent off. Now the waiting game starts. I'm convinced we're going to be wading in early admission offers by January. The girl, not so much.

That's it for now ... I'm starting to feel guilty about doing not much of anything this morning, so I'll go see if I can rustle up some laundry or something.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hump Day

Wednesday. Commonly known as Hump Day because it sits right in the middle of the week. Well for me this week, Hump Day celebrates the 2nd half of the week rather than the middle, as I am off on Friday. The Boy has a hockey tournament. Yay! (Yay for being off ... Boo for having only 4 days this week to catch up to 3 days off last week!).

In honour of said hockey tournament, here's a hockey layout I completed last week:

Super simple really and using lots of old scrap supplies including some Making Memories definitions and rub-ons and Alphabitties sticker letters.

To warm up my hockey cheering (also known as screaming) voice, I'm going to watch my Sens play tonight ... just on tv though ... we raffled off tickets for this game at work to raise money for the charitable campaign, and through some very unfair twist of fate, I didn't win them. Oh well!

Happy Wednesday!

PS - Sister D - I haven't forgotten that I need to send you an email. It'll get done today!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Monday Morning

If Monday mornings weren't bad enough, apparently this one is going to start with the tail end of a winter storm. As I sit here typing this at 6:45 a.m., I don't see much going on outside at all, except maybe for some rain, which doesn't appear to be the freezing kind. The weather and news websites are still predicting chaos so who knows. All I know is that my mini vay-cay is over and I have to face Monday - ugh.

Had the usual busy weekend, including hockey, groceries, laundry, housecleaning, and not enough scrapping at all. Now that I've started scrapping again I have the BUG! I want to scrap NOW! I want to scrap LOTS! (And the state of my scrap room proves it. I don't think it's ever been quite that messy before!).

I ended my weekend on a lovely note, speaking to sister D on the phone and catching up. I'm going to make an early New Years resolution to call her more often, no matter how busy life gets. It was so nice to hear her voice.

Anyhoo, in honour of today's yet-to-be-seen winter storm, here's what winter looked like around here last year ... the pictures actually really don't do it justice, I should have had someone standing by the snowbanks to give a real idea of how high that snow really was.

Supplies include SEI Holiday Hoopla and BG Blitzen patterned paper, Making Memories sticker letters and really cute journaling rub-ons by Scenic Route.

Well, I better go and face Monday like a big girl now. This week is going to be a busy one - catching up at work after 3 days of vay-cay PLUS being out of the house 3 nights this week - Tuesday is info night at Carleton U, Wednesday is parent-teacher interview with the boy's teacher, Thursday is info night at Ottawa U. And to top it all off my kitchen is getting painted starting today, so not sure whether I'll be able to cook dinner in it tonight ... awwwww ... might have to go out for dinner! Poor me! (Lol).

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, November 28, 2008

My Mini Vay-Cay

Well, having to cancel our travel plans at the last minute really wasn't so bad. I had a very relaxing three days. On Wednesday I scrapped; on Thursday I spa'd and shopped (and scrapped a bit) and watched the Sens game on tv; and today I scrapped (and shopped a bit). I made good use of a Michaels 50% off coupon (and it wasn't even on scrap stuff!). While I was there, I took advantage of a 40% off sale on paper packs and picked up some Bazzill, some Basic Grey and a really cool K&Co paper pad with 3-D punch-out snowflakes and gems. No idea what I am going to do with that, but it was too cool to resist. I may have picked up a few other things too ... amazing how large the bill is even when the bag is small!

So I have TONNES of new layouts to share ... but I think I'm going to do it one at a time. That way I'll have something new to show you for the foreseeable future! I've actually had time to scan them all in, stitch those that need stitching, AND post twice to the blog in one day. Ain't vay-cay grand?

Here's a one-pager with one of my very favorite pictures of the boy and his dog. This was taken this summer on one of our frequent drives into town from the cottage. He's reading a comic book ... with Lexi asleep on his thigh. HOW CUTE IS THAT???

Supplies include Love, Elsie patterned paper and stickers. You can't really tell on the scan but I used pop dots for the sticker words as well as the center of the flower.

