Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's a good thing our kids don't love us like our pets do

It is a nice slow morning. Sam and I are getting dressed for an outing of Christmas shopping. We are all set except for snack-packing, which will only take a minute, then we can hit the road. We're not in a hurry, but there is a finite amount of time between wake-up / snack / lunch / nap during which Sam is patient and happy. So I know that we have to get going before too late otherwise pleasant mother-boy shopping excursion becomes draining flailing whinefest.

I won't bore you with the details of how tricky it is getting us both ready to go out, particularly when there is only one grown up available for toddler supervision. Those of you with kids know. And those of you without, just imagine chasing around a clumsy 2.5 foot version of yourself who is resistant to everything you are trying to do it, especially the cleaning, dressing and feeding tasks. Then picture having your shower while singing songs from the Elephant Show so that the the tiny-you doesn't freak out and think you've disappeared behind that glass door forever. And remember to stick your head out 800 times to makes sure tiny-you hasn't fallen into the toilet or managed to open the door and escape the bathroom. Then get dressed and dry your hair and put on your makeup with the now impatient tiny, snotty, you clinging to your leg and howling.

Whatever time it used to take to get ready to go out is now multiplied by three. But we manage. And this morning we are doing fine. Until we come back downstairs from our primping.

I can see a slice of the kitchen as I round the corner at the bottom of the stairs. I see fluff on the floor and wonder what the cat has gotten into. Once I realize the mess is feathers, I wince at the thought of what I'll see when the whole room is in view.


Luckily, it was just feathers.




And blood. Did I mention blood? Mangy eaten bird blood? Some of it sticking the feathers to the floor. Yuck.

The next 20 minutes were spent sweeping bloody feathers (Seriously, do you know how hard that is?!) while trying to keep 2.5 foot clumsy me from eating them. Then washing the floor. And washing two pairs of hands.

Lovely.

Sabbath (the cat) does this sort of thing on a fairly regular basis. We've even had dead and dying mice delivered to our bedroom in the middle of the night before. I can't really get mad at him for it - this is how cats show their love and respect for their people. I am grateful, however, that Sam sticks to hugs and kisses.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Shame

On me. I haven't blogged. We all know it. No excuses. Let's just move on.

Things I've been doing while not blogging:

1. Welcoming a darling new baby into our pseudo-family. EET was born on November 1st in Illinois and the fabulous news that she was going to be our little niece came on November 5th. We welcomed her to Canada on the 17th. Congratulations to our best friends C&C on their new adventure as parents!



Sam is not too sure about sharing his Auntie Christine . . .

2. Cleaning out my inbox. There are currently seven messages in there. $100 says it's overflowing again in a week.

3. Working. A lot. I don't want to do that anymore. Sadly, the bills don't pay themselves.

4. Turning 31.

5. Kind of freaking out about turning 31. Seriously? This is the way time works? I'm really not getting any younger?

Shit.

6. Getting ready for Christmas. Craft fairs galore. Have some lights up. Hung the advent calendars. Decided not to do cards this year (you will all get emails or e-cards). Might bake some cookies. Will hopefully give them away rather than eat them all.

7. Feeling guilty about not blogging.

8. Drinking wine and silently hoping that my IUD has not accidentally become dislodged, leaving a vulnerable empty net. A few more months and we'll pull the goalie willingly . . . just not quite yet, please.

9. Discovering a wonderful new (to me) movement called Wholehearted Living. Check it out. I'd say more, but I'm just getting a handle on it myself. For a snippet of what has peaked my interest watch this clip: Brene Brown at TEDx Houston.

10. Enjoying a second Thanksgiving! Thanks to our new niece, who is American by birth, we will now have the tradition of stuffing turkey, and ourselves, three times a year (once you count Christmas).

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In addition to the above, we had a couple of nostalgia-inducing snow days.


