Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Who is your marketing person??

Dear Gaylord Hotels and Resorts

I am sure your resorts are beautiful. And that your rooms are well appointed (and I assume well decorated). I would bet that all the food is thoughtfully made and totally on trend. And I will jump to the conclusion that no detail is missed..........but WHO ok'ed your marketing plan and logo???

really? A FLAMING 'G'!!
Two male characters including a 'bear' selling 'EXPERIENCE'




















And are they laughing that you agreed to the 'blatantly obvious marketing plan' with no sense irony or do you have a wonderful sense of humour? And will you be surprised when your sales are mostly gay dads?

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Home again home again clicky clack

And the vacation is over....it was only to weeks but it felt as though we were gone for months.  In some ways that is a really good thing....we are relaxed and have regained our senses of humour.  But in other ways it is stressful.  Reorganizing the finances for the month and getting ready for the weeks ahead with little to no run up time, getting food back in to the house, mountains of laundry and school starting in a week.......wait...

They start school next week

Saturday, 27 August 2011

46 Momths


Holiday!!  Celebration!! 
This is the first time in the history of having kids that we got to go away on a holiday!!  Yes we have had week long trips to Grammy and Papa's house but this was away away.  This was long drives, hotels, airplanes and different country away.  This wasn't going out of town, this was going on an adventure!!
It started with a packing up the car and driving to Buffalo.  Passports in hand......I don't think your passport pictures could be any cuter

I just wanna kiss those faces!!
 From there we checked into a funny hotel.  I say funny because it was full of fake plants, gilded gold crap and endless terrible figurines.....it was weird really....but clean and friendly....and had 2 weeks free parking for over night guests.  There was a huge salt water fish tank in the lobby which you guys loved.  It was full of brightly coloured fish including Nemo, Dory and "WORMFISH", a long skinny white, worm fish really, with black dots.  It kinda freaked me out....like a swimming tape worm...blech
On the shuttle bus
The night in the hotel wasn't totally successful but also not a total bust.  None of us slept very well.  After a nap deprived, excitement fulled day leaving home we thought that you two would crash at the hotel but at 10 pm we were all laying in the dark watching cartoons.  Finally you three fell asleep and I stayed up reading for a while which was a bad mistake because you guy were up by 6.  Tired, delirious and looking forward to a long long day we went down for the 'continental' breakfast which you guys were way to excited to eat. Besides there was a machine that made you a mini pancake if you pushed the green pancake button!! And who can resist pushing a 'pancake button'?  Even I had to have a couple of tries at the machine knowing full well that I wasn't going to eat any of the pancakes that came out the other side. A lot more pancakes were made then eaten....A LOT MORE...like 30ish. Once breakfast was done Big Daddy took you guys upstairs and I cleaned up our table, tried to repair the blinds and hid pancakes.
The excitement was too much and the rest of the morning before our 11 am shuttle to the airport went something like this -  3 temper tantrums before 8am, breaking the blinds in the hotel restaurant, didn't really eat your breakfast and 2 more tantrums by 8:30, flashing me getting out of the shower to hotel guests in the hall, unpacking the suitcase I just packed, loosing toys at the hotel (which I later found) hurting yourself on the luggage cart, one peed pair of pants, opening up suitcase that was just repacked to find clean pants, meltdown in lobby waiting for shuttle..........we then got to the airport and after the fiasco that is security now (although I have to say that the express lanes for people traveling with small children are FANTASTIC) shoes off x 4, belt off x 2, computer out, meds out that can't go through x-ray (I took a couple of emergency homeopathics), car seats partially dismantled, getting two 3 year olds through the x-ray machine in a timely fashion, shoes on x 4, belts on x 2, computer away, put car seats back together and wait for them to thoroughly inspect the meds before returning them to me.....this all with a line up of people behind us.  We get to the gate to find out that our plane is going to be at least an hour delayed.  Luckily there are a bunch of other kids on the flight so you guys make fast friends. In the end our flight was delayed by almost 2 hours making our connection really tight.  When we arrived we found that our next flight was at the other end of the enormous airport so we ran and ran and ran and ran and missed the flight.  delta put us on 'priority standby', whatever that means, for the next flight.  We had two hours to waste.  We were hot sweaty and had 4 suitcase, two car seats, a back pack and a purse to carry,  We decided to go to the airport TGI Fridays.
Our napless day continued with the flight from Atlanta to Asheville, waiting forever for our one piece of checked luggage, an airport shuttle to the car rental site, a bit of a wait while they set us up in the car (we were very lucky and got a great upgrade), the installation of the car seats and then the hour and a half long drive up the mountain.  It was after 10 pm when we finally left Asheville and were on the road.  You kids were doing surprisingly ok but you could tell that the drive was going to be ugly.  20 minutes in you had had enough of traveling and exhausted tears started.  We pulled into the driveway close to midnight and you were wailing.  Gabe, you had peed and soaked your car seat I guess during one of the brief sleeps along the way.  We cleaned you guys up and got you to bed.  I could almost hear the crashing noise of you guys falling asleep.  The rest of us weren't far behind.
It was a great holiday.  Really busy but so much fun.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
There are a few other things that happened this month that are worth mentioning
Bea you love stickers. If I give you a sheet of them you carefully peel them off and sticks them to a piece of paper...one by one..all right on top of each other until there is a thick stack which you carefully peel up and gently throws in the garbage....you are weird
Bea I gave you Daddys hermonica to play with one day.  We got to listen to every breath you took for a week through that thing.  You would only put it down to eat.
One day you told me that your cheeks were killing you, from smiling, and now you needsa little break.
You informed me one day while on holiday when I was in the tub that "you better wash your boobies first or Daddy will be mad".
Gabe, my little boy is growing up. Today you pooped, wiped your bum and flushed all by yourself. Picked out your clothes, dressed yourself (no underwear and shorts are on backwards but good enough) and called me an idiot (thank you toy story 3).
One day you were mad that I was laughing at you and you told me to 'stop smiling your face'
We talk occasionally to you about 'when you get bigger'. Today you told me about when I get smaller

