Friday, December 14, 2012

The Adventures of Tall and Small

Oh the places they'll go! Oh, the things they already get up to!

Once upon a time there were two little boys, Tall and Small.  Tall was about 20 months old, while Small was only three.  Together they get up to many hijinks, although whether Small is a consenting participant remains to be seen.

Tall can be found scaling chairs and tables, trying to reach the sky.  Why?  Probably for the view as was evidenced by his climb up a stepladder in the middle of a room.  He stood atop his red plastic perch and proudly surveyed all that surrounded him.  Everything looks better two feet higher up.

Tall experiments with what exactly will fit into a VCR (two dvds and a remote) and learns the best way to turn things on.  He is driven to use things in the manner of his parents and may be found with a sharp knife in one hand and a zucchini in the other trying to recreate what his mother just did (and then turned her back, the silly woman, giving an ample three seconds for a knife to be absconded). He will turn the vacuum cleaner on merely for the joy of pressing the button, explore the functions of the stereo, pull out plants by the stem to investigate the roots, page through any book within (and some that were without) reach.

Small is mainly dragged along for the ride.  Tall attempts to carry him or roll him on the floor.  On one occasion Mom (more commonly referred to as "Da") entered a room to find Tall sitting on Small's chest.  At this point "Da" made a noise - a high pitched oddly squeaky noise that indicated "get-off-of-him-now-I-never-want-to-see-that-again-I-think-I-am-going-insane-is-he-okay".

Small does his best to join the shenanigans, rolling over at two months (consistently).  "Da" wonders how long it will be 'til he scoots about the house as she sees him push off the floor in a hands free motion ("the seal").

Tall continues to make his presence known, removing books on at a time from the same library shelf and bringing them to the kindhearted librarian.  He enjoys chasey and doesn't have fear, as is evidenced by the time that he decided to cross the road alone. "Da" was not appreciative, but caught him quickly and was thankful that it was not a busy road.

Tall helps with the shopping, adding to carts that which he feels is necessary.  He has a big call in life for long-life milk, cereal and bread - really anything that is on the lower shelves.  He empties drawers and containers and splashes in the sink.  The hose really is a top-notch invention in the humble opinion of Tall.

Tall loves Small.  He hugs him and pats him (sometimes hard).  Tall enjoys a cup of coffee (if ever he sees one unattended, it tends to get sipped.  They tend to not be unattended anymore).  Tall has a long reach and can get to everything now, it seems.

Sometimes Tall shows his maturity by putting away all of the crayons, closing the container, putting it back in the cupboard and putting away his colouring book.  Other times he tries to feed Small, even once when Small lay on  the floor, so Tall threw a cherry tomato at him.  Tall also tries to feed his parents.  He likes to share.

Small works on using a fist and seeing what he can grab.  He often snags hearts, but he uses his smiles for those.  He bellows loudly while held to catch attention so he can smile brightly into the face nearest.

When walking with Small and "Da", Tall likes to point out things along the way: trees and trucks, dogs and children. He waves to strangers and makes them smile.  He throws bread to ducks and has been stung by an ant.  His legs are scuffed from running too fast while distracted by everything.  He has mastered climbing "Da" and can now be piggybacked.  He leans down for a kiss and a giggle while riding on shoulders.

Oh, the adventures of Small and Tall are exciting everyday, even as at the moment Small claws his own face trying to determine what's what.  He's drawn blood.

What shall they do next?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Resurrection and the Life

I've been meaning to post for awhile, but I've reached that level of paralysis from too many things to do.  When there's just too much to increase your efficiency, everything but essentials stall. Or is it just me?

My sons have been very cute lately.  You will hear about all of their adventures soon, I think. That's not what I want to write about today though.

My Grandma passed on to glory recently.  I've been taking comfort in this passage and thought that I would share it with you:

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die."
John 11:25-26

That's  better than anything than I can write   and the best comfort I have. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tooth Ache/Sicko

There are days when you think, "it would be so nice to just sit and watch movies today."  Perhaps it is a rainy day or you yourself are just under the weather, but it would be nice to not get up to much.

When you have a toddler, this sort of thinking doesn't go very far.  It gets interrupted by "oh dear, not that! How did you even get that? Put him down! Just breathe, woman, you can do this, let's go outside!" You also notice how your internal dialogue has become an external one again.  Wonder what Vygotsky would say to that!

So these days of idle slothfulness just don't happen.  Or do they?

This past week, my two beautiful boys and I have been quite sick with a miserable head cold (Adrian has been amazing taking care of us when he can and still getting his work done.).  It's the kind where sleep doesn't happen well, though you need it.  It's the kind where the act of breathing feels like flames and bleeding on one's throat.

On top of this, our eldest (herinafter Bigfella) has been pushing through two molars (last count, three prongs of one, one prong of the other are through) as well as dealing with a mild reaction to an immunization.  For a couple of days, all the poor kid wanted to do was sit and watch movies while cuddled up on my lap.  While I'm all for the cuddling, the fact that he wanted to sit and do nothing was heart-rending.  Seeing my active, happy little boy so uncomfortable and busted was bad.  I found myself longing for a bit of his mischief.  Pull the books down! I wanted to say.  I missed his energy and his excitement.  It hurt to see him so miserable and whingy.  And the whinging did get to extreme levels.  Atomic, you might say.

And while my antibodies are helping the younger boy (herinafter Littlefella) - and how do they do that anyway? How can my antibodies give him more immunization than they give me? - he was still coughing and grumpier than usual.

There were two yelling, upset, snuffling, grumpy boys.  And when Bigfella started feeling better we had to have another conversation: Just because you're feeling bad, doesn't mean you should act bad. (Though come to think of it, I probably said be.  Just another example of how I'm a bad mother. ;) )

It's hard being sick, but it's harder being sick when you don't get to stop and rest because people are depending on you.  It's harder watching your kids in pain, and it's terrible when one feels grumpy at grumpiness.  It's harder when the youngest is growthspurting too!

There was a time when Bigfella was 9 months old when he got hit by a really painful teething bout and we couldn't get anything into him - not even water for over 8 hours on a really hot day.  We ended up using a medicine syringe to shoot water and milk down his throat.  That was a bad day.

Teeth have been very difficult for Bigfella.  He's cross cut a couple and he seems to have really tough, nervy gums because it's like pulling teeth (hmmm) to get these teeth through.  The other day, Littlefella yawned and a saw a small white mark on the middle of his bottom gum.  I said a bad word (I didn't swear, but was quite pleased Bigfella AKA Mr RepeaterMan didn't hear me) and pulled his mouth open to have a look.  It was just a milk bit.  I don't know if I could deal with two teethers.

The sun is shining and it's a beautiful day.  We're getting better and can see sunshine from under this mean cold cloud and look forward to days of activity, running around and all sorts.  It would be nice to get up to lots.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

11 Things

I write a good deal about certain things in my life, but I thought it might be fun while I have a few spare minutes (nap time!) to mention a few others.

1.  I have an ongoing battle with a bird.  It decided that this was its house a few months ago and perches on window ledges, pooping on everything, tapping the glass and making everything yucky looking.  It will not go away and it would not be right to kill it.  Recently it has decided that it (he? she?) now owns the house and took to attempted to scare us off by flying really close to our heads in a bird intimidation manoeuvre.  I will admit, it was slightly scary, but mainly I was wanting it not to bug my kids.  If it bugs my kids, I may have to change my mind about what's right...

2.  My favourite colours are brown and green.

3.  I'm trying to instil a love for music in my sons, so we often play various genres on youtube and dance around the house.  I also just love the laughter that comes... and seeing which ones my eldest likes.  I've also learned a few songs from this when Adrian chooses the tunes.

