Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Blue Skies, Crazy Days

I’m sitting in my sewing room watching a pair of giant birds soaring around a blue sky, still reeling from the events of yesterday.  It wasn’t a tragedy but it was wall to wall crazy from morning til night. 

I was sitting in this same spot two days ago.  I was contemplating how well I had done at getting meals on the table all week, I was feeling a bit like a rock star.  People should be screaming my name as I pass by.  Oh wait, they do that already, only they think I’m their mother.  I opened my calendar to see what I had on that day and my bubble was burst.  It was only Monday.  Just what meals did I think I had created so far?  I do not know.

When I laid eyes on Abigail I realized something was not ok.  She was covered from head to toe in hives and her little face was swollen not quite beyond recognition but definitely enough to make you jump.  I spent the day giving antihistamines, going to doctors appointments and discovering that she had hives due to an unknown allergen that is silently lurking in our house or yard.  I realize this was the day before the crazy day but it relates. 

Later that night, way later, after several doses of antihistamine and worsening hives I decided to take her to the emergency room just to be sure she wasn’t going to stop breathing in the night.  They gave steroids, advised continuing antihistamines and gave a prescription for an epi pen just in case.  I got home and fell into bed sometime around midnight.

Morning came way too quickly for my liking but there was much to do.  I had plans.  The first thing to overset these plans was the wet bed of one child whose pull-up had leaked.  Laundry pushed down the line to accommodate emergency sheet washing.  Breakfast, shower, try to find bathing suit (don’t ask) and try to find position in which it makes me look like a supermodel (involves everyone in a 2 mile radius having their eyes closed unfortunately), 15 minutes of concentrated effort tidying in one room, go downstairs to find rest of house trashed by 2 year old in my absence.

Get ready to leave the house to run errands, can’t find dog.  Did I mention we got a dog?  We did, she’s a 9 month old shih poo (please for your own safety do not try to say that fast if you are anywhere near a swear jar).  Her name is Pepper and she is adorable.  She is also having her period right now.  Anyway, she was lost, couldn’t find her anywhere.  We searched the house from top to bottom and back again.  We went outside and called her name like maniacs.  I yelled at the kids for leaving doors open and even brought mosquitos into the rant.  I imagined her gallivanting around the neighborhood becoming impregnated by any mangy mutt she could lay her paws on. 

Finally Kaitlyn found her locked in the master bedroom which is currently being occupied by James’ dad (a long story).  Much later in the day he came home to find a special “gift” from Pepper.  I don’t know where she hid it because I did actually check the room to make sure any such “gift” had not been gifted.  Poor little thing had followed me in there on my bathing suit mission and got stuck. 

So we finally get to the car.  The kids were saying something about a smell but smells are nothing out of the ordinary around here.  I made it to the car and was nearly knocked on my butt by the smell of death emanating from my beautiful car.  It was then that I heard “oh, yeah, I kind of left my egg in there”.  Firstly, they are not supposed to eat in my chariot and secondly, an egg?  What the heck? Gloves, paper towels, plastic bag and lots of disinfecting spray later I had it cleaned up but man rotten eggs have serious hang time!

Finally we were on our way.  We made it to the pharmacy to pick up the prescriptions from last night, managed to divert the cries for a “selsa” balloon (Frozen) but unfortunately my back was turned when little miss long arms got hold of two stuffed My Little Pony dolls.  I let her hold them while I finished my transaction and then I told the other kids to get ready.  I wrenched them from her vice like grip, put them back with their friends and gave the command.  Run girls! To the door!  I pushed the cart and I’m quite sure I created a Doppler effect with the screams as we went.

Next stop, supermarket.  It was a quick visit, just the normal hi jinks there.  Got home in time for lunch and I made this green salsa, which we all decided we could just sit and eat with a spoon. 

Next up was a visit to the skating rink to find out why Emily had not been responding to texts all day.  She had left the phone in James’ car, which was why her GPS locator told me she was currently in a pond.  James’ car was not in a pond but apparently her phone thought it was.  While I went into the rink I left the other kids in the car (with it running and the air con on).  They listened to music while I was gone and were angelic in their countenance and still buckled into their seats when I got back.  Well, not quite.  They were listening to music.  One of them informed me that she had succumbed to an overwhelming desire to pee.  Never mind that there was a bathroom just steps away.  I had her strip off and since I had nothing for her to slip into she rode butt naked in her sister’s booster seat rolling down the window the whole way home.  I drove carefully so as not to attract the attention of any law enforcement officers.  Can you imagine explaining that?

