Monday, November 30, 2009
I had a great day with lots of family (mine and Dave's). This afternoon, I picked up my Nonna and we headed over to my Uncle Fred's school. Fred is the principal of an elementary school (he has been for years) but this is one he just opened last year and I hadn't yet seen it. It was great to get a tour and to learn all about St. Josephine Bakhita . Most of my family are teachers in the Catholic school system (well, Mom is retired), but she's an unusual saint. It's a school in Brampton, though, and it's ethnically diverse, so she's a great patroness.
After that, my Nonna came back here and hung out with my inlaws for several hours. I am really lucky - our families get along really well, and we had a great afternoon. At around 4, Nonna, Teddy and I headed to Aunt Pat's house for dinner. We hung out there until just after 7, when I piled a sleepy Teddy into the car for the quick trip back to Georgetown. It was great; I miss being able to just hang out at my Aunt's house.
And now - I am POOPED. Congratulations to all of you other NaBloPoMo-ers who finished out the month. I will post again soon, but BOY - I think a bit of a break is in order!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
It's been great. Time for prayer has come more easily than I thought, and I have found difficult moments easier to bear as a result of the prayer. I am FAR from perfect, but I am trying. I plan to keep doing it!
We're into the season of Advent, though, and while one of the key reflections is preparation for the celebration of Christ's birth, the other is general preparation for His return in the fullness of time. Reconciliation and prayer are key, and so I began reflecting -- "Do I feel that I should try to spend more time in prayer?"
Last Christmas, I asked for a copy of Christian Prayer, the user-friendly version of the Liturgy of the Hours. I am only slightly ashamed to admit that I didn't delve into it -- it's confusing to start, and I was REALLY pregnant, then postpartum, then...I never really got into the habit of praying either the Morning or the Evening prayer. Advent marks the start of the new liturgical year, and this year is year C which focuses on my favourite synoptic gospel - Luke. I figured that this would be as good a time as any to start.
I began (erroneously, I might add) last night. Today, after a call to my parents (who've navigated it for years) I managed to figure out which psalms and canticles to follow in which order, and I think I am on the right track. But all along, I have wondered -- am I being called to do this?
But tonight's reading - the first one I read after doing all the prayers correctly - happened to be the NT passage that I have always found the most comforting, the one we chose for our wedding. It was Philippians 4: 4-7, which contains the following passage:
"Dismiss all anxiety from your minds. Present your needs to God in every form of prayer and in petitions full of gratitude. Then God's own peace, which is beyond all understanding, will stand guard over your hearts and minds, in Christ Jesus."
I figure that it is worth a shot! Even if I am not being called to do this exactly, additional time in prayer and reflection (as long as it doesn't take away from time I'd spend with my family) is in and of itself a good thing. I will let you know how it goes.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
We had a leisurely day getting here. I had to do some Xmas shopping in a non-traditional way...with reward points! One of our drug stores (SDM) has a reward program that is just wicked. I shop on days when I can get bonus points (like 20x the points) and I buy loss leaders (things on sale like pop, diapers, eggs, milk) and I just rack up points. Once you have 75,000, you can redeem for $150 worth of merchandise - and it isn't that tough to get to 75,000 if you shop strategically. But today -- it was bonus redemption day. For 75,000 points, you got $200 of merchandise; all you have to pay is the tax. I had over 200,000 points (and for every redemption, I get 10,000 points back), so I redeemed 3 times. Yep - $600 worth of stuff, and I had to pay was the GST and PST. They have electronics (stuff like the Wii or the DSi, digital cameras, etc.) so I got some GREAT stuff.
I ran to the stores for an hour or so, then gassed up. We'd packed almost everything last night, so we loaded up the car just as Teddy was getting sleepy and headed out. It takes just under 2 hours to get to Kingston to my Nonna's house, our half way point. We had lunch with Nonna -- Teddy inhaled eggplant parmesan, canneloni, chicken, peas and green beans along with us. We hung out there until he was sleepy again, then the four of us headed to the GTA. After all the food, Teddy slept for almost 2.5 hours!
Our first stop was at my Aunt Pat's house, where we saw my aunt, uncle and Leah (and Fred fed us). Nonna is staying there for a few days, and we'll be seeing them. Teddy had fun with them, but was getting tired so we headed to our last stop - my inlaws' house!
We got here about half an hour before Teddy's bed time, and we played. He headed to bed, and we have been visiting with Dave's parents ever since. We had a quick visit to see Dave's brother and his family, and we'll see them again tomorrow. Dave's parents are making Newfie dinner, and I am sure everyone will be impressed by Teddy's ability to cram turkey, potatoes, stuffing and other veggies into his mouth.
I hope that you are all having a lovely weekend.
Friday, November 27, 2009
We've become adept at packing with the baby, so once that last batch of baby laundry is done (he just had a bath; I hate leaving wet towels so I'm doing one last load) I will finish it up.
It's strange, though, not to have the cats around. We dropped them off at the cat 'bed and breakfast' today. We'd considered having someone come in and feed them, but Moe developed an eye infection. I swear - he is the sickliest little guy. Weird gastrointestinal issues as a kitten, chronic osteoinfection in his jaw, strange bouts of allopecia, and now this eye infection. He needs antibiotic ointment smeared in his eye every 12 hours, so innkeeper Melanie is on it. The cats are usually photographed constantly when they're at the b&b, but I doubt that Moe will be this time. Poor squinty baby.
