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When did Trouble get so big?

9 Aug

Someone should tell this guy that he can’t get into everything until he can walk for real.

Maybe someone should also stop letting his dad dress him ūüôā Or are polo onesies and athletic shorts an acceptable combo?

Poor Gemma…wherever she goes, there he is a moment later, wanting what she has, whacking at her toys, pulling on her ponytails, anything to get her attention and her things. His interest in anything remotely resembling a baby toy is long gone, and his favorite pastime is emptying…toy baskets, bookshelves, blocks, dishwashers, crayon boxes, puzzles, etc.

His being able to reach into the toy box brought a whole new world to empty Рat least the whole top layer within reach of those adorable little dimpled hands.  Cupboard locks have been reinstalled and I am readjusting to having my doors slam shut every time I pull them open an inch and forget about that little catch needing to be pushed down.

I can’t say I really blame Gemma for getting frustrated – I get a little frustrated myself when I’m working in the kitchen and he is pulling himself up with his fingernails by the sensitive skin of my calves, slamming the oven drawer into my shins, showing up inside my fridge the second I open it, pulling the sharpest knives out of the dishwasher, and opening and closing the pantry door with his body blocking entry or exit.

But we are all adjusting quickly since I’m sure it’ll only get busier from here! ¬†We just try to think of any possible distraction that might keep him busy for a minute or three.

Until he realizes there is grass to eat, throws up, and moves on to taste the dirt and flowers.

I am beginning to realize how true a line I read recently is: when you have boys you spend their lives trying to prevent them for killing themselves. ¬†I can’t even count how many times each day I pull something out of this guy’s mouth or pick him up after a crash down from a chair or coffee table whose distance he misjudged. He sometimes thinks he knows how to walk and turns away from whatever he’s holding onto so he can gracefully fall face-first into/onto the nearest hard surface.

I don’t plan to get anything done, besides keeping him alive, until he’s at least 26.

Unless he is safely strapped in somewhere, busy just oozing cuteness!

Blinded by the lights

8 Aug

With my kids being under the weather for the past week or three, I’m reminded of just how much I hate having to turn on lights in the middle of the night.

I don’t mind getting up in the middle of the night to soothe away bad dreams, re-insert a soother, remove a pudgy leg from where it’s wedged between crib bars, or wipe a small bottom. ¬†All these things can be (and are) done by the soft glow of the hall nightlight.

When, as a parent, you have to turn on a light at night, you know there’s trouble. ¬†If I have to also find my glasses, the trouble is epic. It means I am doing laundry (which means something aimed at my gag reflex is on sheets and/or children), or giving up entirely on the night’s sleep, or looking for a missing limb, or piggy, or blanket.

Or possibly I am just trying to annoy Carl/let him know I have been up for QUITE SOME TIME.

Recently this problem was made worse by the installation of “energy efficient” light bulbs. ¬†They started out in the bathroom, but if you have ever tried to do your makeup in a Walmart and hoped you would look ok in any other lighting, you know how badly that worked out.

Not to mention, when the bathroom light was left on and I looked down the hall, a “Twilight Zone” pool of glow emerged from the bathroom door. I was spooked.

So the lightbulbs moved into our walk-in closet, because, Carl reasoned, it would be nice to be able to see our clothes clearly and there are no mirrors around.  Unfortunately, this is still the light I turn on if a certain little one needs to use the bathroom at night, which means I feel like I am being woken up to take her to the bathroom in Walmart.

Unlike a lot of people, I actually have nothing against Walmart.  I frequent their stores and take full advantage of their big-box prices.  I believe they have things figured out when it comes to mass selling, even it is does kick small businesses where they notice.

However, the lighting makes my eyelids squinch in on themselves, my lashes stand on end, and my cerebrum curl into a quivering ball of discomfort. ¬†I do not loiter in Walmart. ¬†You may have noticed similar lighting in dollar stores, or, as they are more commonly called these days, Dollar Plus stores. ¬†AKA…stores like any other? Yes, I think so. Stop trying to be special, dollar stores where I need many dollars.

Anyway, this is obviously not the feeling I want to create in my home. Not in the daytime, and definitely not at night.

Energy efficiency be darned, if this is how it’s gonna be. Earth, your sun is lovely and I use it often for light. I won’t shower daily or drink bottled water. ¬†I will bring reusable bags to the grocery store and I will use my glass bottles as vases. Please don’t ask more of me than that.

Don’t even talk to me about cloth diapers.

