Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Grotto's Comes to Ottawa

I completely forgot about this great day, complete with photos, until I unloaded the camera this morning.

When my Parents went to our favorite beach at the end of August, my Mom asked my Husband if she could bring him anything back. He asked for a Pizza. Not just any Pizza, but a Grotto's Pizza. This is my Husband's favorite thing to do at the beach. Eat Grotto's!! He has it two times a day.

So sweet my Mother is, she heads over to the new "Take-a-Bake" stand on Rehoboth Avenue and asks for an uncooked Pepperoni and Mushroom. Sticks it in the cooler, and away they go, on their way home to Ottawa. Nine and half hours later, Mom calls to say they are pulling in and did we want Grotto's for dinner. My Husband was there in no time flat (good thing she called ahead to I knew not to make dinner).

15 - 17 minutes later we were savoring a delicious Grotto's Pizza. And for once it tasted just like the real thing! Usually when you have something at home that is great at the restaurant is just isn't the same, well this was, it was like a little slice of summer vacation in our own kitchen. All we were missing were the seagulls and some BirchBeer (similar to RootBeer, but red and sweeter).


We had to use the Big Huge Insulated Grotto's Cup for our Water!!

Thanks Mom and Thanks Grotto's it was great!


Some mornings when I am up long before most people (today was 5am, unlike the last two mornings when it was 4:30am). On these mornings, I could definately be grumpy and miserable because I am lacking in a basic human need of sleep. But, I am not. This is the time that my little guy has decided to get up. It has been this way since he was born. Occaisionaly I catch a break, but for the most part it is in the 5am range. It is while we are spending this time together, eating breakfast, sitting by the fireplace (it is chilly today) sipping our coffee and juice, and watching fun cartoons that I am reminded of how blessed I truly am. This little person that sits beside me is such a hoot, with his own little personality and funny ways he has to have his blanket and juice tucked under his arm. The little stories he tells me, even though I don't always understand them, the way he plays nicely with our two big dogs, even though the rest of the day is spent torturing them. It is absolutely the best time of the day! I am truly blessed and I am truly thankful.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

A Secret

I am keeping a secret. And it is one that I am definately having a hard time keeping. Who ever came up with the idea of keeping a secret? Did that person know you can go crazy trying to keep one? Well, I am not crazy yet, but I may have to spill my beans here.

Ok, not yet, but I will be seriously thinking about it all day long.

argh, Secrets....

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Recipe Sunday

One of the favorites with the Boys. It is quick and easy, and somewhat of a fall/winter before hockey dinner.

Sloppy Joe's:
1lb Ground Beef
1 sm Onion, finely chopped
1 can Crushed Tomatoes
1 tbsp Vinegar
2 tsp Brown Sugar
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Prepared Mustard
1 tbsp Ketchup
Hot Dog or Hamburger Buns

1. In frying pan saute Ground Beef and Onions over medium heat.
2. Add the rest of ingredients (except the buns), stir and simmer for 30 minutes or until thick enough for your taste.
3. Serve on Hot Dog or Hamburger Buns.

p.s. Leftovers make great pasta sauce for another day, if there is left overs :)


Friday, September 23, 2005

Welcome Fall

It seems only fitting that for our first day of Fall our weather has gone from unseasonably warm to right on season. Although it looks like a balmy +25 or more outside, it is only +13. I thought I was being smart putting myself and my little guy in our clam diggers one last time. Then we headed outside, it was an about face for jeans and long sleeves topped with a little sweatshirt!

Summer is definately my number one season, but Fall comes a close second. I love pulling out the chunky sweaters and going for walks on a sunny day and coming back with cold red cheeks. With Fall comes Thanksgiving, always a special time for our family to get together. I do love the changing leaves, but being in a new neighbourhood our trees aren't in abundace yet, so I have to go for a walk in the forest to get the feel of a colourful Fall. Then there is apple cider or hot chocolate in front of a fire. Small pleasures really, but ones that I am grateful for.

So we say so long (can you tell I am watching Blues Clues) to summer for another year, and boy it was a good one. With record breaking temperatures (my favorite) and lots of sun and fun things to do outside, I can't complain about any of it. As Fall comes in and we make the change with the clothes and the linens and pull out jackets and mittens, I only ask for one thing. A long Fall. A Fall that stretches well into November with great days and cool nights and no snow until just before Christmas when the time is right to enjoy that too.

Welcome Fall.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Thinks in my house that remind me to be blissful

Danigirl posted this question on her blog yesterday, so I thought I would give it a whirl. Bear with me as there many things around my house that remind me to be blissful or that life is precious, so I will have to pick a few.

