Saturday, December 15, 2007

10 Month Old Mungry


My sweet little monkey, you're ten months old. Ten months old!

This month I've thought about running down to the computer to type/brag about all of the fun things you are doing more times than I can count because this month your development exploded.

Where to begin?? Well, you're clapping, and not just indiscriminately anymore. The other day we took you to watch a friend play hockey and you clapped when they scored. You wave goodbye to me or Dad or Hunter when we leave (or come home). You've started saying Daddy instead of dadad (Mum is still Maaaa). You do kisses. You're starting to get possessive over toys and give Hunter a run for his money (but he is taking it in stride). You've started that throwing things game and when we ignore you in public, you work strangers to pick up your stuff or play your game.
You're still cruising around furniture and have occasionally stood independently, but you haven't started walking yet. The Doctor tells us you may have to wear special shoes to support your foot and ankle. Your foot is something we've been watching since you were born: when you were born it would bend both ways (against your calf and against your shin) because of how you were positioned inside. We were relieved a few months ago when we found out there would be no casts involved and that it was straightening out on its own but we thought we would take you in for another checkup because you've been crawling for quite some time and we thought for sure you would walk early but you seem to have a bit of trouble with forward movement with the one foot especially. We're still letting you walk without those horrible baby shoes for now because Mummy comes from a long line of people that believe bare feet are best for new walkers (or Robeez in winter) but we're keeping an eye on the foot and will buy you those terrible shoes if that's what you need.
Remember a few months ago when I was certain you'd have teeth by my next month update (it was summer so must have been five or six months)? Well, you still have a wonderful toothless smile. We know they're in there, but they just aren't looking to make an appearance any time soon. I'm thinking you'll get almost a full set at once which is smart because you'll get most of the pain over with at the same time. But you don't let your lack of teeth stop you from trying new foods. You're trying everything. And while Hunter had an affinity for orange foods (you know, cheese, squash, sweet potatoes, oranges), you seem to have a love for white foods like chicken, bananas, potatoes, rice (but really, you love almost everything you try). Bananas are hands down your favourite, though. If we let you, I think you would be content if your entire diet consisted of only bananas (and milk). When someone is eating a banana near you you scrunch up your nose, reach out your hand with a gimme motion, and make a sound that clearly means "give that to me" (even though it sounds more like huh huh huh).
You and Hunter continue to amaze me. You guys are the best team I could imagine and I love watching you play together. This month you guys have developed a chasing game - Hunter runs down the hallway and you crawl after him and tackle him if you catch him, then you both laugh. You guys are still playing hide and seek but he's getting better at hiding now that you're onto him when he hides under the blanket. You play dinosaurs, cars, ninja turtles, dress up, farm, and baby toys together and I really can't imagine two closer siblings.
Julia, I am so happy you are in my life. I love you more than you can imagine.
Love Mum

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Doubling and Tripling Up

I've always been lucky with Hunter. He is such a helpful and independent boy. From the age of three (and maybe even younger) he's been getting himself ready in the mornings. I used to lay out his clothes the night before and while I caught an extra five winks or hopped in the shower he would get dressed. I don't know if this is just survival instinct in the face of the most disorganized mother on the planet or if he's just plain brilliant, but I'm going to cross my fingers and hope that it's due to the latter.

These last few months he has been picking out his own clothes. There have been some interesting choices but for the most part he manages pretty well. The other day he couldn't decide which shirt he wanted to wear so he decided that two would be fine. I figured it's cold out so no harm in wearing two shirts (besides he looked quite fashionable with his navy long sleeve under his Spiderman shirt). A little while later he confessed that he had also had trouble deciding if he should wear his scooby boxers or his cars boxers so he had decided to go with both. Odd, but what could it hurt? The boy has so much underwear that I could skip doing laundry for two weeks and he'd still have plenty of pairs to choose from. He decided doubling up his underwear was cool so he did it the next two days as well. I humoured him but when he put on three pairs yesterday and looked like he was wearing two pairs of pants, I drew the line. So now he's back to one pair of underwear and I'm just waiting to see what he'll double or triple up next. Crazy boy.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Reality Calling

Today I got a phone call from my new boss. The call brought relief and an abatement of much of the anxiety I've been having about whether or not I'll still have a job when the post-election dust settles:

B: Hi, I'm so and so and I'm looking forward to meeting you. I thought I would call to see exactly when your return to work date is.
M: Um, well it's January 9th officially but I have been contemplating pushing it out a month ...
B: Oh, wow that's soon. Great. I want to be sure we have your new office ready and a computer set up, etc.
M: Great, I wasn't sure if I'd be coming back to the Department or not with all the changes. I had actually thought I might end up over at xyz.
B: We're willing to fight to keep you here. Big overview of the upcoming workload and ambiguity that needs to be sorted out.
M: Maybe I should come into the office and meet you and we could talk a bit more about this. I've been planning to come in for a while but I wasn't sure how busy things would be with all the change.
B: That would be great. How's Friday?
M: Sure, I'll also let you know for sure if I plan to change my back to work date and to when.
B: Okay, see you then.


When I hung up I realized that I had had hope wrapped up in all my anxiety as well. At some level I guess I was hoping that an external shake-up would give me a few more months at home. How much time have I wasted while I've been home anyway? I thought I realized its preciousness all along, but now that I've got so little left, there's so much more I wish I had done.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Welcome December

I am so happy you are here. And it's not just because I'm really happy to say goodbye to November and the colds, flues (?), papers, presentations, election results, jop speculation, and reflective sadness it brought. It's also because I love everything you bring with you: get togethers, garish decorations, gluttony (of many varieties), and my personal favourite, anticipation. Ah, sweet December, welcome.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wagonish

Is it just me or is it seeming more and more like Halloween turns into Christmas? Am I the only one that find it unreasonable to be in a store on November 1st and hear Christmas carols? Wouldn't it at least be more decent to wait until after Remembrance Day? I guess there just aren't enough consumer tie-ins with people giving their lives. This rant is clearly outdated as it is now almost December 1st and Christmas carols are more than acceptable. I've even started my shopping now.

I only point out this quick transition as a way of distracting from my dismal record this month which I blame on Halloween candy, late nights working on terrible papers, and the gym being closed for three weeks for maintenance (okay just the pool but I took it as a three week pass nonetheless). I haven't done the measurements but given lack of much activity other than yoga I imagine they are about the same. I'm down another 5lbs for a grand total of 47 since baby which wouldn't be bad except that I'm also getting over the flu so it may mean I'm really about the same. I'm going to count them anyway because that will make me work harder to keep 'em off over Christmas.

The pool is up and running, my last class is on the 1st and I'm not even going to start baking for another two weeks so I'm thinking this month should let me shed a few more. A return to work is creeping ever closer and I'm determined to be ready for work-clothes shopping, Christmas or not.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Happy Nine Months

This month's update is short and sweet (kind of like you).

Here are some highlights of what you've been up to this month:

We found out tonight that you are 14lbs, 14oz when you took your flu shot like a trooper.

You'll still crawl to get from point A to point B, but if you can walk instead, you will. Not that you're walking independently, just that if there is furniture around to be used, you will use it. One of your favourite things to do is crawl into the bathroom to use the tub to stand up (especially if Hunter is trying to have a bath). You're also a fan of crawling over to Hunter's bunk and using it to stand up. Or his toy bins. Or the couch. Or the chairs around the table.

The one thing you don't seem to have much interest in using is that transitioning walking/car toy I bought you. Hunter quite likes it though, so he's been encouraging you whenever he can (and riding it over you occasionally).

