These are some of my most favourite images of my mother.
This one in particular. Look at all that stuff on the shelves! I look at this picture and I'm filled with so much wonder. What was it that sold for just 10 cents? Was a store like this busy back in the day? Who took this picture? Did my mother have any idea what her life would turn out like? What did she dream her life would be?
That smile! So bright and hopeful for the future. So happy to be in the present.
And this one... my goodness. What a classy lady! What style and composure! I wish style in the 2000s was like this. Instead we have little girls wearing belly shirts and off the shoulder sweaters. Not to mention what teenagers are wearing...
As a little girl I loved when Mom would pull this baby out of the drawer. It was dusty royal blue in colour. It was "knobby" and fit more like hotpants than a bathing suit. And... wait for it... my favourite FAVOURITE part was the hard plastic lining inside the bust to keep the shape. It was hilarious to my young mind, the idea preposterous. So silly. Every single time it made an appearance, with it's full cups raring to go, I would laugh and laugh and always hoped my mother would try it on one last time. She never did. But look at her there in all her sunbathing glory 50 years ago in July 1965 . Wasn't she just adorable? Seriously.
Looking like a movie star, with her bed neatly made and her dresser tidy and obviously dusted. What did that perfume in the bottle smell like? What I'd give to see this dress in real life. And to have inherited my mother's thin arms.
I look at those hands of her's in that picture ablove, slender fingers bejewelled with fancy rings, and I am filled with appreciation for all those hands did for my life. Those hands changed my diapers, bathed me in warm water, chopped and washed and cooked all the food that kept me growing and healthy. Those hands brushed and braided my hair, taught me to print my own name and to this day, those hands sign cards filled with love to my children. Her grandchildren. Pretty amazing stuff.
My mom, one month wed. Someone's cracking her up. I wonder what that conversation went like. Who was she talking to?
Style and grace. I remember Kim and I played with those kitten-heeled, size 10, white satin wedding shoes. We clomped around the house in them endlessly until we finally made them unwearable. I assume they eventually made their way to the garbage bag. And that crown. We loved that even more. I remember fishing it from a "junk" drawer in my mother dresser, flatten beneath reams of our colourful school work and papers. I think Kim and I both wore it with our First Holy Communion dresses. I think it survived the test of time. I'm sure I've seen it somewhere in the last decade or so.
I think my love of weddings stemmed from seeing my mother's wedding pictures so long ago. I loved the rare opportunity I had to flip through her wedding album. It lay on the bottom of the small stack of family albums on the shelf in her closet. It hardly ever came out of the closet but when it did, I was all over it.
One day Mom finally caved in to my constant requests to see the actual dress. We went down into the basement where she poked around the dusty rafters and, there tucked in under the old yellow and orange tent that leaked like a basket, was the dress.
I was ten and I couldn't believe how tiny it was. I tried pulling my arms through but the sleeves wouldn't go past my elbows! It was tiny and elegant. And looked so bloody uncomfortable.
This is sooooo Ingrid's thing, too. She keeps asking to see my wedding dress and someday I'll turn the big reveal into a big special occasion. My dress is also in a box in the basement.
Like mother like daughter in a million little ways.
Happy Birthday Mom!
... or how I plan on surviving our first day of Christmas break at home with three all by myself...
We're going to finally decorate our white tree!
Derek decided to move the tree from upstairs where it was mostly just in the way and rarely lit to the playroom. I found some pretty girly ornaments on sale the other night and decided it was high time to decorate it.
I was going to decorate it myself when the children went to bed and tell them the elf did it because I didn't want to have to deal with another round of fighting over who got to put on more ornmanents...
But them I came to my senses and realized that I could use "let's decorate the tree" as a major time killer on Monday when I have them all to myself.
Is it just me or is November 15th too early for a Santa Claus parade? Am I the only one who feels awkward, to the point of being unable to make eye contact, when the people in the parade wave and wish you a Merry Christmas? On November 15th? I mean it was Hallowe'en a mere 15 days ago, for goodness sake!
I feel so bad for children today for some many reasons. The ridiculously early beginning to Christmas is one of them. I remember how hard it was to wait for Santa Claus. I remember being stupid-giddy when, on December 22, the lights went up on the outside eave and the tree got hauled inside, leaving a trail of already dry needles in its wake. I remember knowing within just a few days of that tree going up Santa would be here. Back then Christmas prep was short but intense. It was awesome. Now? Can you imagine how it must feel to be a child and watch that tree go up on the very first day of December knowing that Santa was still practically a month away? That the threat of a call to Santa was always imminent? As if that threat isn't bad enough, the bloody elf on the shelf reporting back to Santa EVERY SINGLE NIGHT must drive a child absolutely crazy. It is insane and totally unfair. No wonder there are so many stressed out children now. Commercialism is destroying childhood one little life at a time.
