Thursday, December 8, 2011

His First Joke!

Our son is awesome.  And brilliant.  And hilarious.

A couple of months ago (let's face it, I have to do a massive blog catch up right now), Adrian was playing with our son.  The little boy would lean his nose down and touch Adrian's nose.  Adrian, suitably impressed, called out to me to pay attention.  Our son promptly leaned forward and chomped on Adrian's nose, then pulled back and laughed.

His first joke.  It's a good sign.  Already he's learned some crucial things about being a funnyman.  You need to set up the joke, in this case repetition.  Then, wait for the audience.  No sense being funny when no one appreciates it!  Go for the style of humour that suits you, in this case, slapstick.  His lack of vocab really limits most other forms.  Except, maybe for political comment. And of course, he's got those Canadian genes, so funny's in the bag.  Or perhaps on the nose...

Which Canadian funny person do you like?  Or Australian, for that matter.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


As I sat behind my son in the children's message, I was slightly amused to see him hold hands with a six year old girl.  "Aww," my brain sighed as I looked at the overwhelming cuteness ahead of me.  Then I thought something more foreboding, "this won't be so cute in 12 years."

I used to try so hard to make sure our son didn't eat toys that hit the ground, the dirt, the kitchen floor.  I sterilised toys wash them frequently.  And then I wonder why.  Why go to all this bother when he likes to chew on the rental car seat, a friend's shoe, and - just yesterday and thankfully not certainly - a dead bug?

Why do I have so much to blog about and no time to do it?  He's just one small person!


Friday, November 11, 2011

Q is for Qantas, that's good enough for me.

We recently went on a holiday.  It was (mostly) delightful.  One cause for concern as we travelled was hearing interesting things about Qantas as they were set to carry us home (well within WA spitting distance anyway.  Texans have nothin' on us.).  First there was the partial strike.  Then, all Qantas planes grounded. Would we be stuck in SA forever?  To be fair, I wouldn't mind being stuck in North Adelaide.  Or the Barossa for that matter...  But we did quite want to get home, back to normal, back to work, back to regular sleeping patterns for the little fellow and our regular bed for us old folks.

Then - ta da! - Qantas' strike over as they were erm... encouraged... back to work by Canberra.  Because of this, I'm sure you've heard plenty of unhappy things about Qantas and flying red kangaroos everywhere.  People have been compensated, sure, but there will be backlash and some will refuse to fly them ever again.

Not us.  On our holiday we flew VirginBlue, Jetstar (Qantas Lite) and Qantas.  Hands down, Qantas treated us the best.

When did we get to the point when absolutely no service was the standard? I understand that flights started that offered less in order to cost less, but the flights were comparable in price.  How lovely to not have to book and pay extra for little things like luggage, water and nibbles.  When we got to the airport, the staff were incredibly helpful and personable.  They offered us a stroller for our youngen too, which was a welcome break!  He is a bit on the hefty side.  They let us have heavy bags without threats of extra fees because of our son.  On the plane they brought me a pillow to help me when I was feeding and in general they went the extra mile to make us comfortable.

Quite a change from a different trip we took on Tiger from Brisvegas to Melbourne where, upon disembarking, we didn't even enter the terminal, merely followed the leader through covered alleys until we ended up at a luggage carousel in a shed.

So, while Qantas had a terrible time as of late, I hope they keep flying.  It was nice to be treated well, even special, just because.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Joy Drops

Life is interesting.  It's challenging, strange, frustrating, tall, confusing, discombobulating, hectic, tiring and full on.  It's covered in love, pasted with kisses, embraced in hugs, filled with hilarity and splattered with joy drops that come in so many different ways.

I love my son.  He makes my heart sing.  When he laughs, it makes me ecstatic.  And oh, he does enjoy laughing!  When he's happy, he kicks his feet around like he's dancing a gigue.  Because as you know, a smile is happiness showing, laughter is happiness that can't be contained by a mere smile and must be heard, so dancing is happiness that must be seen!  All ways that joy explodes and affects those around it.  Our boy is good for making that happen.

He's getting so expressive.  The other night he woke up for a feed and didn't want to go right back to sleep.  Adrian was putting him to bed and had put him down for a bit to work off some of his energy.  I walked in the room past him to see how it was all going.  As I entered the quite dark room, our son shouted happily: "Bup!".  I'm not exactly sure what 'bup' means, but I think it's one of these three things:

a) Good day, Mom! It's great to see you and have the whole family in one room.  Shall we party?
b) You never told me how exciting it is to be awake in a dark room!  Shall we party?
c) Ha ha, I think its morning time even though it's completely dark outside.  Shall we party?

I'm glad that he's starting to make sense and be utterly understandable as Adrian and I are losing the ability.  Our little fellow is close to eating solids and is making this need known by waking up more frequently for milk in the night and he's been a bit under the weather, so we're tireder than we have been in awhile.

As you may know, babies make all sorts of sounds, some of which aren't used the in the language group that they are born into.  They lose the ability to make these sounds that they don't hear early in childhood.  The other day, our boy made a clicky-poppy sound.  I was very excited and asked Adrian if he'd heard it.  Adrian said, "Yes, it's just like a calamari bushman."  Now, to be fair, he and our boy had just been playing with a Lamaze toy in the shape of a squid who is called (and I refer here to the tag, we didn't name him) "Carl Calamari".  {An aside:  While it is interesting that Lamaze would encourage children to think of animals as food (surely Sammy Squid would work), it's also an interesting combination of names.  Carlo Calamari sounds better.  Especially as the squid friend is a pirate.} Also, to be fair, it is only one sound different from Kalahari.  And later that day I did tell my brother that he was a good physician, I mean physicist.

Perhaps if we all spoke as succinctly and used more "bups" and dances than words to explain ourselves we would be more effective.  Or maybe just more effective as spreading joy.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Memories are made of this

[Setting: a tranquil room flooded with sunlight.  A baby and his mother sit and gaze at each happily.]
Mom: [bellowing] Can you grab me the nose picker?
Dad: [offstage] A nose picker or the snot sucker?
Mom: [looks thoughtful] The snot sucker.
Baby blows bubble out of nose.

Parenthood is filled with all sorts of marvellous times and adventures that become treasured memories.  Strangely, some of the most memorable (and perhaps, best loved) are those with the gross/messy factor.

I'm not sure why that is.  Is it because it makes us laugh? Is it because it is endearing to watch a little one grow and change from needing almost all things done for them to being self sufficient?  But still in the back of my mind, Perry Como sings these words as we experience some of these joy studded times.

Sweet, sweet: the memories you give-a me.  Can't beat the memories you give-a me.

And I do cherish these moments.  Like when I was feeding our son, and he pulled back and burped and the little spit up that came with it landed in my belly button.  Or the time that the baby bath spilled before the child got in and while it was being cleaned up and I was holding our naked child, he sneezed and pooed on me at the same time.  The countless times that a bit of spew or drool went down the front of my shirt.  Sunday morning before church when I realized that my hair was plastered to my chin with my child's boogers. Changing my shirt four times in less than two hours to get rid of vomit, even while the smell remained.

And poop memories are eternal.  I can clearly remember holding a young cousin of mine 10 years ago at a wedding and having the contents of this cousin's diaper leak onto my beautiful blue dress.  No problems.  Everybody poops, after all.

Yet, in all of these circumstances, I found myself laughing.  Just as I hold dear the times when he cuddles into my neck or tries to eat my chin - although it does hurt when he bites it and I wasn't as impressed when he left hickeys on my shoulder (babies like to suck things, especially if those things smell like Mom as Mom = food) - so too I enjoy these mildly messy moments.

Ah, but he's a joy.  The way he swings his arm around while he's feeding, making sure I'm still there, making sure my nose is still attached and there's still more food for him.  The way he smiles like it's the best thing ever when I enter the room he's in.  The little chortles of glee for no real reason.

He even makes times better when other memories bother me.  Like this week when I found a huntsman (the spider, not the Snow White character) in the clothes that I had just sorted and therefore just touched as I prepared to do laundry.  He made that day better by smiling and laughing and squealing and making funny noises.  He didn't actually kill the spider, but I'm sure we'll be able to train him to do that.  That's the progression right?  Sits by self, stands by self, wields shoe and kills arachnids?

