Wednesday, December 20, 2006

DJing for the younger set

Woo-eeeee! The Christmas season has descended on Chez FOO with a vengeance. This past weekend we were on the road for my MIL's family party and my university roommate reunion. Today our playgroup had a festive gathering (organized by yours truly -- cookie decorating, a Starbucks traveller, and a potluck buffet), tomorrow is Charlie's preschool party, Friday is my birthday, Christmas Eve is my family get-together, Christmas Day is HS's family get-together, and Charlie's birthday is on the 27th. Whew! But I love it. I like my family. I like all the parties. I didn't really get all of the magazine articles on holiday stress until last night when I had to make the cookies for today's party. So I got four packs of Pillsbury cookie dough sheets (yes! sheets! awesome! just add cookie cutters!) and got them all done in half an hour. Sweet. Charlie is doing fairly well with all of the excitement, although he had his worst meltdown EVER after the party on Saturday. But really, I could see it coming. Let's see, no nap + cookies and candy galore + lots of cousins to play with + presents + up past bedtime = serious freakout. A no-brainer.

I even had time to whip up a little CD of Charlie's favourite tunes for our playgroup. Here's the playlist:

Yellow Submarine (The Beatles) -- I think every kid likes the Yellow Submarine. And most of the Beatles stuff for that matter.
Pata Pata (Miriam Makeba) -- An effective Oil of Olay ad and a great dancing tune!
The Rainbow (The Apples in Stereo) -- Beatles-esque. See above.
La La La La Lemon (Barenaked Ladies) -- Oh Barenaked Ladies. I used to watch you at The 'Bow when it was just Steve and Ed.
The Coffee Song (Ralph's World) -- If your kid listens to this enough, he/she will learn to spell Mommy, Daddy and coffee. Makes for a great party trick!
Pay Me My Money Down (Bruce Springsteen) -- Pete Seeger is also good for the kiddos, but I really like this version.
Everybody Came (Ambrosia Parsley) -- Who is this singer?
Bushel and a Peck (Dan Zanes) -- I must confess, I have a crush on Dan Zanes.
See You on the Moon! (Great Lake Swimmers) -- I really should download more from this band. I love this song.
Mahna Mahna (Cake) -- But I don't like Cake! I do have fond memories of this from Sesame Street though.
I've Been Everywhere (Johnny Cash) -- He actually mentions Ottawa!
My Doorbell (The White Stripes) -- Surprisingly kid-friendly!
Hockey Monkey (James Kochalka) -- Charlie's favourite. And funny.
Mushaboom (Feist) -- My brother burned me a Feist CD ages ago, but it wasn't until the Lacoste ad that I heard this song. I am so not cool.
Wonderwheel (Dan Zanes) -- Told you I had a crush.
King of Spain (Moxy Fruvous) -- I used to live on the same street as Jian Ghomeshi.
Three Little Birds (Bob Marley) -- Kids love reggae!
Waltzing Matilda (Dan Zanes & Debbie Harry) -- Ok, it's a getting a bit embarassing.
L-O-V-E (Nat King Cole) -- His voice is just awesome.
What's the World Got in Store (Wilco) -- I think every parent asks this question.
The Rainbow Connection (Sarah McLachlan) -- I'd rather have the Kermit version, but this one is nice too.
We're Going to be Friends (The White Stripes) -- A better version than the one in Curious George.
Bonne Nuit Etienne (Montag) -- I don't know who this singer? group? is either, but this song is sweetly soothing.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Losing my nerve and my mind

Charlie has decided to squeak in the terrible twos just weeks before he turns three.

Now I know there are lots of posts about crazy days with Charlie and declarations of his only-hood, but at least I used to be able to count on a nap to break up the day. Dammit, that nap was important for my mental health. And Charlie's too because by 5:00 p.m. he is a bundle of sleep-deprived irrationality who wants everything and nothing at all at the same time. I am still trying to enforce quiet time, a mere 45 minutes when he must play in his room or listen to the blessed books on tape. But somehow quiet time has devolved into twenty minutes of Charlie bellowing from his room and slamming his door repeatedly. Behaviour that begets a time-out, which begets more tears and screaming, which begets a frazzled harpy of a mother. Add in negotiating the minefield that is an almost-three-year-old temperament, and by the time HS gets home I'm exhausted. Oh, and it's winter outside. And I can't shake this cold.

So I'm trying handle Charlie the best I can. HS and I hashed out a few things last night (after I dropped a sheet of the best cookies ever on the floor and stomped out of the house). We are trying to stick to our routines as closely as possible. Because they work, and Charlie is happier when he knows what's coming. He also hates being rushed to do anything (eating, crossing the road, and heaven forbid if we wipe his butt too quickly, cause he hates that too), which makes getting to school a bit, ahem, challenging, so I'm rejigging our timing so we won't be rushed. I am clearly outlining all transitions so there are fewer freak-outs at the unexpected. And I am trying to let go of the little things that make no sense to me, but are very important to-do's on a three-year-old's agenda, such as: If Charlie must put his mittens back on for the seven steps it takes to get from the car to the house, then let him. So what if he's just going to take them off when he gets inside? It's not bad behaviour. It just doesn't make sense to anyone over the age of five.

And today was better. But the upshot of all this is: I've lost my nerve. We were all set to go with baby #2, and since we decided to hold off until our timing was better, I'm hesitating. Again.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

My Friend, You are in Trouble

I just got spam with this subject line. It almost makes me want to open it.

Grade 7 All Over Again

Does this happen to you too?

Say you moved five hours away from the majority of your friends. You call, you email, you visit, you try hard to keep in touch. But then you get hit with a month of voice-shattering illness, you have to cut your last visit short, and you drop off-line for a while. But you recover, your voice comes back, and you feel much less like lopping your head off at the neck, so you call, you email, you put some feelers out for another visit.

And you get nothing.

I feel like I'm in grade seven again. You know, when being a girl sucks because there's always a bitchy ringleader who wakes up one day and chooses, much like Heidi Klum, who's in and who's out. And if you're out, you're screwed, because no one is going to talk to you. Because let's face it, if anyone dares defy the queen bitch, you can guarantee she'll be next. I'm overexaggerating of course, nobody has sent me a "You think you're so much better than everyone else!!!" email or anything (but I did get a note like that way back in the day). I'm paranoid, I know. People have lives; they are busy. It's the holiday season etc.

So do I call again? Send another email? Wait? Clean the bathroom?

What to do?

Friday, November 24, 2006

Nothing comes from nothing . . .

. . . nothing ever could, so somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good . . .

Damn I loves me some Sound of Music. It was even playing on TV in the delivery room when Charlie was born (it was the holidays after all). And you better believe I went on the Sound of Music tour when I was in Salzburg back in 1995. There were about 12 of us grimy backpackers crammed into a bright yellow van with an 18-year-old tour guide. I sat in the front and sang along to the soundtrack the whole time. It was awesome!

Anyway, I'm feeling grateful because Charlie is napping, it's Friday, I have a date with HS tomorrow night for Thai food and Casino Royale, and it has been sunny and warm the past few days.

Life is good.

Oh and Happy Blogiversary to me! This blog is one year old today!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Deep Throat

It looks like Chez FOO has been felled by another nasty virus. Good times! Charlie is on ANOTHER course of antibiotics, my voice is back but my throat is killing me, and HS is coughing up a storm.

You know, I kind of miss my throaty voice. Once I moved past the hoarse whisper to adolescent voice-cracking, I had a husky Kathleen-Turner-in-Romancing-the-Stone rasp and then a sexy, Demi-Moorish lilt. I even think that the doctor we saw at the drop-in clinic was flirting with me a little. And the pharmacist was super-duper nice when I got Charlie's script filled. It could be all in my heavily medicated head, I know. But still, an ego-boost is good for the soul, no?

Monday, November 13, 2006

The toddler whisperer

How is it that an adult and a child can be felled by the same virus, and while the child can run around and skip his nap, the adult just wants to crawl into bed for two weeks? Damn energetic youth!

Oh and I seem to have lost my voice. Almost completely. Do you know how hard it is to parent at a whisper? Not good my friends. Charlie already has that selective hearing thing mastered. Luckily my parents were in town this weekend, so they are keeping Charlie nicely distracted. But they are leaving this afternoon. I am so screwed.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Not to worry, I'm not going to continue with posts like "You can't cajole a toddler into having a nap," "You can't sing yourself horse to get your toddler to nap," and "You can't beg and plead with your toddler to have a nap," but believe me, I could go on.

So here we are, sleepless in Kanata. After six nap-free days, it's time to accept the facts: the nap is gone for good. Alas.

So I'm regrouping, looking for things we can do in the afternoons, and signing out all of the books on tape that I can lay my hands on at the library. I may have to visit some new locations.

I think I'm past anger and remorse. I'm on to acceptance.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

And now for something completely obvious

You can't lose your sh*t, yell (and I mean really shriek) at your toddler, and still expect him to nap.

I think that despite a few glorious naps here and there, I must accept the fact that Charlie's napping days are done, done, done. Is this payback for two mornings a week of preschool? Perhaps.

So now Charlie is having some quiet time in his room with a few books on tape, and I am sitting at my computer, feeling like crap for losing my cool.

HS better not be late today. I need backup.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Turns out you can't bribe a toddler into having a nap

I know, I know. Painfully obvious, but I was just desperate enough to give it a try.

Now what?

Monday, October 23, 2006

To my MIL: I owe you one

Thank God for grandparents.

Thanks to my MIL, HS and I just had a lovely weekend in Montreal. It was only our second full weekend when we both were away from him (in addition to one night this summer in Toronto), so I didn't feel guilty at all.

In fact, I missed him.

I know, I know, it's such a cliche. But I also think it's a good thing. I don't think I'm depressed anymore. Because I can remember, in that was-that-really-me? way, when Charlie was a year old and we would meet HS for dinner after work. We would have two cars, and I would beg HS to drive my car so I could have a few minutes to myself on the ride home. I was so desperate, I couldn't even stand to have Charlie in the back seat.

And so there I was on Friday, wandering around St. Laurent street, trying on clothes without having to wrangle or bribe an-almost-three-year old, and soaking in a tub, reading a book in a gorgeous hotel room, and I was a bit lonely. (HS was working out of the Montreal office that day.) I missed Charlie and his non-stop commentary. I spotted a park and a crepe restaurant he would like. I had the whole day to myself, and what I ended up wanting was to share it with Charlie. I'm a bit sad that this change took almost two years. And I hate that I felt so awful for the whole first year of Charlie's life. I wonder what motherhood would have been like without PPD. I envy my friends with babies who just feel tired and not suicidal. What is it like to parent a baby without constant, bone-crushing anxiety? I honestly don't know.

