Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mixed Bag

This morning after sleeping in (til 9:30!) Marc suggested we get in the car and drive to Kingston for lunch and to visit the little art store we used to frequent (Cornerstone for those of you with knowledge of Kingston - a couple of doors down from Lone Star.)

At 9:37 this seemed feasible, reasonable even. Desptie it being a 2 hour drive. I think we both needed out of the house, suffering a little from disillusionement on being HOME.

Factor in our slower than usual prep time (we achieve shocking levels of sheer length of prep time - no clue how we keep outdoing ourselves) and by the time we headed out the door it was 11:20. After some discussion in the car we decided Kingston was a little too ambitious (4 hours in the car return, Stu had some homework...) and thought, okay, maybe Brockville. It's on the St-Lawrence, is reputed to have a pretty main street, is an hour or so closer.

Consulted Betty, Marc's girlfriend (His Garmin GPS system) and headed off. Until I got the bright idea to go to Merrickville, which is on the Rideau River - we'd been there for our 1st wedding anniversary (a few short days before Marc's first trip to Luxembourg, which resulted in him coming home thinking there was a chance he would work there - in a few years, and then was gone within 2 months - but I digress).

For once one of my bright ideas wasn't a flop (or worse).

Given that it's off smaller roads it took us as long I think to get to as it would have taken us to get to Brockville, but when we arrived we realized it was one of those open-house, studio weekends for all the local artisans and the place was packed, but we found parking and had an awesome (simple) lunch at an outdoor terraced cafe (I so have to learn how to do accents on a Mac - we've had one for 3 years, I have no good excuses left!). It was a little grey and overcast - which is why if you see pictures of today Julia she will be wearing rubber boots, she got funky ones a week or so ago and uses any excuse to wear them.

We wandered a bit around town, visited some cute stores, caught a couple of glass blowing expositions, bought a heavenly lavender and herb scented cadle (it's not the prettiest thing to look at, but it smells awesome) and by the time we were back to the ice cream parlour it was sunny and beautiful so we had to indulge the kids (because otherwise we would never have eaten any - no sir!)

We ended the afternoon visiting the Blockhouse at the lock in town that was built in 1832-33 to protect us from invasions from the south - but after the war of 1812 it was never really needed and only housed militia twice. Because it was closing time (4 pm) the curator (?? it's now a museum) took us behind the counter and showed us the "dungeon" - a trap door that opened up onto stairs leading to the cellar where they stored the gunpowder. Creepy enough to impress the Stu - and stick with him enough that he tried to open a similar door inthe floor in the metalsmith (oldest in Canada they claim) we vistied on our way out of town (thankfuly that didn't turn into a whole story on it's own.)

It was a nice sunny family afternoon, fall breeze blowing, a tiny puppy (a She-Poo?? Whatever that is, it was tiny and cute) called Chloe who we ran into all over town and gave the kids licks - you know, just plain nice day, no workmen, no mucky house, no homework, minimal whining (Either the kids have bought my whole "dentist installed this special device" or I am starting to believe my own white lies and stopped hearing them).

And then we came home.

The whining began on the way home. Julia passed out, but we got off the 416 to take the "scenic route" back into Ottawa and stopped to buy some corn at a raodside stall. They also had other stuff and I got a basket of huge tomatos and asked Stu if he wanted the green beans. Now, green beans are the only vegetable, save cherry tomatos, that my son has ever asked for. He didn't know what they were called and we had a few mishaps in Lux over what it was he wanted (NOT snow peas, even though he said they were flat, and not peas, even though he said they had peas inside them.)

Well apparently green beans are no longer where it's at because he was indignant when I suggested getting some. I got them anyways and he cried all the way across the parking lot to the car. You'd have thought I'd said they were his rations for the week (as I write said beans are washed and trimmed and waiting to be blanched in the morning so I can freeze them - since there is no way he's eating them this week).

We also stopped at the Loeb (24 hour! We have a 24 hour grocery store!!) and Marc dashed in with Stu to pick up something for dinner. Because we had nought besides the corn (by the way, the corn was delicious. 3 cobs delicious - it was supposed to be 2 but then Stu opted out of his second... couldn't see it go to waste). Anyhow - Marc and Stu came out with pizzas (fresh) and we headed home.

