We’re definitely overdue for a “yay day” around here!

It’s been a long time since I’ve put up a “yay day” post, where we can share in the big and little things that are making us happy these days. I love the yay day posts for many reasons, not least of which I love to hear what’s worth celebrating in each of your lives, and also because I think it’s important to savour the good things that happen to all of us.

I have so much to be grateful for lately, I could fill and entire week of yay days. The boys are settling in well at their new school, and I’ve made a few friends in the neighbourhood myself. I even joined the parent council, definitely a post for another day. Yesterday, my eight year old read me a book that his teacher indicated was a late-Grade 5 reading level — which puts him about two years ahead of the curve. We bought a new fridge the other day, and a new washer and dryer, too. I’m excited about work because I’m doing another speaking engagement at a Social Media in Government conference on Tuesday, and I’ll have my excellent new Mark’s makeover clothes to show off. Heck, I’m happy just because it’s Friday!

Oh, and did I forget to mention that the house is sold? *squeeeeee!!!!!!* The conditions are waived and the deal is sealed, baby!! Not quite sure what the plan is from here, but it looks like we’ll take possession within a couple of weeks, and move in mid-October.


So tell me, my darling bloggy peeps, what’s making your heart sing these days? (And, thanks to Kerry for suggesting that today would be a good day for a yay day. You’re right as usual, Kerry!)

You know what we need? We need a “Yay Day”!

You know what we haven’t done around here for a long time? We haven’t done a “yay day“, where we celebrate the big and little things that are making us happy.

Today’s Yay Day is really just a thinly-veiled excuse to brag about my kids. I know, I know, I bragged about Tristan just the other day. But I have to treat all three boys equally, don’t I? Lord knows I try. No wonder the baby thinks he’s a seven year old! Besides, it’s not really bragging, it’s just a very effusive update for the friends and family who live far away. Yeah, that’s it!

Simon can READ! I’m so proud of him. During the Christmas break, we broke out the old Bob Book series, the ones I reviewed way back in the day when Tristan was five years old. Simon started with the first book and was able to read it straight through without help. Although it was a little thin on narrative arc and character development (“Mat sat. Mat’s hat. Mat sat on a hat.”) you simply can’t beat the look of proud astonishment on your five year old’s face when he realizes he just read an entire book. And so he went on to read another and another and another, until he had read six of the twelve books in the series back to back to back. And he was absolutely delighted with himself. You can’t buy that kind of joy!

Not to be left out of the “oh my goodness, my children are freakishly brilliant” brag, Lucas has surprised and delighted on many occasions recently. At not-even-two, he can count to ten and sing a completely recognizable “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” He’s got better pitch than me, that’s for sure.

And heck, since I’m bragging, I’ll squeeze in the fact that I’m going to be speaking at an International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) event on Wednesday as an “industry-leading communications professional” in the realm of blogging and social media. It’s being billed as an informal event with several featured communicators stationed around the room available to answer questions. Fun, eh? Any IABC members who will be there? Let me know!

Now it’s your turn, bloggy peeps. What’s making the sun shine in your corner of the universe these days?

A happy day for the sandwich generation

You know what? We haven’t had a “yay day” around here in ages. On a sunny blue morning, it seems like a fine day to be grateful out loud.

My biggest “yay” today is for my mom: she retired yesterday. Yay for retirement! Well, she actually retired a while back, but her last day of work was yesterday. I think she’s still dancing with glee today!

Funny aside: Way back when she was in high school in the early 1960s, the nuns tried to refuse my mom entry into the business stream of classes because she was at the time already seeing my dad, and they said the business classes would be wasted on her because she was just going to get married and have a family straight out of high school. My grandfather raised a storm and she was eventually allowed to take the classes. Turns out the nuns were right — she did get married and start a family, and then she only put those secretarial and accounting skills into action for the next 45 years or so. (*insert eyeball roll here*)

You know what’s really weird? On the path I’m currently on, I’ll be eligible for fully-pensioned retirement in just 15 years. (!!) I’ve already got almost 20 years under my belt — that makes me more than half way done my career. Hard to imagine that Lucas won’t even be done high school by the time I’m eligible to retire! Of course, with two in university and one just getting ready for university, I might not be able to afford to retire!