But I meant this post to be about Montreal, so let's get back to that, shall we?

After I dumped HS at work and the car at our hotel , and despite missing Charlie, I managed to pick up a few things for myself along St. Laurent. My favourite store is Lola & Emily, where I found the most perfect coat, just not in my size. If anyone knows where I can find a Ben Sherman funnel neck coat in medium, please let me know.

Since it was rainy and cold, I checked into our hotel early for a serious soak in the amazingly clean tub (with Fresh beauty products! Awesome!) and a nap. Ahhhhhh. HS met up with me at the hotel, and we went for dinner here, which, despite the groaner of a name, was totally delicious (we both love our fondue). I really wanted the classic chocolate fondue for dessert, but HS persuaded me to try the maple. If you go, you must too. How can you go wrong with warm maple syrup and cream with fruit to dip? You can't. But make reservations though. It was packed!

Saturday dawned grey and drizzly, but we didn't care. We slept in! Sort of. I had a hideous false dawn that only happens after I imbibe half a bottle of wine. You know the ones, you feel all perky and fresh at 5:30 a.m., but you can sense a massive headache just around the corner. I tried, somewhat successfully, to sleep it off, and after a couple of extra-strength Advils, I felt a little better. After breakfast (a lovely continental buffet at the hotel), we headed over to Old Montreal for a stroll. We visited Notre Dame and lit a few candles (something I haven't done since my European backpacking trip of, gulp, 1995 when I visited a lot of churches). Then we bought some cute baby gifts here, and learned something new at Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours Chapel, The Sailors' Church, which was my favourite part. It was founded by a French woman who believed in educating women and helping the poor, crossed the Atlantic seven times, and died when she was 80! All in the 1600s!

All that history made us hungry, so we grabbed a cab back to St. Laurent for a little smoked meat at a Montreal institution. Yes, we ate here. A carnivore's heaven. And if you go, the lineup really isn't as bad as it looks, and yes, you will have to sit with strangers, so this is not the time for intimate conversations. Get the smoked meat (medium, please, lean is too dry and full-fat is only for the hardcore), fries and a pickle. Awesome. After lunch we rolled back to the hotel for a nap (sweet, sweet, sleep) before heading out yet again to fill our bellies. This time it was L'Express, another Montreal tradition. I wish I could say I enjoyed it, but no. Our food was yummy (and authentic French bistro style), but our waiter was crap. I don't know how it is possible to feel completely ignored and insignificant as well as rushed, but there you go. Next time we'll try Meat Market, but you really need to make restaurant reservations in this town.

After another night of divine sleep (and, ahem, other activities), we decided to hightail it to Beauty's for brunch. Now there, the lineup is as bad as it looks, but once again, well worth the wait. We squeezed into a booth for fresh OJ and the Beauty's special (bagel with lox, cream cheese, tomato, and onion). And feeling quite rested, rejuvenated, and well-fed, we headed back home.

So thanks MIL. You're a marriage saver!

Monday, October 16, 2006

It's fall. Time for squash.

Oy, but the blogging is getting neglected these days. I guess that's painfully clear, no?

Once again, I am stuck in a vortex of freelance work, a not-napping almost-three-year-old, an impending visit from the MIL, and a cold that is just making its presence known. Good times!

So until I get my sh*t together, I suggest you run out and buy the November issue of Everyday Food. I was just about to cancel my subscription when this issue dropped in my mailbox with its lovely, easy, delicious and impressive recipe for butternut squash pasta sauce. I even overcame my fear of squash (and luckily the supermarket had a big, clearly labelled, squash display, because I honestly had no idea which one was the butternut). Turns out, you can peel squash with a vegetable peeler quite easily. Who knew? But seriously, this is totally yummy (although I would add a little more garlic) AND freezable. I would link to it, but the editors have not made it available on the site. Pity.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Q: How do you make God laugh?

A: Make a plan.

Does anyone else remember a little movie called Kicking and Screaming that does not star Will Ferrell? It came out in 1995 or so, and it was directed by Noah Baumbach. I loved that movie because it totally captures that "oh shit I just graduated from university and now what" feeling. It just came out on DVD, and I highly recommend it. And while I'm sure that joke has been around forever, Kicking and Screaming was where I first heard it. I just wish it didn't apply to my life right now.

This not-napping trend is totally kicking my ass.

You see, I took on a new project for the fall thinking that not only would I have nap time every afternoon, but five whole hours on Tuesday and Thursday mornings while Charlie is at preschool. Whee! Lots of time, right? Why, no! First Charlie just stopped napping on preschool days. Then he started skipping his nap every other day. And now he can go for two days in a row without a nap even though he is an irrational, melt-down-y mess by 5:00 p.m. It's killing me.

But today, thankfully, he naps. And the sun is coming out. And despite losing my car keys on my first duty day at preschool, resulting in HS making a panicked dash to give me the keys and two cab rides later, I'm actually feeling ok today. Without meds. Who knew?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Pizza! With peaches! Really!

It's getting colder and darker earlier these days. I guess it must be fall. Alas. I did manage to make good on my "eat as much fresh produce as possible" promise though, before the tomatoes start to taste like cardboard. And I'm a wee bit tired of corn on the cob to tell the truth. But, if you happen upon some Ontario peaches that don't look too sad and wrinkly, may I suggest a pizza recipe? That's right, pizza. Grab yourself a premade pizza crust and layer on the following:

smoked salmon, enough to cover the crust
thinly sliced red onion
camembert cheese (get one of those smaller rounds, slice 'er up, and scatter about)
sliced peaches (you can use canned peaches, but fresh are so much better)

Slide it in the oven for 15 minutes or so at 400-425. If you're feeling extra fancy, scatter some shredded arugula overtop (I have not tried this, but my friend K, who's recipe this is, says it's a nice touch. I think the pizza is fine without it). It's not a combo I would have come up with, but that's what friends are for, no?

And the most important reason it is good not to be knocked up right now

It's official: Charlie has dropped his nap. Fuckity fuck.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The pros and cons

Reasons why it is good NOT to be pregnant right now:

1. I've run back in to the sweet, sweet embrace of caffeine. I couldn't help it. Charlie has decided to nap every other day, and I was on deadline. And let's face it, I'm a way better parent after a coffee. I am not a morning person, and Charlie is. How else am I going to balance that difference? At least I'm not back on my afternoon-diet-Coke kick. Yet. I was tempted by a Coke Blak while we were in the States (although HS has spotted them here), and man did that give me a nice afternoon rush. The taste is somewhat like a Coke float if you made that float with coffee ice cream. Weirdly tasty, good 'n' buzzy.

2. I just started another freelance project. I'm going to need every nap time I can get.

3. I just bought skinny jeans. (Ok, that's not such a big deal. They were on sale at Old Navy for $29, so I figured what the hell. And since I'm planning on getting knocked up eventually, I don't want to pay the $249 for the J. Brand version. And honestly, they really aren't that flattering unless you are a stick or you wear them with a cute tunic top.)

4. We are looking at making major, major changes to our lives next spring. So a baby in May would complicate things radically. And with the threat of PPD the second time around, I need to be settled and stable before another baby enters our lives. (I just finished Ghost in the House: Motherhood, Raising Children, and Struggling with Depression by Tracy Thompson. It is excellent. I recognized a lot of what I went through in this book, which is comforting and unsettling at the same time. I also read What am I Thinking by Karen Kleiman, which is a practical guide to having a baby after depression.)

Despite all of these reasons, I was still a little disappointed to see only one line on that pregnancy test. But at least I only used two tests this time.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The future

Charlie starts preschool tomorrow. I think he's ready. Oh, there will be tears I'm sure (his and mine most likely), but he'll adjust. Eventually.

But something scary hit me the other night. Charlie will be 17 when he leaves home for university (assuming, of course, he goes). Holy f*ck. Doesn't 17 seem awfully young to be on your own?

Must start an RESP.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The days are long but the years are fast

I can't believe summer is over. Just like that, it's September, Charlie's surgery was a couple of days ago, and he starts preschool next week. My heed, she reels. And I haven't even posted about our summer yet.

Yep, I did say surgery. I didn't post about it before because I was trying not to fret, but fret I did nonetheless. How can you not if your sweet baby is going to be in pain? Although it wasn't surgery, per se. There was no incision, thank god, but there was general anesthetic. This was a procedure to (please, please) fix his reflux so we can take Charlie off of at least one of his meds. It's basically two injections that will shore up the bladder wall and stop that annoying (and potentially damaging) two-way passage of urine between Charlie's kidneys and bladder. We'd like our urine going one-way only thank you very much! We talked about the operation a lot with Charlie and read every single "X goes to the hospital" book I could get my mitts on (I recommend the Franklin version over Curious George). And we talked about what was going to happen and how Charlie would get Jello for breakfast because it was a special day, and after the operation we could get chocolate milk from the cafeteria on the way home.

All things considered, the day went very well.

We fed Charlie copious amounts of Jello for breakfast. We topped him up with more before his 10:30-no-food-or-drink deadline. The nurses at CHEO were awesomely friendly, and Charlie was so chatty they decided not to give him some preliminary sleep meds because they could make him "angry-angry instead of sad-angry" when he woke up from the anesthetic. Funny, they never mentioned that before.

Charlie was great just until the hand off. Then he started to cry, and so did I. Good thing HS can hack this stuff. We handed over our baby, and they whisked him away. As we left we could hear Charlie talking about the baby in his tummy to the nurses, so I felt better. (Charlie is convinced that his has a baby in his tummy. It's a girl, and her name is Cracker. Lovingly named after his favourite snack food, but boy that name gets a few raised eyebrows. I'm pretty sure my MIL was quizzing Charlie about possible babies in MY tummy -- I brought Materna to her house, so it makes sense -- and hence little baby Cracker was conceived. I am not pregnant at this time, but we'll see next week!)

The surgery went very well. Textbook even, hurrah! But man that anesthetic f*cks them up. We definitely got the sad-angry at top volume. But after a little nap on the way home, Charlie was much better. And after a half-litre of chocolate milk, almost back to normal.

I'm exhausted, but he bounced back just fine.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Charlie's summer

I'm actually ahead on my project, Charlie is down for nap without fuss, and the house is clean. Ahhhhhhhhh. Time to blog!