Boy - I am running out of gas as this month rolls along. The last few November posts will be from Georgetown. See you on the flip side.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
It was great to see so many little ones from our neighbourhood. I chatted with a few other Moms and exchanged numbers with a mother/son pair who've just moved back to the area and up the street.
It doesn't look like there will be any more sessions until I am back at work, though, so Boo! Maybe I'll be able to take him when he's a little bit older (to an actual storytime where stories are read). We'll see how it shakes out once I am back in the office.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Up here in the frozen north, our Thanksgiving falls in October (our growing season is shorter!) and it's one of my favourite holidays. We got married on that weekend back in 2004.
I have always said, though, that US Thanksgiving is one of the two reasons I'd want to live in the US (the other being the sheer choice in terms of cities/places to live - you don't have to leave your country for a winter getaway!). For a proud Canuck, that's saying something. It's an amazing weekend, and families get together to celebrate and eat yummy food. How awesome is that?
Try not to slip into a tryptophan coma, party people!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
We were prepping dinner tonight (it was leftovers, so we were reheating) and we'd given Teddy some cheerios to tide him over. He enjoys them and was happily eating them until he spotted me walking over with cheese in my hand. He immediately spit out the Cheerio he was chewing (well, let it fall out of his mouth) so he'd have more room in his mouth for cheese. Which he then ate with abandon.
He happily ate chicken and corn, smiling all the while. But when fresh pieces of cheese were placed in front of him, he was ecstatic. He'd feed himself a piece, then fall backwards in his high chair because he was grinning so hard, so delicious was that mouthful. He'd utter things like "Ga-rinda", which we interpreted as "Man, that's a great piece of cheese."
This kid is just so awesome.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Rachel, my Aunt Pat's oldest daughter, is in her last year of high school and heading to University next year. She's been nominated for some very competitive scholarships, and she wanted some help reviewing her responses for the application. After spending 3 years coordinating one of the GoC's elite post secondary leadership development programs (yep. That's what I did pre-maternity leave), and having graduated from one of the other programs, I am GREAT at crafting an illustrative narrative for these sorts of questions.
But wow! When I look back, I can hardly believe that she's nearly ready to go off to school.
Rachel is the last of the "14 years apart" babies - there are 14 years between my Mom and Aunt Pat, my Aunt Pat and me, and between us. And she is the first baby I had any meaningful contact with, the first one I just LOVED. She was born during a particularly rough time - my Dad and Nonna had just had heart attacks, my Nonno had just died - and she was like a ray of sunshine. She would stop crying when I sang to her, so I spent hours walking with her, singing whatever came into my head. Who says that "Hotel California" can't be a lullabye?!? She was one of the chubbiest babies I have ever seen. You'd never know it now - she's a 5 ft 11 dancer, and she looks like a mannequin. No kidding - she can tell if something will look good on her by if it looks good on a mannequin. That has never/will never happen to me.
She's always loved Dave. She was 3 when we first started dating, and she's loved him since day one. When we had our break, my Aunt Pat could not tell Rachel about it for fear she'd be crushed. She finally found out, but was beyond thrilled when we reconciled and when we got engaged. She was one of my bridesmaids when Dave and I got married.
About 10 years ago, my Aunt and I had taken the girls to a part near my childhood home. The girls played and my Aunt and I were gabbing. Rachel looked at us and said "It's funny. You are family, but you talk like you're good friends."
"That's because we are," I told her. "But wait 5 or so years, Rach, and you and I will talk like this." We reflected on that this spring - we're there. We're friends now, too.
She is an amazing person. She's sweet and generous and lots of fun. Her favourite actor is Alan Rickman (!?!?) and she'd love to spend a semester in England. She wants to be a history teacher and I have no doubt she'll succeed. She's great with Teddy. It's a total trip seeing her holding Teddy, as it wasn't that long ago that I was holding her.
Good luck with the scholarships, Rachel. I cannot wait to watch your triumphant run through University!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Since we went to mass last night, we had little to do this morning. Sadly, Teddy got up at 6 (why? You used to be able to set a clock by his 7 am wake up. The past 3 days it has been 6. BLEARGH). Dave hauled himself out of bed to hang with the kiddo, and both Teddy and Dave went down for morning naps around 7:50. Teddy got up again at 9:30, so he and I played and got ready to go to Almonte.
At around 11, we headed over to my parents' house; our plan was to take my Dad out for part of his birthday gift. We arrived around noon and my Mom had made lunch - vegetable soup and grilled cheese. Mmm...
Then began the strangest part of the day. We were putting Teddy down for a nap after lunch, and Dave went to undo his bib. He started to cry for no real reason (undoing your bib, kid? We do that 25 times a day), and didn't really recover. He'd calm down, then end up bawling and screaming. It was so very strange. This child NEVER cries when he goes down for naps, let alone a screamy cry. It took about 30 minutes of trying to get him down before he fell asleep. Happily, he napped for almost 2 hours. It gave Mommy and Daddy enough time to have a drink.
Aside: This child was off yesterday, too - sombre, and stared into space for long periods. He's had periods of wakefulness in the night, too. According to The Wonder Weeks, week 44 is the stormiest week prior to the week 46 developmental week, and we're smack dab in the middle of week 44. Week 44 - end please!