So who cares if this morning I swallowed a mouthful of drool (I had been holding him and my take out coffee cup and he drooled over the lid when I looked away)?  I'm loving all these little memories in the making.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Today it is Father's Day in Australia.

What a wonderful thing fathers are!  I, myself, have a splendid Dad with whom I enjoying hanging out.  He's good to talk to, supportive, helpful, funny, strong and really loves my Mom and their children.  But most importantly, he's faithful to God and clings to His promises.

I have married an equally splendid man with wonderful attributes and I'm chuffed to have given him a son, so that he gets to celebrate Father's Day.  It's been incredible watching Adrian grow as a father to our little one: more patient, more kind, more gentle, more tired, more loving.

Happy Father's Day to the dads out there.  Know that you are appreciated and loved, even if your children don't always say it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Red, Hot Mama

The human denizens of the world can quite easily be divided into two groups.  You might think these would be the haves and have-nots.  You might think they were people who speak English and those who don't.  Those who watch sport and those who play it.  Those who don't understand mathematics and those who do.

Actually, you can split people into a ridiculous amount of groups.  I seem to be getting away from the point here.

In the world are freezers and heaters.  Freezers are (quite obviously) people who are cold.  This is not limited to people stuck in snowbanks, but rather includes those who feel cold most of the time and require an extra sweater, even in the middle of July (January).  Contrarily, heaters are those who run hot and not only from slaving over a hot stove.  Heaters wear shorts when the sun shines.

I am a heater.  I have been known to wear sandals in the snow (not always on purpose), to always wear a singlet despite the time of year because it just gets too hot sometimes and you need to cool down.  I used to routinely pass the sweater I was wearing to a friend of mine who was a freezer.  A nice synergism, I suppose.

Australia is hot.  Not today, but often.  A few days ago, I and my family spent most of the day outside.  It was 32.  Given that it's technically winter here, that was a wee bit unexpected and, especially for heaters such as me, not pleasant especially when you remember that a baby + outside = holding the child.  Holding a child means raising the temperature of the caregiver by about 24 C or 12682 Kelvin.  And (this is the really fun bit), mothers warm when holding babies as their bodies try to keep them warm.

That and the sunburn that I picked up whilst trying to block all rays from hitting my little one made for quite a day.

Talk about a red, hot mama!

Stewed in History

There are times, not frequent nor long lasting, when I am suddenly stewed in history.

Stewing - unless beef is involved - is not a good thing for me.

Mayhaps I've done something silly or stupid or mean but, whatever it is, once realized it can occasionally trigger a moment of sadness for past sillies, stupidities and meannesses.  Momentarily mired in muck of my own making.  Regrets at things I ought not have said, things that I shouldn't have done.  Poor judgements here and there, remind me of my sin.

I know these things have been absolved, and though God has forgotten, I stew over things unimportant and already accounted for.  I know that I am a damnable sinner; I know that God looks at me and sees Jesus' righteousness.  The hope of my life as a Christian wins out over the hard moments of self reflection, looking in a mirror at a mess, the stew gets eaten and replaced with grace.

These are the times for a spiritual song, I'm sure.  It changes the mindset to the important history, the divine mystery, of the love of the Father, shown through the Son, acknowledged and clung to through the Spirit.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Just Sing, Sing a Song!

The one thing that all the baby books agree on is that babies enjoy music and singing.  Though they themselves cannot sing, they really enjoy their parents la-la-laing.  Our little fellow is no exception.

This is not a bad thing.  Before he was born - or even thought of! - there was a good deal of singing going on around here.  But there is something else to realize about this, however.  Babies are highly attuned to the mood of music and they don't like it when you don't know the words.

I don't know if it's mommy brain or if all the lyric of children's songs have been replaced slowly at school with other things deemed more important (bye bye Baby Beluga, hello History of the World -18th century), but I forget the lyrics to children's songs a lot.  And sometimes the tunes.

As they say, "necessity is the mother of invention," and this mother has been inventing things left, right and centre.  I'll be belting out Down By the Bay and suddenly realize that I have no idea what's near those growing watermelons.  Insert frantic wordsmithing: "Haaaaave you ever seen a llama performing a drama?"  The little boy has not been provided with the liner notes and graciously allows discrepancies between renditions.  And even though I sing many real children's songs in a day, as I sit and write this I cannot think of another one.  They are like fairy godmothers and only show up in times of need.  And even then, I get more pumpkins than carriages.  So we write our own songs.  Many of them feature what is happening: "Look, we're in the car! And going for a ride.  I wonder what we'll see/ as we look outside."

Others are related to his mobile that hangs over the change table.  It has two cows, two sheep, two chickens, two horses, two ducks and two pigs.  Oh, what masterpieces have been written about this farm.  It truly is a hobby farm (ha ha!). Some of the best and worst spontaneous songs have been written about these critters.  "The cow says moo, the sheep says baa! The goose says oink and the duck says honk.  The chicken says buck-buck-buck-buck-buck-buck-buck-ca!  Listen to the animals at the farm."  There's not even a distinguishable rhyming scheme. Terrible.  "The cow is black and white.  It is a Holstein.  And it's good for ice cream!"  Or the standard, "Look at the animals spinning around.  Look at the animals touching the ground! Look at the animals doing their thing!  Look at the animals as we sing!"  We learn about the animals: "Cow is spelt c-o-w! Duck is d-u-c-k!  Horse is n-e-i-g-h!" To which Adrian bellows from the bathroom where he's getting the bath ready, "Um, no it's not."  This merely shows that the songs have similar tunes and my brain was on vacation.  In Malta, probably.  And sometimes (vegetarians look away!) we sing about eating animals.  There's a pretty good verse about not eating horses as we don't live in France...

It's not that I don't like children's music.  I do! I love it, really.  At crunch time, though, all children's music leaves me and I'm left with karaoke crap.  What child doesn't like to be sung to sleep with a rendition of Cher's Jesse James?  Or have a bum change accompanied by Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard?  Actually, he didn't like that one.  Aunt Tracey should be proud.  A sunny July day might be cheered with a few verses of Have a Holly Jolly Christmas, we might dance around to 8 Days a Week or Walk Like an Egyptian.  And then again we also sing hymns and liturgy.  Many oldies radio songs are perfect.  Simple tunes, easy to fake lyric, liberally laden with the word "baby".  Talk about handy!

Whatever.  I'm not after a Tony.  The boy is happy with it (and is probably achieving a pretty good appreciation for all styles of music).  The books should be happy too.  And if not, the should put the Wiggles in the appendix.

Monday, August 8, 2011


All I can really remember from physics class in high school is that something that has come to stop takes more force to move than moving something that is in motion.  Inertia is a mean ol' thing.  Of course, I may not have learned that in physics class.  I could just be attributing that to physics class... in which case all I really learned in physics class was that wind power is not viable for automotive transportation.  Unless, of course (taking into account things of which I now know), said vehicle was in WA, but still you could only go one direction.  Oh, and I learned that if you throw Landon's crutch into the centre of the earth and it doesn't burn up, it'll just spin forever.

This really wasn't my physics teacher's fault.  I have not got the physics type brain.  Perhaps I'll look for one on ebay.  Although if one was being sold, that would be a whole other problem.  Should we then alert the media or the police to let them know that brains were being sold?  And did the brainless people know that their brains had been taken?  Should we be on the lookout for zombies that walk among us?  Should we question federal politicians to try to determine if they were the donors? Nah, too difficult.  (A shameless political joke.  I must be lazy!)

Not the point.

Inertia is a difficult thing to stop (ha ha!).  Life around here has been busy.  One young person makes much laundry, changes all schedules, limits sleep, defeats the weak, orders shoes on the internet (oh wait, that was someone else), exponentially multiplies the joy, and takes up much time.  Whilst it is an amazing thing to have a little person here, I found that I was getting frustrated and tired.  Why? I wasn't getting anything done.  I'd do laundry.  There would be more laundry to do.  This was especially frustrating if the first laundry hadn't actually gotten away yet.  I would have a list of projects to get done and everyday would have the same list of little projects.  Everyday it seemed that less and less got done and I got tireder and tireder.  Suddenly it was all "Oh, the baby will be awake in a minute.  I should just watch a bit of television and put my feet up."  Or, "I haven't checked facebook in a bit.  Is anyone on to talk to?"

I should posit that this happened in a lovely time I like to call "pre-teething" which involves sleep regression, short, spluttery day time naps and bad weather.  It was only a few days but it felt much longer.  Like a short decade, perhaps.

