29 December 2007

If you can ignore the chocolate all over her face, she looks adorable.

Serious, serious Jack.

A self-portrait, since I don't think I've let anyone else use my camera yet.

Slightly out of focus happy guy.

Tired Nick. Connor's Hill is hard on a young guy like him.

22 December 2007

Christmas is three days away. Christmas Eve, when our family begins our celebrations, is two days away. Holy crap.

Am I ready? Sort of.

I bought materials to make homemade Christmas cards for friends and family back in October, but by late November I'd decided to abandon the project. Next year.

We were going to have our second annual Christmas party and gift exchange a couple of weeks ago, but I was overwhelmed by the amount of work that had to be done and we de-invited the few people we'd already talked to.

So, of the things left in place that are happening this Christmas I'm doing fairly well. I think I'm done shopping as of this morning when I made a last trip to Blessings and Zellers. Liam has done some of our wrapping and a few things (thankfully) don't need to be wrapped. We decorated cookies with Grandma and we made a trip to Candy Cane Lane.

Looking back on the month, I sort of wish we'd done more seasonal activities. With homeschooling it feels like we should have all sorts of time for crafts, outings, and reading but the reality is often that our days are full and jamming in extra things is next to impossible. I want to feel the spirit of the season and I don't think that involves me screeching at the kids and baking til midnight.

Anyhow, on that quasi-positive note, I hope everyone has a fantastic Christmas. May your kids sleep lots, may your kitchens stay clean, and may the memory of a baby in a manger fill your day with peace and joy.

15 December 2007

Back at the beginning of November, I started doing something very out of character: I began working out at the gym. Shocking, but true.

I made the decision to start working out regularly as the result of a few different factors such as my weight creeping up, feeling the need for some personal time, and a lack of energy. I realized one day that I could actually use the gym at Liam's work and that it would be reasonably easy to do so with my family willing to provide childcare and Lily being old enough to be away from me for a few hours at a time.

So for just over a month I've been going to the gym on a regular basis (usually twice a week but I'm trying to do three times a week). I've been making use of the elliptical machine, the rowing machine, the treadmill, and the weights.

The first time I went was a bit of an adjustment as I figured out the machines and my fitness level, but the biggest thing that stood out for me was how fantastic it was to be alone. Liam and some other people were working out, but I could tune out the world by cranking the volume on my MP3 player. Showering and getting changed after my workout was quite nice, too. It was a novelty getting through an entire shower without anyone telling me they needed something and drying my hair without anyone asking to be blasted with the hair dryer every three seconds.

After a few weeks, I decided to check into some races through the Running Room. It's been 5 1/2 years (and a baby and 50 lbs) since I ran my half-marathon and I really miss running. There are a bunch of 5K and 10K races between now and the summer, but what really stood out for me is the half-marathon in July. It's a nature run, which I think would be fantastic since I very much prefer running on trails to running on pavement. Part of me is sure I can be ready for such a big run in 30 weeks, but another part of me is very intimidated and pessimistic.

The biggest challenge I'm facing right now is due to a bad sprain from a couple of years ago when I took a spill down some stairs. I've got weakness in my ankle and when I run for a significant period of time I get to the point where I'm almost dragging my foot. Very annoying. I've been mixing running with other cardio activities so I can at least drop some weight and get more fit. I'm contemplating contacting a personal trainer or getting a referral to physiotherapy so I can get some specific exercises on strengthening my ankle/leg.

So there you have the latest adventure in the life of Kim. I'll keep you updated as my jeans get looser.

21 November 2007

I love Lily. She's cute, she's funny, she smells good, and she mimics me. It's all pretty cool.

Sometimes, though...I tell you.

Tonight, we missed out on going to Beavers with the guys because of a pair of shoes. Lily wanted to wear her "These are pretty but much too big so I can't walk in them" green shoes and Mom said no. Once I decided that an evening out of the house wasn't worth the hassle, she switched it up to "I want it mine car! Go Beavers!" Fun.

Once things calmed down, she requested a ride on my shoulders. Sure thing. Once up there, she insisted on drinking a cup of apple juice. While sitting on my shoulders.

When it was time for bedtime snack, she skipped the regular cereal and fruit stage and went right to insisting on cake. My reply that we had none only made things worse.

Seriously, I don't know about her sometimes. She comes up with these ideas and these phrases and I have no idea what's going on in her little brain.

The other afternoon for example, she was throwing around the ceramic baby Jesus from the nativity scene. When I told her to go put it back she replied with "No. I LOVE Jesus".

On the weekend, she saw me gluing down a scrapbook page and spend 15 minutes straight wailing "I want it mine goo-ooo!". It doesn't look nearly as amusing in writing as it sounded in person, mainly because I can't adequately explain the repetitive two-tone "goo-oo" sound that still makes me giggle.

This evening, she asked who was signing on the radio. When I answered that it was Amanda Marshall, she insisted I was wrong because it was a woman and not a man. She promptly changed the name to Panda Marshall and was quite happy with that.

There really are no dull moments around here with the Lil on the loose. Every day she proves my theory that toddlers are people like the rest of us, only smaller. And faster. And insane. And indestructible. And unpredictable. But otherwise just like adults.

14 November 2007

Alright, I will succumb to the peer pressure. Or spousal pressure I suppose.

I'd started out this entry meaning to give an update on what's been going on in my life, and somehow a rambling post about homeschooling came out. It's fitting, I suppose, as homeschooling is a large focus of my life (and time!) these days. So, rather than an update about all my activities, here is an update on our life as homeschoolers:

I started out the year thinking we'd go with a semi-structured approach to homeschooling, having a morning routine that included all of our book work as well as chores. A couple of weeks into it I felt that things weren't really that interesting and Nick was feeling less than enthusiastic about his work. I experimented with different scheduling for a few weeks until I came to the conclusion which I'd been to intimidated to realize before then: we're unschoolers. For anyone who isn't familiar with the term, unschooling is also called delight-driven learning and the basic idea is that real learning takes place when a child's interests inspire them to learn about something. Each unschooler you ask will likely have a slightly different definition of what unschooling looks like to them, and my interpretation is that I provide Nicholas and Lily with materials and experiences which will likely facilitate their learning. I follow their leads, making suggestions, offering help, and learning beside them.