After his nap, we tried my father's patience as the three of us tried to pose for a family shot to use in Christmas cards. He must have taken 50 shots, and it looks like we'll have something to use. When I have something to share, I will post it!
Next, we listened to music for a bit, then headed out to a local restaurant for dinner. It's one of those 'nice' places you find in small towns - broad menu, friendly staff, big portions, tasty food, and we had a nice time (though Teddy tired of the unfamiliar high chair after a while).
After dinner, we swung back to my parents' to pick up our stuff and change Teddy into PJs before we headed home. Once we got here, he handled the car seat to bed transfer well. We got organized - we always end up with stuff when we come home from my parents' house. This time it was more clothes (for all of us -- thank you, Hub) and some food from both my Mom and Nonna. Mmm...delicious food that I don't have to cook myself! Thanks, once again, for your amazing generosity, Mom and Dad!
Now, I am puttering around, banking and blogging. I am looking at books online, since I haven't burned my b-day gift from Dr. Beth (a gift card for books). I think I am going to pick up the news books from Will Ferguson and Malcolm Gladwell, as well as a Maurice Sendak collection containing Chicken Soup with Rice, our favourite book by him. Thanks, Dr. Beth!
Ok. Off to bed I go. You know, after I place my book order...
Saturday, November 21, 2009
I am not usually a fan of this month - it's usually grey, grey, grey. All the leaves have fallen, it's cold and there's sleet and wind. And the promise of winter is just around the corner; at least with March, you know that you'll soon be seeing green shoots.
This year, however, has been unseasonably warm and sunny. Gorgeous, orange gold light has been streaming in every day and it's staying above freezing. There's barely been a hint of snow; it feels much more like late October than the 21st of November.
Winter will hit soon enough, but I'll take this extended fall. Perhaps it's mother nature making up for the fact that we had no real summer?
Friday, November 20, 2009
Today, you turned 10 months old! Time is FLYING. Mommy will be heading back to work in just over a month, but we're not going to focus on that because she wants to enjoy every moment with you right now.
You are an absolute joy. You are the sunniest kid I've ever seen. You double over in laughter and joy when your father comes home from work, when your grandparents come to visit, or when I come into view when I've been out of your line of sight for a minute or two. You LOVE music -- the CDs Aunt Shelley brought us have been a huge hit - and you like to stand up and bounce (holding onto my hand for balance) or sit and sway to the music. You still love the Italian songs you've been hearing since you were born, but it doesn't take more than 3 seconds of singing to make you smile.
You have become so adept at feeding yourself. Mealtimes are such fun, since you are eating almost everything we do. Here you are eating chicken and potatoes (made with Bisnonna's recipe, of course). You couldn't get enough, nor of the sauteed pepper and mushroom and citrus blend. You still love corn and squash and you'll eat cereal, but you'd rather feed yourself. Especially cheese and avocado.
You still aren't crawling, but you want to spend most of the day on your feet. You try to use us to pull/push yourself upright, and you want to hold on the couch or other pieces of furniture. Your balance is excellent, kiddo, and you are starting to master the 'bum scoot'. Over the past day or two, you've been leaning over and getting into the crawling stance, and moving forward like you're in the starting blocks. We fear that our days of you staying put our over; Daddy intends to put the baby gates up tomorrow. I foresee him cursing the fact that we have so many stairs in this house!
Though you aren't yet moving, you are WAY ahead in the tooth department. You've already had 6 break through your gums (2 bottom, followed by 4 top) and I suspect the next 2 bottom will be coming along soon. How about a tiny break before the molars, ok?
Over the past little while, you have been trying to hard to imitate us when we speak to you. Trying to say 'cat' or 'Teddy'. I wonder what your first real word will be, and when you'll say it? I don't think we can count "Sha sha sha" or "gooozhe!", though you say them often.
It's been a busy month. You had to attend your third funeral (and lose a 4th loved one) when your Great Grandma Mary died at the end of October. Let's hope that this is the last you have to attend for a long time! In addition, you have a new little buddy - Rory. I am sure that he'll be your partner in crime in no time. Auntie Isha has been really sick lately, and you have been such a trooper while Mommy has been running around dropping things off and looking after Rory. You love Uncle Joe and Auntie Isha (your face just lights up when you see either of them) and you spent today's visit smiling at them and trying to hold Rory's hand and touch his face. Maybe all the requests to be 'gentle' when you're near the cats are paying off?
I am often completely overwhelmed by how incredibly blessed we are to have you in our lives. I suspected that I'd be bowled over by motherhood, but I never suspected I'd be so incredibly rewarded. These past ten months have been incredible and I cannot wait to watch you grow over the next 10,000+ months.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Over the years, he taught me many things among them:
- what 'FAP' spells
- how to score a baseball game
- how to use a Bloom Gelometer (buckshot it vital)
His faith has always been an inspiration to me. And his love and respect for me have helped me develop so many amazing friendships with guys and marry a wonderful man (who is similar to him in unexpected ways).
Happy birthday, Daddy! I love you very much. And Teddy is lucky to have such an amazing Grandpa.