*Interesting note: I learned that Walmart is in fact actively committed to trying to get these more energy efficient¬†fluorescent¬†bulbs into all homes, and being lauded for their “green” efforts! I guess they practice what they preach and are using these bulbs in their stores as well. Little did I know my comparison to Walmart lighting was indeed so accurate.

Anniversary Gotaway

28 Jul

We just got back yesterday from a fabulous little belated 5th anniversary getaway…now that it’s in the past I’m presuming it’s no longer a getaway, but a gotaway?

A minor technicality.

My parents were kind enough to stay with the kidlets while Carl and I zoomed off to Whistler for a couple nights, and it was blissful. ¬†We spent tons of time walking hand-in-hand (since no one had to push a stroller), didn’t have to cut anyone’s food into itty bits, slept in ’til 10:00 without the slightest feeling of guilt, ate amazing food, watched TV in bed, snacked on gelato and fudge,¬†and even got lots of exercise!¬†

No, no, I’m not talking about¬†that¬†kind of exercise you scallawags…there are some things I don’t share on my blog ūüôā ¬†I mean actual, hiking exercise! And since my camera batteries died rather quickly pictures of the hike are all I have to share with you, although I wish I could show you pictures of delicious mile-high burgers, strawberry chocolate crepes and grilled salmon, not to mention Olympic rings and stunning mountains, but alas.

We originally planned a brief 6 km hike to Cheakamous Lake and back, but after reaching our destination over fairly level ground with neither of us feeling the slightest fatigue (much to my surprise, and, as Carl later admitted, his, as he expected me to tire out rather quickly) we decided to carry on to Singing Creek, making for a beautiful 14km hike over small rolling hills in the middle of the forest. ¬†It was so peaceful and smelled so good, and the weather, in my opinion, couldn’t have been better – cool, crisp air and a light breeze. ¬†My kind of hiking weather, as it means the bugs lay low and you don’t have to drink tons of water, which means you don’t have to take bathroom breaks in the woods. ¬†Ideal all ’round.

We saw the bear on the drive, not the hike…isn’t he sweet looking, grazing in the meadow?

Effusive thanks to my parents who took good care of the kids, as they seem none the worse for wear, but were suitably thrilled to see us when we came home. ¬†It’s always good to be home, but at the same time holidays never seem quite long enough. I’m already looking forward to our 10 year getaway ūüôā

Daddy’s girls vs. Mama’s boys

25 Jul

Why does “Mama’s boy” have such a negative connotation, while “Daddy’s girl” is considered sweet and acceptable?

I think both are sweet and should be encouraged, maybe not for all of life, but certainly for the childhood years. ¬†Kids should be attached to both parents in this way, preferring them over any other adult or peer influence…the time this lasts is all too short as it is, and boys no more than girls should not be expected to start life with an independent, emotionally closed off, self-sufficient approach.

Personally, I would be offended if my baby boy wasn’t a mama’s boy. ¬†Really, I carried him for 9 months, brought him into the world with gritted teeth, fed, bathed, clothed, entertained, and comforted him, and am one of only a handful of people he sees on a regular basis and knows by voice, smell and touch.

He sure as the seasons better love the stuffing out of me.

Let me go to my mama.

I am going to be thankful for and enjoy the snuggles now and¬†hope to be the kind of mother who can accept it and assist him when one day that love and devotion transfers to a new lucky lady. For now I’ll take my cuddles and chuckle inwardly (and outwardly) when he clings to me with a big goofy grin when someone else offers outstretched arms.

I like morning people

21 Jul

I feel like there is a lot of disdain for people brave enough to announce they are a “morning person”. ¬†People sigh, roll their eyes and inform such people they’re crazy, then whisper behind their backs about how annoyingly perky these morning people are first thing in the morning while coworkers or spouses are still nursing coffees and fighting contact lenses into gluey eyes. ¬†This can be seen in the sheer number of cartoons/expressions about being a morning person.

Why don’t we have this same reaction when people announce “I’m a night owl”? Somehow no one holds any bitterness towards these people, who are most productive at night and stay up ’til all hours, eliminating any possibility of becoming a “morning person”.

Really, the whole term “morning person” is kind of ridiculous – we’re all designed to need sleep and to get up in the morning, so really, we’re all “morning people”, whether we like it or not. ¬†Not “doing” mornings really isn’t an option, folks.

