Monday, December 20, 2010

What we've been up to - December 2010 edition

We're still here. We've just been really, really busy! Since last I posted, here's what we've been up to:

  • From December 7-9, the kids and I headed to Kingston with my Mom. We visited my Nonna for several days, which was lovely. I cemented my knowledge of a few of her amazing recipes (eggplant parmesan, lasagna, etc.) while my Mom watched Teddy. We also got to see Rachel in between her finals and my Uncle Sergio. It was a lovely time, despite the storm we had to drive through to get there. Her house devoid of any internet capacity, though, so I missed the internets!
  • The following weekend, we ran around a lot. We had Christmas parties (brunch at Mark and Tania's on the Saturday, Dave's corporate children's party on the Sunday), as well as things like shopping and mass. I will upload photos from the Christmas party soon - they're cute, but my computer is being finicky.
  • Last week, Beth came to visit us for several days. She's in Ontario for over 2 weeks, and since I am on mat leave, she came to visit during the week. We ate, we drank, we hung out. We also visited the Diefenbunker, arguably my favourite Ottawa-area museum. It's a decommissioned nuclear bunker from which the Canadian government was to have governed in case of attack. It's now a Cold War museum and it's SO awesome! Plus - I scored one of the library's museum passes, so we got to go for free. We also visited my parents in Almonte (the Diefenbunker is very close to their place) and saw Shelley. A fun and busy week all around. And we'll get to see Beth again when we're in the GTA, so yeah!
  • This weekend, we did some essential Christmas prep - assembling gifts, working on the Christmas cards, etc. It's a challenge to do with two little kids, so thank goodness for coordinated naps! We knocked a few things off the list, including passport photos for Veronica. That's another picture that I will be uploading soon.
This week, we have more Christmas prep in the evenings, then the holiday season begins!

Advent has been fun. Teddy loves looking at "Baby Jesus" in our crèche, and he ADORES the Advent wreath. When we broke it out, he promptly broke into "Happy Birthday" - his primary exposure to candles. He now sings "Happy Birthday" to Jesus and is a wee bit obsessed with blowing out the candles, which he calls "cackles". It's cute. And I cannot wait for future Christmases, when they're both old enough to be involved.

What have you guys been up to?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Rolled Sleeves

If you lived in my head, you would know that I am not a very nice person. If I had to identify my 'root sin', it would be pride. I often have a running dialogue in my head, and I have to admit that as soon as something goes off course -- little stuff, not real emergencies -- I think "how could this be happening to ME??!?!?". Entitled, much? And since I live with him, these feelings turn to Dave on occasion.

One such occasion was earlier this afternoon. I was sorting dirty clothes, and I noticed once again that Dave had forgotten to unroll the sleeves of several of his dress shirts. "GAH!" I thought. "I managed to nag him into checking his pockets for Kleenex when we first got married. WHY can't he remember this?!?"

And then it hit me. The first thing Dave does when he arrives at home (after taking off his coat and boots; we do live in Canada) is roll up the sleeves of his dress shirt so that he can pitch in with the kids. It's more than a metaphor. He literally rolls up his sleeves. And when he changes, he hurriedly puts the shirt in the hamper so that he can put on something more conducive to playing with the kids.

Dave is such an amazing father and partner. I don't thank him for it enough. So thanks, baby. I will gladly unroll your sleeves if that means that I get to spend my life with you.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Endings and beginnings

It's the 30th of November, the last official day of NaBloPoMo. It has been a challenge, but I have really enjoyed it! I mean, maybe 3 of my posts have had any real substance to them. Most have simply been stories about the kids. But it's been freeing to just write something rather than feeling pressured to write something significant. I need to channel this into writing in the future.

And speaking of endings (and beginnings):

  • November looks to be ending the way it began - with parents getting puked on. Dave got hit 2 nights in a row with Teddy at the start of the month. Last night, poor Veronica was congested and spit up all over herself and me at 3 a.m. Boo!
  • In happier news, Dave and I finished the series finale of "The Wire" last night. I am sure that this shocks no one to hear, but that series is so, so amazing. We started it when Veronica was tiny and we've been plowing through. I am sad it's over, though. We did watch S1 of Modern Family (also great) at the same time, and now we're caught up there, too. What to watch next? We're thinking "Friday Night Lights". Any other suggestions?
Thanks, folks for sticking it out with me. And have a wonderful feast of St. Andrew!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Veronica's Baptism...eventually.

The plans for Veronica's baptism are finally in the works, save the ultimate ok from the parish. I know Doreen, the head of the Baptismal ministry, though, and I am pretty sure that we'll get the only date that works. Too bad that it's in June.

At our parish, in addition to the full immersion font, we have preset baptismal dates. We have our godparents - Dave's brother Barry and my Aunt Linda. But the upcoming dates are less than ideal. They are:
  • two dates in the dead of winter. Since the bulk of our families are from out of town (both godparents live a 4+ hour drive away and don't relish the highway drive required to get here), asking them to come to our snowy city at that time of year is just cruel.
  • March 6th - the 40th birthday of her future godfather and the day before her future godmother's 60th. Also not fair.
  • Nothing during Lent, obviously.
  • May 8th - aka Mother's Day.
  • June 19th - aka Father's Day.
We debated and debated, and consulted with family. We've settled on June 19th; we'll have a little something for all the fathers who'll be coming and sacrificing their special day. Plus, the weather will be great and it's near the end of the school year (for all my educator relatives and for the nieces/cousins who are still in school).

It's brutal, though - she'll be nearly 10 months old! Father Boyd has already started to ask: "When will I get to baptize this one?" and it'll still be another 6+ months.

No one can say that they don't have sufficient notice, though!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Teddy vignettes

Teddy had a few awesome moments yesterday and today. I needed to share them.

This afternoon, Dave was on the phone with my MIL and I was feeding Veronica. Teddy headed over to the toy bins and fished out his gloworm, whom he calls 'his baby'. Then, he flopped down on his couch, saying "Oh, baby!" and attempted to breastfeed the toy. Hilarious!

We've borrowed my parents' Advent wreath. In one of those crazy twists of fate, I had planned to buy our own wreath, but before I could head out to buy it, my Mom called to offer the one we used as a kid. It's sitting on the table and we began lighting it last night.

Teddy was thrilled. The moment he spotted us about to light the candles, he broke into a spot on rendition of "Happy Birthday". I guess we should encourage that? I mean - we are counting down to Jesus' birthday, after all. And we'll be celebrating the 25th with birthday cake, although it will be for my Nonna. She's named Natalina (which basically means female baby born on Christmas) as that is her natal day.

He's a riot, our boy.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sleep. The lack of it is catching up to me.

I suspect that Veronica is going through her 3 month growth spurt because she is eating and eating and getting longer. She ate several times last night, too. And now, as we've passed the three month mark, I think that the hormones have worn off and the lack of sleep (though not awful, not by a long shot) is getting to me.

That's why I appreciated it so much this afternoon when Dave watched both kids so I could chill. I read and napped and it was great. Thanks, baby! You rock, and you're an amazing father. I wouldn't want to do this without you.

But Mom - we didn't make it to Costco this afternoon. We'll hit it tomorrow!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Three months

Veronica turned 3 months old on Wednesday. She had a check-up yesterday. It involved no vaccinations and therefore no tears. :)

She is weighing in at 13lbs, 7oz (though she was not wearing a cloth diaper this time; last time's weigh in may have been slightly skewed by that) and she's 24.5 inches long. She passed the time in the waiting room cooing at all the other patients. She may end up being a talker like her Mom!

Her sunny, relaxed personality has returned following the 12 week developmental leap - she rarely cries and smiles and chatters all day long. She chuckled today for the first time. Her hair continues to stick straight up in the back. Her eyes remain a vibrant blue.

She is a little sweetheart. We'll keep her.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Oh you guys. I was planning to write about Veronica's turning 3 months old. But this afternoon was insane and I need to share.

My parents came to visit today. I generally try to get a whole bunch more done with the extra hands around, and my Mom loves to clean. These points are salient in today's tale. Also important - the fact that we have an alarm system. And a house built in 1967.

Over the holidays, we've asked the youngest daughter of Teddy's babysitter to look after our cats. To make it easier on her, we wanted to add a special code to our alarm system. The system we have is the same as the one we had in my childhood home, so I figured that my Dad would know how to set it up.

So - my Dad and I begin trying to add the new alarm code. And somehow - we manage to screw up the master code and arm the alarm. As such - we are trapped in the house with the alarm on and we cannot turn it off.

We call our alarm guy, who happens to live around the corner AND is the son of them woman from whom we purchased the house. He attempts to fix the problem remotely, but to no avail. He realizes that he has to come over to fix it, and that the alarm siren will have to go until he deactivates it.