At any rate, the days were long, the accomplishments few.  I had enough.  I would not let that inertia overtake me!  So, when he went down to sleep I cleaned more than the basics, baked, did extra things and the time flew by.  And would you believe, at the end of it, I felt better! Less tired and happier in general.

So here is my challenge to you:  fight back against inertia!  Don't let it take you or steal Landon's crutches! On those tired days, get something done.  Maybe your physics homework. You'll feel better for it.  And you'll be able to make a better analogy.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Little Accomplishments

Somedays everything that gets done is an accomplishment.  The dishes.  Brushing one's own hair.  Leaving the house without having baby marks all over one's clothing.  Anything seems laudable.

Perhaps this is the way we should think about things.  Instead of getting hung up on perfection and milestones, perhaps we should celebrate the mediocrity, the mundane, the most of life spent.  I know that we should take joy at least in these moments and simple things.  How nice is it to have fresh clean sheets on the bed? A victory!  How wonderful to have a filled up fridge from grocery shopping? Splendid!  What do you mean you finished reading that book? I'm proud of you.

Today, I did the ironing.  It hasn't been done in weeks.  And I cooked food for parties/get togethers over the next few days, as well as lunch and dinner!  And got groceries.  And swept the floor.  And did laundry (which is somewhat akin to breathing as of late, but still).

I'd like my gold star now, please.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Obscure Movie Quote

Hello everyone!  It's time to play a game.  It's a fun one, too.  It's called Obscure Movie Quote.  I'll quote some movies with obscure type lines (really self explanatory, I know) and you get to guess what they are in the comments section!  Some of them may be mildly misquoted.  If you get them all right, come on over for a home cooked meal.  If you get two or more right, come over for a coffee.  If you get them all wrong, it's time for you to hit the rental store.

As the quotes are obscure, they wouldn't be like this: "You had me at hello." (Jerry Maguire)  They would more likely be like this: "I love him for the man he almost is." (still Jerry Maguire)

Are you ready?

1.  "The ipecac is here with the juice glasses."  Sleepless in Seattle

2.  "5-6-7-8 MOO, mooooo..."  One Fine Day

3.  [Sung] "Oh false one, you have deceived me."  Pirates of Penzance

4.  "Baby fish mouth is sweeping the nation."  When Harry Met Sally

5.  -- "Elsie made her eggnog."
     -- "Word of the wise, drink soda."  While You Were Sleeping

6.  -- "I didn't kill my wife!"
     -- "I don't care."  The Fugitive

7.  -- "It was a shortcut."
     -- "To what?"
     -- "Mushrooms!"  LOTR - Fellowship of the Rings

8.  "You should always choose the lesser of two weevils."  Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

9.  "It comes as a surprise to me that you are fluent in cow."  Leap Year

10.  "Shoot the hostage."  Speed

11.  "Yarp."  Hot Fuzz

12.  "Is love a fancy or a feeling? Or a Ferrars?"  Sense and Sensibility

13.  -- "Do you dance as well as you boast?"
       -- "Better."  Anne of Green Gables The Sequel

14.  "And you'd had a letter and you'd had a letter and you'd had a letter and you'd --"  Clue

15.  "She doesn't get eaten by eels at this time."  The Princess Bride

16.  [Sung] "Put that thing back where it came from, so help me, so help me and cut."  Monsters Inc.

17.  "I ambushed you with a cup of coffee!"  Ronin

18.  "You make my bum twitch."  French Kiss

19.  "Buongiorno principessa!"  Life is Beautiful

20.  "What do you think I am? Dumb or something?"  Singin' in the Rain

21.  -- "There's no singing at the north pole!"
       -- "Yes, there is!"  Elf

22.  "That's a 7 letter word starting with 'b' that means your late father."  Auntie Mame

23.  [Sung] "Does whatever a spider-pig does."  The Simpsons Movie

24.  "You're probably wondering, what's a nice place like me doing in a girl like this?"  The Mummy

25.  "8 is a lot of legs, David."  Love Actually

26.  "Na na na na and really bad eggs."  Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

27.  "Greetings, programs!"  Tron, the proper one

Good show everyone!  I expect most of you for coffee.  I'll just put it on now...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Longaevitas Lethargy

We're tired.

Having a son is one of the most incredible and wonderful things ever.  We love the sounds he makes, are entranced by his eye contact and bowled over when he smiles.

Unless that eye contact is at 3 am.

That's a lie.  I still love the glorious eye contact and enjoy it and then pay for it by spending far too much time awake in the sleepy hours.

And although this is a hard thing, this lack of sleep thing, it's just life now.  I wouldn't choose to get this much sleep if I had the option, but it's only for a time.  Somedays just feel a little bit longer though, and the pillow a little bit further away.

And hobbies get pushed down the list in favour of laundry and dishes.  This is why I don't blog as much as I'd like.

Blogging when tired makes nonsensical and occasionally not as chipper posts.  This is mainly because they happen when sleeping should happen and the sleeping bone gets a bit bitter.

(Also, I don't want to put up stuff that our son wouldn't appreciate having on the interwebs, so some of the funny and wonderful stories just don't get told, or anything too personal, but that is a post for a different day.)

Being tired is one of those fun things, kind of.  You think differently, or maybe just a bit slower.  So the little things don't bug you as much because they don't hit the radar.  Is everyone fed? Check?  Everyone happy? Check.  Everyone making goofy faces at each other and dancing around the room? Check.

Pretty fantastic tiredness, this.  When you're this tired, all sleep is the super awesome deep stuff.  You don't spend time trying to sleep.  Pillow, head, out.  La la la.

We'll just see how long this lovely lethargy lasts...


Friday, June 3, 2011

Scrub a dub dub

There are days when everything gets to be a bit of a pain.  Perhaps baby just won't sleep even though he's been up far too long, and even though he's not grumpy, you know he needs sleep.  Maybe you've had to wash everything in the hall closet because you are (justifiably) insane regarding (terrifying) mothballs.  It could be that you hurt your toe, didn't sleep, have too many chores piling up and no energy, had spontaneous errands emerge, spilled your coffee or lost your hat due to the errant breeze.

On days like those, I like scrubbing dirty diapers.

It's ridiculously satisfying to actually make (literal) crap disappear when (figurative) crap seems to be piling up.  What other livelihood offers such a reward?

It's one of those scrubbing days.  Wanna brush?


Monday, May 30, 2011

Little Old Ladies

Last week, as we sat in the doctor's surgery (for northerners, read "office".  We weren't camped out in a theatre watching him work), I was feeding our son.  I did not do this for kicks or because I am an exhibitionist, merely because his feeding schedule didn't line up well with the appointment time.

Because I am not a nudist, I had myself covered with a blanket.

A little old lady entered the surgery and smiled at us.  You could see her eyes light up as she saw the baby shape at my front.  She crept over to us and peeked at him, from the legs up. "Oh," said she in surprise, "he's feeding!".  Indeed.  I do not just cover his head for fun with a blanket.  Modesty only works when people don't look that hard.

A different day in the same surgery a little old lady smiled at me as I rocked and tried to soothe my dear son, but he would have none of that.  He wanted the foods and he wanted them now.  Her smile faded away and turned to a slight scowl as I nursed my little boy.

As I went to go routine blood work later in the afternoon (of the first lady who, chronologically is the second lady, but let's not get confused), I walked past another little old lady who fussed and cooed over the little boy and commended me on his name.  After all, it's her boy's middle name, so a very good choice.  I replied that I quite liked the name myself.

Just a short time after that as I sat waiting, another little old lady passed me by.  "Isn't this the perfect stage?" she asked.  "Don't you just wish he'd stay like this forever?"

 "I don't know," I replied.  "Isn't it fun to watch them grow and learn to do different things? All stages are wonderful."

"How many other children do you have?" she queried.


"Ah," she nodded knowingly deciding she had won the point. "Isn't this the perfect stage? Don't you just wish he'd stay like this forever?"

I don't know about that.  I love watching our boy grow, practically in front of our eyes.  Everyday is an adventure and wonderful albeit difficult in their own was.

But then, who am I to say? I'm not a little old lady.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Some Helpful Advice

It's pretty common knowledge that you shouldn't use your driver's license as a bookmark.  Especially not if the book happens to belong to the library or your next door neighbour.  You could forget about it and lose it.  Open yourself up to identity fraud right there in the classics section (who are we kidding, you were in sci-fi weren't you?)