When we got home I discovered that not only had unauthorized peeing been happening but also chewing gum had been found and consumed.  Also it had been stuck in great strands to the windows, inside and out.  I never did find out why that was.

I thought I was in the home stretch now, just dinner to prep and James would be home and then kids would go to bed and all would be well with the world.  No, that was not to be.  When we got home it was discovered that Pepper had a problem, she needed to poop (again apparently) but it was all stuck to her furry butt and causing her much discomfit.  More gloves, wipes, scissors and tail holding.  She was all cleaned up but still wasn’t quite herself.  Still, I needed to feed the hungry masses and it was already getting late.  I disinfected myself and made stuffed summer squash for dinner. 

James came home to drop Emily and then had to go back to work.  I sat with the girls at dinner time and was asked in a voice full of awe and a touch of disbelief “Mummy, were you born in 19 something?”  This question was quickly followed by more along the lines of what telephones looked like and how we survived without cellphones and the internet. 

Next, bedtime for the kids and then another look at the dog who still hadn’t perked up.  I searched the internet (how would I have coped in the olden days?) and found that dogs have anal glands.  They didn’t have these when I was a kid.  I discovered that it was now my job to “milk” these little glands of doom.  More gloves, full on bath for the dog and a good spray down with disinfectant for myself. 

Finally bedtime for me but still no James.  I had a restless night because there was no James although I did share my bed with a clean dog, an Emily, a stuffed panda, stuffed cat and stuffed dog.

I was woken this morning by a surprisingly cheerful James. He had finally made it home after working all night.  He was carrying a freshly made coffee for me.  What a guy!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

26 Bullet Points To Sum Up The Past 10 Months

I haven’t written a post in a really long time.  There has been a lot going on so I will summarise with bullet points. 

  • Summer 2014 happened.  We didn’t make it to the beach which made me sad.
  • Emily started an online school which she does from home.  She loves it and so do we.
  • We decided to buy a house, so we did and we moved one town over in October.  We are very happy.
  • The leaves fell off the trees (all except one tree which was really weird).
  • Kaitlyn played indoor soccer, it was fun except the early Saturday morning games (7 am, what!!)
  • We got a puppy for Kaitlyn for Christmas.  The surprise was ruined by Amazon but she still thought it was cool. 
  • James’ mom continues her battle with cancer.  In January they moved in with us to be closer to her hospital while her treatment is ongoing. 
  • James lost his job.
  • James got a new job really close to our house (no more commute – yay).
  • James shoveled a path through the snow on the deck so he could BBQ.  He didn’t let the deepest recorded snow ever stop him!  It tasted amazing.
  • We bought an eighth of a cow, named him Terrence and are enjoying eating him piece by piece (sorry vegetarians/vegans).
  • We signed up for a local CSA and are eagerly awaiting the weekly influx of fresh and locally grown fruit and veges.
  • My parents came for their long planned return visit.
  • James and I had to move to the basement to sleep while the house is full of extra people.  This involved a late night emergency trip to IKEA one night when the air mattress didn’t work out for us. 
  • We replaced my van with an SUV and we can now fit everyone including the grandparents in at one time.
  • Abigail had her first ever birthday party.  It was a blast.  She will turn 5 on Mother’s Day this year.
  • Isabel has taken to removing her nappy in her cot (just imagine the horror).  In response, we have taken to duct taping the tabs closed so she can’t.  This is the first child we’ve had to do this to since Emily.
  • Emily burned herself on the chest with chicken pot pie gravy and will need a skin graft to fix it.  She wondered what kind of food they would have at the hospital and we decided it probably wouldn’t be chicken pot pie.  We go in on Monday for a mother/daughter overnight experience.  I think we both wish it was a mother/daughter trip to get pedicures instead.
  • My parents went to England to visit my sister.  They’ll be back in June.
  • The gas guy came around to replace the gas meter (every 7 years apparently) just as I discovered the dog had peed on the floor and Abigail proudly announced that she had peed in her underpants too!
  • Pepper (the dog) had a slight reaction to eating too many crayons and threw up on my new couch cushion.  It wasn’t even a cool colour.
  • I just now got Abigail’s proper birth certificate in the mail so she can start school in September.
  • This is just the highlights, how am I still functioning?
  • I just looked in the mirror and noticed all the little hairs around my top lip have turned white at the roots and I have a pimple on my nose.
  • It’s ok, I took care of my little problem from the bullet point above, there’s no use looking for them next time you see me.
  • This was supposed to be the year of awesomeness.  Can we please get back to that now?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Just Another Day

Today just got crazier as it went on.  I think its done now.  I really hope it is because I can’t imagine what else could happen.