Some days we read for hours, either fiction (Charlotte's Web and Alice in Wonderland have been our latest) or non-fiction (thank you giant stack of Usborne reference books!). Some days the kids build and create with materials ranging from giant cardboard boxes to clay (which you apparently need to bake at the right temperature if you don't want to fill your house with smoke...). We've done some science experiments, done some workbooks, and played board games. We bake, we do laundry, we paint, and we sing songs.We've spent many hours outside playing and investigating and enjoying this amazing fall weather we've been blessed with this year. We've also taken part in a football clinic and a tour of a pottery studio, and we'll be taking part in a weaving clinic next month.

There are many treasures in homeschooling that I hadn't predicted and this experience is so rewarding. It's satisfying to watch my children learning and growing and I appreciate that I get to enjoy so many more hours of this than I would if Nick were in school all day. Our pace of life has slowed significantly as I'm learning to do what is in our family's best interest.

My only regret so far is that we didn't make the switch from public school last year as we'd considered, but it's not something I dwell on. Sometimes I struggle with finding time for myself, especially since Lily is at that stage right now where if she naps she tends to stay up until 10 pm, but being involved in LLL, Usborne books, and a few other things gives me a reason to get out of the house alone. And I of course periodically have those moments of "What in the world was I thinking? I'm going to mess up my kids!" but I've thankfully got a fantastic support system which helps me to get back to a place where I can realize that I'm doing the right thing.

So..yeah. That's what's been going on with me. What's been going on with all of you?

11 October 2007

Oh my blog, I've kind of ditched you.
This fall my entries have been quite few.
Those kids of mine always on the go
They keep me on my toes you know.
The kitchen always looks like it should be swept
And I never seem to feel like I've slept.
Don't get me wrong, I'm having a blast
And I know these days just won't last.
But the crafts, the books, the parks, and the dog
They make it hard to update my blog!

21 August 2007

My poor neglected blog. *sigh* You'd almost think it was summer vacation or something.

So, today is our third wedding anniversary. Yup, the years are just rolling on by. It seemed like the day would be a fairly plain Jane kind of event but I was pleasantly surprised.

The kids and I spent a quiet morning at home getting some cleaning done and I lamented the fact that I hadn't worked on Liam's anniversary gift (a small scrapbook of our relationship) or even written a card for that matter. At lunchtime I took the kids out to my parents' house and once the Lil was asleep I made a hasty retreat to South Edmonton common.

The real fun began when I got to spend $50 at Old Navy and $25 at Reitman's without spending a dime. The Old Navy gift cards were from an award Liam had won at work and the other ones were a Christmas gift from the in-laws. It pays to forget about your gifts for 8 months because it's like Christmas all over again!

I left the stores with a pair of jeans, three tank tops, a button-up blouse, and a knit shirt. Not a bad haul for $75, thanks to the discount racks!

After shopping I hit Spasation where I used yet another gift card (thanks again Bob and Peggy!) to get my hair cut. I got chewed out a bit by the hairdresser for going so long between trims and she took a fair bit off the ends since they were so wrecked. My hair feels very short now that it's not to my waist! It looks nice though so I won't complain too much.

My next stop was to pick Liam up from work. We headed home to get ready for dinner and I got to show him all my new clothing. I got all dressed up and we headed out for dinner.

Dinner. Yum! Yet *another* gift card (from my parents this time) purchased us two buffet dinners at Taste of India, our new favourite restaurant. (We've considered calling it "our" restaurant but the past two joints which have been dubbed such have ceased to exist so we're hoping not to jinx this one.) Between the melt-in-your-mouth butter chicken and the divine sweets we were thoroughly sated.

To top off all these pleasant dining and retail experiences, we've had some fantastic news today.

First off, my parents' anniversary gift is to forgive the $20 000 loan we took out from them in order to buy our house. Yup. Liam almost fell over when we found out. This frees us up from the monthly payments we'd been making and takes an enormous amount of stress off of us. Let's hear it for early inheritance!!

Next, I found out that I will indeed be working at an Usborne table on Friday at a literacy-type fair. And to make the deal even sweeter two friends are also going to have a table set up to promote their business. So now not only do I get to earn some extra bucks and get some leads for future shows, I get to hang out with friends for the afternoon!

All in all today has been a fantastic sort of day. It's certainly nowhere near the very joyous day of thee years ago, but it's a smaller echo of the day-long happiness. It's days like these that remind me of how fun and uplifting life can be.

17 July 2007

It's one of those days. I feel like a bad Mommy and anyone who had been in my house today would agree.

Nick's bored. Lily won't sleep despite hours of trying to convince her to. The house is a mess. It's very very hot. I need to pack for Vancouver. I'm on phones today. I oopsed on an Usborne order and I need to sort it out. I'm drowning.

I've been a total jerk to the kids and I know it. I hate it.

They're gone to the mall with Grandma right now, thank goodness. Maybe her niceness will make up for my grumpiness.

02 July 2007

Have you ever had one of those months where you wonder where the days have gone? Yeah, I'm having that kind of month and it's only July 2.

Looking at my calendar, I've realized just how busy this month is going to be. I've got a few friends I'm booking playdates/coffee/scrapbooking dates with. Throw in a week-long camp for Nick at my old church and there go another five days. I'm also planning to have my garage sale in a couple of weeks, which will require a number of prep days as well as three or four days of sitting by the driveway. LLL will take up another chunk of time with a meeting to plan and lead as well as three phone days. I'm hosting an Usborne books party at my house and I'll be attending my first info evening for consultants next week.

