Tuesday, March 29, 2011


So Chase has been, well, UBER dramatic about, well, EVERYTHING lately. I thought it might have just been the whole "turning 5 thing," but no, it seems to be a lingering affliction.

Possibly the most trying times are in the morning, when I ask (okay, beg!) her put her clothes on (all by herself). And while her 2-year-old sister dresses herself, my gorgeous, smart, talented 5-year-old, rolls around on the floor, having forgotten how to, well, do anything except roll around on the floor.

So a couple mornings ago, I threw in the towel (after 45 mins of asking her to please please get dressed - oh, what do you mean nothing is 'fancy' enough?"). Mads and I had been dressed and ready to go for 30 minutes and I told Chase "come downstairs when you are ready to go." And then she screamed. And screamed some more. And I made breakfast.

Twenty minutes later, Chase appeared in the kitchen "nak-ey." And rather then make a big deal about the fact she still didn't have any clothes on (now almost an hour and half since I asked her the first time), I asked her if she wanted any maple syrup with her pancakes.

It must have been the fact I didn't say anything about her "clothing selection" but she hushed right up and ate her pancakes. After breakfast, she complained she was cold, so I said, "go put on a jacket. I am not surprised because you didn't pick very warm clothes to wear," and that set her off again.

But I have to say, it was totally worth it to pretend like there was absolutely nothing wrong with the fact she chose to wear nothing.

Chase, I love you so much, but all this drama is starting to hurt my head!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Five Things I Learned From My Helper

I never took Home-Ec (I don't know how to spell it). I never learned how to iron, or clean. I have actually ironed wrinkles into my clothes, which, by the way, used to be in two piles - 1) dirty, 2) clean. My saving grace is I can cook. So I've pretty much been wingin' it since I became a stay-at-home mum.

I can't tell you how relieved I was when we hired Jojo Poppins. She is a domestic goddess. I have not actually done a load of wash in a year. I have relied on her for housekeeping and cooking so that I can play with the girls without being interrupted. But I have been watching and learning from her. So now she is away for 2-weeks. And I have to do everything. So what have I learned in the past year?

1) Laundry - Monday and Thursday. Strip and make the beds, collect dirty clothes, wash everything. Do ironing that evening.

2) Cooking - Cook in advance and cook things that can be frozen and reheated for mains and rely on fresh fruit and veg for sides.

3) Keep it clean - So the biggest motivator here is that if there is the littlest bit of food brings ants. So everything has to be clean. Really clean. Like being on hands and knees wiping down the kitchen floor clean.

4) Don't stop moving - There is never any time to stop moving. Ever.

5) A place for everything - It is so much easier to find something if you know where you put it. I never used to be good at putting things away. I always knew the general vicinity where things were, but I never really knew "exactly" where things were. Jojo Poppins always knows exactly where everything is.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy Birthday, Chase!

Huge Happy Birthday hugs, Chasie-Boo! Can't believe you are 5-years-old. How did that happen?

Today started out with a gorgeous PINK scooter (one for Mads, one for Chase), followed by french toast, followed by 2.5 hours of Mandarin school, then to ice cream, then home for spring risotto (lunch) -- then off to school, where Madoc and I joined you to celebrate (with a cake that couldn't have dairy or even frosting, by request of the school - so we made a night sky cake -- blue jello with coconut stars). And then home, where you totally flipped out and started screaming (I blame the blue jello). From there, we ate pizza (yum!) and then watched Lady and the Tramp (in Mandarin).

Your (5) pink roses...

Whoa, long stem...

Then to school, where Madoc joined you...

Your night sky jello cake...

And just before the screaming started...

So we have one more cake to make. This one will be your "real" birthday cake. Also the fourth birthday cake I've made (1. Cupcake cones, 2. Chasecake, 3. Jello night cake). You have requested a lemon cake, but none of the pictures on Martha Stewart, Epicurious or Gourmet seem to please you. They aren't "big" enough. So we will give it a go tomorrow. Should be interesting!

As I was tucking you into bed, I told you the story of Chase's eve, when Mommy went to the hospital on a snowy night in London. And how gorgeous you were. And how I snuggled you up and held you tight and didn't put you down for three years. And how your eyes were filled with wonder on that night. So curious and so brave.

And finally, I asked you, before you went to bed...

"Chase, do you feel older?" You said yes.
"Chase , do you feel taller?" You said yes.
"Chase, do you feel smarter?" You said yes.

And you are - all of these things and so much more.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Turning 40

Not me. Not yet.

We were invited to a lovely 40th birthday party - and spent the day in the sun and sand. The location couldn't be better; just 1o minutes from our house.

Gorgeous day. Good food and friends.

Kids played so hard we were lucky they didn't pass out in the car on the way home.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Chase's 5th Birthday Party

Chase wanted a circus birthday party to celebrate turning 5. She started talking about her party in December, so we've been mulling it over (planning) for quite a while. First we needed a clown....hmmm.... and then we needed two tightrope walking sisters....

And a ticket booth, where children brought their tickets, and - if they were taller then the squirrel's tale, could come in and play (after getting a stamp and red noses)...

We needed popcorn bags (note to self, in humid climate, even if popcorn is popped only 1 hr before the party it gets soft and chewy).

Elephant rides and pin the nose on the elephant, which in planning seemed a good idea, but kids seemed confused about the elephant and why he didn't have a nose. (Note, interesting social science experiment)

Feed the lion and ring toss ...

Tightrope walk... (made more difficult with a beanbag on the head and an umbrella in the hand)

Decorate your own party hats, along with another two tables (I didn't get pictures of) with tattoos and the other with masks.

Pass the parcel

The cake (aka... cupcakes in ice cream cones) with marshmallows inside the cone. Note to self, don't do these the night before (as I did) and stick them in the fridge, as it makes the cones soft and chewy. I had a minor panic attack after thinking, oh goodness, what if the kids are disappointed they aren't ice cream? Well, turns out they were just happy it was pink and white sugar coated sugar. Didn't even matter the cones were chewy.

For a quick demo, check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TD3WBqSAfEs

And then I had my second panic attack when Jojo Poppins (our helper) and I were trying to figure out how, exactly, to keep them upright. In the end, I turned paper cups upside down, slit an X into the bottom and stuck the cone down the center. It worked wonderfully - although there was one casualty.

Some guests...

The birthday girl...

I love this picture. Chase is passionate about food she likes, like an Italian (see below). She would have rolled around on and BATHED in these cake cones if she could. She ate two and wanted more.

And then, all hopped up on sugar, I thought a performance would be a good idea. It worked until I tried to actually organize it. Everything else was a free-for-all, so I think the kids were actually, like, what the heck is that woman trying to do to us?

Kids could enter and exit from each side of the stage above.

I have to say, I need to throw more parties for children so I can stop stressing out so much over these things. I was WAY tired after this party (I blame the fact Mads has been up quite a bit the last three nights).

Another year - hard to believe! Happy Birthday, Chase!

And now for the next part of your birthday month - 1) your birthday at school and 2) your actual birthday.