While I am on the phone with Ken (alarm guy), my Mom and Teddy are upstairs, swiffering. He poops, and my Mom gets ready to change him. But before she can, she turns her back after they exit the guest room, and Teddy closes the door, locking her out. And the door would not open. It's an original door from the house, and it stuck when Dave's mom was here. It has no screws so there is no way to remove it.

To recap:

- trapped in the house by the alarm, with a siren about to blare; and
- Teddy trapped in the guest room, with the door stuck shut.

We tried and tried to get the door open. We tried to get the 22 month old to open the door -- he kept trying to turn the knob, but it wouldn't turn. He would touch my fingers, which I'd slipped under the door, and say "Mama???", then would play with the door stop. He wasn't thrilled - he was in a poopy diaper, after all, and trapped. But he did ok.

Then - Ken arrived and the alarm went off. It scared the heck out of poor Veronica (not to mention the cats), who started bawling. Teddy started whimpering on the other side of the door. And I realized that I'd have to break the door down.

I started throwing myself against the door, to no avail. I kept telling Teddy to back away from the door, just so he wouldn't get hit. And, after about 8 tries, I managed to unstick it. Poor Teddy was struck as it opened, but not too hard. I detached the plate and cracked the door casing, but my toddler was free.

And Ken managed to fix the alarm; it took a few minutes, but we figured it out and reprogrammed it. The baby stopped crying and the diaper got changed.

But oh! What a few minutes!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Random musings while watching a rom com from the late 1990s.

Yesterday, I ended up watching "Return to Me", a sweet little romantic comedy from about 10 years ago. It stars David Duchovny as a widower whose wife was the heart organ donor for Minnie Driver. The two meet years later and fall in love. In an eerie twist, Natasha Richardson plays the wife who dies too young.

I found myself reflecting on a whole bunch of things, watching this movie for the first time in years. To wit:

  • I was struck by how many nods to the Catholic church are found throughout the movie. Minnie Driver plays Grace, an Irish Catholic whose Grandfather (Carol O'Connor) runs an Irish Italian restaurant where Robert Loggia is the chef. Praying the rosary, priests coming for dinner, the works. It makes me want to watch "Going my Way" again!
  • I kept thinking: "What a fun blend - and Irish and Italian family". Until I realized that's what I have! D'oh. I mean, Newfoundlanders are as close to the Irish as you'll find outside Ireland.
  • But man - the beginning of that movie is SO SAD. I was maybe 22 the last time I watched this movie and I knew it to be sad. But this time, it was all that I could do to fight off tears. The husband and the dog missing the late wife - GAH! I guess at 22, I had far less to lose and so identified with it in a more abstract manner. No longer.
This movie is set in Chicago, just like "While You Were Sleeping", another fave. It seems to me that they aren't making these sweet, light-hearted movies any more. I miss them.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cloth Diapering a Newborn - My Experience

It's sunny and mild -- probably for the last time in 2010 - so my diapers are out sunning. I continue to be astounded at how well the sun bleaches out the stains caused by breast milk poop. Score one for nature! And I thought I would take this opportunity to write about my experiences with cloth diapering a newborn.

Miss Veronica will be 3 months old tomorrow (I cannot BELIEVE how fast it's going this time) and will officially become an infant. And how we've been diapering her has been changing over the past month or so (she's a porker!). But I wanted to share the stash that we used on her while she was tiny. Well - she was almost 9 lbs at birth, but you know what I mean.

First and foremost, a HUGE thank you to Isha. She let us borrow a whole bunch of her NB stuff that Rory had outgrown. In addition - thanks to my Mom for some cash to augment our stash, some of which was used here, some to buy stuff I will highlight in a later post.

Here's what our stash looked like:
  • 12 Kissaluv fitted diapers in size 0 (bought used from Ottawa Kijiji)
  • 12 infant prefolds (borrowed from Isha)
  • 4 Thirsties covers, size small
  • 4 Bummis covers, size small
  • 3 Annie Marie Padorie (AMP) All-in-one diapers
  • 4 Apple Cheeks size 1 diapers (borrowed from Isha)
  • 3 Fuzzibunz OS pocket diapers
  • 1 Happy Heiney's mini pocket
  • 3 Jamtots bamboozle diapers (used at night)
The reason we chose a newborn stash was because most of the OS pockets don't fit newborns well around the legs. In addition - you change them so much over the first little while that it's just easier to have prefolds/fitted diapers and covers as you're using 12-15 diapers a day! We used disposables until the meconium poop had passed, then we dove in.

We used the Kissaluvs and the infant prefolds most of the time, especially when at home. We liked both - the prefolds were more absorbent, but Dave liked the Kissaluvs better since they had snaps and he didn't have to wrangle with a Snappi. We reached for the Thirsties covers first -- they have leg gussets - but the Bummis ones are great, too. Sadly, she outgrew the Kissaluvs a few weeks ago. She can still get into to the infant prefolds, but they are getting small. Soon, it'll be pockets all the time.

My favourite diapers on her were my AMP AIOs. Annie Marie Padorie is a Canadian company and their diapers are adorable. They are super trim, have great applix, and dry very quickly. She's outgrown them, but they were a great diaper when we went out. I love the diaper in Med and in Large, too, but I'll detail that in another post.

Another great option -- and one that'll fit for ages -- is the Fuzzibunz OS. The diapers are sized using buttonhole elastic in the legs, so you can get it really small. These actually fit smaller than the FB Small diapers, and the snaps are great, too.

The other diapers we used were ok. The Happy Heiny's fit her right away, but I am just not a fan of that diaper. Plus - she's too big for it now. The Apple Cheeks are another Canadian-made diaper, and it fit her fairly early on. The inserts of these diapers are supposed to agitate out in the wash, but the pocket is right in the middle of the diaper. It is GROSS fishing the insert out of a newborn poopy diaper. And the Bamboozles are ok. The diapers have been discontinued (I got them used) and I can see why. But they work well at night.

Any questions? Feel free to fire away!

Monday, November 22, 2010

A post written during daylight hours!

It is cold and rainy, so I cannot say that this post is being written during daylight. But it's not even 10 am; in general, my NaBloPoMo posts have been written at 10 pm, so it's a nice change.

Veronica is currently taking a snooze and Teddy wanted to watch an episode of "The Backyardigans". Yes, we let him watch a small bit of TV - he likes the music in these episodes, and this show about imaginary play is adorable. He loves this episode - "High Tea" where they travel all over the world to get the components of the perfect cup of tea. There's a scene where they ride Mongolian ponies to the gushing geyser of the Gobi desert, and Teddy gets up and pretends to ride a horse along with them. It's hilarious.

Teddy continues to be very sweet to the baby. Ever day, he breaks out new worlds - this morning, he looked out the window and pronounced "Rainin'!". He had a growth spurt recently. He ate and ate, developed a belly, chubby cheeks, and a 2nd chin. Then he shot up at least an inch. He turned 22 months on the weekend, and though he can be exasperating at times, particularly when he does something he shouldn't -- like throwing - then smiles and says "Don't throw!" as if that will get him out of being punished. But he adds joy to our lives on a near-hourly basis.

We're also hopeful that Veronica has hit the 12 week spurt. Her sleep has improved and she has been less grumpy for the past day or so. And she's far more interested in everything going on around her.

Uh oh - she's waking up. I'd better run. I hope that you're all having a lovely Monday.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A quiet Sunday

Today was a lovely, quiet day. I had promised to help out with the CWL Membership table after mass, so that was my big task this morning. Veronica, Teddy, and I all napped this afternoon. My Nonna sent us up some food, so we had stuffed eggplant for dinner. And now, we're watching the final episode of S4 of "The Wire", which we are still loving.

I came downstairs (truth be told, I'd been dropping off a cloth diaper in the pail liner) after dark, and I spotted the flickering light from a scented candle, burning in the kitchen. It struck me, then, how excited I am for Advent -- both this year and in future. It's no coincidence that the prospect of a family Christmas was one of the things to which Dave and I most looked forward when we dreamed of having a family. I've been lax in terms of Christmas decorations since we moved to this house, since Christmas has been in Almonte/Kingston/Georgetown and I was either 1 week post miscarriage, VERY pregnant or about to head back to work. But this year, I think that both kids will like the tree. The cats will love it as well, unfortunately, but what can you do?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturday night bullet points

It's been a busy few days around here. To wit:

  • Yesterday morning, we headed to a Familia meeting at our church. It's still a struggle for me to get both kids out the door to an excursion in a timely manner. I was all set yesterday...until we needed two diaper changes as we were about to head out the door. I'll get better at this, right?
  • Last evening, I left the house ALONE for a couple of hours to take part in a focus group. It dealt with waste collection in the city; I'd had to keep a journal on garbage day for two weeks and participate. The honorarium? A sweet $125. I will take it!
  • Today, we headed out to Almonte to see my Dad for his birthday. In addition, Dave took the car in for service and to get the winter tires. Good times.
And finally:
  • I really, really hope that Veronica's strange, mercurial behaviour is related to the 12 week spurt. Because boy - is she all over the place. Clingy, tearful, grumpy...and far more alert. We're a wee bit nervous that her new behaviour is just how she's going to be, now that she's no longer a sleepy newborn. If so - pray for us!