At this point we realize we have DVDs to go back to the video store (next to the Loeb) and that we still haven't started Stu's homework yet. So Marc preheats the over, throws in the pizzas, tells me they take 15-20 to cook and leaves with Julia for the video store, leaving me, Stu and his homework upstairs.

After about 7 minutes I smell smoke - sure enough the bottom pizza is charred on the bottom (we missed the "middle rack" and "on a baking dish" portion of the instructions.)

Long story short? Fire detectorgoes off, open windows and doors, thinking the cat has run out the front door in terror, running around on front lawn calling cat (only to find her under our bed - which is of course the logical place to look). Call Marc to ask him to pick up new pizza for kids. Take my eye off the other (which is at least on the middle shelf of the oven) for the 47 seconds it takes to reply to a message on facebook and update my status ("Tracy is not at patient as she thought she was, Grade One homework with the Stu is doing her in." and lo and behold - I've charred the second pizza.

Call Marc back to ask for another pizza for us (he gets out of line...) and somewhow the evening got back to normal. Well kinda. And once Marc had made me his version of a Blue Lagoon. (loving those drinks where you can't taste the alcohol).

By the way - Catherine, if you are reading, we need to reopen our discussion on becoming testers for Garmin. The North American version says "Take H,W,Y 416 to..." Not HIGHWAY. Nope, H.W.Y. We laughed so hard the first time we heard it but it's wearing thin...

And so here we are at the end of another weekend... bracing for impact of the week ahead.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Little white lies

sitting in Denny's this evening (don't ask - this is NOT what I moved home from Europe for).

"Stu - do you know that Mummy went to the dentist this morning?"

"Ye-e-e-ssss" (whining - as in why are you interupting my perfectly good whine)

"He installed a new hearing system for me."


"Yup - it's really cool. He put these things up through my teeth and up into my ears."

"Really?? What does that do?"

"It means I can't hear anyone who is whining when they talk. It was expensive but I think it's going to be worth it."


A few minutes later.... "Muuuummmmmmmmmmmmyyyyyyy......."

"Sorry Stuart are you trying to say something?? You must be whining because I can see your lips moving but I can't hear you. This thing works really well!"

Marc : "HEY!! I go to the dentist on Wednesday! YEAH!"

Thursday, September 27, 2007

10,000 Feet

Many moons ago (when I was young and impetuous, as opposed to close to middle-aged and impetuous) I had a boss, an older man, who advised me to try and imagine that I was looking at the problem from 10,000 feet in the air.

Apparently this is supposed to put perspective on things - let you see the other things around the problem or situation, realize it's real importance... etc.

So here's a go:

From 10,000 feet:

- you can't see that my house is once again covered in a fine layer of dust from having the contractors in.

- you don't realize that the stairs that are still waiting to be carpeted are covered in cat hair and muck from the renovation - Sears has yet to show up with my vacuum that was ordered on line last week (2-6 business days - yeah. Not so much).

- you wouldn't notice that the cracked floor board in my daughter's room has been replaced with the wrong colour - mix up on the order, so we can start all over again next week.

- you can't see the extra grey hairs that seem to be sprouting on a daily basis (up until now they've been soft and wavy, but the other da I had a renegade zig zag one sticking straight up from my head like a wire hanger bent the wrong way).

- you can't see the bags/circles under my eyes.

- hopefully the 5 kg I have put on since arriving back is not so noticeable.

- you can't hear my son crying about how he hates school and is the youngest in his class and doesn't understand French (I prefer to think he doesn't understand the accent, since he is pretty clear on what I am saying when I speak to him)

- on that note - you won't notice the changes to my son's accent when he speaks French. Bye bye nice European accent.

- you won't see that my daughter has barely eaten in 3 days and that my "Please sit down and eat your (fill in meal)" is not as sweet and patient as I would like it to be.

But I am pretty sure you can still see, even from 10,000 feet, a house that still looks like a bomb hit it.

It's a lot of little stuff. I am really trying to see it that way and not get upset over things that I can't influence.

But maybe I'd better suggest Marc stop by the liquor store on his way home. I think I need a drink.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Tante Jopie

My Tante Jopie passed away this weekend.