It started out just fine, breakfast, older kids to their respective summer activities and then Abigail, Isabel and I went grocery shopping.  I managed to stop Abigail from repeating herself when she asked, extremely loudly, whether someone was a boy or a girl.  I felt proud about that.  I shouldn’t have, I know that now.

We made it through the checkout while only mildly harassing the cashier about why she didn’t have a cat.  That was after sharing with the poor man who was trying to pick out potato salad that the orange fish (salmon - much desired being the favourite colour of Abigail) first had to be killed before we could eat it.  Otherwise it would be mean and apparently the fish doesn’t mind dying for the cause in the least.  We smiled sweetly at another man who had a horrified look on his face when the angelic looking Isabel screeched so loud that ears were ringing for several minutes.  She wasn’t even mad, she was so happy she needed to share with the whole town.

We made it through the Dunkin Donuts drive though because Mummy needed re-caffeinating at that point.  We made it all the way home even through the screaming because we “might” be going the wrong way.  We weren’t.

We got all the groceries inside the house, the baby put down for a nap and we cut up the orange fish into portions for the freezer.  We talked the orange fish through the ordeal.

I decided that although the house looked like it had been ransacked by a team of bandits we should tidy just one section of it.  I chose the dining room because it seemed like a good place to start and it seemed achievable.  We swept the floor, changed the table cloth and went through the school work that had been dumped on the floor at the end of the term.  When finished we stood back and enjoyed our one clean room with smiles on our faces.

We then watched Frozen for the 58th time. I totally forgot to make lunch.  Isabel slept through it anyway and I think Abigail ate blueberries.  It was time to get Emily and then shortly after to get Kaitlyn.  I loaded the littlies up in the car and gave them snacks to tide them over while we drove.  In between pickups we went to a shop since we were too early for pickup but too late to go back home.

We lost Abigail three times in the shop before we made it to the checkout.  We then got the one checkout operator who was thoroughly unimpressed with small children.  She wasn’t mean to them, she just chose to pretend they didn’t exist.  Abigail would have none of that and after trying to start up a conversation several times she resorted to climbing up onto the counter so that she would be noticed.  All in the time it took to buy 2 pairs of jandals.  I will be forever grateful that Abigail failed to notice the lady behind us who was of more than substantial rotundness, attired in a rather revealing hot pink dress and had bright blue hair.  

After we got home it was almost time to get the dinner started.  Emily had some computer work to do and Abigail had to finish Frozen.  I finally fed the baby some actual food which made her simultaneously happy and caused her to pee.  I found my morning coffee sitting where I had forgotten it earlier in the day. 

Just before I got to actually start dinner my phone started going off.  We were under a tornado warning and were instructed to go to the basement immediately.  I was trying not to alarm the kids but telling them to go to the basement is an alarming request.  They took it pretty well but it became obvious that we are not the most emergency savvy group of people.  After I got everyone settled down I looked around and realized that we had managed to grab quite an astounding array of stuff.  Emily, of course, had her blanket and several stuffed animals along with a computer.  Kaitlyn had a phone and several other trinkets.  Abigail had her blanket (which she had actually run back for) and a pair of shoes, something that she had failed to take with her on any of our previous outings today.  I had managed to grab the baby, a seat to strap her into, a camping chair, phone charger, cat and my purse. 

We had failed to bring a much needed nappy for the baby and we couldn’t find the emergency lantern because it was lost in one of the kids bedrooms after being used as a night light (without parental permission).  Thank goodness the power didn’t go out.

We didn’t have to stay down in the basement for too long. The kids spent their time amusing themselves with Daddy’s star trek Mr Potato Head toys although we never did find Uhura’s legs.