Speaking of Hunter, you two are quite the team. Most mornings you'll play in Hunter's room together for an hour or so uninterrupted. This time is precious. It means I can get some much needed stuff done around the house (or just zone out in front of the television or with a good book for an hour).

One of your favourite games to play with Hunter is peak (or hide and seek). He seems to think that if he hides under a blanket you'll never be able to find him, but you're onto him.

As for you and I, we are still trying to take Yoga together. I say trying because it is getting more interesting all the time. While you used to relax on the mat while I attempted all sorts of poses around you, you are now more interested in sneaking off to see the other babies. Or more accurately, their toys, food and soothers (not that you'll take your own soother anymore). See also, Fun with Julia post on this exact topic posted earlier.

You and Dad are having lots of opportunities to bond with my various classes. You're definitely still a Mum's girl but you and Dad are getting closer all the time. I don't think any of us can compete with Hunter, though: you are that boys biggest fan right now (and he yours). I'm going to remind both of you of this in a couple of years when you are inevitably fighting non stop.

Love you babe.

A New High (or Low)

Posts have been scant this past week and a bit as I have been in the midst of finishing up a terribly boring paper on equalization. Many of you have no doubt heard me complain about it so I won't get into that now. I've been complaining a lot even though I'm entirely responsible for my situation - I took the class, I chose the topic, I procrastinated. Last night as I was working away on my paper, I took procrastination to a whole new level when I looked it up on wikipdia. In case your anxiety, perfectionism, or other such disorder are inducing you to avoid completing tasks: here's what wikipedia has to say on the matter. I wonder what people did before internet?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Perspective

4am
Jason: Ugh, it's snowing outside. Guess I should have put the lights up yesterday. I know it's November but this sucks.

7am
Hunter: Wow!!! There's snow on the trees, on the trees, Mum!!! Oh, but there isn't much on the ground yet. Can I go out and play in it after breakfast?? Please, Mum, please??

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Fun With Julia

Yoga with Julia has become a whole new experience as she is increasingly mobile. In the last few weeks she has taken to crawling over to other babies and stealing their toys, snacks, soothers, bottles, you name it. Not because I haven't brought those things with me because I have, she just seems to find them more enjoyable when they belong to someone else. She won't even use her own sucky anymore but if there is one that belongs to another baby she's all over it. She also can't seem to resist using the ball to pull herself up, the blocks to balance on, and chairs for pushing around. There is no "engaging baby" anymore, it's more like chasing baby or trying to concentrate as she roams all over leaving a path of destruction. I'm starting to think a better approach might be to take a non baby and mom class and see how she manages at the day care. Crazy girl.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Bye "Tee"


This has been a tough year for pets in our house. Shortly after Julia was born, our 13 year old cat, Meowser, died. Today, we had to put McPurr down. He was suffering from kidney failure. Given that he was ten years old, there was only a small chance that he would survive the surgery. If we didn't put him down, it was unlikely that he would make the night (and his last few hours would be incredibly painful).

He really hasn't been the same since Meowser died. We knew it was only a matter of time, but it still seemed to come on fast. Last night, he was checking out trick or treaters at the door. He was letting Julia follow him around in her pig costume ("tee", slobber, "hee hee", "tee").
This morning, we awoke to high-pitched meows (much louder and more desperate sounding than the usual excessive meowing). We tried to make him as comfortable as possible (though Julia did give "tee" a few last fur-pulls). We said our good-byes knowing that there was a good chance Jason wasn't going to be bringing him home from the Vet.

The house is much quieter without him. We will miss him (despite our complaints). I mean, what other cat would let four-year old boys cover him with potato chips while he slept?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Things I have learned so far this Halloween:
  • Costumes that don't require significant makeup are smart.

prep-time: Julia - 2 minutes, Hunter - at least half an hour

  • When your child is pale they don't really need white face makeup (especially when you colour their hair black).

Trial run


Ready for party


  • Trying a new cookie recipe the day before you plan to take cookies to class is not the best idea. This is particularly true when you start baking around 10pm (you know after pumpkins, bed times, and the gym).

Julia in her Halloween-Eve outfit

  • Halloween is infinitely more fun with kids. Late night baking, 7am makeup struggles, and mad dashes to assemble the remainder of costumes at school is one hundred per cent worth it when you see them run to their classroom party exploding with excitement.

Hunter's Pumpkin

  • I also noted that all of the other parents looked to be in about the same state of chaos-recovery. Even those whose kids weren't wearing make-up. And the ones that didn't make cookies. Which brings me to the most valuable thing I learned today, relax and enjoy. The trick is to remember this one next year.

More pictures to come tonight (or tomorrow) on the Picture Blog.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Numerically Obsessed

Lately, Hunter has been fascinated with numbers: counting, adding, subtracting, seeing them appear on a clock ("it's seven zero two, mom, can we get up now??"). Tonight at supper he counted how many bite-sized pieces of chicken he had on his plate, how many kernels of corn in each forkful, and how many forkfuls he was ingesting. Not only that, he started by announcing he had eight pieces of chicken, ate one, then announced he had seven pieces, and so on. Part way through supper he did a demonstration of his amazing adding and subtracting abilities with his hands (I have ten fingers, one, two, three ... ten, if I put two down I have eight, one, two, three ... eight). It's kind of like what I would imagine living with Rainman would be like (I'm guessing since I'm probably one of the only people who has never seen that movie). Maybe I should take him to Vegas?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Long and Winding Road (to Blissful Sibling Parenthood)

When I was little, I always knew I wanted to have two children: a boy and a girl, just like my family. Jason always knew he wanted to have children too.

When I was in University, I started to think having children might not be such a good idea after all. At least not my own, adoption might be okay though. You know, more socially responsible because having kids in this world just because I want mine to look like me is just selfish.

A couple years after graduating we once again started talking about having a child. The whole concept was scary - would we be good parents? What would happen to the life that we were enjoying? What about my career? Could we afford it?

When we lost our first pregnancy, I knew with every ounce of me that I really, really wanted a child. That was the gift of that loss: it erased any doubts in my mind.

When Hunter was born, I couldn't believe how wonderful he was, how wonderful being a mom was, how great a Dad Jason was, how much we loved him instantly (and really, how basically every cliche about having a child was true). I began to wonder how people responsibly stopped having children because there wasn't anything in the world more wonderful than being a mom (and if being a mom to one was good, well being a mom must get even better as you add more children, right?).

After returning to work, a part of me started thinking that one child was probably a good number because that way we could give him a great life and we wouldn't be spread too thin (and really could I love another child as much as I loved Hunter?). Besides, getting one child ready every morning for day care and balancing work/home/school pressures was challenging enough for a family of three.

As life began to normalize (as much as it ever normalizes), I once again knew that I wanted at least two children. While I obsessed about these things endlessly, Jason always knew, he just quietly waited for me to figure it out. When pregnant with Julia, I worried a lot about how I would balance the needs of two children. I worried about how Hunter would handle the adjustment from being an only child to a big brother. I worried about how Jason and I would handle the adjustment. Even though the three of us instantly fell in love with Julia the moment she was born, I continued to worry about how Hunter was adjusting (though in hindsight, I think he transitioned with greater ease than either Jason or I).

Seeing the two of them play together these last couple months, and these last few weeks in particular, has erased any shred of worry I might have had. There is nothing better than watching Julia crawl down the hallway to join Hunter at play, except maybe peeking into their messy room and seeing the two of them playing together.

Wagoneer

Okay, here's the update (I'm only grudgingly providing it because clearly this accountability thing is not working for me): seven more pounds down for a grand total of 42 since baby. A ways to go. I have decided I'm going to start going by measurements too. I took 'em the other day because working out four hours a week has got to be paying off somewhere, right? Actually, despite the lack of significant scale movements, working out is paying off because I'm feeling great. Will update next month.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Worth Reading

Very much so. Her Bad Mother: Me and Britney.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

We Have Waving!!