Friday, November 19, 2010

"Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm...

Sixty four years ago today, Kingston, Ontario welcomed one of the smartest, kindest, most wonderful men I've had the good fortune to know. How lucky that I get to call him my Dad.

Happy 64th birthday, Daddy/Ray/Bampa! We'll be out tomorrow, bearing gifts and improperly blown kisses.

S, D, T and V. xoxoxoxo

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I despair of ever writing a blog post while the sun is still up

Gah. I have such lofty goals each day -- particularly with respect to blogging - and they never come to fruition. Today, besides a medical appointment and hitting a couple errands in a part of town I HATE (Merivale Rd, you SUCK), I managed to unload the dishwasher and fold some laundry. And care for children. Both of whom were up multiple times last night.

I miss being in a groove, being able to get stuff done. I imagine that I will eventually competent again but for now - not so much. Days just go by and I feel like I am doing jack squat. And I really hate it.

Ah well. Let's hope that tomorrow will be better. It will be Friday, after all.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A hobby?

Earlier this week, Lauren posted about wanting to develop a hobby that would be productive. She is considering knitting, sewing or scrapbooking. I completely understand that sentiment, and just spent the evening doing something I have really come to enjoy - cardmaking.

I've joined a 'stamping club' where we meet once a month to make several cards/learn techniques. I have to purchase about $30 of product each month, but that's no big deal. And the cards are REALLY nice. As in - you'd never know that I made them, they're so nice. And the women in the group are awesome, too. A night out! It's only a few hours, but still!

In related news - I left Veronica for 3 HOURS tonight. That's the longest we've ever been apart and she managed not to starve to death. Props to Dave -- always an amazing dad - for keeping her content while I was away. Thanks, baby!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

November sun

I am likely jinxing myself by saying this but it's the truth -- to date, November in Ontario has been mild and sunny. And I am LOVING it.

November, my father's birthday notwithstanding, is my least favourite month. Remembrance Day is a sad occasion. It's cold and the snow starts. And to quote The Mamas and the Papas: "All the leaves are brown and the sky is grey...". Canadian Thanksgiving is in October (thanks to the earlier harvest) so there's not much to brighten this month. Even the Church encourages us to pray for the dead during this gloomy, gloomy 30 days. February is also gloomy, but it's snowy and our city embraces the cold, having a 3 week long festival. Plus, it's a short month and warm weather is around the corner. With November - the warmth is AGES away.

But this year, we've been so fortunate. I have been basking in the sunny, mild(ish) days. Taking the opportunity to go outside and to sun my diapers. I imagine that this good fortune won't last but I really do appreciate it. I feel like I missed summer this year, what with the extreme heat and the modified bed rest at the end of my pregnancy. These fall days have been great. Let's hope that they last a bit longer!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Week Twelve Leap (we hope)

Poor Veronica. She's a bit of a mess today.

She's dealing with a bit of a cold, so that isn't helping the situation. But she'll be 12 weeks tomorrow, which is one of the 'stormy' periods prior to the third developmental leap outlined in "The Wonder Weeks". And boy oh boy - is she ever storming.

The poor kid slept poorly last night, wanting to nurse intermittently and thrash in between sessions. She's been fussy all day - crying jags, clinginess, diminished appetite, the works. It's particularly odd because she is svuch a placcid baby. She rarely cries and is generally jolly. The poor little muffin.

Teddy is also having a rough evening. The kid has been eating like a horse over the past few days. To wit: he ate an entire red pepper, half a green one, 8 cherry tomatoes, 2 pieces of roast beef and one of turkey, plus crackers and cheese yesterday at Rory's b-day party, and that was just lunch. This morning, he had FOUR sippy cups of milk (8-9 oz each) and then had a huge lunch (and dinner). His cheeks are chubbier, and he has 2 chins and a belly. Plus he is heavier (Dave agrees). And tonight - he's in tears with what we think are growing pains. He keeps rubbing his legs and his feet, asking "Shoes?" as if they're too tight. Poor kiddo.

That's what's happening over here. But why don't you mosey on over to Arwen's site and congratulate her. It turns out that she's carrying TWINS!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Night Strategizing

I have been inspired by Jamie at Mostly Gladly (whom I aspire to be like in most aspects of my life, truth be told) and am going to detail what my To Do list for the next 7 days.

Time Sensitive:
  • Do Familia homework before Fridays' meeting
  • Enter data from waste journal before Friday night's focus group
  • Get Dad's b-day gift squared away by Friday
  • Determine what needs to be done for CWL membership volunteer slot
  • Write and mail Thank You notes
  • Contact Deb re. card order
  • Organize V's clothes - store the outgrown, bring out new stuff
  • Take a pass through Teddy's clothes
  • Contact various friends (Cathy, Sarah) to set up play dates
  • Develop content for more content-heavy blog posts
  • Plan for Xmas card. Refine holiday shopping list.
  • Passport planning for Veronica.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The zits don't lie.

It wasn't until recently that I finally clued in to a fundamental truth. It's nothing profound; it's simply that my skin is like a window into any sort of life event tied to a hormone change. Like pregnancy. Or if I am about to deliver. The cascade of fresh hormones makes my oily, Mediterranean skin go into overdrive.

Days before I could officially stick pee when pregnant with Veronica (and when I figured that I might be pregnant), my skin started going haywire. And yep - positive test.

I should have known that labour was imminent with Veronica because in the days before August 24th, my skin looked greasy and AWFUL. And full of blemishes.

And now...the breakouts have begun again. On Tuesday, I will be 12 weeks postpartum. And that means -- the dreaded postpartum hair loss. GAH!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Happy Birthday, Roro!!

It's the 1st birthday of our friend Rory, and we'll be celebrating on Sunday. But when we told Teddy that it was Rory's birthday, he clapped and said "HAPPY!!" We credit Daphne for teaching him the famous tune.

We practiced for 15 minutes - Teddy would demand "HAPPY!" And we'd start singing. At the end of each line, he'd tack on "Roro!", his nickname for Rory. It was super cute.

Then, we called to sing to the birthday boy himself and Teddy, as usual, refused to do anything on the phone. We're all set for Sunday, though.

Happy 1st Birthday, buddy! We can't wait to celebrate with your whole family on Sunday.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lest We Forget

It's Remembrance Day here in Canada and elsewhere in the Commonwealth (and Veterans' Day in the US). We're wearing our poppies, and we paused for a moment of silence at 11 am. Sadly, with a toddler and a newborn, a visit to the Canadian War Memorial for the service was not feasible so we watched on TV. We're close enough, though, that the fighter planes which scramble for the fly-over could be heard from our house.

Teddy was not at all interested in the ceremony -- even the marching soldiers -- until the very end of the procession when he spotted the military vehicles. 'A TRUCK!" he exclaimed. "A truck, a car, a bup (bus)!!"

There is not one single Canadian WWI veteran still alive, and the youngest possible WWII veteran (18 in 1945) would now be 83. But the sacrifices that they made when they were little more than children will never be forgotten.

I look forward to taking the kids to battlefields one day (visiting Ypres was a harrowing and valuable moment for me) and to attending the 2018 ceremony in person to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the armistice.

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.
"Ode of Remembrance", taken from "For the Fallen" by Lawrence Binyon.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A great big "Tank yoo"

I should preface this post by saying that I will focus on more substantial posts later - maybe this weekend.

But today, I want to say a huge "thanks" to my parents. They came to visit today, bringing all sorts of goodies from their travels - foodstuffs, Bookers Bourbon for Dave, clothes for the kids...awesome! In addition, my Mom is coming back tomorrow to watch Teddy b/c I have a medical appointment to which I cannot bring both kids. Bampa and Nonna, you ROCK!

As an aside: we're catching up on Glee, and I am very happy to see that there are new music numbers which Teddy will like. Yeah!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The day got away from me... I am writing this post one-handed as I feed the baby. I had a meeting at the church tonight, so Veronica got to go to her first evening meeting. Lucky kid - at only 11 weeks old!

My MIL headed back to Georgetown on the train this afternoon after her firstsolo visit to Ottawa. We will miss her. I'm very lucky -- I have a wonderful MIL about who loves us and about whom I cannot complain. Thanks so much for the help Nanny!