P.S. Let Mom know that I am sorry I missed writing about her 60th because of Grandma's death -- let her know I'll make it up to her!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I have a history of loving TV shows. My obsession with Veronica Mars is probably the most prominent, but over the years (and to this day) I have loved a whole bunch of shows. And since VM, I haven't rewatched nor gotten into a show as much as Glee.
It's no real surprise. I was a musical nerd in high school and I love Journey, so I was fighting back tears watching the pilot. Though I find some of the story lines annoying (the pregnancy ones need resolution ASAP) I can't get enough of the show. I just watch and rewatch the musical numbers. And Teddy likes them, too. We'll play the music and he'll bop and sway. His favourite numbers? "Single Ladies", "Somebody to Love" and "Don't Stop Believin'". I adore the latter, and the Kristin Chenoweth/Matthew Morrison version of "Alone".
Yesterday, I spent about 5 minutes all excited because I thought it was on in the evening. And then I realized that it was only Tuesday. :(
If you are not watching it, you should be. It's adorable, and it has so much heart.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Isha is still in the hospital; in addition to pneumonia, she has a non-H1N1 strain of influenza and she's back in isolation (as she was with Rory after he was born). HOPEFULLY, she will be out soon. In the interim, Rory is thriving on donated boob juice (thank you, oversupply) and everyone is holding it together. I ran errands for them today because I didn't know what else to do. I HATE that she's going through this. I remember how scared we were after Teddy was born and with his tongue-tie and subsequent scary dehydration, then the thrush and mastitis...and this is worse. I wouldn't wish this on anyone and I am so, so sad that Isha's first days as a Mom are being marred by this. Any prayers you could send her way would be greatly appreciated.
In other news - I went to the dentist today. I continue to love the dental practice that I visit in our neighbourhood. I deliberately switched to it because it seemed kid-friendly (it is), it's local and because I LOATHED the first practice I went to when we moved here. I had the same dentist from the age of 2 until 27, and I loved him, so I really wanted to find somewhere that my children (who were hypothetical at the time) would feel as comfortable. It's just such a great spot.
Teddy also had schwarma for the first time tonight. Lebanese food is ubiquitous here in Ottawa, so it was just a matter of time. He made his usual 'WHAT?!" face when he first tried the garlic sauce, but within 30 seconds he was shoving pieces of chicken and pita and vegetables into his mouth and laughing. Lebanese fast food FTW!
Monday, November 16, 2009
So, I am about to experience (some) of the wonder of Irish twins. Today, I have both Teddy and Rory in my care.
Poor Isha (who's recovering from a C-section) is having horrible abdominal pain and her midwife recommended that she head to Emerg. post haste. Joe called at 5 am asking if I could watch the Rorster. I have enough boob juice to spare (Rory is doing finger feeding right now, along with nursing), after all! I headed over with Teddy's car seat at around 5:30 to retrieve that baby.
He's so tiny! Teddy was never this tiny (well, he was in utero). And he's still in that super sleepy stage. He's sleeping in the pack-n-play bassinet right now and Teddy's up in his crib. Dave hasn't left for the day, so this is probably the calmest moment I will have today.
For all of you pray-ers, any prayers you could spare for Isha would be wonderful. For the rest of you - any good thoughts that you could spare would be greatly appreciated. See you on the flip side.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
It might be self-injurious, but it is age appropriate
I ended up flying solo at mass this morning -- Teddy's sleep schedule was thrown off (curse you, teething and developmental spurts) so he was OUT COLD during both our parish's masses. It happened to be a baptismal Sunday, though, so there were lots of visitors, including a families with small children.
One such child was sitting right across the aisle from me. She had horny-shaped pigtails on the top of her head and several teeth. During the apostles' creed, she tossed her bottle into the aisle and I picked it up; she spent the next 5 minutes grinning at me. I started watching her behaviour - she'd grasp a necklace with both hands and shove the pendant in her mouth, she'd flap her arms, slapping her torso while simultaneously bucking. She kept trying to pull herself up on the pew in front of her. She kept saying 'Sha-sha-sha' and 'ta-ta-ta'. So - pretty much the exact behaviour I was missing at home, sans pigtails. During the 'sign' of peace (we don't shake hands during flu season), I asked the parents her age' '10 months' was the reply. A-HA!
I had an inexplicable urge to pick her up and snuggle her. Man, I love kids!
The old adage is true. At list this is a laudable trait to emulate
Isha got 'milk fever' today. I remember how much it sucked and how much like mastitis it was. To help them out, Dave, Teddy and I went by t o make them dinner tonight. I had also made chilli and had extra food to freeze, so I brought that along with some b-milk, just in case.
The past two days, I have arrived at their house with boxes and bags of food and drinks and gifts and stuff like a breast pump and supplies. And treats. You know the two people in my life who do that, without fail. My Mom, and my Nonna. I have officially, simultaneously turned into my Mom and my Nonna. Eh, there are far worse things in the world!
Parenting like it's 1963
In our rush to get out of the house with dinner, we didn't bring any toys for Teddy. He is so easygoing, though, that we figured we could keep him busy with simple things. Like the box we brought dinner supplies in. Yes, we sat our child in a bankers' box in the kitchen while we made dinner. And Uncle Joe gave him a wooden spoon and a pot lid. How quaint!
