Monday, December 23, 2013

Ice Storm

Saturday night when we while we were sitting on the couch, Jen asked me "Is it raining?"  It sounded like it, but neither of us were really motivated enough to get up and check.

As I half-woke up to nurse Sprout during night, I noticed the clock flashing.  We'd lost power.  Later the clock was off completely.  When I got out of bed in the morning, the power was still out.

There had been rain.  Freezing rain.  I've read that about a quarter million people in the city were without power.  Many are still without power.  Fortunately ours came back up Saturday evening.  Our apartment never got too terribly cold, but I was worried about the temperature dropping overnight.

More than anything I missed being able to boil water for tea.  Not having phones, computers, radio or television was sort of a nice (temporary) break.  I was slightly concerned about the contents of our refrigerator and freezer, but Jen was resourceful and packed ice and snow into bags and put them into the fridge to keep things cool.  She also spent a hour chipping ice off the car and came in with fingers a concerning purple colour.  Fortunately there doesn't seem to be any permanent damage.

We haven't put away our flashlights, lanterns or candles just yet.  We've decided we should keep more batteries on hand.  Our pantry was well-stocked enough that we probably could have gotten by for another day or two eating peanut butter crackers and cereal.

There's a lot of damage that the city still needs to deal with, and still a lot of people still waiting to get power back, but thankfully our little family is doing just fine.

Friday, December 20, 2013

{this moment} 359 days

A Friday ritual. A single photo  - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

 If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

This past Saturday we got our first "big snow" of the season.  The Bean and I decided to venture out into the city and see what downtown looked like under a blanket of white.

We took the subway (a hit!) to Nathan Phillips Square where we "skated" in our boots across the rink (another hit!).  A few blocks later we were in front of The Hudson Bay Company's Christmas Windows (another hit!).  The Bean then accompanied me while we picked up a Christmas gift for my mom's boyfriend (not such a hit, but I redeemed the event with a gingerbread cookie).  Sadly there are no photos because I figured for a solo venture I should keep my eyes and hands on the toddler rather than a camera. ;)

Sunday, on our way home from swimming we stopped at the local hardware store and bought a little sled so we could get out and enjoy the snow some more.  After showing Mommy and Sprout our new purchase, we all got into our snow pants, and snow jackets, and snow hats, and snow mittens, all the while (Mama and Mommy) worrying just a little that the getting ready was going to take longer than the playing would last.

Once dressed we ventured onto our still untouched lawn.



The snow was a hit.  We played until it was too far past the little ones' nap times to play any longer.

We draped our wet clothes over railings and radiators, had some snacks, and then snuggled under blankets and all dozed a little.

Perfect wintry weekend.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Sprout's First First Birthday Party

Last weekend we celebrated Sprout's first birthday (early) with our family here in Toronto.  We figured  with her birthday falling on Christmas Eve, which is when my immediate family celebrates Christmas, earlier was the way to go.  (Remember, we have The Bean's birthday right after the new year.)

My mom and her boyfriend, my sister and her husband and son, and my Nana, Aunt and two cousins, plus one of my cousin's boyfriends came to help celebrate.  My brother and his wife were supposed to join us, but my brother was feeling sick.  Likewise, my other cousin and her son would have come, but Sprout had been a bit congested and her little guy is only five months old.  Though we would have loved to have the company of those who couldn't make it, we still had a very nice time.

First birthday parties are sort of a funny thing, because the person being honoured doesn't really get it.  Sprout loved the tissue paper more than her gifts, and was a little skeptical when it came to the cake.   Still, she seemed happy to have a bunch of the people she knows and loves around, The Bean helped her out with the gift-opening and everyone helped with the cake. ;)  (An adorable owl cake made by my cousin!)

We plan on having some sort of a little cake after Christmas Eve dinner, and will celebrate both kids' birthdays in a joint part with the American side of the family while we're in PA over the holidays.

Hopefully when she looks back at the photos from this celebration she'll know how many people loved her and were happy to have her in their lives from the time she was just a wee baby.