We came back upstairs and I was finally able to prepare dinner.  I made salad, baked sweet potatoes and cooked the orange fish.  It took some wrangling to get everyone to the table but we got there.  All was peaceful until Kaitlyn asked for the salad dressing to be passed.  We practiced good manners both in the asking and responding.  I thought it went well.  Except that Kaitlyn noticed the dressing (which I had made in a jam jar) had become separated and needed a vigorous shake to mix it up.  She decided to perform this vigorous shake shortly after loosening the lid.  The resulting shower she received was nothing short of spectacular. 

There was a short silence during which we all sat there in shock.  Emily was wondering when Mummy was going to start yelling at Kaitlyn.  Abigail was wondering when it was ok to laugh and Kaitlyn was desperately trying to decide whether to cry or defend herself just as vigorously as she has shaken that dressing.  I decided it was best to laugh about it.  We all collapsed into giggling heaps and I was unable to pull myself together in time to warn Kaitlyn not to go anywhere.  My pride in my only clean room was dissolving fast.  Fortunately when I talk of tablecloths I really mean those cheap disposable plastic ones you get at Wal-Mart and not expensive fabric ones.  I gave up on those ones with baby number one.

Emily and Kaitlyn immediately took off upstairs to get in the bathtub.  They had been biding their time waiting for me to say the word and apparently this overrode anything I had to say on the matter.  I was helpless to stop them as I sat and wondered how long it would take to clean this mess and then how long it would take to clean the inevitable mess they were now making in my bathroom.

Abigail quickly followed her big sisters and almost as quickly came back down in a crumpled state because they had thrown her out.  She was completely naked and sobbing “but I’m already naked, why they won’t let me in?”

I let the baby finish her dinner while I attempted a cleanup of the greasy mess but not before I had witnessed Abigail go over to survey it, stand in it and then walk all over the wooden floor with oil on her feet.   I'm not sure why I did this next thing but I had wanted to change the fish's water this morning so I had his fresh water sitting all day with its conditioner in it.  I noticed this while I was clearing things and decided to quickly do it right then and there.  In the process I accidentally dumped poor Bob into the sink and due to the nature of the sink hole, he almost flopped himself down the drain several times.  I tried to scoop him up with a spoon and got him on the 3rd attempt.  He remained fairly calm throughout the ordeal and in the end was only saved from certain death by a piece of sweet potato that had got stuck on one side of the plug hole.  He seems to be doing ok now, his tank is clean and the kids, thankfully, didn't notice my panicked sink fishing and once again I find myself grateful.  This time that fish can't talk.  After that I grabbed the now very smelly baby and went up to the bathroom to see what was still dry in there. 

Surprisingly, things were close to ok up there.  Abigail jumped into the bathtub and then I had to have them drain almost half the water because they had filled it up so high the baby would have gone underwater as soon as she got in.  I also noticed that Emily was wearing swimming goggles and diving underwater like a scuba master.  I didn’t dare comment on that.

Isabel was placed in the bath and quickly washed down, she’s not that keen on baths but once she figured out that splashing her sisters produced giggles she seemed to change her mind about it.

I got them all out of the tub, warned of the giant puddle of water in the middle of the room and got the baby dried off.  I tried to get them to fish out all the My Little Ponies from the damp tub so that Daddy wouldn’t have to bathe with them in the morning and I discovered where all the flannels have gone.

Getting them into bed was fairly easy.  I only had to answer ‘where are my pajamas’ questions from two of them and although I discovered that two of them had no bed clothes I was able to find replacements that pleased them without too much trouble.  
I must now go and bring order back to the kitchen, and my bathroom.  I have to switch the laundry I just ran so that Kaitlyn has clothes to wear tomorrow too because even though the laundry baskets are empty, so are her drawers.  Apparently it is my job to find dirty clothes wherever they happen to congregate which, in this house, doesn’t seem to be in dirty laundry baskets or any other place that is obvious. I’m ignoring the rest of the house.  I am seriously thinking that we should limit ourselves to just one room so the rest of the house can be clean and tidy and stay that way.  I also think naked days would be a fantastic idea so that I could catch up on all the laundry I have now discovered I need to do.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

It's All In The Way You Say It

I am constantly reminded by my children that I have a funny way of talking both in accent and in some of my word choices.  Sometimes I overhear them playing and they are mocking my way of speaking.  I hear them say “ok, now say it like Mummy does” followed by an attempt and then peals of laughter as they all roll around the floor.  They seem to delight in saying “ba nah nah” and “tom ah to” followed by suppressed giggles.