Sam was not impressed




If you look very closely, you can see that he is almost smiling. I was shovelling and he was taking great pleasure in my labour.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I'm warming to monkeys, it would seem

I have no love for monkeys. I don't mean the real ones out there in the wild, minding their own business. They're fine. I mean the ones on TV sitcoms, especially if they are dressed in stupid costumes. Everyone who knows me knows this about me. They have all been warned to steer clear of the cutesy monkey-oriented baby things for Sam (though some have broken the rules).

Lately, however, I have found myself giving in to the occasional adorable onsie that says "Mommy's little monkey", and David has bought Sam a monkey puppet that I have become quite attached to.

But when I willingly put Sam in a loaned monkey costume for Hallowe'en . . . well people have started calling me on it. See adorable pictures below.

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Also, we have legitimized an annual tradition of visiting a local pumpkin patch by now having a child to bring there. The trip started with a nap in the car, which set the mellow tone for the rest of the day (note Sam looking nonplussed despite the dressed up farm folk singing to him on the hayride to the pumpkin fields).















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Actual Hallowe'en




Saturday, October 16, 2010

How does time work again?

Oops.

I've been a bad blogger.

One twelfth of a year has gone by without a word from me. This is not the way to get the blogosphere to like you. Time to make amends.

September 14th: I started a temporary part-time line at the hospital. It works out to be 2-3 twelve-hour shifts per week but I also pick up extra when it is offered so that I am actually working closer to full-time hours, sometimes more. I only work nights in an effort to spend more time with Sam. But that means that I don't get to sleep as much as I'd like, and that on days when I work that night, the only time I have to myself is the unpredictable length of time that Sam naps in the afternoon.

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September 27th: We left for Ottawa for 8 days. I was Maid of Honour at my friend's wedding - congratulations K&S!!! - so the week leading up to the wedding was super busy! Sam turned one while we were there, on October 1st. I say that with such little fanfare because, truly, it was pretty anti-climactic. I mean, he doesn't have a clue what a birthday is or that he had one. We had an open house style party for him so that all our family members who have never met him could come visit. Sam was overwhelmed and cranky and would have absolutely nothing to do with his cake.


Seriously.

As it turned out, he was probably feeling pretty terrible because the next day he came down with the snot canals and a productive little cough. Poor kid. Travel across the country, be transplanted to a new environment with all kinds of strangers, don't see your mom for the better part of the week, then just when you are starting to really like hanging out with your grandparents, get a cold and get back on a plane for home.

The flights were tiring for us but Sam did really well. Take off and landing didn't bother him at all! He napped about an hour or so in each direction, but needed constant entertainment for the other 8 hours. David and I tag-teamed Sam with puppet shows, books, peek-a-boo, and renditions of his favourite Sharon, Lois and Bram songs. I found myself staring longingly at childless travellers who read, watched TV, or slept the air-miles away. But it could have been far far worse so I really can't complain.

On the bright side, the time change made for late morning sleep-ins while we were on "vacation" - 8 am!! Glorious! Of course, what goes East must again come West and that meant a few mornings of 5 am wake ups once we were home.

All the stress and exhaustion of the trip was worth it to see how Sam warmed up to, and soon fell in love with, his grandparents. Smiles and cuddles for Nana first thing in the morning . . . falling asleep in the swing with Papa . . . playing on the kitchen floor with Grandma . . . high-fiving Granddad . . . It makes me sad that Sam has already forgotten all this.






We knew that starting a family so far from our own families of origin would be a challenge, but I didn't think it would be so heartbreaking. There is so much love that he Sam is missing out on - I only hope that we can make up for it.

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October 5th: Back in Vancouver, Sam - and now I - had a miserable cold. No untoward complications though and we have both since recovered completely. Physically anyway. I was extremely homesick for the first week and into Thanksgiving, as I always am this time of year. Luckily we have excellent friends here who invited us to their family Thanksgiving dinner - again - and that helped. I also made a wicked apple pie from scratch which was quite therapeutic.

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October 12th: I am back into the swing of work and David has hesitantly given up his role as stay at home dad to go back to school for a new career. It's been almost 2 years since he was laid off from work and we decided that in order for us to move forward in any meaningful way as a family (more kids are going to require a bigger house, second car, more RESP contributions, and gee, wouldn't it be nice to pay off some debt?!?), we need a second income again.