And my parents are back from their trip -- I can't wait to hear all about it when they come by tomorrow.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I'm writing this as the baby chills in the swing...

Dave has taken his Mom out to the casino, so I am chilling with Miss Veronica. I think she is getting ready for a developmental leap (there is one at 12 weeks and she'll be 11 weeks tomorrow) because she's acting 'stormy' as predicted in "The Wonder Weeks". A bit clingy, taking longer with feedings, the usual stuff. It makes finding time to blog tough!

I am catching up on the Amazing Race, and the past two episodes have been spent in one of my favourite cities - St. Petersburg, Russia. The most recent episode had them following more cryptic clues than usual as they raced around the city. I was so excited as they started to read the clues -- I knew the answers! Church on the Spilled Blood (the most GORGEOUS Russian Orthodox catherdal), Peter and Paul Fortress (where the Romanovs are buried) -- all sorts of amazing sites. I would LOVE to go back, though it's not in the cards for a while. Of all the places I have visited, the two I would most like to get back to are Russia and Australia. There are lots of other places I'd love to go, of course, but those are the two places I am desperate to explore in much more depth. [In terms of new places, I want to see all 7 continents (3 to go), all the countries in Europe (about 15 to go), all our provinces and territories (1 and 3 to go), all 50 US states (16 to go), and countries like Israel, China, India, Egypt and South Africa.]

What about you? To where are you desperate to go back? And where would you love to go?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

We've created a Glee monster.

I have posted in the past about Teddy's love for Glee. I should qualify - not ALL of Glee, just selected musical numbers. The awesome ones. Like the Journey medley in the season 1 finale, or "Empire State of Mind", or any of the big duet numbers ("Don't Go Breaking My Heart", "River Deep, Mountain High" or "Lucky" from 'Duets', my fave S2 episode to date). He has watched each more times than I can count, and loves to listen to the tracks, too.

Great, right? Except for the fact that he now thinks that any music is called "Glee". We've been trying to reinforce the word 'music', but it has not yet taken. It's also difficult to ascertain which song from Glee he'd like to hear, as he wants to hear "GYEE!", but if the wrong song is chosen, it's accompanied by a chorus of "Nononononono!"

The worst (though possibly the funniest) occurs during mass. When we arrive in church, he announces "GYEE", so excited is he for music. Any piece of music during the mass - even quick parts of the Doxology - are huge hits. And as soon as they end, he announces "AGAIN!!". I've never been so happy that music is interspersed throughout mass! Hey - anything for a toddler to look forward to during that time is a bonus.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The resemblance is uncanny.

The baby was oddly fussy tonight (I think it's a developmental stage), so this will have to be quick.

This child looks NOTHING like me as a baby. She does look like her brother at times (which is odd, because Teddy looked like me), but not like me. Who does she resemble? Her eyes are blue and may stay that way (Teddy's -- like mine as a baby -- were slate grey until they went brown) and the look like those of my mother-in-law and her family. One of her sisters is named Veronica, though she goes by Vonnie; she is Dave's godmother. As for the rest of her face...

The moment my Dad saw her (at 8 hours old), he pronounced: "She looks like Flo", my aunt for whom she was named (Veronica Floriana). My Mom agrees, and ever member of my Mom's family -- in particular, my Uncle Sergio who was 17 months younger than Flo and with whom he was always super close - comments on how much she resembles Flo. I think it's wonderful that she looks like the woman for whom she was named and who would have adored her.

Friday, November 5, 2010

My favourite movie

We're chilling out on the couches this evening, showing my Mother-in-law my favourite movie. Astoundingly, she's never seen Casablanca before so we're rectifying that.

I saw this movie for the first time right after Dave and I got married. I was under the impression that it was really dull (Dave had tried to watch it in high school with a former girlfriend and couldn't get past the first 10 minutes). But I think he'd watched it during University and had really liked it because he owned a copy. My parents came up for a visit (this was before they moved up here) and since neither my Mom nor I had seen it, we decided to watch.

And oh! Were we ever transfixed, mesmerized and heartbroken. Had I seen it a month or two prior, our wedding song would likely have been 'As Time Goes By' ('The Way You Look Tonight' is a solid pick, but still). It's so witty and one can sympathize with all the main characters. I adore Humphrey Bogart, and Claude Rains is hilarious. And it's so sad, but satisfying. When we were in Los Angeles last year, we saw the studio where it was filmed, Sam's piano and a bunch of costumes from the film; I was thrilled.

(Aside: The scene with Viktor Lazlo leading 'La Marseillaise" is on and it still makes me tear up. Vive la France!)

I recently read "Round Up the Usual Suspects" - a book on the making of this movie. It's funny -- it was another movie cranked out at Warner Brothers during the height of the studio system in Hollywood. A number of writers (all very talented) worked on the script and it was tweaked even after primary filming ceased. The cast were lukewarm on the project. The studio was focused on larger films. No one anticipated its success neither at the time nor over time. But it has become an enduring masterpiece and one of the most quoted movies in American cinema.

If you haven't seen it - do!

Apparently, in addition to daily posting, NaBloPoMo will involved my movie recommendations. :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Still sick, but (hopefully) on the mend

Not too much to report today. It's cool and rainy, and the kids are ideally on the mend. Poor Veronica is SUPER congested. But Teddy seems to be perking back up, so that's good. When they are feeling better, I hope to write posts with more substance. Until then - it's stream-of-consciousness city.

My parents spent the day in Key West, visiting with Hemingway's cats, buying Dave his favourite bourbon at some hole-in-the-wall liquor store, and basking in the 29 deg C weather. As Dave replied "Bookers, a sketchy liquor store, Hemingway, cats,...and 29 degree weather… I don’t care what happens for the rest of your trip, this is officially the day I missed being there the most.

You know things are quiet when I am writing about my parents' adventures!

But I watched "Rudy" for the first time tonight. I knew I'd like it -- I am a sucker for sports movies -- and I did. But I'd heard it likened to "Hoosiers" and people. It is no "Hoosiers". Just thinking about that movie gives me goosebumps. If you haven't seen it - run, don't walk.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

House full of sickies..

God bless my Mother-in-law. Her presence has been amazing since we are dealing with a house filled with sick inhabitants.

It's primarily the kids. Teddy appears to have Rotavirus (or some other form of gastroenteritis). There was puking and now there's...other stuff. Plus, he is battling a cold so is super snotty (he may also be teething. Awesome!) So far (knock wood) Veronica has avoided the gastro but has caught the cold. The poor little monkey is so very congested. Dave and I are feeling poopy and run down. Boo!

It's crazy -- Teddy didn't get a cold until he was 8 or 9 months. This is poor Veronica's 2nd cold. I guess those are the perils of having an older sibling who passes on illnesses.

Let's hope that we're all on the mend soon. More substantial posts will have to wait until then.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Early November Odds and Ends

My MIL arrived today for a week-long visit. The timing was perfect, as Teddy is a bit under the weather so it's nice to have to have another set of hands to help out. Plus, she is a lovely lady, so a visit is always nice.

My own parents, the lucky ducks, are on vacation. It will surprise no one who knows them that they are on a cruise. This one is a round trip from Baltimore visiting US ports primarily (Charleston SC, Key West and Miami FL) as well as Nassau and Coco Cay (RCI private beach). We will cruise again, though, once Miss V is old enough and has a passport. Yep - American children can get into Canada and back home with just a Birth Certificate. Canadian kids, though, not so much. Now that V can hold her head up, perhaps we can get a photo!

Veronica is 10 whole weeks old today! We're getting a kick out of the verbalizing ("Ugoo!" "Yeeee!") and her neck strength is excellent. Her hair continues to stick straight up. Poor kid.

Day 2 and my posts are already all over the place. I should use this month to finally write about the birth (only 2 months later; with Teddy, it was 9). Yes - that is what I will resolve to do!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Strangest. Hallowe'en. Ever.

Saturday night, driving home from a visit to family in Kingston, the temperature kept dropping as precipitation fell. As we neared Ottawa, it became clear that it was happening - we'd have snow for Hallowe'en.

The high for the day was a balmy 3 degrees C (the heck?!?), which may have accounted for the fact that we had a grand total of SEVEN trick-or-treaters. Our street is just sedate, I guess. Our friend Isobel (who lives behind us...well, across the park and behind us) had the happening street. We ended up doing an emergency candy run to her place as she was running out of candy. Oh well - less for us to eat.

We did, however, let a mystified Teddy wander around outside after dark. He was really good at saying "Dank u", less consistent at "Tick o t'eat". He prowled around as Tigger. He wasn't sure what to make of it at first, but he warmed up to it, as you can see from photo 2.

He was adorable with his loot, which he thought was "Cheese". He placed it in a toy school bus one piece at a time, then wheeled that around. Mmm...cheese bus. Or bus cheese. Both are totally adorable and totally unappetizing.