I think these disdainful night people just secretly wish they were morning people.  Morning people seem to genuinely look forward to a new day or week and are happy to see people and ready to interact the moment they make contact.  These people seem to have a jump on the day ahead, have better hair days, more coordinated clothes, dinner in the slow cooker before they leave for work, and fresh breath, all things non-morning people wish they had.

I don’t hate morning people. ¬†Maybe because some days I am that morning person, who is just thankful to be alive and healthy, enjoying the fresh morning air that not too many people are breathing yet. I love that feeling. ¬†Other days I am definitely that night person, grumbling jealously about morning people but also gloating in my late-night productivity and taking gloomy pride in the bags under my eyes. ¬†But if I could choose one, I would definitely opt to be a morning person every single day.

Maybe having kids causes you to look at it differently – kids are the most enthusiastic “morning people” you will ever meet, and they can also be pretty determined night owls. ¬†If you have a baby and a toddler, you know exactly what I mean – a fresh little face with wide eyes stares you awake, wanting you to play at 6 a.m., oblivious to the fact that another fresh little face wanted to eat at 3 a.m. and play at 4:30 a.m. ¬†Time to become a morning person and a night person, and fast, if you want to survive.

I like morning people and night people. ¬†The ones I can’t stand are “midday people”. ¬†Really? ¬†Who has energy at midday? ¬†I would happily sleep through the 12:30-2:30 portion of every day, regrouping from my morning person enthusiasm and winding up for some serious night owl productivity. ¬†Siestas really are the way to go. ¬†If you’re going to sneer at anybody, leave the morning people alone and save it for the midday people – then again, maybe that has to do with having kids who nap at midday…

Either way, morning people are good people.  Let them brighten your day!

Milestones

18 Jul

About a week ago K-fer reached what is, in my mind, a pretty big milestone. ¬†I know crawling, walking and talking are some of the biggest, but I’d say this ranks in the top 5 along with those. ¬†He mastered fork skills! ¬†I’m a proud mama, and he’s a proud, adorable boy.

Now, I know the big trend these days is to let babies feed themselves, so they can experience texture and improve their motor skills and be more willing to eat different foods and blabbity blah blah. ¬†And I also know I have many negative personality traits that could use some work, and one of those is saying “blabbity blah blah” about things people do that I don’t agree with – I’ve been told it’s a little bit less than nice. ¬†I’m sorry. ¬†That area clearly needs a bit more work, and I really will try. ¬†And I truly don’t judge you if you do it, I am just secure in the fact that it is not for me.

One of my traits that may be seen as negative that may or may not be related to my baby-feeding methods is my slight (maybe more-than-slight) tendency to OCD. ¬†I like piles straight, I like my kids’ toys put away exactly as they arrived from the store, lined up in their dishrack or stacked from biggest to smallest, I like symmetrical lamps, and yes, I like my kids’ meals to land up at least 90% in their mouths.

Really, I’m pretty sure this trait is the only thing that keeps me cleaning bathrooms and washing dishes, so I won’t be trying to improve that area anytime soon.

This is why it’s a good thing I’m married.

I tend to think a child probably shouldn’t be allowed to feed themselves until around age 2, when motor skills are reasonably developed and they also have the mental capacity to understand where food belongs and that trouble will ensure if food starts making appearances on the wall across the table.

Carl, thankfully, gives kids a little more credit. ¬†While I was happy to continue inserting food into K-fer’s compliant 10-month-old mouth, Carl quickly grew bored with this tedium and, while I wasn’t watching, showed the little guy how to use a fork! ¬†What a good man.

In other news, over the past couple days both at home and in my sister’s kitchen with the help of my beautiful sister and mother, I’ve made 7 new recipes I can’t wait to share with you! ¬†Once I emerge, hopefully unscathed, from the resulting pile of dishes and scribbled recipe notes, there’ll be a bunch of goodness coming your way ūüôā

Happy Monday!

A day at the beach

14 Jul

I love White Rock, even if it is named after a giant, imported, painted rock.  I am a fan of kitsch.

Since it’s not the shortest jaunt from our house we don’t make the trip too often, so I take any opportunity/excuse to go there, which just so happened to happen twice in one week! ¬†Hooray for visitors from Ottawa ūüôā ¬†Even if my favourite ice cream/cookie sandwiches were nowhere to be found and the shop employees didn’t even seem to CARE. ¬†For shame.

Gemma was pretty uncertain at first about the whole seaweedy sand and encroaching water thing, so she alternated between holding on for dear life and running away, amidst screechy squeals.