You don't need me to tell you not to do it.  That's not helpful advice.

Some advice is great to receive, some isn't.  Some could be, but you just heard it on the wrong day.

Being new parents we get a lot of advice.  Sometimes I'm okay with it, but other times it just drives me crazy.  It's not so much that we're getting advice, or that people are so confident in their decisions that they are encouraging others to do the same.  It's more the fact that it's often contradictory - even if it comes from worthwhile sources.

For example:
You should always/never pick up your baby when they first cry.

They need you to know that you will always be there for them, so pick them up the moment they cry/You need to learn their different cries.

Sometimes babies need to just cry it out/Never let a baby cry it out.  They will feel alone and neglected./ Babies never cry.

Feed until your baby is finished on one side/ Feed until you are empty on one side/ Your baby only gets food for the first 10 minutes - the first four for most of their feed, so break the seal at 10 minutes.

Cloth diapers cause nappy rash/Disposable diapers cause nappy rash/Bad fairies cause nappy rash.

Burp a baby by patting his back, pressed up against your shoulder/ Never burp a baby by patting their back.  Rock them gently./ Don't burp a baby, just lay them down after a feed and if he cries out, pick him up and he will burp naturally.

Sleep is more important than housework./ It's a good idea to do chores as they come and not let them build up./ Convince passing strangers to do the housework by giving them candy.

Your routine should be in place from week 2./ You can't expect to have a routine before three months./ Routines change often, adapt and survive./ The baby will have you trained before he's one./ You should have a routine firmly in hand before the child goes to university.

Always rock or comfort your baby to sleep./ Let your child learn to put himself to sleep, laying him in his cot when he looks tired./ Always wear your child so they continue the womb experience.

Co-sleeping is a good way to bond with your child/ Children should always sleep in their own cot and never anywhere else/ Let sleeping babies lie wherever they're already lying.

Baby poop smells like sunshine/ popcorn/ sweet bread/ a torchlit sewer when baby is healthy.

And then there's the whole shebang about how long to play with baby for, when overtired happens and what to do with an overtired baby.  I went to the library yesterday to get a book to get a better feel for all that's happening.  Not all the answers, just milestones.  I probably have a pamphlet on them, but gah! to the pamphlets.  This, of course, was a silly thing to do.  These books are full of contradictory information as well.  Handily, as I entered the library, my son woke up and would not settle, so my harried two  minutes in the parenting section (in front of a group of toddlers and moms who were all playing nicely and - I'm sure- judging/pitying/thinking those were the days at me) basically consisted of grabbing two books that were brightly coloured.  Not just the tots that get swung by neon.  Or maybe that's just the 80s baby coming out in me.

So it was with great chagrin, when I got home, that I realized that the one book was not prose, but a compilation of contradictory anecodatal moments, complete with alwayses, nevers, shoulds and imbedded with stern looks/sighs of disbelief/contented glances/encouraging statements.

Take it from me, sorting out the "crap"/"expert" advice is almost the hardest part of childrearing.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Potty Mouth


Being a parent has brought many changes into life.  Less sleep, more musing, more worries and fears, more tears, more joys and especially more laughter.  It's also changed the timbre of conversation.  I find myself opening talking about things (even on the internets land!) that I previously didn't. Pooping and tooting has become a great topic of conversation around the house, for example.

Did he poop yet? How many times? What colour? Texture? Smell?

Poop is like the easiest way to know how a baby is doing.  Crying? Maybe a dirty diaper.  The stuff in it looks funny? Doctor time! Looks normal? Probably just gas/overtired/hungry.

Because poop is such an important thing for parents to care about, breastfeeding or formula, it has been on my mind.  And on my tongue (the subject, not the actual matter.  Yuck.).  I sing songs about poop to my young son.  One was a song I made up, stating the importance of pooping.  It hurts babies a little bit to go.  Their systems are still figuring it all out, so I was assuring him that pooping is indeed a good thing.  He agreed with me.  At least, I think he did as he pooped three times in the chorus.

Another pooping song is one that is sung when he seems to need to go.  It's to the tune of Beyonce's "Work it out".  It's a highly appropriate choice, given the flatulent sounding saxophones in the original.  "Come on baby, work it out!"  Or the ever popular (and appropriate), "Everything comes down to poo" from Scrubs.

And when he pooped on me, that was something.  It wasn't something good, but it sure was something.

It's strange as a parent that we compliment and commend tooting and burping, knowing full well that he'll be told off for not saying excuse me in a few years.  Talk about mixed signals.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Standing in the Doorway

You know how in every movie where there is a child, there's that obligatory scene where the parent leans on the doorframe and watches their child sleep?

It's because that's what parents do.  This sense of contentment steals over you as you watch your sleeping babe, knowing that they are content.  You watch dreams steal across their face and try to see their future in the shape of their chin.  Most of all, you stand immersed in blessings with a dreamy half smile.

All the middle of the night screams are forgiven.  All the scary moments gone.  Tiredness drifts off to sleep and all that's left is the love that you started with, but now the clouds are gone and it can shine.

I'm sure it's a timeless thing; parents stand at the doorway and look into their child's life.  Not limited to one place, but all cultures do it.  Many that's why the films employ it.  That moment resonates in everyone's soul, whether they stand and stare in awe, gaze happily, or worriedly hold them in prayer.  You treasure every little sound they make and memorize the way they look today as you know tomorrow they'll have grown again.

On this mother's day (my first!), I'm experiencing all the joys and stresses of motherhood for the first time.  This doorway thing is one of the good ones.  Gazing at my son is one of my happy things.  The night he was born, I barely slept.  I couldn't keep my eyes off of him!

The time in the doorway makes me thankful for the wonderful people that my parents are.  I wonder how many times they stood and stared at me and me and my siblings.  They did so many other splendid things.  Being a parent really makes you appreciate all that your parents did.  Thank you, Mom and Dad!

My mom has said to me that some of these thoughts I've posted are thoughts she's had (probably she means the sane ones).  Perhaps motherhood is a constant?  I'm so glad for my mom and the help she's been as we get to know our little man!  Very glad for my mother-in-law too, as she's been a great help as well.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have someone I need to go stare at.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Engorgement Charms

It's hard to see out of my glasses right now as there is milk on the left lens.  It was snorted at me just a few minutes ago.  My son has this interesting skill of shooting milk, now with some accuracy.  It's not a problem, just a feature of motherhood.

There are many interesting features to motherhood.  Awhile back, I said I'd continue posting on the pains of motherhood and today I'm fulfilling my promise by talking of the pain of full filling (as well as a few other things).

I'm not sure if I just never thought it through or what I expected the human body was made of (not plasticine evidently), but the pain of childbirth doesn't actually end with the birth of the child.  I'm not just talking about the birth of the placenta - which I actually barely felt.  Would you believe that everywhere feels like a bruise after you push a giant (and yes, after you've had a child you realize that that wee little newborn is actually massive) baby into the world?  I'm not talking about just the places you'd expect either.  My arms ached for a couple days after birth.  What exactly were my arms up to in labour?  Did they leave the room and go weight training when I wasn't looking?  My legs felt tired.  I didn't give birth by running or standing, so I'm sure what they were thinking about.  Then there's that whole hurts-to-sit deal.  Experienced mothers and midwives have all sorts of remedies for that.  If you're interested, I'll tell you sometime.

The fact that I was sore was a shock to me.  If you've not had a baby, be aware that you will be sore after the baby comes.  It's not overwhelming or terrible, it just caught me by surprise.

So that's fine.  A bit of tiredness and tenderness.  On child's fourth day, I was sitting at the table when I got a shock.  Or a tingle.  At least that's what the books call it.  I call it fire in my nerves.  Engorgement.  That was a shocker.  All of those years thinking it'd be nice to be a couple sizes bigger, and that day it was true.  I tried to get dressed to go out, and none of my dresses fit.  Too tight.  I was impressed; Adrian told me they looked fake.  Quite a strange couple of days those were.  Nothing like a pair of rocks strapped to your chest.  They're heavy, hard and difficult to deal with.  Poor kid looked at me like "what am I supposed to do with these?"