As for Miss V, she dressed up in a 'Little Princess' outfit. But since it was freezing, she went outside in a teddy bear bunting bag. Check her out in all her chubby glory.

Let's hope that next year is a tad warmer!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Two months

Miss Veronica is 2 months old today, while her brother turned 21 months earlier this week. Life with them has been awesome, but juggling two under two has made me an even WORSE blogger than normal. Though I would like to write about many of these things in more detail (and will try to later), here is what I have been up to since I last posted:

  • Cloth diapering both children. I LOVE it. HUGE props to Isha, who has shared her wealth of CD knowledge and let us borrow a bunch of diapers that Rory has outgrown. Additional props to several Facebook friends and all the twitter peeps (like Arwen and Lauren) who answered all of my questions. I will blog about my stash and CDing experience soon.
  • Breastfeeding. Knock on wood, it is going MUCH better this time. Veronica has chubby cheeks, arm and leg fat rolls, and eats like a champ. When she was weighed 3 weeks ago, she was just over 11lbs 4 oz. She's headed to the doctor on Tuesday, so I'll be able to report on her 2 month weight, but she's outgrown all of her 0-3 clothes (and some of her 3 month stuff) so I think we're a-ok.
  • Watching a lot of TV. What? I spend a lot of evenings on the couch. We are FINALLY watching "The Wire" (brilliant) and "Modern Family (LOVE!). I am all caught up on lots of current shows, too, like "Glee" and "Mad Men" and "30 Rock".
  • Amusing Teddy (and/or being amused by him). His vocabulary is exploding, and he is mastering skills left and right. He is obsessed with the music of "Glee". And he is so funny. He is also so gentle with his sister, whom he calls "Gonka!" or "Baby". One highlight has been his use of both definite articles ("A 'quirrel" when he sees a squirrel or "A car!" "A ball!") as well as personal pronouns ("I danth!"). My favourite? He now alerts us "I poop". I mean, it isn't hard to tell, but today, we asked him "Teddy, what did you do?" "I poop," was his immediate response.
  • Snuggling with Veronica. She has been an amazingly laid back baby who rarely cries and sleeps for decently long stretches. She is cooing and smiling and snuggling. Mmm...little babies.
  • Taking our first road trip as a family of 4. We visited my inlaws in Georgetown (with a stop in Kingston) as we were headed to the wedding of my oldest friend, Tanya. She, Dave and I all went to the same grade school (St. Francis of Assisi) and she married a guy we knew in high school after they reconnected over a decade after graduation. At this wedding were THREE of my ex boyfriends. It was HILARIOUS to see them all, and we had a blast. Veronica was a total doll, too.
  • We also celebrated Dave's 35th birthday on Sept. 12th, my 33rd on Oct. 2nd and our 6th wedding anniversary on Oct. 9th.
I would be remiss if I didn't thank my parents and inlaws, as well as my amazing husband, for their support. My friends have been wonderful, too (I Tan, I am looking at you). We are so lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful folks.

So - that's the gist of the past month or so. FYI - the shot above was taken on Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. Not my best work, but there you go!

I am contemplating doing NaBloPoMo again, just to force me to write. We will see...

I hope that all is well with you!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Week One...

This one will be a list, since I am running on very little sleep today.

  1. Veronica looks like an angry bird when she is displeased -- maybe it's the tufts of hair that stick up? It's super cute, and i have started calling her 'Birdy". Yep, Birdy and Button.
  2. The first week postpartum is a crazy roller coaster ride. It wasn't as fraught as with Teddy (tongue tie, dehydration, jaundice) but we did run in to some problems (which - thank goodness - appear to have been resolved.
  3. What problems? Well:
  • V. had meconium-stained amniotic fluid, and had ingested some. She also had shoulder distocia (more on this when I do a post about the birth). So - it took a bit of time to get her out, and she was BLUE (Apgar of 3). She got rushed to the cart where they intubated 3 times and did a few chest compressions. As a result -- her ability to suck was a bit compromised for the first few days.
  • When Jackie the midwife checked on her on Day 3 (my least fave postpartum day EVER) she, like Teddy, had dropped 11% (from 8lb15oz to 7lb14oz). UNLIKE Teddy, she'd been getting something, and was not dehydrated nor lethargic. But oh - did I ever cry.
  • Jackie suggested that we finger feed so that we could correct her suck reflex. I had one lonely bag of breast milk left in the freezer, so we thawed it. She would nurse, then would take as much of the supplement as she wanted. She corrected her suck quickly, and reduced the amount of supplement she was taking.
  • By the next day, she'd gained 3 ounces! So we stopped giving her a supplement and focused on breastfeeding only.
  • This unfortunately coincided with 'my milk coming in' - wicked engorgement which was partially milk and partially tissue edema. I have had engorgement due to severe mastitis and this was WAAAY worse. Also - I had not idea what was milk supply and what was retained water, so had no idea if she was getting a sufficient amount. Also - I had a feeling that her latch was ok, but since Teddy never latched well (never effective, constant pain) I had nothing to compare it to.
  • Armed with a bra full of cabbage, we plodded on, nursing whenever there was interest.
  • Yesterday, Claudia the midwife came by...and discovered that with only breastfeeding, she'd gained 7 oz in two days!!
  • Last night, she fed (good, consistent gulps) for an hour every 2 or 2.5 hours. I feel like I've been hit by a truck, but she is getting wrist rolls of fat and is a happy girl.
4. I am doing ok. Some physical stuff going on (my blood pressure is way high, so I am on beta blockers. Yep - my blood pressure went wonky AFTER giving birth.), but in general I am doing well. As is Dave.

5. Teddy is still a laugh riot. He gets a kick out of the baby so far. To be fair, she hasn't disrupted his life too much yet - he is still in day care this week (we weren't sure when I'd deliver, so arranged to have him go full time until Labour Day). We are taking advantage of that to get stuff squared away with Veronica (Dave is off on his firm's amazing parental leave). But he is very sweet with her, tyring to pet her and give her kisses. He calls her "Baby!!" and is very excited to see her.

6. Teddy is OBSESSED with the Journey medley in the final episode of Glee. It is literally the only TV he's ever seen (select musical numbers from Glee) and he LOVES it. Numerous times a day, he requests the "Na na na na" song and wants to hear it 'Again!" as soon as its over. He dances along and grins. He's hilarious - he true loves are the music of Glee (especially anything sung by Rachel) and anything with wheels. And compared to Veronica, he looks like he's 12 years old!

Ok...I should nap while she's napping. I will try to get more pictures up soon, as well as the birth story.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Introducing Veronica

There's a new face around these parts.

Veronica Floriana McLean was born at 8:46 a.m. on August 24th. She weighed in at a whopping 8 lb 15oz and measured 23 inches. Here she is being checked out by midwife Jackie.

Labour was...interesting. After my wacky labour with Teddy -- wherein contractions NEVER got closer together than 6 minutes -- I was a bit taken aback when I awoke to really intense contractions at 3 am. By 5 a.m., they were every 2 minutes. By the time my parents got here to watch Teddy and we got to the hospital at 7, I was 10 cm. It was crazy -- less than 6 hours from start to finish. And drug free once again!

We had some hiccups with delivery, and I will write about those in a bit. But we are all happy and healthy, and though we ended up having to stay in the hospital for 24 hours, we are home now!

But the important stuff -- the reason for her name! She is named for my Aunt Flo - my Mom's sister to whom I was very close and who died last year. Since childhood, I had dreamed of naming a daughter after Aunt Floriana and now I have! The name Veronica is a favourite and a family name on both sides (it's also the name of Dave's godmother). And it's a nod to her Aunt Beth, who is an amazing woman and whom we hope will one day literally have Veronica of her own (it's her favourite girls name, too).

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My life - and how I'm shadowing Olive Esther Delmage Hawley

My Dad is into genealogy. I like it, too, but he's retired and has more time to devote to it. He really got into it when Teddy was born and seems to be back into it now that his first granddaughter will arrive any day. He's been inputting all sorts of stuff into (which allows all sorts of cool cross-referencing with other trees) and is all excited to be sharing this information, first documented by my great, great Aunt Helen (my namesake, as I'm Sarah Helen) in the 1950s.

Anyway, I was playing around on the family tree and I noticed something kind of interesting. My major life events appear to be taking place exactly one hundred years after those of my great grandmother (Aunt Helen's sister, my Grandma's Mom).

Olive Esther Delmage was born in May of 1878; I was born in October of 1977. She married my grandfather, George Elmer Hawley, in Feb. 1904, while Dave and I were married in October of 2004. She had her first child, my great uncle Howard in 1908; if I hadn't miscarried before I had Teddy, I'd have had a baby in 2008 (as it was, Teddy was born in early 2009). I am having my 2nd child much earlier than she had hers, but still - I think it's kind of cool.