So yay for retirements, current and pending! And more stuff to be grateful for: it’s the last day of school! Yay! I remember last summer I was dreading everyone being home, and then I cried in September when everybody went back to school. So yay for being stuck with your family all summer long! I can hardly wait! (And I’ll try not to be bitter while Beloved AND the boys AND my folks are all off and I’m still trudging to the office. There’s another yay — for 20 years worth of accumulated vacation leave!)

And yay for excellent report cards! Tristan’s lowest mark was in (snicker) gym, where he got a B-, but he got As in both math and reading. Math! My boy!! And he doesn’t get it from his father, either! Since both of his parents need to take off their shoes to count beyond ten, it must be a genetic throw-back. And while they don’t get letter grades in junior kindergarten, Simon is progressing well in all areas but excelling in (snicker) communication. My Simon, who could talk the feathers off a duck. Hmmm, that must be a genetic throw-back, too.

So today is an excellent day for the sandwich generation. I’m proud of my folks, and proud of my boys. The sun is shining, and it’s going to be my favourite kind of summer day.

What’s making the sun shine in your world today?

My happy place

I’m old enough and wise enough now to know that life comes in cycles, some good and some not quite so good. I’m also wise enough to recognize that when it’s good, it’s a blessing worth acknowledging.

It’s such a simple thing, and such an amazing blessing, to be truly happy. I don’t know how I managed to luck into the three best kids on the planet, but I did. I love them so much that I can’t even grasp the limits of my own capacity for love. When I think about how much I love them, it’s like trying to comprehend the idea of an infinite universe; the more I try to understand it, the more the concept slips away from me, leaving me feeling wobbly in the wake of a kind of love-induced vertigo.

No, I haven’t been into the turkey wine. I just feel the need to be grateful, to be publicly thankful, for the ways in which my life is blessed. My mind keeps wandering back to the subject in idle moments lately, how truly wonderful it is to be me in this time and place. Everything I ever wanted out of life, I have right at this moment. Smart, funny, sweet children; a kind and loving and infinitely indulgent husband; a safe home; a good job; friends and family who truly love me. I’m even grateful for this silly little blog that fulfills my creative impulses and strokes my ego.

I’ve been trying to write a gratitude post for days, and this is the least soppy and sappy of the lot. YOU should be grateful I don’t subject you to the other drafts! And I know it’s a strange time to be feeling so beatifically grateful, with the uncertainty of elections and world finance and so much else up in the air. Like the farmers, though, I’m willing to make hay whenever the sun shines.

Yesterday we had Thanksgiving dinner with my folks. We’re not religious people, and I can’t remember the last time we actually spoke out loud to praise our blessings before Thanksgiving dinner. Yesterday, though, both my dad and Tristan independently suggested we take a moment to enunciate the things for which we are grateful, and so we did.

See, more stuff to be thankful about: we’ve managed to raise kids who understand the value of gratitude. Who knew happiness could be a self-feeding cycle, too?

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, friends celebrating today or later. Wishing you peace, contentment, happiness and gratitude.

A great start to NaBloPoMo!

Yay, it’s November!

Never thought I’d say those words. Truly, I hate November. Of all the months, November continues to be the suckiest. Bad things happen in November.

But November means that the arrival of the Player to be Named Later is just three months away. Yay! And November means Halloween is done, so we can talk about getting ready for Christmas. Yay! And November means it’s National Blog Posting Month, or NaBloPoMo, where I get to scintillate and entertain you EVERY SINGLE DAY of the month! (I’ll leave it up to you whether that’s a yay or not.)

But yayest of all is this: Postcards from the Mothership has made the cut as a Best Parenting Blog finalist on this year’s Weblog Awards!! YAY!!

The 2007 Weblog Awards

Thank you SO much for the nomination, I’m truly honoured. And not only did Maggie nominate me, but the judges picked me – well, picked blog – out of a field of more than 45 nominees, to be one of the 10 finalists!

*pauses to beam proudly*

You know what this means, don’t you? The polls open later tonight, and you will be pestered incessantly politely asked to vote each day this week. I’m absolutely thrilled to see that one of my favourite bloggers, Bub and Pie, has also made the list of finalists. Another yay!