4.  I have not legally changed my last name even though I've been married for three years.  Immigration stuff impeded the change and I've not gotten to it yet.

5.  I will not watch horror movies, but for some reason felt compelled to watch part of Jaws 2 when it was on television a couple days after I found out that there was a white pointer (great white) hanging around the beaches in the area.

6.  When I get into a book, I will not hear people talk to me and I just want to finish it.  For this reason now that I have children, I tend to read books that I've already read so they won't distract me to the same point.

7.  I don't appreciate it when songs are not bleeped on the radio.  And I've reached that stage in life when I don't know popular music anymore.

8.  I read more nonfiction (on purpose, vous savez, school reading does not count) since becoming pregnant with my eldest.  Sometimes fiction feels like a wasteful use of my time.  But then so does facebook and I still end up there...  I'm currently reading two books (French Kids Eat Everything and Plastic Free)

9.  I have damaged enough of my joints over the years to get very stiff and sore at the end of long days.

10.  I've never been a morning person, but I now enjoy waking up around 6 every morning. It would be better to do it without a glass of water poured on my face though...

11. When I got my hair cut into its recent style, which I do enjoy, I was sad when Adrian and I both realized independently that it looked like a Bond girl's (from License to Kill) at sometimes.  And when messy, Luke Skywalker's.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Loving a Newborn

As I type this, I have a beautiful five and a half week old boy in my arms.

Did I mention that he's beautiful?

Newborns are amazing.  They are so helpless and fragile and at the same time so strong.  They take up so much time.  They sleep easily and often (but not always when you want).  They grow so quickly and change so much.

I don't have much time to spend just with my littlest fellow, but I try to enjoy the time I do (and yes, I will admit, I don't always enjoy it, but I always love him.  He's had a few difficult crying jags and then there's that whole spews on me thing.).

I love special time set aside to love this newborn.  Kissing his cheeks, nuzzling him, hugging him, talking to him as he grows in front of my eyes.  Hearing his different noises, enjoying his facial expressions as he starts to discover the world around him.

And watching him dream! Oh it's delightful.  He's only smiled for real a few times at this point, but each time it just melts my heart.

Loving a newborn is intense:  little sleep, lots of trying to get things done with one hand, trying to figure out new sounds and cries and all sorts, protecting him from his brother, lots of spew...

But golly, he's amazing.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I've not written much lately.  Parenting to the level 2 is difficult.  Not bad, just busier.  Also, my arms are full of love a lot.  Like now, for instance, which causes me to type one handed.

Man, he's cute.  And dreaming about eating, apparently.

One thing that I really miss about Canada (which also makes me miss certain people a good deal) is Thanksgiving.  While we can't get together with the extended family and experience apple festivals and fall colours, we can still have a fantastic meal.  This year, our good friends Tom and Chelsea are visiting, so that helped to make it festive.

We had a roasted chook with homemade stuffing, rolls, butternut squash Odesa style, mashed potatoes (because I am the queen of mashed potatoes), beans, fancy cheeses, sparking wine, apple pie (with cheddar cheese and ice cream).  It was delicious.

We spent a bit of time sharing what we are thankful for.  There is always so much for which to give thanks!  Like my dear husband.  It's our third anniversary tomorrow.  I love how Thanksgiving and our anniversary are tied together, because I truly give thanks for him and the two beautiful products of our marriage.  My heart grows bigger everyday when I enjoy my sons as they grow and change.  It's quite challenging, being a mother and even more so to be a good one.  I do my best and I'm glad they are forgiving!

I give thanks for friends and family near and far, even though it hurts to love people far away.  I miss you, you know.  Come visit!  I give thanks for health and needs met.

Mostly, I give thanks for that God has done for us in Christ Jesus.  I need that grace to stand, to keep going, to love my family better.

Happy thanksgiving.  Happy reflective time to you.  Happy you.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It's a Birth Story, Baby Just Said Yes

WARNING: Possibly graphic/disgusting information follow.  Read at your own risk of visions burned on the insides of your eyelids.

This is getting long, so it'll be colour coded.  Blue is background information.  Purple is early birth story.  Dark red is actual birth story.  Black is just nonsense/other.  Why do you read this blog anyway?

I knew what to expect and I didn't know what was going to happen.  It was an odd feeling, going into labour the second time.  I was more aware of what happens in my body, having already experienced the most deep and horrendous pain imaginable (and that's saying something. I've had some painful times before childbirth).  Seriously, if it wasn't for the baby at the end, birth would suck.  Knowing that that pain is coming back is not a delightful wait.  You lie to yourself a little.  "Maybe it wasn't so bad.  Maybe, I'm stronger and I'll be able to do this without any drugs at all! Maybe I'll sneeze and it will all be over."  No. That's not how it works and I have one word to let you know why.


For weeks leading up to my second son's birth, I had terrible back pain.  I couldn't sleep well which made life very difficult especially when our elder son (hereinafter "big fellow") was having extremely painful times and difficulty sleeping due to cracking a mean ol' molar.

One moment whilst I shake my head in an attempt to organize my thoughts.  I'm still a wee bit tired and decaf don't help.  Yeah, I said don't.  I appear to have lost my ability to write.  Sad.

I was tired and worn out, in constant pain.  Backache is pretty standard in pregnancy and I assumed that the extreme backache was due to sometimes carrying my 13+ kg son, big fellow, around.  When he hurts, he sometimes wants a bit more cuddling.  Me too, actually.  I'd had one pregnancy massage and was keen to go for a second, booked for next Tuesday.

I was impatient, waiting for my sister to give birth already after being in labour for a week.  Really, I was upset that she was constantly in pain and (at the back of my head) worried that I would get stuck in labour for a week too.

I woke up at 1 am, on Saturday the 8th.  My back was incredibly sore.  I assumed it was due to the usual, plus running around like a crazy person, trying to get ready for the baby and make three soups for the workshop on that day at the church.   I was in so much back pain, I couldn't sleep.  This was pretty standard.  There was a different kind of pain attached this time and it seemed to come and go.  "Oh, dear," I mused, "I think I'm labour."  They weren't bad contractions, though so I attempted to sleep, hoping they'd stop.  I was awake until 4 am.

I finally fell back to sleep and the day started.  Big fellow is an early riser.  We got everything over to the church for the workshop.  I realized that I still had a lot of set up to do and I gleefully did it.  It felt good to be running around, organizing and setting things up.  I ran to and fro our house, getting supplies until everything was ready.

At lunchtime, I took our son home for nap.  Whilst there, I had a bloody show.

If you know what a bloody show is, I don't need to explain it and if you don't, you probably don't want to know.  Needless to say, my theory is blood + pregnancy = going to the hospital.  So, we pulled a friendly friend from the workshop and Adrian and I went to the hospital.  Sure, enough, I was in labour, but only one cm.  I could feel contractions but they were very mild and infrequent.  It made me wonder if last time I'd been in labour much longer, but just hadn't noticed.  Now, being more in tune with that sort of thing, perhaps I was picking up on it earlier.  The midwife sent us home.  It was kind of nice.  I had the chance to shave my legs and get some things done at home as well as spend some good quality time with my eldest.  That was good!  

That evening, Adrian had decided to go to youth group and I decided to fold laundry.  Approximately three and a half minutes after he left, my water broke.  As last time was fast, we decided to get to the hospital.

We had attempted MANY times that day to get ahold of the lady who had volunteered to watch our eldest whilst our youngest was being born, but no dice.  This is a nice example of how God blessed.  Because I'd gone to the hospital earlier in the day, pretty much every lady who was at the workshop offered to take or watch our eldest!  We asked one to come stay at our house, as our eldest was already asleep.