And speaking of Charlie, can I just say holy cra-yup he has changed so much over the summer. Or maybe it was me, I don't know. But once we were at my MIL's I decided enough is enough, let's get off this merry-go-round of veggie burgers/quesadillas/mac and cheese for dinner. I'm sick of making something extra for Charlie. Let's see what happens if we just give him what we eat with no other options! (And yes, yes I know I should have been doing this from the start, but Charlie had some, shall we say, texture issues? Issues that prevented him from consuming fresh fruit, vegetables, and any type of meat without gagging and spitting or vomiting! You'd avoid it too!) And it was HS's job to deal with the fall-out because the whole eating thing is an issue for me, and dammit, Charlie knows it. And do you know what? The boy eats! I almost sobbed with happiness last night when he slurped up his diced tomato and chowed down on a hamburger. But that's not all! He'll eat salmon! chicken! steak! tomato sauce! And, with some encouragement, apple slices! grapes! raspberries! Oddly enought though, no blueberries. But who cares! He will eat. Almost anything as it turns out. Even, ahem, peanut butter, thanks to my dad. Apparently I hadn't briefed him on the finer points of children's allergies and the holding off until three for peanuts when you have food allergies in the family thing. But that's what happens grandpa looks after your baby while you catch some extra shut-eye. Anarchy! Luckily Charlie is just fine with nuts (thank god, because I have a friend with a severe nut allergy and it really sucks). Don't you hate it when you get all worked up and worried about something that turns out fine and you really should have tried it sooner? Yeah, me too.

So eating, good. Sleeping, not so good. Charlie has decided that he'd rather not nap, thank you. He'd much prefer to bake a cake, truth be known (that has been his reason for not sleeping for the past few days. I have no idea why his culinary aspirations must be fulfilled just before naptime, but there you go). And now that he's in a big-boy bed, I can't just leave him to pound the wall and shake the bars until he falls asleep. So I've been singing my heart out and lying beside him until he drops off, which he does, because he is actually tired and there's no way I'm ready for him to drop his nap yet. But the worst part is we can no longer transfer him from the car to his bed if he falls asleep. Dammit, that was a sweet ride while it lasted. It seems that now a 15-20 minute catnap in the car can make up for what is usually (once he's wrestled to sleep) two hours at home. At least now that we're at home he's not getting up in the middle of the night, which was a horrid reminder of all that sleep deprivation of babyhood. I think that three weeks away was a little much for him, and the twice-nightly wake-up calls were just a way of saying "let's go home. Grandma's house is nice 'n' all, but I want my own bed, not this toddler aerobed you're trying to pass off as my futon." But for the first two weeks, the toddler aerobed worked just fine, so I highly recommend one. It's just a smaller blow-up mattress, but it has raised edges to prevent the little guys from falling out. Although Charlie landed on the floor one night anyway, for the most part it kept him in place.

Oh and he's reading. He can recognize quite a few words now, and I'm so f*cking proud, but I really don't feel like we should talk about it, because that would be bragging, but really, isn't a blog the perfect place to say this stuff? So there you go. Charlie's summer in a nutshell: He eats! He doesn't sleep! But he reads! And he's nowhere near potty-trained!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Four negatives don't equal one positive

Blogging secrecy + dropped naps + new freelance project = no time for blogging. Ugh.

But here's a quick post to tell you, four negative pregnancy tests don't lie! Surprise! I'm not knocked up, and I'm ok with that. A little disappointed though. I just want to get pregnant right away so 1. I'm not denying myself caffeine for nothing 2. I'm not denying myself my precious, precious meds for no reason. Because dropping my last pill, even though I weaned myself slowly, even though I did it in summer, surrounded by friends and family, was really f*cking hard. Although I feel better, and I can handle the lower moments much better, dammit, I sure as hell don't want them. I liked not having those bad, low days. And while they are nowhere near as severe as they used to be, I'd rather not feel that way at all thank you very much.

But it's sunny today, and we're off to the Governor General's residence for a picnic! You can't feel sad on a picnic, right?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I really want to write something about the past three weeks, but here's what's really going on inside my head

I'm late.

Two days, but still. I never go past 28 days on any cycle (I guess ten years of the pill will do that to you). So you think Hurrah! Break out the pregnancy tests! Um, no. Because, as I am well aware of my cycle, I have already wasted four (yes, four!) of those early response tests, and they all came back negatory. And I have great faith on those tests because one of those sticks announced Charlie with the faintest second line you ever did see. It was so faint that when I went to my doctor to get checked out she was ready to dismiss me with a "Nope, your test is negative." Then she squinted, held it up to the light and said "No wait, hold on a minute. Hmmmmm. Let's send you for some blood work." And voila! Charlie's presence confirmed.

So I'm waiting patiently and ignoring the cramps (not pregnant!) and nausea (pregnant!) that are alternating throughout the day. Because I don't want to cough up another $13.99 for a fifth test that will practically shout out "WHAT ARE YOU DUMB OR SOMETHING?! GIVE UP ALREADY! WE SAID "NEGATIVE" FOUR TIMES!"

Must. Stay. Away. From. Shoppers.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Summer 2006

The infamous swan boats in the Boston Public Garden.

The train ride at Santa's Village.

Grandpa and Charlie in the boat on Georgian Bay.

Henry's Fish Restaurant, Sans Souci. Awesome fish and chips, make sure to get the batter-fried pickerel -- you can get pan-fried, but why bother? But here's the secret: Henry's buttertarts will blow you out of the water, they are that f*cking good. Get extras to take home.

Me and Charlie. Sunset on Georgian Bay.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

From ice cream in Vermont to the ditch outside of Barry's Bay

I have many, many posts to come about the last three weeks, but needless to say that our summer holiday was awesome, although it ended in a maelstrom of weirdly not great luck capped off with a slide into a ditch for HS on the ride back to Ottawa. Luckily he is fine. The car is not so fine and sits in Eganville awaiting an insurance appraiser. More to come on that. I still can't believe that it's mid-August already. I have vowed to eat fresh tomatoes, corn and peaches every day. You should too!

Here are the duckling statues from Boston's Public Garden. Charlie loved them.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Pssssssst.......I'm over here!

Yikes! This has to be quick. I'm posting from my parents' computer via dial-up on an island in Georgian Bay.

So how are you? How is your summer? Mine has been just lovely. I've been well taken care of at my MIL's place, despite the fact that her modem is fried, so I have no way to post in privacy. I'm stealing a few minutes here while everyone is either napping or swimming. So what have I been up to? Eating the BEST fish at chips at Henry's Fish Restaurant, going to Santa's Village a lot (thanks to a season's pass from my MIL), eating a ton (because I'm not cooking and my MIL has a sweet tooth), and swimming whenever it isn't raining. Oh and we pulled our back-up goalie a few weeks ago, so I'm already convinced I'm knocked up. But then again, I was convinced I was preggers every month during the year we tried for Charlie, so my "instincts" really can't be trusted.

Gotta go! I think someone is waking up!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The great state of Vermont will not apologize for its cheese!

Anyone else seen Thank You for Smoking? Cause if you have, then you too might be tempted to yell out the above words while visiting Vermont. (William H. Macy -- an actor I just adore -- plays the senator from Vermont in Thank You for Smoking. Aaron Eckhardt is a PR guy for the smoking industry who -- in response to the senator's attack on smoking -- attacks Vermont for its cheese industry and the resulting high cholesterol levels in Americans. I loved that movie, not only because HS is in PR, but because it thoroughly avoided a happy Hollywood ending -- and ending I really wanted and expected but never got. Because that's what I pay a babysitter for -- a movie that messes with you.)

But I digress. And use far too many em-dashes.

We're back! From Boston! We survived a sixteen-hour car drive with a 2.5-year-old! Actually, he was stellar during the trip. I was the one who almost lost it when I missed the I-89 and ended up adding thirty extra miles to our return trip. Luckily those miles were through very scenic Vermont countryside, so it wasn't too terrible. But I was hungry and mad at HS for not fulfilling his navigator duties. And then we ended up in Montpelier for lunch at an organic vegetarian buffet restaurant (called Rhapsody -- it's on the main street, yummy sesame noodles and egg rolls, you should go). I was thrilled to eat something other than McDonald's for lunch, and HS was pissed that he missed the Subway just down the street. But c'mon, ginger-garlic tofu is good for you!

Lordy it's late, and we're leaving again tomorrow for my MIL's (aka dial-up land, and since this blog is a secret, I may not be posting all that much for the next couple of weeks), and HS is out of town, so I gotta get to bed. More on Boston tomorrow (hopefully). Like Ben & Jerry's! Popular with the biker crowd! Duckling statues at the Public Garden! Didn't disappoint! Just hanging out with the kids in your friends' basement can be fun! Vermont-Quebec border crossing! Not busy! And other gems!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A quick note as I head out the door . . .

So it's been a while since I posted, no? I can explain. First I went to Toronto for some much-needed me time. My sister and brother-in-law took me out for yummy Greek food and The Devil Wears Prada (I love that movie! The clothes! La Streep! Paris and New York!); I finally got my roots touched up (thank you thank you thank you Michael Barnett -- you rock!); I had dinner in Guelph with almost all of my closest girlfriends (such a sanity saver); and I had brunch at Bonjour Brioche with two of my favourite guys (you really should treat yourself to a croissant from BB -- they are so buttery and flaky and delish). All in all, a fab weekend -- it did wonders for my spirits and totally decimated my health. Since Monday I've been either 1. lying on the couch, moaning, trying to distract Charlie with my feeble attempts at horizontal parenting or 2. in bed, medicated to the hilt with Nyquil. Luckily I'm feeling much better because we're off to Boston tonight. Whee! Did you know that Boston is only about eight hours from Ottawa? Why that's practically how long it took us to get to my MIL's on Christmas Eve! But since we aren't total fools, we're stopping half way in Vermont tonight so we can hit the Ben & Jerry's factory tour tomorrow morning. (Just a word of advice, best not to mention the words "ice cream factory tour" to a 2.5-year old until the actual day of said tour. Because Charlie keeps asking with alarming frequency when we are going on the damn tour already. That and he's obsessed with the ducklings from "Make Way for Ducklings" by Robert McCloskey. He's convinced that we will see them at the Public Garden in Boston, and he will be able to hold one in his hand. I know that they have statues of the ducklings, so let's hope and pray that those suffice or else we're in for the meltdown of all meltdowns. Mental note: pack chocolate milk.) Then it's on to Boston and shopping, I mean, visiting our friends. Yes, that's it. I'll let you know how it goes, and maybe I'll even have a picture or two!

Friday, July 14, 2006

What, me worry?

Just a quick post while Charlie is enthralled by Dora . . .

The tests came back normal. I don't know why I wasn't being specific, but here's what it was: I found a lump. And after a week of trying to ignore it, I went to my doctor and he confirmed it. A lump in ole righty. No surprise really, righty was the one that gave me all the grief when I was breastfeeding (all those blocked ducts were a right pain in the, well, boob). Anywho, I had a mammogram and ultrasound that both came back normal. Whew!

