Tuesday, May 27, 2008
And we have power!
Tonight Dwayne hooked up the the wood gasifier to the battery bank and gave them a bit of a charge. We can officially make electricity from wood scraps now. We're generating our own power from wood and cleaning up our property at the same time! :)

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posted at 11:22 PM  
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Fort Myth stikes again
As many of you know, my husband is on parental leave right now. Wonderful for us but it means we are a little bit out of the loop from time to time. Dwayne went to the hardware store this morning to pick up a few things and ran into a couple of the guys from work. They had heard that I was pregnant again. Huh? It's amazing what you can learn about yourself if you listen to the rumour mill. This is actually is the second time in a week that someone has said something to Dwayne about this.

For the record: I am NOT pregnant.

We can only assume that someone saw me at the health centre going down to see the midwives. What a lot of people seemingly don't understand is that women stay in the care of the midwives for 1 year post-partum. Visiting the midwife does not necessarily indicate pregnancy!

Small towns. Gotta love 'em. Most of the time.

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posted at 1:21 PM  
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Monday, May 26, 2008
Wood gasifier
As of tonight we have a working wood gasifier. For us laymen, that means that we can run a gas burning engine off of wood scraps. The engine, in turn, will be used to charge our battery bank. Essentially the concept is this: scraps of wood=electricity. Apparently the technology was used a lot during World War II when there was a petroleum shortage. Dwayne found directions online and has been building the gasifier with assorted metal containers and automotive parts he had lying around. I will get him to dictate a post to me one day so I can better explain how it works.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008
Greenhouse
Today after church we took a little trip to the greenhouse. My dad met us there so we were able to have one adult for each tot. Handy when you are trying to carry around plants as well as children. :)

I picked up some pansies and some pepper plants. We're not going to crazy this year as we don't have an official garden yet, just some planters out front. It's still so nice to see all of the green lushness after a long cold winter even if you don't bring much home!

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Saturday, May 24, 2008
Creepy Crawlies
Bug season is officially here! In addition to the mosquitoes we now have carpenter ants (some of which are flying as the queens are trying to establish colonies), regular ants, assorted beetles, wasps (regular size and the giant queens flying around again), oodles of spiders big and small, and your staple house flies.

I'm not so much afraid as a bit disgusted. I don't mind seeing them go by but I don't like being surprised by them. There was a big nasty spider in a dish on the shelf the other day that I almost grabbed when retrieving a bowl that was stacked inside said dish. For some reason I took a look back into the dish after grabbing the bowl and saw it hunkered down where the bowl had been. Ew, ew, ew. I thought it was dead at first so I blew on it to make sure. It moved. Yuck, yuck, yuck. Thankfully Dwayne was inside and I made him squish it. I'm not a fan of the squishing. I don't like the feel or the sound if the bug/spider is big enough. I'm more of a catch and release kind of gal.

I don't want the kids to be afraid of bugs and spiders so I try to show repulsion instead of fear when a reaction is necessary! ;)

P.S. Happy Birthday to my bug loathing sister Lindsey!!!

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Friday, May 23, 2008
First Words!!
Technically Riley said, "Anbarry" a few weeks back (translation "Grandbarry" which is what the kids call my dad) but today she added a couple of words that were more understandable to the general public.

This morning Riley came to me with her little plastic teapot in one hand and a little Melmac teacup in the other and said "tea" while holding them out to me. The teapot she has been playing with lately was one that my sisters and I used to play with when we visited my Gran'ma and Gran'dad in Ontario.

This evening when Dwayne's family came for a BBQ Riley said, "Hi" to Anka when she came through the door.

"Mama" and "Dadda" have also been in use for quite a long time but these are the first non-name words for her. Sweet!

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Thursday, May 22, 2008
Gratuitous Abby shot

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posted at 11:56 PM  
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Wednesday, May 21, 2008
An open letter
Dear Friend,

I hope you won't take offense when you read this letter. You're not the kind of person that offends easily so I think I'm safe.

I have a confession to make.

I didn't clean up my house before you arrived. Not to say that I didn't do any cleaning at all but I certainly didn't do anything over the top. No floor to ceiling scrub downs, no major mopping of the floors, just a little vacuuming, some shuffling of laundry, and a quick clean of the bathroom.

The cleaning I did today was the sort of cleaning that I do when I know family is coming over. I'm not afraid to show you my (clean) laundry piles waiting to be folded and put away, or the collection of toys strewn across our living room. You'll also see the somewhat organized (in my own little way) chaos that is my desk and, if you peek under it, probably a dust bunny or two.