At this point, I was three cms and contractions were probably 7 minutes apart.  They hooked me up to the machine and it seemed on the machine that they were more like 4 minutes or less apart.

Oh, yes.  It's always awkward when someone checks dilation.

We stuck around and by 11, the contractions got quite intense.  Active labour probably started around midnight.  Between contractions, I was making jokes.  It got harder and harder to joke and I started climbing the walls. Not literally.  I did climb the bed though.  It was like an aerobics class with the amount of position changes, wandering and climbing I did.

Labour hurts and I wanted to do it without drugs.  My back felt like it was going to break in half constantly.  They gave Adrian a massage tool to use on my back and I got him to press incredibly hard.  He was shocked as I usually prefer gentle massage.  The next day I had bruises all over my back from the massage tool, but at the time that was relief!  The one midwife tried to heat a hot bag for me and ended up setting it on fire, so the labour room smelled like burnt wheat.  It kind of made me hungry.  They kept me drinking water, so I kept going to the bathroom.  It seemed like the toilet and my uterus were in cahoots as every time I went there, I had the worst contractions, many of them in a row.

My water broke again.  Apparently it had been the hind waters before and now the fore waters broke.

I was in so much pain.  Gripping things seemed to help in contractions and I grasped at the edge of the bed, the rails, chairs, Adrian, everything that was in reach.  I needed to bite things.  I bit the bed.  Adrian (but just the once), Adrian gave me his clean hanky.  I gnawed on that poor thing.  I bit his belt (it was leather and seriously, I was in odd positions, throwing myself about the room, on the birthing chair, the bed, a ball, walking).  The leather was good to bite.  Around 2:30/3, I'd given in and asked for gas, but for the first 20 minutes it wasn't working.  It turned out that it wasn't on.  By 3:30, I was fully dilated and felt the need to push, but it just wasn't happening.  Last time, I was so excited to get through transition, but this felt worse.  I needed to push, but I could feel that my child wasn't moving.  It's like he was stuck.  The midwives moved me around the birthing suite, trying different positions.  I wanted to quit.  I was done.  My back felt broken and then further abused with broken glass or barbed wire.  

It turns out that he was stuck.  In a posterior birth, the child's spine and the mother's spine rub against each other and cause the most terrible pain.  Much, much worse than my first birth.  Then his head did get stuck as the position causes the neck to go back, not tuck under.  All the time they moved me about the room, they were trying to jiggle him free.  Eventually he did turn in the birth canal and come out the way he was supposed to - without any modelling on his head!

Pushing and pushing and pushing. It felt useless and frustrating with little gain.  Eventually, they started seeing the head, but it still felt slow.  Then the head was at the point for little pushes, after an hour of pushing, when suddenly BOOM! There was an explosion.  And it started from me!?!  

Part of the amniotic sac had gotten twisted up with fluid and as my youngest's head started to come out (finally, thank God), the sac got compressed and exploded, shooting across the room.  It was an odd feeling.  And then, oh, the best feeling.  I pushed his head out, then his shoulders.  Our second son was born and all of the pain vanished.  All of the frustration and confusion and feelings of uselessness as that beautiful child was on my chest.  He's so beautiful. So wonderful.  My heart expanded and life felt great and even greater when the placenta went bye-bye (I think it had been in an uncomfortable place too).

Adrian was so helpful and wonderful during the whole thing.  The one midwife commented on how good he was to me, how we worked together.  God blessed us in many ways, including when the cild was born, less than a day after his cousin.  Because of the workshop, there was a visiting pastor and Adrian didn't have to lead service exhausted beyond belief.

Through the labour, there got to be points so bad, that all I could do was pray for mercy.  And I did.  And God is merciful.  And then, with our son on my chest, all I could do was say thanks.

I'm still saying thanks.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fear of the Known, Part Two

It's funny, but even though I'd done it before and there were some similarities (coming home with a little boy, etc), it turns out that it really wasn't a known.

Painful, though.  Birth will always be painful.

I'll post the actual birth story another day.

But yeah, don't fear the known, because after all, what do you really know?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Fear of the Known

I'm not going to lie, as excited as I am about baby number two - who could arrive anytime really as we're just over three weeks from the due date -, I've gotten scared too.

In this I am not alone.  I've heard from many mothers that the second child is a bit scarier.  You are going into this knowing just how hard it is sometimes.  You know what sleeplessness feels like, you've held and cajoled in crankiness, sickness and all sorts.  You know that teeth are a cruel form of punishment.  You know how much labour really does hurt.  You have a better appreciation of things that are happening and therefore a greater knowledge of all that can go wrong.

Last week, we went into the hospital to check things out.  All's well, we just wanted to make sure.  One very good thing came from that visit.  The fear went away.  Sitting in the hospital with a rather excited husband (he was suddenly hit by the thoughts that come with the joy of a new baby), I knew that it was all going to happen.  So what if I'm not ready? So what if it's hard and our well working schedule goes bye-bye?

This is an adventure and a fantastic thing that is happening.  Our baby is a blessing from God and He will sustain us through all the sleepless nights, the frustrations and woes.  One look at my eldest, grinning at me is enough to remind me that it's certainly all worth it!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Belligerent Parenting

In the past, I've been apprehensive about posting on parenting.  All parents feel judged by other parents, and with good reason: all parents are judged by other parents.  This is not to say that all parents are judgy, but I'm pretty sure that all parents have a moment where they think to themselves, "I wouldn't do it that way!" I know I have on occasion and I don't like that about myself.

What it comes down to, I believe, is belligerent parenting.  That is to say, parents develop a belligerent shell about the choices that they have made in raising their children for the sake of their sanity.  There are so many books on parenting out there, so many options all say "pick me, pick me, I'm the best!" and they can't all be the best as they often contradict each other.  Counter-contradict?

All children are different and none of them come with manuals.  There are manuals, however.  Plenty to choose from and buy.  Not one of them is perfectly tailored to any given child other than the one being written about.  When you do learn/discover the things to do for your child from these manuals, advice or trial and error, you're willing to fight about them (the things that work, I mean).  I'd like to tell you about some of them.  (Adrian and I are on the side of attachment parenting, which is intense, but we think has many benefits.  That is to say, we do a good deal of attachment parenting, but not all.  We aren't co-sleepers except in cases of sickness or upset.)

When our son was very, very young (when you count growth in days, not even weeks), I read a book that implied, heck it blatantly said that babies can all put themselves to sleep with no help from the get-go.  I'm the youngest and had never spent that much time trying to put newborns to sleep.  This sounded genius.  But it didn't work.  And I must admit, I never actually allowed little fellow to bellow and shriek for 10 minutes to go down.  Handily, my mother was around at this point and she helped me realise that rocking little man was a good thing.

We really did try everything that we were supposed to:  watching for sleep signs, putting him to bed right away, getting a schedule in place, rocking and patting, standing near and singing.  He needed more help.

During that very trying time, I have read some books that have really helped me understand baby sleep.  They said that some babies just need a bit of help to get to sleep.  And that's okay.  I could be belligerent about my son needing help to sleep when people looked askance at us rocking him, holding him, "coddling" him beyond the "appropriate" time.

He sleeps well now.  He still wakes up at night for a few reasons.  Wet bum.  Teeth hurt.  Bad dream.  Wants his parents because a) he's lonely, b) he's scared, c) he's a sinner.  I go to him.  If I'm exhausted, my dear husband goes to him.  He settles easily.  It's the choice we've made as parents.  It's not always easy.  And he can (and has) sleep (slept) through the night.