So of course, after all the worry and guests and generally trying to keep my sh*t together, I am now sick with a lovely cold. And Charlie has it too. Did you know they will give you liquid codeine to treat a bad cough? (For Charlie, not me!) We just had to drug Charlie last night. He's been up for the past three nights; HS and I are not handling the sleep deprivation well. At least he slept until 4:30 a.m.

And now I'm off to Toronto. Just me, no HS, no Charlie. I wasn't going to go because I still have a bit of a sore throat, but HS convinced me that a few days on my own, with friends, would do me some good. And he is willing to take on cranky, snot-soaked, coughy mccougherton all on his own. He is the best husband ever!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Mother's intuition

Wow, HS and I can be really slow to figure out Charlie sometimes. As illustrated by the Cars debacle, it seems we really need to be hit over the head to get the point across. Case in point: Charlie has been VERY whiny over the last two days. And he was quite tired way before his usual bedtime. And he was up during the night, demanding some company in his big-boy bed (if there are any more nights like this we gotta get a cushier futon). So there's HS and I puzzling over why this might be, is he worn out from the heat? Has he had enough of our merry-go-round of visitors? Did the bike ride do him in? Etc. Um no. He woke up this morning with a fever! Boy do we feel dumb. And to top it all off, I think I'm getting it too! Oh joy! Being sick in the summer just seems so wrong. So I'm off to bed now. And I'm seriously considering chicken soup and neo citran for dinner, despite the heat.

And tomorrow I get my test results back. Not that I'm thinking about that all of the time. Oh no, not me.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Great moments in parenting idiocy

(A recreation of events that occurred this past Monday.)

niks: "Hey HS, I have a great idea. Since it's raining, let's take Charlie to Cars*! He loved Over the Hedge, and he sat through the whole thing no problem. What do you think?"

HS: "Great idea! And while we're at it, why don't we stop at that little carnival on the way home*? I have two tickets left, and Charlie can ride those cars he liked."

niks: "Perfect! I'm sure that will tire him out*, and he had a late nap, so he won't be too cranky*. We can just skip his bath* and put him right to bed when we get home*."

The stars indicate exactly where we, as loving parents, went wrong.

First, Cars. Did you know it's a TWO HOUR movie? For kids????? Ok, we should have checked that one first. And it's about race cars? Loud, flashy, zippy cars? Not exactly great fare for a two-and-a-half-year old to watch in the super mega surround sound multiplex.

Second, carnival????? At 9:30 at night? Yes, we are just that stupid. Let's take our antsy, overstimulated, somewhat tired child to a carnival! With flashing lights! And loud music! And why not put him on a loud ride that goes around and around and around! Let's get him more wound up, not tired out, shall we? Splendid idea!

Third, skip his bath????? The key to his bedtime routine? Madness! That's the thing about routines: they work so beautifully, but if you deviate from the plan prepare to pay the price. Although, to be fair to us, the slow to catch on, Charlie didn't actually protest until he was already in pyjamas and brushing his teeth, so we thought we were in the clear. Alas, no. The missing bath led to a MASSIVE hour-long meltdown that finally ended when Charlie fell asleep at 11 p.m. And he woke up at 7 a.m. demanding a bath. Needless to say, he got one.

Monday, July 03, 2006

I will not obsess I will not obsess I will not obsess

And here I thought I was doing so well. I was nicely distracted by guests this weekend (a couple of HS's high school friends. I would say my friends too, but I just can't get into the who-was-screwing-around-with-what-teacher conversation, y'know? There was a shockingly long list from HS's high school, but anywho). Now that everyone has cleared out, I have some free time with my thoughts. Not a good thing, considering tomorrow is my day o' medical tests. Oh joy. I have a low, constant level of queasiness and a raging patch of eczema to remind me. Not that I need reminding, mind you. My brain takes care of that, so body, cool it with the flaky skin, ok? But on the bright side, the outdoor pools are open, and I always feel better floating about in the water. Pool, lake, river, it doesn't matter; it's an instant mood lifter. (When I was nine months pregnant with Charlie, I lived in the JCC pool. I was so enormous, it hurt to walk, but in the pool -- bliss. When Charlie was born two weeks early at 9.1 lbs, the pain made sense.) So we are going swimming after Charlie's nap. And perhaps a bike ride because I find that my thoughts become wonderfully disjointed non sequiters when I exercise.

But let's talk about something else. How about food? Again! Our friends gave us this yummy marinade when we visited their cottage. I don't think they'd mind if we posted it. (I don't know if they made it up or what, so if this is someone's recipe, my apologies.) I recreated it this past weekend paired with some steaks, and I looked like a culinary superstah! And the watermelon-feta salad was a hit again, after the usual skepticism. Toss the following together, and hit the grill!

1/2 C red wine
1/3 C vegetable oil
1/3 C soy sauce
1/4 C sugar
1/2 C chopped green onions
6 crushed garlic cloves
a few shakes of hot sauce

(I used a little more wine and a little less sugar, but I'm not a sweets kind of girl anyway.)

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Happy belated Canada Day!

This has nothing to do with Canada Day, but . . . I have no idea why, but I am so craving mushroom nut loaf from Hey Good Cooking. If you live in Toronto, and you happen to be in the neighbourhood of Dupont and Spadina, I highly recommend checking it out. And their tahini dressing rocks too!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Tunes for toddlers

HS was watching CBC last night, and Moxy Fruvous was playing. They were singing "King of Spain," and Charlie was totally rocking out. I highly recommend this catchy little ditty for your toddler. Check it out on iTunes, natch.

Fun bit o' trivia: Jian Ghomeshi used to live just up the street from us in Toronto.

Dear Caitlin Flanagan,

I haven't read your book yet (I'm #35 on the list at the library), but I hear it's generating a boatload of controversy. Mommy wars debate aside, I wanted to say thanks for the burrito recipe. It was delicious! I look forward to the halibut and couscous.

Best regards,


I must watch Parenthood again

At least he wasn't banging his head against the wall.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

And I need a pedicure

When I'm stressed out about something, I get very clumsy. It seems that when my mind is filled with worry, I lose track of such things as the length and span of my limbs. When Charlie was a baby, I was always covered in bruises, and I even walked right into a screen door. So really, it should have come as no surprise that yesterday I broke my toe. There I was, happily strolling out of Gymboree music class, when I whacked my left foot against those rather sturdy wooden play structures. And I must say that I am rather proud that I managed to choke back all of the expletives that normally would come flying out of my mouth. Yes, I broke a toe and nary a "SWEET MOTHER OF F*CK!" was heard. Quite an accomplishment! I really should add that to my resume. Alas, there is nothing you can do for a broken toe except rest it, consume Advil, and wait. Unless of course it's out of joint, then I'll have to go back to the doctor to have him reset it. You can bet there will be swearing if I have to go through that.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Trying to keep my mind on other things

Despite all the googling and obsessing, it was still quite a nice weekend. Last night was positively lovely. HS, Charlie and I went for leisurely bike ride after dinner, and we had popsicles. I finally dug out the popsicle maker, whipped up a batch of watermelon limeade (sans vodka, of course), and froze it. So delicious! So summer-y!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Hey psychic, I could have used a heads-up on this one

I think I'm totally cured of baby fear. No, really. Because I have a whole new fear to replace it! Hurrah! After ignoring a symptom for a couple of days, I decided I'd better get my butt to the doctor to check it out, especially since I forced HS to get his mysterious ailment checked out the same day it appeared about a month ago. (A symptom, when Googled, could have amounted to anything from cancer to no big deal. Luckily we landed on the no big deal side of things.) Now the doctor did give me a somewhat reassuring "it is most likely benign." But there's also a possibility it could be very, very bad! So let's just have medical procedures X & Y to clear things up, shall we? Ok! No problem! I will call the list of labs straightaway to make an appointment. Ten phone calls to ten different clinics in the Ottawa area later, I found out that while I can get an appointment for procedure X next week, procedure Y is all booked up until August. August people! That is just. too. long. to. wait. And did I mention I'm trying to wean off my meds? So I started sobbing into the phone to some poor receptionist. (I wonder if they get that a lot.) Luckily she suggested I call the Smiths Falls clinic. It's an hour away, but who cares? I did, and now I have an appointment for July 4th. Still far too long in my opinion, but better than fucking August.

So screw it. If this turns out to be benign, then WTF. Let's have another baby. Because I want one, despite the fear. Let's move back to Toronto. We could be happier there and closer to friends and family. And why not just take on that somewhat scary, but could be wonderful, freelance project? My life has been on hold for long enough.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The fear -- reason #1

Three months after Charlie was born, I invited my work friends to come over to meet the baby, indulge in some work gossip, and consume some breastfeeding-friendly beverages. Of course Charlie was super fussy. Of course he only wanted me to hold him. And he was spitting up everywhere. So there I was, trying to show off my grumpy baby, and all he would do was wail and nurse, wail and nurse. One of my friends, who has two kids, finally got her hands on Charlie, looked at me and said "Don't you just love being a mom?"

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I wanted to wail. I don't love it! I'm tired and anxious ALL THE TIME! I feel like a complete failure! I haven't been out of the house in a week! Don't you remember what it's like?

But I didn't say all that of course. I tried to replace the look of shock and confusion with one of maternal bliss. And I choked out brightly, "Yes! It's wonderful!"

After three months of motherhood, I hadn't had more than three hours of sleep in one stretch. I worried about everything. Breastfeeding was a source of pain and stress. And I had to deal with the fact that, no matter how much I tried to ignore it, we were moving to Ottawa soon, far away from friends and family. It was the dead of winter, and I was cooped up in the house all by myself. Not a great recipe for mental health.

I can't imagine feeling that way while trying to look after Charlie.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Pray for sunshine

We're off to a friend's cottage this weekend, and the amount of stuff we have to pack is mind-boggling. When I say "we" I mean "me" of course. Such are the responsibilities of a SAHM. Thrilling I know.

But I'm tempted to feck off on the packing to go strawberry picking. The Dekok family berry farm is open today! Hurrah! And strangely enough, berry picking actually entertained Charlie last year, so I'm hoping for a repeat performance this afternoon. I'm ever so hopeful that this year he might just eat a strawberry since just last night, for the first time in his young life, Charlie ate a raw carrot, some red pepper and a few cucumber slices. I was hooting like Tom Cruise on Oprah's couch, I was that happy to see Charlie consume raw veggies. Could potty training be next?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Hello diet Coke my old friend

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. My hellish freelance project is done and invoiced. We don't have any guests, so the house does not have to be clean to my MIL's standards. And Charlie is napping. This is the first time since February when I have not had to work during nap time. I even bought some plants for my flowerbeds (wiltonii, little princess spirea, daylilies, and a clematis), and it looks like I might just have time to plant them. I'm even going to the gym tonight! Whee!