It’s not always my accent that produces laughter, sometimes it is the use of a different word to describe something that is cause for amusement.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Special Occasions With The Joneses

I came to the realisation recently that we are pretty bad at celebrating stuff around here.  Mostly its my memory lapses or ignorance of what is customary in this country, sometimes we just mess it up.  A lot of times we have excellent intentions and life gets in the way.  Here are some of this year’s failures for your enjoyment.  Oh and before I begin I must say “SPOILER ALERT” in case your kids are reading this and you are a better parent than I.

I have mostly managed to remember my own children’s birthdays this year and even managed to narrowly miss giving birth on one of them.  Well I did give birth on all of their birthdays but what I mean is that I narrowly missed giving birth to a new kid on an already claimed birthday.  I have to say that particular birthday was pretty amazing considering I had delivered 4 days prior and immediately hosted a party which seemed to go fairly successfully.  In hindsight it was a crazy thing to do but I’m so glad I did because it was such a good day.

I did, however, fail to make, buy or otherwise provide cake for Kaitlyn’s birthday this year.  A number of factors were involved in this gross negligence including Daddy’s business trip over the birthday weekend, a rescheduled birthday celebration accompanied by three year old throwing up and more.  I did make cupcakes a few days after her birthday but we didn’t put a candle in and sing so apparently it doesn’t count even though they were her favourite colour.  James did take the healthy family members bowling as planned but there wasn’t cake.  It has not gone unnoticed by her so I fear I will need to fix this oversight before too long.

What she doesn’t know is that this is not the first time this has happened to her.  On her first birthday we were catching up on Emily’s second birthday (which we had missed because James was in the hospital) and since we thought two cakes would be too much we stuck a candle in a store bought apple pie and then didn’t even eat it.

We probably shouldn’t tell her this.

We joined the ranks, this year, of tooth fairy believers.  Both Emily and Kaitlyn have lost teeth now, in fact Kaitlyn overtook Emily and we have had a total of five teeth lost.  I think.  The first one to go was a grand occasion.  We quickly had to decide how much these teeth were worth and after calculating how many collective teeth all our kids would lose (taking into account that Abigail has an extra one!) we decided to use caution when setting a figure.

That first night we snuck in and replaced the tooth with the money and disposed of the tooth somewhere.  We are so bad at it that we can’t remember what we did with the tooth now.  One day our kids are going to be fossicking through things and think they’ve happened upon a series of skeletal remains.

The second tooth loss didn’t go so smoothly.  We forgot all about it and when the child woke to find the tooth gone but no money in its place James had to think quickly on his feet.  The tooth had fallen down in the night and he pretended that the money had too.  Simultaneously retrieving the tooth from the floor (which had previously been unseen by the child) and “finding” the money.  High fives and back slaps were exchanged at this wool pulling masterpiece.

The third was a repeat as far as our failure but we managed to impress upon the child that perhaps the tooth fairy had been unable to get to the bed to find the tooth because of the mess.  We suggested a do over with some tidying thrown in for good measure and that seemed to do the trick.  We almost forgot again that night though so it was a close one.

The fourth went without a hitch.  Either that or I’m miscounting and there are really only four teeth missing in total.  I’ll have to check next time I see the kids.  The fifth took us by surprise.  We found ourselves to be completely without money that night except for one bill at a considerably inflated value to what we had previously paid.

James didn’t like my idea of using the child’s own pocket money and then replacing it before it was noticed (I never said I had scruples) so this larger note was used.  Since it was a top front tooth this time we inadvertently set a precedent and are fortunate that each child only has two of them (even taking into account Abigail’s extra tooth).

The tooth fairy lives on in our house but it is with deep shame that I have to say I may have revealed her true identity to another local family.  In my defence I didn’t realise the kid was sitting there, he was being altogether too quiet and most likely was so engrossed in his video game that he didn’t notice.  I learned a lesson that day at the soccer field.  I should never talk about teeth and if other people bring it up I should clamp my mouth shut and just smile and nod.

I may have confused matters with regards to Santa too and possibly the Lord Of The Rings.  I always forget about Santa since I didn’t grow up believing in him.  I forget that James did and that its an important tradition for him.  Now in this one I am completely innocent, they caught me off guard and I cannot be blamed.  It wasn’t even anywhere close to Christmas at that point either.