Our son received nothing else to eat except for breastmilk, directly from me from newborn to 6 months.  Sure, it was difficult.  I could never be away from him for more than a few hours, and it had to be around the feeding schedule.  I've never pumped and dumped.  I don't actually understand how breast pumps work.  We have no bottles.  He was comfort fed at times, though I did generally pay attention to the clock.

Even when he was 6 months and had "started" solids, he wouldn't really take any rice cereal in 'til about 7 months.

We very slowly started him on different foods.  I tried to do the whole new-food-every-three-or-four-days thing and wasn't always successful, so while most of his friends were eating plenty, he was still learning about fooding.

It hasn't stopped his appetite and now you wouldn't know the difference.  Except he hates pasta.  Who hates pasta?

I wanted to feed him until 18 months or so, but didn't think that through and when I got pregnant realized that I didn't want to put myself into a tandem feeding situation.  Plus, I was eating all day long to maintain livingness and was still losing weight.

We waited til after we got home from Canada to wean him.  Then I cut out day feeds and then night.  Comfort feeding and night snuggling made our travelling much easier.  It made flights less painful for his ears and was an easy remedy.  He got a bad ear infection while we were there and sometimes that's all he would eat.  It was really hard on me, but I'm incredibly glad that we did it that way.

He was weaned at about 14 months.  Adrian would go to him at night.  Sometimes that would work, sometimes it wouldn't.  But now he's quite done being fed by me and we can cuddle again at night or in the day, no problems.

Toilet Training
Watch this space.  Haven't gotten there yet!  We're in the preliminaries (sitting on the cool cars seat before bath.  But he doesn't seem to know why.)

These are things that we do with our son.  This is how we are raising him.  Sometimes we'll learn something new or read something which will change our thinking about something.

I'm not saying that we have it right and you have it wrong.  This is what works for us, and I'd probably fight for your parenting choices too, even if they contradict mine if someone was attacking you.  Parenting is hard enough without all the backlash and fear of judgment from other people.  Be firm in your decisions.  Know why you are doing them.  Do what is right for your baby and your family.  And if you're interested in any of the books I've read (and partially ignored, I'm sure.  I've even thrown a few out that I didn't like at all) feel free to ask.

Friday, August 24, 2012


Okay, so I've talked about food and cooking a lot as of late.  There are many reasons for this:
  1. I'm hungry all the time as I'm pregnant.
  2. Cooking/baking is my main hobby.
  3. I enjoy this hobby and try to not complain on the internet about things I don't like doing, so you hear about it.
  4. It's an adventure to see what the small child will eat and when.  He has no problem with cheese or fresh vegetables, but it's interesting to see which meat will be okay.
  5. I find it interesting to read about food and find recipes, so I think I should share them, but mostly I share that I'd like to share them.
Today, that last reason changes.  Here are recipes (and some pictures) of recent food projects in the house.  The kitchen really.  Where I spend much of my time barefoot and pregnant.  Although, to be fair, I'm pregnant everywhere.  Barefoot too.

There are a lot of similarities to these foods as they are an attempt to get vegetables and meat into one small person.

Sausage Rolls
Sausage mince (that's the filling for traditional sausages)
An egg
Seasoning (I usually use herbamare)
Mustard, dijon or hot (optional)
Puff pastry (about 4 sheets, but it really depends on the amount of filling you've made)

Grate the vegetables finely, add the mince, breadcrumbs and seasoning to achieve a dryish texture, add the egg to bind it all together.  Cut puff pastry in half, and make ropes of sausage which you lay across the middle.  Then roll them up into cylinders, cut in half and bake at 200 C for 20-25 minutes, until pastry is golden brown and meat is nicely cooked.

You can also throw in a can of peas, carrots and corn or whatever other vegetables you're trying to hide.  I just love celery, carrot and zucchini.

A very wonderful lady called Odesa gave me this recipe.  Odesa, nothing compares 2 u.

Easy dough
A container of sour cream

Add flour to sour cream and knead until you achieve a nice stretchy dough.  It was around this point when I thought, hmm, I don't have a lot of dough for the amount of filling I have...

Fried onion, 1 cup before frying
6 Potatoes, I used 3 royal blue and three white
Fried bacon, crumbled
Grated cheese
Frozen spinach blocks

Boil potatoes and spinach.  Drain off water, add other ingredients and mash, mash, mash or blend, blend, blend.

Cut the dough into circles, fill to full and stretch the dough to close, pinch firmly.  Drop in boiling water.  They should float soon.  If they don't float, they aren't fully closed and are turning to gloop.  Rescue them quickly.

After they have all boiled and dried, fry in butter and serve with sausage and sour cream.  Or in my husband's case, hot sauce.  I ended up having about three times as much filling as needed, so made puff pastry circles and baked those perogies, rather like pasties.  And with the leftovers, I made mashed potato patties.

Left, pergoies. Right, pasties.
Homemade Pizza and Garlic Fingers
I got the recipe from here and aside from hand kneading and using 2 cups of whole wheat flour and one of white, I followed the recipe.  It really does work well.  I made pizza from scratch again last night and my son clapped when it came to the table.  That's good for one's soul.  For toppings, we use any and all of the following: salami, green olives, grated/chopped zucchini, grated carrot, sliced capsicum (red), fried tomatoes, basil leaves, swiss brown mushrooms, bocconcini balls, mozzarella, leftover roasted vegetables, etc.

Garlic Cheese Fingers
This is not my recipe to share, but I had to show them off.  They popped out of the pan while baking and I thought they might amuse Vanessa who gave me the delicious recipe to begin with.  It was a nice night with roast beef and vegetables.  Little fellow even ate a yorkshire!

They look more like popovers than when I made popovers, oddly enough
Chicken Nuggets
This is the little fellow's favourite, so I make them every week.  I try different things sometimes, like crumbing them in polenta, but apparently we all hate polenta.

General breading mixture
Panko breadcrumbs
A pinch of salt and pepper
Italian herbs

Cut two chicken breasts into small pieces.  Dip in flour.  Dip in beaten egg.  Dip in breadcrumb mixture.  Pan fry until golden brown on both sides and cooked through.

Chicken Nuggets.
On the left they are dipped in panko crumbs, the right, wholewheat crumbs
Back in the day, I would have used a similar breading (but with paprika) on beaten chicken breasts, to be used as schnitzels or (once fried) topped with freshly chopped tomatoes, onion and garlic, more seasoning and a bit of pasta sauce and heaped with mozzarella and cheddar, baked in the oven for half an hour.

I do miss grown up food sometimes.  I could really go for some spinach cannelloni today.

White Fish, often Snapper 
Ruby is the best, but Queen's good too.  Okay, Orange Roughy is the best, but I'm not allowed to have it.
This is another breading mixture I use a lot.  It started as a Jamie Oliver recipe.

Extra virgin olive oil
The juice and zest from a lemon
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Dip, dip, dip, fry.  Make tartar sauce.  Yum.

Rissoles/ Hamburger Patties
500 grams of ground beef (beef mince)
Finely chopped broccoli florets
Grated carrot
Finely diced onion

Mix all together.  Shape into patties.  Pan fry or barbecue until cooked through.  The little fellow ate these on Tuesday.  It was the first time he'd eaten hamburgers or rissoles.  Felt like Christmas.

And that, my friends, is that.  

(The photos aren't great, I usually take them really quickly when we're half done as I remembered that wanted to put them up.  Plates by IKEA.)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tas-mania: Hobart

The view from over there, looking towards Hobart

When we stayed in Tasmania last October, we stayed in a suburb called "Lindisfarne" (possible pronunciation, "Wooster").  It was just on the other side of the bridge from Hobart.  It was a lovely place (Possums), up a ridiculously steep hill that I would hate to attempt in a standard.