The three of us were sitting down for lunch this afternoon and when I looked over to Julia she was intent on getting Hunter's attention, opening and closing her hand and making that sound she makes for Hunter. I was so excited I started waving at her and saying "Hi Julia" this was followed by big grins, more waves and "I". Hunter then started waving like mad and she really got into it. Will have to figure out and inundate blog with videos soon.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Eight Month Old Mungry

Julia, if I had to sum up month eight in a word, that word would be perfecting. This month, you've perfected crawling; sitting; picking up tiny bits of cereal (and other miscellaneous goodies) and popping them in your mouth; and, of course, wrapping Mum, Dad, and Hunter around your little finger (especially Mum).

You're trying a few new things, like pulling yourself up on chairs, dancing (er, kind of), and playing with Hunter's toys (you're figuring out cause and effect - "If I turn this handle, the cow pops up"), but for the most part you're content to perfect your recently acquired skills.

I'm happy to report that this month your relationship with the camera has improved and we are even able to occasionally snap a photo where you're smiling. Clearly, you are starting to realize that crying isn't your only weapon: when you just look cute and smile, good things happen too. I can hardly wait until you figure out the full power of your noggin.

I am more and more amazed all the time at the relationship you and Hunter are developing - I can't imagine two closer siblings. Your face lights up when he is in the room and nobody can make you laugh quite like he can (even though he often does it by sticking his face as close to yours as he possibly can).

Recently, I've noticed that the random comments from strangers about how tiny you are are becoming more and more infrequent. While I'm happy you're growing and thriving, the absence of those comments makes me sad because it hits home that you are not my tiny baby anymore and this time is just moving way too fast. I know, you're probably tired of reading how quickly this time is getting away from us, but it is the one constant month after month. That, and how much I love you (more than words can express and farther than you can dream).


Love you Jules,

Love Mum

Hmm...


Q: How can I tell that Hunter was just visiting with Grandma and Grandpa?
A: This afternoon he was watching the Rider Game. While watching the Rider game he exclaimed "Ugh, another flag?!? Those darn zebras are ruining the game" and, of course, "Touchdown Saskatchewan!!".


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Happy Birthday Grandpa

Happy Birthday Grandpa. We love you, you big doofus.

Love Hunter and Julia

Friday, September 28, 2007

On the Wagon

You may have noticed that there have been no ugh posts for quite some time. Initially I quit posting them because I had read a post about weight on my February babies board and was sickened by our almost universal level of obsession with our bodies. If I could find the thread, I'd put a few of the comments up because the body hatred is startling even though it's not all that surprising. I don't think any of us wants to leave this type of legacy with our children but, unfortunately, I'm sure many of us will. I did find, though, that without the posting I wasn't forced to do any checking in with how I'm doing at getting rid of the baby weight in a healthy way (unlike some of the women on my board). Being accountable in writing helps so I'm re-starting the monthly posts. My current update? I'm swimming twice a week, taking mom and baby yoga, and walking with the kids or doing yoga at home when they're napping. So far, I've lost 35 of the baby pounds (it was 40 but the lack of posting/accountability seems to have resulted in a couple of them coming back). Will update again next month, Thanksgiving and all.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Jumping on 102

So, as lazy as I've been with the posting as of late, I've still managed to make it to 102 posts. When another blogger I read posted her 100th post she posted 100 things about herself. Since I'm a shameless idea thief, I figured I would do something similar only it's my 102nd post. Here goes, some random facts in celebration of my 102nd post:


  • I'm 31 years old and I can kick, stretch, and kick (this is an SNL reference - Hunter does a great impression of it - one of these days I will u-tube and post it).
  • I am a Mum.
  • I am a wife.
  • I am a daughter.
  • I am/was a sister. I'm not sure what is correct here but I had a brother and he is deceased.
  • I am an aunt.
  • I'm working on my MPA. I feel less compelled to complete it as I am more and more at peace with where I am in my career. At the same time, I want to finish it because I've started it. Look for me to retire and complete my MPA around the same time.
  • I love my blog more when I post regularly. It's kind of like going to the gym - the more you do it, the more you enjoy it and when you've been away for a while, well you know. I also find it easier to rationalize not posting when the blogs I read aren't posting regularly either (hint hint).
  • I have blue eyes.
  • I wear dark-rimmed glasses that make it hard to see what colour my eyes are. I don't know why.
  • I'm too chicken to wear contacts.
  • I'm intrigued by lazer surgery but am too chicken to consider it right now either.
  • I have a slight phobia of mascots (like I usually cross the street to avoid them if I see them). I think my kids may be the cure.
  • I like saying my kids.
  • I had a palm reading when I was younger and the only thing that sticks with me is that I was going to have three children (I always wanted two). I always thought I would have one child then twins. I used to joke that that would be a nightmare. I feel guilty about that because Julia had a twin that "vanished" at about six weeks. This is common and something we wouldn't have known about except for the technology (see I am justified in being a neo-luddite) of an early ultrasound.
  • I often think about what life would have been like had we had two babies.
  • I am so grateful for Julia and Hunter.
  • I took an aromatherapy course when I was 19. I think I've forgotten nearly everything I knew.
  • I worked at two health food stores before I went to University - I still remember enough about herbs and vitamins that I'm not surprised when a study comes out recommending that people start taking certain vitamins.
  • I am currently avoiding the Postie (mail carrier). This stems from a recent incident where Hunter was knocking at the door because he had to go to the bathroom and couldn't get in. I was only partially dressed (pants and a sports bra) but weighed my chances of being seen against the likelihood Hunter would have an accident if I didn't get there pronto. The postie was putting the mail in the box at the exact moment that I opened the door (I think we are both scarred).
  • I drive a Honda Civic.
  • When I was 17 I told myself I would never be a passenger in my car more than a driver, but I find now that I'd just as soon be a passenger most of the time (except on the highway).
  • Some day I think I would like to get a pilot's license.
  • I like point form better than sentences because it's easier.
  • I always mix up when I should use effect and affect.
  • I looked up the spelling of indubitably the other day because I am never able to get it right.
  • I no longer have tonsils, an appendix, and one of my fallopian tubes.
  • No matter how old I get, I still don't like country music. I can take almost anything else.
  • When I was little I wanted to be a lawyer, a writer, or a psychiatrist. I think I get to do a bit of all of these things in my job (and at home).
  • I'm a policy analyst.
  • Hunter did a career craft at pre-school the other day; he said he wanted to be a policeman. When he came home, he decided he wanted to be an astronaut. I love that he is dreaming about his future careers (and that he'll change his mind as much as I did).
  • I am terrible at returning calls and emails. It doesn't mean I'm not thinking about or missing people; it's just a personality flaw. I have a few friends that are the same way and I often think it's miraculous that we manage to keep in touch at all.
  • I never forward those chain emails but I do occassionally send them back to the person that sent them to me the number of times you're supposed to forward it. You know, in case they're supersticious. That way I can imagine them trying to come up with more people to send it to.
  • My Mum told me that Dave Barry was right when he said people (strangers) stop seeing you when you are over 50. It kind of makes me look forward to being over 50 even though I'm not entirely convinced it's true.
  • My most memorable fight ever with Jason went something like this... J: "Why are you all steaming mad?" C: "Yeah, I'm the fucking rug doctor." I don't remember what it was about but it ended right then as we both started laughing.
  • I always vote with my heart. I feel it's okay because Jason and I vote as a team and he gets the task of strategic voting.
  • I don't think people always get my sense of humour.
  • I'm thinking it would be fun to plan a birthday party for Jason and instead of playing poker (or some other typical adult fun) we'd play pin the tail on the donkey, musical chairs, blind man's bluff, and have loot bags. Drinking would still be required (maybe even more so).
  • The other day I came across a card that Jason and I had picked up for my brother in law a couple years ago. We had put it away and forgotten about it. It's still funny. We are thinking of seeing if we can find more so we can send him the exact same card for five years in a row to see if he notices.
  • I am cynical but I sometimes think people that have faith are wiser.
  • I like office and school supplies.
  • I worked in a call centre and am still not entirely over my hatred of the phone.
  • I love pedicures. It's been a really long time since I had one.
  • I never feel like I am doing enough.
  • I don't feel responsible for the good qualities in my children only the bad habits.
  • I wish I was more organized.
  • I am using bullets instead of numbers so that how short of 102 I am will be less apparent.
  • I think about what I could be writing on my blog all the time but am not great at finding the time to actually write it down.
  • I started this a few days ago and am publishing it even though it's short of 102 because blogger keeps entries in chronological order not posting order (note the date).
  • I re-published my policy-parenting post because I decided it was how I felt at the time and my blog should represent that.
  • I am happy. I am content. What people say about life in your 30s is true. It's much better than the 20s.