Today is the 59th anniversary of her death. I hope to be longer-lived than she was, as she died of leukemia in her 74th year. I guess we will see. I can't help but feel close to her, though. We have her old rocking chair in Teddy's room and I love to think of her, rocking her little boy the same way, one century ago.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Saturday Night Leftovers - 37 Week Edition

Before we get going, I must give credit to Jen for this idea.

1) I couldn't get my act in gear for a "7 Quick Takes" post on Friday, so I thought I would harness this unexpectedly quiet Saturday night for an update. I apologize in advance for the lack of a cohesive theme.

2) Why is it unexpectedly quiet? Because we are supposed to be eating dinner at my cousin Erin's wedding right now. :( Erin is my only cousin on my Dad's side of the family (she and I are both only children) and she is 6 years younger than me. Her wedding, however, is a four hour drive from here and I am just too uncomfortably pregnant to get there, celebrate, stay overnight, head to a brunch at my Aunt's house tomorrow (an hour in the other direction) while wrangling a toddler. I also didn't want to risk the situation that Arwen had with Camilla - heading out of town for a wedding and going into labour unexpectedly. I am sad to miss it, though. That said - her fiance Ashley is wonderful and they will soon be moving almost around the corner from my Nonna as Erin embarks on her PhD at the University that all our parents attended. We'll get to see them more often, so that's great.

So - Congratulations, Erin and Ashley! We cannot wait to see the photos and to hang out with you again in person. I hope that my parents and Nonna are behaving themselves!

3) Also about to start University at that same school (albeit her undergrad) is my next cousin on my Mom's side - Rachel. She just turned 18 and she got into one of the most competitive programs in the province (so proud of her). But man - she's going to University! I was 14 when she was born (Aunt Pat and Fred's first) and she was the first baby that I spent lots of time with. And now - she's 5 ft 11 and off to school. I FEEL OLD!

4) It is also my mother-in-law's birthday. Not a huge milestone, but a special day nonetheless. Happy Birthday, Nanny!

5) So - I am now officially at full term. HOORAY! I suspect that I won't be going into labour in the next day or two -- I am not yet in full on nesting mode. The baking soda, though in the bathroom, remains in the box and I have not yet stolen Dave's toothbrush to scrub grout. I do have insomnia and...other...issues, but that's just normal. And I really want to eat some ice cream! But baby is measuring exactly on for dates (just like her older brother). I wonder if she'll be on her due date like he was? Bets? It's Aug. 27th, for those of you keeping track at home.

6) Teddy is a riot. We are still contending with throwing - gah - but we remain consistent with consequences for actions. It has been a bit of a challenge lately -- his daycare provider has been away and we've had grandparents and others helping out (as I am still supposed to be resting). The lack of consistency has had him testing limits more and more, but the timeouts/putting the thrown toy in "toy jail" appear to be working.

7) His language skills have TAKEN OFF lately. His comprehension is awesome, and he's now able to modulate his wants by using "Yeah!", "Ok" or "Nah" when we give him options. He dances all the time, and spends much of the day giggling. He is particularly attached to Dave right now, which is not a bad thing (considering the imminent arrival of little sister).

8) Also hilarious of late - how easily he goes down to sleep. If we suspect that he is tired before nap time or bed time, we ask him "Are you ready for bed" and almost invariably get an "ok" or "yeah". He has, on occasion, walked up the stairs himself and waited by his crib for us to put him in. It's so nice to have a better sense of what he wants!

9) I should get some pics of him up here, huh? I am such a slacker. I will work on that this week. That and the post of lactation, since he is almost finished the final bag of frozen breastmilk in the freezer. Not too shabby for the kid who never could latch, as he is approaching 19 months.

10) I am nervous about breastfeeding with baby #2. I mean, I have no doubt that I can lactate after doing so for 14 months with Teddy. And I am very hopeful that we won't have to deal with tongue-tie again, though we have better strategies if it crops up. But I am nervous about getting the mechanics right. However, there is no sense borrowing trouble (especially since we have contingency plans in place). As I learned with Teddy, you just cannot predict how things will go until you have a real infant who is trying to get a meal at Restaurant Mom. But if you're praying folk - I'd appreciate any you can spare.

11) As I mentioned above, Teddy's beloved babysitter has been away for 2.5 weeks. My inlaws came to help, then my parents took him for a week at their place (we went out several evenings to see him). This week has been a blend of me, Dave and my Mom/Nonna helping out. My parents, grandmother and inlaws have been so awesome - we appreciate your help so much! He is a busy little guy, and tiring him out is a tiring prospect. You have been amazing - thank you so much.

12) My husband is a total and utter pro-star. He does a tonne around the house and is amazing with Teddy, but he has gone above and beyond lately. He has never made me feel guilty about resting and is just generally awesome. I am so very lucky to have him as my partner; there's no one else I can imagine doing this with. I love you, Dave! I hope that you are enjoying "Inception".

13) Speaking of "Inception", it was actually filming on the WB set when we toured in while in LA back in October. We saw Leo's hybrid on set, and saw a bunch of extras in fancy duds milling around on the backlot. It was very hush hush, but it's neat to have heard about the movie all those months ago.

14) We finally saw Toy Story 3 (thanks, Mom and Nonna, for letting us sneak out while you all slept on Thursday night). Toy Story 2 is possibly my fave Disney movie (that or the Lion King) and I liked #3 almost as much. But oh - did I cry. I am not surprised at all, but did I ever cry. What a delightful movie.

15) I think that is enough minutae for the moment. I hope that all is well with all of you. Anyone who read to the end of this deserves kudos -- you rock!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ending the radio silence

I am sitting here, drinking a cup of red raspberry leaf tea, reflecting on the fact that it has been 18 months since I last had a cup. Yes - Teddy is 18 months old today! It deserves an entry all to itself, this milestone, but I did want to note it. Another milestone is the fact that I am approaching 35 weeks in this pregnancy. CRAZY!

So - the radio silence. There was stuff going on and I didn't want to talk about it until it was officially sorted out. And now it has been, so I can share.

June was a busy month, as I channeled as much of the 'nesting' energy I had into getting stuff ready for Baby #2 - clothes washed and put away, etc. Plus - basic life stuff needed tending (working full time + toddler = lots to do!).

The Canada Day/Independence Day long weekend was awesome! We once again headed south to a wedding in Michigan - my dear friend Katie got married in Ann Arbor on the 4th (congratulations, Katie and Nathan!!), and it was a blast. We hung out with old friends, we shopped, we met Arwen and Bryan and Camilla and Blaise -- it was great. Arwen and Bryan are amazing hosts and the kids are delightful; we had such a wonderful visit with them! All in all - a magnificent time.

And then...things started to get a bit strange. The heat and humidity started really taking a toll on me - massive swelling, horrible nausea, headaches, terrible fatigue. My blood pressure had been fluctuating over the past month, and I am iron deficient, so my midwives were a bit concerned (I have pica - all I want to do is eat ice. I am not kidding). I spent several days just relaxing, but I was getting Braxton-Hicks contractions every single time I moved and I just felt terrible. My midwives suggested that I limit work, and I did. But every single time I went in I felt like I had been hit by a truck and I spent all day with faux contractions, serious pelvic pressure and brutal low back pain.

The worst came overnight on Sunday the 11th - barely any sleep due to contstant B-H contractions and what were starting to feel like actual, very light contractions (I was 33 weeks at this point). I paged the midwives and they told me to head to the hospital for monitoring. Happily - I was not in pre-term labour. But they were concerned because all this was happening after I'd spent the weekend taking it easy. Not wanting to risk it, they told me to discontinue work.

And so - I did. I went in last Thursday to hand in my pass and Blackberry (and the team threw me a shower that they pulled together in 1.5 days!). I am on sick leave until I officially start my maternity leave in August, and I continue to take it easy. I am not on bedrest, thankfully, but I have found that anything more that 1 outing per day (like a family trip to Costco, for example) really takes it out of me.

I am not really sure the reason for this -- summer pregnancy? Or maybe my body is just telling me to chill (I try to cram too much into my days, I think, and it was taking a toll). I am so grateful that I have the ability to take this time to rest and to keep this kid cooking as long as possible.

So - that is the big news from here. Since I am off -- maybe I will blog a bit more? Stranger things have been known to happen, right?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Seven Quick Takes – My Poor, Neglected Blog Addition

1. I cannot believe that I didn’t post at all in May. Well – I can, actually. The trip, plus illness that we are just crawling out from under, has thrown us for a loop. I have been sick since EASTER. Yep – Easter Sunday I came down with a cold, and it has been one cold after another since then. Teddy and Dave have been sick for this same time period, too. BLAH! We are (fingers crossed) all on the mend, but it does make for early bedtimes and no time for blogging.