We loved our time in Hobart.  It was such a relaxing time.  It's a lovely little city, with buckets of history and tiny brick buildings meant to keep out the wind and the wet.  We took ourselves on a walking tour, which started in Battery Park (I believe that's the older section).  Our walk took us past tiny cafes and bakeries and we put our holidaying spirit into gear, stopping at as many as possible so we could try all of the local flavours.

May I just say, very much yum to the local flavours.  We ended up going back to this one bakery a couple of times.  Everything looked amazing and the coffee was spectacular.  Hey, I could drink coffee then...

Our walk took us through Arthur Circus, which is a roundabout with tiny little houses on it.

Arthur Circus

We walked to Princes' Park and ended up at the bottom of a hill at the Salamanca gardens.  Maps are great, and I'm a pretty good navigator, if I do say so myself, so we'd planned out the walk before we got down there.

Salamanca Market
As it was a weekday, the markets weren't bustling, but the shops were still interesting and varied in their style.  Tasmania seems sort of old world and special to me, so I was hoping for a souvenir that reflected that, but would you believe old world and special is also expensive?

We headed back up the hill to rescue our car as the parking time was almost up.  As we walked up the hill, we tried to remember exactly where we parked it.  And what colour it was.  Good times with rental cars.

It was found easily and we moved over to the CBD, which was not far at all.  Hobart is built right next to the harbour.  We happily walked most of the day, sadly losing our squeaky friend Sophie somewhere.  Adrian's glasses had busted and a man from Seattle fixed them.  He and I agreed that the best salmon is from Seattle, but Tasmania's is pretty good too!

Oh, the fish... we ate fish our first night there, just fish and chips takeaway and, my! it was delicious!  Flounder, I think.

I can't remember where this was

We went to Mures one night as well, which I highly recommend. Everything that we ate had been caught that day and fresh fish is incredible.

Fish and chip wagons

They have these cute little fish and chip wagons which are actually boats.  Unfortunately we ran out of meals before we managed to eat at one.  Next time.

I'm sure I had more to tell you, but I've forgotten.  It's been awhile.

Oh, we couldn't find little fellows socks the first morning and he had to brave the cool temps (15 C) wearing his mother's.  Upon taking a wrong turn, or as we navigators call it "the scenic route", we stumbled across a baby store and fixed that, only to find many of little fellows socks easily when we got home.  We'd also found coffee and to my knowledge, there is not bad coffee in Hobart.

We went to a cheese factory for lunch the one day.... Just a moment while I remember what eating brie is like....  Soon.

Mount Wellington

(That's the thing to look forward to with birth, right?  The food that you get to eat after?  Except not anything that could hurt baby's belly.  I have a dream day.  I wake up at 10 am, have three coffees, 2 margaritas, eat olives and soft cheeses and then go back to bed.  I told this dream to a single male friend of ours and he didn't understand.  He said it sounded like depression.  Not depression, it's deprivation.  Anywho...)

Cool rocks up high

So go to Tasmania and experience the delicious and beautiful place for yourself.  Be swept up in the mania!  And go to Mount Wellington.  We did, but I'm not writing about it.   It was lovely (and cold! Hooray!).

Hobart from Mount Wellington

[First joke, stolen from D. Barry.  That is to say, Dave, not Diana as she is fictional.]

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tas-mania: Richmond

(Given that the Tasmania visit was nearly a year ago, I should probably finish the posts...)

The Bridge in Richmond

We didn't spend much time in Richmond, so I can't tell you too much about it.  I can tell you that it wasn't a goth living in the basement, helping with IT.  Like much of our Tasmanian adventure, it had a beautiful pastoral feel and we drove up to it via a windy road between green spaces and tempting (but ignored) wineries.

In Richmond is the oldest continually used Roman Catholic church in Australia.  There's also the oldest still used bridge, and handily they were beside each other.

The Catholic Church and Bridge

Adrian spent some time getting good shots of the lovely views, little fellow and I sat around (and given that he was solely mommy-fed at the time, probably he ate).

There was also a very pretty Anglican church there.

We didn't get much time there; it was at the end of an already long day but it was worth the trip and, I think, worth a second trip to see all that Richmond really has to offer.

The Inside of the Catholic Church

Friday, August 17, 2012

Celebrate Good Times

On Monday of this week, I finished a project that I've been working on for two years.  And by finished, I mean, I got to a very important milestone.

I was very excited.

I had actually been planning a blog post that I would put up when this joyous time occurred.  It went like this:


But instead, I hung out with my husband, ate some celebratory ice cream and fruit, and went to bed.

There is something important that one should do upon accomplishing something, and that is to celebrate.  And quickly.  None of this, "oh, I'll go and get a pedicure next week" nonsense, because the thrill is over, the day is done and often the celebratory occasion is neglected completely and not just diminished.

I learned this from a friend of mine who has a masters in Russian literature.  Surely, there is much to celebrate there.

So the very next day, we had a coffee out.  This is not an infrequent thing, but still special and quite the most delicious hot chocolate I'd had in awhile.  We bought an A&W rootbeer.  Very exciting as it is imported and on the pricy side.  We even consumed it.

Okay, so it wasn't a huge celebration, but to be fair, it's only a milestone and not the whole thing done.  A very important milestone.  More of a 10 mile stone or something.  And celebratory drinks tend to be alcoholed, which is unacceptable at this time.

At any rate, this is the important part:


Wednesday, August 15, 2012


We all of us have a calling. Several callings, really, that apply to different aspects of our lives.  At this time my prevailing vocations are those of stay-at-home mother and housewife.

Because these are my primary callings, I often find myself immersed in chores that are not my favourite.  I've never been too keen on laundry or dishes.  Ironing isn't the bees knees.  But I have learned to be content and even joyful when I do them (and try to stop griping) as doing them is part of the other thing that is so wonderful.

It is a great opportunity to spend so much time with my young son whilst growing our second child.  I get to help our son learn and grow.  I get to see all little developments and changes.  It's truly amazing, even while being tiring and rather difficult.

I don't always do the best job at my callings.  I grump about dishes, growl about reading the same book for the 11th time in a row, complain that I just mopped the floor 2 hours ago and look at it! and whinge that I'm too tired to make dinner and wouldn't we all prefer takeaway?  And worst of all, I get frustrated that my primary callings supersede the less important ones, which I'll be honest, are sometimes more fun and rewarding.

There was a day when, standing at the sink washing another load of dishes, I had a realization that I was abhoring my God-given tasks.  When I whinge and wish and wonder why I don't get to do other things, I'm taking for granted all of the blessings that God has richly poured into my life, like the fact that we have enough to plan different dinners and the plates are dirty because we are full.

There are parts to every vocation that aren't fun.  That's not the point.  The point is, we are called to do them.  It's hard for us to remember this in a self-centered, super-instant-gratification society, its how it goes.  If the crap is not shovelled from the elephant stall, who's going to want to ride him?

So I encourage you to embrace the difficult parts of your callings.  Learn to love them in silly ways, even if it's just seeing them done!  For example, some parts of my callings are frustrating or difficult for me, so I relish the fun bits.  I love cooking and baking and continue to experiment and play despite the extra dishes that come along with them.  And Adrian always appreciates my efforts, even if the little fellow does not.  In fact, cooking and cookbooks have become my primary hobby.  I have no time to read books (because I am one of those people who just wants to read 'til they are done), but I can peruse a cookbook.