Friday, December 13, 2013

{this moment} decorating

A Friday ritual. A single photo  - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

 If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Fall Foto Fridays: First Frost

Yesterday morning as we were eating breakfast we opened the blinds to see if it had snowed.  Our view was obscured by frost creeping along the window.  It melted quickly, but not before I caught a couple of photos of it.  I don't think it was really the first frost of the season, but it's pretty nonetheless.  And even though I didn't manage to keep up with the photo challenge, at least I made it back for the last one. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Forgive me, I am still playing catch-up here.  It seems like I've had to skip over blogging about things that I've had it in my mind to blog about a good bit lately, never mind not having put back all the photos that got deleted... anyway, I really want to blog about American Thanksgiving and our trip to PA, so here it goes...

Last Wednesday, after spending the morning getting the car all packed up while The Bean watched a DVD and Sprout chomped on a tambourine (her current favourite teething toy) we got on the road to visit Jen's family for Thanksgiving.  We were all really looking forward to the trip.  The Bean had been asking about it for a good month.  And since I was too pregnant to travel last year, Jen and I were looking forward to celebrating with her family after a little hiatus.

Wednesday, for those who aren't from the area, was the day of the big storms.  Except for a little stretch that is notoriously bad a few hours out from Jen's parents', we missed the worst of it.  Thanks to NO wait at the border, it didn't take us much longer to get there than it does in the summer.  That's pretty good for the busiest travel day of the year.

There were seventeen of us around the table on Thursday.  That's something I really love about the American Thanksgiving: people get together to celebrate it.  Maybe it's just that my family is really small, but we only ever have immediate family at our Canadian Thanksgiving celebrations.  Anyway, having so many people around was nice.

The Bean was over the moon because Jen's cousin's family was there, including his three girls (ages 9, 15 and 17) so he was doted on even more than he would have been otherwise.  Sprout got a good bit of attention too. ;)  It was nice for us, because we haven't see her cousin or his wife since before The Bean was born.  At one point I was talk to Jen's cousins' wife about how different our two kiddos are and speculating about whether The Bean was more like her and Sprout was more like me, and she stopped me and said, "Just look at my three girls.  The couldn't be more different. (Which is true!)  Kids are just different."  I can't fully explain why, but I really appreciated that comment.  It felt she was giving recognition to The Bean and Sprout as being fully and completely siblings, which is how I want them to be seen.  Anyway, it made me happy.

Aside from spending time with the extended family, we also managed to squeeze in a Mama/son nature walk in the "woods" out behind the house, another visit to Santa along with a train ride at the local mall, an awesome Christmas parade, and perhaps even started a new family tradition of watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer the night before we left.

My other favourite part of the weekend was when we were all doing our own things in the house and suddenly The Bean called out, "Look!  Deer!"  and there they were, six deer walking through the backyard.  It was pretty amazing.  And I love that The Bean noticed it all on his own.

Maybe they'll come visit again at Christmastime.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Oh So Quiet

We had snowfall overnight.  With Sprout napping and the Christmas tree all lit up, it feels so quiet.  A second cup of tea is in order, but I hate to get up of the couch to make one.  Plus, I'm sure the little one will be up soon, and I best take advantage of this time to write, if I'm going to write...

It has been a while.

...And with that she woke up.  She is back asleep now.  A little nursing and a little rocking did the trick.  Usually she doesn't go back down in the morning, so this may be a shorter-than-intended updated, but we'll see what I can manage.

And it gave me a chance to get that second cup of tea.

Anyway, I didn't intend on being away from this space for so long.  First The Bean got sick.  We were back and forth to the doctor and up at nights with coughing and stuffy noses.  He recovered just as the others three of us started coming down with the same thing.  We're closing out week two now and hoping that it's over soon.  We're all tired of feeling this way.