But really, that was it for pain.  So don't worry.  It's all survivable and none of it lasts that long.  One little smile from my little man and everything fades into happiness, pain melts and the past is unrememberable.  One little coo or happy sound and I'm blissing out.  Sure, I need to clean my glasses and quite possibly my shirt before I get groceries, but that's the charm of it I guess - it's all to make a happy baby.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Happy Birthday to you...

Yesterday I called my brother to wish him a happy birthday.  He said it wasn't his birthday yet.

This north/south divide thing gets to me sometimes.

So in the hopes that this is now Pete's birthday and I haven't missed it via the magic wormhole of time (which makes no sense when you think about it.  Time, I mean, not wormholes.  Star Trek obviously shows that there are wormholes.  As do worms, when they make holes and live in them, but probably they aren't the wormholes of which we deliberate.  Unless of course, the worm is called "Time", but then it was a grammatically incorrect sentence earlier and who needs that?)

To my brother: I wish you well.  Seriously.  Get better. ;)  No, really, I'm highly glad to have been blessed with siblings who are friends as well.  You are a splendid brother, Pete, and I'm proud of you.  We pray that your birthday, whenever it is, goes well and is filled with splashes of happiness, bursts of joy, and some delicious cake.  Everything is better with delicious cake.

Happy Birthday also to my second eldest niece.  Happy Anniversary to my parents.  Happy Birthday soon to a nephew.  May sure is busy!

Birthdays are a good time to reflect on God's blessings.  Birthdays are a good time to stop and cherish them.  Don't get hung up on those things that people think about on birthdays.  Age is a silly gauge of time.  It means nothing after awhile.  A birthday is kind of a new start; I wonder where this year will take you, Pete.  Hopefully to my place! I'll bake a cake.  And dinner.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Proudest Moment of My Life

It's a special day for us.  It's our anniversary.  Three years ago today, I met my husband.  On that day I was confused, bemused and a little sad that I wouldn't get to know this genuinely interesting man any better.

But I did.

On the day Adrian said he loved me for the first time, I got a thrill which shot through my soul and sung in my heart.  I floated around on a cloud for a long time, while sorting out my life.

On the day he proposed I felt like my face would crack in half from the intensity and hugeness of my smile.  I would randomly break out in laughter - joy burst out of me at the seams and filled the air.

On the day we were married, I felt my life change and our life truly begin.  "I" became "we".  A feeling of contentment and elation filled my heart.  All those little frustrations couldn't get to me in my cocoon of happiness, but melted away.

On the day we knew we were pregnant, we danced and cried and laughed in the bathroom.  Quietly, of course.  We had company and our news was a secret of our own to cherish and ponder.

On the day our son was born, pain like I've never known racked my body, but the end result was worth every moment of it.  Jesus was right (John 16:21).   As he lay on my chest, all wet and new, I beamed.  This new life in the world is ours to grow and love and mould.

All of these days were full of happiness, excitement, surprises, joys, completely covered in blessings and swamped in changes.  Steeped in hope, as it were.

This last Sunday was special and incredible in its own way.  On that day, our son was brought to the waters of baptism and given new life.  He was adopted into God's family.  He was refreshed and restored (to a place he'd never been).  I knew going into it that it was going to be something different, but I wasn't prepared for the tears that welled in my eyes as he was baptized.  I wasn't to know that joy would well out of my soul and ring in my heart and shine out my eyes.  I didn't realize that I would be prouder in that moment of what God had done and was doing than I'd ever been of any minor thing I could do.

I almost spoiled it, you know.  I almost let frustrations from the week cloud my mind and change my focus from what was happening.  The broken toaster, the busted oven, the lack of sleep and other things that just weren't going to plan.  Thankfully, the Spirit pulled me into line and I truly focused on what God was doing and let go of the other stuff.  It's just stuff after all.

On this day, I look over at my husband and think on our years, apart and then together.  They've been hard.  They've been full.  They've had challenges and looked impossible sometimes.  They've been covered in blessings, filled with love - from family, friends and my new family of husband and son.

Any of these days the bad little things can come in and wreck the moment, spoil the joy, sour the happiness.  I've let them do it sometimes.  None of these days were perfect, but I thank God for all of them and pray to remain steeped in hope; focused on Him and humbly grateful for all that He has given.

I hope you are, too.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Changing Viewpoint

Having a son is at times a riot (hilarity), a riot (terror and screaming), a riot (being mobbed with people).  He's a fantastic companion, a swell sort of fellow.  He doesn't overwhelm with conversation, but his presence is always felt.  I can't believe how much fuller life feels with him in it.  I can't believe how much life has changed with him in it.

Sure, there were all those changes early on as my body made room for, and just plain made, him.  What I'm referring to here is the way my mindset has changed fundamentally in these last few weeks.

Fashion Sense
I find myself perusing clothing in my closet and in shops with one sole thought:  how easily can I expose my chest?  Coming from a much more modest mindset, it's mildly mirthful to model mainly (come on, I had an "m" thing going) easy access clothing.

Sense of Self
I look at myself not just as a woman now, but as a food source (previously having only believed myself to be tasty to large carnivores like lions and vampires).  And I look at my body differently. I'm now proud of some parts of me that used to be only ornamental to make dresses hang nicer.  What's the deal with boobs anyway?  Why are they such a focus in fashion and life?

As I got ready for a wedding reception, I was running behind and whilst feeding my son, did my face.  I saw myself in the mirror and was amused at my newest accessory, while being slightly impressed that I hadn't streaked red lipstick across my face.  I've tried to do many things while feeding, some more successfully than others.  Sleeping is not a good one of them.  My body has tried it and freaked me out.

Sense of Humor
We now find some things hilarious that never used to be.  The sound of pooping, for example.  A minor facial expression change.  Being peed on.  These are not things that would normally set the ol' funny bone a jiggling.  In fact, the idea of being peed on by anyone else is revolting, but funny when my son does it.  And sometimes, just his poop is funny.  Is that wrong to say?  We were changing his diaper and in the interim, he shot out, getting change table and a large stuffed animal in the face.  I cracked up while cleaning up.

Adequate Sleep
I feel refreshed after 2 and half hours of solid sleep.  The idea of more seems like a myth.  I wake up ready to go or incredibly groggy, and even in groggy moments, go to wide awake easily.  I also fall asleep MUCH easier.  Thank God for that! As well as his many other blessings babywise.  Baby, for example.  I must admit, I do like to get pockets of 2 1/2 hour sleeps together.  I am for three a night.  I usually get one and some shorter ones.

Sense of Contentment
Smelling sweet baby skin, hearing baby goos and coos, even just the light rise and fall of our son breathing.  It's music to my ears, nectar to my nose and happiness ladled on my soul.

Many other things have changed since having our son, not the least of which are his clothes, which get changed at least twice a day lately...  It's an exciting adventure we're on.

And it's just beginning.

Monday, April 25, 2011

It Happened One Night

(I haven't finished my labour story for a couple of reasons.  One, I have a three week old.  Life is busy.  Two, it just didn't feel appropriate during Holy Week)

Whilst some women may know instinctively the day and hour when baby would arrive, our son was a shocker to me.  I like to plan things and had many back up plans for this and that and the other thing regarding our child's birth.  There was one small problem with these plans.  All of these plans took place AFTER week 38.  I assumed, as most first time mothers go late, that we'd have no problems before full-full term.

That's another confusing bit that they never tell you til you have a baby in your belly.  9 months of pregnancy is 40 weeks.  Which is 10 months.  But really it's only 38 weeks because the first couple don't count.  And anytime after 37 weeks is term.  Except you're not at term until 38 weeks.

Once my water broke, I sat there in shock.  I was having a baby.  I'd thought about it.  Worried about it.  Dreamed about it.  And now it was happening.  Called the hospital.  They told us to come by before an hour was up.  Dinner was almost done so we sat down to eat.  Eating was oddly mechanical for me.  The tarts truly were fantastic though.  I wanted to wash my hair, so we had a shower and I noodled about attempting to finish packing my bag which had sat open in the closet for a few weeks, gaining a shirt one day and something else a few days later.  We didn't even have a "coming home" outfit purchased for the child.  Thought we had time...

So by 7:20 pm we were at the hospital.  The midwife on the phone had asked me if I was having contractions.  I tried to determine if I was.  I thought there was a tightening ever few minutes, but it was slight.  At the hospital, they checked me out to see how we were doing.  At 8 pm, I was already 2 cm dilated.  The machine claimed my contractions were 6 minutes apart, and I could mildly feel a tightening, but it wasn't painful.  The midwife assumed we had a long way ahead of us and told me that if I hadn't gone further by the next day, I'd be induced.