Well at least I get a weekend before reality hits again on Monday. The weekend will be busy as usual, seeing as though I didn't do any housecleaning or laundry catch-up during my time off. Hopefully I'll find time to sit down at the computer and post another completed layout!


Awwwww ... I heart YOUR blog!

How sweet of Barb to give me a blog award thingie. My very first! I heart her blog and visit it every day - and I love that most days, there's a new post! With pictures! And layouts! Barb's a great blogger ...

Here are three blogs I love ... pass it on!

1. Robyn
2. Rachel
3. Katie

I may not leave comments often (though I should), but I visit daily!!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Putting on the brakes

I can't believe it's already November 25th, one month until Christmas! I have no idea how November happened. Last I remember, I was dressing up for Halloween (lol). Life is way too busy and time goes by way too fast. No time for the good stuff. Do you know that I've only made 5 2008 layouts? And I'm not even done 2007?

So I had taken Wed-Fri off this week because we were supposed to make a family trip to New Hampshire to visit the boy's godparents for American Thanksgiving. And just like last year, the trip has now been cancelled because all of a sudden it seems every last one of the husband's clients want to put an offer in on a house NOW. I swear, the gods conspire against us. But I've decided not to turn my vacation days back in. I worked hard to clear my schedule for 3 days and set myself up for this time away, so I'm going to take a mini vacation at home. I will spa, shop and scrap, not necessarily in that order (we'll see what I feel like when I wake up tomorrow). And I'm not talking about one hour of scrapping, either. Noooooo. I'm talking about spending so much time in that scrap room, the kids think I've left the house. Oh yeah.

So here are the only two layouts I've managed to get done since, I think, September. They've been done for a couple of weeks at least but I haven't had time to scan them til now. Sorry no supply lists (no time - see first paragraph, lol).

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie (2008):

Boo (2007)

Hopefully I'll be back here soon sharing all of the layouts I manage to get done this week (fingers crossed, hopes high!).


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's the little things ...

They say it's the little things that make you happy. Well in this case it's a big thing. A boot big enough for my big calves, that is.

My whole entire life, no matter my weight situation, I've always had large calves. It's gotten worse with age I think (ok, maybe with weight, too). I find it so depressing trying to find boots that fit. I bought a pair last year, but they were riding boot style, with a lower heel, and not all that girly, to tell the truth.

But yesterday, while taking a brief walk on the commercial level of my office building, I walked into a shoe store, saw a pair of boots I liked, asked for help, was told they were the one style that came in a wide calf, tried them on, they fit, they were on 20% off sale, I just happened to have a coupon for 20% off as well in my purse, so I got them for $94 tax in ... 40% off original price! And they fit! And they're girly!

So like I said - it's the little things that make you happy.

Another reason I'm happy today is that I have the day off work. It's Rememberance Day, and government is closed for the day. In truth, I think we should trade off this holiday for Family Day (which, starting last year, is a provincial holiday in February which the kids get but parents who work in federal government don't). I don't know anyone who actually goes to Rememberance Day ceremonies on this holiday - most people start their Christmas shopping (great opportunity to hit Toys R Us without the kids). I was actually going to go in to work today, because I have so much catching up to do, but I brought work home instead. We'll see how that goes. And while I won't be going to any ceremonies, I will make sure to observe a moment of silence at 11:00 while watching the downtown ceremony on tv.

And then maybe, just maybe, I'll spend a bit of time at my scrap desk doing some little thing. Because (say it with me), it's the little things that make you happy!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Okay, Half will be Revealed, and Two Days Late

Lesson learned; one should not promise to "reveal all" by a particular date if one is not 100% sure one will be able to "reveal all" by then. Lol.

So the charitable campaign is going really well. It's taking up way too much of my time, and I truly can't wait for it to be over, but I'm loving how staff are engaged and I'm so impressed at people's generosity and I don't just mean with money - with time and creativity too.