P.S. Thumbs are for Suckers

One other thing, Julia. You usually suck your two middle fingers kind of like you're making the devil horns sign in reverse. This picture doesn't quite capture it but hopefully the descriptor gives you some idea.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Seven Months and One Day Update

Julia, this month I have failed to take pictures of you with food all over your face and body and thereby failed to visually capture one of your major discoveries this month - FOOD! You've tried a variety of mush, chicken noodle soup, and vegetables and seem to like everything with the exception of peas (canned baby food peas, so maybe you'll like the real thing if I just smoosh 'em up); but most of all, you love the crunchy stuff that I'm not even supposed to let you have until you're one (like those sweet potato crisps and mum mums). You like that food, I'm sure, because it allows you to assert your independence (instead of battling your Dad or I for the spoon; we let you attempt to stuff these things in your mouth because you are supposed to).You're still working out your crawling style but have finally given up trying to use your feet and hands because you've found much more efficient methods. Thanks for keeping the floors buffed. They need it after you throw mush all over the place.

The debate about your hair colour rages on this month. Are you blonde? Are you a redhead? Or are you just bald and we're going to have to wait to find out? I guess I'll have to grudgingly go with the latter, but it sure is fun to speculate.

A picture that really should have been included with this seven month update (had I thought to take one before now) is one of you and McPurr. McPurr has been driving us insane since Meowser died with his constant meowing (among other things) but the thing that has redeemed him, is your absolute adoration for him. When you nap outside your crib, he lays at your feet and purrs or naps. When you wake up and grab a giant hand full of his fur and pull with all your might he doesn't flinch. When you're hungry and Mummy is doing her best to ignore you for an additional five minutes, you screech and McPurr meows and you screech louder and McPurr meows louder, and that, that results in near instant gratification (I may need to invest in ear plugs when you really figure out just how well this is working for you).

If the above facts and characteristics were not enough to clearly identify you as my daughter, the fact that you immediately stop smiling and become awkward the minute a camera is anywhere close to your face would. Julia, you are so beautiful, stop fighting the pictures! And slow down, be patient, you've got lots of time to grow up and discover the world and so little time to have every need met by someone else. I'm sure you won't take my advice and that's another reason why I love you babe.

Love Mum

Friday, September 7, 2007

Evidence I May Need to Get Back to Work Soon

  1. I can no longer write coherently.
  2. Jason actually convinced me to join one of his Fantasy Football leagues (I usually lose Jason to football every year around this time, so I figured I would get involved even though, so far it has really been one of those sports I have just not been able to get into - not even CFL). I've found myself reading football magazines to prepare.
  3. I have completely fallen off the Yann reading wagon and am instead mostly reading mystery novels and football magazines (per above). Must at least pick up Catch 22 per older post.
  4. I have lost all interest in returning to work and rarely peruse the career page any more.
  5. I signed up for a class this fall and have been lamenting the fact that it is on Saturdays ever since. What was I thinking? A Saturday class will totally interfere with any mini-vacations I might have planned. My thinking has now shifted to how many classes can I reasonably miss?
  6. I find myself thinking adult conversation is overrated.

I think there is a bit of a maternity leave cycle of missing work and not missing work. I'm sure in a few months I'll be itching to get back to work, but right now, I am totally in love with being at home (despite the obvious adverse effects).

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Big Day

Hunter attended his first day of pre-school today. Hunter starting pre-school and the multitude of options and choices leading up to the decision to enroll him in the particular preschool he is enrolled in has been the source of much of my obsessive thinking and self doubt these last few weeks. Jason and I had been engaged in weighing the various options: Montessori, pre-k, pre-school, daycare two days a week (to keep some contact with children the same age), or the barely socially acceptable just staying home while Mum/Dad are at home. As late as last week he was enrolled in two schools (pre-k and pre-school) because we still hadn't fully decided what was best. After a tour and meeting with the pre-school teachers, though, Hunter was so excited about this school and learning french that we figured the pre-school had to be the right choice. That same excitement about school this morning meant he had a hard time sleeping last night and was up way too early this morning. As for me, I found myself experiencing a mixture of sadness and excitement when I dropped him off at the classroom this morning. It was hard not to be excited because he was so excited, but at the same time I can't believe how fast the time has gone, it feels like I blinked and he went from being Julia's size to a big guy going to school for the first time. He is growing so fast, and learning and changing all the time (I really ought to do a four and half year update). I spent the hour he was in school wondering what he was up to and lamenting the quiet of the house (Julia decided it would be a good time for a power nap). Picking up Hunter after an hour of meeting the other kids and getting oriented today, it was clear that he was ready even if I wasn't: He was absolutely buzzing. He had already made a new friend (Tiger?), found the washrooms, gone on a tour of the school that even included the real kindergarten classroom, played at the sand table, played cars, and read the Paper Bag Princess. He was over the top. When Jason called to see how it had gone, he had to keep the phone about a foot away from his ear because Hunter was talking so loud in his excitement. My boy is growing up, and I can hardly wait to see what he learns next week.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Analyze This

Not too long ago, I was chatting with a friend of mine about something I was worrying about. She thought I was being funny when I said: "if I just think it will horrible enough, when it isn't, even if it's just bad, it will seem like it's good, and if it's good it will seem like it's awesome". Her laugh caught me completely off guard because up until then I had deluded myself into thinking that most people thought this way. I do this all the time and am at a point now where I almost worry that if I don't worry about something or think it will turn out horribly then it will. For example, if I have a job interview I usually go into it thinking I'm going to stink it up (even though I'm actually quite good at job interviews, or so I've been told); when I do well, I convince myself that I didn't do that well because then I won't be disappointed and I won't jinx it by being overly confident. I also do this with papers (like the one I was sure was terrible only to get a call from my prof asking for permission to submit it to a policy conference). Jason can't believe that I was actually surprised to find out that my friend does not think this way as apparently neither does he. Some people are so odd.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Drumheller Holiday

Hunter and Julia at the Campsite

We tented at River Grove Campground. It was great because the spots are surrounded by trees and just hidden enough to make you feel like you are actually roughing it even though you can just walk 25 feet for flushing toilets, sinks and showers. There was a park in the campground that didn't hurt either and it was about two blocks away from the Aqualplex and the World's Largest Dinosaur (more on this below).
Hunter on one of the many dinosaurs that are sprinkled throughout the town. This place is perfect for four year old boys in love with dinosaurs and in awe that this is where they actually lived 75 million years ago.
Hunter and Jason at another one of the cool dinosaurs that are sprinkled throughout the town. If we hadn't forgotten the memory card for the camera, I'm sure there would have been at least a dozen photos very much like this one (or the one above).