Even so... we brought our crew out to welcome the man in red back from the North Pole at our local parade.
Ingrid and Elodie look so enthusiastic, don't they?
Derek was channelling rainbows today. The man has no shame.
These next three pictures are of Elodie after she and Derek took a walk to the school a dozen metres or so down the road from our perch where they were selling cookies and hot chocolate. On the way back they happened upon a fellow sitting in a lawnchair waiting for the parade to start. He looked EXACTLY like Santa, long white beard and all. Derek told Elodie he thought it might be the real one. (Our answer to the question of why do all the santas we see look different? Some are just other elves helping Santa out but the trick is YOU CAN NEVER TELL WHICH ONE IS REAL.)
She was legitimately ___baked.
Quite as a mouse for a loooooong time.
Thinking hard about who she had seen and if her behaviour was good or not.
Pure torture on a three year old. And yet, like most other people, we will fight to keep the ruse up for as long as possible.
Danica was happy to join us so long as we didn't expect her to wear socks or shoes. Also, Derek had to carry her.
Elodie is such a little old lady sometimes.
Someone came by and slipped a candy caned into her clasped hand. She kept it there for a long time.
Sometimes she smiled. But not often.
Most of the time she sported this face. She got a few curious looks from the passing girl guide troop.
Elsa, Anna and Aurora. Day. MADE.
Hello tiny Canadian.
I have to say ReMax's Frozen float was pretty cool.
And then there's me and my three little princesses. Danica fell asleep and missed Santa.
Elodie is a little pixie. She is so, so smart and has many different interests that she explores the depth and breadth of. She loves to play, loves toys and is fantastic at entertaining herself. She will often go into the living room or her bedroom and play act with her toys, talking and chatting away to them as if they are real. She has a great imagination. She is organized, always tidying up, putting things away, closing cupboard doors... She is full of life.
Her room right now is a vivid display of her giant personality.
She set her drawer up by herself and does a good job maintaining it.
Of all the sisters, her room is the smallest so being organized and tidy will work in her favour.
She loves all things princess-y, opting to wear a princess dress whenever one is clean enough to do so!
She still loves Ninja Turtles, too.
Her favourite is the one with the red mask. (I really should make an effort to learn their names.)
Her beloved "monsters" all lined up in a neat row. She loves those things. Sometimes I'll find them in her bed, snuggled up with her as best as Lego creatures can before they fall to pieces.
Loving the juxtaposition of the monsters against the sparkly dresses. I hope her interests always remain so varied and wide.
I cannot wait to see where life takes this very determined little girl of mine.
After doing it for her for the last six years, Ingrid wrote her own letter to Santa this year.
She scoured her latest American Girl Doll magazine and proceeded to sound out everything she wanted and printed it all out, slowly, deliberately.
She was very proud of herself that she didn't ask for anything for herself. It's all for her doll, she says. Hmmmm....
Per my directions, she left it on the table so I could put it in an envelope to send to Santa. When I went back later that night to get it, I found it torn into several pieces. Apparently Danica pulled up to the table and was able to reach in just far enough to knock it to the floor, where she did significant damage. Honestly, I nearly cried when I saw it there like that. She worked so hard on it. She was okay about it, though. She said "I'll just do it again." Had it been Elodie, though, there'd have been a funeral to attend next week.
In other news, now that Danica is a whole year old, Derek and I decided to start her room for real. It's almost done! Danica helped Derek peel off the painters tape. Just the closet left now!
It started off that way but ended up being a half a day in the life when Elodie confiscated my camera and attitudes diminished to the point of no return... mine included.
Every now and then I try to capture how things are in our everyday life. It won't be long before these days of ordinary simpleness are gone. I'm going back to work next fall and 10:00am grocery store runs won't be happening again. Little girls are growing up fast. Soon those little girl toes will touch the floor when she sits on the toilet.
I specifically took these pictures because they tell a story of the tiny details of my life as a stay-at-home mom. Tiny details that are huge to me and I never want to forget. I'm going back to work next fall and forever more everything we become more complicated and less enjoyable. Not that things are uncomplicated and completely enjoyable now, but they are guaranteed to be less so then.
So here goes... a half day in my life...
The reason why...
...because soon those little girls toes will touch the floor.
... because every morning the four of us hop in the car and drive the one kilometre to Ingrid's school where we get in line to drop her off. (Ingrid is in the car, too, behind Danica.) I used to see other people doing this and never thought that Ingrid would ever be okay with being dropped off. And yet she is. Little girls are growing up.