I once again felt like I was channelling my Nonna. When my Aunt Pat was a baby, my Nonna had two older, very active children (plus my teenaged Mom). Aunt Pat was easygoing, too, and was born well before the advent of playpens and bouncy chairs. So my Nonna got a cardboard box and secured it with a very heavy meat tenderizer (so my Aunt couldn't tip backward). She'd sit my Aunt Pat in it and would let her play. The best part? When she was hungry, my Aunt would be given a hotdog and a banana, which she'd grasp in each hand and of which she'd alternate bites. BLEARGH!
My Mom and my Nonna are together in Kingston tonight; they roared when they heard these stories. I don't blame them. :)
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Teddy has just gone down for his afternoon nap, so I thought I'd take a moment to crank out this post. His morning nap was surprisingly short (45 minutes, which is totally unusual for him) so I am hoping that this one last a bit longer. If not, bedtime will be SUPER early tonight.
I tweeted about this yesterday, but Teddy and I have been enjoying music as we play. Snacktime by the Barenaked Ladies is a favourite, as is the CD Shelley just gave us on the weekend. It's an ecclectic mix containing songs like 'Conjunction Junction', 'Little Girls' from Annie, theme songs from The Dukes of Hazzard, The Backyardigans, and Laverne and Shirley, and classics like 'Everybody Loves the Cha Cha Cha' by Sam Cooke. He loves to bounce and sway to the music. It's super cute.
Teddy's 5th and 6th teeth are arriving; the incisors on either side of his front teeth have broken through the gum (the right more that the left). His front teeth have a gap between them - he's got a bit of a goonie smile (and a goonie laugh, too) but we figure the gap will close as more teeth come in. He's been drooling a lot and shoving his fingers into his mouth, the poor kid. But he's ahead of the curve for teething so far. I am not looking forward to the dreaded 1st year molars, though.
One area where Teddy isn't ahead of the curve is crawling. He is not terribly interested nor terribly proficient. At first, his upper body strength would cause him to crawl backwards, away from the object he was aiming for and causing him no end of frustration. He is JUST coming to the realization that his knees need to be involved in this process. We'll see that happens in the next few weeks.
His inability to crawl does not mean that he's not interested in locomoting, though. He'll bum scoot a bit, and his big thing is reaching for us in order to pull himself up, then take steps towards the desired object/spot. The kid would spend all day upright if he could. His balance is improving, though far from perfect. Maybe he'll be like my Dad - he'll skip crawling all together.
I know that I blogged about this yesterday, but I am super excited to meet Rory and for Teddy to see him, too. Teddy has just begun to realize that children and babies aren't just 'other people' -- they're wonderful playmates. Until a couple weeks ago, his reaction towards adults and kids was identical: "Hey! It's a person!! I love people!!" But he's clued in that kids are at his eye level and interested in similar things. It should be fun. I am also excited to get pictures of the two of them together - Godzilla and a newborn.
We (and the cats) look forward to the day when Teddy has more control of his arm movements. When he's excited, he flaps and grabs. When the object of the excitement is your face (or that of a cat) well - it's less fun. We get fish-hooked a lot around these parts. I am petrified that he'll end up with a fistful of whisker one of these days; 'gentle' is one of the most used words around here. He'll figure it out soon enough, but I feel for the felines. They get close to him (Gunther especially; he'd love some affection from Teddy because he really likes kids) but it's tense. I am sure that they'll be friends soon enough!
I wish all of you an amazing Friday!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
I spoke to Isha yesterday; she was en route to a flu assessment clinic because she had a fever (3 days before her due date). I didn't hear back from her...because she went into labour!
Isha was hoping for a home birth (in their new house, only 5 minutes from us!), but the fever, coupled with meconium stained amniotic fluid, led the midwives to suggest a move to the hospital. It's a good thing - the baby's heart rate dipped preciptously with each contraction and raced in between. Ultimately, Isha had a c-section...
And baby Rory was born around 6 am.
We are beyond thrilled for them and for Teddy, too. All of our friends who've had babies this year have had girls, save one pair of boy/girl twins. I'm excited for Teddy to have another little boy to play with. And I cannot wait to meet the baby.
Isha and the baby are in an isolation room at the hospital (though they don't think it's H1N1 now) and will likely be there through the weeked. But I hope that we'll get to meet the little guy ASAP.
Congratulations, Isha and Joe. May you have a speedy recovery, and may Rory be a good sleeper!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
This summer, I wrote about why the First World War affects me so much. The post, cataloging the heartbreak I felt at reading LM Montgomery's Rilla of Ingleside can be found here.
I am finding it difficult to write about this today; I'm missing my Nonno and my Grandpa, both of whom fought in WWII though for opposite sides. Instead, I am going to post some quotes.
In Flanders Fields - by John McRae (of Guelph, ON)
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."
Laurence Binyon, The Fallen
Finally, I'm going to quote my entry (warning - SPOILER for RoI if you haven't read it):
"... Maud’s intention – to make the horrors and loss of war real to readers – sure resonated with me. The death of fictional Walter represented the all too real loss of tens of thousands of other young Canadians, full of potential and greatly loved. What a cruel, vicious waste. Reading about WWI is still terribly painful for me, but I feel compelled to do so in order to pay tribute to these kids. And kids they were – when I visited Ypres at the age of 24, NOT ONE person in the Ramparts cemetery was older than me when they died.
Other books have affected me, have made me sob (HPatDH, I’m looking at you for a recent example) but every time one does I think back to Rilla. And say a little prayer for all the Walters lost on both sides of conflicts."