Then there's the out of town stuff. My parents are hoping to take Nick camping for a few nights (this thankfully overlaps with my LLL meeting as well as my Usborne party!). We're also fleshing out our plans to visit with family in Vancouver for a week and a half or so.

As Liam and I looked at the calendar yesterday, I pointed out how nothing is going on next Saturday. He took my calendar pen and wrote "NOTHING" on that square and told me in a very firm tone that he's serious. I've been told.

10 June 2007

There are 15 days of school left.

I'm excited like you wouldn't believe. Every morning when we struggle to get Nick out the door at 7:30 to catch the bus, Liam and I share a mini countdown moment. "18 more mornings of this." The end won't come fast enough.

Besides the morning crunch, there are a number of other reasons I'm excited about summer break. Nick needs a vacation and it's showing. My view of school has also been shifting over the past number of months since we decided to homeschool in the fall and so many things now stand out that I never focused on before. Why does Nick have to do page after page of math questions for homework when he's moved so far beyond the material they're covering? Is it really all that important that he completes every shred of homework when the sun is shining so beautifully?

On the positive side of things, I'm anticipating homeschooling with great excitement. I've been doing a lot more reading lately and I'm getting a better idea all the time of how I'd like to approach things. I've also been meeting more homeschooling families through park days and other get-togethers and each time I hear about other families' successes I feel reaffirmed in our decision.

This weekend I went to a garage sale that was being put on by a homeschooling family who needed to thin out their shelves. I picked up a nice big stack of books for $10 and the kids have been acting like it's Christmas. I got some math workbooks, some reading books, a book on maps, a book on weather, and some foam calendars among other things. Nicholas found a math book that's geared for the grade four level and he was excited about challenging himself. He completed some activities on using multiples (with help from his Mom who really had to think hard) and then went on to do some pages from the Bible Fun Pad. Yup, mazes for Moses and Pharaoh connect-the-dots.

We sent in our registration to our new school board last week and I'm waiting quite anxiously to hear back from them. The whole plan of homeschooling has been floating around in our home for quite some time and making a concrete step like registering with a school board adds a definite touch of reality to it.

I need to actually take all these ideas I have and put them on paper so I can create a plan to review with a facilitator. I need to overhaul the office so I can properly organize the growing piles of homeschooling materials. I need to take a deep breath and remind myself that things don't have to be perfect come September.

23 May 2007

This morning, though only 3 hours old, has had a number of frustrations. We got a late start to the morning, I almost got sideswiped by a dumb driver, and Lily wouldn't stay in the cart at the grocery store.

After unloading my groceries in the car, though, the whole tone of my morning changed. An elderly man who was headed in the opposite direction with a cart of his own offered to return my cart for me. I'm not sure if he was prompted to perform the kind deed because it was the gentlemanly thing to do or if he was taking pity on me since I was pushing the cart with one hand and toting Lily around with the other.

Whatever his reasons, it made me happy. Small moments of kindness from strangers are very touching, and I'm a total sucker for chivalrous acts. It's amazing how one small gesture can have such an effect.

On a totally different note, I got too close to the patchouli oil when I was sniffing it and I got some on my nose. Now the whole world smells like patchouli to me.

18 May 2007

So, Nick came home from school today yet with another brochure about a summer camp. I think this is the fifth one so far. While I think some of them look kind of nifty (especially the soccer one) I haven't looked into them much so far.

The one today, however, was rather exceptional. There was the run-of-the-mill "drop off your kids each morning for a week and we'll do fun stuff" as well as a "week at the beach" camp. As I looked at the beach one, I saw that the campers are to be dropped off on Monday morning and picked up on Friday night. They're to head out to Alberta Beach and spend the nights in the dorm-type facilities. Next, I noticed the camp is open to children who are currently in grades 1 through 6.

Who in their right mind would send a six-year-old off with strangers for FOUR NIGHTS??! Personally, I wouldn't be comfortable sending Nick on any type of overnight camp without a parent there, but I'm willing to see that there are other kids his age who would be up for one night. But four nights? Heck no.

I'm totally blown away by how many camps and activities there are for kids during the summer months, most of which have early drop offs and late pickups so children can be kept occupied for up to 11 hours each day.

I look forward to spending the summer months with my kids doing fun summer things. There are beaches, playgrounds, the back yard, hiking trails, and campgrounds which are ours for the visiting.

When I look back on my childhood summer vacations, my memories are made up of eating popsicles in the backyard with the neighbor kids, building sandcastles at the beach with my brother, going camping with my family, and so much more. The days ran into each other and I delighted in not even knowing which day of the week it was.

That's the stuff summer is made up of, not getting out the door at 6:30 each day to get to camp or spending a week away from home at the age of 6. But hey, that's just my opinion.

15 May 2007

There are moments of parenting which leave me speechless. One of them just passed when Nicholas ran across the house. He was chasing Lily with a toy ark yelling "Look out! Noah's coming for you!!!"

As I wrote this, I heard him saying "But that was our only chicken!". *snort*

14 May 2007

Today was my first day on phones for the La Leche League call line. Any moms in the area who called the central line were given a message with my phone number, and I took their calls.

I was quite nervous this morning about how things would go. When I returned the first mother's call, I couldn't help but notice the scared little voice in the back of my mind warning me that any minute this woman would find out she was my first helping call and she'd realize I didn't know anything.

It turns out, I actually DO know stuff and the more I talked with moms the more I realized this. Of course, I called a couple of other Leaders and conferred with them to make sure I was on track and had offered enough information, but I was impressed with the fact that all the things I've read were actually in an accessible part of my brain. I had answers about things like frequency of bowel movements in newborns, the length of time alcohol is present in breast milk, the signs of proper milk supply, and typical feeding schedules of newborns.

So, at the end of the day I talked with four mothers (one of them twice and one of them three times), I had three missed calls who were likely other mothers, and I made six calls to other Leaders.

My kids were absolutely batty.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the way children behave while their mothers are on the phone, here's a brief outline: Mom is distracted and her hands are busy. Try to get away with as much as you can before she gets off the phone.

During the time I spent on the phone, they got into a water fight with the garden hose, Lily first dug through the mud in a flower pot and then stuck her hands in her smoothie, Nick threw foam blocks at Lily as she wore a garbage can on her head while jumping in the bed, and Lily got hold of my pen and wrote on her face, her pants, my arm, my papers, and the kitchen table.


I've now sent out e-mails to three of the moms I talked to today and I'm thanking my lucky stars I only signed up for two phone days this month. It's satisfying, but very intense.

On that note, my aching jaw has an appointment with some scotch and some ice.

13 May 2007

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!!

My day has been fabulous so far. Liam took Nick downstairs at 6:30 and they returned sometime after 8 with breakfast for me. We discovered that Lily follows in the footprints of all true Johnstones and has a great love for bacon. Mmm...bacon.

11 May 2007

Liam's coming home today. I'm just a tiny bit excited.

Ok, that's a lie. I'm hugely excited.

Between Beaver camp on the weekend and the business trip this week, I basically haven't spent any time with him since last Thursday evening. It's the longest we've been apart in the almost 4 1/2 years we've been together, and it really really sucks.

I've realized a few things during the week, aside from the typical "Oh, I really do depend on him" and "I value his company a lot".

Firstly, I've never really been on my own this much before. I've never lived on my own. I went from living with my parents to living with a loser boyfriend and back to living with my parents again until Liam and I were married. I've been the only adult in the house for 7 days, other than friends and family who have visited. It's very strange and I think I'm really not the type of person who would enjoy living on their own. Granted, if I were single I'd be out working or going to school during the days so I wouldn't be as alone as right now, but the evenings are a little too hollow for me.

I've also realized how much of my cooking I do for Liam. Not in that he eats all the food I cook, but I put effort into cooking meals as a way of taking care of him. This week I've been cooking plain veggies for the kids and popping frozen meatballs in the microwave. I've been picking at leftovers and whatever the kid's aren't interested in, and many of my "meals" have been eaten over the sink or at the computer. It's really kind of pathetic, isn't it?

I've had a return of my independence this week. I've been doing things like getting Nick to the bus in the morning, washing the dishes, taking out the trash, and other jobs that Liam always does. It's nice in a way to be reminded of the fact that I can be reasonably self-sufficient. I was much more stubborn about being independent early in my relationship with Liam and over the past few years I've come to depend on him to do more and more for me. While it's good to know that I can do these things for myself when I need to, it makes me happy to be cared for in these little ways and I get a lot of satisfaction in taking care of him in return.

09 May 2007

I have nothing intelligent to say at the moment and I need some giggles, so here are some pictures to share.

06 May 2007

On Friday night, Lily and I stayed overnight at my parents' house. I was helping out with our LLL Group's garage sale until 8pm then I had another shift starting at 9am, so staying over made more sense than driving back and forth.

Being out here (yes, I'm back out at their house again today!) has brought up so many memories. Sleeping in my old room and sharing my old bed with Lily was so similar to when Nick and I lived here that it made me a little sad for how much he's grown up and our lives have changed. As I took a walk around the subdivision and pushed Lily in Nick's old stroller, I was brought back not only to five years ago when he was her size, but also way back to 17 years ago when my family and our old dog took our first walks in this area.

So much has changed and new people have entered our family, but retracing my footsteps brings those memories back with an almost painful clarity. Remembering my dog running in the ditch, I can't help but also remember her final moments as she rested her head on my feet. Thinking about playing outside with my brother, I suddenly feel the distance between us as he and his family live out their daily lives in another province. Watching videos of his daughter last night only made the gap seem larger.

The biggest moment of nostalgia, though, came for me when Lily and I joined my parents at mass on Saturday night. This is the church I've attended since it was built, in 1988 or so. My First Communion, Reconciliation, and Confirmation all took place within those walls. Nicholas was baptized on the altar, and Liam and I stood not too far from that spot when we made our vows to each other before family, friends, and God. During mass, I looked around the congregation and my heart was so filled with love as I saw the familiar faces of so many friends and acquaintances. While I may live in houses, that church is truly home to me.

I spent much of that hour holding back tears as I processed so many memories while feeling the loneliness of being separated from Liam. I felt so out of place without him by my side. In the past, I stood with my parents. In the present, I stand at Liam's side. In that moment, though, he was out at camp and now he's gone to San Francisco for the next 6 days.

Today, I'm back at my parents' house again for a community event and I've spent the past two hours in silence as I've been waiting for Lily to wake. I'm not quite sure how I'm feeling. I'm not happy, but I'm not unhappy. I think I'm just feeling awash in so many emotions and memories.

And now I hear Lily's voice telling me she's awake. Back to the hustle and bustle of reality.

04 May 2007

If you're reading this and you're the praying type, please say a prayer today for a friend's baby. As I type this, she's about two hours into surgery. She has a heart defect and is receiving a donor heart valve today. Another surgery will be done at a later date to correct the rest of the problems.

Her name is Allie and she's such a precious little baby. She's looking at a long recovery and two months in hospital after this surgery.

03 May 2007

Somehow, things seem to happen all at once.

Today, for instance, I'm packing up and dropping off stuff to donate to our LLL garage sale, taking the kids out to my parents' place, and leading my first LLL meeting which I'm still not done preparing.

Tomorrow, I need to pack Liam's and Nick's things for their Beaver camp, send them out the door, pack my overnight things, and work the LLL garage sale.

On Saturday, I do another shift at the garage sale and pack Liam's things for his business trip to San Francisco. Sometime around midnight the guys will get back from camp and Liam will try to squeeze in a few hours of sleep before heading to the airport around 5 am.

To top it all off, Lily has decided that sleeping is for chumps. The past few nights have been filled with a lot of wiggling, crying, and screaming. All things that make for frazzled moms and dads. Yee-haw.

01 May 2007

While some people consider being an at-home parent to be boring (or at least potentially boring), I don't find it boring in the least. Maybe it's because I don't have time to get bored, or maybe it's because no two days are ever alike and it's often difficult to predict how the day will play out.

Today, for instance, I had plans to buy groceries and then come home and clean the heck out of the house. My Mom was coming over for the afternoon, so it was the perfect opportunity to get work done while an extra set of hands occupied the munchkin.

I started off pretty much how I'd planned. I got the guys out the door, Lily and I had breakfast, then we got ready for our day. I then spent some time doing some meal-planning (as a side note, I've vowed never again to leave this task until grocery day when Lily inevitably ends up wanting all of my attention). I combined my meal-making shopping list with my previous running list of all the things I'd thought of during the week. As another side note, I realize that I'm totally anal about my grocery shopping lists. I use an entire sheet of paper and divide all my items up into what section of the store they're in. If you've ever been grocery shopping with a toddler you'll understand.

We were off to the store at 8:45. The next hour and a half was filled with stuffing things in my cart, crossing things off my list, and keeping Lily entertained so that she'd stay in the cart. To her credit, she did amazingly well for being in a normal cart. I always get one of those funky carts with the steering wheels for her, but I went with a regular one today in order to pack in as many groceries as possible. It was, after all, 15% off Tuesday and I had to take full advantage of the discount.

Once we made it back home, Lily and I snacked on the groceries as we started putting them away. She discovered that some of the rice crackers were very spicy and I re-discovered the beauty of corn nuts. After getting enough food in Lily to make me happy, I bundled her upstairs and convinced her to sleep.

I took a lunch/computer break for a bit then went back to the kitchen...again. I spent an hour putting food away and re-arranging the fridge and pantry to my liking. My Mom showed up shortly after bearing gifts of spelt flour, nutritional yeast, and coleslaw (the flour and yeast had been on my list but weren't at the store).

The next 3ish hours, minus a short break to pick up Nicholas from school and the soccer jerseys from the soccer office, I spent cooking supper and cleaning up. The outcome was fantastic, as Liam's eyes so clearly said at the supper table. It made it worth all the work. I made BBQ pork chops in an impromptu marinade, garlic mashed potatoes with kale, spaghetti squash with stuffing, and coleslaw. The kids bounced between our food and their alternate supper of rice, veggies, and turkey (some days it's just not worth the fight!) and Lily ended up devouring half of my pork chop.

So, out of the 12 hours I've been awake, purchasing, preparing, and storing food has taken up about 8 of those hours. Whew! I wonder how much I'd be making if being the family chef was a paid position...

One more hour until the kids have bedtime snack. It just never ends, does it?

24 April 2007

So, with two hours to spare I'm managing to sneak this blog entry in. I realize Liam likely won't see it until tomorrow, but I'll still have posted it on the right day.

Without further ado...

Happy Birthday Liam!!!

That is all.

19 April 2007

I'm a La Leche League Leader.


For those of you asking "A La Le-what-a?", I've become a Leader in a breastfeeding support group. La Leche League is a worldwide organization which offers mother-to-mother support. There are monthly Series meetings where information is offered and mothers are able to ask questions. Leaders are also available by phone and sometimes by e-mail. Some Leaders even offer home visits or do presentations such as for nursing students.

I was asked if I would like to become a Leader about a year and a half ago by a family friend who led the LLL meetings I'd attended when Nicholas was younger. Lily was brand new at the time, but Fiona (my friend) ensured me that there was no rush to complete the Leader Applicant work.

So, here I am, 15 months after starting all the work it took to get me here and I'm very excited. I believe very strongly in the need for the role LLL plays. There's so much information (and mis-information) available to parents these days both in print and online, but there is very little out there for personal support. LLL Leaders are all volunteers who have breastfed their children and who work hard to provide their help to parents.

My experiences as a LLL member have been wonderful. The first meeting I attended was when Nicholas was 4 weeks old. I didn't know anyone who had breastfed their children and I was muddling my way through. We'd had a rough start with breastfeeding and it took us a full 6 weeks to really figure things out. With the help of Fiona and other mothers who attended the monthly meetings, I was able to overcome various obstacles and continue nursing Nicholas well into toddlerhood. Having a group of women who were also breastfeeding was a key factor in the success of our breastfeeding relationship and I'm forever grateful for that.

So, now I'm coming at LLL from a very different angle and I'm sure I'm in for a whole new adventure. I'll be leading my first meeting in two weeks and I'll be taking phone calls from mothers starting either in May or June. Part of me feels confident in my ability to answer questions that will be asked of me, but another part of me just wants to hide behind my Breastfeeding Answer Book!

18 April 2007

Lily is become quite the amusing toddler. She told her second joke today and it had Liam and I in stitches. She decided when she woke up that she needed to be totally naked, so Liam came home from dropping Nick off at school to find a naked baby running around our bed. She loves getting knocked down on the bouncy mattress, so he pushed her and she landed on her butt. She started laughing hysterically and yelling "Bum! Hahaha! Buuum!!! Ha!" like it was the funniest joke in the world.

Her first joke came out the other day. When asked what a duck says, her response was "Quack, qua...Moo!!" with a sneaky little grin on her face. The harder we laughed, the funnier she thought she was.

She's quite the quirky kid these days. She loves to get naked and just hang out around the house, or on the deck. She also loves to go into the lazy Susan and sit on the toaster which is just the right height to act as a stool for her. She recently combined both the nudity and the sitting on the toaster and I spent some time wondering what I'd say to Liam if she peed in the toaster.

15 April 2007

There are two types of weekends. After the first kind, you feel rested, refreshed, and ready to tackle a new week. After the second, you can't wait for the week to start so you can get a break.

We had the second kind of weekend this week. We accomplished a heck of a lot and we spent a whole pile of time outside, two things which make me very happy, but holy crud I'm tired out!

Yesterday we took in the library booksale. In years past it's been a major event and we've brought home almost more books than Liam could carry, and he's pretty determined when it comes to hauling books home. This year the whole event was a very short and sweet trip. We were in and out within an hour or so and only spent $16. For that $16, though, we brought home a pretty good pile of books. Liam picked up a variety of novels and I got a novel, a few books on homeschooling, and a big stack of kids books that I'll use for curriculum. I got a few books on simple chemistry and physics experiments as well as a collection on different types of homes around the world. Oh, and Liam found the coolest book ever...dinosaur origami! (Nick is excited because "I've never made anything out of origami before!")

Next on our list was getting our income taxes done. Liam's T4 was finally re-sent to us last week so we brought in our little stack of papers to find out if we'd be buying new tires for the car this month. After a couple of hiccups (one which still needs to be sorted out since we may get back another $200) we left with almost $1400 in our happy little hands. Score! Not only will we be buying new tires, but I'll be able to pay for Liam's birthday bike now instead of after the garage sale. With how tight money has been lately, we're both quite happy for the extra deposit into our bank account.

We finished off the day by chowing down on some BBQ'd pork chops on the patio. Yum.

Today, we basically plowed through a whole bunch of yardwork. Liam put together our compost bin and we've already got a pile of stuff sitting in it.

I worked on prettying up the base of one of our trees. I pulled out all of the wood chips then we smoothed out the uneven ground, put down some landscaping fabric, and put all the chips back again. It sounds so flipping easy, but I think it was about 3 hours of work by the time we were done. Our progress was slowed considerably by the worm relocation project. Every time we found a worm in the dirt, Nick and Lily would transport it to the compost bin.

We also planted some of our flower, grass, and veggie seeds. I'm very excited about the nifty decorative grass and I can't wait to see what it looks like in my big pot. By the time we'd planted all the flowers, we were pretty much out of time and pots, so we've only started some of the beets, lettuce, and carrots so far out of our pile of vegetable seeds. I'm both excited and intimidated by the challenge of our first vegetable garden.

This weekend was such a stereotypical spring weekend. We were busy and got a lot done, but it was a lot of fun at the same time. I love being outside with the kids whether it's trekking through the ravine or digging for worms in the yard. There's just something about kids and dirt that go so well together.

09 April 2007

Yesterday evening, Liam and I were exhausted from a lack of sleep and a busy day so we did what any sane parents who knew their kids will be up early would do: we stayed up talking until 1 am. Today I'm crusty and feeling sick with the germs the kids so nicely shared with me but I wouldn't undo staying up late with Liam for anything. It was one of those soul-baring discussions where we shared our feelings and discussed past ups and downs from our relationship.

Moments such as the one we shared last night remind me just how incredible it is to be married to a man as dedicated and loving as Liam. Sharing my daily life with him brings so much significance to even the small and mundane.

This morning as I reflect on the evening, I'm struck by how important it is to me that I experience being fully and accurately seen by Liam. While parts of marriage such as sharing moments or being taken care of are deeply meaningful, I think that being truly known and then cherished is significant in a completely different way.

I'm so aware of how friends and others see me. I pay attention to my appearance, my words, and what I share of myself. With Liam, I share all of me. He held me while I puked my guts out, he danced me through hours of contractions, and he's watched me have mini-meltdowns. He's seen me at my very best and my very worst and not only is he still around but our relationship is deeper and stronger every day.

Having someone see the full and unedited me and react by loving me more is affirming like nothing else could be. The only other people who have known me this fully are my parents and brother, but they didn't choose me and they can't untie their ties to me.

The roller coaster of early love is a thrilling experience that I enjoyed and look back on with fondness. The depth of longer-term love, though, is what fuels me and brings true beauty to my life.

08 April 2007

My Easter Bunny needs a double espresso, quick!

Lily is sick. She woke up when Liam and I went to bed last night and didn't settle down until shortly after 4 am. Nick was up at 6 wanting to go hunting for eggs. Crap.

Can I postpone Easter? In two hours I'm going to be sitting in Church and I'm not sure if I'll actually be awake or not.

Happy Easter!!

06 April 2007

I have a confession to make. I'm in love with another man.

It's Dean Martin.

I don't know why, but I think he's got the most dreamy voice. I realize that I'm a few years behind and all, but something about that man makes me swoon.

And for those of you who are wondering, yes Liam knows. He often teases me about my crush on Dean. This morning he even made a point to skip ahead on his CD to a Dean song for me. Nothing says "I love you" like feeding your wife's love for another man.

04 April 2007

Here's a joke I'd like to share. I've been too sick/in pain/tired to post anything interesting, so at least copying and pasting makes it look like I put in some effort. Oh, and as a disclaimer Liam has never once asked "What do you do all day?". He's been here on weekends and vacation days. He KNOWS!


A man came home from work and found his three children outside, still
in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard.

The door of his wife's car was open, as was the front door to the house and there was no sign of the dog. Proceeding into the entry , he found an even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against one wall.

In the front room the TV was loudly blaring a cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing.

In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, the fridge door was open wide, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door.

He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried she might be ill, or that something serious had happened.
He was met with a small trickle of water as it made its way out the bathroom door.

As he peered inside he found wet towels, scummy soap and more toys strewn over the floor. Miles of toilet paper lay in a heap and toothpaste had been smeared over the mirror and walls.

As he rushed to the bedroom, he found his wife still curled up in the bed
in her pajamas, reading a novel. She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went.

He looked at her bewildered and asked, "What happened here today?"
She again smiled and answered, "You know every day when you come home
from work and you ask me what in the world I do all day?"

"Yes," was his incredulous reply
She answered, "Well, today I didn't do it."

27 March 2007

I've finally managed to pull some of Lil's hair into pigtails. Is it just me or do they make her look slightly evil in an uber-cute way?

26 March 2007

Tonight is the eve of my last day in my short stint of employment. For those who didn't know, I started babysitting a friend's 1-year-old in the middle of February. Due to changes with the other care provider (I only had her Mondays and Tuesdays) our friends have switched her into full-time daycare starting April 1.

On the one hand, I'm sort of sad. Hailey is a sweet little cuddly bear and it's fun when she and my kids play. It's also been very nice having a paycheck since money has been increasingly tight for us.

On the other hand I'm relieved. It's hard taking care of a kid younger than my youngest, especially since she doesn't walk yet and I spend a lot of time carrying her. Although the extra time it takes to care for her during the day isn't enormous, it's one more thing added to my plate, and Lily's been running me off my feet as it is lately. I've been short-tempered with my kids on the days I babysit and it makes me feel incredibly guilty. I don't like being that kind of mom.

I'd also been struggling with the choice whether I would continue to care for Hailey in the fall. For those who don't yet know, we've made the decision to homeschool Nicholas starting in September. While it's something about which I'm hugely excited, I'm also willing to admit that I'm intimidated by the prospect of keeping up on my regular work in the home, jumping through the various toddler hoops with Lily, and homeschooling Nick on top of it all. I think that babysitting even part-time would have been enough to make me crash and burn for certain.

In all I'm looking forward to being unemployed. We've adjusted already this month to tightening the purse strings just a little bit more so I'm not too worried about the money. I'm looking forward to decreasing my stress level even if it does feel like I'm admitting defeat. I'm not very good at noticing when I'm in over my head. I guess that's why I married a guy who can always bring me back to center.

And so, I return once more into the land of the income-less.

23 March 2007

I've been feeling the need for space lately. Maybe it's the fresh air of spring, or maybe it's how smothered I feel sometimes by Lily's abundance of energy.

Whatever the case, I'm feeling the way I'm feeling.

I got Liam to move the computer out of the kitchen and into the office. Our kitchen feels so big now. When the kids play it echoes. I moved the kitchen table and there's all this space. There's also this juicy silence without the constant hum of the computer.

I've been listening to the radio less and less. I'm listening to my cd's a bit, but more and more I'm just turning everything off. When I'm alone the utter silence is refreshing. When the kids are around I more fully pay attention to what they're saying.

I've started cleaning out the storage room with plans to have a garage sale. Goodbye unused baby stuff. (Does this mean we're done having kids? I don't know...) See you later shoes that I never wear but wish I did.

I bought a book tonight about healthy homes. It has sections about the air, light, and color of rooms. It touches on feng shui and environmentalism. I've been drooling over the pictures of beautiful homes. Some have been built into hillsides, others have been made out of renovated warehouses or barns. I love it.

I listened to a radio program recently where the guest discussed the idea of slow homes. It's based on the idea of the slow food movement. The idea is that we should value our homes for what they are and not the money they represent or the expectation of re-sale. We should appreciate that our homes are the places where we're raising our children and creating memories. I've been doing a lot of thinking about what this means to me and how this translates into how our home will be set up. What would our home look like if it truly reflected our needs and desires without conforming to society's expectations and influence?

12 March 2007

I haven't posted pictures in ages and since I just dumped a bunch of photos from the camera onto the computer today I thought this would be a good time.

My brother, his wife, and their baby were out for a visit last month. Here we all are at church. (And no I don't have a tree growing out of my head. It's some sort of Lenten decoration thingy.)

Trina and my kids. Can you believe she's only 7 months? She's heavier than Lily already! I could squeeze those cheeks all day.

A random image of what happens when we leave the kids alone with my parents so we can go out for a date.

Lily showing off her fancy outfit that Auntie Meghan gave her for Christmas.

My family of hoodies. Nick was sick in case you can't tell.

My kids along with Hailey, our recent "addition". I take care of her on Mondays and Tuesdays. She's 13 months and oh-so-adorable. She puts up with a lot from Lily!

This is us today after picking up Nick from the bus. Hailey on the front and Lily on the back.

09 March 2007

There should be a health warning on vegetables.

Last month I lopped off the tip of my thumb chopping red peppers. Today I sliced off a piece of my index finger dicing some carrots. Le sigh.

Can I somehow blame this on Krista? I was after all using the mandolin she gave us as a wedding gift.

It's very annoying, by the way, to be dealing with mopping up blood when you're following one of those obnoxious recipes that wants various ingredients added after a very specific amount of minutes. I can't clean up my finger and chop at the same time damnit. If supper tastes odd tonight, Liam, I apologize.

And here I thought that homemade meals made from nice fresh veggies was supposed to be GOOD for your health.

07 March 2007

My God, I forgot how much I missed the sun.

According to the nifty Weather Eye feature in my toolbar, it warmed up to a balmy +10 today. I'm sure it was closer to 15 on my deck, though, judging by the fact that Lily stripped down to the buff and played outside for a good 45 minutes without getting chilly. The only thing that got her dressed was that she wanted to go play in the snow. I couldn't help but laugh at her as I watched her bare little bum jiggling in the sunshine as she ran around.

I had big plans for my day today. I was going to go for a walk in the ravine and run some errands of some sort. The kind of errands didn't matter so much as me just getting out of the house did. Instead, I ended up being drawn outside by the golden sunshine which poured over my deck and I never did end up leaving the house. I snacked and read while Lily explored the deck then the yard. It's been about five months since we've spent a significant amount of time in our back yard and it was like a whole new world to her.

As I basked in the warmth of the sun, I realized just how much I'd missed its ability to leave me feeling deeply satisfied. Feeling the fresh air on my bare arms I felt more alive than I'd felt in months. When I came back in the house I was struck by just how dead the air inside is. There are no breezes, no tastes, no sounds of birds or squirrels. There's just air that sits there. And does nothing.

