Gnome Newzzzzz…zzz…zzzz….zzzzz….


I gotta tell you… I was hoping to have several posts written this month but quite frankly… I’m regularly face planting my keyboard. It would be better for you not to know what time that may be, but suffice it to say that I push myself to make it to a normal person bedtime.

In Biggest News: He had his first Christmas concert this month!!! It was really lovely. He sang two french songs with his class, and participated beautifully! I found out earlier in December that they switched the curriculum for our area for the first time in 50 years, and I’m happy to say that they included problem-solving, critical thinking, and co-operation into the new one. Who knew? Job skills made it into regular school programming! This is actually a great explanation for Biggest’s sudden interest in “filling my bucket”, as they say at school. Filling buckets is one of the easiest ways I’ve found to effectively communicate when something’s not working properly (emptying a bucket) and when we’re doing something and an action is more helpful or extra special (filling a bucket). I mean… it doesn’t get rid of meltdowns due to a lack of fast food for dinner, and it doesn’t help when we didn’t put our boots on properly and have to get to school anyway buuut…. I’m impressed nonetheless. Nothing melts my heart more than snuggles and “did that fill your bucket Mommy?”… except maybe a big hug with “You’re the BEST Mommy!”.

 

In Littlest News: Littlest hates mud and he hates snow. I don’t know if  he’ll outgrow it or not, but currently I get murderous screams (now that the snow has gotten crunchier), and previously a seriously large amount of whining upon seeing anything resembling brown sludge. I’m a little surprised, because both are amazing. Also, a little humorous also, puddles are ok, and so is sledding. Just not snow. And definitely not mud. Another random discovery: Littlest washes his blankets in his “dishwasher” (IE: cupboard). For the last two days, he’s gotten me to bring him his blanket at night, and when I go to look for it, he tells me he washed it. I have now gotten used to fishing it out of the “dishwasher”. Yesterday I did tea party lunch, and Littlest looks at me (after I said, is this awesome or what??) and says “You’re a SWEET MOMMY!”. Darn straight kid, darn straight. Who else would do goldfish crackers and oolong for lunch? That’s right, this momma right here. Keeping in mind, of course, that every momma is a sweet momma in their own right. But I’m gonna have my super cool tea-party-lunch-making-goldfish-cracker-feeding moment. Just for a second.

 

OK done. We did, sadly, have to put away our loot this month until we were a little more cooperative in getting out the door. Both of my gnomies were highly unimpressed that they had to wait until January to start working towards loot again, but they are getting much, much, much better at mornings. I am optimistic that the loot-friendly Commander Mommy will be back soon. I personally, am looking forward to not having to do the dragging for Christmas break. Sure, at some point I may wonder how soon winter break will be over, but right now, I am going to appreciate it as much as they will.

 

And with that, I am literally peering at my keys trying to find the r button, so I will bid you adieu for the moment.

Adieu!

Mrs. Handler.

We Surface Again!


*blub blub glub* *gasp* *splutter*

 

Oh. Right. Ok. So I may not actually be swimming right now, but this month has felt a little on the not-quite-drowning-but-maybe-should-have-pursued-swimming-lessons-a-little-longer side in an adorable always-wished-I-could-be-busy-until-I-was kind of way.

And, while I’m busy trying to surface, I have my usual shenanigans to rely on to keep my grounded.