But she warmed up quickly at the sight of a couple purple shells.

The men really love posing for pictures.

We had some lovely company, who should really visit at least monthly.  If not more.

I never get tired of being near the ocean, and I never cease to be amazed at how quickly the tide comes in once it gets going.  God is certainly great.

Which dwarf would you be?

11 Jul

Is it politically correct to think about what kind of small person you would be?

I saw a poster the other day for a dwarf who was new to me – “Gutsy”. ¬†I have no idea what the ad was for, so it wasn’t too effective, unless the goal was to get me thinking about which dwarf I would be, should I morph into a small, bearded, hard-working cartoon man.

It’s easier to imagine than you might think.

I decided I would have to go with Dopey, as he seems to be a pretty balanced combination of Happy and Sleepy, which is a pretty apt description of me on almost any given day.

So which dwarf would you be? ¬†Definitely something to spend some valuable time pondering ūüėČ

Here are your options: Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful (he’s adorable – if you’re adorable, pick him), Sneezy (me during allergy season)¬†and Dopey. ¬†

If none of those are cutting it for you, feel free to make up your own, whether it’s Gutsy or something less glamorous, like Gassy, Creepy, Hungry, or Chubby…or something much more glamorous, like Beauty, Charmy, Smoothy, Chesty, Hottie…you get the picture! ¬†A fun exercise for our Monday brains ūüôā

Rosemary Garlic Roasted Beets

5 Jul

I’ve been meaning to try roasted beets for aaaages, but Carl was dragging his feet as he sometimes does in the new-veggie department so I put it off and tried to convince him to put them in his smoothies instead, which also ended unsuccessfully. ¬†I wasn’t willing to give up, though, because they are a seriously beautiful colour and for anyone who knows me, colour goes a long way with me. ¬†

I made this dinner, which featured beets, a few nights ago, and it turns out beets don’t just turn your fingers, adjoining food and *ahem* *other things* magenta, they are surprisingly edible!

I was going to tell you all about it while watching a movie with Carl, being the multi-tasker that I am.  Did you know you can call it that now?  Not ADD, just multi-tasking.  I like it much better.

We ended up watching “127 Hours”, since Carl had read the book it’s based on and convinced me I would want to see the movie, but (SPOILER ALERT) trust me, there’s nothing like watching someone break their own arm and hack it off with a cheap utility knife to make you not feel like blogging about food.

Even writing that, I am considering not blogging about food. ¬†Because with that mental picture you certainly don’t want to immediately look at and think about food, now do you? ¬†It is a good movie though, don’t get me wrong.

Let’s just talk about something else first.

Let’s talk about the phenomena of renting movies on your TV.

This was actually the first time we did it, and it sure is frighteningly convenient isn’t it? ¬†No debating who has to get off the couch to go to the movie store, either to get a movie or to return it. ¬†No overdue fines. ¬†The ability to watch the trailer first and determine which option has the handsomest actor with the best voice. ¬†A slightly surprising TV bill at the end of the month.

I feel a little sorry for Blockbuster.

Are we ready to talk about beets again?

Oh, good!

They really are a beautiful veggie.

I grew up in a home where homegrown pickled beets were always found in abundance, but since I’ve yet to find anything I like pickled, it’s no surprise I wasn’t a fan of pickled beets.

Roasting vegetables, on the other hand, really never goes wrong, and beets, it turns out, are no exception. ¬†Just make sure you give them lots of time so they’re nice and tender, or cut them into smaller cubes prior to roasting. ¬†This way of preparing needs a good hour or more, but the beets come out infused with a rosemary and garlic flavour that is subtly delicious, and makes your house smell aMAZing.

Rosemary Garlic Roasted Beets 

(Serves 2)

2 beets

2 cloves garlic, 1 minced and 1 left whole

2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp each salt and pepper

2 tsp minced fresh parsley and/or rosemary (to garnish)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. ¬†Cut beet tops to leave 1″ attached; leave tails. ¬†Place on 10″ square of foil and sprinkle with rosemary, minced garlic and salt and pepper. Cut top off whole garlic clove and place beside beets. ¬†Drizzle with oil. Fold to form closed packet. ¬†Roast on rimmed baking sheet for 1-1 1/4 hours, until fork tender.

Remove from oven and, wearing gloves, peel and trim beets and cut into 1/4″ thick slices. ¬†Arrange on warmed platter and drizzle with a bit more olive oil and sprinkle with parsley and/or rosemary to garnish.