So the next big challenge / heartache is that unless I am willing to NEVER sleep, Sam has to go into daycare. And quick. David was offered admission into his program earlier than we expected and therefore started classes this past week. We had a meeting with a daycare provider the other day and while it is mostly a very good fit, I haven't been able to bring myself to make the call and actually register Sam in the program yet. I suppose this step will be easier after I've done my first set of back to back nights without sleep in between.

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Sam and I on a date at the park while we let Dad have some quiet time to himself at home


Sam helping Dad put together one of his super-fantastic birthday presents. Thanks C&C!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Napolution

Ok ok, I know you've read me complain about baby sleep issues before. So not going to do that again. In fact, this is a photo post in celebration of Sam finally sleeping through the night - i.e. 11-12 hours uninterrupted.

A note to all new parents who are wondering if they will ever sleep again . . . Yes. Yes you will. Hang in there. It will be glorious.

And now with no further blabbering, Sam's sleepy life in review:


Recovery sleep - Oct 2 2009


Just a few weeks old - napping on Dad


About a month old - napping on Mum


2 months


3 months


5 months


9 months


Passed out in the car - always a favourite

Is there anything more awesome than a sleeping baby??

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Must Love Dogs

Correction

This is what happens when you BWD and don't have your sober husband proof read your post before you hit "publish".

I do in fact believe in Astronomy. I'm actually a big fan. Astrology on the other hand is a load of rubbish.

Thanks for knowing what I was trying to say anyway : )

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Five things about me

I have two confessions to make before starting this post.

A) It's a copy-cat. I can't remember from whom (though probably one of my current favourites: AnyMommy, Julia, A little Pregnant, or one of many others). I will try to track down where I got this inspiration from because I understand that it is koscher to credit your fellow bloggers when you are about to commit blogging plagiary.

B) I'm a little tipsy tonight as I write this. Please don't worry - Sam is snug in bed and is officially weaned from any night-time nursing (he now sleeps from 7:30 pm to 6:30 am - hooray!!).

See, David had a buddy over last night (while I was at work thank you very much) who is a bit of a beer connaisseur. One of the pints they didn't drink (while I was at work - did I mention that yet?) is called 8-4-1 Expedition from Redhook Ale Brewery. It is awesome!! And has made me drunk and wanting to share with you, my friends, family, internet . . . David calls this BWD: Blogging While Drunk : )

So here we go . . . Five things about me . . .

1) I am a nurse. A registered one. Which does make a difference. And please rid your mind of visions of bedpans - that's really such a tiny itty-bitty piece of what we do. Unfortunately it's the part that the pop-culture media seems to want to portray. That, and having affairs with our doctor colleagues. Thanks GA.

Moving on.

I am a RN and I work in women's reproductive health in every possible way you can imagine. If there is an aspect of pregnancy that exists, I have or currently do work there. Go ahead, ask me anything. Ask me about fertility treatments; about what to expect when you are; about where to go if you are "in trouble". Want to know if you are fully dilated yet? I'm your gal!

I've been a nurse for 6 years and I love it despite the long hours and stupid shifts. I love it despite the politics and the eating of the young that we all endured. I love it despite hating it sometimes. I speak regularly to the newly admitted classes of nursing students at UBC to tell them what a great decision they've made. And I rarely touch a bedpan.

2) I don't believe in astronomy. I don't care if you are a Scorpio or a Gemini, or if your moon is rising in Capricorn, or Jupiter, or Saskatchewan. I don't believe that it has any bearing on who you are as a person and I certainly don't think it gives you an excuse to act like a douchebag. Well, you know, I can't seem to commit to anything because I'm a free spirit, you know, I'm a Sagittarius . . . Shut up! Nut up! Take some responsibility for your actions and decisions!
(I am a Sagittarius, by the way)

3) I have had two miscarriages. Both first trimester. Both before the successful pregnancy that brought us Sam. Really this topic deserves a post of its own, but I just wanted you to know that I am not oblivious to the challenges and heartbreaks of trying to become a mother. As a result, I try to be sensitive to the possibility that those around me may also be struggling, or even suffering. You are not alone. The women you know have had similar experiences, we just don't talk about it. And I don't know why not. We should talk about it. We should find strength in each other.