For you, I'm keepin' it real. I know you do the same for me.

Ten weeks after the birth of our first child I was still deluded enough to think that my house needed to be perfectly tidy and clean, my hair washed, and the baby and I's clothing colour coordinated or at least not clashing before I could let you past the front door. That was back when I didn't allow anything dropped on even a freshly mopped or vacuumed floor to come in contact with my firstborn without it being practically sterilized again first.

Fast forward three years. There are now three kids. My house is still fairly really messy most of the time, my hair is usually brushed, and my clothes likely match each other but not the baby's. I've discovered that dirt isn't the end of the world and that the odd stray germ is okay too. I've let go of (most of) the guilt of not having a perfectly organized home complete with fresh bread baked daily and a sparkle and shine on every applicable surface. (Where does this self imposed expectation and the accompanying guilt come from anyway?)

But Friend, you understand all of this. It doesn't phase you. You'd probably be disgusted with me if I had it all together at this juncture in our lives. While I'm aiming for something remotely encroaching on the fringes of perfection I know I'm no where near that and that's okay.

I am the joyful mother of three happy, healthy children who perfect my world. Thankfully children don't thrive on perfection, they thrive on love. In this house we're heavy on the love and trying not to worry about perfection.

So welcome to our home - share the mess and share the love!

Love ya!

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posted at 11:57 PM  
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Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Overheard...
"I'm just going to sleep with my eyes open Mommy."

-Hendrik, yesterday afternoon as he climbed sleepily onto the couch. :)

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posted at 11:03 PM  
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Monday, May 19, 2008
Happenings
-A couple of visits with some of Dwayne's extended family who are doing some locum work at the health centre in town.
-Another trip to the snake pit - no snakes this time, just ducks, sand hill cranes, a fox, and some fish.
-Another bookcase built by Dwayne for the living room.
-Riley dressing up in shoes and hats and winter clothes - just for fun!
-Riley pretending to talk on her toy phones and also the remote controls. :)
-Hendrik using his potty more and more.
-An addition to the "Thomas the Train" set for Hendrik
-Abby shrieking and laughing as loud as her big sister. And that's saying something! :)
-Showering in our own shower in our own house! Yay!
-The advent of mosquito season complete with lots of bites for Hendrik and I.

I have been remiss in posting lately so it's time to pull my metaphorical socks up and get writing again!

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Thursday, May 15, 2008
You know you live in the north when...
Well, you know it's been a long, cold winter when +19C feels hot. Yes, that's right, HOT. Talk to me in a few weeks after we've had some upper twenties weather and I will be singing an entirely different tune.

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posted at 5:39 PM  
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Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Bye bye buckets!!
No more buckets! As of last night all drains were good to go. Toilet, sinks, washing machine, all in normal working order. The shower sealer is curing as I type and by week's end we will be able to shower at our own house. It is so nice to turn on the taps and not worry about how full the 5 gallon pail underneath is. It is so nice for Dwayne not to have to be slinging buckets all day long. :) We are pretty happy around here!

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posted at 2:19 PM  
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Monday, May 12, 2008
Grouting the Shower

Yes, spring is here and our septic system is thawing out after a very cold, very long winter. We had trouble with our leaching pit freezing partway through the winter and as a result we have had running water but have not been able to drain it through the pipes. This has meant Dwayne carrying out bucket after bucket of wash water every day. It has also meant that we have not showered in our own house yet! When we first moved in our hot water heater had not yet arrived. Then the hot water heater arrived but the installation kit was back ordered. For MONTHS. Shortly after the installation kit arrived our septic system froze up. Since December we have been showering at my parents' and my sister and brother-in-law's homes. We have really appreciated being able to shower, believe me, but it will be nice to shower in our own home, both for us and for our families as well. All of this bucketing has been quite time consuming and each shower trip takes roughly 1-2 hours depending on how many errands we tag onto the trip. The leaching pit's thawing will give us the gift of time and Dwayne's burly arms a break. The ground is also thawing nicely and soon it will be thawed deep enough down that we can bring in some heavy equipment to dig up the system and bury it deeper to prevent freezing next winter. A day or two of work will well be worth it come October!

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posted at 10:20 PM  
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It's Official!

We have a third thumb-s*cker in the family!