Recipe adapted from Canadian Living.

…Eggplant is next up – I’ve bought them a couple times but I just spend many days admiring the gorgeous exterior royalty of it all, and never want to actually cook the beautiful things!

Book review schmozzle

4 Jul

Well, I’ve been reading, as per usual, and even more than usual, since it’s summer and in my mind summer is reading time…goes right along with holidays, and if I’m not going on holidays I should read extra to feel like I am, right?

Some of the books I’ve read in the last couple weeks have been fantastic and must be added to your “to read” list (I hope it’s not as long as mine).

First up: “CRAZY: A father’s search through America’s mental health madness”

Product Details

This book is amazing. ¬†I had to read it for school and actually wrote an A+ paper on it, but, if you’re a student, you know how those kinds of readings go, and this was worth reading with a little more attention. ¬†If you know anyone who has a serious mental illness, or think you might have one or one day develop one, read this. ¬†You will not bring your mentally ill self to the United States. ¬†And Canada may not be a much better bet. ¬†You will keep your family close. ¬†This book is a crushingly realistic look at the limited support available for mentally ill individuals and their families, and about the cycle between prison and the street that so many mentally ill people find themselves trapped in. ¬†I had to read it for school, yes, but it is definitely not a textbook, and it is well-researched and written by a former journalist whose son was diagnosed with schizophrenia. ¬†Fascinating and slightly terrifying because that’s what serious mental illness is; it could happen to anyone, anytime, and we could all use a little more compassion.

Now that you’re a little freaked out and examining your sanity, the next thing you should read is probably Seventeen magazine, to lighten things up a bit and worry instead about whether that boy will call you back and how to get rid of acne.

Then onwards to “SUPERfreakonomics”! ¬†It is super.

I recently read “Freakonomics”, and it was ok but not everything I was hoping for. ¬†THIS follow-up book was everything I’d been hoping for. ¬†The writers I imagine as similar to the characters in “The Big Bang Theory”, and they write with a sort of non-stop dry, witty sarcasm I find quite irresistible. ¬†They poke fun at accepted assumptions, while also gently ribbing themselves and other economists. ¬†They tackle some interesting subjects like stopping terrorists before they strike, and then manage to make high-end prostitution look like a viable and wise career option. ¬†Fantastic.

But that’s enough non-fiction for now, so on to “The Help”.

¬†This was a book club choice, and I’m so glad it was because I probably wouldn’t have read it otherwise. ¬†I have a bit of a problem with conformity, and generally, if everyone’s reading a book, I won’t. ¬†Partly I just think books can’t live up to that much hype, and I hate being disappointed in a book that I’m sure would be good if I hadn’t gone in with EXPECTATIONS. ¬†That’s right, I haven’t read “Twilight”, “Harry Potter”, or any other number of such books. ¬†“The Hunger Games” is still sitting on my shelf, and since I own it I’ll have to get to it eventually but right now it is solidly in that “too popular” category.¬†
Anyway, back to “The Help” – read it. ¬†It’s not wildly exciting or dramatic, but it grabs your attention and is also informative, my kind of book. ¬†Written by a white woman raised by a Negro maid in Mississippi, it looks at the lives of these women who, as she says points out, were trusted to raise white people’s children but not trusted with the silverware. ¬†It’s an excellent look at how similar we all are if we only remember to look for those similarities.
 
Back to non-fiction, I also recently read “The Girls Who Went Away”, about pregnant girls who were sent away from their hometowns to have their babies, and then expected/pressured to give them up for adoption rather than disgrace their families. ¬†This happened SO recently, and anyone who has children will understand the heartbreak these girls experienced as they got to cuddle and feed their babies sometimes for more than a week in the hospital, then had to give them away. ¬†It gives me the shivers, and I wish the legalization of abortion wasn’t the factor to bring about change, but it was.
Girls Who Went Away
Now I have the new Jamie Oliver cookbook “Food Revolution” (mmm, recipes!), “Something Borrowed” (gotta read it before I see the movie), “The King’s Speech” (same deal: book, then movie) and “Bringing up Girls” (maybe I should learn about that) and “Bringing up Boys” (only fair to read both).
 
SO, should be a busy week of not cleaning the house! ¬†I’m so glad my kids love books too, and hope it continues as they get older! ¬†
What’s on YOUR must-read recommendation list?? ¬†I can always use a few more to look forward to… ūüôā
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