... because the troops are sometimes hard to mobilize once we get back home so we made a quick run to the grocery store for some essentials after dropping Ingrid off. Notice there is nothing in the top basket because Danica grabs at everything and opens it if she can or throws it on the floor. She once put two giant grapes in her mouth and proceeded to choke before I noticed. She also sometimes rotates 360 in that little seat. WITH the seatbelt on.
... because I no longer miss living here. There were good times in this house but it's finally a part of my past. Just a part of the story now.
... because there are signs of a busy life right inside the front door. There are toys everywhere in this house of ours, there's a lot of pink in our lives, Christmas shopping has begun in earnest (the box is a chair base from IKEA for Ingrid), Hallowe'en costumes are still waiting to be put away, clocks still haven't been set back, chairs are still out from breakfast.
... because Ingrid and Elodie fight tirelessly over a silly, pink and purple BABY spoon. So much so I've had to hide it because they just can't seem to take turns and this particular spoon is no longer on the market. Elodie was delighted with herself for finding it clean in the drawer and came into the laundry room, her chosen cereal in tow, to announce "Look what I founnnnnnnd!"
... because washing her hands is always a challenge. She sits on the edge of the sink and puts her little feet in the sink. The inevitably get wet. The footed pjs only complicate that matter. But look at that tiny hand... growing up too fast.
... because someone won't stop growing and will only wear leggings, I bought her a new pair of pretty sparkly size 4T at our earlier grocery store stop.
... because the laundry never stops and little babies keep exploring.
... because sometimes during the day I need a mental break from the constant doll-playing, snack making and vacuuming running. I try to keep my files organized but sometimes they need a little TLC, too.
... because monkeys abound and steal the limelight from me. As it should be.
... because Danica sits on the stairs while I vacuum (again!) and Elodie asks "Can I take a picture now, MOM?"
It was 2:00 by this time, Danica had not yet napped, Elodie had not yet eaten anything nutritious and I was done with the whole thing.
It's one of the most wonderful times around here! We are all very excited about Hallowe'en and can't wait to get it going!
After we dropped Ingrid off at school, Elodie, Danica and I spent the day putting the final touches in place for our trick-or-treaters, our guests and, of course, our own little girls who are SO excited to hit the street this evening!
First up was getting our treats in order. Danica's help was much appreciated.
A few last minute decorations. I tend to stay away from glittery things because it goes everywhere but this $3 clearance Boo from the Superstore begged me to take it home. So I did.
Costumes in waiting...
Elodie took a breather to chat with her little buddies. She has been a reluctant potty pooper so Derek has been bribing her with these little Lego Mixel creatures. So far it's been working. She loves them and can remember all their names! She talks to them and for them. It's very entertaining.
She spent quite a bit of time here like this.
Here's a sample of life with Elodie and her monsters.
Meanwhile, I set the table for when our guests arrive.
I bought those little decals at Dollarama. They are intended to be put on drinking glasses but since our meal was a relatively "dry" meal I thought they would hold up on the plates just as well.
For supper I made something simple that I knew the children would be more likely to eat...
That would be mummy dogs (which I burned because I got too busy talking to Cindy and forgot to check them) and smiley fries, the closest things I could get to pumpkins. I bought caesar salad, too.
Those are sesame seed eyes.
Aunt Cindy works with special needs teenagers and young adults in Montreal. She loves to talk about and share stories of her little nieces with her students. One of the students, Tina, is apparently quite smitten with Elodie so she brought in this mask from her father's store and asked Cindy to give it to Elodie. Elodie was over the moon!
Finally ready to go! The waiting and getting ready for Ingrid is the hardest part. She can't wait!
Poor Danica. She wears size 18 months to 2T and yet I smushed her into a six month butterfly costume. She was a trooper, though. Then again she usually is so long as she is in Derek's arms.
Thanks to Cindy, this is the first year ever that I've been able to go out on the trick or treat trail.
I loved it! It was so much fun! Ingrid and Elodie were adorable as they went from house to house. Ingrid led the way, determining which house was next and Elodie did her best to keep up.
It was interesting to see our house from across the street.
Some people had cool decorations and some people are very peculiar themselves.
Elodie was drawn to this house like a moth to a flame. She couldn't wait to go there and made a beeline for the "big, fluffy pumpkin". The mom at this house is pretty cool, too.
Ingrid's little friends live at this house. Their decorations were pretty awesome.
And that wraps up another year. We had about 80 treaters come to our house this year. Hopefully next year there will be more! We love Hallowe'en!