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posted at 10:14 PM  
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Sunday, May 11, 2008
Happy Mother's Day!
We are enjoying a quiet afternoon today. Dwayne made french toast for lunch and now we are all in various states of repose.

Abby is alternating between dozing and wakefulness,


Hendrik is singing and playing with his trains,


Riley is napping,


Dwayne is reading,


and I am blogging and catching up on the news.



In a little while we are heading over to Mom and Dad's for a Mother's Day BBQ. :) BBQ photos to follow...

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posted at 3:20 PM  
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Saturday, May 10, 2008
A Boy and His Shirts
You know how a lot of kids have a stuffed toy or a blanket that they really love? Hendrik has his shirts. Technically they're my shirts but he has absconded them and would actually have several more if I didn't convince him that I actually do need to wear shirts.

I think it all started when he began sleeping on his own in his big boy bed. He wasn't too keen on the idea as he was used to sleeping with us for at least a portion of the night. I offered him one of my shirts as I couldn't sleep in the bed with him. He took it and has had it every night since (the blue one). Later on he decided that he should also have my green shirt. Both of these shirts are made of a silky cotton blend and any shirt that has a similar feel is one that I have to fight to keep! Many of my maternity shirts were of this composition so any chance he got he would try to convince me to give him another shirt.

These shirts are naptime and bedtime essentials and are very precious to him. Occasionally Riley will streak past him and snatch one and toddle away as fast as her little legs will carry her. She knows she's got something that her brother thinks is good and she wants in on it. This doesn't tend to go over well with Hendrik. However, on occasion when he is in a benevolent mood, he will share one of his shirts with Riley. Every day this week he has woken up and offered one of his shirts to Abby "to snuggle wif" for a little while. Very sweet.

He loves his little sisters, sharing his shirts says so.


posted at 11:17 AM  
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Friday, May 09, 2008
Our Little Sunbeam

Life is good when you have a cookie in one hand and a toothbrush in the other.

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posted at 11:11 PM  
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Thursday, May 08, 2008
Gardening tools!
Today a box arrived in the mail from Lee Valley Tools. We are big fans of Lee Valley Tools in this family. Great quality tools and gardening supplies and great books and gift ideas as well. I ordered a little hand rake, cultivator for myself and a set of colourful moulded plastic garden tools for the kids.

Photo from LeeValleyTools.com

Riley and Hendrik were both thrilled. We plan to test them out later on this afternoon in the yard. There are a lot of little sticks and pine cones and things that need to be swept up.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Right hand, left hand, right foot, left foot
Last week I mentioned to Hendrik that he had a right hand and a left hand, a right foot and a left foot. I didn't know if really understood what I was talking about but I thought it worth trying anyhow. Today he came up to me and said, "Mommy, this is my right hand and this is my left hand. This is my right foot and this is my left foot." He had it right. I was suprised that he had remembered as I had only told him about this once. Later on I asked him to show me which hands and feet were left and right and he again did it correctly. I tried another time later in the day with the same result. "Great!", I thought. "He already knows right and left, this will helpful for getting his shoes and boots on properly."

I excitedly phoned my mom and told her the good news. She was appropriately impressed and proud of her grandchild as grandmas tend to be. :)

This evening we went to visit my parents and I thought I would demonstrate his new found left/right identification skills. I asked him to show Grandma his right hand. Lifting up his left hand he said, "This is my right hand." Then he lifted up his right hand and said, "This is my left hand."

Repeat with the feet.

Mom was pretty amused but told Hendrik what a great job he did as grandmas tend to do no matter the outcome. :)

Note to self: Pride commeth before the fall.

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posted at 11:13 PM  
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Tuesday, May 06, 2008
The past week...
- A lovely visit with Dwayne's parents
- A visit to the snake pits
- A Sunday afternoon potluck at a good friend's new home
- Abby turned 2 months old (already!)
- Riley says "Neigh" while playing with toy horses
- Hendrik has used his potty twice
- The little cabin now has a proper tin roof

Today I got a call from my former piano teacher. She told me she was thinking of holding a garage sale but then decided it would be too much of a hassle and thought my sister and I could use some of the items she had planned to sell. It worked out perfectly. Many of the items that she gave us were things we had been looking for or wishing for in our homes. Area rugs, hall runners, light fixtures, small appliances, a much needed storage unit for DVDs and CDs...wonderful!

