So is it just me or has anyone else resorted to wearing diapers now that it’s been suggested snakes can get into your homes through your toilets?

Further, did you know if you look at google images of “snakes in toilets” there are a lot of interpretations of the word “snake” so I went with the diapers instead.

There is a quiet moment in my day when the breakfast dishes are put away, the kids have been dropped at school, I’ve swept the dirt from the twenty-feet surrounding the mat with the shoes the kids SWEAR they haven’t stepped off of where I would like to write with my finger in the dust, “My Kids Did This.” Note: Not a spec of dirt on the mat. How is that possible?


I make a cup of tea, maybe I put away some laundry, sometimes I google, “skinless, boneless, chicken recipes” (okay, I always google, “skinless, boneless, chicken recipes”) and I take a deep breath.

And then in a snap, I’m making snacks for after school, packing swimming bags, charging ipods for kids to take to the pool to watch their sister(s) practice, searching for the green pencil case with the skinny markers, not the blue pencil case with the vertically-challenged markers, thawing something to eat later, slicing something to eat now, packing spare pants for Chloe because who knows what new stain or hole she may have created at school (yesterday’s was just good-old-fashioned dirt), “It’s dirt Mom.” From where? “Um, the dirt.”

I pay a bill, I look at paint samples and tile for the shed, I pick up the mail, stir something on the stove, wash, dry and fold more laundry, clean the spill inside the crisper drawer in the fridge that I would like to use another finger to write, “The Ghost of Fridges Past Did This,” I vacuum the van and then turn the hose toward the dried dirt from my pants that has successfully transferred from the sliding door, I make three kinds of sauces for two kinds of noodles for three picky children, drink more tea, google more chicken, stir, sweep, fold, wash, weed, whisk, lather, rinse, repeat.

What happened to my lull?

I don’t know why I ever thought my kids would never, ever spill when they were outside of our house.

It seems to be one of the things they really excel at.

They practice spilling at home for hours, sometimes days on end despite my incessant, “Can we just get through ONE meal, maybe just appetizers without someone spilling something?!”

They laugh and spill all around me when I make such unthinkable requests so why did I think they could flip a switch and not spill?

We’ve had some famous spills over the years.

The one that is probably still ranked as having the longest life-span for both permanence of the spill but also the retelling of the story, was when my husband, Greg, joked about what might happen if a soupy, sauced-up meatball rolled off of his plate onto my brother and sister-in-law’s immaculate, white carpet and sure enough, it did.

But the meatball didn’t just roll off the plate and onto the white carpet, (and no, it wasn’t right after somebody sneezed and it didn’t roll onto the floor, out the door and grow into a tree), but it did hit the top of the white stairs, roll the full eight, white, rises followed by eight more, agonizing runs, down to a main living area and then clear across the room, leaving a red Diana sauce train that could wrap three times around the earth.

On the weekend, while visiting at a friend’s house, our eight year old came into their living room, told a couple of jokes, snuck a piece of cheese from the adult appetizer platter, (the kids had obviously finished their foie gras and toast points) elbowed a bottle of red wine landing it on the carpet pouring everywhere, skipped out of the room like nothing happened and everyone just stopped and stared.

Two things saved the day.

1. The greatest hosts to ever walk the face of the earth had the best trick ever to make their guests feel like not only were they not upset that in just five minutes we managed to lower the resale value of their home by thousands of dollars, they pretended they wanted it to happen.

They immediately pulled out some hardwood samples from somewhere, a hidden latch under the floor, from inside the Grandfather clock (the way Webster used to hide things or himself) and said, “We were just about to redo this floor. This will just speed up the project.”

2. Someone said, “If you ever doubted whose daughter Ellie was, this is proof she’s yours Liz.”

I had forgotten how many times I had spilled or broken things over the years. Maybe they come by it honestly.

The Rorschach pattern on the floor confirmed what we were all thinking. It looked exactly like a runaway meatball.

Easter in our family is anything but traditional.