First off is my mantel. It isn't really supposed to look like this it was temporary, but I haven't put up the little shelves that are supposed to house all these little trinkets so for now they sit on my mantel. It is my reminder of the beach, my happy place, my home away from home. Each of the little blocks of wood represent a store or restaurant in Rehoboth Beach. They are called "Cat's Meow" and they are supposed to sit ontop of doorframes. In our new homes here there are no door frames on the main level to hold the "Cat's Meow". The first time I bought one was the first year I took my husband to the beach, and we add on every year. Sometimes I buy two if they are little ones, and once in a while my Mom will bring one home for me. Anytime of the year I can look at my little beach and feel that I am in my happy place.

Above my mantel hangs a mirror made of an old barn window. My Uncle made this for my Husband and I as a wedding gift. It has so many special meanings that I will tear up just writing this. My Uncle never went to any family weddings (of all the cousins), he did not even attend his own kids weddings. Our wedding was the first one he was going to attend. We were getting married on his Birthday. He remembered that I said I loved the mirror he made for his daughter so he made us one and put a scripture on the bottom (Matthew 19:6). My Uncle went into the hospital the day before my wedding and passed away a few months later (from lukemia and other ailments he didn't know he had). Some days when life seems to be a bit rough I stand in front of the mirror and think of him, he always makes me smile.

This crazy painting was done by our oldest. He was ten when he painted it. It was hanging on his mother's fridge and one day when my Husband was picking him up he said how much he liked it. That year for Father's day my Husband received it framed and wrapped up. It is special in so many ways, the only Father's day gift he has received from our oldest guy and the only time his mother actually helped him put one together. I know so many parents that have boxes and boxes of artwork from their kids. We only have a small folder from our oldest and all of it was done at our place. This is the only thing we have that he did at school. It is so wonky and crazy and I love it.

I have so many more, but these few little tidbits are some of the brightest spots in my house, so I thought I would share them.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Search is Over

Sadly, I must report that the search for Jennifer is now over. Yesterday they found a body. And I prayed with all my heart that it was not her. I prayed that she would arrive home last night alive and full of life. But, that was not to be. She was identified today. So now the search continues, for clues, for information, for reasons, for her killers.

It is such a sad thing, but I am happy for one thing. Her parents won't spend the rest of their lives wondering if she will walk in the door. They have her back and they can lay her to rest.

Although I did not know her, I grieve her loss. I greive as a Mother, as a Woman, as a Resident of her comunity.

My prayers go out to her family and to the Officers that will work hard to bring her killers to justice. My hope is that all parents that have heard of Jennifer, think twice before letting their kids walk home after dark.

Let her death not be in vain, let us all learn something.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A Salute to Working Moms

I like to keep busy and am always looking for ways to work from home. I am currently working on some event planning for a former Boss. Most of the work can and is done from home, today was the Event Day, which I had to attend.

My youngest has been waking since 5am since he was born, this week however, he has been sleeping in. Today he woke up at 5:45am, which only gave us a half an hour before I had to get ready. Once we had finished our breakfast and I had my first cup of coffee, it was off to get ready. Dad had to wake up (an hour and a quarter early) which he is not used to. So we all got ready together. It was all I could do to keep from crying and it was only a day! I think my husband was thinking maybe I should do this everyday, but after my exhausted self lay on the couch all evening, it is possible he changed his mind.

I have to raise my glass to all the women out there, with toddlers, who go to work everyday. Getting everyone out the door and coming home to make dinner. I really truly don't think I could do it. I would be a blubbering mess I am sure.


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Jennifer Teague

Has been missing for almost a week. Have you seen her?

I haven't slept properly since I heard Sunday morning. You see Jennifer lives in my community. She actually lives a few houses away from my Husband and I's first house that we rented. She is only 18. Jennifer was on her way home from work Wednesday night/morning (it was around 1am) and never made it home. Apparently she stopped at the convenience store where she ran into friends. Her mother thought she was staying at a friends house, but it wasn't until the next evening (Thursday) when she didn't show up for work again that her parents knew she was missing.

I am not here to judge. I have three sisters ranging from two years older than me to fourteen years younger. If one of us did not come home on time my mother was up pacing the floors. Thankfully for her my youngest sister was able to carry a cell phone. They were just being invented when I was 18. The rule in our house was you had to let Mom know you were home before you went to bed. If you were staying at a friends house, you made arrangements. Although we did walk home at 1am back in the '80's, neither of my younger sisters did in the '90's. We live in a different world now.

The weirdest thing for me is that it is so close to home. You hear of stories, see the news, but you never expect to see it in your own community. Our community is rather large, we are up to 60,000 residents now. Larger than some small towns. People heard yells, arguing, screams, someone went outside to see, but couldn't see anything. Now I am glad that my Husband and I are a little nosy. We check out all sorts of sounds at night, we have witnessed car accidents, kids partying, egging houses, doing stuff they aren't supposed to, someone breaking into model homes. I don't feel bad now. I just feel bad that I no longer live close to Jennifer.