2. The trip was FANTASTIC. The ship itself was amazing – almost brand new – and we had a wonderful time. And one of my girlfriends works onboard! During our fall trip, we were gobsmacked to find out that my friend Shannon (from Georgetown, fellow Guelph student leader) happened to be running the youth program aboard. She and her husband have worked on ships on and off years, but I hadn’t heard that they’d gone back after a break as they live in Australia now. She, in turn, didn’t know we’d had a baby (she doesn’t check Facebook while working onboard). We showed up at the youth area open house and she nearly keeled over! And we quickly discovered that she’d also be running to program onboard THIS cruise. Anyway, we hung out with her (and her awesome husband) and her staff (who LOVED Teddy) and it was wonderful. Lots more on the trip to come, promise!

3. Work has been kicking my butt. My regular job has some tight, tight deadlines and we have a very small team (like 3 worker bees). In addition to that, I’ve been pulled onto a high-profile special project on a subject near and dear to my heart…with an every CRAZIER deadline. My manager agreed to let me participate (she really had no choice) but it is a struggle to carve out time for both. And it is exhausting. It is also hard to believe that I only have 10 weeks until I head off on maternity leave!

4. Speaking of maternity leave, pregnancy 2 keeps chugging along. I am at 28 weeks today! And has the 2nd trimester ever been a joy compared to #1. I am starting to get a bit more uncomfortable, and I am nervous about being pregnant during the summer heat, but I am still excited.

5. As of last Friday, we are the proud owners of a minivan. Yep – living the dream. Our beloved ProtegĂ©5 was approaching 7, and we knew that we couldn’t fit 2 carseats in the back and still have room for anyone to sit comfortably in the front. And before you say it (Jorge), crossovers, etc. were not for us. We wanted a car in which at least 6 people – adults included – could sit comfortably and one that could grow with our family over the next few years, as more kids come along (if we are so blessed). Also – for what you get in terms of power, options and sheer ability to transport people, minivans are a great value. We’d been researching the purchase for a while and had test driven pretty much every minivan on the market. We narrowed our choice down, and ultimately went with the Grand Caravan. We got an amazing deal – with research and negotiation we got it for 2% above their invoice cost. Plus – there are crazy rebates (like $7k worth) and 0% financing (we could have paid cash, but I’d rather have my money work for me, thanks). We got one with a swanky entertainment system and nice options, and we are very happy. Plus, the extended warranty Chrysler offers is a steal – it covers everything other than brakes, tires, wiper blades and headlights – for 5-7 years. Oil changes, filters, all other maintenance will be covered, and roadside assistance, too. I will take it!

6. Teddy continues to be a joy. He is a busy, busy kid – his toddler run is a treat to behold, and he just loves to tackle stairs. He is 16.5 months and he continues to love people – waving at everyone unprompted, making friends wherever he goes. His vocabulary isn’t terribly large, but I have no worries about his comprehension. He has no trouble following requests like: “Please bring Mommy your blue ball/green truck” or most others, for that matter. He is also a bit of a mimic. When my Mom tells him not to touch, she unconsciously waves her finger. Within minutes, he was waving his back saying “Don’ such!” as he avoided touching things. He has also referred to my Dad as both Bampa (preferred) and Granpoop, and my Mom as “Irma”. One of his first sentences was “Dat Bampa” when he spotted my Dad from afar.

7. I have so many posts that I want to write. Perhaps I should make a list here about the topics so I will have some sort of record? It will make me more accountable. Topics include:
- our trip
- a request for advice on being sibling/having siblings/parenting siblings
- a record of my lactation journey with Teddy (aka expressing breast milk for my non-latching, tongue-tied baby…for 14 months.) The milk stores in the freezer are almost gone, but he’s nearly 17 months now!
- other topics about which you might be curious?

I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Hello from rainy Fort Lauderdale!

I am updating my woefully neglected blog from a hotel room in Fort Lauderdale. We flew in yesterday in anticipation of our next adventure -- a Transatlantic cruise. It's actually one of the few ways that ANYONE is getting to Europe right now! But we are super excited. Teddy is just old enough to do this one (you have to be over a year old, and they reposition east during April and May) and I am not quite TOO pregnant (you cannot cruise during your 24th week or beyond; I will be 23w4d when we disembark). I suspect that this will be our last trip to the EU for a while, what with a new little one en route. And this time? It appears to be a GIRL!

Teddy has been an absolute trooper so far. He was so happy and friendly during the travel here and through his encounters with people in restaurants and malls. He adores my parents (did I mention that we are travelling with them? Those of you who know me IRL are in no way surprised, I am sure!) and is so thrilled to be spending days and days with them. We are all fighting cold (boo) and the weather here has been really rainy, but that's no big deal. Vacation! Woot!

So, we flew down yesterday afternoon and got our minivan. We did VERY little last night. After a quick dinner, my Dad and Dave met up with some of my Dad's co-moderators (on a watch forum) for drinks. Today, we hit a local parish, puttered around Ft Lauderdale, then headed to a nearby outlet mall. We did some shopping, but I have been spoiled by the selection and prices of the stores in VT so I didn't get as much as I thought. We headed back to the hotel during a torrential downpour. We eventually headed out for dinner on Las Olas Blvd., then drove back here. BOTH times we puttered along the shore, we spotted no end of crazies. There was one dude who absolutely made Dave's day, but I will leave the story to him.

So - crossing the Atlantic starting tomorrow. Teddy has now seen 2 oceans and visited 7 states. He will hit countries 3, 4, 5 and 6 (Portugal, Spain, France and Italy) en route. We will be onboard a BRAND NEW SHIP (it is only a couple months old) for 14 nights, then we will spend a few days in Rome.

I will do my best to update from aboard the Equinox (one of the perks of the loyalty club level we've just achieved is a bunch of free internet minutes). We have six days at sea before we hit the Azores, so I may not have too much to say, but I will do my best!

Monday, March 22, 2010

An announcement - and an introduction.

Internet, I'd like to introduce you to someone: Humpy 2. (If you're curious as to the nickname, you can check out the story behind Teddy's nickname in utero.)

This photo was taken almost 5 weeks ago, at 12 weeks. We waited to say anything to most people (other than family and close friends) until after that point, since I had a miscarriage at 12 weeks back in 2007. All seems to be going well this time around, and we've another ultrasound scheduled for the 29th. This one - the morphological one - is my favourite. Yes, we will hopefully find out the sex, but seeing the heart chambers working and all the organs is just so very cool!

But oh! internets! How I have wanted to share this with you. The first trimester exhaustion - coupled with my starting a brand new job and having a toddler - was deadly. But it was nothing to the brutal, brutal nausea and vomitting. In order to function, I had to go on Dicl*ctan. It helped, but I had to make sure that I ate something every couple of hours, and the snack had to contain protein or else! But with fears of listeriosis (another outbreak in Canada - that's one during each pregnancy for me), my 'quick and easy' protein options are limited. After one particularly bad day, I ended up crying and declaring to Dave "I am SO SICK OF CHEESE STRINGS!"

Since the start of the 2nd trimester - happily followed by warmer, sunnier weather - things have been looking up. I have much more energy and I am no longer taking any sort of meds. I do still need to eat frequently, but I can handle that! I love my midwife, and am very happy to be able to use their service again.

Most importantly - we are THRILLED! It's going to be a bit crazy, with a 19 month old and a newborn, but others have done it before - we'll suck it up! Due date is August 27th.

I will be sure to let you know if Teddy is expecting a little brother or a little sister -- as long as Humpy 2 cooperates next Monday!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

40 Bags - an Lenten update

There are only two weeks left of Lent, and while I had been making headway in some areas (meatless days, prayer), I was struggling with the 40 bag challenge. I started out strong:

Saturday, Feb. 20th
1. Food for foodbank (dropped at church)
2-4. Bag Sarah clothes - to Hub (note - this is a 2nd hand store where my Mom volunteers, and where the proceeds are used to support the needy in their community)
5. Bag of Real Simple Magazines - to Hub
6-7. Bag of clothes back to Isha (more on this in another post)

Then - due to illness...and more illness...we stalled out at 7. Until yesterday, that is. My wonderful parents came down for the day with the express purpose of watching Teddy while we tackled a whole bunch of purging projects in the basement.

Our basement is large, and we have an enormous crawlspace. We'd been taking advantage of this, piling things down there (neatly, but without any rhyme or reason). Also housed downstairs are the 8 bookshelves of books we inherited from my Aunt Flo. We'd gone through them last year, pulling all the duplicates and triplicates (I am not kidding - we had overlapping tastes) and all the books we'd never read (I don't need 35 vegetarian and/or low fat cookbooks). We had a whole bunch of old VHS tapes (that had stuff like Felicity taped from TV during the original series run) and some old movies. We also had a TONNE of cardboard boxes we'd been saving - ones for things like the TV, the jumperoo, etc. Out it all went.