So what to do with all my free time? Why obsess about having another baby of course! Now while the psychic seems to have my life all figured out, and we've already pulled Hasek, Emery remains firmly in place (if you're talking in Sens terms). In fact, I have a list of to-do's to accomplish before we even think about pulling the backup goalie. They are, in no particular order:

1. Wean off the St. John's Wort.

I'm down to one pill a day instead of three, and so far, so good. And since the freelance work is done for now, I might just stop some time this week. But I'm scared. I love that little pill even if it does taste like hay. I love it because I still feel like me, but without the really bad days, the days when I feel like I am being pulled into a well of despair by a firmly knotted rope around my chest. But the weather is better (and believe me, that helps), Charlie is just lovely (we had a rough April, but he seems to be back to his usual sweet self with a few doses of craziness thrown in to spice things up), and HS has a good chunk of holidays coming up, all things that will help keep the bad days at bay.

2. Wean off the caffeine.

I don't know which is harder to give up, the antidepressant or the caffeine. There was NO WAY I could give them both up while I was working, and I even had to up my caffeine intake just to get through the day without collapsing the moment HS walked through the door. I used to be at a reasonable one large cup of coffee a day. Then it became one XL cup of coffee a day. And somehow it creeped up to one XL, one diet Coke, . . . then two diet Cokes and then, well, you can see I have some work to do. So today I've had one L coffee. But damn, I am so jonesing for my DC.

3. Overcome/deal with/address the pit of fear in my stomach that rears its ugly head whenever I think about having another baby.

Ah that. That's the real issue. Because if I did get pregnant, I could give up the SJW and the coffee, probably cold turkey. It wouldn't be fun, and I'd need some support, but I know I could do it if I had to. But the fear? I'm having a hard time getting past it. A really hard time.

A random question

Is there anything funnier than a 2.5-year old singing along to Johnny Cash? "Ring of Fire" never sounded so sweet.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I'm glad that's settled

Well, it appears that the debate is over. HS's company had a psychic come in today for some fun corporate bonding and whatever, and according to the psychic, Charlie is a first. Yep, looks like I'm having a baby, a girl, very soon. Yikes! I didn't even know I had made up my mind yet.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Procrastination and watermelon

I'm in the home stretch of my project, and the finish line is so tantalizingly close. My forearms are tingly, my eyes are permanently bloodshot, and I have a buzzing sensation in the back of my neck. Ugh. Must book a massage for Saturday stat! (And maybe a little physio to boot.) 'cause Friday is the deadline people. So no matter what, I gotta be done by then. So of course I procrastinate! Whee! Why?!

Ok, ok, I really must go, but before I do, I must make a recommendation. You really have to give this a whirl. Who would have thought? Feta and watermelon! It looks impressive, tastes delish, and it is dead easy. Oh yes, your guests will be wary, but once they try it, the whole bowl will disappear.

Monday, May 29, 2006


You know how when you're a freelancer and you take on a project, agree to a timeline, and then find out that the short, seemingly straight-forward task is now a huge hopeless mess that will take much longer than you thought even though your employer would still like it on time, thank you very much. No? Well, let me tell you, it sucks. My whole body aches and my wrists are on fire from spending so much time in front of the computer. And to top it all off, my MIL, BIL, and nephew are coming to visit this weekend. Oh joy! So until I dig out from under the disaster zone that is my house and freelance career, you might not hear from me for a little while. Not that I'm the most regular or verbose writer, but still. Until then, two quick items:

It seems that we have transitioned Charlie to a "big-boy bed" (read: futon on the floor). I was willing to keep Charlie in his crib until university, but HS had other ideas. So far, so good, knock wood.

Is anyone else bothered by the naming conventions in the Franklin books? There's Bear the bear, Otter the otter, Fox the fox, Beaver (Does anyone else snicker at the fact that Beaver is a girl, or is it just me?) the beaver, Snail the snail . . . and Franklin the turtle. Shouldn't his name just be Turtle?

Friday, May 26, 2006

I need a margarita and it isn't even noon yet

Why do toddlers wake up in bad moods? I guess we all have our off days, but I can usually pinpoint a reason for my foul temper (PMS, lack of sleep, lack of seratonin, hunger, caffeine-withdrawal headache, etc.). But Charlie, WTF? He was foul from the moment he hollered from his crib. HS escaped to the office as fast as he could with a "Love you! Good luck!" as he sprinted out the door. But Charlie had a good night's sleep, he ate breakfast, I soothed him with Dora, we ran around at the park . . . I don't get it. Luckily a ride in the car with some folk tunes calmed him down, and he eventually gave up and conked out. Phew! I'm gonna need some backup when he wakes up.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Long weekend stats

Days without rain: 0
Days with snow: 1
Days with hail: 1
Moose sitings: 5
Latest time I got to sleep in: 9:30 a.m. (thank you HS)
Latest time Charlie slept in: 6:30 a.m.
Amount of bacon consumed: 1lb, give or take a strip
Amount of cheese consumed, courtesy of HS's aunt and uncle from Holland: 2lbs, at least
Meals bbq'd: 3 (Including the nadir of unhealthy grilled meat: the cheese-stuffed sausage. So greasy! So chock-full of saturated and trans fats! But so, so tasty!)
Number of extremely fussy 2-month-olds successfully rocked to sleep: 1 (Actually, I held her and bounced on an exercise ball until she fell asleep. MUST get one of those if/when we have another!)
Kilometres travelled: 700
Number of times Charlie asked to go home: 1 (a new record!)
Number of times I thought that we live too far away from our families: too many to count

Thursday, May 18, 2006

How to mess with your neighbours' heads

Borrow your two-month-old niece. Take a short stroll to the park and back.

Seriously, two of our neighbours pulled over as they were driving by (one with a bit of a screeeeeeeeeech!) to ask how on earth they missed my pregnancy. Too funny.

I never thought that the burbs would be like living in a small town, but when someone at the park asks if you've been away because the shades have been drawn a lot lately, whoah. I grew up in a small town, but after living in Toronto for seven years, you kind of forget that people watch. Our neighbours in Toronto didn't notice that we had a baby until he was four months old. And we shared a wall!

Still, it was kind of fun to take my niece for a test drive. HS and I were the very picture of the two-kid family as we walked to the park, baby snoozing in the stroller, toddler on his bike. It was sweet and lovely and another reason to go ahead with the June baby-making plan.

First seems to be winning.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Time management and strawberries

Ugh, I am so pressed for time these days. My brother and his family are visiting, I'm on deadline for two projects, and Charlie is dropping naps left, right, and centre. Not good.

So instead of a post about all the things on my mind lately, how about some recipes!?

Strawberries seem to be plentiful and on sale these days (why is that?), and some of them even taste berry-like. Whee! So how about a smoothie? So yummy, and an easy-peasy way to get some goodness into your fresh-fruit-and-veggie-resistant toddler.

Throw the following in your blender:

1 banana
1 scoop silken tofu
2 scoops plain yogurt (y'know, the healthy kind with live cultures)
sliced strawberries
a few ice cubes
orange juice

Voila! Breakfast!

Smoothies not your thing? How about a salad?

Throw the following into a bowl:

a bag of salad greens (baby romaine is my fav)
sliced strawberries
slivered toasted almonds
crumbled goat cheese
a decent pour of Newman's Own Balsamic Vinaigrette


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The lesser of two evils

Q: Which is worse?

1. Taking your six-month old to the hospital for tests, tests that hurt him and cause him to scream bloody murder while your husband waits outside the examination room so you are alone in your desperate attempts to calm your wailing child and, let's face it, you are crying just as hard as he is. Tests you could not warn him about or explain so you feel terrible that he has been ambushed in this way.

2. Taking your almost 2 1/2-year old to the hospital for tests, tests that hurt him and cause him to scream bloody murder and ignore the Dora playing on the TV, the stars on the ceiling, the cheery murals on the wall, and the desperate attempts by both parents to calm him down. Tests you tried to prepare him for, but couldn't say "they are going to hurt," so instead you said the doctors had to take pictures of his tummy, we could see the fish in the waiting room, and mommy and daddy would be there the whole time, and we can have chocolate milk after it is all over, so it won't be so bad.

That was my day yesterday. The good thing is, although I feel like a raggedy, wrung-out washcloth, Charlie is fine. Fine except for a bum right kidney that appears to be getting a little bit worse. If we were to evaluate his kidneys, his left would get "exceeds expectations" and a nice, fat raise, while the right kidney would get "unsatisfactory" and an escorted trip out of the building. And while you can live your whole life on just one kidney -- as my friend DB found out after an ultrasound at the age of 32 -- the nephrologist (a kidney specialist for the uninitiated. Not the quack science of measuring heads to determine personality as I used to think it was. What is that called anyway? I really hope it sounds like nephrology or else I'm looking pretty dippy here. And I'm using the word dippy to boot) would like to ensure that the good kidney stays good and the bad kidney, well, doesn't get worse. So that means more meds. Ugh. And while I was all bright-eyed and upbeat in the nephrologist's office, now I'm all weepy and deflated.

And I should feel relieved that it isn't worse. Or life-threatening. And I am. And thankful. And I really should follow Charlie's lead here, because today he's his usual chirpy, happy self. In fact, he was fine the moment he saw the fish in the waiting room. And hey, we can walk in and walk (or skip or run) out of CHEO (Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario) with our child, and that my friends is a blessing all on its own.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Yet another transcript

Scene: In the CRV en route to Tim Hortons

Me: Charlie, what's my favourite drink?

Charlie: Hmmmmmm. Water?

Me: Yes, I do like water, but what else do I like to drink?

Charlie: WINE!

The answer I was looking for was coffee because lordy, I have an unhealthy love for my Timmy's fix, so much so that Charlie can rhyme off my coffee order on command -- XL, 4 milk, 1 sugar. At least my son does not view me as an over-caffeinated coffee addict, just a wino. But a happy wino at that.

What not to wear

If you decide to wear a floaty top -- one that is nice and fitted at the bustline, skims your post-baby stomach pouch, and drifts oh-so-flatteringly to your hips -- to Gymboree with a two-year old, be prepared for everyone to assume you are pregnant.

I'm not though. Yet.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Is it that obvious?

The Scene: Family dinner at my MIL's this past weekend.

Charlie (loudly): Mom, is that YOUR WINE?????

Me: Yes Charlie.

Charlie: Are you going to drink it?

Me: Yes Charlie, I am. (Takes sip.)