There are also amazing and wonderful parts to vocation.  I love my little boy cuddles and hugs and the silly times we have.  It's heart-filling and so fantastic.  So many other wonderful things as well...

Most vocations are in part transitory.  I won't always be a stay-at-hom mom, even if there will always be dishes.  Keep going, you can do it!

Thursday, July 19, 2012


I'm not on pinterest, but I must admit that sometimes when I have a few minutes of time, I like to look at people's pinned pages via facebook.  It seems that all of my friends who have a pin-board (I'm not sure that that's the correct terminology) have a page devoted to food and I love the food.

For some reason, every recipe pinned to has a gorgeous shot of whatever was made.  It's like a glossy new cookbook just for me.  I love cookbooks with good pictures.  They really help to motivate.  This pregnancy, I've been really into cooking/baking.  It could be something to do with trying to figure out foods that a small fellow whose teeth hurt would want to eat.  It could be that I'm hungry all the time and the pictures are too darn pretty.  It could just be that I've always loved cooking and baking and I've just told myself to get over the fact that I hate doing dishes and make them dirty anyway.

The odd thing about the joy of discovery of these new sites of recipes is that I find is that it's making me less inclined to blog.  I think I've figured out why.

  • I see a pretty picture.
  • Read a recipe.
  • Think, "ooh" or "mmm" or "no, not really"
  • Then realize, "hey, they have a whole folder of recipes"
  • Scan through the recipes.
  • They often have step-by-step pictures of how-to
  • A picture is very compelling and beguiling and man am I ever hungry.
  • "Hey, I make good food from scratch and play with recipes"
  • "I should post recipes on my blog"
  • But I never take pictures of the during as I'm trying to do it as fast as possible as the little boy is not so helpful with the kitchening at this point.
  • And I rarely take pictures when the food is done, because it is delicious and I am hungry and "oh I'll take a picture tomorrow".
  • So I don't post a recipe because "what is a recipe without out the beautiful, drool-causing photo?"
  • And then I don't blog because much of my life is playing with a small person, cleaning and cooking.  It's not that fun to blog about cleaning.  The little person is awesome but I don't want to share everything with the internet land.
  • And I don't have that much spare time anyway.  I'm pretty much, go go go all day long and then enjoy time with the hubby in the evening when the work is done.
  • So when I catch that spare moment, I pop on facebook (which is much less exciting than it was in uni, probably because there is no logic homework to ignore), and hope someone has been pinning so I can look at recipes (and sometimes mother-ideas which often make me feel inadequate, but that is a whole other thing).
But, I did take a picture of the perogies I made, so they will show up.  I mean, when I have time to upload photos.

Hmm, garlic cheese fingers.

Turn, turn, turn

Growing a new life is amazing.  It's incredible to think that inside of me, a person is being knitted together.  A person is formed, down to eyelashes and fingerprints, spending time chubbing up to take on this terrible world.

It's overwhelming sometimes to think that this is happening with really no help whatsoever from me.  The most impressive things about me are things I have no control over, it seems.

I love this child already and look forward to the day he or she comes out and explodes our lives with joy (even as sleep is stolen).  I would prefer it if he or she listened to the time table and stuck around in there for a couple more months.  Every little kick and push and tickle reminds me how blessed I am to be carrying around this bundle of joy.

The big ones though...

Last weekend baby decided to be helpful and get into the right position: head down, nose toward spine, feet kicking lungs, heart, uvula, et c. My mother claims that for her this was a fast process, a kind of "oh, goodness, the whole world just flipped" deal.  My child does not think along these turns, but determined to get this right the first time changed direction slowly and painfully.

Oh yes, pregnancy is amazing and full of wonder and stupendous and painful.

Baby took the weekend to turn sideways.  To any woman who has ever carried a third trimester baby prone, you have my deepest empathy. I am not of the shape where sideways baby is an option.

Baby was encouraged to turn, turn, turn.  Baby did.  Slowly. Thoughtfully.  Painstakingly.  In a way that seemed to say, "Look Mom, I only want to do this once, so I'm going to do it right.  Leave me be." I feel that this shall be the child who spends five minutes drawing one crooked line on a page while his/her elder brother eats all the crayons, rearranges all the toys and jogs around the block.

Baby stopped the big movements then.  No need to get all excited, they must have thought.  He or she will drop down into position when the time comes.  Slowly. Thoughtfully.  Amazingly.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Quickly then

This shan't be a long post.  I've been quite busy lately.  Not that posting isn't important and I do have many posts waiting to be written, but I've got some things to get done that take precedence.

Today I made two chocolate cakes and shall not eat a bit of either.

Little fellow and I have come to an understanding about food, though it's still a bit of an experiment all the time.

Little fellow is weaned!  Woot!

Laundry and dishes are dull.  I just thought I'd say what everyone was thinking.

My second child lives under my ribs as did my first.  It wasn't comfy then, it ain't now.  12 weeks to go!

I'm slightly scared of having two kids.  But only sometimes (the scared, I mean, not the kids).

I think the Fugitive is a great movie.

Wintery days (Cool, dim, windy) are good days for walks, even with a stroller.

Swings are the coolest things ever.

Buying stuff online is good to battle instant gratification.  I've been waiting for my new maternity clothes for forever.  Or at least a week.

Facebook and television are a waste of life.  Limit them.

Water is good for you and delicious.

I would like to cuddle with my husband now.

I would also like a pedicure.  I can still reach my feet and should probably just do it myself.

Reading the same board book 20 times in an hour is boring.

The tone and style of writing in the Harry Potter series changes as Harry gets older and becomes less story and more real-ish.  Is this because her writing style change or she attempted to write the way Harry would have thought in his development?

I bought a pair of black leather boots on sale for $10, marked down from $172.  I felt guilty and almost offered to pay more.

Free range eggs are yellower.

Yellow is a happy colour.

Adrian is good at backrubs.

I only have one more can of tinned tomatoes and keep forgetting to buy more.

I'm all out of red licorice.  I ate the last wee bag of nibs today that I'd saved from the Canada trip.

It's a good night for a cup of tea.

And to snuggle.

I think we'll watch a movie now.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Foodin' our Food


So we have been having much fun with the little boy as of late.  He's a hoot and a half and keeps us moving.  One thing that hasn't been as much fun lately is that he isn't as fond of dinner time.

This is fine, really.  We had been doing something that worked for us and that he enjoyed and now with a new layer of independence unveiled we have to figure out something new.

Until now, he has many been spoon-fed.  Judge us, if you please.  It worked for us.  He was never keen on eating by himself and would help sometimes, but usually preferred to be a passive participant.  He would eat some finger foods, but didn't really go for our food.  At breakfast, he's fine.  Lunch is all him, but dinner was the time he took it easy.

In the last week, he has indicated that now all he wants is our food.  And he wants to do it himself.  Hooray!  And boo, as now we have to figure out what he will eat that we want to.

We've been thinking about different finger foods - in the sense that he likes to pick up off the same plate  that we are eating from and eat that.  This doesn't work with say, soup.  Or risotto.  Arancini, probably!

This all came about when he was balking at his food, which for that week was part of the normal.  We'd put food on his tray to pick up and eat, but what he wanted was the freedom to choose his own food.  We were eating pink snapper that night, battered in a simple Jamie Oliver recipe of breadcrumbs, olive oil, lemon juice/zest and s&p.  The little fellow is not normally a fan of fish.  He indicated that he wanted the plate.  He got the plate.  He ate 2 or 3 good sized chunks of fish.  We stared at each other with woo-hoo glimmers crackling through the air at each other.