Our prayers go out to her family and all the people in the search party looking for Jennifer. We pray she is safe and not gone. I wanted to join the search party, until I realized that if I was the one to find her, I would never forget that. I don't think I can add that one more thing to my memory right now. For now, I lie awake, listening, wondering, how on earth does this happen.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Celebrity Citing

and me without my camera! My girlfriend and I along with our youngest children attended the Baby Boom Show here in Ottawa yesterday. On our list of things to see and do we wanted to be sure to attend a presentation by Ann Douglas. We attended the Sunday morning "Top Mealtimes Parenting Problems Solved". Which was great. With the world first Breadatarian, I am always looking for new suggestions on getting a bigger variety of foods into him. As well as keeping him at the table (never thought to have a table toy for dinnertime, thanks Ann). We definately have lots of challenges ahead but, we will work on them one day at a time. It was great to see Ann, I am only sorry I didn't have my camera and didn't live close enough to a Starbucks to bring one along.

On a second note. We had our first official night in the Big Boy bed!! Although we have had both a crib and bed in his room since he was born, this was the first night that the crib was not in the room. I gave in and took it down yesterday, with tears in my eyes, but happy at the same time that I won't have to do the bed shuffle once a night now. We installed a safety deadbolt on the front door (he let the neighbour in on Saturday morning) so I would be able to sleep through the night myself. All went well, it may have helped that he did not have a nap yesterday so he was pretty tired. We just said that the crib was all gone and he had to sleep in his bed, he seemed ok with that. When I checked on him before our bedtime, he had crawled onto the floor and was sleeping soundly. I felt terrible, picked him up and snuggled him under the covers. Where he stayed until 6:45am!!!!! He has been getting up at 5:00am for the last two years. Ahhhh, will see what the rest of today brings, hoping there are still naps in our future.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Day of Hockey

Last year the oldest in our crew started playing recreational hockey. We totally support him as he took a giant leap. He went from never playing hockey on skates and only skating on ice five times to being an all star goalie! Both my husband and I agreed that he was pretty great, which came as such as surpise as he had not, in twelve years, shown any interest in sports.

As soon as he started playing and we started taking weekend trips to the rink, the littlest in our crew started picking up things and pretending to play. First, it was the duster, then came the teeny stick that arrived with Mr. Potato Head. We finally decided to buy some of those mini-sticks. We started with one, but it was no fun for Mom or Dad to use the duster so we now have three and a mini-net too.

Today was big boy sticks in the driveway while big brother and his friend played on the street. We had lots of fun and I have to admit that I never thought I would ever play street hockey with my kids, but here I am on a glorious September Saturday tired but happy from playing outside with my kids.

Happy Hockey Season!

Friday, September 09, 2005

The Name Game

Saw this over at Danigirl's post today. The Name Game as I am going to call it, provides the meaning of your name. Although I have known that Anna means Grace in Hebrew since I was a little girl, I hadn't read the actual meaning or definition in a while.

Peaceful, poised and understanding you do not let anyone or anything disturb your innate calm. You are tolerant of others no matter how their behaviours or beliefs differ from your own. Not attached to material or worldly affairs you are free to express your true self. Displaying great wisdom and serenity people are naturally drawn to you for guidance and counsel. Your courage and presence of mind see you through any adversity.

I was very surprised at how accurate it is. I have to admit that I am not always a peaceful, poised and understanding person, but for the most part this does describe me.

Thanks for the inspiration Danigirl.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Thinking about where to go

This is the first time in my driving career that I actually feel it is necessary to think about where I am going. The best car for gasoline that I had was a little '92 Geo Metro Convertible. It took at the most $20 to fill ($8 in the US) and I could drive a good two weeks or more. And that was when I was going to University so I was making two or three trips from the West End of Ottawa to Downtown. It was great. Oh yes, there were the two years I drove a motorcycle all summer. And well that was only what $6 to fill? I don't even remember how long I used to go without filling it up. But, I also drove around a lot more than I would have in a car. Now with my Nissan, which I love by the way, it took $67 of gas last week! I couldn't believe it. It was a big enough shock when I went from $20 to $40 to fill a car. But, $67, give me a big huge break!

I actually think twice about going out now. That is pretty sad. I save my car trips for the days when I have lots to do. Otherwise, I try to get out on foot. My husband and I even walked for groceries on the weekend. Not something I could do if it was a big weekly order. At least not without a wagon in tow. Only so much fits in the bottom of a stroller. The thing that concerns me is that winter is coming and that is when I feel like I have to get out more often.