One of the big events of the campaign is the Loonie Race. Six teams compete by laying down over 1,000 loonies each on a pre-determined sticky-tape course. Many government departments do their own race in advance of the big interdepartmental race. But few departments do it the way we do. Over the years, we've incorporated an annual theme and costume contest. Senior management participates alongside all levels of staff and it's a hilarious thing to watch. Turns out, not such a hilarious thing when you're on stage instead of in the crowd watching, though!! The theme this year was Performing Superstars and the sub-theme chosen by the team my Branch was in was alumni of the Mickey Mouse Club. Through circumstances somewhat beyond my control, I was Britney Spears. I was hoping to be able to show you what that looked like, rather than tell you, but so far no decent pictures have surfaced. All sources have not been exhausted (as we had a fair number of paparazzi) so I haven't given up yet.

That was early last week. On Friday, our Branch had a fundraising event where all the senior managers were dressed up for Halloween by their staff and had one hour to roam the floor/building/street/whatever begging for donations. Whoever had the most money at the end of the hour won a really nice prize donated by one of our staff. After the Britney experience I was kind of worried about what my staff would choose to dress me in, but I think they decided to balance out the Britney experience in a big way (see Jennifer, we were dressed alike for Halloween!!!):

Also, they figured no one could refuse a nun asking for money, lol. I ended up raising over $94, but one of the Directors raised over $200 and won the prize. All told, we brought in over $1,000 for charity in 60 minutes! That brings our total raised so far through events, etc. to over $5,700. Best.HRB.Campaign.Ever. I just hope I manage to surmount the backlog in my day job when this is all over!

All righty then. I've technically revealed all, but only managed to show you half. I'll keep looking for a decent picture of me as Britney, but here's a preview ... just imagine her 25 years older, and 25 pounds (uh, conservative estimate) heavier!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Hope you have a creepy, funny, laugh- and chocolate-filled day!!! Speaking of laughs, keep an eye on this blog for some pics of me in costume ... I haven't dressed up for Halloween in years but this week brings not one but two occasions to dress up. Neither costume was chosen by me. Both events are charitable-campaign related. One costume couldn't be any more different than the other. All will be revealed this weekend .... :o)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Winter Storm Watch?!?

We interrupt any pleasant thoughts you might be having at this moment with the following breaking news ... we are on a Winter Storm Watch. What the? It's October 28, for crying out loud. Last night on the news I saw that the area could get anywhere from 15 to 30 cm of snow over the next 24 hours or so. What the?

I thought it was bad last year when we got a spattering of snow on November 16 and it stayed on the ground. I think I'm ready to trade in October 28, 30 cm for that just about now.

Here's a reminder of what we had to put up with last year:

And I leave you with this scary thought ... do your kids have winter boots yet? Ack!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


So the girl and I went to Kingston this weekend to take in a Queens University tour. We made a girls' weekend out of it ... played hookey from work and school on Friday and left early enough to get in a good afternoon of shopping on Princess Street. We had a lovely time. I had booked us in for the night at The Secret Garden Inn bed and breakfast - it was just gorgeous. We had dinner at a vegetarian restaurant called Lotus Heart Blossoms, and a very yummy breakfast on Saturday at the B&B. Just look at how gorgeous and antique-y and just so Kingston-y this place is:

We stayed on the third floor in the Turret Room. It had a huge four poster bed, an antique single bed, a two-sided gas fireplace, a cute reading nook in the turret, and its own private 3 piece bathroom. It also had some extra stuff which B&Bs aren't always known for, such as a tv in the room (small and discreet), wireless internet access (I was going to blog, but was too tired!), and a phone in the room.

Of course I managed to sniff out some scrapbook shopping ... on our way into town from the 401, we stopped at Marchant Rubber Stamps and Paper Memories where I picked up just a few things:

Yes, that's an owl on that patterned paper ... I finally succumbed to the owl trend! Oh, and the yellow and blue leaves weren't a scrapbook store find but rather, something I sniffed out at a cool store called Ten Thousand Villages.