The Hoodoos (Hunter loved visiting these - I think as much because he loved saying Hoodoos). Here's a tidbit of information on them in case you're interested.
Hunter hiding out near the Hoodoos. You cannot climb on them because they are very fragile but there are lots of close by spots to hike around.

Jason and the kids near the Hoodoos. If you're wondering why most of the pictures are of just Jason and Hunter it is because I was wearing Julia in the snuggli on most of the trails, etc. so if she was asleep we didn't disturb her (there are a few pictures where I got Julia's hat in the shot...).



A mural outside the reptile museum (which incidentally is another must see for any self-respecting four year old boy and his family).

Some snakes at the reptile museum. Hunter got a real kick out of the reptile museum - there were all sorts of exotic frogs, snakes, alligators, crocodiles, and turtles.


In the dinosaur area at the Calgary zoo because really there just weren't enough dinosaurs in Drumheller. Actually we went to see the giraffes because last year when we went to the zoo the giraffe was pregnant and we wanted to see the baby. Oh, and the hippos because we love the hippos. It was worth it even though Hunter locked both sets of keys in the car causing me to have a near stroke until I realized that since the trunk was open and the 60/40 split wasn't locked he could climb through and open the doors. I'm not sure why the only photo I took was one with a dinosaur, but the animals are in our memories anyway (and I guess it's harder to pose next to moving animals than dinosaur statues). Also, you'll notice that in this photo Hunter is looking in a different direction than Jason and Julia - this is because another kid was taking a picture of the dinosaur as well and Hunter figured he should pose for that picture.

World's Largest Dinosaur!!



Inside the World's Largest Dinosaur. We did this twice because Hunter loved it so much. Unfortunately, the time we brought the camera was when it was raining (the view is quite spectacular on a clear day).

We didn't get any pictures at the Royal Tyrrell Museum because it was so busy there (and the whole forgetting the memory card for the camera thing). We are going to try and make it back in the off season - maybe on an overnight trip when we're up visiting my parents. I really enjoyed the museum but could definitely see why the creationists were threatened enough by the science to create their own alternative version of dinosaur history museum (with no basis in science).

We also ventured to a suspension bridge near where some old coal mines were that we really enjoyed (there was great hiking around it as well). We didn't have time for the actual coal mines tour so will have to make sure we get back another time. Even though we had five days there (as we got up at an inhuman hour to drive out the first day thereby arriving around 2), we didn't have enough time to see and do everything we wanted so are definitely hoping to get back sometime in the next few years (I think when Julia is four and Hunter is eight would be ideal).

It was a great trip and gave us some confidence in venturing outside of our comfort zone (you know, a trip through the Rockies and, if we have the time, out to Vancouver Island). We are now thinking that we might actually do a camping trip out East next year and possibly even a camping and road trip to Newfoundland next summer (depending on holidays of course, that is a serious amount of driving).

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Slacking

Honest, when September comes around I'll be back to regular blogging. We are heading out of town tomorrow (now Drumheller instead of Banff) so I will write a real update when we get home. Oh, and I have posted some new pics on the other blog (finally).

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Holiday Inflation

In 1999, Jason and I took a two week holiday through the mountains and out to Victoria. My Grandma used to keep travel diaries that detailed activities, costs, etc. so I thought it would be a good idea to keep something similar. I stumbled upon it the other day when I was cleaning out our filing cabinet (read making a mess). We're planning to take a much condensed version of this trip next week (five days and probably just to Banff) so I thought it would be interesting to compare some costs:

1999
Gas in SK 65.9 cents per litre (Regina)
Gas in AB 59.9 cents per litre (Calgary)
Park Pass $10 per day
Campsite $13 per night
Gondola $14 per person.

2007
Gas in Regina 106.9 cents per litre
Gas in Calgary 98.9 cents per litre
Park Pass $17.80
Campsite $19.00
Gondola $24.95 per person ($12.50 per child, free for babies)

I wonder how this will look in another eight years? My favourite part about this holiday (and probably one of the reasons we take it so often), though, is that there are so many things you can't cost because they are free (and priceless) - like hiking 10k to see waterfalls, or paint pots, or well hidden natural hot springs. Eee! I can't wait.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Six Months? Really? Already?

Dear Julia:

I can not believe six months have gone by already. Today your Dad and I printed some pictures from these last six months and it really hit home just how much you have grown and changed. Six months ago today we caught our first glimpse of you and instantly fell in love. Six months ago you were adjusting to being in the outside world and now you explore it with every sense. Six months ago we were contemplating your name and now I can not imagine it being anything other than Julia. I can not imagine my life without you in it.

Six months ago you were just under 7lbs, now you are 14lbs. Six months ago you seemed so delicate, but now you seem so strong. You hold your head up, lift yourself off the ground, jump in your jumper and your saucer, and stand up and desperately try to escape your bumbo when you do not want to be in it.

In this last month, you started eating oatmeal and rice cereal for supper and started snacking on baby mum mums (your favourite non-milk food by far because you can feed them to yourself and you are nothing if not independent). You have graduated from your cradle to your crib. You have taken your first swimming class. You have found words for Hunter and kitty that you use consistently even if I'm not quite sure how they sound like Hunter or kitty. You are so close to crawling forwards you can taste it, you actually find it funny when we give you belly blows or play peek, and when Mummy comes towards you you reach your arms up (there is no better feeling).

In honour of your six month birthday, Hunter decorated a couple of cupcakes. Unfortunately not only are you too little to enjoy the cupcakes, but your teeth were bothering you tonight so you ended up falling asleep before we had dinner and missed the whole thing. My tooth prediction was wrong but I really hope those first ones break through soon so you can have some relief.

I wish I could slow down the clock and keep this time from escaping so fast. At the same time, I'm eager to see you grow and change because you constantly amaze me. Julia, I love you more than I can express, more than you can imagine, and further than you can dream.

Love Mum

Thursday, August 2, 2007

What Julia Has Been Working On


It's taking a lot of effort to attempt forward crawling so right now rolling is much more efficient for achieving what she needs. For moving backwards, though, crawling is working fairly well.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Blogfodder

I have a confession to make.

When I was on vacation I. wore. crocs.

Granted it was at the lake, but still, I did it. And worse, I miss them. Not only do I miss them, I long for them, and I am seriously thinking about buying a pair. Just for around the yard, and maybe for the odd walk, but I'll never wear them to the mall or work, I promise. And I won't buy a brightly coloured pair. But I'm a little concerned that everybody says that and in reality it's only a matter of time before I'm wearing a pair of bright yellow crocs with a suit (and I'm not talking about a swimsuit either).

While I'm a little ashamed of myself, I'm not quite as ashamed as my fifteen year old niece, Baylie. Baylie slipped on a pair of crocs to walk around the yard. When she confessed her fashion sin to her friend via telephone one evening, her friend screamed into the phone, then shouted "we promised each other we never would!!" Oh Baylie tried to rationalize that it was okay because she was at the lake and no one would see her, but I don't think that excuse cut it because I noticed that for the rest of her visit (almost) she opted for her sandals or runners instead of the sweet, sweet, comfortable (but oh so ugly) crocs.

I'm still holding out in hopes that the memory of just how comfortable and convenient they are will fade (mostly because of the aforementioned slippery slope concerns). But I am hopeful that if I do succumb to my croc desire, most of my friends will be kinder than a fifteen year old girl. I guess this means I should leave my anti-croc facebook group?