Such as… my terribly awful green ideas. This happened not once, but TWICE in two weeks. It’s been pouring buckets here, literal buckets. The first time, I admit, was really quite random. I ended up being the October winner for our town’s #in2transit contest, and in my excitement at being recognized as @gnomehandler in the grocery store, I failed to make sure I knew where the office was to pick up my prize. (Which is amazing by the way! Thank you #in2transit!). It would have been more astute to calm myself and consider that maybe the office may have changed locations since the last time I’d been by, but, that was just not the case here. So. After failing to make my way to the office for a couple of weeks, I panicked. Pure and simple. So, on a cold and rainy day, Littlest and I had gone to purchase groceries. After a stellar (and heavier than average) find, I decided that lugging my find home instead of having it delivered along with the remainder of my groceries was a great idea. Keeping in mind, of course, that it was with the intention of pre-making a week’s worth of meals. (Incidentally, that failed miserably too, although my find remains wonderfully amazing.) When I got to the register, I cheerfully said my usual “paper will be fine” to the cashier, and carried on my way. Well. Why on earth would anyone in their mostly right mind think that paper in a monsoon was a good way to go? It’s a good question, really. So, with my heavy paper bags in hand, and Littlest in the other, we went and caught the bus. Only… having decided that this had to be THE day to go pick up my prize, I got off the bus early. Still monsooning, I make it across 2/3 of the crosswalk before my bag explodes out the bottom. Yep. In the cross walk. With the cars waiting. I sheepishly roll my zucchini (or what’s left of it) to the curb, and pack it in to the remaining two bags. By now they’re mostly overflowing, since really, I needed the third bag. And… I pick them up. Only, it should be noted that when it’s raining, puddles tend to collect at the side of the road. Really. I put the remaining two bags into a puddle. So. Here we are. At this point, I realize that my earlier hunch about leaking three-year-old-size rain gear is actually true, and my son is now soaking wet. And, looking up, I realize that I should have actually asked for directions. Because the office is not where I thought it was and I’m now standing in the rain with three composting-in-front-of-my-face grocery bags and a wet three year old. So what’s a Mom to do? Well. Since the rain gear is clearly not working anyway, I got the bright idea to use our dragon raincoat as a tarp/packaging material for the groceries. I bundle them all up in the dragon (I can’t even tell you how strange this looks). I give my soaking wet child my oversized red coat (which looks more like a blanket than anything on my tiny kid). And I walked home in my sweater. It should also be noted that I had to use the sleeve of my red coat as a leash-type device, since Littlest was unable to use his hands in my coat. I wanted to draw you all a picture, but it was so terrible it just couldn’t be uploaded. Three quarters of the way home I realized my phone was still in the bottom pocket that was three inches above puddle height. (It’s ok but holy man!)

 

AS IF THAT WASN’T ENOUGH… I went the very next week and took paper AGAIN. This time it wasn’t raining, but the veggies I chose were wet, and I left a trail of groceries for a half a block in the dark before I realized that there was a hole composting through the bottom of one of the bags.

 

Only one of the crazy series of things November has brought us, but I have to go to bed now.

Nighty Night.

The Handler.

PS: THIS time, I brought reusable bags. I also filled them with 50lbs of groceries and had to drag them and my screaming, stomping, fighting, punching creatures home (I think they resemble human males, but it’s hard to say.). I probably should have bought less, however I couldn’t resist the bacon. But one step at a time right?

 

 

Sloppy, sloppy Joes.


So… dinner. Mr. Handler and I have been working tirelessly to try and “cook up” the energy to… well… cook dinner. The latest debacle was this evening. I attempted, earlier in the month, to  pre-prep dinner, and we were down to the last one. Sloppy joes. Pretty easy right? Wrong.

Ingredient #1: Meat. Burnt it, by accident. Covered with BBQ sauce to disguise the flavour, but it did nothing for the texture.

Ingredient #2: Cheese. The only cheese we had left was old-ish Swiss cheese. What could be wrong with that? Well, nothing really, except for the fact that it had a paper-like texture instead of a cheese-like texture.

Ingredient #3: Sauteed Onions. There’s really nothing wrong here except for the amount I felt would be appropriate to put on my bun.

Ingredient #4: Bun. Well… herein lies the real crux of the matter. Somehow, between the buns being frozen, thawed, and on the counter for a couple of days… they still managed to be usable. Note: usable does not mean edible. Since they were the only thing left to make sloppy joes with, we had no choice.

 

What happens when you put all these things together? A laughing fit halfway through dinner because no amount of water could make it go down. The buns were as dry and tasteless as sawdust, the meat was crunchy and over sauced as a result of being burnt (there wasn’t enough of it either), the cheese was indistinguishable to the point where I thought I’d left a paper wrapper on the slice, and the onions were in one huge clump in the middle of my bun.That’s to say nothing of the other brave people at the table who were politely thanking me for dinner, yet not touching it at all… We all gave up. I couldn’t stop laughing. We had cookies. I’m going grocery shopping in the morning. And that’s that.

A still slightly hungry Mrs. Handler.

MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!