The Queens tour was fairly informative ... we already knew all the technical stuff from poring over the university's website but the tour gives you a real sense of the place. It's clear that they feel they are a very elite school, and a very special close-knit student community. We got to visit an actual residence ... and the girl didn't think it was so bad after all. The bathrooms were "disgusting, but not as disgusting as the ones at the cottage". Lol.

I'm torn about whether she really should consider going away for her undergrad ... on the one hand, I selfishly want her right here where I can take care of her; on the other hand, I also want her to have this experience. And on the third hand, there's the financial incentive to staying home. While I have no doubt she would get accepted at Queens, I suspect that the scholarship dollars will not be as high as she would get from UofO or Carleton; and of course, the costs overall will be much higher.

For what it's worth, she's torn too; because there's a unique program at Carleton that really interests her (Bachelor of Humanities), but the thought of Carleton itself doesn't do much for her. If she were to stay in Ottawa, she'd prefer the University of Ottawa, but if she goes there it'll be for a B.A. with Major in History and Minor in English, to prepare her for Teacher's College - not as exciting an undergrad option as the B. Hum. The thought of Queens - a prestigious university, living away from home, living in Kingston which she loves - really interests her, but the program she would take there (Concurrent Education - a B.Arts + B.Ed) doesn't excite her as much as the B.Hum. does.

Here she is in front of Summerhill, one of the oldest buildings on the campus ... the look on her face says "Mom, your picture-taking obsession is really embarrassing me", doesn't it!!!!

While we have been talking university for over a year now, this is the beginning of an intense, months-long marathon university conversation. She will be making her applications as soon as mid-term marks are out (mid-November or so). I expect she'll get some early admission offers. Final decision needs to be made by the end of May - I think the deadline for accepting an offer is May 26 or so. There will be lots of agonizing between now and then. I wish I knew what the right answer is. Parenting is so hard. You think it'll get easier as they get older ... but you just trade in little dilemmas for big ones, I think! And the biggest dilemma of all ... when should you just take a deep breath and LET GO?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bring on the turkey!

Crazy busy, so here's a three-minute update:

Charitable Campaign: Going well, lots of great fundraising, lots of people pitching in to help

Dog: Good dog. Knock on wood.

Kids: Good kids. Lol. The girl had an award night at school last week, won medal for 90% average last year (again) and won awards for the highest grade in 5 subjects (5!!!!) last year: English, Core French, World Religions, Media Studies, and History pre-16th Century. Just, wow.

Work: Insanely busy.

Thanksgiving: Our traditional hunt camp thanksgiving tomorrow (stuffing is cooking right now, just finished making cranberry sauce, and the turkey goes in the oven at 5 a.m. tomorrow!). Bought a second turkey to cook on Monday. Call me nuts.

That's all for now! I have one layout and a few pictures to share, but no time to scan/download etc.

Hope you all have a very happy Thanksgiving weekend!!!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

That darned hand of mine!

Ooops, I did it again. Just when I thought I had my mind-of-its-own, do-gooder, no-problem-I'll-do it volunteering hand of mine under control, it snuck out from under me (literally - as I do tend to sit on my hands when I feel one of those "hey, who can we suck into doing this thing" situations coming on). And now, I am my sector's Team Captain for the Government of Canada Charitable Campaign.

I accepted the challenge on the day my department launched the campaign. Usually, team captains are picked months in advance of the launch. Accordingly, we had picked a team captain months ago, but (lucky for her, unlucky for us) she got promoted and left for another government department right before the start of the campaign. Still, I kept silent. We sent out emails looking for a replacement. We held staff meetings. We begged, we schmoozed, we pleaded. We came up empty. So I said to my boss, who just happens to be the campaign champion for my department, "gee boss, if no one else steps up, I'll do it". Gah. Because of course, I am really not busy enough and really needed something more to do. Because they have miraculously found an extra 3 hours in every day for me, and my day now has 27 hours to work with, aren't I lucky. Because my assistant, who takes work home already as things stand, really isn't busy enough and has plenty of time to support me in this endeavour. Gah.

