Thirty Years

Thirty years.

10,957 days.

262,974 hours.

15, 778, 463 minutes.

5 children.

36,500 diapers.

32,871 meals.

11 houses.

11 renovations.
1 marriage.

I'm impressed.

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad.

We love you!


Judah for Prime Minister

We have election fever over here. Luke and I have been reading and listening and watching and guffawing for a few weeks now. With the actual e-day looming, however, I've been thinking long and hard about what I would actually want in an ideal Prime Minister and I've come to the conclusion that the ideal candidate isn't running. That's because the ideal candidate is currently asleep in his crib. That's right ladies and gentlemen, your future-perfect PM is Judah.

Yes, I know he isn't quite two and frequently wets himself, but hey that's better than "unintentionally" hiring and ca-hooting  with a bunch of shady fraudsters. Or being found in contempt of parliament. I mean, time outs are one thing, but contempt sounds like one serious time out.

Plus, Judah has the mass appeal that could politically unite Canadians once and for all.

For the Conservatives: He's tough on crime. This morning the cat tried to steal a Pringle from him. He pulled her tail and shrieked at her. Never mind that the cat was hungry- she'll never learn if he doesn't punish her in some unequivocally harsh manner which ignores the root of the problem.

For the Liberals: He's fiscally responsible. Like surpluses? He's got at least 60 cents in pennies stashed in the cold air return. Want a learning passport? He gives his dad a hug every morning before he goes to school. Sometimes he even shares his cheerios with him. How's that for a learning passport?

For the NDPs: He's an equal-opportunities kisser. He kisses one person in the room and he immediately has to kiss all of them- no matter their SES, cultural background, or possible relation to the Chocolate Labrador family. They all get to feel his love. Plus, he loves the arts. Just yesterday he did a chalk drawing on the wall of the living room.

For the Greens: He has never owned a car in his life, with the exception of his Little Tykes number with runs on Dadaline- a very cheap, seemingly endless source of fuel. He also uses cloth diapers and eats organic raisins. Need I say more?

For the Bloc: He speaks French almost as proficiently as he speaks English. Never mind that his English is 90% unintelligible. And he loves poutine. Take that Harper.  

And so ladies and gentlemen, the choice is clear. A vote for Judah Hoekstra on May 2nd is a vote for a kinder, gentler, more nap-filled Canada. Besides, no one since Trudeau has been able to rock a hat like him.


Love-Hate Wednesday: The banjo edition

Happy Wednesday!

The sun is shining! The birds are singing! Life is beautiful. Unless....
You happen to be a student in the middle of exams... like Luke.

Luke, my darling, is in the thick of final exams for his first year of engineering. He has physics and statics already under his belt, and calculus (horrors), materials, design and programming yet to come. Have I mentioned I'm so so SO happy I studied English?

This time 4 years ago I was reading this: 

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

And Luke, 4 years later, is reading this:

As t increases, the particle moves along a path, a curve C in 3- space... :|

If only we could build bridges out of Wordsworth. Hrmm....we'll work on that.

In the meantime, Luke's evenings are FULL of studying which means they are EMPTY of Jennie. A major problem worthy of my hating.

I am coping, however. I have rented Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Green Gables the sequel, I have removed the winter-worn Twinkie wrappers and beer cans from my garden (yes, we live in that kind of neighbourhood), I have encouraged Judah not to write on the walls, I have cleaned the fridge, I have finished two novels (reading them, not writing- I don't have that much free time), I have lost several staring contests with the cat  and I have gone to bed by 10 pm for the better part of two weeks. I'm a regular party animal.

Soon and very soon the exam season will be done. London will empty of the majority of its ugg- wearing blondes and Rayban- wearing jocks. The streets will be rid of the season's last crimson sprinkling of  beer cups. And I will have my Luke back. I cannot wait!

Now for a little bit of love! We planted our seeds about two weeks ago and Judah and I have been diligently sunning them, rotating them, watering them and talking to them. The other morning I came into the bathroom to find Judah filling his watering can in the toilet and dousing the tomato plants. Yum! That must have been the special touch they needed because all of our plants are growing like banshees (yes, you can use banshees in numerous un-banshee related contexts).