Winners will be announced November 8, although I suffer no delusions that I’ll be among the top three five finalists — oh hell, I’m just happy to have made the cut. I mean seriously – Amalah and Finslippy? Yeah, like I can compete with that. Really, I just want you to vote for me so I don’t come in last, okay?

And now, I will shamelessly ply you with photos of my adorably Halloweened children to make you more amenable to voting for me. Simon was a fuzzy caterpillar, and Tristan created his own costume of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (from Fantasia). Beloved had the peaked hat as a souvenir from a trip to Disney World many moons ago, and I invested a stellar 66 cents on a pair of white gloves for him. Tristan put the rest together himself. (The little monkey in the bottom left picture is Jordan, our nanny’s son.)

Halloween 2007

So you can see I have plenty to be happy about early on a November morning. What about you? What’s worthy of saying Yay in your life today?

Yay day – the maternity clothes edition

Today is definitely a Yay Day kind of day. First of all, Tristan’s follow-up with Dr House at the children’s hospital went extremely well yesterday. Although Tristan panicked a little bit when he figured out that the doctors were planning on actually removing his ugly little mole, instead of simply poking at it and annoying the snot out of him, he toughed it out in a way that made me proud and a little bit sad at the same time. Five year olds shouldn’t try so hard to be brave, yanno? Anyway, although I was a little freaked out by it, Tristan’s favourite part of the whole experience was seeing the excised mole floating in a small container of some sort of fluid, ready to be sent off for biopsy.

“It’s like a part of my body went swimming without me!” he told me later in the car with obvious delight. I shuddered, but he recounted the story with glee many times throughout the day, so I guess – as usual – the residual trauma is mine and mine alone.

But the extend of my ebullience today arises not from relief in having the dermatalogical stuff taken care of once and for all, but from sheer narcissism. It is, after all, all about me.

For the past couple of days weeks, I’ve been struggling with self-esteem issues. I’ve steadily gained a pound a week throughout this pregnancy, and while that puts me exactly on track for the 40 lbs or so I gained with Tristan and Simon, and I can mentally rationalize the fact that I’m *supposed* to be gaining weight for this, it hasn’t helped me deal with the unhealthy appearance of back fat. (Really, isn’t just the phrase “back fat” evocative enough to make you wince?)

Between the back fat and the weather’s schizophrenic fluctuations this month and the fact that even the mat clothes that I do have seem to be either too big or too small or too hot or too casual, every single day for the last couple of weeks I’ve stood in my closet in the morning and sighed because, even on a day when everything is clean and all possibilities are open to me, I have nothing to wear. And that would get me thinking about all the great maternity clothes that I used to have, and I would feel bitter and pissy in addition to fat and sloppy and generally unattractive.

Not a great way to start every day.

Beloved, bless his understanding heart and huge sense of self-preservation, encouraged me to go shopping. And so I did, but even after giving myself free reign in the mall and dropping the best part of $200 I still ended up with only two pairs of pants, one of which I’m not convinced I like, and two colours of the same sweater. Add ‘disheartened’ to bitter and pissy and fat and sloppy and generally unattractive.

But then yesterday… yesterday! I had dropped Tristan off at home after his appointment and had 30 minutes to kill before I could pick up Beloved. In a flash of inspiration, I thought I’d check out Boomerang Kids, a consignment store in Westboro. Now, I know through previous experience that in the maternity consignment stores, on a good day and with a little luck you might find one or two pieces you like, but peeps, I’m telling you: I hit the motherlode.

I swear, I’ve never seen so many clothes that so suited me outside my own closet. And they FIT! I was nearly weeping by the time I ran out of the changeroom, 15 minutes late to meet Beloved but positively exhilarated by my purchases. Two sweaters for winter, two or three button-down blouses, a cardigan, another couple of tops, and the one thing that I was most bitter about losing before: a pair of denim overalls that both fit over my belly and didn’t ride up ridiculously short in the leg. For $12.99!! The whole deal cost me just under $100 before tax, and suddenly my wardrobe is complete. I honestly don’t think I’ll have to buy another thing, AND I can return the “meh” pants that cost me $59.99 the day before at the maternity store.