We were driving along and out of the blue one of them asked “Mummy, are elves real?” I immediately answered “of course not”.  Now the conversation prior to this had nothing to do with Christmas or Santa or anything of that nature.  The response was classic “well who makes all the toys for Santa then?” and before I could reply, the answer came from the wise firstborn “he has robots, silly”.  Disaster averted, for now.

Speaking of elves, I came across one of those elf on the shelf toys the other day and I actually jumped, it gave me such a fright.  It is kind of freaky looking and the whole idea of having this thing watching us makes me shudder.  Mind you it is so scary looking that I could imagine having one in each of their rooms might discourage them from getting out of bed after lights out.  I’d probably be tempted to leave it there all year long though.  Yet another reason for my kids to need therapy later in life.

I think this family will happily remain elf on the shelfless.

I’m sure the next few weeks will be interesting.  Last year I wrapped the Santa gifts in the same paper as our gifts.  The girls did comment on it but accepted my explanation that obviously Santa shops at BJs for his wrapping paper too since its such a good deal.  This year Santa is just doing the stockings because I’m sick of him getting all the credit for the cool gifts.  Hopefully it will be harder to mess that up except that Emily already saw me buy something for Kaitlyn’s stocking and she helped me pick something out for James that’s going to go in his.

James had his own Christmas failure the other day when we were driving with all the kids in the back.  I was trying to let him know what a family member had got for Abigail (who sits directly behind the drivers seat).  I showed him a picture rather than say it out loud so as to be discrete.  He immediately exclaimed in an excited voice the name of the toy.  I just looked at him in disbelief.  We had, only moments before, been discussing this very blog post.  You see we are worse than bad at this secretive stuff.

The poor Easter Bunny never did get a foothold in our family.  It was just too much for me to do another secret each year.  The kids still get to do an egg hunt but they know its Daddy putting the eggs out.  They giggle gleefully as we all wait inside while he does it because to imagine Daddy being a bunny is just hilarious.  They get an Easter basket too but they know full well that it is from us and it always includes a chocolate bunny which they happily devour, usually for breakfast that day.  I don't think they are too upset not to be believing in a, quite frankly terrifying, giant bunny rabbit.

I had never in my life known that we were supposed to have a leprechaun either, so that's another one that never happens around here.  I also never knew that regular, not in love people were supposed to celebrate Valentines Day either.  So you can guess how horrible I felt that first year when my child came home from preschool, bag bulging with Valentines from her classmates and I had not supplied her with anything in return.

I look forward to the day when I overhear one of the kids explaining to the others that Santa and the Tooth Fairy aren’t real, its just Mummy and Daddy pretending.  It may not be too far off because I heard Kaitlyn telling Abigail today that her kiki (special blanket) doesn’t really talk and that when she talks to pink elephant she knows he can’t really hear her because he’s just a stuffed animal.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Windowsill

It’s been a while since I wrote but things have been a little bit on the busy side.  We welcomed Isabel Giulia into our family in July and although she is the most perfect baby in the history of babies (of which I will write another time) life is somewhat hectic with 4 kids.  Just keeping insanity and clutter at bay is a full time job.

It is because of this that I feel quite accomplished at the end of the day when I look around and see that the floor is mostly clear (especially if I squint a little bit), the kitchen is clean, dishwasher is going and all the kids are asleep.  Several times in the past few months I have had to fight that nagging feeling that I am forgetting something because I feel like I finally have it together (sort of).  Since that’s never happened before I am sure everything could come tumbling down around me at any moment.  It hasn’t happened yet and although I risk bringing on a collapse just by talking about it publically I will do so anyway.

I have battled all summer with the dreaded fruit flies and have almost driven myself mad trying to find their source and how to exterminate them.  I’ve poured bleach down the drains, I’ve gone almost obsessive over keeping clean surfaces and food put away.  I’ve swatted at them as they fly past my face and I’m pretty sure I’ve eaten one or two of them.  I do remember inhaling one once.  James recently decided to introduce a new member to the family in his attempt at helping with the situation.  He arrived home with a venus fly trap.  I had wanted one of those electrified fly swatter things so that I could zap the horrible little creatures but I guess he didn’t like the look I got in my eye when I dreamed of this. So now I have another eight (at last count) mouths to feed. 