She was my Opa (grandfather)'s sister and a lovely woman. She lived in the Netherlands and I have so many fond memories of her, when she came to visit when I was a child (that one is blurry, I remember aking her a birthday cake and spelling her name in Smarties on it) and again when I was in my early twenties.

In 1993 when I graduated from University my mum and I took a trip to Holland. We spent some time in Amsterdam and visited the places she had lived as a child and also went to Zwolle to spend a few days with Tante Jopie, and see where my Opa grew up etc. Despite the language barrier we managed to pretty much communicate - she understood enough English and I learned a bit of Dutch so we spoke with each other in our languages, peppered with words of each other's.

Once we moved to Luxembourg Mum and I visited her. And she (with her daughter and son-in-law) drove the 400km (and then back) on an icy December day to meet Stuart when he was born.

The last time I saw her was two years ago - my mum and I took Julia up to see her and stayed overnight in a B&B (Julia was a year old at that point). She was definitely older, but still the same. She'd moved into an apartment in a senior's home, but she still seemed pretty much the same. And she was so much like my Opa - a man she had seen so infrequently over the past 52 years.

Not long after that she got ill (she'd been diabetic for several years I believe). Quite seriously ill. She went into the hospital and never went back to her apartment.

Every time my mum would come to Luxembourg I would push her for us to go and see Tante Jopie. Mum's visits always seemed to go so fast and usually the news from Mum's cousin was that Tante Jopie was not well, that she was either back in the hospital or that she wasn't recognizing even her own children. My mother wanted to keep her memories of how Tante Jopie was the last time we saw her. I felt we should go.

I am a little torn today. When Mum called this morning I cried, because I never went to say goodbye to her. But she was surrounded by her friends and family and would not have recognized me - and I realize now that I would n't want that to be my last memory of her.

Sometimes mothers are right. Rest in peace Tante Jopie.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Too much Timmy's?

This morning Julia and I drove to Montreal to spend the day with my mum (yes, there was shopping involved).

On our way we stopped at Tim Horton's for a coffee for me and a box of 10 Timbits (donut holes) for Julia. I figured they would buy me some peace on the way to Montreal since she hadn't eaten much beakfast and it's nearly a 2 hour drive.

Julia loves her Timbits. Asks for them every day.

So she starts talking about them as soon as I turn the key in the ignition to leave the donut shop - and I ask her to wait until we are on the highway to break open the box (thinking "There's 10 in there and it's a two hour drive - do I really want her cracking into them now and either making herself sick or being hopped up on sugar at 8:36 in the morning?))

Then we got to talking about something and we'd gone about 50 km before I thought to ask her if she wanted one (I wanted one).

"Me going to eat them at Nana and DonDon's house" she informs me. "Me going to share them with Nana and DonDon, me going to give them chocolate ones."

Wow. the chocolates are her favorites. We now have to ask for 1/2 the box to be chocolate every time (YES - we are buying them too often) or there aren't enough chocolate ones to go around.

I tell her how sweet that is that she wants to share her favorite ones with Nana and DonDon and how generous. She beams from the backseat.

Getting off the exit to my mum & Don's I say to her "We're almost there - you can share your timbits soon."

She shouts out from the back seat "But me wanted a TIMBIT ROOM!"


"Me wanted my room to have BROWN TIMBITS in it!!" - she is completely indignant at this point.

I very calmly (and I hope empathetically) explain that when we were picking colours for her room that we were in Luxembourg and she'd never had a Timbit. And that she had been pretty adamant that her room be PINK (pink pink pink... nothing but pink).

Big fat tears roll down her cheeks - "B-b-but ME WANTS A BROWN TIMBIT PAINTED ON MY WALL!"

Okay sweetie, we'll talk to Nana (the artist in the family) about it.

Sniffle sniffle "Okay."

The first thing she did when she got out of the car was thrust the box of Timbits in Don's direction.

And she did share her chocolate ones. One for Nana, one for DonDon - 3 for Julia.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

What I managed to do today...