Charlie: Now you are HAPPY!!!!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Ya ya yoto! Ya ya yoto! Ya ya yoto to go!

That's what Charlie is yodelling from his crib right now (see above). It makes no sense, but he still belts it out with gusto. He should be sleeping so I can post now that we're back from dial-up land. So, to be quick, I had a lovely week away. Charlie was surprisingly good humoured the whole time and only recited our address once per day (something he does when he wants to go home). I had lots of newborn baby snuggling time with my new niece. And I got a night in Toronto on my own. Hurrah! My hair is a decent multitonal brown hue, not blonde, the split ends are gone, the bubble tea was yummy, and I had the best girls night out complete with fancy cocktails and my new, pointy-toed gold shoes. Just what I needed!

Monday, April 24, 2006

All that you can't leave behind

Charlie and I are off to the MIL's tomorrow. HS is joining us at the end of the week for a family friend's 90th birthday party. My MIL is making nine birthday cakes, one for each decade, so I am totally psyched about going. (Just an aside, I never used to care about sugary snacks, but I've found that since I had Charlie, I crave sweets. I was always a salt/grease kind of girl, but I found that while I was breastfeeding, the only thing I wanted was SUGAR. Specifically, my mom's awesome ginger snaps. She gave me the recipe, and I've tried to make them, but it's just not the same.) And my MIL agreed to take Charlie overnight so I can make a quick trip to Toronto to go out with my friends. Because I do have friends! Just not where I currently live. I am leaving for Toronto on Wednesday morning and coming back on Thursday afternoon, and here's what I would like to accomplish:

1. Colour hair.
I have yet to find a decent colourist in Ottawa. So JF (who is a make-up artist and knows these things) recommended a guy. Let's hope he understands what "I'd like to stay as close to my natural hair colour as possible means." My natural hair colour is dark brown. When I said that to a colourist in Ottawa, she gave me bright blonde highlights. They were verging on orange, it was that bad. Luckily they've faded somewhat. And if the June Plan goes ahead, then I'm gonna need something to cover the grays for at least three months. Hey, there's something else about me: I'm going gray. Seriously gray, and I blame my dad. He went silver at 22 for crying out loud.

2. Get a hair cut.
Done! I have an appointment on Thursday.

3. Pick up new bras at GapBody.
Why did it take so long for me to figure out that you only need flesh-tone bras? I really could have used that advice many years ago! The Gap makes a lovely, lightly padded (so key nowadays) plain bra in the perfect shade of nude. Gotta stock up!

4. Get a jerk chicken sandwich at Food Savvy.
So, so yummy. And the eggplant sandwich is delish too.

5. And some butter chicken and naan bread from Rasoee.

6. And while we're at it, how about a chocolate croissant from Bonjour Brioche?

7. And definitely some proper bubble tea. You can't find good bubble tea in my 'hood.

8. Meet former colleague for breakfast.

9. Drop by H&M. Mommy needs some new clothes. Oh, and Charlie could use some shirts too.

10. Hit Carrot Common for some organic baby bodywash and bubble bath. The parabens in my bubble bath are giving me the heebie-jeebies.

11. Oh, and while I'm at Carrot Common, drop by Erietta, just to take a look.

12. And I really want to see what's new at Hardware, Kol Kid, and Bergstrom.

13. Maybe someone from book club is free for coffee?

14. Or my friends from work might be available for lunch?

15. Or I could squeeze in a drink with JF, AW, DW, KB, or KH before my event on Wednesday night?


I miss Toronto.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Portrait of the blogger as a hairy, double-jointed, magazine addict weirdo from the grocery store

I've been tagged by scarbie doll over at Martinis for Milk for a meme that reminds me a lot of a drinking game I used to play, y'know back when I used to drink socially instead of gulping a glass of whatever's handy in front of the computer after Charlie goes to bed. We called it the Shame Game. Get a group of people together, drink, and each person has to reveal something that is a teeny bit embarrassing, but not illegal or disturbing, to admit in public. For example, one of my best guy friends admitted that his favourite TV show was Gilmore Girls. Another friend copped to getting his rights and lefts confused on a regular basis. Fun, no?

But anywho, since I loves me some memes, here are the rules as per MFM.

1. Reveal six weird facts/things/habits about yourself and then tag six people. (SIX!)

2. Leave a "You're Tagged!" comment to let the people you have tagged know they have to reveal six things (or the entire blogosphere will explode and it will be their fault).

3. Leave me a comment letting me know that you have completed your mission (if you have chosen to accept it!).

Here goes:

1. I'm addicted to magazines. Yeah, yeah, sure, sure, you and everyone else. No really, I'm crazy addicted to magazines. I adore shiny paper. So addicted, I gave up buying them for lent. That was hard, but not too hard because I already have 11 magazine subscriptions (lucky for me I have many enablers who buy them for my birthday), and I buy about four others per month. When I'm not buying US weekly. Or mooching O magazine and People from my mom. Or saying, Yes! Please send me the new Blueprint magazine! Oh, and I know when they will hit the newsstand too. Yep, it's getting a bit out of hand.

2. I have double-jointed thumbs.

3. I was so hairy as a baby that my aunt told my mom she would get me a case of Nair for my 16th birthday. I still battle the hirsute factor, but thankfully the tufts of hair on my shoulders, that my mother likes to fondly describe at family gatherings, are gone. Alas, poor Charlie, it looks like he takes after his mom in the shoulder hair department.

4. I met the man I married when I was 18 (he was 16!). And we've been together ever since, if you ignore a couple of month-long breakups back in the mid-nineties. I guess this isn't so weird, but whenever I tell people this fact, they usually look totally gobsmacked.

5. I have a weak spot for top-40 pop songs, especially anything from the 80's-90's. And I will sing along to said cheesy music in the grocery store and even dance. I make excuses like, "I'm just keeping Charlie entertained," but I used to do this before he was born.

6. If I have a dream and HS is in it and he's being a jerk, I'm always a little mad at him even after I wake up.

Since I know of only one other blogger who reads my site, I'll tag Mommy Abroad.

Monday, April 17, 2006

I must be out of my mind

HS and I were at the hockey game, so I thought, what the heck. Here's a fun way to shake up your husband. I leaned over and whispered seductively, "Speaking of hockey, what would you think if we pulled the goalie?"

Ok, so we haven't pulled the goalie. Yet. We've merely traded him in for the back-up player. Besides, there is no way I want another winter baby, so I still have until June to really make up my mind, sort things through, and obsess. We'll see.

I have a longer rambly post about the whys/why nots that are continually fighting it out in my brain, but Charlie is waking up from his nap, so in the meantime, here's a link to a dead easy recipe for tilapia that I made last week. So yummy! And so good for you! And you don't even need the herbs they call for. I sprinkled on some dried basil and smeared a few of those frozen parsley cubes (my sister uses dried parsley flakes) on top, and ta-da! Something other than pasta for dinner! Whee!

Check it out at Everyday Food.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The best of the best of bridge

You know what? Baking isn't all that hard. I'm not talking about homemade truffles or petits fours here, but in my pre-SAHM life, homemade baking seemed somewhat magical and spoke of things that never made it into my shopping cart: butter, flour, vanilla extract. But after a few wedding showers (a somewhat embarrassing seven), I am rather well equipped to whip up all sorts of sugar-laden goodies. (That and I got one of those fab KitchenAid mixers from a guilt-ridden HS soon after we moved here from Toronto. Alas, no matter how well a mixer can whip, stir or mix, it doesn't really make up for the isolation of moving to a new city. You can't bake away depression people!) In addition to the requisite cookware, I received a lot of cookbooks, including one of my mother's favourites, The Best of the Best and more!. This book is part of a series of cookbooks from The Best of the Best of Bridge, sort of the penultimate collection, spiral bound and 313 pages of recipes from my childhood that bring to mind cozy blankets, fluffy pillows, and hot chocolate: pure comfort. So after snagging a bag of overripe bananas for 99 cents, I decided to make the "Best-Ever Banana Bread" for HS's coworker who just had twins. And she already has a two-year-old. Basically, my nightmare -- what would happen if we decided to go for a second baby -- come to life. But, um, well, HS and I couldn't resist, and let's just say I'm going to the grocery store for more bananas to assuage my guilt. She has twins! And a toddler! And she had a c-section! How could we? Because it is the Best-Ever Banana Bread! And it wasn't hard! And Charlie could even "help" a bit until he tried to stick his hand in the mixer. So delicious with a melty pat of butter. And even better the next day! Such dense, sweet goodness! But really, if your recipe starts with a cup of butter with two cups of sugar, you know it's gonna be gooooooooooood.

Here's the recipe.

Friday, March 31, 2006

La belle province, part I

The last time I visited Montreal, I was 18, and it was March Break. Although I told my parents I was going to see what McGill was all about, the real reason I wanted to go was to drink. You see, the legal drinking age in Quebec is 18. (Is it still? This was, gulp, 17 years ago.) The legal drinking age in Ontario? 19. So two of my best friends and I hopped on a train and spent three days sleeping, eating, hanging out at the Peel Pub, and making frequent trips to the depanneur for Wildberry coolers and (gasp!) peach Durangos. (Ugh. Peach flavoured beer. I know they don't make that crap anymore. Good thing too. I once got a wee bit hammered on Durangos -- probably three -- at a bush party and ended up kissing a guy in a field and then desperately tried to ignore him for the rest of my last year of high school. That was the same bush party where I spotted HS for the first time from across a blurry campfire and thought "Garwsh. He's cuyoot." before heading off into said field.)

But I digress.

Needless to say, I've been taking advantage of my legal drinking status for many years now, so even though I no longer look at Montreal with the boundless energy and salivatory anticipation of an underage drinker, I felt it was high time to go back for a visit. Sober. For the most part anyway. And since Montreal is only two hours from Ottawa (despite what Mapquest says), it only made sense that when March break rolled around this year, my sister and I should go for a quick shopping trip, sans le bebe.

It was so much fun.

We arrived around lunch, so we beelined it to Schwartz's for some tasty smoked meat sandwiches. There was a line-up out the door, but it moved quickly. And here's a tip: don't get the lean smoked meat. This is no time for diets. Go for the full-fat, or if you must, medium. Such savory goodness! And less than $5! We also had the Cott's Black Cherry Sodas, because I thought That Is What You Do at Schwartz's. I'm sure there are people out there with a taste for such things, or perhaps fond childhood memories, but really, byech. Carbonated cough syrup. Sort of like a virgin Wildberry Cooler.