Settling In

It's hard to come back from vacation especially when you've been away long enough to get into a nice routine that doesn't involve home improvement projects. My days on vacation went something like this:

  • Wake up a bit later than usual (while Hunter actually slept in a couple of days this waking up later was mostly due to him harassing my Mum early each morning and her putting up with it)
  • Drink coffee, sometimes even three cups before lunch (okay, I only drank three cups once but it was really nice I had forgotten just how much I enjoy drinking too much coffee) and sometimes outside on the deck (a close second to my favourite - having morning coffee in the hot tub which has only rarely happened since Hunter was born)
  • Walk to the boat launch or an early morning trip to the beach
  • Lunch that includes garden vegetables (next year I am growing my own lettuce as it's one of those things that you just don't get enough of when you rely on other people's gardens, same goes for tomatoes)
  • Do yoga while the kids nap (they nap on vacation because of the heat and because they stay up later at night)
  • Check facebook and blogs or read while children continue to nap
  • Do craft or some such thing with Hunter while Julia continues to nap
  • Make supper on awesome barbecue (must get awesome bbq, ours just doesn't compare) or eat awesome supper someone else made
  • Evening walk
  • Kids to bed
  • Tea and visit
  • Facebook, blogs, reading
  • Repeat

When I break it down like that, I can see that a lot of the same elements happen daily at home (with the exception of the sleeping in and Hunter having afternoon naps for the most part) but at home the home improvement projects and other things I ought to be doing distract and nag at me. For instance, I've spent a portion of each day since I've been home weeding, contending with ants in Hunter's garden, noting spots where I should be touching up the white trim on the main floor, lamenting scratches in newly refinished hardwood floors, and thinking about finishing (and starting) various projects elsewhere in the house. Oh, and there's the cleaning too. And increased television viewing (relative to the minimal viewing at my parent's place). And the idea that I really ought to be blogging because I'm home and don't really have an excuse.

But there's also Jason, and my own bed, and that makes up for the increased responsibility that comes with being home.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Simply Bliss

Hunter dancing

Julia laughing

Bowing, spinning, performing

Laughing

Four Year Old Logic II

M: Julia, don't grab Hunter's eye.
H: Yeah, just my forehead.
H: When I'm five it will be my fivehead, right?
M: No, it will always be a forehead.
H: Even when I'm five? What about the very top, will it be a fivehead?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Elements of a (Nearly) Perfect Day

  • Canoe trip across the lake to spy the eagle's nest and pelicans
  • Feeding the Ducks with Hunter
  • Brunch cooked and consumed outside
  • Afternoon shower (not because I don't normally shower but because I normally shower in the morning and there is something wonderful about having a shower in the middle of the afternoon when it's ridiculously hot and sticky)
  • Finishing a good book while Julia and Hunter nap (Julia and Hunter napping at the same time)
  • Relaxing on the deck
  • Checking the sports channel and discovering that the Jays beat Boston
  • Making Baylie laugh
  • Barbecued Roast Beef and potatoes for supper
  • A race at the Boat Launch
  • Go Fish and Memory
  • Seeing three deer on the evening walk past the railroad tracks
  • Walking back and seeing fog on the lake
  • Talking with Jason on the phone (remembering the early days of talking on the phone with Jason)
  • An impending thunder storm

Why nearly perfect and not perfectly perfect?

  • Moments of homesickness ("I miss Daddy", "I wish Daddy was here", "I want Daddy");
  • Teething; and,
  • Of course, Jason is at home

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Why I Haven't Been Posting





Well actually it had more to do with the painting than the refinishing of the floors. The pictures really don't do justice to the difference. If I had known it would be so easy, I would have done it a few years ago when it first needed done instead of procrastinating (or at least that's what I like to tell myself). I know most people would paint then refinish the floors but we really didn't intend on repainting right now. It's just that when the floors were done the walls really looked like they needed an update and since the room was empty anyway it seemed like as good a time as any (though in hindsight picking a time when it isn't 35+ may have been smarter). And of course instead of just putting a fresh coat of paint on we decided (like idiots) to completely change the colour. Changing the colour wouldn't be so bad if the trim didn't need to be painted white - the trim took about six coats to get the white looking nice and, truth be told, it could probably use another one (or two) still. This is the only time I've ever thought crown molding is a bad idea. Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of the room with the new paint and furniture back in before I came here so you'll just have to imagine that it's now a yellowy-taupe with a bright white trim.
Blogging will continue to be light as spending time lounging around on the deck or at the beach with the kids is taking precedence (call me crazy).

Happy Five Months Mungry


Dear Julia:

Today you are five months old, where has the time gone? As I write this you are having a morning nap. It is warm here at Grandma and Grandpa's and we were in the hot tub early this morning so you are ready for a good rest. You love the water, especially warm water. You aren't too sure about the lake yet, but you definitely like the hot tub and pools.

This past month has been busy. So busy that I think I've taken for granted just how much you've grown and changed. This month you lived through your first renovations (relatively minor but house disrupting nonetheless), hosted good company and went on your first plane ride.

When Jenn was visiting she had you sitting by yourself for the shortest time. You are so interested in moving, though, that sitting doesn't interest you much. I'm pretty sure that by the time I write the six month update you'll be mobile - you're pretty close now, rolling to get what you need and creeping along. I'm also pretty sure that that tooth that has been bothering you will finally make an appearance before the six month update (at least I hope it will).

You are definitely interested in your toys now: Freddy the Firefly is your favourite, I often hear his wings crinkling and sometimes when I look over you have the rings around your arms. The saucer is getting your attention now too - I love watching you work your way around testing the various sounds and tastes of the toys. Sadly, your interest in the swing seems to have waned, though you do seem to like it better now that it's outside.

Hunter is convinced that you can say "hi" and "mum" and I'm sure he's right, I think I've heard a da sound along with that krr sound you are fond of. I can hardly wait to see what word you'll have for Hunter because he usually calls himself "big brother" when he's talking to you and that seems like a lot for a baby to manage.

Looking at you sleeping so peacefully, I think I'll cut this short and instead have a nice nap with you.

Love Mum.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Four Year Old Logic

H: "How long until we get to Wascana Park, Mum?"
M: "Not much longer, we'll be there pretty soon."
H: "We'll be there handsome soon, right Mum?"
M: "Handsome soon?"
H: "You know, like pretty, only handsome."

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Seriously?

When I was a kid, my cousin and I tried every entrepreneurial scheme we could think of: we sold (er, attempted to sell) painted rocks (like pet rocks before pet rocks), hand collected hollyhock and poppy seeds, ornaments made out of clay. Of course, lemonade was too pedestrian for us (though I did notice that the kids that had lemonade stands actually sold their wares). I'd like to think we were ahead of our time and that maybe we just didn't do the right market research (like maybe if we had just sold the seeds in the spring instead of the fall...). Perhaps if the two of us hadn't thrown in the entrepreneurial towel years ago we could have eventually come up with the next big thing. I'd like to think the next big thing we would have come up with would not have been something like this though. Seriously, is this the best thing creative energy can come up with? Then again, market research was always our failing as entrepreneurs.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Fireworks and Such

Last night we dragged our sore, tired, weekend warrior bodies to the fireworks. This was the first year that Hunter really wanted to go and seeing as we have made him go every year up to now because we wanted to go it only seemed fair.

The fireworks weren't slated to start until 10:30 but we wanted to get there early enough to secure a good spot so we arrived around 10:00. We found a great spot, spread out the blanket, folded up the stroller and got comfortable. Five minutes later Julia started whimpering. Knee bounces and airplanes appeased her for fifteen minutes or so but then the fact that she was exhausted and unable to sleep with all the action around got the better of her and she began to cry. Since holding her wasn't really comforting her, I took her for a little walk.