Ok, pity party over. I stepped up to the plate, and I am going to give it my all, as always. I actually really love this kind of thing, and the danger here is that I'm going to neglect my "real" job in favour of this really fun campaign stuff. Good thing I don't run a government program where lives are at stake, 'cause Canadians would just have to suck it up while I organize penny drives and karaoke contests. Oh well, the Public Service will just have to renew itself at a slightly slower pace until the campaign is over :o)

So if you have any really groovy fundraising ideas, could you please share? We have a few activities planned already, but I can always use more ideas! And more importantly, if you have any tips on how to control out-of-control hands that pop up in the air whenever anybody is looking for a dedicated individual (aka sucker), share those with me too, please!!!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hockey on my Mind

Ah, the stinky/stale coffee smell of a minor league hockey arena. I LOVE IT. Yup, we're back in the rink! Try-outs started last weekend; we should know by Monday whether the boy will be playing PeeWee B or C this year. He's really hoping for B and has been giving it his all on the ice. I am **such** a hockey Mom - I can't wait for the season to begin so that I can cheer my lungs out from the stands. Trust me, people look atcha funny when you cheer like that during tryouts (blush).

Last year's team picture:

My thoughts last year about a new hockey season:

Yup, I'm a year behind in my hockey scrapbook ... and in just about every other scrapbook I'm working on! Yikes! So much scrapbooking, so little time. I really wish someone would come up with a way for me to scrap all day and still bring home the (same amount of) bacon.

Happy Thursday everyone! :o)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

If a picture is worth a thousand words ...

here's six thousand words for ya!

The view from our room at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel:

Me sipping tea in Old Montreal:

The girl sipping tea in Old Montreal:

The splendour inside Notre Dame Basilica (Old Montreal):

Extreme cuteness in the back seat of my car:

Extreme cuteness in the back yard (wonder what she'll do when she doesn't fit under that table anymore???):

Thanks for coming by!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Bad, Bad Blogger!

It's been almost 3 weeks since my last post. What a bad, bad blogger I've become! I'm trying not to feel too guilty about it though, since real life really does need to take precendence over virtual life once in a while. I've thought about blogging lots, but just haven't had much time to sit at the computer. So here's what you didn't read about over the last 3 weeks (sorry - no pictures; haven't had time to upload any!):

Trip to Montreal - My trip to Montreal with the girl was a blast! Everything went well from the get-go. When we arrived in Montreal by train around 11:30 a.m. and went up to the Queen Elizabeth Hotel to store our luggage til check-in time, we ended up getting a better room (same price) available immediately (bonus!). We went from a room with one queen-sized bed on the not-so-great-views side of the hotel, to a room with two doubles and a terrific view. The girl was very impressed with our accommodations. After we checked in and settled in somewhat, we set out to discover the famous underground city ... an unbelievable number of inter-connected shopping malls! We are not shopping queens, though. We were pretty tired after just a couple of hours, and started to notice that the stores weren't all that different from the ones back home, and not even all that different from one mall to another. We came out from underground and shopped on Ste Catherine a bit, but it really was more of the same. We ended Day 1 with the following purchases in hand: 2 pairs of shoes, one notebook and some sort of asian cookie stick treat (the girl), and 2 pairs of shoes and two notebooks (me). Don't get excited about the shoe purchases - mine were flip flops and walking shoes, nothing to write home - or on my blog - about. After a brief post-shopping rest, we consulted with the concierge re where to go for dinner, and ended up eating at a lovely Italian restaurant on Bishop. The food and service was superb, and to our surprise, after our meal, we were offered drinks compliments of our hotel's concierge. We ended our lovely day by watching an in-room chick flick. Day 2 started with coffee in bed, breakfast at the hotel, check-out, and a long walk through Vieux Montréal including a visit of the Notre Dame Basilica where I lit some candles in memory of my sister, mother and father. When we stepped out of the Basilica a street musician was playing the Avé Maria (one of my mother's favorites, and the song we played at her funeral). An easy coincidence of course, given the venue, but still, I feel like I connected with my mother somehow. Later, the girl and I had a lovely vegetarian lunch at a really cool asian tea room. We then proceeded to walk all the way back up to downtown, and then all the way up to the McGill University campus, and then all around the campus ... by which time we were sore, blistered and ready to go home. We spent our last couple of hours before boarding the train resting in the Queen Elizabeth hotel lobby and grabbing a quick bite to eat in one of the hotel restaurants. Despite our exhaustion, we were very thrilled with our short girls' trip.