Lest we forget.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The answer is yes, but not in earnest.
I am a nerd for picking up Christmas gifts throughout the year. For the last few years, I have had everything done by the end of November at the latest. I used to let it go later, though. When I was in University, I'd have finals right up until the 19th or 20th. I'd have to clear out of residence 24 hours after my last final, so my father would pick me up and we'd head to the mall during a work day. He was always astounded at my efficiency; I'd be done shopping for 20+ people within 3 hours!
This year, I continued my nerdliness. When we went to Vermont in July, I found some AMAZING deals on children's clothes, so picked up both birthday and Christmas gifts for my younger cousins, my youngest niece, and many of the children of friends. I also nabbed a few things for my inlaws. My older cousins get cash. My Nonna (who turns 80 on Christmas Day) is IMPOSSIBLE to buy for; this year, we are all chipping in to get her digital cable and paying her cable fees so that she can watch RAI. In addition, I usually get her gift certificates to stores at which she shops and Dave buys her booze (a tradition from when we first started dating). My parents - the people who have everything AND have late fall birthdays - are also a challenge. Charitable donations, perhaps?
I figure that I put my head down and finish up the shopping over the next few weeks. Is it wrong, though, that we aren't getting Teddy much? It's not like he'll remember this Christmas! I picked up a 'Sand and Water Table' for a song during the summer clearance, so I think we'll be 'giving' him that.
Have you started your shopping? If so - how far along are you? If not - when do you usually start.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Exactly 7 days after my 27th birthday, and after 15 months of engagement (not to mention the fact that we first started dating in 1995 and met in 1982), Dave and I got married!
Here I am with my junior bridesmaids and flower girl. On either side of me are Hannah and Leah (from yesterday's post), while next to Leah is my then-soon-to-be niece Rachael.
The next day, we headed off on our honeymoon - a Med cruise.
Once we returned to Canada, Dave moved up to Ottawa to join me; I'd moved one week before our wedding.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Shelley went to high school with us (her childhood best friend is Dr. Beth's sister) so we've all been friends for years. She lived in Halifax for a decade (we saw her when we were out there in '05) when she wasn't in Belfast or Afghanistan. She's works in community radio, and is working on her Master's in Journalism here in Ottawa (which means we get to see her!). But for a chunk of that time, she was doing reasearch and working in Rwanda. She was back there not too long ago and she brought back a gift for Teddy. It's a gorgeous carving of a gorilla with her baby holding on to her back.
The carving instantly reminded me of a game we'd play with my Aunt Pat's two youngest girls - Hannah and Leah. The girls have always loved Dave and they would climb him like a tree. About 7 years ago, Hannah hopped on Dave's back and Dave started pretending to be a gorilla. Leah (who was 2) took one look at me and begged: "Me monkey back too!" So, I hauled her onto my back and we pretended to be apes interacting and grooming each other. We played that game for YEARS! Hannah's now almost 15 and Leah's almost 10, but they still have fond memories of it.
So, thanks Shelley. And thanks, too, for the CDs of new music. Shell makes the BEST mixes on earth, and Dave and I nearly jumped for joy when she brought ones for us - atypical lullabyes, parental tunes...we can't wait to check them out.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Our first movie was Pumping Iron, which I missed because I was prepping food and making guacamole. Movie #2 was CanCon - Last Night, which is an awesome flick. After a quick lunch break, we're on to movie #3, Sunset Boulevard which is one of my all-time favourites.
After Teddy's nap, we'll be heading out to Almonte so he can spend the night. I'll head back to Ottawa and likely arrive in time for dinner. There aren't too many movies that I want to see this evening (the lineup can be found on Dave's site), but I want to make sure that all the spectators are fed and watered. For posterity, I should record the usual menu.
Cookies, muffins, juice, coffee, tea (and candy, as requested. This year it was licorice and mini chocolate bars, the Halloween leftovers).
Chili (I make it ahead, since it tastes better after the spices have mellowed), hummus and pita, guacamole, a veggie tray and a fruit bowl.
The candy and baked goods, augmented with chips and party mix.
Pizza is usually ordered (except for the year when we got 80 cm of snow. We figured we'd be snowed in, so I did sweet and sour pork in the crock pot). Veggies and hummus, etc. come out again.
Late night snacks:
Sandwich meats and buns and a cheese plate.
Eggs and bacon and toast or waffles.
Pop and Juice, Coffee and Tea, as well as beer, wine and mixed drinks. We aim to please.
Not the most thrilling of entries, but that's what is on my mind today. I hope that you are all having a great time this weekend.
Friday, November 6, 2009
The doses were shipped to Canadian cities at the end of October, and priority groups were identified -- pregnant women, children 6 months-5 years, caregivers of children under 6 months, the immunocompromised or those who live with them, those with chronic health conditions, and the elderly. The uptake rate was anticipated to be around 40%. HA! From day 1, all the immunization centres were overrun (in all cities, it turns out). Waits for hours and hours outside in the cold - disaster. On the 2nd day, the City of Ottawa started tweeting wait times. GONG SHOW.
So, last weekend, the City started issuing wristbands. Wristbands were given out starting at 9 a.m. on a first-come-first-served basis for clincis that ran 2:30 - 8:30. You'd have to make 2 trips, but you'd be told to come back at a certain time and would be processed quickly.