Unfortunately I don’t have a great track record when it comes to nurturing plant life.  Actually if it were left up to me we’d all be looking for alternate sources of oxygen.  I sunk to even greater depths over this summer.  It was thought that I couldn’t get any lower after I killed the bonsai tree (age unknown) that Kaitlyn won in a competition.  But I managed the unbelievable feat of killing a cactus.  I’m not sure how I did it but it is decidedly dead.  I did water it (but not too much) and it looked so happy. Around the time that Kaitlyn brought home her special gift to me from school (a seedling of unknown heritage that she had grown all on her own) the cactus took a nosedive.  Maybe it thought it had been replaced in my affections, that I was gazing upon this new windowsill friend with more love in my eyes than I had for it.  Obviously it hadn’t spotted Emily’s gift of a zinnia plant that was residing on the far end of the sill.

I know I should have planted these expressions of love outside in the garden where they could be wild and free and grow to their greatest potentials, but I missed the opportunity during the summer and now its too cold.  Emily’s plant is looking decidedly autumnal and I’m not sure how I am going to explain the demise of either of these precious gifts that were so lovingly bestowed upon me.  I sense their imminent departure as I type.

This new carnivorous member is rather small and as yet has not lived up to its promise of sucking the life out of household insects even though I have witnessed several of them resting on its limbs.

Also inhabiting my windowsill is a small tank full of sea monkeys.  Abigail was given these as a birthday present in May and so far I have managed to keep them alive.  I haven’t actually done anything to them so I’m pretty sure other family members are caring for them and judging by their propensity to breed I am thinking they are highly cannibalistic in nature.

I have a number of other items on my windowsill which probably make no sense to the innocent bystander.  There is my favourite mug with its handle broken off.  I haven’t had the heart to throw it out so there it sits helpfully keeping a group of paintbrushes upright.  It sits next to a particularly pleasing glass jar which I liked the look of, it used to have lemon curd in it but is now empty.  I’m starting to go off it so its life is probably coming to an end soon.

There’s a dried up Hello Kitty stamp that will end its membership in our family as soon as the kids are looking the other way.  Then there’s the bud vase that until recently housed a single red rose with an apologetic message from one of the kids who was being rather obnoxious that day.  The rose is gone because James was certain it was the source of all fruit flies in the house – it turns out it wasn’t.

Then there is Sponge Bob’s pineapple.  We have had a number of beta fish which have all been named Bob.  The latest one was purchased in an impulsive mood by James when he went shopping with several of the girls early in the summer. At the time I was shopping elsewhere and when I caught wind that they were descending on the pet shop I drove as fast as I could in order to intercept any such purchases.  Fortunately for me the shop didn’t sell either puppies or kittens and the girls are not enamoured with reptiles.

Unfortunately I was unable to halt the purchase of a third Bob.  The previous Bobs had all met untimely demises over the course of many years.  This particular Bob was the youngest of all and although I was hopeful that he would be with us for many months I had my doubts. 

James and Kaitlyn took him home to get him set up while I went to one last shop.  The idea was to have him in a vase so as to look ultra cool and also so we didn’t need to buy an expensive tank.  When I arrived home I found a variety of my vases on the bench.  When I enquired I was told that the first choice hadn’t worked out (fortunately for them since it was a rather nice crystal vase which had been a wedding present).  They had settled on a very nice, large square vase and it now sat proudly on the coffee table with its young inmate, his new home all decked out like Bikini Bottom complete with the pineapple house.

Over the course of the next week Bob was looked at, talked to, fed and admired from all sides.  On his 1 week anniversary I came downstairs and noticed that Bob was floating rather slowly and upon further investigation it was found that Bob had indeed expired.  This made him the shortest lived Bob in family history.  So now his little pineapple house sits on my windowsill next to the bottle brush waiting for its next Bob to swim happily in and out of its little portholes.  Who knows when that will be but we’ve discovered that playing Wii bowling right next to the fishbowl is not a very good idea.

There are various other miscellaneous objects gracing my windowsill including a paint scraper, a new baby bottle, a test tube and a prism hanging on a string which, on sunny days, fills the room with rainbows.  This brings much delight to Abigail who spends long periods of time trying to catch them as they shimmer and dance around the room. 

Perhaps my next project should be tidying the windowsill but most of these objects have memories attached to them that still warm my heart, tiny snapshots of our lives captured in these little objects that remind me that our family is crazy, funny and full of love.