Then we went for a stroll down St. Laurent and some shopping. This was my favourite store. Such flirty, fresh clothing! So many pretty dresses! With shoes to match! So perfect for spring! But did I buy anything? Sadly, no. You see, whenever I go shopping, I want to buy Clothes For The Life I Do Not Have. I have no need for a cute, flowery Ben Sherman shirtdress because, realistically, I'll wear it once and then it will be fall. Shopping these days depresses me, so instead I buy for Charlie. But this trip I promised my sister that I would buy something spring-y for me. And I found the perfect thing here. I tried on a buttery soft, thin, chocolate brown leather jacket. It was as if it was tailor-made, it fit that well. And I looked good, if not somewhat chic. ('cause, damn, Montrealers are terribly fashionable. Does everyone in this city get briefed by Lucky magazine? I even saw someone totally rocking the tricky leggings look that is all over the mags this season.) But alas, although I had found the perfect item for me, I could not justify the $750 price tag. Not with the balance on our line of credit.

Wow. This post is getting long. Still more to say, but I need to finish my freelance work. Part II to come soon, I hope.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Honestly, our neighbourhood is quite clean

Egads, I have a lot to blog about. But it is a lovely, lovely day here in Kanata; the snow is melting, the park play structures are dry-ish, and the sun is warm and marvelous. Charlie and I spent the morning at the park, and dammit, it's good to be back outside. So many thoughts to write down: my new niece, why I have the hates for Orillia's hospital, my brief trip to Montreal, my obsession with finding a hat that doesn't make me look like Kim Mitchell, and lattes! at Tim Hortons!

But since Charlie is waking up, I will leave you with a sweet little ditty that he composed this past week.

(To the tune of "She'll be coming 'round the mountain.")

There are seven dirty diapers on the street. Um-hm.
There are seven dirty diapers on the street. Um-hm.
There are seven dirty diapers, seven dirty diapers, there are seven dirty diapers on the street. Um-hm.
Yay!!! (tambourine flourish)

Monday, March 27, 2006

I have a secret

No one knows about this blog.

Ok, duh, of course people know about this blog. It's on the Internet fer cryin out loud. But I haven't told anyone I know about this blog. Not even HS. Odd, no?

And now I feel I really should tell him, but how do I explain why I've kept this a secret since November? I don't keep secrets from HS, and I know he'll be supportive and all that, but still.

I just wanted a space to call my own, where I could spew out the stuff that rattles around in my head, without thinking about an audience. And someplace where I could practice writing blurby bits, to see if maybe, just maybe, I could string together something a little more complex than my usual daily conversations with a two-year old.

What to do?

Friday, March 17, 2006

To the woman who cut me off in the grocery line-up

While your one-metre sprint to get to the checkout before me was quite impressive, I'll bet you were regretting that decision when Charlie decided to unleash all the possible misery of a grumpy two-year-old at the highest and loudest pitch possible. Did you not see that my son was already trying to climb out of the cart as we beelined for the checkout? Did you not hear him screech "IT'S TIME TO GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"? Luckily the woman behind me did not give me the Stink-eye of the Childless. Luckily she understood and sympathized and wondered aloud when temper tantrums end because her daughter is 3 1/2 and showing no signs of giving them up. Ugh. Oh, and Charlie was up at 4:15 a.m. today.

Only only only only only only.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The sky is flecked with signs of hope

I probably shouldn't decree this to the Internet, but dammit, life is good these days. I had a fab but quick trip to Montreal to do some shopping with my sister, I went out to a hockey game, a friend is about to adopt a baby boy, my SIL is about to have another baby, and it's raining. Yep, rain. Not snow!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

What I love about Ottawa

It's freezing rain here in Ottawa today, and already I have seen two salt trucks on my street. Two! And I live in the burbs! Man, this city knows how to deal with winter. Unlike, say, Toronto with its devil-may-care, I'm-sure-it-will-melt niavete. Oh sure, it will call in the military, but clear the side streets on a regular basis? Um, no. I never saw a plow on my street. Not once. And I lived in the same neighbourhood for three years.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Something to add to the CV

After dealing with/managing/negotiating with/staring in disbelief at the crankiest Charlie I've seen in a long time -- whose reasoning and wants were so irrational and dada-esque it took my breath away -- I thought "I'm learning many skills I could have used in my last job."

Although I doubt I could have distracted my boss with chocolate milk and Dora the Explorer.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The best way to watch the Oscars

Fire up PVR. Pause live TV just as the show starts.
Give toddler a leisurely bath. Feel no pressure to hurry him through his bedtime routine.
Order chinese food.
Read "Blueberries for Sal" twice.
Put toddler to bed.
Food arrives. Pour a gigantic glass of Cave Spring Reisling. Heap plate with food.
Unpause the show an hour after it starts.
Watch the telecast. Fast forward through all ads, musical numbers, technical awards, and most acceptance speeches. Pause again to clean up dishes and brush teeth. Hop into bed.
Catch up to live telecast just before best director is awarded to Ang Lee.
Sit through the last half hour live.
Feel like you've made efficient use of your time since you didn't miss Jon Stewart, the designer outfits, Jennifer Garner's near slip on stage, or the look of shock on Jack Nicholson's face when Crash won for best picture.
Realize your love for your PVR.
Go to bed.

Friday, March 03, 2006


Yesterday I made this for the family. Charlie actually ate it without complaint. HS LOVED it. Our totally gracious guest loved it too (but she's so gracious, she may have had two helpings just to be polite). And I thought it was awesome in that tastes-like-mom's-1970's-cooking kind of way. I only used mozzarella cheese, and I had a small strip of the pan without ground beef for Charlie. So yummy! So easy! And the best part is I found it in the comments in Julia's blog . She is very smart and funny and her spicy shrimp pasta is the BEST pasta recipe I have ever made, bar none. It's spicy, but in a harmonious layering of intriguing tastes, not in a render-your-tastebuds-inert, way. And it's easy! And perfect for entertaining! And you really don't have to use a cup of olive oil, so don't be scared. (I have used both 1C and 1/4C for this recipe, and it was delish either way). My stomach is rumbling just thinking about it. Time for some ziti leftovers!

Yet another reason

Going to Florida cost about $2000 LESS than Club Med. Even with all the shopping.

And that's it about Florida, I swear. You might start to think that I'm some freaky buzz marketer or something . . .

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I heart Florida

Damn we had a good time. So why does Sarasota kick Ixtapa's butt?

1. Vacationing with your in-laws = free babysitting.
HS and I went to see Brokeback Mountain. And we went out for dinner. And it wasn't even the same night! We had so much food here, I thought my stomach would explode. With happiness.

2. And free babysitting means time for shopping! Sadly, I seem to have lost the ability to buy things for myself. I don't know what is wrong with me. I used to work in the Eaton's Centre, and I could shop every day on my lunch hour. And I did. Not only was I well-appraised of what was in the stores, but I could also stalk my favourite items and snap them up as soon as they went on sale. Ah, sweet memories! I do, however, have amazing abilites to buy stuff for Charlie. We hit this outlet mall, where I purchased a full wardrobe for Charlie for the next six months and gifts for everyone I know with kiddies. (Why isn't there Carters in Canada? So cute! So reasonably priced! I found some sleepers at Costco once, but that was it.) I got great books at TJ Maxx, and not just the books with typos that seem to find their way to Winners, but Dr. Suess! and Eric Carle! And, of course, Target. Ah Target. How I love your aisles of cleverly designed, well-marketed merch. Where else can I get non-toxic stainless steel cleaning wipes, a flattering t-shirt cut just right for lower rise jeans, yummy and cheap chocolate truffles and the softest baby blankets ever all in one cart? Thanks to my brother-in-law for that gift card! Best Christmas present ever!

3. Sand, Charlie's favourite toy.
We went to the beach. A lot. Not because the weather was perfect, which it was, oh no. Because we discovered that with a purchase of a $2 shovel and pail, we had at least an hour of occupied toddler time. I don't think I've ever strung those words together before this trip.

4. Busch Gardens is great for toddlers!
Who knew? I thought it was all extreme roller coasters, but oh no. There are lots of animals to look at; two kiddie-sized play areas with lots of rides, a huge covered sandbox, a big bouncy area, and lots of climbing equipment; and free beer. That's right. Free beer. Because Busch Gardens is owned by Anheuser-Busch, ergo, free samples of Bud on tap. Of course admission was a whopping US$58, so is the beer really free? Not so much. But after two samples, it felt free. And it was not busy at all, so we didn't even have to contend with crowds. We normally wouldn't drag Charlie to an amusement park, but we were meeting friends there, so we were kind of stuck paying the massive admission price. I thought it would be $30 tops, so we wouldn't mind leaving early if Charlie was desperate for a nap. But after coughing up the $116 to get in, we stayed the whole day. And Charlie did ok until until 5 p.m. when a broken granola bar brought forth all the sadness and despair of the 21st century (complete with hot splashy tears and frequent wails of "granona bart!!! my granoooooona baaaaaart!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). Charlie fell asleep in the car on the way back and didn't wake up until 7 a.m. the next day.

5. Cracker Barrel!
Damn those biscuits are gooooooooooood.

So there you have it. I could use another week right about now. But today isn't so hideously cold. I even thought I felt a teeny-weeny hint of spring in the air. I must be hallucinating. Nevertheless, these delusions give me hope.

Florida, the back story

Finally. Charlie is sleeping. My proofreading project is in the mail. The guests are off visiting family. I have a few moments to myself. Sweet.

So finally, here is a post about our trip to Florida, or Why Sarasota with your in-laws is WAY better than Ixtapa when you're traveling with a toddler.

Why you may ask? Two words: gastrointestinal infection. Follow those two words with "the highest ungodly fever ever" and "no planes home until Saturday" and that pretty much sums it up.

Let me explain. As part of the deal in moving to Ottawa, HS promised that we would go somewhere warm every winter. Winters are long, cold, and snow-bound in Ottawa, and I hates me some winter. I am trying to like it, what with the new skates and the attempts to ski etc., especially since Charlie seems quite happy to roar around outside when it's -17C. Anywho, last year we went here. Looks lovely doesn't it? It is. And babycare too? That sounds like heaven! Um, yes, it SOUNDS good. But the reality? Let's just say (thanks to David Foster Wallace) that I dubbed our trip "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again." Yes, the location was fantastic: gorgeous, sunny and hot hot hot. We even met a really nice couple to drink margaritas with. And despite Charlie's lamentations, HS and I had some couple time while he was in the on-site daycare. We swam, we drank, we tanned. For three days. Sure the rooms were musty and buggy and the beds were rock-hard, but who cares when you're spending all your time outside, right? Well, you're gonna care a whole lot when your one-year-old suddenly spikes the highest fever of his young life along with a raging case of diarrhea. So there we were, stuck in a room that is one notch above a cabin at sleep-away camp with our sick, sick baby and no way to get home until the end of our week. It was hell.