A week at the cottage (also known as The Vacation From Hell) - Our original, pre-dog plan was to take a trip with the kids to New Hampshire to visit the boy's godparents, including a side trip to Cape Cod so the husband and I could celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary where we honeymooned. Post-dog, this plan had to change, since Lexi is too young for the kennel and taking her along was out of the question. We decided to rent a cottage in the Rideau Lakes area. We've rented this cottage before, but only for weekends. Turns out it's not the best venue for an entire week of cottage-ing (not right by the water, not a very well equipped kitchen, not enough space - and honestly, not that well maintained). Add to that the fact that the husband suddenly got extremely busy with 3 different real estate deals requiring immediate attention, and therefore basically commuted for the first few days; and the fact that the daughter hated it there from the point of arrival and kept going on about how disgusting everything was; and the fact that the boy loved it there so much and always wanted to be at the beach or fishing but couldn't go as much as he wanted since we weren't right by the water and he needed to be accompanied/supervised; and the fact that we have a dog now, a puppy that needs constant supervision; well, it wasn't the most restful vacation. We ended up bringing the girl home a couple of days early (she went to her grandmother's) and then we ended up coming home a day early ourselves (we were just ready to head home). The husband and I have promised ourselves a weekend away later this fall so we can properly celebrate our 20th.

One year older, and one year old - I celebrated my 42nd birthday last week (yes, during the vacation from hell). The dog gave me a card (totally cute - she brought it to me herself). The kids gave me some great presents ... fashion jewelry, nail polish, lip gloss, candy, scrapbooking stuff and a certificate from the girl for breakfast in bed and cooking one full dinner. The husband knows what makes me happy ... a gift card to the spa that I probably won't be able to spend all in one shot (woohoo!). As for the "one year old" - this blog turned one on September 1! Can't believe I missed it!

Back to school - Both kids went back to school on Tuesday. The girl is in her last year of high school now. They totally screwed up her schedule, gave her two spares next semester and, horror of horrors, added math to her schedule for this semester. Math. The.Worst.Subject.Ever. Within a day it was all worked out though, turns out math was just a big mistake, she has a spare instead, and next term one of her spares is actually because she is taking an online course. So all is well with the world. The boy is now in Grade 7 (the biggest change appears to be having a locker). Happily, he is in the same class as 2 of his 3 best friends. Unhappily, he started feeling sick a few hours after getting home from school on Tuesday and by evening he was barfing every half hour or so. He was still sick the next morning, and had a fever as well, and had to stay home from school That doesn't start out the year on a very good foot!!

Back to hockey - The boy got back on the ice Monday night for conditioning camp. Boy, was he tired and sore afterwards! As far as I'm concerned it's a good thing he stays away from hockey during summer; it shouldn't become an obsession, kids should take a break. Unfortunately though, it does make for a rough start when the hockey season rolls around. He had to miss a session yesterday because he still had a fever. I hope he is well enough to attend the last session tomorrow night. Sort-outs (house league equivalent of try-outs) start September 14th. In NHL news ... the season is almost here! Pre-season starts this month, and guess what - the husband got me tickets in his company box for the Sens-Canadiens pre-season game on the 27th! Woohoohoo!

Back to scrapping - Good news! The thought of going back into the hockey rink motivated me to scrap a couple of hockey pages this week. Haven't had time to scan them though, but I will soon, and will post them here for you.

Our little baby is growing up - So we've now had Lexi for almost 2 months now. She's come a long way but she's still a puppy who needs lots of attention! In the last 8 weeks she's more than doubled her weight .. she's settled in fairly well into a routine ... she's doing much better on walks now ... she doesn't nip as much anymore, except for the boy, who she nips as often as she can get away with it. Happy to report that she's still utterly cute, which continues to save her behind when she is being a nasty dog.