In the mean time I fell off the photo challenge wagon.  I haven't been great about taking photos lately at all... I thought the challenge would inspire me a bit, but I guess it was just too, well, challenging.  I think I just need to get back into the habit of keeping the camera close by and taking it with us when we go out.  This is a pretty time of year and The Bean and Sprout are changing so quickly, so hopefully that is inspiration enough.

This past weekend we celebrated Sprout's first birthday.  How we are almost at a year with this little girl, I just don't understand.  It seems like just yesterday we were bringing home our "darling, darling".  Though in many ways it also feels like she has always been here.

And The Bean.  He will excitedly remind you that his birthday is coming next.  He makes us laugh, this little guy.  Everyday he has been reminding us to turn the Christmas lights on and undecorates and redecorates the tree.  Recently he been sitting on his nest, taking care of his eggs (egg shakers that St. Nicholas left).  He talks about friends at preschool and other friends which we are pretty sure he has made up.  He asks us to read him book after book.  He stomps around in his loud boots and roars in his dino pajamas.

We celebrated (American) Thanksgiving in PA.  I believe there were 17 of us around the table.  The kids were doted on by older cousins, aunts and uncles, and of course their grandparents and great grandparents.  Both kids were really good for the long car ride.  Sprout cut her top two incisors while we were there.  We're looking forward to going back at Christmastime.

I'm still job hunting.  My name is on a few sub lists, though I have yet to get a call.  I should probably get on a few more.  I also need to apply to the boards.  This is when the hiring for next fall begins.  It's totally overwhelming and so hard not to feel discouraged.  If I don't find a teaching position I need to figure out what I'm going to do.

Christmas season is upon us.  Most of the gifts have been bought and wrapped.  I'm hoping to get a little bit of holiday baking in.  My best friend requested ginger cookies, and making those for her is the least I can do...

It's taken me into the second nap time to finish this up and there are a lot of around the house chores to get done.  I will try to updated again sooner.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sprout is Eleven Months Old!

Today Sprout is eleven months old!

Oh my.  A year ago I was hugely pregnant and anxiously anticipating my mid-December due date.
  Now we're anticipating our baby's first birthday.  It's amazing the changes that happen in just one year.

-To be completely honest, this month has been tough.  Shortly after my last  update I reached a breaking point with sleep.  It had been a long time coming, but a few nights of hourly wake-ups did me in.  I took to the couch and Jen patiently laid Sprout down each time she peeked her little head up over the side of the Pack'n'Play.  After about a week I returned to the bedroom.  Sprout is still waking fairly often, but usually goes back down after a few minutes of stand up/put down. She nurses around 2am most nights, and again between 4am and 5am off and on until we get up.  So, still not a fantastic, but manageable. 

-Her schedule is more or less the same as it has been, though I've bumped her morning nap back slightly and her afternoon forward.  When she wasn't sick and her teething wasn't so bad she seemed to be going down more quickly with these small changes. 

-Teething and sickness have certainly not helped on the sleep front.  Sprout's top right lateral incisor came through on November 3rd, followed by her top left lateral incisor on the 5th.  Vampire baby, just like her brother.  I was sure a few more would be popping through, but we're still waiting.  There are a couple more that are thisclose.  This girl does not teethe easily.  She also has some awful congestion right now, which does not make things any easier. 

-On a more positive note, eating continues to go well.  She loves her protein!  Dhal is her absolute favourite, followed by chicken.  I feel guilty for not making her baby food from scratch, like we did for The Bean, but there just doesn't seem to be the time.  She often gets little bites of whatever I'm eating, but she gags quite a lot, so we have to be careful.  I'm excited to take her for Thanksgiving dinner at Jen's Nan and Pap's. 

-Her mobility continues to improve.  She's a super-speedy crawler and cruises around like a pro.  She'll free stand for a few seconds before plunking down on her bum, but has yet to even attempt any steps on her own.  She does like pushing things around and will happily walk holding on to someone's fingers.  For a while I thought she'd take her first steps before turning one, but anymore I think it won't happen until after her birthday. 

