Monday, August 15, 2011

Snow Memories in Inglewood

Paul and the kids enjoying the falling snow, first thing this morning

Abby, Madeline and Mr. Snow (on a bit of a lean unfortunately)

Buster loving the snow

The sun came out and spoiled our winter wonderland

They said it was coming. Snow down to 300 meters. Inglewood is right on that level so I had two thoughts as I drifted off to sleep late last night, listening to the rain on the roof. 1) set the alarm and put more wood on the fire in the middle of the night. 2) open the curtains so that the first thing I see in the morning is a blanket of white. Just in case. But sleep took hold and I did neither.

Paul's alarm went off at 7 am and he got up unusually fast for a Monday morning. I, on the other hand, rolled over to catch a few more zzzzs. He was obviously on a similar train of thought to mine the night before because instead of dragging himelf into the shower, he wandered into the lounge. The next thing I knew, he was opening the curtains beside my bed with a big grin on his face. It wasn't just flurries that Inglewood hopefuls try to claim as snow. It was a glorious white blanket covering my ready-for-spring garden and it was still falling in large magical flakes from the sky. I jumped out of bed saying, "Oh my goodness; oh my Wow; oh my SNOW!" Paul had the pleasure of waking the kids to show them (apparently Madeline was sitting in her bed reading books and when Paul asked if she'd looked out the window, she was all, "no, why? Should I?"), while I scurried around looking for clothes to throw on and thinking to myself, "what do I wear? What do I look like? Do I need to shower before I play in the snow?" First things first and I ran and took some photos before the kids or Buster put their tracks into the whiteness. Then the phone rang and I was unbelievably asked to work at St. Pat's, which at least answered the question of whether or not to shower and what to wear. But then I wasn't sure if the kids should put their uniforms on or just snow clothes, so the actual getting dressed part of the morning took forever. We finally got there, or at least the kids and Paul did, Buster in tow. And let me tell you, that dog loves snow. Buster scampered everywhere and then rolled around in the white stuff, sniffing, snorting and having a rollicking great time.

Thankfully the phone went again and I was told the school would in fact be closed for the day, which meant I could stop rushing and start playing too. Paul eventually had to leave for work but the kids and I built a big snowman, made snow angels, caught flakes on our tongues and had a wee snowball fight. All those good snow activities I remember as a child growing up in the prairies of Canada, except we had so much snow that we would also be building snow forts and tunnels or tobagganing down the slopes. I used to play for hours out in the snow, bundled into my snowsuit, toque (beanie), scarf, mittens and fur-lined boots. Today, the novelty lasted, oh, about an hour. The kids got cold wet and hungry pretty quickly. I'm not sure if it's because the snow is wetter here or because we don't have the gear. I suspect it's more about the fact that kids today....

Alas the fun lasted but a few hours. Around noon the sun came out and the whole snowy neighbourhood started to steam. And drip. And then turn muddy. But what a great memory.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Definitely NOT a Vomitting Bowl

It's 10:20 pm on Sunday night and I should definitely be in bed. I had very little sleep last night after a dinner party and too much rich food, up early this morning to get ready for singing at church, and I spent the entire day watching the clock for bedtime. We finally got the children to bed and lunches made for school tomorrow when Paul talked me into watching one episode of Hustle. It was too early to go to bed he said. Well one episode turned into two and I seem to have got my second wind. I'm also recalling the events of the weekend and I'm starting to chuckle, so I've decided: I must blog.

We had a work dinner party to go to on Saturday night and because our wonderful babysitter has moved overseas, I had the challenge of finding a new one. It takes a rather special person (and capable!) to look after our brood you see. I was pretty confident in one find, but alas, she was busy and so we were stumped. To be honest, I was pretty tired (have been all week) and wasn't too fussed in the end if we had to bail seeing as it was a recipe challenge and mine was cannelloni--which I love to cook, but not this particular recipe and certainly not for a crowd (imagine stuffing 17 little tubes with mince and you'll get the picture). However, my lovely neighbour Caz came to the rescue and almost made it sound like we were doing her a favour by letting her babysit. Honestly, that's what she said. Lovely. And we couldn't refuse.

So our Saturday began with the girls' first ballet lesson in New Plymouth. Much excitement, much chaos and the fun of seeing friends and going for coffee. Next was a stop at Countdown to pick up the ingredients for the aforementioned cannelloni. I seriously tweaked the recipe to include ricotta cheese, garlic, fresh herbs and fresh homeade pasta and was much happier with it. Home for lunch, Sam on the computer, girls in their rooms for quiet time and I started cooking. I enjoyed the challenge of creating my own cannelloni tubes and it worked a charm. Soon it was time to get ready and when Caz and Lucy (her little girl) arrived at 5 pm, we said, "where's Sam?" It turns out, he'd gone into his room and fallen asleep. Paul woke him up because their dinner was nearly ready and it was time for us to go. He stumbled out of his room and Paul and I glanced at each other but didn't say a word. I think we knew deep down what was up, but didn't voice it because at that precise moment, we would have had to pull the plug and by then neither of us wanted to. We silently convinced ourselves he was just tired. He'd be fine.

Sure enough, just as we were sitting down to soup (the first of 9 courses!), we got the text. Sam had been sick everywhere! Poor Sam. Poor Caz! She didn't sound worried and he was by this point asleep in his sleeping bag so we decided to stay. There were still 8 courses ahead of us! Each one more divine than the other, culminating in tiramisu, my absolute favourite. And it was certainly worth waiting for (and clearly the trophy winner).

Home at 11:00 after a mammoth night of food and wine and Caz and Lucy were still up and in very good spirits. She'd even put the washing on for us and seemed to enjoy telling the tale of Sam vomitting all over himself. The routine in our house is that when you're sick, you get a large stainless steel bowl beside your bed. Sam often gets a headache (as on this night--I'm a terrible mother!) and he might be sick with it, so he knows the routine well. In her wonderfully expressive Scottish lilt, Caz described how she had given him some Pamol, sent him to bed and the next thing she knew, there was this voice shouting out, "BOWL!" Meanwhile the girls were watching "The Sound of Music"--longest movie EVER, according to Caz. That was a good con for sure. Caz ran to Sam who explained he was going to be sick and she ran back to the kitchen, looking for a bowl but of course I'd used every single one for my cooking (and hadn't yet cleaned them!). Apparently she ran back (and I do believe she ran) to Sam and grabbed what she described as a "red plastic-looking hat thing!" Well, that was Sam's fireman's hat. If you know Sam, you'll already be shaking your head and chuckling to yourself. It simply would not do for Sam to be vomitting into his fireman's hat. That's pretty much up there with reading a book to him that his name in it. No, much better to vomit all over himself, his sheets, his bed, everwhere. Poor Sam. Poor Caz! How glad I am that my babysitter was not a 14-year old girl that night. Nice to look back and laugh but I'm not sure that Caz thinks we were doing her a favour anymore.

Oh and Caz, if you're reading this? I know what I'm going to get Lucy for her birthday: "The hills are alive..." Something to remember us by!