Living with one less bathroom - Ever since our bathroom renovations began over a month ago, we haven't been using the master bathroom (we had no sink in there, and there was a bunch of tools and plaster dust etc. all over the place). Well with the first week of school under our belts, we quickly realized that 4 people simply cannot all get ready for the day in one family bathroom (ok, they can - many people do it - but we've been spoiled for years, and just can't hack it). So tonight the husband finished hooking up the new sink and by Monday my new bathroom will be fully up and running (after a few finishing touches from Home Depot and Home Sense tomorrow).

So I hope sincerely hope y'all haven't completely given up on me, and that you're still coming by and reading my blog! I promise I'll update soon with pictures of Montreal, the cottage, the dog and maybe even the bathroom!

Meanwhile, have a great weekend!

Monday, August 18, 2008

And in other news ...

I know it seems as though this blog has been about nothing but dog lately. I apologize for that, but as previously mentioned, our life has been pretty narrowly focussed on dog so it's been hard to blog about anything else!!!

So in an effort to demonstrate that we do still have a life, here's a few non-dog thoughts...

1: Today is the first day of my second summer vacation. Two weeks plus one Monday off, yay!!! Work has been super-intensive for the last three weeks as I was replacing my boss. I've stepped in for vacationing DG's before, but with my previous boss it was expected to be maintenance mode (ie, just keep the shop running, no meetings with the deputy minister etc.) but this time around it was full-blast mode (many meetings with the deputy minister, which resulted in many new small, medium and large projects to tackle!!!). I'll be looking forward to having just MY job to do when I get back!

2: The girl and I are taking an overnight girls' trip to Montreal tomorrow. Really, really looking forward to staying in a fancy, classic hotel, shopping in the underground city as well as on Ste-Catherine, dinner...(somewhere - we haven't decided, so much to choose from!), visiting a university campus and perhaps walking around Old Montreal, too. We're taking the train, so even travel time there and back will be an adventure!

3: We've rented a cottage for a week, and I'm looking forward to relaxing (swimming, boating, fishing, eating, drinking, campfire-ing, sleeping, and doing it all over again the next day). The husband will likely need to do a bit of back-and-forth to home because of work, hopefully not too much. The kids will probably both bring friends for part of the trip, so the husband and I have decided to camp out in a tent and let the kids have the run of the cottage.

4: It's our 20th wedding anniversary (and my 42nd birthday) on August 27th. We'll be celebrating around the campfire, but later this fall we're hoping to go away for a couple of days, just the two of us. My nephew has agreed to come sleep at our place while we're gone, just so that there's an "adult" (can't believe I'm using that term to describe my 25 y.o. nephew!) in the house at night. As much as I like cottages and campfires, I think 20 years deserves something a little more special ... (actually, a cottage and a campfire without the kids would be special enough for me!)

5: According to the calendar in my scraproom, the last time I sat down to scrap was August 9th. There's half a hockey layout on my desk, I'm actually really happy with how it's turning out and am anxious to finish it! Next, I'm going to scrap some pictures of the dog...(what else, lol...). I have some great Love, Elsie paper and just the right pictures for it. I feel the creative bug nibbling at my soul, but alas, no time to scrap right now!

6: Can't believe school starts again in less than two weeks. The boy will be in Grade 7 (but isn't changing schools - his school goes to Gr. 8). The girl is going into Grade 12 - her last year. I just know there will be many agonized conversations about university applications, this program vs that program, in-town vs out-of-town, scholarships ... we've been having those conversations for over a year now, but nothing has yet been resolved, and we're getting down to the crunch.

Ok, I will leave you with a couple of pictures that prove that we take pictures of things other than dog...and I will also leave you with a picture of dog, because she's sooo cute (thank goodness for that):

Sister M, the girl and I in Westport earlier this summer:

The boy and a bear ... also in Westport earlier this summer (no worries, it's stuffed):
And the dog ... because truth be told ... in the end, it's all about the dog!!

Have a good week everyone ... I'll try and come back and tell you all about our Montreal adventure!