Adrian and I settled in for a long night.  By 9 pm I was feeling some pain.  We'd wander around the hospital, stop for a contraction and I'd wiggle my hips the way they taught us in antenatal class and sing songs to help the baby come out.

By 10:30, I was making pained sounds with contractions.  They kind of feel like bad cramps, the worst gas pains ever and like fire has ripped through nerves.

The lady checked me again.  3-4 cm dilated.  By midnight I was in hard labour.  I tried to walk around.  Adrian talked me through contractions and kept me sane.  I showed my love by biting him and hurting his hand.  Hard labour is not a misnomer.  My contractions soon came right on top of each other and my birth plan flew out the window.  As transition came, I tried to suck in nitrous oxide, but often screamed instead, writhed around in agony.  Seriously.

Then my body needed to push.  I tried to not.  The midwife said to go with it.  She said I was fully dilated.  Transition was the part I had feared the most, and I was shocked to hear I was through it.  It's not something that just appears on a screen "now entering transition" or that you know how it's going to progress.  Apparently I perked up quite a bit when I heard transition was done.  Almost got cheerful.  They took away the gas, and the midwife told me I couldn't scream anymore.

Fine.  Then I pushed for half an hour.  This was hard and bad and then Adrian looked at me and said "the head's out".  And then it was done.  His body came out fine; the placenta took a few minutes more to come out, but I barely felt it, with my son on my chest.

I did feel the stitches though.  You'd figure they wouldn't flash it in front of your eyes like that.  Adrian and I cried and held our son.  We smiled and beamed and worked out his middle name.

Previous to labour, I have wondered what labour would feel like, how much it really would hurt.  I'd had an ailment some years previous that was quite hard to bear.  Would it be like that?  Would the pain be the same?  Could I cope?

That's the interesting thing about pain.  It's hard to describe and once gone, difficult to quantify.  I can say without any doubt, that childbirth was the worst pain of my life.  But it was worth it.  And honestly, the pain doesn't matter.  This little man beside me does.

The pain doesn't stop with childbirth.  We'll get to more of that in later posts.  But right now I'm going to cuddle my bundle of joy whose dramatic entrance will forever be etched in my heart and mind.  The man who cut my agony with a perfect slice of happiness.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Early Signs of Labour and Confused Conversations

Sometimes people don't understand me.  I would choose to believe it's my Canadian accent confusing the Australian psyche,  but that would negate the many confused conversations I've had in Canada.  And we wouldn't want to do that!

They happen at the grocery store when I ask where to find poppy seeds and the lady thinks I've asked for Barbie.  And they happen when I'm trying to be a good mommy and learn how to best eat for my child.

Yesterday at parenting group, I asked if I should eat nuts or other things that are on the high alert allergy list as babies aren't supposed to have them for the first year and we are breastfeeding.  The woman responded confidently saying, "You can feed your child solid foods from six months on and from five months if they can sit up unassisted and support their own neck."


But I did say I would talk about labour and the pain that goes with it, so today we're going to talk about early stages of labour.  I had a short labour, so here is what I interpret to be the early signs.  You can print it off as a kind of check list if you desire to.

1) Extreme clumsiness.  I'm fairly clumsy, but last Monday I was walking into doors, opening things into my hand, and generally being a harm to myself.
2) Extreme cravings.  My cravings during pregnancy were very light and infrequent so it came as a shock to us when I needed a cheese and onion tart for dinner.  And of course my water broke when they were in the oven.
3) Odd pains in the tummy region.  I assumed anything weird in feeling was just standard for the last bit of pregnancy as it's generally considered to be uncomfortable.
4) Not asking my husband if I was in labour.  Periodically through pregnancy I would be kicked or whatnot and I would turn to Adrian and ask if I was in labour. Didn't even cross my mind.
5) The waters "breaking".  Possibly the most embarrassing feeling in the world.  And I was at home.

As you read this list, did you think "yes, that's me"?  If so, ask yourself "am I pregnant?"  If you answer "no", you probably aren't in labour.  But you might have an inner ear infection/problem (1); a shortage of a vitamin or mineral (2); gas or have swallowed a large crustacean which is now dancing on your intestines (3); a normal afternoon (4); or peed yourself (5).

So we went to the hospital.

Monday, April 11, 2011

My Boys

Last Tuesday morning at 3:32 am, the most wonderful little boy was born to my husband and me.

It was not comfortable.  I'll probably spend a few blog posts on how truly uncomfortable it was.  But it was worth it.

It was a fast, hard labour, and I wouldn't have gotten through without my first boy to help me.  The most wonderful man out there.  He comforted me, helped me and got me through the most difficult time in my life.

I've spent quite a bit of time these past 6 days thinking of the blessings of my two men.  I've also spent quite a bit of time weeping with joy that they are mine.  That Adrian gave me our son.  The love that pours out of me for my little family grows exponentially minute by minute, even when I'm cleaning up messes.

And now I hear our son making sounds.  He's probably fine, but its about time to stare at him anyway.

I'll post when I can and you will read in depth gross details of great joy.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Healthy Hymnody

I lead the choir here at the church.  It's a joy to get to lead people to learn more about the amazing instrument that is the human voice.  More than that, it's a privilege to choose music for them to sing.  I only wish I had more skill so we could sing some of the more beautiful sacred fare out there.  But there is something to be said for simplicity.

There are a few seasons of the church year that are have abundant stores of song to choose from.  The musical selection is immense.  Advent and Christmas are littered with options and styles that are quite well known and received.  Lent and Easter have a prolific store as well, and unfortunately don't always see the same amount of usage. It's easy to choose songs that are easy to sing, and neglect the words and rich musical forms that are out there.  Often the wealth of word and meaningful accompaniment is incredible in some of these Lenten/Easter songs but they aren't used.  

Say what you will about the tunes that accompanies these hymns.  The word "hymn" refers to the lyric.  It's a shame that some hymns are thrown away or neglected because they don't cause an emotional response/charge.  A hymn is so much more than just something we sing to feel good and to break up a service.  It teaches us.  It's part of our conversation with God as part of the Divine Service.  It has a depth to it, a tangible quality that lasts across centuries.  There's something fantastic about knowing that you are singing the same words as Christians across time.

Phos hilaron (Joyous Light of Glory) jumps to mind as a great example of that.  The church has carried it for 17 centuries.  It hasn't lost meaning; the crux of our salvation is older than that song!

The words of healthy hymnody stirs my soul.  I'd like to share some with you.  I hope it creates a time of reflection for you on all that we celebrate and remember at this time of the year.

My song is love unknown: my Saviour's love to me, love to the loveless shown that they might lovely be. Oh, who am I that for my sake my Lord should take frail flesh and die?
Text: Samuel Crossman, c. 1624-83

If my sins give me alarm and my conscience grieve me, let your cross my fear disarm, peace and pardon give me.  Grant that I may trust in you and your holy Passion; if his Son forgives anew, God must have compassion.
Text Sigismund von Birkin, 1626-81; tr. August Crull 1846-1923, alt.

All this for my transgression, my wayward soul to win; this torment of your Passion, to set me free from sin.  I cast myself before you, your wrath my rightful lot; have mercy, I implore you! O Lord, condemn me not! Here will I stand beside you, your death for me my plea; let all the world deride you, I clasp you close to me.  My awe cannot be spoken, to see you crucified; but in your body broken, redeemed, I safely hide!
Text attr. Bernard of Clairvaux 1091-1153; Paul Gerhardt, 1607-76

Behold, behold the wood of the cross on which is hung our salvation. O come, let us adore.
Roman Catholic Good Friday hymn
-- This one I find astounding as we often speaking of coming and adoring at Christmas.

How deep the Father's love for us, how vast beyond all measure that He should give His only Son and make a wretch His treasure.... Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer.  But this I know with all my heart: His wounds have paid my ransom.
Stuart Townend.

Do you recognize any of these words? Post titles in the comments.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spoon Rest

A few years ago I read about spoon theory.  It was developed by a lady who I believe has lupus.  At any rate, her life is hard and energy is scarce.