1) get the kids dressed and Stu to school on time (it was tight this morning)
2) come home and get Julia to finish her breakfast and eat something myself
3) get Julia to her reading group at the library and pick out two books afterwards (well I pcked one for Stu in about a minute and a half, she took the other 25 minutes choosing)
4) pick Stu up at school, come home, make lunch, feed children
5) drop Stu back at school (another tight one), play with Julia in the park for 12 minutes, then drive to nursery school and drop her off
6) go to Home Depot to buy extractor fan that does not sound like a jet engine taking off in our kitchen(as current one does) and is not covered in grease that I can't get off no matter how hard I try (again, current one). Leave Home Depot with fan, a new chandelier (our one From Lux can be installed no prob - but no one sells bulbs that fit) and a bunch of light bulbs that I am hoping will fit in the kids lights (they don't).
7) buy Groceries
8) pick up Stu, drive to Julia's nursery school and do some of his homework in the car while we wait the 5 minutes to get her
9) come home and unload car
10) discuss with contractors working on basement
11) cook healthy meal for family (Proud of this one - we've had more take-out/junk food than I will admit to in the last month
12) clear dishes
13) practiced Stu's dictee words for his spelling test tomorrow morning (ran out of patience, Marc had to do the second go round)
14) got Julia to sleep
15) wrote this post

I am exhausted. I needed to actually write down what I did today because it seems like nothing, but I am wiped.

This whole "Mum's Taxi" thing is way more work than I realized it would be. May need cattle prod to get kids moving so I am not always speeding on way to school (mostly joking).

Thanks to Lisa for the homework suggestions - teacher told us not to do more than 15-20 minutes a day (she obviuosly has yet to view the Stu at his s-l-o-w-e-s-t...) and, as Lisa also suggested, to take breaks. And to try and do someo on weekends and not to hesitate to tell her if we can't get it done during the week and we will work together. I think she's pretty cool.

And potential good news on the home renovation front (dare I say it?? Am I jinxing us??) - the contractor has plans to be in here early next week too and... they think they can be done by next Wednesday (not including the bathroom downstairs) WOO HOO!

Now let's hpe Marc's appointment witht he carpet guy tomorrow has him saying we can have carpet sooner rather than later...

Are things looking up?? Fingers crossed!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


This morning my mother read my blog. And called me before 9 am to tell me that I don't sound very happy.

And yeah, I guess I haven't found my way out of the bitter barn yet.

I had this great post in my head to explain it - how we are tired of living in limbo, that the contractor informing us that he wasn't coming back for another 2 or probably 3 weeks, really threw me for a loop. We've been tripping over stuff that we didn't want to put in the basement beause it was about to be finished and then we could really get on with real life - unpack the rest of the kids toys (because all of the interesting ones seem to still be in the boxes) and have a TV, and well - hang all our pictures (Marc's office is in our bedroom at the moment which is convenient for blogging late at night, but not so nice the rest of the time).

Anyhow I am running on. In general we had been waiting for the contractor to come back in to fix a bunch of other things too - like the fact that we still have plywood stairs going upstairs. And no basement. And half a laundry room. And nowhere to put anything.

He pushed the carpet ball into our court (yes, pushed... he's a lovely man, he gently pushed to see if we would handle it - which I of course was all over like a fat kid on a Smartie- control of SOMETHING!! Yeah!!) but his contact is out on vacation until Thursday and his replacement has not returned my calls. The one thing I thought I could get done - yeah not so much. As a results oriented person I found it - well slightly demoralising.

So over the weekend, when I blew a gasket over moving things from one place to another (this was the prelude to realizing I was sick - I was in a LOVELY mood, breathing fire and all) I informed Marc that we were going to start using the basement. Because we could clean it up in a few weeks before he came, but that I was fed up of tryign to cram 2200 sq feet (old house, minus a few things, but we had a huge attic) into 1100 sq feet (new house, yes we still need to do some downsizing).

So by Sunday night we had moved a bunch of boxes down, found the kitchen, bought a big TV that we couldn't install but got on sale, plus all the other stuff that goes with it (I am useless in this department, there are subwoofers etc - that word always makes me think of dogs).

And by that point I realized I felt awful, and then add on Stu and the whole homework thing yesterday and bam, there I am down in the dumps again.

Then out of the blue the contractor sends us an email late last night saying that they can work in our house for 3 days this week, is that okay.