Have I ever told you how much I hate whining? I really do. So much. Have I ever told you how often I DON’T HEAR whining? Probably because it NEVER happens. Actually, that’s a lie. Sometimes it happens. But it’s pretty rare, so for the purposes of this update, it NEVER happens. It should be stated for the record that anything in capital letters should be read in as whiny of a sneering voice as physically possible.

MOOOOOOOOOOM! (Can you wipe my BUUUUUUUTTTTTT??) To which, my brain responds with an equally whiny I’M IN THE SHOOOOOOWER! THE WATER’S WAAAAAARM!

MOOOOOOOOOOM! (I want some WAAAAAATER!!) To which, my brain responds with an equally moody I’M PACKING LUNCHES WHILE WASHING YOUR WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATER BOTTLE and I’m also boiling water for tea for my SAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANITY!

MOOOOOOOOOOM! (Littlest/Biggest IS Looking/Touching MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE…) To which, my brain responds with I KNOOOOOOOOOOOOOW, I CAN SEEEEEEEE IT… and also (spoken instead in a thunderous mom voice in my brain) WHY ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR ROOM IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE LOOKED AT! YOU SIT ACROSS THE TABLE FROM YOUR BROTHER! HUMAN BEINGS ARE NOT INVISIBLE, WE HAVE NOT ADAPTED THAT PARTICULAR GENE POOL FOR PITY’S SAKE!

MOOOOOOOOOOM! (Littlest/Biggest IS Playing/Not-Cleaning/Touching-Something) To which my poor, tired, wistfully-wishing-it-were-still-asleep brain says WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA*breath*AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

And, after all is said and done, I sit down with my tea for two minutes, and it begins again. (Not always, but most times, so continuing with the ALWAYS or now.) So! MOMMY’s turn.

I DON’T WAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNA GET OUT OF BED!

STOP WHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINING AT ME!

I’M NOT READY TO MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE YOU BREAKFAST.

I DON’T WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANT TO MAKE YOU YOUR LUNCH.

I DON’T CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARE THAT YOU DON’T LIKE TUNA/EGG-SALAD/JAM.

STOP LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOKING AT ME, I HAVEN’T HAD MY TEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA YET.

I DON’T WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANT TO WASH YOUR WATER BOTTLE.

I WANT TO PEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE ALOOOOOOOONE.

GET OUT OF THE BAAAAAAAAAAATHROOM, IT’S MY TURN.

 

Weirdly enough, once all is said and done though… I still look back on the morning and (with my whine-less-mommy-brain) say to myself, “Awwww… that hug Littlest gave Biggest was soooooo cute!” and “Man, Biggest’s so taaaaaaaaalll!!” and “Littlest’s chatter sure is adorable, clearly got the chatterbox gene from me!”…. I think it’s an extension of whatever gene gave us the ability to forget the pain of childbirth and go “OH YEAH, that wasn’t BAD at ALL! I could totally do that again”. Yup, that’s gotta be it.

Mrs. Handler.

Life Is A Dance – Calm Heart Solo


So, if you’ve been reading lately, my life has gotten busier. Much, much busier. And so, I have pondered how to survive the challenge of a seemingly insurmountable schedule while still retaining my sanity. I give you: The Calm Heart Solo.

My first question to myself: How do I steady my heart? I find myself regularly taken with others’ emotions and feelings and situations and it’s incredibly difficult for me to separate myself from them. The solution is a calm heart. It should be noted that I think there’s a difference between a calm heart and a soft heart. A soft heart, while malleable, is unable to retain shape and balance. It is constantly imprinted on and is subject to the chaos that can be (and often is) our lives. A calm heart is still malleable, but is capable of maintaining steadiness and balance, as it relies on deep peace to keep shape and stay grounded.