The next day he went for mini-quiches.  Again, not something he'd normally go for and one that he chose was so hot that he pulled it out of his mouth and waited for it to cool.  Too hot of food is normally a "oh yeah, I'm done" sort of deal.

The chicken enchiladas were completely ignored.  To be fair, they weren't the best ones I've made (not spicy enough).

The salmon and potato patties were the bees knees! Even as leftovers he was okay with it, but the potato soup that went with it was anathema.  (Without having touched honey, because he's not 2 and we're strict about things like that.  He does love his peanut butter, which is recommended from 12 months down here but not 'til what, 2 or 3 in Canada?)

But now we have to know, what is pick-up-able? And can I make it before 5:30? Because that is a magical time called dinner.  If dinner starts too late we don't want to eat anything at all, but rather be grumpy.

As we planned this week's dinners, we went for easy to reach and grab.  Here's hoping it all goes well. We've had a good start tonight with homemade chicken nuggets, lots of raw veggies and (later in the meal when he was almost full), tater-tots.  I grown-upped the dinner with a lemon-garlic-mayo dip for the nuggets.  Yum! (If you're wondering, it's the juice of a lemon, a clove of garlic and some mayo with a dash o' s&p).  Little fellow wasn't fond of the dip.  Loved the avocado and lime dip tho...

How will homemade veggie packed sausage rolls, pasta and meat sauce, rissoles and fish go?  I don't know.  We'll keep trying.  And stock up on napkins.  This finger food thing can get messy.

*Corner Gas Season 6

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Too many questions

I have about 15 blog posts sitting in my head waiting to be written.  Some are still about Tasmania (gasp!) and so I should really get them down and be done.

But I'm not gonna.

Rather, I will pose to you some questions in hopes that you might have knowledge or wisdom that I do not possess.  Or in some cases, just answers.  Points will be awarded for style (and hair-dos).

1.  Why is Anne of Green Gables a mystic?

2.  Since when is there caffeine in A&W Cream Soda? And more to the point, why?  I thought cream soda was a kid-type pop.

3.  Why will children chew on everything in the world except their dinner?

4.  Especially non-edibles like hand lotion and chalk?

5.  How many licks does it take to get to centre of a Tootsie pop?

6.  Why are things scarier at night?

7.  How does postage work? I mean prices and such.

8.  Do Dr. Zhivago's wife and mistress represent the two Russian landscapes that he lived in (before and after revolution)? Discuss.

9.  Why is it so much fun to cook, but so terrible to do dishes?

10.  Do you have an e-reader? Is it worth it?

11.  What does my son mean when he babbles? Am I actually hearing the words I think I am?

12.  And why does he like octave intervals whilst singing?

13.  How long until I can enjoy a cup of coffee? Oh, how I want a good-tasting cup of coffee.

14.  Do you factor in postage when you buy things on the internet as part of the price?

15.  Why do people like horror movies?

16.  Would you like to finish the laundry?

17.  What is your favourite recipe if you're in a hurry?

18.  What is your favourite recipe if you aren't in a hurry?

19.  Would you eat sashimi?  Oh, how I want spicy tuna sashimi.

20.  What book are you reading now?

21.  What should we name our next child?

22.  How will I fit everything into the storage room?

23.  Why don't we say the "l" in "solder"?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mommy's Little Helper

Ever feel like there's too much to get done and no way to do it all without help?  I feel that way sometimes.  Having a child can make getting things done difficult.  The priorities become everyone fed, watered, slept, wearing clean clothes? And I'm done.

But that's not actually when I'm done.  In this pregnancy, my first trimester was super hard because of the fatigue.  Little boy was not sleeping well at all as he was cross cutting teeth.  That means he was grumpy and waking up every three hours.  Or two hours.  Or one hour.  Every hour/ hour and a half.  Every night for a few weeks.  In the daytime I was completely useless.  I'd manage a few menial chores and then retreat to my couch where I could keep an eye on little fellow and watch Jessica Fletcher solve crime.

She's actually quite a terrifying person.  Everywhere she goes, someone is murdered.  She has no problem with this. Ever.

That's besides the point.  I really wanted a helper.  And now I've got one.

He picks things off the floor and puts them on tables.  Very helpful.  We're still working on discretion in this area as shoes don't belong on tables, but we're getting there.

When I sweep the floor, he holds the broom and helps direct it.  He's incredibly meticulous and will stand in one spot sweeping a square foot for 4 minutes before attempting to put the broom away.

Folding laundry is a bit different.  He prefers the casual look to clean clothes and will delightedly unfold and strew them about.  I'm not yet sold on the idea, but give me time.

While working in the kitchen he helps reorganise.  This is a much needed thing as since my second trimester nesting has kicked in I want to (in essence, not with superhuman skill) pick up the house and shake everything out so that I can sort it and organise it and put it away in a better place than it currently is.  He'll open a drawer or cupboard and put things away where they should go.  It's making me think.  The golden syrup goes in with the pots and pans.  As does the vanilla.  One lucky pot gained some cup measures.  The mill goes on the floor for easy access.  The pot lid goes in the drawer with the auxiliary kitchen tools.  The lemon press goes in with the reusable plastics.

He's got skills.

We've been trying to figure out how we will fit everything for two children in the nursery as we want the children to share (after the first bit, anyway) and I realized that our hall cupboard which is really the only storage place in the house needed to house more blankets and whatnot to get them out of the room.  Only problem is, the cupboard was already full.  So non-linen closet items are moving to the (now) storage room.  The little fellow and I spent a companionable few hours pulling out all the items on the bottom two shelves, sorting them and moving them.

It was then that I realised what an amazing helper I had.  I love it when he helps.  Really I do.  Even when it makes things take longer.  However, it does get frustrating sometimes.  I find that as he gets more independent and needs less cuddles and mom near him all the time that I can get frustrated with him more easily.  It's because I miss out on the cute ways that he does things.  The thoughtful air behind it all.  I'm not the best mother, crafting and time managementy and perfect, but I do love my child.  When I have to chase him down to get him to leave his nappy bin alone and to get out of that drawer for the 800th time, I forget the inquisitive nature, the adventurous spirit, the sheer curiosity that my little boy has.  Working with him as we destroyed today was fantastic.  We laughed and giggled and played about and eventually got things done.

I wouldn't trade my little helper.  Things will get done when they need to but I'm going to enjoy this slower, silly pace on the way.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Cloudy with a Chance of Footfalls

As I mentioned last post, little fellow is a walker.  I have no problems with this.  Many people said, "oh, when he's walking, he'll be into everything!" but when he was crawling he could still stand and got into everything.  Walking, I decided, would be good, because then he would feel more autonomous and therefore sleep better.

It is true, you know.

The one thing that I was not prepared for as we enter "winter" down here was the quiet that accompanies walking.  Mayhaps he is an odd child and the fact that he was a noisy crawler (slap, slap, thump, thump) as he shuffled along the floor made it too easy for me to know where he was.

Now you hear him move occasionally, but just one heavy step as he rights his balance perhaps or stops to peruse something.  You'll look up and ! where has he Frankenstein shuffled to now?

As he's getting better at walking, he's lost the shuffle and is very confident with his right foot.  The left comes along for the ride.  He's even tried running a few times.

So no, he doesn't get into more, but he does it more sneakily.  Perhaps we'll have to invest in tap shoes.  Or a bell.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Art of Movement

Our little fellow is a walker.  And it's amazing.

It's hard to believe that at one time this self-propelled inquisitive force was at one point immobile.  Yet, he was.  It's a most fascinating thing, watching someone learn to move.  First they wriggle and roll, surprising themselves and completely unaware of what they are doing.  A look of shock accompanies the movement until it is harnessed and the next challenge broached.