Uh - YEAH! Only now we have to try and clear out the basement - tonight. Oooof. With the help of our neighbour Steve (and his wonderful wife Karen - she has been a life saver since we arrived and I don't know what we'd do without them) and yet MORE of their garage, we have an empty basement this evening. I have seen the list of things that the contractor has put together for the guys to do and if they do it all - well my house will be nearly finished by Friday night!! I am trying not to get too hopeful, but fingers crossed. Now if we could get some carpet in...

And I am off to Montreal on Friday for the day with Julia. She doesn't have preschool, Stu has sub (as in sandwich) day at school and Marc can pick him up at 3, so Joolsies and I are going to hop in the car after dropping Stu off and hopefully (traffic permitting) pick my mum up around 10:30 at her house and go shopping at Fairview (mall I've been going to since I was a baby - they have an H & M, I am in such withdrawal) and then to Ikea and hopefully visit with my Opa at some point before heading home. Oh yeah, and pick up some Montreal bagels. Basically what I have been longing to do for years now - just get in the car and visit my mum for the day.

On the Stu front - he brought home extra work again today. In fact he even brought some home at LUNCH. I am already finding lunches pretty tight - the drive to the school is only about 5 minutes, but by the time I get him and Julia out of the school, into the car and home there's 10 minutes of his lunch hour gone and then there's the whole leaving 40 minutes later to take him back on time and then get her to preschool.

And somewhere in there they both should have had a healthy lunch.

Have I ever mentioned that my kids are really really slow eaters?

I blame it on them being born in a country where most businesses shut down from 12-2 pm for everyone to go home for a nice cooked meal. You know, whole meat and potatoes and veg type of thing (and no, we didn't do the whole big lunch thing, but they still managed to fill the time as if sensing that htere should be more to what they were being served).

So homework at lunch (luckily it was just writing two sentences! but that's a lot for Stu right now) was a bit of a stretch for me. The good news is that the teacher came to talk to me when we were leaving (cut another 4 minutes off that 40 to eat) and told me that he had worked really hard for the first 40 minutes of the morning and earned two stickers and that everyone in the class had clapped for him and she was really proud of him (I had also sent a note this morning saying he hadslept very badly and has been having nightmares for the last few nights - he keeps crawling into our bed). We all had a bit of a talk, I asked about this D he is so worried about (he got a D on something and is now worried it will be on his report card) and I think she's a very nice woman and a good teacher. And maybe - if I survive - she will be good for him because she is pushing him, which is something I am just not able to sustain a lot of the time because he pushes back SO HARD.

It's just such a fine line between challenging him enough to see his potential and turning him off school - poor thing, he's only 5 (okay, 6 soon) and he's worried about dissapointing me with his report card (she handled that really well when it came up). We will have to see how it goes - but he's going to have to pick up the pace a little. This evening we met a couple of boys 2 grades ahead of him, one of whom lives a few houses away and who were out playing with - wait for it - LIGHT SABRES. Too cool. We went over and chatted and his mum said that Stu has to come by and play in the evenings if they are out. I pointed out that if we could get all out work done at school there would be time - trying to motivate him not to have extra homework.

As for me - well I think I may have been right in my self-diagnosis and was smart to start the emergency reserve of anitbiotics. I am feeling slightly more human today and hopefully will be back to normal by the weekend... (I seem to have a lot of hope that a lot of things will be done by the weekend - my sinus infection, the basement...)

Tomorrow night is Meet the Teacher and I just realized I have about 20 pages of reading I have to do - and it's 11 pm already...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Advice welcome...

I just spent an hour and 40 minutes doing homework with Stuart.

He's 5.

An hour of it was work he had not managed to finish in class - in his homeroom class and in his art class. The art part took the hour, the stuff he didn't finish in school took a lot less and then we did the words for his dictee.

The guidelines in the parent handbook say 10 minutes a day for Grade One. Well the dictee takes at least that long (maybe I care too much??), but I do concede that the other stuff is pretty quick.

We "knew" that this was going to be a big jump for him - because of the different age cut-off dates between Luxembourg (30 August) and Ontario (31 December) he skipped Senior Kindergarten. His class in Luxembourg was a mixed Jr/Sr Kindergarten and the teacher told me that he's a bright boy who often knew the answers to things that the second years didn't. But that his fine motor skills needed some work.