The majority of it went out in boxes (that were then refilled) or on its own, so I am approximating in terms of shopping bags:

  • 4 boxes of books to our local Ottawa Public Library branch (where the librarian was so pleased at the condition of the books) = 8 bags
  • 2 more boxes of books for the library (these are the last things to go -- the librarian ran out of storage room, and we'll bring them this week) = 4 bags
  • 2 boxes of less pristine books to the Hub = 4 bags
  • 1 HUGE box of VHS movies to the Hub = 2 bags
  • 2 boxes of books, tapes to my parents = 4 bags
  • 4 bags of Dave/Teddy/Sarah clothes for the Hub = 4 bags
  • 3 large piles of collapsed cardboard for recycling = 4 bags
  • 1 overstuff garbage bag of old VHS tapes, drop sheets, and cassette tapes (sadly, cannot recycle these) = 3 bags
  • 2 old scanners, 1 VCR with remote and 1 DVD with remote** to the Salvation Army (they do electronic recycling if they can't sell them, but all still work) = 2 bags
  • 1 bag of non-perishable food for the food bank (dropped at church today
That's a total of 32 bags (+4 of books we'll soon bring to the library) for a total of 36 yesterday! And almost all are going charity or being recycled!

That brings our Lenten total to 43. I have surpassed the goal, but we've a few more things to do over the next two weeks. We have a whole bunch of empty bottles to return for the deposits, and I should shred some old paper documentation...that should buy us another 10 bags or so (I wish I were exaggerating!). Plus, I will be bringing more food to church to donate to the food bank (since I kept forgetting Sunday after Sunday!).

Speaking of things I will do over the next several weeks - I will be posting here. There are some announcements and stories coming, and I have waited long enough to post. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lent begins

I've read a number of articulate, stirring posts on this Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. (Arwen's is amazing, as usual.) I cannot even pretend to have the ability to write like that, but I want to write something about my Lenten plans. If for no other reason, I will have an official record to keep me accountable for my Lenten sacrifice(s).

I am going to focus on areas of doing without and clearing the noise and getting closer to God.

Doing without

I am going to go meatless on Fridays and at least one other day of the week. We eat a number of meatless meals, but I am going to do this far more consistently and with a purpose. Note - this is OPTIONAL here in Canada. Just like some of the HDO's in the US (we only have 2 non-Sunday ones - Christmas and January 1st).

- I am going to curb my judgmental thoughts - those towards others and the world in general. The silent rants at the "slowpokes" on the bus, the grumbling about the cold - when I catch myself doing this, I am going to focus on the blessings in my life - blessings that are more bountiful than I deserve.

Clearing the Noise and Getting Closer to God

We are going to do the "40 Bags in 40 Days" Challenge wherein we will divest ourselves of a bag of stuff for every day of Lent. Due to the reality of our lives, we won't be able to do a bag a day (and by bag, I am aiming for shopping bag), but this will motivate us to be more organized and less distracted by STUFF. I will post updates as to what was in the bags - stuff for the foodbank? Books from our duplicate pile? Old clothes? Shredded paper? How thrilling, huh? But it will be a good exercise in humility, I think - how much we have and how lucky we are.

- I am going to pray at least one hour of the Liturgy of the Hours - either morning or evening, if not both. I did this during Advent and it really helped me focus, and I think it will help my resolve.

So - there you go. What are you doing for Lent?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Who wants to see birthday photos?

Will cute pictures distract you from my lengthy absence?

Oh internets, I am so sorry. I am so, so tired, and trying to blog in the two hours between when Teddy goes to bed and I should has been fruitless. I am going to persevere tonight, though.

So - Teddy turned one on the 20th of January. My parents came down in the afternoon and GrandmaNonna made one of his favourite dinners - BisNonna's chicken and potatoes. He was thrilled.

She also made a traditional Italian cake, which is filled with lemon creme. He really didn't know what to make of it (see photgraphic evidence). Nor did he understand why he was getting presents. But he received a lot of phone calls (Nanny and Poppy, Uncle Barry, Aunt Wendy and the girls, BisNonna, Aunt Pat, Fred and the girls, and many more), received some wonderful gifts and had a great day.

They threw him a little party at Daphne's the following day, too.

The Sunday following his birthday, we threw a little party for some of his friends (aka our friends with children). Rory came with his parents (Aunt Isha and Uncle Joe, and Emma), Claire brought Uncle Mark and Aunt Tania, and Sarah and Dave brought Elliott and Adeleine and Isaac (their twins). Below, you can see an excited (and blurry) Teddy hanging with all the kids. We served ice cream cake, which Teddy did not understand. "Why is this so cold?" he seemed to ask. The adults, Emma and Elliott enjoyed it, though. And Teddy once again got some cool swag (Mommy still has to write the Thank you notes. This weekend - I swear!).

Are these (blurry) kids not super cute. Poor Claire didn't even make the shot.

The week after Teddy's birthday party was fun but uneventful. Then - the visitors descended! Daphne was away for over a week at the beginning of February. Her son and his wife who live in Korea had a baby and she wanted to meet her grandson. As a result, Teddy's grandparents looked after him. My Mom (and Dad, at various points) watched Teddy on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. My inlaws came up to Ottawa and watched Teddy on the Thursday and Friday. They stayed until Superbowl Sunday, when my parents came back and watched Teddy on the following Monday and Tuesday.

Then, four days later, our friends Blaine and Colleen came up for the weekend with Aidan, their son who's 4 months older than Teddy. It was a busy weekend -- Aidan is very active and climbs like a monkey - but we skated on the canal and watched the Olympics. I also attended a baby shower for our friend Cathy.

On the Teddy-specific front:

  • he's weighing in around 25 lbs and continues to be a great eater. He's down to two bottles of bmilk per day (and two of cow's milk) and that's going well. My supply has totally dropped, but with the frozen stash we will make it to at least 14 months. I am going to write a whole post about my lactating experience, so you squeamish readers - take note!
  • he is such a happy kid. He cried a couple times when my inlaws were here and my father-in-law exclaimed "That's the first time in 48 hours that he's shed a tear!"
  • he is walking like a total champ, and can easily pull himself up. He still crawls, but generally only to a place where he can either push or pull himself into the standing position.
  • he's trying to speak - he will say 'cat' and tries to say 'apple'. Lots of 'Dada!" and some "Mama!". He makes a crazy "Aieeeee-ooooo" sound when he follows the cats. On Sunday, he followed Aidan around making the same sounds, so ???
We are doing well - keeping very busy with work and home. I am indulging in lots of Olympic viewing - I LOVE the games. Dave and I get super excited watching events where Canadians can do well - you should have seen us with the Alexandre Bilodeau win. Alex's father works at Dave's firm, so we knew about him well before the games, but he's just so wonderful! Such a sweet kid! Inspired by his older brother with Cerebral Palsy! Fluently bilingual and so optimistic and gracious! He's doing the country proud.

I'd better get ready for bed, but don't worry. I have a bunch of stories to tell soon, so I won't be away for long, I promise!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Guess who's one today?

I can't believe that we've already spent a year with this kid. It's been awesome.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I am alive, I swear!

Sorry for the radio silence. Last week was my first week back at work - at a new job no less - and I am TIRED. I am in no way a morning person, but I am up at 6 and out the door before 7. This means that I can get home by 4:30 and nab Teddy from the babysitter. He's having a great time there, though, so that makes it easier. I'm doing lots of meal planning and getting organized during the evening, so that helps. My Mom just brought us dinner options for this week, too - she rocks. We are keeping our heads above water.

The new job (about which I am not going to say much, obvs) is going as well as can be expected. The team seems really nice, and the work is challenging, so that is great. And it's in the same building in which I've worked since January 2006, so other than heading to a different bank of elevators, it's very familiar.

Teddy, who is weeks away from turning one, is all sorts of hilarious. He's been walking for almost a month, but now he's figuring out how to crawl. It'll help him get to objects which he can use to pull himself up, so that's good. And he's still super sunny. When he gets excited to see someone he likes, he scrunches up his nose in a grin and waves with his whole arm. When you get close, he grasps your arm or hand with both hands and squeezes while exclaiming "EEE!". He's a sweetheart, and he is charming people at the sitter's house, too.

Dave has been amazing. He does all the morning stuff with Teddy, as well as the drop off. He still does the bedtime routine, too. Teddy's lucky to have such an awesome Dad, and I am pretty darn lucky too.

So that's what's new with us. I'll have to change my blog tagline, soon, though, since I am back at work. No more EI for me; back to contributing to it.