As always I can't tell you enough how much you amaze me and how truly blessed I am to get to be your Mama

I love you more every day
Mama

Monday, 22 August 2011

The South (not deep)

I LERV it here but sometimes the south is weird
Whether you are pro-vaccine or not, this doesn't instill me with a sense of 'health'

Family Vacations

There are few things that run true for every parent but I think one that is universally agreed upon is: a vacation with little kids isn’t much of a vacation.  Usually the only difference is that you aren’t working (which isn’t the case for me) and both parents are on duty which sometimes can be a vacation in of itself.

We are lucky in that this summer/family/mountain house is full to the brim with family that can occupy the kids for stretches of time leaving some time for me to stare off in to the distance and day dream.  The sad part is there is so much work that needs to be done on the house that there is very little down time at all.

My strongest memories of this place are of my childhood summers here.  My grandparents, Gramma and Papa, had long retired and would spend 4-6 months of the year at this house.  By the time school was out and the ‘Royal grandchildren’ as they called us, had arrived they had already been here for two months cleaning up, painting and getting rid of any beasties that had decided that moving in under the livingroom for the winter was a good idea.  Now with them gone and the maintenance of this place up to family that lives in Canada that can only spend a few weeks at a time……well….lets just say that it is hard to imagine how much there is to do and still find the time to ponder the clouds.

Last night after the kids were put to bed we all sat down and a discussion started of how important it is to hold on to this house….and if it is important.  This house has been in the family for close to 120 years.  3 generations of kids have spent their summers here.  We all have amazing memories here and would be heartbroken to let it go.  But there is the consideration.......is it worth it?  The house isn't cheap to maintain and with property values in the area going up so are the property taxes.

Currently the house is owned by my mom and her brother.  I am due to inherit 1/2 of it (hopefully no time soon!)  Do I see my future summers all being in North Carolina?  Do I see this as the summer holiday location for my children?  Will it be financially worth it?  And there is always the question, when you own a vacation home it becomes the only place you vacation (unless you are very wealthy and we are not)  Is this the only place we want to go?

And then there are a million moments that make me realize there isn't a chance that I would ever consider my future being any other way.

Big day, waiting for dinner
Bea, the bathroom opens to the porch











Guest Posting Part II

The second part of my guest post The Delicate Ego of the Modern Parent went up on Saturday but I am currently living internet-free and will be for another week.

Here is a link to Part 2

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Buddah




I found this at the local market here.  I have yet to taste it but I will let you know.  It isn’t organic but look at the colour!!  You know those cows are grass fed so it can’t be all bad.  The truly amazing thing about this locally made butter is the price!


 











I love the local markets here.  There is also an amazing maker of jams, jellies and preserves.  This year a new jam was added to the list and 3 days into our vacation the 6 of us have eaten a whole jar and then some.  Not only is it amazing tasting but look at the ingredients


Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Summer vacations of the past and future

The driveway
 The days of swimming at Smith Dock, catching fireflies, late night movies, shopping for cute dresses with my Gramma, playing with endless distant cousins and snacking on gold fish crackers and cokes on the porch are over.  The summers of my childhood are gone.

Sadly my grandparents are no longer with us.  Something I am heavily reminded of when I am here.  I haven’t spent many summers here without them.  Since they died I have to admit I haven’t spent much time here at all.  My grandfather died when I was 18.  Right around the age when the last thing you want to do IS vacation with your family.  My grandmother lived for another 10 or 11 years but her health was declining and the trip to the family house was often too difficult. I was a college student who had to work summers to pay for college and probably entirely too cool to make the effort to come down anyway.

The side porch



I missed it ~ This creaky old family house that has a very particular smell.  Something that is a mix of musty, citronella, fresh air and dried-on-the-clothes-line laundry.  The slightly damp beds that are a little too soft and have lumpy pillows.  You still sleep better and everything relaxes a bit.

I haven’t been here in 6 years.  A summer of IVF followed by a high risk pregnancy and twins…..there was no room for big travel to a very un-childproof house.  Now at almost 4 the kids can be trusted to not touch everything or run out to the road (not that there is much traffic to worry about).  I love being here with them.  I love knowing that this is the beginning of their summer tradition.  I love that they will have the same memories (or at least similar ones) and I can hope that they will love it here as much as I do.