The general theme goes like this: at the beginning of any given day you have so many spoons to deal with for the day.  These spoons are your allotment of energy.  Getting dressed could take 1 and a half spoons.  This isn't so bad if you have 75 spoons to deal with, but with degenerative diseases, a day will often offer only, say 22.

A person with normal reserves will have their spoons replenish after a bit of rest.  Not so for those who are suffering with a limited energy output.

Sometimes I feel like I'm operating under spoon theory.  I'm quite enjoying pregnancy, but after a poor sleep, my energy is lower (growing a baby takes a good deal of energy after all!) and I feel every single one of those spoons as I spend them.

Thankfully, a bit of rest and my spoons come back.  How hard is must be for those whose spoons don't!

Today's been a bit of a harder day, but still I have plenty of spoons.  It's my own fault really.  I woke up in the middle of the night with a bit of a sore calf, so I stretched it, got a massive cramp and fell halfway out of bed saying, "ow ow ow ow".

At least I'm very aware that Adrian wakes up to my pain.  My leg feels better, but I'm taking care of my spoons today.  When I spend them willy-nilly I regret it the next day.

Be grateful for your abundant spoons!  You have no idea how much of a blessing they are.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Cause it's a sauce!

I may have Kelis' Bossy in my head as I write this, and probably that means nothing to you, but needless to say (or perhaps needful as you can't see me), having that song bounce through my head as I think about the culinary arts promotes a giant grin on this here face of mine.

Sauces for the meat, m-meat is on the grill.

Yeah, I'm weird.  You knew that when you came here to read my stuff though.  Really, you have no one to blame except yourself.  Except mayhaps for me.

Sauces!  Lately labels bother me at grocery stories.  This isn't a funny bother like street signs that say perplexing or hilarious things inadvertently as the people in charge of producing them seem to hate grammatical form.  This is more of a "ergh, what is that?  I eat that?" kind of bother.  It gets to the chemical compound list, the preservatives and the like and then I get gun-shy of this whole eating thing.

Take potato chips for example.  Original chips say that they are comprised of potatoes, oil and salt.  Add on a flavor and all of the sudden the list is 5 times as long.  All to make it taste like a dill pickle.  If you could get dill pickle chips in Australia.  Which you can't.

At any rate, labels terrify and bewilder me.  We're so focused on making food last that we deneuter it and add things so it won't biodegrade.  That's what food is supposed to do.  Vegetables are supposed to grow, be green, then ripe, then overripe, then spoiled, then go in a heap and eventually turn into really nice dirt so you can produce more food.  Meat is supposed to become rancid if left to long and start to decompose.  Food has this nice way of taking itself out of the picture and, whilst so doing, promoting the growth of more food.

Because we like to eat food when we want to eat it, we add preservatives and all sorts of things.  Like cream for example.  Most cream has a bit of bleach in it so that it can stay on the shelf for a few days.  Appetizing, no?

Instead of buying sauces which have numbers and lists that I don't understand, I'm trying to make some things.  I made tartar sauce from scratch and some tzatziki.  Both are quite easy and made from ingredients that you may already have.

Tartar sauce
Start with a small glug of virgin olive oil, add some mayonnaise (yes, we will learn how to make mayonnaise soon too), a bit of hot mustard (I'm also intrigued to make mustard), some dill weed, pinch of chili powder and a finely chopped dill pickle.  Delicious, easy and made by you.  Fantastic with home fried and breaded fish and oven baked potato wedges.  We prefer the purple potatoes.

Pour the juice and rind from one lemon into a bowl with a clove of very finely chopped garlic.  Sprinkle with pepper and a bit of salt.  Chop up a cucumber into small pieces, add to mixture.  Add natural yogurt to this until you reach the consistency you desire.  Serve with pita chips, grilled chicken, souvlaki, whatever you like.

I just want to know, when things are so easy to throw together, why do we let someone else do it for us?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Shaken, not Stirred

For an iconic James Bond phrase, it's not that often used in James Bond film!

Adrian and I have been watching through all the James Bond movies.  We've been doing this incredibly slowly.  Some James Bonds are great and you want to watch the next one right away and others leave a bad taste in your mouth and you just don't care to ever watch one again (for awhile at any rate.  We are trying to have seen ALL of them by the end of this run and stopping would mean we hadn't seen them all.).

I've always enjoyed James Bond films with the spy gadgets and the incredible plots.  It's good to know that the world can be saved by one man, time and time again.  Sure there are facets to the series that I don't agree with or particularly enjoy - including the occasional overwhelming misogynism and promiscuity.  I really didn't enjoy these after I actually read a James Bond book.  If ever there was a series where movie was better than book...  And just think what film - especially thrillers and action - would be without Bond's impact!

In university we had James Bond Day a couple times where you watch one movie from each of the 6 different James Bond portrayers.  It's fun to see the shift in society, fashion, technology and who James Bond is to every generation.

I've always been partial to Timothy Dalton myself.  Wish he did more than two!

So if you do decide to do James Bond Day, here is a handy dandy guide for missing some of the stinkers.  We'll briefly comment on the Bonds that we've watched as of late.  if you ever do watch them all in order, you're probably going to get sick of Roger Moore.  I know I did.

Sean Connery
   Dr No: a delightful Caribbean romp involving Ursula Andress, radiation contaimination which is easily washed off in a shower, and a meeting with Felix Leiter - he's played by more people than James!  (you'll find that James Bond spends a lot of time in the Caribbean
  From Russia With Love:  James Bond isn't even in the film til about minute 12.  Good fight scene on a train.  This is a good one.  Interesting fact: Mr Bond actually managed to keep a girlfriend from Dr No until From Russia with Love.
  Goldfinger:  I'm pretty sure this one had some terrible puns for women's names.  Like worse than normal.
  Thunderball:  Sharks, speedos and mostly underwater sequences.
  You Only Live Twice:  It's the one with the fake volcano.  But I'm pretty sure it still went boom.

George Lazenby
  On Her Majesty's Secret Service:  The only Aussie James Bond who, in one movie alone, has a chase in a bobsleigh and manages to get married (but only after seducing half of a ladies allergy clinic).

Sean Connery comes back
  Diamonds are Forever:  It was funny.  And it wasn't supposed to be.

Roger Moore
  Live and Let Die:  A voodoo theme carried through and Roger Moore restarted the series with some zest.
  The Man with the Golden Gun:  Terrible.  I really didn't like James Bonds for awhile after this one.
  The Spy Who Loved Me:  It's the one with the underwater car!  A fairly good plot made James Bond movies exciting again as the previous few had been not as exciting.
  Moonraker:  If you like sci-fi, watch it.  And giggle.  All the lasers and cool fighting in space.  The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker are the ones with the Jaws character.
  For Your Eyes Only:  I'm drawing a blank.
  Octopussy: The circus, bombs, trains, a cult devoted to the blue ringed octopus.
  A View to a Kill:  The bad guy rode in a zeppelin, while James Bond drove a Ford.  Hampered by terrible, terrible acting on the part of both lead women.  Christopher Walken is creepy.  No matter what.

Timothy Dalton
  The Living Daylights:  We watched this one yesterday.  Fresh plot, lots of running around the world, highly enjoyable.  [Interesting fact: Miss Moneypenny was played by the same woman until this movie.  She was the continuity for awhile.  Q stays as the same person until one of the Pierce Brosnan ones, I think.]

Aren't you just jonesing to queue up some movies, pop a view buckets of popcorn and gorge on the original spy films now?  Let me know what you think of them all!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I was going to do a proper long post today, but I'm tired.  I can't really sleep well anymore.  Can't get comfortable.  Wake up all the time.  Back aches.  Eyes burn.

Yes, I know it's training for living with baby and it's going to be life for awhile, but I just can't be exciting today as a writer.

I'll try again soon and you can hear my thoughts on making food from scratch, babies, oceans and James Bond.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Apart/A part of me

I spend a lot of time thinking what it's like having baby live inside of me, but lately have been wondering what it's like for baby to live inside me.

It must be quite cramped in there as the general consensus of strangers is "wow, you must be having a giant baby!".  The next person to say this to me may hear the unfriendly suggestions that I have so far managed to bite my tongue on.  And if they are right and we do indeed have a 9006 lb baby, well, at least we'll be in the newspaper.

Perhaps it is frustrating being so cramped.  Maybe baby kicks so hard to see if he/she can be jarred loose from his or her confinement.  (Sidenote: why is it that women used to enter their confinement at the time when their children were being loosed from their confinement?)