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posted at 10:39 PM  
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Monday, May 05, 2008
Paper trains
Our little guy loves the "Thomas the Train" series of books and DVDs and loves to reenact the stories with the train characters that he has. Those that he doesn't have we cut out of the brochure that comes with each train you purchase. Those 3 page spreads are precious to our boy and he insists on cutting out the pictures of the trains that he likes. In fact, as I type now, I am being approached. "Can you cut Edward and Henry out Mommy?" Once they are cut out they will be affectionately known as "Paper Edward" and "Paper Henry". Those little paper bits are every bit as important to him as the actual trains that he has. Dwayne and I have been driven to distraction a few times when one of his favourite paper trains has gone missing. There is great sadness from Hendrik and great persistence to find the missing train as well. Some days he will walk around with paper trains pinched in between all of his fingers on both hands. Sometimes he won't let go of them until he falls asleep! I love that he is using his imagination and it is so much fun to watch him interact with these "toys".

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posted at 2:49 PM  
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Sunday, May 04, 2008
Mid evening at our house
Here is what it typically looks like around 8pm at our house.

Abby napping, this time in the "man chair".


Riley thinking about sleeping. Have I mentioned how much she loves toothbrushes?


Hendrik acting out "Bob the Builder" or "Thomas the Train" stories. Here he is with "Travis the Tractor", complete with "Silly Spud" in the hay bale.



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posted at 10:34 PM  
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Saturday, May 03, 2008
"Bare Necessities" as sung by a 3 year old : )
Look for the bear necess-a-nees, simple bear necess-a-nees
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necess-a-nees
Why a bear can ress-a-nees
With just the bear necess-a-nees of life
(I like bein' a bear.)

We're big "Jungle Book" fans around here right now. :)

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posted at 2:59 PM  
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Friday, May 02, 2008
I love this picture!
I snapped this while walking down the path with Riley at the Snake Pits. I didn't know if it would turn out but it actually wound up being my favourite picture from that day.

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posted at 2:28 PM  
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Thursday, May 01, 2008
Heralds of Spring
This week we went to what is affectionately known in these parts as "The Snake Pits". It is a favourite picnic spot officially known as "The Salt River Day Use Area" just inside Wood Buffalo National Park. It is a fine example of karst topography and there are lovely hiking trails that range from 700m to 7km. We often picnicked here when I was growing up - winter, spring, summer, and fall. Hopefully our little family will continue with that tradition.




We decided it would be fun to take Dwayne's parents to see the snakes. We had to take advantage of it while the garternsnakes were still at the caves. It's not something you can plan or schedule. The snakes' migration is completely weather dependent and so each year is different.


These little guys are a sure sign that spring has arrived. They venture out as the snow melts and the weather gets into the double digits to sun themselves on the exposed rocks and brown earth. After a week or so of sunning and snuggling up to potential mates they make a several kilometre trip to their summer grounds. I didn't realize garter snakes swam until today. They actually go down a steep cliff, swim across a small river, go up a cliff on the other side, and then slither on down the road to their favourite vacation spot.


After viewing the snakes we had a hot dog roast at the fire pit and the older kids had a great time running around the flat area overlooking the Salt River. We brought a ball along and Hendrik and Riley had great fun chasing it and each other around. Abby had a good nap. :)






While we were there several other families we knew arrived with their little ones to see the snakes. We were lucky enough to be there when one of the park wardens (who was fittingly named Birch) arrived, excited to talk with the kids about the snakes. He picked one up and let the kids touch the snake if they wished. One of the kids asked if the snake had a name. The park warden said he didn't think so. Hendrik piped up, "His name is No Feet." (No Feet is the snake from the "Little Bear" series.)


After several trips up the trail to see the snakes it was time to go home. Hendrik was heartbroken. He did not want to leave the snakes. He sat beside me on the benches by the fire pit sobbing and sobbing. Mid cry he looked up at me with a very serious face and said, "This is no laughing matter," and then resumed crying. Oh my!


The kids were pretty exhausted at the end of the afternoon and we thought that they would likely fall asleep in the van during the first few minutes of the drive home. Wrong! There was a great deal of sadness from Hendrik about not seeing the snakes again that day and some sympathy sounds added by Riley. We stopped at the drug store on our way to Mom and Dad's for supper to pick up diapers and these little guys as a suprise...


Hendrik has named them "No Feet" (from "Little Bear") and "Kaa" (from "The Jungle Book"), respectively. :)

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posted at 10:48 PM  
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About Me



Name: Jenny
I blog lately at www.chickadeemanor.com
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