Thursday, September 30, 2010

You're a Zoo!

Last Tuesday, the weather was gorgeous.

It was the perfect day to take 3 boys out of school.

Drive 2+ hours to the east side of Toronto

And visit the Toronto zoo.

Anna and Charlie have gone with me to the zoo several times in the past year. Haley had joined us out of school one day as well. Cole, Thomas, and Arthur, however, had not had the chance. We were lucky enough to receive a family membership from Cole's grandparents and it expires today. We have REALLY enjoyed visiting the zoo in the past 12 months. We did visit during the summer once, and it wasn't the same as the awesome trips we had last fall and this spring.

You see, outside of summer, the zoo is really not very busy. My kids can be 100 yards ahead of me during this time and I can still see them. We can watch animals for as long as we want and not be in anyones way, or feel crowded.

And another bonus: the animals are more active. Or they seem more active. It's possible that during the summer it is too hot and too harried to get to see the animals do much.

Watching this guy eat was entertaining. He's one of my favourites. My kids stood silently for several minutes letting him do his thing during feeding time and watching. It was peaceful. The whole day was pretty easy going, in fact :)

Anytime I can survive an all day outing with my young kids AND my boys and say it was easy going, is a good day. See how relaxed Charlie was? He napped for well over 2 hours. Without all the people around, he was able to sleep soundly.

And when we happened across a water fountain, there was time to investigate.

In fact, with how few people were around, i wasn't even really grossed out by the up close and personal approach Anna and Charlie were taking with the fountain. It seemed *gasp* clean.

Okay, maybe being drinker number 2 from the same water is not clean, but I'm not one to care about that when it comes to siblings (err, and their friends. Just ask Charlie and Jordyn and their matching coughs).

To cap off a nearly perfect day, we jetted out of the zoo and made it across Toronto traffic during rush hour with barely any delay.

No really.

I am not sure how it happened either, believe me.

We made it to the KW service centre and scarfed down some picnic leftovers in the warm evening sunlight on the last day of summer.

I topped them up with a cheeseburger from "Moo Moo Donalds" or "Old MacDonalds" depending on which child you ask.

The End :)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

September Changes

I love September.

September is a great time to get organized, start something new, turn over a new leaf.

The big kids are all happy with their new teachers. I am fairly certain I have already forgotten to sign somebody's agenda, and get tired of 4 people insisting I give them $5 this.second for that agenda. But the kids are happy.

Did you know schools aren't actually allowed to charge parents for agendas? Schools have to provide everything they *require* at school without charging parents. They instead nag constantly for a donation of a certain amount, making sure the kids write it in their agendas everyday and bug their parents endlessly. I will begrudgingly pay this money. I pick my battles.

I was SO happy to get back to the library yesterday. We strive to go every Wednesday, but during the summer we didn't make it. Two years ago I could never have understood the level of appreciation I would have for public libraries that I do now. My kids love reading. I go without my little kids and pick them up from daycare afterwards. I take Charlie and Anna occassionally, and even though I am sure they benefit from the library experience, it's another battle I pick. As they reach school aged they will come with us every week.

We take out about 25 to 30 books every week. I find music and books that my little kids love. I find movies that are on our zip list ( that I bring home and then take off our list. I find a good book to read at night ( I find a book or two for me! We are usually in and out in under 30 minutes, with arm loads of books, and then my kids spend hours reading throughout the week. What is not to love?

September this year has meant back to Karate.. er.. for everybody but me. It was my turn to go last night, but the evening was just too busy for me to feel like I could take off. I am still dealing with first week of school paperwork that never ends and it took precedence.

September has us restarting our meal planning. Meal planning takes so much stress out of life with 8 people. You know what you are making, you know what to buy at the store, and you don't have to figure anything out in the afternoon for dinner that night. It also saves money - fewer things go bad in the fridge, and buying a dinner out instead of scrambling for dinner isn't an issue.

I made a meal plan for 12 weeks. It took me 4 hours to do, and I think there are still some holes in it. But it's working so far and the "new" for this year part of the plan is that most of the lunches are left overs from dinner the night before. My kids much prefer leftovers to a sandwich at school :)

September is awesome. As much as this summer was awesome - great weather, with lots of adventures - I am happy to see the cooler weather and the routine back in place.

What do YOU love about September?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First Day

It's the first day back to school for the kids and my day began at midnight, when I went to bed :)

And it continued at 12:58a.m. when I thought I heard a strange noise outside and .. since I wasn't able to sleep anyways, I got out of bed.

Next thing I knew, it was 4:02a.m. and I was still up and still not sleepy.

But I decided it was a good idea to try to go to sleep.

A few minutes later, Charlie fell out of bed and I went to put him back in bed and console him.

Then, as I lay there with him, I realized Anna had drank a glass of milk before bed.

When I checked on Anna, she had peed her bed, two pillows, but somehow her pants seemed dry. She was cooperative with getting changed.

Then I lay down in bed. For another hour at least. And somewhere around 5:30a.m. I fell asleep.

And I was awakened shortly after 6. Then again just before 7. And then between Haley blow drying her hair, Thomas yelling, and little feet running around giggling, I gave in and got up at 7:30.

Shower's are marvelous things.

As are school busses. For the first time, my children get to ride the bus to go to school instead of NOT walking because our house is 1.9km from the school. And the school starts at 8:15a.m. Instead of getting them in the van at 8:00a.m., I walked them to the bus stop. Coffee in hand, of course.

Coffee is another marvelous thing.

And now, my plan is to take my 2 little children to the park and have them run off every bit of energy they can so that they both nap today.

And I will be thankful that I do not have to pick up the children from school. They will arrive home at 3:20pm off the bus, which is a big change from getting the kids in the van at 2:30pm to pick them up.

That's 50 minutes of sleep I think I am going to need.

Except if I nap.. then I may just do a sleepless night all over again.

Somewhere in there, Anna and I are going to do our own little school. She should be in JK this year, but we aren't sending her. We can have fun doing some JK stuff, me thinks :)

She is currently trying to manipulate me into letting her watch a movie instead of the park plan. "Do you want me to be HAPPY Mama? I am not going to be HAPPY unless you let me watch a movie".


Happy First Day everybody!

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Long and Short of things

Last week I was pretty busy

with a pair of scissors

and a fine tooth comb.

There were some mangly children;

some of whom wanted to go shorter..

and another who never wanted

to brush her hair again and this was still too long

(yep, that is Anna chewing on an elastic)

(and no, I could not get her to stand up straight to pose).

And another who would like his mop to go longer

but I felt it was time to lighten the load on his brain before school.

There are still two children without hair cuts. But they don't need them as desperately nor desire them. And I gotta say, 4 was enough for me for one week.