4) I love living in BC, but I am still - after 10 years - homesick for Ottawa at times, particularly around Thanksgiving (for my readers down South, that's in October, not November). Fall has always been my favourite season. The air is startling and crisp; there is a sense of hardiness and resilience that comes perhaps from knowing that cold hard months are ahead. We turn on the heat and don cozy sweaters. We make stews and eat pumpkin pie. If someone can describe for me a more perfect existence than sitting on the deck with a cup of hot tea while around me the Earth cools and the trees shed their leaves in preparation for winter hibernation . . . please do because I might want to live in that moment for eternity.

5) I am not as good a friend to my friends as my friends are to me. I'm sure they must think, hey that Jamie and David are cool . . . and Sam is cute and all . . . but what have they done for us lately?

We have been absolutely blessed with a group of friends who have become our family out here on the West Coast. When we moved out here we were a young and carefree couple with no obligations or real responsibilities. Now that we have a mortgage and a baby, we have truly realized how valuable family is. In the absence of our blood relatives, our friends have gathered around us and provided love and support without condition. When Sam was born we were descended upon with gifts, food, good company, and offers to babysit. I have so much gratitude toward our friends and I don't convey it to them often enough.

Time to start.

So there you have it. Five things about me that you maybe didn't care about. What are five things about you that you'd like to share with me and the blogosphere?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mah Crack

Whatever you do, do NOT click on this link:

Mah Jong: home wrecker

If you love your family, or enjoy any social life at all, or want to be even slightly productive with your day . . . DO NOT CLICK THAT LINK!

This is my most recent addiction. It rivals the Sudoku marathon of 2006 (which I played on paper) and the Zuma obsession of 2007/08 (which I played on x.box).

I learned about this online Mah Jong from a colleague at work - because sometimes those night shifts are sloooooow - and once I figured out the rules I was hooked.

Eventually - hopefully soon - the appeal of this game will fade and I can get back to my real life. And telling you about it. In the meantime . . . go ahead and try it if you like, but don't say I didn't warn you.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

My kitchen then and now

Life changes when you have kids. A lot.

I knew that going into this. But some things still catch me off guard.

Like how different my kitchen is.

See? Here it is shortly after we bought the house. After I'd spent an entire 12 hours painting it a bright new colour. So pretty and clean.



My fridge used to have adult oriented stuff on it.


See my fridge now?


And the dishwasher? More primary colours than before, right?


Can you spot my tupperware?




Now if I could only teach him to cook . . .

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Copy-cat post #1: Food wars

Hm. This is fun. Maybe I'll make this a series.

My friend recently posted about her recent struggles with her sons over food http://great-britton.blogspot.com/2010/08/food-glorious-food.html. She and I have been chatting about this issue via email for a couple of days so her story was not new to me (though still fun to read). Since I've known J for many years, and I don't think she'll get mad at me for plaigerizing her blog, I'm going to copy-cat her topic and tell you about my own food dramas.

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Sam has been eating solids for about 5 months now and used to be quite content with the variety of homemade mush I presented him with three times a day. However, now that he has mastered his pincer grasp he scoffs at the spoon unless it contains yogurt. This means that there are always at least two tubs of that fabulous thick greek-style yogurt in our fridge (because, you know, the baby needs high fat content stuff! And also - yum!).

Since it is common knowledge that yogurt only contains, at the most, two food groups, I'm not convinced that it will sustain the little rugrat for very long. Though he definitely won't be calcium deficient.