As I walked further and further away from the fantastic vantage point we had secured by arriving early, I started to grumble to myself - why does the Mum always have to be the one to leave when the show is about to start, and why didn't I just send Jason and Hutner to start with if I was going to have to spend the time comforting a tired baby anyway? I was fully expecting that my newly-calmed baby would start wailing once the fireworks began because Hunter never failed to cry when they started - he would be wonderfully happy until that first cracking sound then the tears would begin (or, later, the I want to go homes). I was thinking that this was the first year that Hunter wouldn't be scared when they started but it would be another four years before Julia wasn't scared when they started and that maybe we would have been smarter if we had spaced them closer together.

When the fireworks started with their usual bang Julia stared at the sky in quiet wonder. A few more cracks lighting up the sky and a smile erupted on her face. Then a giggle. I was now holding my spellbound baby thinking just how much better fireworks are with kids. Even though I could hear the odd adult grumble about how lame they were or how much they cost, most of the grumbles were drowned out by the sounds of kids gasping, clapping, and asking the person nearest them if they had seen that. My own grumbles quieted and were replaced with gratitude and a hope that when Hunter is too old to see the wonder in fireworks (if he gets too old to see the wonder in fireworks) we'll have four more years of wonder with Julia.

When they finished, I couldn't wait to find Hunter and Jason to share with them how much Julia had enjoyed her first fireworks show (now feeling like I had gotten a really good deal having to go for the walk after all). When I found them, Hunter excitedly told me how he and Jason had yelled "ka-pow!!" every time the fireworks cracked and had gotten some of the kids sitting near by to do it too. Hunter asked me if I had seen the various types of fireworks, and told me that the triangle ones were his favourite. It was obvious that Hunter had really enjoyed the fireworks for the first time this year. I wondered about the kapows so Jason explained that Hunter had been a little scared and asked to go home when they started so Jason convinced him to start yelling "kapow" every time they cracked - that way the noise wouldn't be scary.

I can hardly wait until next year when there will be Hunter's anticipation at the memory of the fireworks, and four of us yelling "ka-pow!!"

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Blogging*

Sometimes my powers of suggestion are not at all what I wish they were. Sometimes they are downright ineffective (for instance, there is still that one person I haven't yet convinced to sign up for facebook and I know she would enjoy it). But in all honesty, if you've managed to resist so far, don't do it. Seriously. Actually, do it then I can poke you and write on your wall.

My other recent attempts at encouraging sloth (physical if not mental anyway) among others have been met with the following responses:

"Thanks for your suggestion about the travel blog...I've thought about it before but it kinda feels like a lot of strangers are reading my boring-ass diary. I don't know, I like reading other people's, though... Hmm."

and

"the reason why I cringe at blogging is because it's just not personal...I'd rather spend more money and more time online talking to each of my wonderful friends individually. Sickening, isn't it?"

I love these responses because they illustrate the inherent contradictions of blogging: blogging is at once impersonal and deeply personal, mundane and fascinating. The most mundane, "boring-ass" stuff sometimes reveals the most truth and sure we're sharing stories with whoever happens to stumble across our site but the entries are often still deeply personal.

Reading other blogs and struggling to maintain one myself has driven home the universality of so many of the things we experience. Reading mommy blogs reassures me that other mothers struggle with feelings of guilt and inadequacy, struggle to lose that last ten (or twenty or fifty) pounds of baby weight not only so they feel better but so that they don't leave their children with the legacy of body issues, and struggle with letting go when they return to work (or struggle with their decisions to stay home). Reading mommy blogs also highlights the universal experiences of pure joy and wonder having children invokes, the feelings that make it all completely worthwhile. Reading travel blogs, there are universal threads there too. Same goes for blogs that are harder to define - these blogs expose the universal dialogues of marriage, friendship, work, spirituality, renovations.

Blogging has the capacity to teach us about ourselves and each other. The anonymity of it frees us to be honest about our experiences at the same time that sharing ourselves through this medium has the capacity to reacquaint us with our loved ones or share parts of ourselves we had not before. Blogging is freeing and empowering (even though it sometimes feels like a chore) because it reassures us that we are not alone and that our experiences are shared.

* Somehow this entry became an unintended partial response to the question - is blogging empowering to women? This question has been posed in various blogs across the interweb, most recently over at her bad mother.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Rivetting, Just Rivetting


Eee! I'm ridiculously excited about an appliance. This may be a sign that I need to get out more (just maybe). I ordered this three days ago. I've wanted one for so long and have been so disciplined about not buying one up until now. But this one? This one came with a free ice cream making attachment that really made it completely irresistible (yes, it is just what I need). Besides, my Mum has had her Oster since the 1980s so I'm sure I will have this long enough for it to pay for itself. That's why I went with black even though I really like the red ones: I figure black is the kind of colour that will survive the years and various kitchens I may have (and white just wasn't me). Since ordering it, I've been checking the website daily (okay three or four times a day) to see where exactly it is and how soon it will get to me - see, my touch of OCD manifests itself everywhere. So far, the thing has made it to ready to be shipped status and should be here by Monday. Very exciting stuff!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Book Club

Oh when is there going to be a James Bond book suggested?? Uh, that's a Corner Gas reference in case other people aren't as addicted, er well versed, with the show as I.

I've been thinking about this day approaching and fastly trying to get through the last of the first four books. I was starting to catch up; I was only one book behind (well almost) and praying that today's selection would be something I had already read so as to remove some of the reading pressure (especially with the final installment of the Harry Potter series coming out soon).

No such luck; apparently my stillness needs as many suggestions as Stephen Harper's (hopefully this is only one of a few things I have in common with Stehphen Harper) That's okay, though, I'll take them. With the exception of By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept, which I am really, really trying to get through (I know, it's short but it's just so flowery), I have enjoyed the selections (uh, all three of them if you count Animal Farm) immensely. My only complaint of the Tolstoy one was that it was too short. It has definitely made me want to read other Tolstoy works and I can honestly say I didn't have any desire to read them before (even though I thought I probably should read War and Peace). The Agatha Christie selection has renewed my interest in her works as well (even though I had the murderer figured out right off the bat - something in the letter that accompanied the suggestion tipped me off but having re-read the letter I can't put my finger on what it was).

Besides reading the books and the possibility of discussing them in real life with other people who may have already, or will shortly, be finishing them; I'm enjoying a couple other things about this project of Yann Martel's. One is trying to piece together the secondary messages he might be sending the PM. The other is imagining some bureaucrat having to respond to these letters every two weeks. So far, I've been disappointed, though, because there has only been one response to date and it was sent from the Assistant to the PM and quite succinctly said thank you for the book. I know if I had been the bureaucrat responsible for writing the response that would come from the Assistant to the PM (well first off, I would have recommended that the response come from the PM himself) I couldn't have left this line alone:

"That is the greatness of literature, and its paradox, that in reading about fictional others we end up reading about ourselves. Sometimes this unwitting self-examination provokes smiles of recognition, while other times, as in the case of this book, it provokes shudders of worry and denial. Either way, we are the wiser, we are existentially thicker."

I would have wanted to indicate some agreement with the statement and I really would have wanted to make a suggestion back (not that I ever would because it would only make things worse, but I would have wanted to). If I were the bureaucrat responsible for responding to the letters from Yann, I probably would have sat at my desk struggling with how I could thank him for providing the book while addressing the reason for sending them in the first place (likely by making some reference to the level of arts funding per capita in Canada versus other industrialized countries, or a particular reference to the number of great books authored in part because of the Canada Arts Council). Once I had finished delicately balancing these things I likely would have written a very long draft. But when I proofed my letter undoubtedly, I would have come up with something like this:

Dear Mr. Martel:

Thank you for your recent letter and the copy of Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilych. I appreciated reading your comments and insights and look forward to (re)-reading this novel.