We paint eggs and we barbecue hamburgers for dinner like every other family but we also do a few things that are unique to our party of five.

Our kids find their Easter treats through a scavenger hunt around the house with one clue leading them to the next while they collect goodies along the way.

I realized early on in the hunt that the two kids in our family who can read would either a) read the clue and take off from the group to get a head start in true Easter fashion or b) they would read the clue to themselves and then pretend to read it aloud to the others while actually saying something that was not on the card and steering their “opponents” in the wrong direction in the true spirit of giving.

At dinner, Hanna asked if we could all hold hands and say something we’re thankful for, combining Thanksgiving and Christmas which when you unscramble their combined letters spells ‘Easter Miracle.’

Hanna offered to go first and said she was thankful for having a roof over her head, a bed to sleep in and food on the table.

Clearly she’s shopping around for a new ipod (or new parents) or has a test she’s afraid to show us but it was a nice way to start the meal.

Ellie was thankful for the chocolate gum (tootsie roll) she got for Easter.

Greg and I were thankful for the end of winter and that everyone at the table was healthy and happy.

Chloe (our four year old) closed her eyes as we held hands and took turns passing the Easter ketchup around the table.

She finally agreed to tell us what she was thankful for.

She squeezed my hand on one side and Hanna’s on the other, “I wish to be a Princess and I wish to have all the stuff in all the stores. The end.”

Happy Easter.

It was so nice to be home with the kids all day without that pesky daily distraction—school.

Chloe, our four year old, asked me if I would colour with her and I was glad to sit next to her with my tea and pick up a marker.

She started drawing wavy lines, changing colours, drawing rainbows partly on the paper but mostly on the table.

When I asked if I could draw something she put the lid on her marker and actually clicked it closed (a first), set it on the page, looked me straight in the eye and said, “If you’re going to ask me questions, this will take all day.”

Greg introduced me (and now our children) to the term “scuzzies.”

Scuzzies is defined as the bits of food or other dried goods stuck to cutlery that has been presented to an unsuspecting user. Scuzzies.

I was unaware of the term scuzzies for three possible reasons.

1. The cutlery I grew up with simply never had any scuzzies (but that is highly unlikely)

2. We learned to live with scuzzies and accepted them with open arms into our family

3. We had scuzzies but had a different name for them.

Could you say it in a sentence?

The scuzzies on Hanna’s fork were crusty and orange, despite having just gone through the full dishwasher cycle. Scuzzies.

Last night Hanna picked up her fork and said, “I think there’s scurvy on my fork.”

Maybe that’s what we called it.

I’ve been driving my kids to school for the past few weeks as opposed to letting them ride the bus because nobody seems to be able to tell me what’s happening with our driver.

At one point he was standing at the front of the bus while another driver was behind the wheel. When the kids asked why he wasn’t driving, he told them it was for their own protection and it was for personal reasons.

As a parent, you might think, perhaps the poor gentleman injured himself or perhaps he was recreating the scene from Titanic where Kate Winslet’s character leans over the stern of the ship (I have no idea if that was the stern or the mast or if she was starboard because I’ve completely forgotten that camp game) but instead of a ship, he is on a bus. And instead of Kate Winslet, he’s a guy in a fluorescent safety vest.

You might think those things if you’re a parent.

But you might also think, how long has he been a drug dealer? Is he holding the bus and the kids hostage? Is he replaying the movie Speed in his mind endangering all of those innocent children?

I later learned through the first ever successful game of telephone in the school parking lot that our driver had been driving without a license, was caught by the bus police and that there would be an interim replacement.

At least it sounded like that from one parent. Another just said, “Smeary muppets in the fountain range?” and then we all cracked up laughing. Ah telephone.

I wanted to give the new driver a chance to learn the route and get settled in the position before I started loading my kids back onto the bus so I gave it a week before we lined up to get back on.

Except the day we went to get back on, the old driver, (played by Leo DiCaprio) was back behind the wheel.

I haven’t been given a reason for his absence that satisfies me enough to let my kids back on and once again, the fatally flawed game of telephone has completely broken down.