We were determined to do something different this year.

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Internet has the best ideas

I find the best ideas on the Internet. Need a recipe for baked french toast? Find a totally orgasmic one on, verified by a blogger at slashfood. (Really. I made this for guests this past weekend, and I looked like a culinary genuis! And it's so easy! I used challah bread instead of French bread and maple syrup instead of corn syrup, and oh man it was fantastic!) Need a baby card idea? Shamelessly rip one off from Martha Stewart. Need to find out what's going on in Ottawa for kids? Ottawa family fun has the update. Looking for general parenting stuff? I adore Blogging Baby. And now my love knows no bounds since they introduced me to this recipe for caramel dip. Not that I made this recipe, oh no. I modified it! And you can too! The Blogging Baby recipe (actually, the Rachael Ray recipe) has peanut butter in it, which is still verboten for Charlie due to the impressive depth and breadth of food allergies in my family.

But let me backtrack a bit. I am desperately trying to get Sir Charles to eat fresh fruit and veggies. For the most part, he refuses. But encouraged by his new willingness to eat corn (discovered at Swiss Chalet of all places. He ate an entire side of corn, kernel by kernel, by dipping each one into a vat of chalet sauce. It took so long that his fingers were pruney by the end of dinner. Luckily, he will still eat corn, sans sauce, much to my relief. I actually bought a packet of make-it-yourself chalet sauce, thinking, hmmm, what else can I get him to eat with this stuff? Strawberries? Grapes? Broccoli?), I thought surely if I coat apple slices with tasty, sugary dip, he'll gobble it up, right? And we happened to have a bottle of Smuckers caramel sauce, which never usually happens, and half a bag of milk chocolate chips. So here's my picky toddler chocolate-caramel dip recipe:

Throw a small handful of milk chocolate chips into a bowl.
Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir.
Add a squirt of Smuckers caramel sauce.
Microwave for 20 seconds. Stir again.
Everything melted? Good.
Grab your sliced apples. Dip sliced apple (without skin of course), and offer to picky toddler.
Watch hopefully as he takes a small bite and does not spit it on the floor. Think to yourself, victory is mine! He will eat non-sauced fruit! I'm the smartest mommy ever! Hurrah!
Offer second bite of dipped apple to toddler. See hopes dashed as toddler scrunches face in refusal as if you offered him a bite of his deadly enemy, ground beef. (Charlie hates ground beef with a passion.)
Eat entire bowl of dip yourself. At least you don't have to share.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Random Thoughts I Had While Shopping for Skates at Canadian Tire This Morning, Tim Hortons Coffee In My Hand

"Man, there are a lot of people in this store with Tim's coffees." and

"How Canadian is this?"

Somewhere, two brand managers are rubbing their hands with glee.

p.s. Canadian Tire is still having their skate sale. I don't know if it is just in the Ottawa area, but I totally scored a pair of basic, recreational CCM skates for only $29.99! (Regularly $99.99!)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Must remember this when he is a teenager

Charlie, last night as I was putting him to bed:

"Mom, you're my best friend."

(Inspired by the Dora "Best Friends Day" episode he watched that morning. Still, I almost tossed out every single birth control method in my possession. )

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Dear head, Shut up.

I am supposed to start a new pack of birth control pills today. And I am hesitating. That's right, hesitating. And I'm thinking about calling Motherisk to find out if I can take St. John's Wort during pregnancy. What is going on?

Dear brain (and hormones, if you're listening, this one is for you too),

Now is NOT a good time to get pregnant. You are in a good space. Let's try life on an even keel for a while, shall we? Charlie is wonderful. Take time to enjoy him. And remember that list of things to do before having another baby? Why don't you try focusing on that instead, hmmmmmm? Please, please stop filling my head with warm fuzzy thoughts of newborns.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Monday, February 13, 2006

That's why my grocery bill was $154 this week

I am currently drowning in editorial work and guests. It's all good, really. It's a treat to have friends around for a change. (We don't have a lot of friends in Ottawa. It's a little better now, but damn, the first year here was incredibly lonely.) And even though it's economics, editing is a nice change of pace. However, that doesn't really leave time for much else since I'm working during naps and after Charlie goes to bed. So this week, all of our dinners will be some sort of President's Choice product or another. Maybe a bit of bagged salad if I'm feeling up to it. But why do I have time to blog you ask? I don't. So I better stop procrastinating and get back to work . . .

Friday, February 03, 2006

My first meme, or how to avoid writing a longer post about my trip

Four jobs I’ve had
1. Flyer sorter and bundler for a weekly newspaper
2. Dishwasher at a resort
3. Copywriter for a Major Catalogue Retailer
4. Freelance editor

Four movies I can watch over and over

1. The Royal Tenenbaums
2. Finding Nemo (not really by choice)
3. Sliding Doors (I totally scored on the DVD. US$4.88! So, um, I guess it's not very many others' favourite movie.)
4. Only You (Yes, it's a terrible movie, but the star is neither Robert Downey Jr. nor Marisa Tomei, it's Italy. So gorgeous!)

Four places I have lived

1. Bracebridge, Ontario
2. San Jose, California
3. London, Ontario
4. Toronto, Ontario

Four TV shows I love

1. Gilmore Girls
2. America's Next Top Model
3. The Daily Show
4. Home to Stay

Four places I've vacationed

1. London, England
2. Capri, Italy
3. San Diego, California
4. Venice, Florida (and Italy because of the movie Only You)

Four of my favourite dishes

1. Anything with gorgonzola cheese
2. Butter chicken and naan bread from Rasoee
3. Fish tacos
4. Croissants from Bonjour Brioche

Four sites I visit daily

2. Dooce
3. The Awful Truth
4. Blogging Baby

Four places I would rather be right now

1. Anyplace warm with a nice, sandy beach
2. Oasis restaurant in Toronto
3. Surfing in San Diego
4. In bed, asleep, for a couple of weeks

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Sweet, sweet naptime

Charlie is napping. At the usual time, in his crib, without a car ride to get him to sleep. How did this miracle happen? I ran him around the Kanata leisure centre pool all morning. I waited, patiently, until 1:00 p.m. to put him in his crib. And now I am totally exhausted! But sitting in the swirl pool this morning did wonder for my aching muscles. HS came home a bit early last night so I could go to the gym. And it was awesome!

I used to be quite lazy in my twenties. But I was one of those fat/skinny people, so I got away with it. And then I got married and started cooking a lot. And I turned 28. And the metabolism slowed way down. So I put on weight. Luckily I used to have oodles of time back then, a gym in the same building where I worked, and lots of friends who also decided it was time to get in shape. I started working out, and to my utter shock and surprise, I totally loved it. Despite minor knee and ankle injuries (which occurred basically because I hadn't used my muscles that rigorously before. Sad, but true), I kept up a fairly healthy and consistent regimen for three years. And then I got pregnant. I did lots of prenatal yoga and aquafit (which I seriously think helped a lot in labour and delivery), but then I had Charlie. I think I've been to the gym about 10 times in the last two years.

I forgot how good I feel after working out. And I've read many times how exercise helps with depression. So HS and I are going skiing this saturday night instead of dinner and a movie. And I'm really going to make an effort to get to the gym despite the cold, hassle, and lack of adequate parking. But now what I really need is a nap.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

How does my head come up with these things?

Yes, Charlie skipped his nap again yesterday. And he was well on his way to another missed nap today, but I just drove to Carp and back, and now he is fast asleep in his crib. Thank god. Of course it is 3:30 p.m., really far too late for a nap, but whatever. We've got to nip this not-napping thing in the bud. Tomorrow morning we have gym 'n' swim, so hopefully that will tire him out so he is back on his regularly scheduled sleeping program. Uh huh.

So before I finish my "I heart Florida and all their Cracker Barrels and Targets" post, I thought I should mention a funny thing that popped into my head as I was driving on I75 in my rented minivan.

I want another.

Baby that is, not minivan. And there goes the debate at the heart of this blog: first or only?

But it makes sense really. This thought made it's rather strong presence known while I was on vacation. In warm weather. With four other adults (that I happen to love) to help look after Charlie. When going outside meant slipping on flip flops. And my mother-in-law was doing all the cooking or we were going out to eat. Clearly not reality.

Now that I'm back in the cold that makes going anywhere with a toddler difficult, if not impossible, and I'm at home with Charlie for most of the day, this thought is fading somewhat. Reason is taking over, reminding me of the PPD and the severe lack of sleep.

But Charlie is just wonderful these days. No, really. Despite the missed naps and the tantrums and the usual two-year-old stuff, he's such a sweetie. And I'm crazy about him. I wonder if he's always been this way, and I couldn't see it because of the PPD. Or maybe we're dovetailing nicely in a good phase of adequate meds and Charlie's temperment.

The debate continues, but I'm starting to lean toward first instead of only. Let's see how February and March go.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Yikes, it has been a while since I posted. But I have a good excuse. I was in Florida for two weeks. With my mother-in-law. In a retiree campground. And I had to fly by myself with a two-year-old and switch planes in Chicago. And it was the best vacation ever!

How is that possible you may ask? Well, for starters I get along well with my MIL. And even though he might half-heartedly deny it, HS is her favourite (being the baby of the family). Although she has always been quite reserved with me, with Charlie she is a kissy-kissy, gooey, goofball. So of course he is absolutely nutso about her.

Second, my MIL rented a trailer in a retiree campground for all of us (my MIL, my MIL's sister, her husband, HS, Charlie and me). Uh-huh. That's five adults and one toddler (although according to Parent Center, Charlie is now a preschooler. Already? When did that happen?). I was pretty sure that wasn't going to work, because even though they have monster trailers that look like they've been tricked out by MTV's Pimp My Ride, they usually only have one bedroom. Maybe a pull-out couch. But since this was my MIL's first foray into the trailer lifestyle, I figured we sort it all out somehow. Luckily, after one night in the rental, my MIL rented us a two-bedroom apartment with a full kitchen that wasn't too far from the beach or the campground. So we had some space (in the apartment and from the campground), Charlie had his own room, and my in-laws were spared Charlie's early morning yodelling. And y'know, there's nothing like spending a lot of time in a retiree campground to realize that maybe 34 isn't so old after all. And if you're toting a two-year-old around said campground, everyone is extremely friendly.

Oh bloody hell. Charlie is supposed to be napping right now, but instead he is bellowing his discontent with his crib. WTF? He's been napping like a champ since those two horrid days of no naps, and now we're back to this? Noooooooooooooooooooooo!

I will finish my Florida post later. Because there's more! Outlet malls! Free beer at Busch Gardens! and Sand! A two-year-old's favourite toy!