Sincerely,
Stephen Harper

After sitting at my desk painstakingly considering the cleverest of responses, the letter I would have written would have been almost identical to the one that was sent. But that is how it goes - the stuff you struggle the most over often ends up on the cutting-room floor and the simplest things are what you send. The stuff you cut, it's better without, and less is more (well maybe it's not more but it's safer). I'm not sure if I'd get away with putting re-reading in there but I'd want to, I'd want to indicate that reading brilliant works is old hat and Yann Martel doesn't need to be sending in the books. This, of course, is no reflection on my real feelings on the matter, just what I'd adopt if I were charged with responding to the letters (I mean we all know Canada hasn't had a PM this arrogant since the early 80s, right?).

Friday, June 22, 2007

Some Kind of Wonderful

On Tuesday the most wonderful thing happened: I woke up feeling better than I had in months and I hadn't even known I wasn't feeling like my normal self. Prior to Tuesday, I was waking up still tired, assuming I had just stayed up too late (even though I've always been able to stay up too late). I was sluggish and constantly feeling like I was failing when I didn't accomplish my daily mental to do list. I was thinking my tiredness was really laziness and the constant exhaustion and nagging feelings of not meeting my own expectations had become the norm. At first I thought maybe Tuesday was just exceptional but when the same thing happened Wednesday, Thursday, and today, I realized (or at least am hopeful) that I'm back to my old pre-baby self. What a relief!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Our Yard

It's a work in progress but here are some pre and post sod pictures of our yard. We're currently working on the walking path and trying to get these non-solar lights to actually light. In the nearish future we plan to build a new fence on the alley side and build a new deck on the side from where I'm taking the pictures (there are blocks there right now). I wish I had taken a picture before the enormous old deck was ripped up but seeing as Jason started tearing it up as a spur of the moment thing when he was out in the backyard with Hunter and Liam this spring I didn't have a chance.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Inevitable Writer's Block Post, Kind of

It's been a while since I've written about my inability to write anything. I know I've been blogging fairly frequently this past week, but none of my entries are really saying what I want them to say and they are all feeling mediocre. The worst part is I keep feeling like I have things I want to convey but I'm struggling to articulate any of it (especially today - I wanted to tell my Dad how lucky I feel to have grown up with him as my Dad and how much I love him but I couldn't find the right words).

I'm worried that I'm spending too much of my computer time (I'm limiting so as not to neglect my family too much) sending and receiving one line notes, and that it's affecting my ability to write anything of substance coherently. It seems that form fades quickly without practice. I feel like soon I won't be able to write a proper sentence at all. My ability to use the comma has already gone out the window in the last few months (if I ever really was able to use a comma properly) and I fear that I'm only one or two weeks away from using prolly.

Many of you will have heard me rant on about prolly. For me, prolly is the written equivalent of the sound nails make on a chalkboard: there is nothing that irritates me more than receiving an email with the word prolly in it - I mean really, how much harder is it to write two extra letters and have the word probably? Whenever I read the word prolly, I immediately judge the IQ of the writer (kind of like I do when I see people wearing their ballcaps sideways). I won't even start on how I feel about the word hi-lites, which is apparently acceptable now. I know I've sent those emails where I've used there, their, or they're incorrectly even though I really do know which witch is which. I always catch those mistakes after I send the note that I should have proof-read first (or did proof read, but read too fast to really proof) and I always want to send another note to explain that I actually can write.

It seems that there is just something about being able to instantly send a note that makes us disregard the English language if we ever regarded it in the first place (though I cannot fathom an excuse for hi-lites as I'm assuming newsletters aren't written that hastily). I guess it comes down to a choice of speed over accuracy; or perhaps if we apply the rules consistently despite the medium, we can have both speed and accuracy. Maybe I should read Marshall McLuhan and attempt to understand how the medium is the message or maybe I will just keep practicing. Bear with me.

Happy Father's Day Jason

Dear Dad:
We hope you like Miami Vice. Initially this was supposed to be a 49ers Jersey ('cause that's what we got you for Father's Day only it hasn't come yet) but when it came out looking like Mum's Sunday dress (if she had one) we decided to throw a layer of blue on it and shorten it a bit. Hence the Miami Vice look (at least that is what Mum tells us, we don't even know what Miami Vice is). We do know that you'll love it anyway 'cause that is one of the things we love most about you. - you love everything we are and constantly show us. Happy Father's Day Dad.
Love Hunter and Julia (real life hugs and kisses).

Happy Father's Day Grandpa!


Grandpa, we are thinking about you today on Father's Day and wishing we were there to celebrate with you. We had such a great visit with you earlier this month. I especially enjoyed spending so much time outside, at the beach, the dock, the deck, and in the hot tub. I enjoyed the trips to town, picking up the bike (especially seeing you ride it to the truck), and the drive home (especially our stops in Vegreville, and all those towns outside of Saskatoon). I know Julia can't talk yet but if she could I think she'd tell you how much she loved having naps with you, walking around outside with you, and how much she appreciated your confidence in her that soon she will be moving around like crazy, oh and that there is nothing like a Grandpa hug (that goes for me too). We love you Grandpa,

Love Hunter and Julia
xoxoxox

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Happy Four Months, Mungry

Dear Julia:

This last month has been amazing. In the last four plus weeks you went from that baby that sleeps all the time to that baby that is desperate to move, chew, and experience everything. I don't know how you do it, but when I leave you on your blanket on the floor and turn my back for even a minute you are never in the same spot I left you in (and usually you're not even on the blanket anymore).


Hunter is starting to actually believe me when I tell him that he is going to have to start picking up his toys more because if he doesn't you'll eat them. I think it may have something to do with the number you did on his Ninja Turtle when we took you for your immunizations, but it could also be because lately you've been putting anything and everything you can reach into your mouth. Though you do seem to have a special affection for things that are soft like blankets, stuffies, and dresses.


I never used to understand why people used bibs on their babies before they started eating but I'm starting to get it now... you've kind of been like a faucet these past few weeks but then again, who needs bibs when you wear a dress, right? That has got to be my favourite thing that you do right now, chewing on the bottom of your dresses. It's like you're saying "oh that is what all this extra frill is for." It's especially funny when Daddy picks you up, feels the dampness, worries there has been some sort of diaper explosion, sniffs you and determines all is well (I guess the bubbling around your mouth doesn't always immediately give it away).




You are now sleeping like one of those babies that you hear about but never really think exist. You go to bed at around 8pm and don't wake up until Dad gets up for work! Admittedly, he gets up for work at 5am but still, I think it's pretty amazing. And the best part is that you wake up in the most wonderful way with beautiful smiles and bright eyes. You rock your cradle to let us know you're up and if that doesn't work you may those kkr kkr sounds. And only when that doesn't work do you let out the smallest of cries. I'm afraid it's looking like we have two morning people in our family but it's really hard not to be okay with it when we get to wake up to your smiles and Hunter's cheerful good mornings.


Words can't really capture how much we love you or how much you've added to our lives. Our hearts felt full before you came but they have grown (kind of like how the grinches heart grows three sizes that day) because sometimes when I look at you I feel so much joy I could burst (especially when I look at you and your little legs and arms start kicking in excitement and your face explodes into smiles). Hunter has also started saying he would like to be a Dad when he grows up (a jet flying, ninja Dad with 16 kids) and I'm pretty sure that's his way of saying his life is much, much, much better with you in it. Love you my little Mungry.