As if that weren’t enough, when I got home and checked the mail last night, there were PRESENTS! How often do you open the mailbox on a random Wednesday and get presents? There was a belated birthday card from my darling father- and mother-in-law (thanks Dee!) and a package of giant Rocket candies from my sister-in-law (thanks Nat!) and this:

Best Maternity Shirt Ever!!

Is this not The Most Adorable Maternity T-Shirt Ever??? (And, possibly the worst self-portrait ever? Sorry about that!) The t-shirt was designed by my friend, the brilliant and creative mind behind Lee’s Things. You can get yer own adorable maternity t-shirt (it was a tough choice between this one and the ‘baby loves chocolate’ one!), along with some other really clever and cute designs on onsies and bibs and even tote bags, from her cafe-press store.

Let’s review, shall we?

  • Tristan’s mole excised without trauma, and anxiety over the pending appointment absolved.
  • A reinvigorated and rejuvenated wardrobe. CHEAP!
  • PRESENTS! In the mail!!

Yep, it’s a good day here. Now, in the great tradition of Yay Day, tell us what’s making you happy today.

The other men in my life

So while we’ve been paying so much attention to the little man I’m busy gestating, the other men in my life have been busy with their own milestones.

Can I please have a round of applause for Simon, who has remained in DRY underwear all day long for the past two days? YAY Simon! It took him maybe two days to catch on, and yesterday was a completely accident-free day. The nanny said she had put him in a pull-up to go to the park (just in case) and he told her he had to go and then even held it for the 10-minute trip home.

What’s been really adorable, though, is listening to Tristan coach Simon. Now, Tristan has a personal investment in Simon’s toilet habits on two fronts. First, he was benefitting from our bribes to Simon. He too watched Queen Amidala on Sunday afternoon, and he too has received a steady stream of ju-ju-beans when Simon successfully voided his bladder. But more than that, Tristan seems to be extremely phobic about Simon’s bodily fluids and goes to great lengths to make sure Simon goes in the potty and nowhere else.

They’ll be playing, and Simon will pause and say, “I need to go to the potty.” Tristan will shepherd him into the bathroom, coaching him the whole way: “Okay, now pull down your underwear. Good! Be careful, back up, and point it down. Good. Now go. Yay! Great job, Simon, you did it!!” Imagine this scene repeated maybe every 20 minutes, all day long. Beloved turned to me at one point and said, “So, when did Tristan become Simon’s mother?”

So, how trustworthy do you think a six-day-old potty training habit is? This weekend is our Smuggler’s Notch getaway, and Simon can join an age-appropriate day camp if he is potty trained. If not, he goes to a daycare centre type of thing, with the 6 week to 3 year olds. I know which one he’d prefer, but am worried that he’ll be a little too distracted by the excitement of day camp to remember to listen to the call of nature. Thoughts?

More parental bragging: both boys passed their respective swimming lesson levels this week, too. I was hardly surprised to see Tristan pass from Preschool level C to level D, after his performance jumping off the diving board into the deep end of the pool this month. I was less sure about Simon, mostly because more often than not, he would be happily playing off by himself while the teacher coached the kids who were obviously less comfortable in the water than Simon. On his “report card” the teacher observed: “Simon has amazing confidence in his aquatic abilities.” Translation: he’s friggin’ fearless. Her final comment made me laugh the most, though: “Don’t forget to focus!” Ha! Runs in the family.

So it’s not exactly an official “yay day”, but it seems that this whole month has had me bursting with pride at how quickly my boys are growing up. And the best part? If Simon stays on track, I get a five-month vacation from diapers. If that’s not worth bragging about, what is?

No really, what is? Consider this bragging thread officially open!

Yay Day!

It’s a dreary kind of day here, grey and threatening rain – not that I can see a window from here. And I have a cold that kept me up all night and so I might have otherwise been tempted to be a little cranky and feel just a little bit sorry for myself.