Isha, who's pregnant, hit a clinic yesterday and let me know that things ran smoothly. She was 100% correct.
Teddy and I headed off to the nearest clinic this morning, arriving just before 9. There was a line-up of over 300 people, but the line snaked around the atrium of a building so we were waiting in comfort. We were in line for about 40 minutes. He hung out in his car-seat stroller and smiled at everyone around us in line. At the front of the line, OPH workers fitted me with a wristband (I had to wear it, since unscrupulous people had been SELLING THEM earlier in the week) and told us to come back at 4 pm.
We headed back at just before 4 to find that they were running ahead of schedule. We headed up to the vaccination area, where they verified my Driver's License and Teddy's Health Card, as well as all the paperwork. Then, we stood in a 10 person line until a nurse was free.
The nurse was incredibly friendly and beamed right back at laughing Teddy. She reviewed the screening questions, then got the dose ready. She administered the shot in Teddy's left thigh. And the kid? Made a sour face for 10 seconds, then went back to smiling at the nurse. Once we finished, we headed to the waiting area for 15 minutes, hung out with some of the people we'd been in line with in the morning, then came home.
All in all, it was far less hassle than I'd anticipated. Teddy will need another shot, but it has to be at least 21 days from now. I figure that we'll take him when Dave and I go to get our shots in a few weeks.
I was so impressed with Ottawa Public Health! Their staff have been working 18 hour days for 2 weeks, dealing with the irate public. But EVERYONE I dealt with was friendly and efficient. They clearly learned from the disastrous early days and are rocking right now.
My current worry? That Teddy will be totally punky tomorrow for his first night away from us and home at the same time. He's sleeping at my Mom and Dad's tomorrow night because of the Movie Marathon at our house. If he's really rough, I will be staying there too. The house is stocked with enough food to last for a while, though, so the marathoners will be well fed!
Thursday, November 5, 2009
We've been doing a blend of baby-led weaning and a bit of baby food, primarily stuff we eat as purees (like butternut squash or oatmeal). We started when Teddy was about 6.5 months. At first, he'd gum the heck out of strips of plum or nectarine or cucumber. But as his manual dexterity got better, he began to enjoy it more and more. His pincer motion is awesome, and his aim is excellent too, so his mealtimes are far more efficient than before.
Teddy's favourite foods are cheese and avocado. He is hilarious with cheese -- when you give him pieces of it, he cannot eat them fast enough. He smiles and chuckles to himself because he's so very excited. And when there are avocado slices present? He'll ignore the cheese to cram these into his mouth and smile at you with a mushy green grin.
On the cruise, we'd have a routine at dinner. We'd arrive at the table, where he'd have some Cheerios and I might feed him a little something from a jar (squash -- his favourite jarred food, or corn that smells and tastes like corn-on-the-cob). Then, he'd have some bread from the bread basket. Next, they'd serve Teddy a freshly made puree of broccoli and carrots, which he inhaled. Finally (when our main courses would come out), he'd be presented with a plate of green peas and mashed potatoes. And the kid would shovel handfuls of peas into his mouth like it was his job! And he was so well-behaved at the table. Dinner would last 1.5 hours and he was so cheerful. Guests at all of the tables around us came by to compliment him on his good behaviour, and the waitstaff just adored him. It went far better than we'd anticipated.
We're pretty much feeding him what we eat. Last night, for example, we had butternut squash soup and my Nonna's eggplant parmesan. Teddy had pureed squash and some eggplant parmesan and cheese. Tonight, it'll be perogies and corn or peas. For lunch, he had some pureed pears, cheese and banana. It's so fun watching him discover food!
He's still having lots of breastmilk in addition to 3 meals a day, and he's thriving. I'm sure that Nanny and Poppy will be thrilled to serve him Newfie Dinner when next we visit Georgetown!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
- My Grandmother LOVED Christmas. She was born just before the big day, on December 17th (my Nonna was actually born on Xmas Day) and it was her absolute favourite time of year. She'd shop for gifts all year long, tucking them away, she would bake up a storm to share with friends and family and she'd prepare an enormous spread on the day.
- Her name was Mary. Her parents actually intended to call her Minetta Louise (after both her grandmothers). Her 8 year old brother, Howard, had other plans. "Those names are terrible!" he proclaimed. "It doesn't matter what you name her, though, because I will be calling her Mary." The other names became her middle names and Mary she was named.
- She was born in a chicken coop (not a stable, but close). Her family were living in Scarborough and constructing a house. The only structure on the land was a chicken coop, which my great-grandfather reinforced and made habitable. And that's where Grandma was born!
This past weekend, we helped our friends Joe (Happy Birthday!!) and Isha move into their new house (about 5 minutes away! Woot!). This was significant because Isha was 38 weeks pregnant and totally tired and uncomfortable. I remember how pooped and ungainly I was at that point in pregnancy. And Mary had to ride a donkey for days on end en route to Bethlehem in that condition?
Can you imagine the discomfort? Long days on an animal, the heat, the uncertainty with respect to food, water, and shelter? And finally, having to give birth in a barn, far from family and home? Gah!