Would you be comfortable putting your kids back on the bus?

Last night before bed, I was reading Fancy Nancy to my four year old.

I was doing my best to keep her entertained, reading in a most believable Scottish-elder accent.

She was yawning and I could tell she was going to either toss the book or start “tickling” me and by “tickling” me, I mean doing the African python with one of her hands aimed at my esophagus and then rapid punching me, rendering me speechless so I couldn’t finish the chapter and she could go to sleep.

Chloe: Mommy, I’m just too tired to read anymore. Can I just go to sleep?
I nodded and said no problem.

Chloe: It’s just, it’s I had to eat lunch today and my arms were just tired all day from using them and having to open my lunch and now my arms are just so, so tired.

Kindergarten really is all about the arms.

Yesterday morning, I was on my way out the door, heading to my first swimming lesson of the new session.

I would have jumped at any excuse not to go; dust bunnies blocking the exits, we’re out of coriander, adding the leaves in the dining room table. I had nothing.

Once I decided I was committed to going, nothing could stand in my way.

Not even Greg shouting, “Hey, will you buy a fake owl today? They’re on sale.”


But a couple of things about this request had me puzzled.

The first was what size of owl? Owl size or figurine?

Secondly, the fact that they’re on sale is Greg’s way of reeling me in. If Canadian Tire has taught me anything, it’s to never pay full price because eventually even owls will go on sale for 99% off and the last thing I want is to look like a fool with a regularly priced fake owl tucked under my arm.

I knew why Greg wanted an owl. At least, I hoped it was to keep birds from nesting under our deck and not to ward off evil spirits or to use as a secret piggy-bank and/or nanny-cam.

The kid in me didn’t want to scare away the birds but the home owner in me resented having to clean up the huge messes left behind every spring. The spy in me was really hoping for the nanny-cam option.

I walked into the hardware store and didn’t even pretend to know where to look. I asked the girl at the counter, “Do you have any owls?” as though this is something I say all the time.

Clerk: They’re in aisle 8 next to the eagles.

Of course they are. Eagles & Owls, Aisle number 8.

There were about 100 eagles in varying sizes on the top row but the owls were flying off the shelves (figuratively not literally) presumably because of the sale. In that moment, I felt a little sad for the fake eagles that weren’t going to be adopted any time soon.

What kind of a crazy person goes to a store to buy a fake eagle?

My fake owl and I had a lovely drive home.

I’ve been lucky to see ten winters melt into springs in this house and three daughters grow a little with each year that passes.

I’ve commented on their extreme personalities and how different they are from each other but last night, I had a moment with Chloe in my arms that confirmed everything I already knew.

When our oldest (now 10) was still a toddler, I would prop her up to watch the birds build their nests in an amazing bird house outside one of our windows, put up by neighbours.

I can’t confirm it was put up by neighbours, it might have been put up by the local Jehovah Witness chapter before we moved in with a tiny camera focused on the inside of our house so they could see what people really do with their literature when we think they’re out of sight.

Hanna would watch the birds carrying small twigs and mud, enter through a number of welcoming door frames into what we as humans might call a high-rise condo tower but the birds would simply call ‘home tweet home.’

She would look at me, then at the birds and smile. She was quiet but knew something magical was happening and would eventually decide she’d had enough of nature and ask me to make her some spaghetti.

Ellie, our second born, was obsessed with the birds and their nests. She would graph the number of birds in relation to the number of twigs and multiply it by the number of worms carefully chosen from a select sample yet totally random patch of earth from around the yard.

She even made the birds a sign that read, “We see you in there Jehovah Witnesses.”

So with signs of spring flying at us all weekend, last night, I glanced out the window and saw the first bird of the year carrying a few sprigs of grass into the house.

I hoisted Chloe up and showed her what was happening and told her the birds were making a home so they could lay eggs and there would soon be babies right outside the window.

My four year old looked out the window, looked at me and said, “Oh Man! This is going to take FOREVER!”

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