And a final love for the week- the banjo playing, folk song whiz that is Old Man Luedecke. I saw Old Man Luedecke in a show at Hugh's Room in November and I've been an ardent fan ever since. This week Luke and I have both had a Luedecke ear worm. Mine is this song, In the Beginning, which I love, and have claimed as our current "song". Luke's is this one, Little Bird, which he initially found hilarious because he thought the subject was something akin to Paradise by the Dashboard Light and not and environmental anthem...but there you go.

Happy listening and happy Wednesday!



Judah is not quite 21 months (I think...I sort of lost count around 19.5) but as those who know him well are aware, if you ask him how old he is he will proudly tell you he’s “tchoo!” For awhile I thought this little pronouncement was a product of two being the only number Judah could articulate to the point that anyone but the cat would understand him – I was wrong. 

It’s become clear to me that Judah really is “tchoo”, not in the chronological sense, but in the even more important attitudinal sense. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, we’ve entered the “terrible twos”. I used to think the terrible twos were a bit of a myth- how bad could a toddler be? Not that bad... Right? Right? Right?.... Wrong again. He’s only 30 pounds and about three feet tall, but his willpower could fill a small football stadium. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against strong willed people. I come from a long line of stubborn, opinionated, strong-willed people. Heck, I am one. Parenting someone with such a will, however, is proving to be a bit of a challenge. 

I can appreciate that Judah likes to choose what shoes he wants to wear for the day, what he’d like to eat for breakfast, whether he will take orange juice or milk with his snack. I like that he decisively picks the books he’s interested in reading, and focuses for significant periods on blocks or drawing, or any other task that he’s interested in that day. What is harder to appreciate is the same application of will towards diaper changes, for example. 

Scene one – The Diaper Change

*A terrible smell is wafting from the living room. It appears to be emanating from the diaper of the toddler hiding behind the living room curtain with a concentrated look on his face.*

Mommy: Judah did you pooh-pooh?

Judah: No.... poop. 

Mommy: Right. That's what I thought. Let’s change your diaper.

*Judah runs away from his mother shrieking with delight. 

His Mother captures him with lioness- like prowess (or clumsy desperation...who can say really) and lays him on the floor. 

Judah has a royal freak out, and begins to flail and kick*

Judah: No! No! No! 

*When no no no fails to stop his mother’s torture-in-the-name-of-hygiene...*

Judah: Ow! Ow! Ow!

Mommy: Judah, I’m not doing a frontal lobotomy here. 

Judah: NO! OW! NO! *continue ad nauseum*

The same scene has begun to play out around the daily brushing of the teeth, or as Judah affectionately thinks of it- water boarding, not to mention putting on a coat to go outside, having his hair washed, being denied hot sauce at the dinner table, having ambitions to ride the escalator at the library 115 times squelched and so on.

And so, Judah’s willfullness 

Has slowly begun to tip the balance into...dare I say it...bratty-ness. 

We don’t want Judah to be a brat. People don’t like hanging out with brats. Brats turn into entitled, not -fun- to- be- with adults. Strong-willed people can affect change, brats can affect the need for earplugs. Plus, a house fraught with bratty-ness makes everyone sleepy.

And so we have decided to “crackdown”. We aren’t exactly sure what form this crackdown will take, neither Luke nor I are very severe people. However, I don’t think severity is what’s needed here. I think the key to this little project will be consistency. Sometimes we follow through when we ask Judah to do something for us...and sometimes we bribe...and sometimes we ply him with raisins....and sometimes we take him kicking and screaming from public places...and sometimes he has a (forced) quiet moment of reflection on the bottom stair...and none of the times are we terribly consistent.   

Beginning tomorrow, consistency will be our middle name (not to be confused with any pre-exisiting middle names including Edward, Victoria and Danger).  Here’s hoping our new-found consistency will return our little stubborn sweetheart to us, and send the emerging screaming banshee back from whence he came.

Any tips, tricks or donations are welcome. 

Wish us luck!