Maybe it's comforting being so closely held all the time.  Floating around, practicing leg kicks and frog jumps (which kind of hurt when they move my entire torso an inch or so), no cares or worries.  Spending all of life with a constant beat of life around, warmth and all needs met with no effort.

Can babies feel excitement?  Does our little one know what will happen shortly?  Is it afraid of getting stuck or of feeling cold for the first time?  Probably not.  Baby is content knowing needs are met.  Someone else gets to worry about the other things.

Very wise, Baby.  You don't need to worry.  Mommy's got you.  And the best part is, she's not doing this alone.  Daddy's got Mommy.  God has them both in his hands, just as you are.

Actually, it's a bit odd this thought of what living inside me is like.  I only know of two who have done so. Baby won't remember so when I ask, he or she will just look at me funny.  I expect to be looked at a lot like that.  I look forward to it.  The other one is the Holy Spirit.  And while it must be uncomfortable for Him, living in a sinful vessel, I know He's at home and working on me even/especially while I'm not.

Both have changed me, that's for sure.

Oh Baby, I want to see you.  I want to cuddle you on the outside and see what you look like, count your toes and show you the love that our little family has for you.  I know you still need some growing time and that we'll never truly be ready for you to come, but we're looking forward to the adventure that you continue to bring to our life.  It will hurt that day when you become separate from me, but you'll always live in my heart.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Recipe Recitations

I have a collection of recipes that I keep in an old shortbread tin.  And by recipes I mean fragments of paper with ingredients scrawled across them.  Most of these recipes have no title on them and it's only by reading through the ingredients and amount thereof that I can discern what I once created.

Some of these recipes were written down while on the phone with my Mom or other culinary genii, so haste can account for the brevity of words contained on a page.  Some were snagged from the internet as I gleaned info and partial recipes.  Generally I change things as I go and if I don't have an ingredient that day or don't feel like it, it doesn't get written down.  None of these papers has instructions.  Often they have symbols that group ingredients to inform me that these go together before being mixed with everything else.  And if I can't find a temperature scribbled anywhere I assume we're going with 375F/180C.

My favorites are the ones that have other information on them, like this one for plum cake that also has the hymns for the week on it and on the back is a recipe for tartar sauce.

There are also a few recipes in here that people have written out for me.  It's fantastic to find those.

I should really type these up or at least print them out properly in a pretty little book.  Perhaps I will.

At any rate, I'm currently delving through this tin to find a recipe that was requested.  If you are allergic to nuts, kindly stop reading and please don't lick the screen.  I don't want you to get hurt.

Without further ado, I present to you a highly requested recipe which is incredibly easy and therefore quite dangerous to one's pant size.

Peanut Butter Balls
Mix:  1 cup peanut butter (I prefer crunchy)
         1 cup icing sugar (aka confectioners or powdered), and
         1 tbsp butter
Add: 1 cup of crushed wafers* (chocolate or vanilla)
Roll into small balls.
Dip in melted chocolate.
Leave on wax paper to solidify.  Probably not a bad plan to refrigerate.

*You can substitute rice krispies/rice bubbles or other hard crushed cookies/biscuits.

And while we're on the topic of easy and peanut butter, I ate a delightful little cookie once at a coffee shop and upon inspection, realized it was super easy.  It went something like this:

Take two round crackers (ritz or similar), smear a delightful amount of peanut butter on the one and place the other on top of said peanut butter.  Dip halfway into melted white chocolate.  This should cover the top and bottom of the cookie.  Allow to set.  Dip other side into melted milk chocolate.  Enjoy and gain weight by just reading the recipe.  I know I have, but that might have more to do with the fact that I was eating as I typed it.  And no, it wasn't cookies but a healthy granola bar.

But it might be cookies soon.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Feeling Feline?

So awhile ago I attempted to posit that the movement of an internal baby is kind of like having a hamster crawl up your pants, but inside your skin.

The kicks are bigger now.  My poor little body isn't big enough for child to stretch out, and I feel it when he or she tries!  I've come up with a handy dandy new way of describing this.  And at the same time, you can make a delightful fruit salad!

Buy a watermelon.  Measure it against your torso before you bring it home.  It should extend from your ribcage to below your hip bone.  Pick up a couple fruit as well.  Grapefruits perhaps.  Rock melon/Cantaloupe if you desire.  Oh, and some strawberries and kiwi and some grapes.

Also, stop by the pet store or shelter and see if you can borrow a cat.  Declawed preferably.

Once home, cut a hole in one side of the melon.  Clean it out.  Arrange the inside of melon in a bowl.  If you are a woman, cut the grapefruits in half.  Put half of the grapefruit in the bowl with the melon.  If male, cut a hole in the grapefruit and carve out the fruit.  Add to salad.  Tape a grape to the side of the watermelon that has no hole, about 1/4-1/3 from one end.

This is where it could get tricky.

Add grapefruit to the, shall we say, upper chest.  Affix with tape or a stout rope.  Put the cat in the watermelon.  Quickly attach the watermelon to your midriff using tape or a stout rope.  The grape should be 1/4-1/3 from the bottom (your belly button!).

Go to your closet and try to find a shirt to fit over you.  Then drink 3 litres of water and don't go pee, so that you constantly feel like you need to.

Ain't it grand?

[Note, this is merely to describe a feeling.  I would not actually suggest that you be cruel to a cat, or honestly try what I have just offered.]

What about the strawberries and kiwi, you say?  They were just there to help out the salad.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Sometimes the north/south thing gets me.  I'm used to how things operate in Canada and am getting used to how they go in Australia.  Somethings work out better than others, but you should know there is one place where I consistently fail:


How can you fail potluck, you ask?  Oh, it's easier than you might think.  I've been to plenty of potlucks in my day and you get used to what you can bring, what people like and go for and of what you always need more.  Greek salads seem to work.  Hot potato dishes.  There's always bread and some sort of meat in a sauce.  And meat in sauce is always the crowd favorite.  I felt well versed in this art form.  After all, I'm a rostered Lutheran church worker.  Potluck is practically a parish service course.  PS103, if I remember correctly.

At the first potluck here, I brought pasta salad.  People saw it.  Studied it.  Moved on.
Grade: FAIL.

At another I had a brilliant thought.  Everyone loves curry.  And I just happened to have an amazing Indonesian rendang recipe.  I filled my house with spicy smells early in the morning and made up a big bowl of rice.  As I ladled the food in the serving bowl I noticed a problem.  Not nearly enough food.  It was enough for two hungry people.  While it was enjoyed, it lasted about 3 minutes.  Employing the standard potluck algorithm of deliciousness/amount, I'd come in lacking.
Also, I made squares and it was one of the first times I baked in this oven.  They were too soft so I left them in for a bit as the oven cooled.  Then they were rocks. They didn't make the trip to the potluck, but a handy packet of Tim Tams did.
Grade: FAIL

I learned from my failures though and noticed trends.  I tried a pasta casserole for the next one.  So did almost everyone else.  Mine was relegated to the back of the line and never used.  People asked where the curry was.
Grade: super sad and depressing FAIL.

I should posit there there were occasional passing grades in between these hassles.  I brought green salad a lot.  Everyone eats salad.  But it was very bad on my ego as I'm generally very happy with the standard of what comes out of my kitchen.  It always seems to be on the day that I bring fruit salad everyone else brings sausage rolls, or if I bring cookies, they bring cakes.  I'm just not making the grade.

Last week, I brought a pasta casserole with homemade sauce to potluck.  I was proud of it.  It turned out to not even really be a potluck, but just nibbles and desserts.  It was giant and barely touched.  It got left out during the meeting and then had to be thrown out.
Grade: A large continuous FAIL.

There are days when not even a Kathleen Edwards song can get you out of a potluck slump.  But I have hope that I'll get there one day.

What do you bring to a potluck?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Morning Cup o' Joy

Adrian makes me a cup of coffee every morning with our espresso machine.  He's better at frothing the milk than me, and quite honestly, I haven't tried hard to learn how to be better at it.

While I am back on the coffee train, I still don't consume overly much.  Yesterday morning Adrian presented me with this:

Lovely, eh?  But I had to laugh.

As it's so small!  Apparently I can have a grown up sized coffee when I can finish my wee little one.

I'd like to say that I did. But I didn't.  I'll get there one day, though.