I do realize that oil production is down in the US, but don't we get our oil from Alberta? I thought that Petro Canada did all the oil and gas production on Canadian soil. Hence, the "Canada" in their title. So why is it, that before it was even known that there may possibly be a shortage in the US, our gas hiked up? Here I go with questions again, why do we normally pay twice as much for gas as they do in the States? Why does the Canadian Government continue to say there is no price gouging or that there is nothing they can do? Ahh, if only we had the answers to all of these things, we would be back to paying $0 .45 per litre. In the meantime, I will continue to try to conserve. And perhaps we will be owners of hybrid or electric cars in the near future. We have already been considering a Smart car for my husband to drive to work. I shudder to mention the $98 it cost to fill up his van!!!

Yikes, think we will be walking today!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

20 Years Ago Today...

... I was getting ready to go to grade 10! Every fall, I get the old nastalgia feeling for school. I hated highschool when I was there, but every year since I have missed it (during the fall). For a brief period of time, it was replaced by University, but it really wasn't the same.

My next door neighbours have two kids going into highschool this year. I was a little jealous of them. They were getting all their clothes ready, picking out what they would wear that first day!

For my first day of grade 10, I wore my purple "Jam" shorts (true surfer shorts, and that was long before I ever surfed) with a purple "Polo" shirt, a white "hoodie" sweatshirt over top and my white keds. Crazy that I remember eh? Ya, grade 10 was a great year! I always met my girlfriend, Natasha, halfway and walked the rest of the way with her. "This year is going to be great!" we would both say as we walked along Woodroffe Avenue. On our way to Confederation High School. Confed, as we called it, is closed now. It closed a few years ago and is now Yisak Rabin Jewish High School.

The best part of the first day of school was seeing all your friends that you didn't get to see all summer. Even today, I miss some of those friends. Some I have been in touch with and a few I cannot find, no matter how hard I try.

One friend sticks in my mind, Graham Sharpe. I have tried over the years to find him, but every time I get close it ends up in a dead end. Little did we know that this would be our last year of school together. Graham headed off to Germany in June after grade 10 as his Dad was transferred. The last time I saw him was when he returned in 1990...WOW! That was a long time ago!! He was one of my best friends back then, and I would love nothing better than to say hi.

This past weekend our street had a party, and it was really funny to find out that we had a few neighbours that we went to high school week. Perhaps that is what makes me more nastalgic this year. My husband and I went to high school together, but funny enough we didn't hang out together. He was more of a metal head/rocker type and I was more of a preppie/cheerleading type. We did know each other because of mutual friends, but did not start dating until much later, well, 10 years ago actually! It is kinda funny too that so many people remember him for his parties and playing guitar. When I tell people from school who I am married to, they always say "oh yeah, I went to his parties, they were great, they got busted". Of all the parties I went to, none were his. We went to the same highschool, but a different one at the same time.

I guess I should have called this an Ode to Highschool. In a few weeks the longing to walk the locker lined halls will pass and I will be thankful that I don't have to write any tests. But, I will always be thankful for the friends I met and the times I had. Highschool was great, not the best years of my life, but some of them. I would love to go back to the first day of school, just once... but everyone I want to see must be there too :)

Happy First Day of School Kids, Enjoy!

Friday, September 02, 2005

A few random thoughts about Katrina

Just when you think things can't get worse down in Louisiana and Mississipi (and Alabama) you are shocked again. When will it end? When will the waters recede? When will people be able to go back in (safely) and check on what used to be their homes. And will there be anything to go back in and check on?

It seems we are hearing all the bad right now, all the looting (although I agree with the ones that are taking food and clothes... necessities... just not the tv's, etc.), the snipers, THE SNIPERS??!!?? What on earth is that all about? The apparent murders that are starting to happen, the lawlessness. What happened to these people? Since when did a disaster, an act of God, turn into an excuse to behave like that? (Oh so many questions, sorry) .

I am waiting patiently to hear some of the good news. I did hear a few reuniting stories yesterday. But, I think I need to hear a few more. Mostly of the newborn babies that are left at the hospital waiting for Mom and Dad to return. When they were reporting of abandoned babies, I started to cry and kept saying I'll take one or two!! There is room in my house and heart for a few more kids.

I know the Government is helping and it is a hard situation to get a handle on. But, I would love to see a bit of a camp or something set up to organize the people who are being evacuated out. I know they are working on getting them to Texas and other areas that are safe, but there are still thousands that need to get out and in the mean time there is no order or food for them while the buses are going back and forth. A little work on the ground could help get things organized, and when everyone that can be moved is moved they can work on setting up a permanant camp for those who will be there cleaning up. Makes sense to me!

Sorry for the ramblings, but I just really had to write out what I have been thinking. I don't expect anyone to be able to help me answer my questions, but I do feel better writing it down.

All our prayers go out to those who have been affected.