His teacher here told me the first week that he needed to learn to focus and I explained that he had skipped a grade. She said no worries we would work on in together (she's always in a rush) once things settled down (I think it was the day after the unpacking service ended up being 3.5 hours - for all the stuff that took 3 full days to pack, I was a little overwhelmed). She said he was a very bright boy, that she could tell, but that he would need to apply himself.

I am getting notes from the teacher saying that he is working slow, or today that he was very distracted in class. The double whammy of homework from two teachers today has thrown me for a loop.

I know he has a short attention span - as in if he's not in the mood to do something he's not going to do it. We've been through this several times - violin lessons that he insisted on taking, then wouldn't play at the classes, LIttle Gym that he HAD to go to and then spent almost every class trying to come out to see me, and even Karate where he would try and go to the bathroom every 10 minutes. There was a week when I dragged him out in the middle of the class because he was refused the bathroom and spent the next 15 minutes howling (he really didn't have to go, he'd been before we left for class and when we got to class, I am not cruel).

The kid doesn't seem (to his frustrated and neurotic mother) to have sticking power. And it's one thing when it comes to extra-curricular activities, but this is school now.

I told him today that all the time we spent doing homework could have been used to do something fun - like going to the park on a nice day (Marc came home and took Julia out to the park). I am hoping that a lot of positive reinforcement and incentives like play time will help.

But any advice is welcome. I am new to this whole homework thing. And there's going to be a lot of days when Marc won't be around to take Julia to the park so we can do close to two hours of homework.

It also doesn't help that I am sick again. It started last week with a sinus headache, turned into a sore throat, then spread (as it always does) to my sinuses. Today it's also hitting the chest so I broke out the antibiotics that my ENT prescribed for an emergency before we left Luxembourg. I feel lousy, which doesn't help when you're trying to be a nurturing parent. Not to mention it's bringing back a whole lot of bad memories of the last 6 months we were in Lux - I don't want to play this game again.

Dinner time - thanks to my wonderful husband who let me stay in bed until 2:30 this aft.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Out of the bitter barn

I have been waiting all day to go to bed and now that it's time to sleep I can't so I thought I would post instead.

Today proved once again that the world is a very small place - I was in a kids' consignment shop and my neighbour was there for her strollercize class - we had a brief word about Julia's ALL DRESSES ALL THE TIME attitude (hence the consignment shop when we already have too much stuff in the house - the girl needs some dresses for nursery school). A woman standing next to us piped up with some advice on wearing jeans under dresses... anyhow, long story short (okay, as short as I ever make them), we get to chatting and it turns out that her best friend lives in Luxembourg. And that I know her. Not really well, but we were in the same Moms & Tots group and at some parties together. Weird huh?

I don't know if it was the whole talking about Luxembourg with someone who has been there several times (the woman lived in Grenoble until a year ago). Or the horrible sinus headache I had (first one I have had since we moved out of our house in Luxembourg - it really brought me down because after 6 months of constant headaches I hadn't had them for a month). But either way I sat down with Marc this aft and had a good cry about everything that is so horribly difficult and uncertain in our lives right now.

I feel very strange about being here - it's almost like the last 7.5 years didn't really happen. Like we're stuck in some episode of Star Trek where there is an alternate reality that is getting mixed up with ours. And talking to this woman made Luxembourg real again somehow, and I felt really homesick and displaced.

Our friend Hugh's mother put it really well when we saw her a couple of weeks ago. Her husband used to do sabaticals and when they would come back to Canada afterwards - it felt weird to just be normal people. You get so used to being "different" as an ex-pat that it feels strange just to be like everyone else again.

But you know what? I think the cry helped. But I also realized that I will only feel miserable if I let myself feel miserable, and me being crabby on top of the kids being out of sorts isn't going to make anything better (Only child syndrome - I am having a hard time dealing with the squabbling and bickering which seems to have reached an all time high).

Things are not going as expected at the moment, and the change is more difficult than we thought it would be, but it's time to just stop getting upset about things and just get on with it.