My Grandma's family were never well off, and the Depression was particularly hard. My great-grandparents and the kids were incredibly devout, resourceful and hardworking, though, and the family survived. My Grandma was also widowed with two kids and had to run a business all on her own - it was incredibly difficult again. But just like Mary and Joseph, she persevered and immense good came from the hard times. That's why she loved the verse in Corinthians, too - it talks about how "...our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." She believed that whole-heartedly, and so do I.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
I'm not actually sure that party is the right word for it - it's Dave's 5th annual 24 hour movie marathon. Back in January of 2006, Dave (who'd never pulled an all nighter) hosted the first. It's been a tradition ever since, though the '09 version was technically in November '08 as I was very pregnant in January of '09. Since I'll be back at work in January '10, we're holding it in November again.
My Mom commented on the number of parties we've thrown of late and it's true. We've had one big gathering per month of late. To wit:
July - Dan and Clau's shower (though that was at their house, but Isha and I did all the food and prep)
August - Teddy's Baptism, with 30 guests
September - Dave's b-day, with only 12 guests
October - Isha and Joe's shower, with 40 guests
and now this. Not to mention parties we co-hosted in Georgetown in April (my inlaws' 40th anniversary), June (my father-in-law's birthday) and August (my mother-in-law's birthday). Whew!
There will be around 15 people at various times, but we feed them for 24 hours. Plus - I am Italian, so I cannot run the risk of running out of food! It should be a lot of fun.
In other news, I have been fighting off a cold since we were on vacation - longest, strangest illness ever. Is it wrong how excited I am at the prospect of going to bed before 9?
Monday, November 2, 2009
The service was lovely. It took place in the funeral home and, like with my Grandpa Jack, my Dad and I did the readings (I am 3 for 3 at family funerals this year since Rachel and I read at my Aunt Flo's funeral in March). For those of you who are into this sort of thing, my Dad read two pieces - 1 John 3: 1-2 and Revelations 21: 1-7. And I had the good fortune to read my Grandma's favourite passage, 2 Corinthians 4: 7-18. I plan to write more on this when I have a clearer head, since I feel that reflecting on this passage because of her love of it was my Grandma's gift to me.
My Mom's side of the family was out in full force today - My Uncle Sergio brought my Nonna (Sally would have come but for Sierra being home sick), and Aunt Pat, Fred and Leah came all the way from the GTA. They've known my Grandma since they were kids (Serge and Pat were 12 and 9, respectively, when my parents got married) and they'd always loved her. My family - both sides - is just so awesome and I am so blessed to have them around.
I held up pretty well -- Grandma was nearly 93, after all, and she'd been really sick - but I shed a few tears as the priest shared some reflections (and as I'm writing this, if I'm being honest). My grandparents were a fun-loving pair, and one habit (that I'd forgotten about, actually) was how they'd say goodbye. They never wanted to see us go -- we lived a 3 hour drive away -- but they knew that visits couldn't last forever. To wish us fair travels and to make our final memory a happy one, they come outside and pretend to push the car to get it started. Then, they'd either stand in the driveway or (in inclement weather) in the front window and wave until they could no longer see us. I remember craning my neck as far as I could so that I could catch final glimpses of them wishing us a safe journey. It's something so simple and silly, but it was so them.
We had many, many years together and I am so very thankful. I also believe that we'll see each other again, and I am so glad that neither of them are suffering any longer. But I will still miss them very much because it's never easy to lose ones you love. They always LOVED my Aunt Flo, too, so I like to imagine that the three of them are hanging out together tonight.
It's been a really long day (and year, frankly) and I am sorry for the maudlin tone of this post. I know that loss and suffering are unavoidable and can strengthen us immeasurably, but is it wrong that I wouldn't mind a long break before losing any other close family members?
And as a final note, I will share with you the gospel passage: Luke 2: 1-20. It's a gospel passage that I can recite by heart because I have personally had to read it aloud so many times...at Christmas. It's the Birth of Jesus. I'll leave you to ponder why that was proclaimed at my Grandma's funeral. You wouldn't be the only ones puzzled - we all looked at each other when the reading started, thinking "did he hit the wrong page by accident?". There were some interesting reasons, though...
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Happy All Saints' Day! We celebrated by attending the Baptism of Teddy's friend Arabella (Mommy is our friend Cat) at All Saints' Anglican church in Sandy Hill. It's a gorgeous old church right across the road from Laurier House. I'm not sure if William Lyon Mackenzie King (who lived at Laurier house after Wilfrid and Zoe left it to him) was a parishioner, but I do know that Robert Borden was one. I am such a nerd for Prime Ministers!
Today and tomorrow are Anglican Days for our family with the Baptism today and my grandmother's funeral tomorrow. For those of you who didn't know, my grandparents were Protestants. Well, Grandpa MacDonald was a Catholic and my Grandma agreed to raise her children in the Roman Catholic church; she had been raised in the United Church of Canada. She really loved the Eucharistic tradition and the creed, though, so when as a widow she married Grandpa Selby (a quintessential Englishman) she became an Anglican herself.
I always find Anglican mass...odd. It's so familiar, yet different. A bit like I've stepped into a fun house -- similar to what I'm used to but just a bit off. Today's experience was lovely, though. I am going to write about it later in the week, since I'll need blog topics!
And I'd better give my readers what they really want: photos of Teddy from Hallowe'en.
He was a polar bear. An incredibly cute one. Here's proof: