Friday, August 30, 2013

{this moment} cousins

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.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Book Review: The Apple-Pip Princess

The Apple-Pip Princess
Written and Illustrated by Jane Ray

The Bean has started talking about princesses lately.  His highest complement is to tell you you are a princess, and will often assert that he is a princess too.  ("I a princesses, Mama!")  It's very sweet.  

Anyway, his fondness of princesses reminded me of this book that I bought years ago.  I was in a little independent bookstore and saw it on their display.  I picked it up to browse through and fell in love with both the illustrations and the story, so it came home with me!

The story is quite long and the language is more mature, so I'd be inclined to say it's better suited to a 4-7ish age range, but The Bean has still listened to it many times.

The illustrations are AMAZING.  I wouldn't normally post photos from inside a book, but you have to see them...

Super-detailed illustrations mixed with photo collage.  Gorgeous, right?  Also the princesses (and other characters) in the story are dark-skinned, which is rare and quite nice to see.  

And the story is beautiful too.

It's an original fairy tale about a kingdom which has lost it's queen and is falling to ruins.  The king tasks his daughters with doing something to "make their mark" so that he can choose one of them as the successor to the throne.  The two elder sisters both set out to build towers to reach the sky; but it is the youngest sister, quiet and unassuming, who uses a gift from her mother, a box full of magical items, to plan a tiny apple seed which grows along with other seeds to return the kingdom to it's former splendor.  

The story emphasizes kindness, cooperation, care, perseverance, and hope.  All lovely messages for our children.  Wouldn't you agree?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sprout is Eight Months Old!

Today Sprout is eight months old!

Our baby girl continues to grow and change daily.  It's hard keeping up with all the new developments.  Often I'll notice she's doing something (e.g. sitting unassisted for minutes at a time!) and wonder when she started.  Maybe it's because she's got such a go-with-the-flow temperament that these milestones just seem to happen without much to do.

-So yes, sitting.  I feel like she's been doing this forever now, so it's likely not a new development this month, but I've really been noticing it.  She sits incredibly well and likes to watch everything going on around her.  Additionally, she's becoming increasingly competent at going from sitting to crawling position.

-The army crawl is perfected and quite effective; she's even able to climb over things.  She is thisclose to crawling.  She's up on her hands and knees and launching herself forward all the time.  Any day now.

-She's really started "talking" this month!  Historically she's been a quiet baby, but this month she's really started to babble.  A lot of sounds like "ma"... now she just has to say it twice in a row. ;)

-She's also now making a higher pitched laugh when entertained by something (versus the gruff chuckle when she's tickled) and squealing!

-Her back is ticklish!

-She's started eating!  Real food!  (Well, baby food, but you know what I mean.)  So far she's tried peas, beans, bananas, chicken, lentils, sweet potato, carrots, watermelon, peach, and probably some other things I'm forgetting.  Green veggies seem to be a favourite.  She is, by far, the messiest eater I have ever seen.  We've really only been giving her food at dinner time, and after wiping of the worst of it, it's straight into the bathtub.

-Our days are getting a bit more routine.  She's usually up around 6:00am, naps from 8:45am-10:15am, ideally back down again from about 12:30pm-2:00pm and when I can (i.e. when I don't have to pick The Bean up from daycare) will nap again around 4:00pm to just after 5:00pm.  We eat dinner between 6:00 and 6:30pm, she gets her bath, puts on her pjs and then nurses and is rocked to sleep.

-Actually, she almost always is both swaddled and nursed to sleep (and gets rocked if she doesn't fall asleep nursing.)  I know it's not a good routine/habit and I've been trying to move towards an eat-play-sleep schedule, but I'm having a hard time breaking away from this one.

-Awake times are spent playing with toys, singing, reading books, going for walks, swinging at the park, visiting friends and relatives, and running errands.  We're just finishing up a mommy and baby class that a friend of mine was running.  I'm thinking about signing us up for swim classes soon.

-Sprout's favourite things are her big brother, dancing in the bedroom, puppets, swinging at the park, reading/eating books, chomping on anything really, drumming her hands on things, splashing in the bathtub, when I run down the stairs with her in my arms, and making silly faces.  She dislikes loud noises and having to burp.

-She is definitely growing.  She's outgrown a lot of her summer clothes, so I'll be glad when the fall weather hits in the sense that we'll have some more better-fitting options for her to wear.  Also, I think it's time to start crocheting up some warm woolies for her!  :)

We're looking forward to the coming season with our sweet baby girl!

Friday, August 23, 2013

{this moment} almost there

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.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Famous Last Words: "No Eating in the Car"

When Jen moved to Toronto she had to leave her beloved Ford Escort behind as it was not on the approved list of vehicles that could be imported.  For the first six months she was here we made due with the subway, taxis and rental cars.  Come winter we decided it was time to buy a vehicle.  

We had anticipated this and had banked enough to buy a Brand New Car.  I know people who say it's a stupid move to buy a new car, but it's what we decided and we were happy with our choice.  We bought a model right at the end of the year, and got a pretty good deal, but it was still a big investment. 

Those first few months we were SO good.  We never left trash in the car.  We used Armor All wipes on the dashboard and vacuumed the floor mats regularly.  And we didn't eat in the car.  

On our first road trip that changed.  But we were really careful. 

When Jen got pregnant with The Bean I said that there was no way we would ever let him eat in the car.  Well, before he was even born we were driving back to PA and Jen was having awful heartburn.  She bought chocolate milk as it seemed to be one of the few things that helped.  I, kind and thoughtful wife that I am, loosened the cap for her before placing it in the cup holder.  Jen picked it up when we got back on the road and gave it a good shake.  Chocolate milk everywhere.  

It's kind of funny now, but it wasn't at the time.

Anyway, we should have taken that as a foreshaddowing of what was to come.  

The Bean didn't eat in the car... for six months  (i.e. while he was nursing).  But that first big road trip after he had started solids, well, I couldn't pass the snacks back quickly enough.  We're pretty sure that he now thinks of any road trip as an all-you-can-eat buffet.  

Case in point:  Nachos.  With salsa.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Which Way to the Beach?

Around here, when it's summer and you ask someone what they're doing for the weekend, it's pretty common to hear that they're going to the cottage. 

Growing up I spent time every summer in "cottage country."  My family didn't own a place, but we went to the same (self-catering) resort every year so it felt like ours.  Unfortunately it sold when I was a teenager, so Jen and I don't have the option of taking our kids there. 

I love going to the cottage.  I love the quiet, and the fresh air, and the cold lakes, and the trees everywhere.   So, a part of me was really excited when The Bean's daycare provider invited us to their cottage for the weekend.  Another part of me was really anxious.  

I didn't know what to expect.  Some people have cottages that are like second homes, other people's cottages are quite... rustic.  I wasn't sure what our sleeping accommodations would be like.  I didn't know who else would be coming.  I didn't know how warm it would be or what clothing to pack.  

Still, I didn't want to miss out on the opportunity.  

Late last week I was pretty stressed, but when we got there and saw the place I felt a little better.  This was more of a second-home cottage.  I was still anxious about all four of us sleeping (or rather not sleeping) in the same room and how that would impact everyone else there.

Fortunately it all worked out okay.  The weather was gorgeous and everyone slept reasonably well.

The beach was wide and the lake was very shallow for quite a ways out, which meant the water was warm(ish).  The Bean happily ran in and out of the lake, collecting buckets full of water to dump into holes he had dug along the beach.    

Sprout is a real beach baby and when she wasn't eating sand, she was happily kicking and splashing in the water. 

I think The Bean was in heaven being with his family and his daycare provider at the same time.  He ran around among all of us chit chatting away.  The only thing that could have made it better for him would have been if Grandma and Grandpa had been able to join us. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Long Overdue

I don't know where to begin...

I've had a few different posts brewing in my head for a while, I've even gone so far as drafting some of them (one of them a few times!) but things don't seem to be coming together as I want them to be and finding time to spend 1) thinking and 2) recording those thoughts seems harder and harder to come by.  

The summer has been good.  Busy.  I've been feeling pretty tired out, but I think that's to be expected.  
I think we're finally getting the reflux issues with Sprout sorted out.  The Prevacid has been wonderful, and this week I took her to the chiropractor for an adjustment to see if that will help too.  (I don't mind the medication, if it's necessary, but if we can resolve the issue another way, I think it's worth trying.)  Sleep was going downhill in that she was waking frequently in the night to nurse but only eating for a few minutes before falling back asleep.  As a result, I was even more exhausted than usual, so the past week or so I've been trying to rock her and put her back down when she wakes up.  She still nurses a few times overnight, but seems to be doing longer stretches of sleep in between again, which is good.  She's moving around and being social and even starting to eat a little bit, so basically doing all the great baby things she ought to be doing at this point.  

The Bean seems to be growing up so quickly.  His language and communication skills are booming.  He's such a chatterbox!  He's also been really exerting his will lately.  (I think that's the PC way of putting it.)  It's been a challenge.  Especially for Jen, who ends up doing the majority of his evening routine with him.  The big boy bed thing got derailed while we were in Pittsburgh and most nights he is choosing to sleep in his crib.  Jen and I have discussed this and agree that if he feels more secure in his crib, so be it.  Sprout is likely going to be in our room for at least another month or two, so there is not a great rush to get him into his bed.  

I got an interview for another job, but didn't get offered the position.  It started late August, so I would have been totally stressed out about leaving Sprout without having prepared her, so I guess that's a silver lining.  I'm anxious about not getting a job once my mat. leave is up.  I'm hoping, hoping, hoping that I am in the very least able to get work substituting at a few schools so that we can make ends meet without dipping into our savings.  I can't believe it's been over a year since I last taught.  I miss it.  
I have a zillion things on my to-do list.  I think I crossed off one this week: sending my dad his father's day card and a DVD of recent photos of the kids.  Shameful.  I know.  He's usually a pretty understanding guy, and I'm hoping the cute kid photos make up for the excessive lateness.  

This coming week I need to get some stuff sorted out with my driver's licence and the course I took back in the spring.  So not my idea of fun, but both have to get done.  

Tomorrow we leave for The Bean's daycare provider's cottage for the weekend.  I hope the weather is good and that we all get sleep (I'm a little anxious not knowing what the accommodations are like).  Speaking of which, I think it's time for me to call it a night...  

{this moment} ferry

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.

Friday, August 9, 2013

{this moment} zoo

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, August 6, 2013

Clothing Shopping with Kids

I have never been much of a shopper.  I like having clothes to wear that are comfortable and look good, but I'm not up on the latest fashions nor do I have a closet overflowing with skirts and slacks and shoes.  In fact, I consider it a huge win if I'm able to find something I like and buy it in multiple colours.  So, as you may imagine, I don't tend to spend hours browsing the racks.

Anyway, something came up that I needed to buy a new outfit for.  I didn't want to have to ask anyone to watch Sprout, so I brought her with me.  I thought I was quick on shopping trips before, I am now Usain Bolt.

After the two minute drive to the nearby mall, Sprout got tossed into the umbrella stroller, we walked into one store, I tried on six items, and we walked out with my new outfit.  DONE.  Seriously, that's unheard of even for someone who is a quick shopper, right?

I'll get Jen's opinion tonight, but barring any negative comments from her, I think today's trip might qualify for a Guinness Book of World Records submission.

It reminded me of what it's like getting a shower (...or eating ...or going pee) after you've had a kid: You never knew you could do it so quickly.  Remarkable really.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Book Review: Builder Goose

Builder Goose
by Boni Ashburn
Illustrated by Sergio De Giorgi

A good friend came to visit the other week and brought this book as a gift for the kids.  She was a kindergarten teacher for many, many years and has finely honed book-selection skills.  It's been a huge hit since the first time we read it to The Bean.

The author took familiar Mother Goose nursery rhymes and changed the words to make them fit a construction site theme... and she did a really good job of it!  The Bean is very into knowing the proper names of the various vehicles and what they do and this book includes that kind of information in a fun and easily accessible format.  After a week (on high rotation) he's already starting to memorize many of the rhymes himself.  He also really likes guessing what rhyme they've been adapted from.

The illustrations are cute, depicting all kinds of animals working on construction sites.  They're bold and colourful and has enough detail to keep the toddler's interest while Mama or Mommy read the rhymes.

My only complaint is that it doesn't tell you which nursery rhyme was adapted, and there is one that I just can't figure out!!  (Big Excavator, for those wondering.)

I'd definitely recommend this one to anyone with a kiddo who loves construction vehicles.  Probably best suited for ages 2-4ish.  :)  (Paired with a little toy truck, I think it'd make an awesome birthday gift.)

Friday, August 2, 2013

{this moment} soccer ball

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.