I checked to see if I could rip off someones wi-fi but there isn’t a single signal. Maybe that’s why we sleep so well. No constant electrical assault on our brains. 

The Husband on the front porch






Sunday, 14 August 2011

Things I never thought I would say but marriage and having kids has brought out the best in me


"Please don't fart when I'm eating"
"NO no no no no no.....not on the carpet .ooooooooooookay and nevermind"
"Get your hands out of your bum"
"Wash your hands after touching that"
"The toilet is not a toy"
"Get your feet out of your brothers mouth"
"Nope you only wipe your own bum"
"no poo isn't a toy"
"that's not for eating"
"Leave the dogs bum/eye ball/tongue/ alone"
"That's right poo is yucky and no you don't eat it"
(why are so many of these about poo?)

--------
I will add to this has they happen....and no I will never clarify which ones were said to the kids and which ones to my husband :-)

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Welcome

Welcome readers from Modern Alternative Mama!! I hope you plan on sticking around and read about my life with twins, my kitchen and the challenges of being a thoughtful Mama.

For current readers, I have had another post go up here and we are going to have some new friends join us here.  Everyone say hi.

Good.  Now back to our regularly scheduled programming....

Oh and you can join in on the Facebook 'fan' page ('fan page'....really...makes me sound ridiculous) here where we talk about stuff.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Because I have no sense of time

I realized yesterday that my 'summer hiatus' from my recipe column is over and my first one is due ....well today!!!  I can procrastinate with the best of them but this isn't a case of that.  This is me having no sense of time.  This is me getting lost in the sunshine, long days, homemade popsicles and warm berries in the backyard.

Oh summer how fleeting you are.....how you tease

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Dinner Last Night: The Grilled Veggie Sandwich

This is one of my favouritest things in the whole world and I really could eat this everyday.

There are a million things you can do with grilled veggies and I highly recommend you get into it and I will post other recipes that use grilled veg because if you are going to go to the trouble (it's really not that much trouble) to grill them you should do up waaaay too many really......but here is one...dinner last night

Sliced and trimmed.  Add a drizzle of olive oil and some s&p
Once the peppers are nicely grilled throw them in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Leave for a few minutes.  This steams them and makes it so the skins slip off easily




















This is gluten free quinoa bread toasted with a generous spread of goat cheese all drizzled with reduced balsamic vinegar.


oh and corn chips (the salsa verde isn't in the picture)

Friday, 5 August 2011

Finding myself under the 'Mummy'

I haven't been able to be here much.  My life is getting in the way of having a life....heh heh.  I think I am finally healthy again.  I was never that sick but one of the many things about having kids is there is very little time to look after yourself when you do get sick so the illness tends to drag on and on.  Once kids were in bed for the night, I was done, spent, exhausted and generally in bed not long after them.  So not a lot of anything else has been getting accomplished.  I have also been feeling a little ......thin.....lately.  Not in the 'skinny' way (I haven't felt that in over 10 years) but in a pulled tight way.  Not only is my body tired but my brain is too.  I feel there are almost too many balls in the air, too many jobs and that I haven't been doing any of them very well.

I haven't felt like there is enough time in the day to accomplish everything I set out to do.  I make lists and try to multi-task, but the kids suffer and don't end up getting the attention they need which makes them misbehave to ....wait for it.....try to get attention! I find this exhausting and have very little patience for this brand of naughty.  It doesn't bring out the best Mommy in me.

Early in the year when it was time to sign them up for kindergarten I realized how completely unprepared emotionally I was for them to start school.  Truth is I didn't feel they were ready either and started looking into the argument that boys should be held back a year in hopes that I would find something to support my panic about letting them 'go' and become kids instead of my babies. But I think I was more scared of what I would have to 'become' if I wasn't just a full-time mom. And now with school starting in a month I can't believe how ready they are and how much they need it and maybe I need to be brave.  They need so much stimulation and want to learn and talk, and play, and run and jump and smash and make friends and scream and have attention and I am finding it harder and harder to fulfill all those needs without completely sacrificing me and what I need to feel sane.  That and maybe just maybe I am ready to find myself under the 'mummy'

(And please no one comment that that is what being a parent is...'sacrificing yourself' and how dare I complain and try to make 'me time' because obviously you are not a parent or if you are you must be very tired and I hope you find yourself again one day.)

And maybe that is what I am doing....finding myself again.  It is so easy to loose yourself in the mom role.  And even easier when you have multiples!! Now that the kids are a little older there is a little time in the schedule to figure out who this new person, me as a mom,  is in the world outside my home and close circle of friends.  What else do I do? What is my contribution? What matters to me? And how do I want to make those things happen in my life?  But there aren't enough hours in the day and we are all suffering a little from the lack of attention.  We leave for a 2 week holiday in just over a week and come home to the kids starting school.  I hope in all this change that life and the universe will direct me a little to what direction to face and I hope that those few hours of school everyday will give the kids what I can't seem to and find me some peace to figure out the pieces