My second question to myself: How do I maintain deep peace? Aside from the anti anxiety measures that I regularly use to my advantage, my thinking pattern has to be that of deep peace. Initially, I visualised a chair. I allowed myself to disconnect for a moment to view the situation as it was. Eventually, as it got easier to visualise the chair, I started using that visual cue to apply it further. The eventual solution to maintaining deep peace (not finding it, but maintaining it) ended up being as simple as viewing it as a ballet. A ballet has parts. It has music (life). It has a choreographer (I chose my Choreographer, but the choreographer can be quantified as what or who you view to be responsible for your life’s direction). And it has an audience. Life tends to go many places. It can be soft, it can be tumultuous, it can reach a crescendo, similar to music. The dancer is the calm heart. Dancers have solid, steady feat, but can easily move to music, including sudden changes in tempo. It isn’t easy, but they are graceful in allowing themselves to be moved by the music. Most importantly, the best dancers don’t fight the music. They let it flow. The best dancers also trust and work with their choreographer(s). Choreographers can see where the music should take the dancer. The choreographer knows where the steps will get more intricate, and where they will become more delicate, and the dancer will trust that the dance will continue to flow. The audience becomes everyone else, including backup dancers. Some people in life will dance with you. Some will not. The dancer doesn’t fret about who isn’t dancing or who is. They continue to listen to the music, and move. It is not up to the dancer who else is cast in the ballet. The dancer is responsible for listening to the music and moving to it. So too must the calm heart. It must allow for life to flow. It must allow for changes in tempo, and must be flexible enough to move appropriately. It must also be confident enough to handle the changes, and to trust that the direction the music is going is intended as part of the dance. It must allow for people and situations and schedules and kids to come and go without worrying about their place in the scheme of things. This is not to say that the calm heart does not care, just that it doesn’t dwell.

The Calm Heart Solo. While my schedule increases in tempo, I feel like my mind is a little bit less anxious, and my heart is a little less frantic. And I have stayed up too late, but that’s ok. The morning will be the morning as it is meant to be. Graceful in chaos.

Good night.

The Handler.

 

ONE. TWO. THREE… FART!


So, this past weekend was our first family trip with just the four of us. It was… interesting. Fun, of course, but… interesting. Much to my dismay, I continue to find myself surprised by how much whining can accommodate such a delightful excursion. So many things to see and do, like…

Boats. So many boats.

And airplanes. That take off from the ocean!

And the fact that our hotel room was on the NINTH floor. What a view!

And elegators. (That’s Littlest speak for elevators.)

And moving stairs.

And fountains! Big fountains!

And big buildings.

And big two-storey buses.

And the hotel pool!

And Auntie Wootsie’s house!

And CAR RIDES.

 

Alas, that was not the thinking of a three year old and a five year old.

“Moooom… (2 minutes outside of our home city.) That’s going to be loooong. When does the road end?” – Biggest

“(two trucks in) I can’t see any cool trucks Mom!!!!!!” – Littlest

“CAN I HAVE ANOTHER COOKIE??”

“I’M THIRSTY!”

And that’s just the way there.

Then, there’s the fact that they didn’t fall asleep in the car. At least, until we were within half an hour of our destination. And the fact that they woke up at 5. (Try keeping two children quiet so Daddy can get enough sleep to start his homework that he had to bring whilst simultaneously trying to at least zone out to get some pseudo-sleep yourself.)

ONE. TWO. THREE.

And the lack of nap. No nap. Mommy crying. No nap. Daddy crying. Daddy did homework in the hotel bathroom with his books spread out along the bathtub and the floor while sitting on the toilet seat lid so it would be dark enough for them to sleep a little bit. And, of course, once we finally got the ham and veggies cooked in Auntie Wootsie’s adorably sized not-quite-two-pies-wide oven…

“I DON’T LIKE IT.” (They ate two bites of hot dog, half a spoon of scrambled egg, and one half bite of sweet potato the WHOLE DAY)…

ONE. TWO. THREE.

And, when all is said and done, we all slept until a little over 7am (THANK HEAVENS)the next day, both boys actually ate a bit of oatmeal, (Of all things, this hotel had amaaaazing oatmeal..), and we had some reaaaaaally good breakfast at one of Auntie Wootsie and Uncle T’s favorite breakfast joints, (Nicely chosen, guys!) ANNNND we picked out a new bubble bath at a little store on the main street.They were pretty tuckered. AND YET they still played in Auntie Wootsie’s bed until they got found out and separated to actually sleep.

ONE. TWO. THREE.

Finally it was time to go. They were fine until we dropped Uncle T off at the boat. Then…

“I’m THIRSTY” “Can I have some water?” “Can you hold my water?” “Can you take the lid for my water?” “Can you take my water now?” “I am all done with my water, here you go.” “I’M THIRSTY” “Can I have my water back?”… (This was a true conversation and the whole thing took less than 5 minutes.)