But then I started thinking about all the things that I have to be grateful about these days:

  • a healthy, happy pregnancy. (What they say about the second trimester being the “honeymoon trimester” really is true, isn’t it?)
  • the new nanny. I don’t know who is happier, the boys or Beloved and I. Not once has Simon said, “I don’t want Jen to come over today” whereas he complained endlessly about going to the previous caregivers’ houses.
  • a four-day weekend this weekend, and a four-day weekend next weekend. Yay!
  • as if a four-day Labour Day weekend weren’t enough to celebrate all on its own, we’re going on a mostly FREE weekend getaway to Smuggler’s Notch resort in Vermont!! The media relations folks out there (Hi Karen and Barbara!) caught some of my posts about the trip to Bar Harbour in their ‘family vacations’ google filter, and they’re doing an experimental blogger outreach campaign. They’ve offered us the standard press package, including two nights of accomodation – free! We’ve got all sorts of cool activities lined up, like an “evening wildlife watch” family canoe trip, and day camp for the boys on Saturday so Beloved and I can enjoy a (don’t laugh!) Segway tour of the resort. You know, those stand-up motorized scooters? Now picture pregnant, naturally clumsy me on one of them – hilarity, if not trauma to innocent bystanders, is sure to ensue. Plus they have FOUR pools, EIGHT waterslides, a couple of different playgrounds, trail hiking, shopping… it’s going to be a busy weekend! (Don’t hate me; it’s an embarrassment of riches, I know. I’m not worthy – but I still said yes!)
  • and last, but not least, the boys continue to make me laugh every single day. We haven’t told them about the baby yet (the anticipation of the new school year is enough to make their little heads explode; I can’t burden them with a five month wait when I can barely stand it myself) but we have been casually dropping babies into the conversation a lot lately. The other night at bedtime, the boys spontaneously started talking about having a baby brother or sister. Tristan’s preference is for a baby boy, whom he thinks should be named “Joe Joe”. Simon, on the other hand, favours a baby sister, and he insists her name should be “Darth Luke”. Note to self: don’t engage the boys in the baby-naming process!

Now you go! What’s making the sun shine in your world today?

Yay day – the birthday edition

I have a lot to be grateful for as I look ahead to my birthday tomorrow. (Shameful how I gratuitously troll for your birthday wishes, isn’t it? It’s the Leo in me.)

We’re on our way home after a nearly perfect summer extended weekend away. Details will follow, but it included endless hot, sunny weather; a cottage tucked into a perfect little campground; my brother’s family; a pilgrimmage / day trip to my very favourite summertime place; and a baboon sitting on the passenger-side mirror of the car begging for Ritz crackers. No, really!

So today, I’m happy for family, for boys who are road-trip tolerant, for weekend getaways, for perfect summer weather, for people who love me and whom I love in return, for a life so full of joy it exceeds whatever wildest hope I might have had for it when I was growing up. It’s the best birthday gift a girl could ever want.

And you? What are you celebrating today?

Yay day!

See how nice I am to you? I’m about to brag blatantly, but I’ll turn it into a yay day so you can brag, too.

We got Tristan’s report card this week. They ‘grade’ them on a four point scale, from “needs to work on this skill” to “beginning to develop” to “meets developmental expectations” to “exceeds expectations”. He met developmental expectations in most areas – math and science and art. He knows all his letters except for Q, and can count past 40 in English and to 28 in French. He can also follow simple directions in both languages, and remembers his vocabulary in both languages well.

(I must admit I’m still just a little bit entertained that they grade four-year olds in junior kindergarten on math and science and art, to be honest. I kind of expected to get a report that said either ‘does’ or ‘does not’ eat paste and colour within the lines. They take this educational stuff pretty seriously right out of the gate.)

He got a few “beginning to develop” in some areas where we already knew he needs to put in a little more effort – writing his letters, for one, but mostly in areas like following instruction and social skills. He still follows his own mind a little more often than the teacher’s instructions, but he’s come miles and miles from that first week, where we got called in for “the talk.”

So while I’m proud that he did well overall, and the comments reflect a bright, happy little boy who is a pleasure to have in the classroom, who enjoys role play and music and story time and interacting with his peers, there were two areas where his teachers said he excelled. He got a ‘4’ for exceeds expectations in oral communication and reading. I’m really not surprised that my boy is particularly literate, given that I can say without modesty that he comes from exceptionally literate people, but I’m proud nonetheless.

We survived the first year. The lovely part is not so much that I’m looking forward to the next year of challenges, but that Tristan is. That’s my boy.

And now, after all that, I turn the microphone over to you. What makes the sun shine in your world today?