In order to provide a variety of healthy balanced finger foods, we've had to be a bit creative. Small bits of broccoli in the mac & cheese, cheddar and spinach in the scrambled eggs, sliced turkey dipped in hummus. And blueberries with every meal! Seriously the kid's poop looks like it has chocolate chips in it.

When we introduce something new, or something old that he is not particularly fond of, we have to get him on what we have charmingly dubbed "the food train". We stimulate his appetite with something Sam-approved for a few bites then sneak in the new or unfavourable. Sometimes it works. Often it leads to a spontaneous singing of "Babies all over the world, eat your food, start a food train, food train".

Sorry, Sam, we are your parents : )

Large food has also been a big hit lately. I mean, if he needs two hands to hold it, he's willing to give it a try. But if I cut it into small pieces, it's a no go. The other day I showed him an orange pepper in the grocery store . . . he bit into it like it was my shoulder! I was slightly grossed out that he was chowing down on unwashed produce, but my distaste for germs was overcome by my joy that he was actually eating a vegetable!

I didn't have my camera, but it looked something like this (just replace the watermelon in this pic with orange capsicum).



Friday, August 6, 2010

Mindset

Sometimes you have to change your mindset so that a potentially (extremely!!) frustrating situation can become a little gift from the Universe.

For example, tonight I - surprisingly - have the night off. It's Friday (ha ha) so I thought for sure that I would get a call in to work. At the hospital where I work, usually a summer weekend + declined vacation = sick call. Not that I know for certain that someone had asked for this weekend off and didn't get it, but when there are close to 200 nurses on a unit and only a finite number of weekends in the summer, you can almost count on it. Anyway, a sick call leads to a staffing clerk phoning down the list of casual nurses to come in to cover. While I am low on the totem pole, a Friday night is not a popular shift so I was really surprised that I didn't get a call.

So now I have Friday night off. Unexpectedly. I didn't plan anything because I thought I'd be delivering babies. Therefore no social obligations. Sam is in bed. David is playing with his new tools in the garage. I have all this time to myself. Time that I crave and need. But I am overwhelmed with indecision about what to do. Too many options. Too many piles of books and magazines I want to read. Running shoes taunting me with guilt from the front door. A metric tonne of fabric to sort through in order to get back into some sewing projects. Several dirty rooms that need cleaning. About 12 bazillion photos that we've taken and downloaded onto my laptop that need to be culled and organized. A blog that is screaming for attention. And only 4 short hours between the end of dinner and exhausted collapse into bed.

I spent a few minutes staring at my fabric shelves in the garage . . . then walked away from THAT disaster. Right past my runners in the hall. With a glass of wine in my hand. Hm . . . I can read in bed later. Blog it will be!

But alas, my internet is down. I can't check email. I can't surf Crai.gslist for the rocking chair I am trying to find. I can't blog.

I CAN tackle the 12 bazillion photos on my hard drive. Yes, almost all of them are of Sam. Some are of the cats and huge zucchini.

The gift is that I didn't have to make the decision myself. I LOVE that! I know this is stupid, but I get anxious about all the things I want to do and don't have time to get done. I worry (irrationally) that I won't ever have the time to do it all. That my to-do list will just continue to get longer and longer and I will never have that oh-so-satisfying feeling of crossing things off of it. Stupid right? I know. I'm working on it. It's part of my not-being-so-hard-on-myself. I have taken a deep breath, made some tea, and accepted that I will only get (a portion) of one project done tonight. And that's ok. Because if I finished everything tonight, what will I work on tomorrow?

And ha ha Universe! I can write a blog draft offline to post later!

Here are some of the results of the interminable photo project:

Me and Sam


Splashin' around at Granville Island


Sam's first Dyke March - gettin' pumped with our friend Steph


Our friends' dog, Zoey - luckily she is an Omega


Riding Dad's shoulders at the beach


First gelato!


Post-bath


Crawlin'


Um . . .


Monty and the gargantuan zucchini - it's zucchinni wars Jen!

It's true that in many of these photos Sam is in various stages of undress. But hey, it's summer and if we were all honest we'd have to admit that we'd all be naked if we could!