They get up on hands and knees.  The balance required for this is just astounding.  One little part not right and the whole thing comes tumbling down.  And that's to balance on all fours!  A small rocking appears as they imitate thorny devils and attempt to shake their way forward.  Or a fellow on his belly wriggles and squiggles to no apparent gain until you remember that he started over there.

When finally they get all the balance in gear, they have to go forward or back.  It's a laborious practice with slow, deliberate actions.  Slow and deliberate for a few days anyway and then off they race, chasing dreams and toys and something that looks highly appealing and that you didn't realize was in reach.

But to reach you must stand! Our fellow started furniture walking a week after he started crawling.  Furniture is a good thing to balance against and hold as you explore a bipedal existence.  How do feet do that?  Hold the floor while propelling, maintaining balance and rhythm.

All of these milestones are accompanied by crashes as gravity will not be denied.  Some crashes are tearful and others unnoticed as the goal to move and to make one's mark still dangle tantalizingly like a carrot or a cup of coffee (wait, that's maybe just for me to get moving) held aloft always out of reach.

One day something is too exciting and must be had.  So he lets go and takes that step, that first step alone in the world, unsupported and free.  Freedom is all fine and good, but none too comfortable, so the first step is alone.

Confidence gains the upper hand, however, and soon these toddlers toddle precariously and oddly, yet gracefully. I've seen him do many things to balance himself to keep moving without thinking of it.

Walking could never be enough with things to climb and conquer.  New levels must be explored, identified and tasted to verify their meaning.  These movements and action stupefy parents as they query "how did he do that?" Possibly the only way is with his sticky gecko feet.

I don't know.  I don't actually know how I walk.  Think about it as you glide across the floor, carrying things, making minor adjustments for corners, for impediments.

And at the same time, I feel these movements inside as many little person learns to do all sorts of things and tests his/her limits as he/she goes.

It's an art, this moving thing.  So let's get moving.  What do you want to do? Dance? Sweep the floor?  Idly stand?  You can do it.  And beautifully.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Shot of Gratitude

When you have just been on holiday for a month, travelling around the world with your husband and 13 month old, having visited 4 provinces and one state completely across the country from where you live whilst 5 months pregnant you suddenly develop an urge to be home.

When you are standing in Perth attempting to check in your bags for your 11th (and final) flight in a month, hungover from exhaustion, hungry and with a headache and the lady checking you in says, "Oh, you're not booked in until tomorrow night's flight," you suddenly develop an urge to create language blue and buoyant.

What's that? You caught some information that needs clarification?

Oh yes, we've just been on holiday.  We went to Canada to visit family and friends (Ontario), family and friends (Manitoba), friends, haunts and malls (Edmonton),  family and friends (Vancouver) ending with a wedding of friends who are like family, whilst staying with family (Brisbane).

That's not what needed clarification?  The baby thing? I've been wanting to broadcast it for months, but wanted to tell people in person as we went so that's kind of why the blog went silentish for a bit.  That and the extreme exhaustion brought on by first trimester and teething son.

When you realize that you may have to stay in Perth for an extra night, so close and yet frustratingly far from your wonderful, comfortable, familiar bed when you are to a level of exhaustion not felt since 4th year uni and the costo of doom, you suddenly develop crazy thoughts of renting cars and driving 9 hours on nothing or of taxiing to IKEA and trying to sleep in the twin to your bed while telling yourself, it's okay, you have friends in Perth who would let you stay and wouldn't it be fun to be on holiday for another night? Although you're more likely to burst into tears (and you have twice much to the chagrin of the man attempting to watch a movie on his laptop beside you).

When a call comes through from your travel agent three and a half hours later telling you that you are on the flight that you were meant to be on and had signed documentation about, you suddenly develop a wave of gratitude.  A six hour layover that earlier had seemed ridiculous now seems a blessing because you'd made your flight!  Everything is fantastic, aided by the fact that your dear husband found you a blueberry bagel when you got through security.

When you crawl into your own bed that night, which you'd made up fresh just before you left with cozy flannel sheets, you savour the feeling before you suddenly develop a need for sleep.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Obscure Movie Quote, Part Two

Updated with answers.  Purplish is correct.  Orange is still waiting for friends.  Because orange is the colour of loneliness (ref TBBT).

Hello again!

I have about 17 things that I should be writing (conservative estimate) and probably 26 other things in general that call out to be done, but I'm tired (see other non-written posts for details).  So instead, let's play a game again!

In this game, I post what I consider to be lesser-known quotes from movies.  You list as many as you can in the comments section, but without cheating.  Today we will have some special bonus quotes which are from books.  Ooh, fancy!

1.  "I got gum on my seat.  Gum!"  Speed

2.  "I won't think about that now, I'll think about it tomorrow.  After all, tomorrow is another day!" Gone With the Wind

3.  "I now pronounce you man and wife.  Proceed with the execution." The African Queen

4.  "We were one date away from a Greek tragedy." Soapdish

5.  "There was another Bill.  An evil Bill.  And I killed him." Twister

6.  "Oh, Morgan.  Why did you make me shoot you?  I said I would if you brought those sheep on my land." Montana

7.  "Bad dates." Indian Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark

8.  "Name one thing we're going to need this stupid [expletive deleted] rope for." The Boondock Saints

9.  "Oh Jerry, don't lets ask for the moon.  We've got the stars."  Now Voyager

10.  "Why couldn't it be 'follow the butterflies'"? Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

11.  "Oh, you both have layers...What about cake? Everybody loves cake." Shrek

12.  "There's not a day goes by I don't feel regret. Not because I'm in here, or because you think I should. I look back on the way I was then: a young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime. I want to talk to him. I want to try and talk some sense to him, tell him the way things are. But I can't. That kid's long gone and this old man is all that's left. I got to live with that." The Shawshank Redemption

13.  [Sung] "And it hurt that my friends never stood downwind." The Lion King

14.  "Whoops. Look at me, your very own Greek statue." My Big Fat Greek Wedding

15.  "I want to reward you with five minutes uninterrupted eye contact." Baby Mama

16.  "Never trust a bunny." Hoodwinked!

17.  "I gave you my mind, blindly." The Phantom of the Opera

18.  --"She told me about the letters."
     --"Letters? What letters?"
     --"The letters. She told me about them.  I know all about the letters.  How do you think I know? She told me.  That's how I found out." The Man Who Knew Too Little

19.  "Listen! Do you smell something?" Ghostbusters

20.  "Do I look like I own tights?" Step Up

21.  "Are you okay? I mean, be a man.  Rub some dirt in it." She's the Man

22.  "And we was like peas and carrots again." Forrest Gump

23.  "I'm not much of a dancer, but this looks like screw in the lightbulb and pat the dog." Bride and Prejudice

24.  [Sung] "Home is behind, the world ahead... And there are many paths to tread. Through shadow, to the edge of night, until the stars are all alight... Mist and shadow, cloud and shade, all shall fade... all... shall... fade... " LOTR: Return of the King

25.  "Do I get my meat?" Must Love Dogs

26.  "I'm Benny, he's the Jets." 27 Dresses

27.  "I know a's funny because the squirrel dies." Up

BONUS:  Obscure Book Quotes

28.  It struck me as pretty ridiculous to be called Mr Darcy and to stand on your own looking snooty at a party.  It's like being called Heathcliff and insisting on spending the entire evening in the garden, shouting "Cathy" and banging your head against a tree. Bridget Jones' Diary

29. A last note from your narrator.  I am haunted by humans. The Book Thief

30.  It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in position of good fortune, must be in want of a wife. Pride and Prejudice.