Not to mention that I seem to be making some new friends - I got to talking to a woman in the grocery store checkout the other day - I know, I sound like I just go around talking to anyone, but her daughter started talking to Julia, and it turned out they were born 5 days apart... okay, I must be tired, that sentence got completely away from me but I am too tired to try and reconstruct it. What I was trying to say is that I actually asked this very nice woman with a 3 year old daughter if I could give her my number and she gave me hers and two days later she called to tell me about a gymnastics class that they go to, which we are now registered for. Might sound normal to some people, but I am usually far too shy to do that type of thing. I am trying to be better about building a network here than I was in Luxembourg.

And now I am going to try and get to bed so that I am not ready for a nap when Julia has her first pre-school ballet class tomorrow afternoon. I am not sure who is more excited about her wearing a little pink leotard and tights - her or me!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Th 5 minute update

I am permitting myself a 5 minute break to write a very quick update.

Julia has taken VERY well to nursery school - she LOVES going. She goes 4 afternoons a week and this has been her first week. This morning she insisted on putting her Dora backpack om to take Stuart to school and couldn't understand why I wouldn't take her to school too. She's having a blast. There was a bit of a mix up over the program she was registered for so she is with one teacher for Mondays and Wednesdays (the supposed "Bilingual" program, but I realized right away that I, and possibly Jools, speak better French than the teacher) and Tuesdays and Thursdays in the "enriched" program with 4 & 5 year olds. I was a little nervous because she's really young for the group (having just turned 3 in May) but she loves the teacher and has a new little best friend called Maggie in the Tues/Thurs group and even though it was only their 2nd time seeing each other they were all grinny when they met up today. Yeah!

Stu is settling in better than we had hoped, but it's a big change for him. He has skipped Senior Kindergarten and gone straight to grade one because the age cut off in Ontario in different than Luxembourg and it's a lot to deal with on top of everything else. We're spending a lot of time working on his writing and practicing the words for his Dictee (spelling test) on Friday... I was a little concerned but today the teacher commented when I picked him up at lunch that he had worked much faster this morning. She seems really nice...? I've heard nothing but good things about her. AND - he got a sticker this morning for working fast.

Well there's my 5 minutes up and I have to go and get the boy so I can go and get the girl... seems like I spend most of my days in the car going to and fro - I guess this is what being a stay at home mum is all about!

When I dropped Julia off today there was a woman who asked where we'd lived before and I said Luxembourg and she had friends who lived there until recently and she said "Oh I love Luxembourg, it's so pretty" and I said "You've actually been to Luxembourg?" (No one ever seems to have been) and realized I was holding her arm... I guess Stu's not the only one who's homesick.

REALLY have to go now... the kiss and ride line-up is a nightmare at 3 pm...

Monday, September 10, 2007


We are here.

In our house (which is WAY smaller than we remembered). And we got internet this morning.

To be honest, things have not gone well since we arrived (reno problems, dishwasher leaks, gas leaks ... so much to talk about!)

We are suffering major reverse culture shock, and I am surprised Marc has not hidden my passport to ensure I don't grab the next flight to Europe.

We are not having fun at the moment. Can anyone please provide date/time when things will be better? I'm willing to take an approximation at the moment.

So I am posting just to post. Oh - and to say that I was shocked this morning. I went to get gas on the way back from the school run (no bus for Stu. NO WAY, NO HOW is his motto) and I stopped into Tim Horton's for a couple of coffees (for those of you not familiar with Tim Horton's Donuts, apparently you can't live in Ottawa if you don't carry around a brown Timmy's cup of coffee - Starbucks has nothing on this place!)

ANYHOW - what really bugged me (as so many things do at the moment) was the HUGE long line up for the drive through - not because I wanted to use it, because there were only two cars parked in the parking lot and I used my able legs to walk in, order my coffee and walk out in about 42 seconds. I just can't get over how negligent some people are - sitting in their cars for up to 10 minutes (I am guessing here, but humour me, it's just a safe thing to do these days) with the cars running (HELLO? Global warming folks??) instead of getting out and walking in on a beautiful sunny, warm morning.

Okay I am going to to go and take my grumpy butt to bed now. I promise to try and write more intresting, less self-pitying posts in the near-ish future!