ONE. TWO. THREE.

Made it through navigating to try and find a place to eat after almost running a red light because of the cacophony ensuing in our little rental car…

AND THEN…

“MOM I HAVE TO POOP”.

Now we come to the crux of the situation. After two gas stations that were closed minus the fuel pumps, and enough farts to perfume our car with Eau Du Leftovers for an entire half an hour, from various people in the car (since no one would own up to it, including Biggest)… we finally found a gas station that had a bathroom. Biggest insisted that he no longer had to go, and I was presented with a chocolate bar in honour of my significant contribution to everyone remaining in the vehicle in a single (albeit smelly) piece.

ONE. TWO. THREE.

The rest of the trip afterwards was relatively uneventful, except for the “I’M TIRED” “I CAN’T CLOSE MY EYES” “I CAN’T SEE!” “WHY IS IT DARK?” stuff. Also, Littlest was the only one who fell asleep, and it was 20 minutes before we reached our house. 10pm this time.

ONE. TWO. THREE.

All in all, it was actually a fun trip. I do feel like there was a goodly percentage of whine, and an awful lot of ONE. TWO. THREE. on my part… but we made it, and we’d do it again. I will say though, next time, I’m bringing a gas mask for the way home, and smuggling some brandy in my tea mug. Just to be sure.

Trip success – CHECK!

The Handler.

PS: It should be noted that I still had to contend with double drop off the next morning, with my usual early start at 6:15. We were so late out the door that I literally had to piggy back Biggest and essentially run him to school.

HEE HAW.

 

Light At The End Of The Tunnel


I… Have successfully had one full week of getting out the door.. EARLY! Who knew, jelly beans and loot really can make a difference! In fact, I have had over 20 minutes to drink my morning beverage without having to do something else while in the middle of enjoying it! How, you might ask? Well…

#1: Bribery. I am not above bribery. The nerdy thing I mentioned last time has been working like a charm, and honestly, 3 jelly beans in the morning really just isn’t that drastic. Don’t like jelly beans as loot? Fine! I’ve also got tokens to buy stuff from my store, and an “event” for later, such as extra reading time, or clean up help. And really, why not. We reward ourselves with coffees, bubble baths, and a whole host of other things, why shouldn’t it work for them?

#2: Making lunches at the beginning of the week. Not the fresh stuff (it wouldn’t be fresh by Friday, now would it?)… but the dry stuff like crackers and raisins can be organised (and are!) into daily buckets to make lunches doable in a third of the time. This will be the third week I’ve done all the buckets on Sunday nights, and it has made a world of difference. The only trick is making sure I start early enough so that I’m not up until 2:00am, because that makes double drop-off mornings kiiiind of awful. For me. Not the kids. They’re too busy with the jellybeans.

 

In other news, my husband received a bursary for his tuition this fall, and we were invited to attend an awards reception as a result. I was able to go dress shopping, and it was delightful. Even more delightful was the fact that both boys made it through dress shopping, and I found a dress that fit in less than 30 minutes. Speed shopping with Mom Ears for the win. Side note: explain change rooms better, I was almost exposed at least 5 times in the course of said 30 minutes, because the tractors that were available needed to bulldoze the curtain. Too bad the construction crew didn’t get the notice that it needed to stay closed. Ah well, live and learn. The awards night was delightful, as I was honoured to make the acquaintance of a couple of the college’s faculty members, as well as the president and the head of the Business Department. My husband has worked with both of them closely during his studies and volunteer work, and it was nice to add faces to the names. Also, it was an excuse to dress up.

 

Biggest did something really sweet today. A friend of my mother’s is in a wheelchair, and without any prompting at all, he took out one of his books for the week on the subject of disabled people and how they get around. He told Grammy it was so he could learn about her friend. Proud mama right here!

 

Littlest has adjusted nicely to being alone, though he’s become quite the chatterbox. The few times we’ve been alone without having to go somewhere and do something, I’ve been fed dinner after plastic dinner, and he hasn’t stopped talking. Once. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that it’s likely he got that from me.

 

And with that, I bid you a very tired and sleepy, but also happy good night.

The Handler