-This month her favourite games have been peek-a-boo, rolling a ball back and forth, and putting things into containers.  She also loves crawling through the tunnel. 

-Her favourite book by far this month has been "Who's Hiding on the Farm" which is a lift the flap book.  There's a mirror on the last page that she just LOVES looking into.  Funny girl.

-She's really into "sharing" food, toys, etc. and will give a huge smile if you say "Thank you!" and make a big deal out of it.  She also leans in for smooches and has starting giving air kisses. 

-She just figured out how to clap and does it to get a reaction, when she is happy, or when she is listening to music.  She's really been enjoying our city-run music program.  We sing a song called "Sleeping Bunnies" and she'll put her head down on the mat and "sleep" when we sing it.  It's pretty frickin' adorable.  (She's the only baby in the program who does this, and I think the instructor gets a kick out of it.)

-We stopped swim classes.  She wasn't enjoying them and I wasn't keen on taking her during the cold weather.  We plan on starting her back up in the spring and seeing where it goes from there. 

-Her growth has definitely slowed down and Jen and I have commented to each other that we think she's stretching out, though she still has a nice round belly and roly poly thighs.  Her twelve month check up won't be until the new year so we'll get all her stats then. 

Even though things have been a bit difficult, our little girl still has the nicest disposition, the sweetest smile, and brightens up every one of our days.   We love her to pieces. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

{this moment} reading

A Friday ritual. A single photo  - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

 If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Slowing Down

Yesterday and today Sprout has actually taken a reasonable afternoon nap, so I'm getting to post.  I thought about it yesterday, but didn't want to start when I was sure that she would be up in another minute.  Today I'm going to try to seize the opportunity while it's here.  The only problem is that I've got so many half-formed ideas floating around in my head that I'm not sure what to post about.  I feel like I've developed ADD since having children.  I think about something, but then it's interrupted by another though.  Conversations are the same.  (Usually interrupted by a certain almost three-year-old boy who seems to think that shouting "Excuse me, Mama Mommy!" grants him permission to speak, whether or not we were done.  Proper etiquette is a work in progress around here.)  Unless I write things down I'm bound to forget them.  The only problem is that I often forget where I've left my notebook and/or pen.

There's really not a whole lot to update on.  We're gearing up for the holidays.  I think Jen and I have actually finished Christmas (and birthday) shopping for the kids.  Now we just need to take inventory and decide what's being given when.  

There's not much on my wish list this year.  It seems to get shorter every year.  I always have a thousand books I want to read, but considering I'm still making it through the book I started in June it feels silly to ask for another.  Tea and wool are always nice, but I don't really need more.  Some time with the family and with Jen are the things I want most.  I'm hoping that we can convince Jen's parents to watch the kiddos when we're there over Thanksgiving and/or Christmas.  I don't think it will be hard.  

We've been purging baby items.  There have been a number of donations made and I've been listing things on Craigslist and various Facebook groups.  It's a bit of a hassle, but I'm glad to have the space freed up as each swing, bouncer and Boppy makes it's way out of our door.  The extra money certainly doesn't hurt either.  

Winter is coming.  Other than the anxiety of not knowing what next in terms of work, I've actually been enjoying the season passing.  Fall is my favourite, and it's winding down slowly.  The skies are grey and there are big piles of leaves on the ground.  Everyone seems to be staying inside, so my walks with Sprout are quiet.  We chat away to each other about the squirrels and the birds.  She loves to be pushed on the swing until her cheeks are bright red from the cold air.  

I've been enjoying extra cups of tea in the afternoon and am starting to try to make soups in the crockpot on Fridays to last us through our weekend lunches.  (Feel free to share your favourite recipes!)

I need to try to model my thinking after the season and take some time to slow down.  

*I've been bad about taking and posting photos lately too, even though this really is such a beautiful time of the year.  I'm going to try to work on that.  These kids are getting big way too fast.  I want to try to capture them now so that I don't forget.