On days like today I wonder what it would be like to winter in a warmer climate, one where I could be outside year-round. I love the moderate summers around here but I could certainly do without the bone-chilling weeks that seem to stretch out forever.

22 February 2007

Someone else's cookie always tastes better than your own. (aka Filched food tastes best.)

The best place to be when you're hurt, scared, or upset is in the arms of someone you love.

Farts are really funny.

Touching and cuddling are requirements in life, not perks.

Exploration cannot be hurried.

The most interesting things in life occur close to the ground.

Sleeping in and taking naps don't have to be mutually exclusive.

Time spent doing nothing is important. It's also the best time to do really neat stuff.

Being naked feels good.

Being loud for the sake of being loud is a perfectly good reason.

Getting dirty isn't so bad.

If you say enough, you'll eventually communicate your point.

15 February 2007

This morning, a woman I know told me how her 6-month-old daughter was diagnosed earlier this week as having a serious congenital heart defect which will require open-heart surgery in the very near future. I realized just how blessed I am to have two healthy children.

I received news that a new friend will be moving away. She's very sad to be leaving the support and friendships she's developed over the past few years and wonders what it will be like to be without these. I see that it's such a blessing to live in an area where I'm close to my family, extended family, and many wonderful friends.

This afternoon, a boy in Nicholas' school was lying in the snow and crying after being bullied by some older boys. After spending a great part of the day being frustrated over the way he was treated, I've come so see what a blessing it was to have been able to comfort this boy and help him get back on his way home.

I received a phone call this afternoon that Nicholas' school bus was involved in an accident and that none of the children were injured. I hugged Nicholas close and realized just how happy I was that I'd picked him up from school today.

This evening, I was chided for still breastfeeding Lily. I was annoyed by this until I realized that it's the first negative comment I've received in the 17 months I've been breastfeeding her. It's been a huge blessing to have found so much support for my decision to breastfeed a toddler.

There are so many moments during the day when I have the choice of how to react to the world around me. I can become offended over every bump, or I can gloss over the parts I don't enjoy. I can spend my energy complaining about the injustices in the world or I can focus on each small joy. Although I do get caught up in negativity sometimes I know that life is too short, blessings are all around, and I like being happy.

02 February 2007

I came across the following quote this morning and found it to be very thought-provoking.

"When we adults think of children, there is a simple truth which we ignore: childhood is not preparation for life, childhood is life. A child isn't getting ready to live - a child is living. The child is constantly confronted with the nagging question, "What are you going to be?" Courageous would be the youngster who, looking the adult squarely in the face, would say, "I'm not going to be anything; I already am." We adults would be shocked by such an insolent remark for we have forgotten, if indeed we ever knew, that a child is an active participating and contributing member of society from the time he is born. Childhood isn't a time when he is molded into a human who will then live life; he is a human who is living life. No child will miss the zest and joy of living unless these are denied him by adults who have convinced themselves that childhood is a period of preparation.
How much heartache we would save ourselves if we would recognize the child as a partner with adults in the process of living, rather than always viewing him as an apprentice. How much we would teach each other...adults with the experience and children with the freshness. How full both our lives could be. A little child may not lead us, but at least we ought to discuss the trip with him for, after all, life is his and her journey, too." - Professor T. Ripaldi

I really enjoy how this quote encourages us to totally shift our perspective on children and childhood. In our society, we play Mozart to our embryos, enroll our preschool children in enrichment classes, and spend Grade 1 preparing for post-secondary opportunities.

While I scoff at the idea of doing flashcards with infants who can't even hold their heads up yet, I recognize that I've been guilty of pushing my children into growth rather than enjoying the process of unfolding and experiencing. Now that I've had my second child and I've seen how quickly the early years spin by, I find myself relishing the moment more often than I did. I'm constantly amazed at the beauty and joy which children perceive and create.

How differently would we live life if we really respected the value of childhood, if we saw its value for the experience it provides rather than the future it leads up to?

31 January 2007

Lily's baby bathtub is sitting in the middle of my kitchen and the water in it is a murky yellow. No, she didn't have and "incident" in the tub. The water is filled with chamomille tea and oatmeal. There's a teapot and a couple of little cups as well. Yes, the kids really did drink her bath water. Lily's skin took a serious turn for the worse today and the tea/oatmeal bath was an effort to soothe her itchy, oozing back.

For those not in the know, Lily has been suffering from eczema for about a month and a half. It's been all over her entire body except for her head, hands, and feet. We've eliminated wheat, dairy, sugar, red meat, citrus, and tomatos from her diet. Since her consultation with our ND, she's been taking Sulfur (a homeopathic remedy), Astragalus (a herb), acidophilus, fish oil, and flax oil. I've also switched laundry detergent three times (each of them more and more mild).

Earlier this afternoon as I picked Lily up, I realized that what I thought were stains on her undershirt were actually wet spots from the open sores on her back. Ugh. It hurts me to see her in this kind of shape and I feel like crying. I'm the Mom so I'm supposed to fix things, aren't I?

Now I'm questioning all sorts of foods she eating and that I'm eating and possibly exposing her to in my milk. We've cut so many things out already that I just don't know what to do next. I really, really hate this. Right now she's got a layer of Polysporin on her lower back and gauze and tape over top. She looks like a burn victim or something.

30 January 2007

Yesterday morning, I was headed out to run some errands and I met our mail-lady in the driveway. She handed me the usual stack of envelopes as well as a large manilla envelope. My curiosity piqued, I started the car and immediately looked at the interesting package. My heart skipped a beat when I saw that it was from the law firm which handled the purchase of our new home. I figured it was yet another request to re-sign papers or some other unforseen hoop we'd need to jump through.

Fortunately, it was none of the above. I found instead a pile of papers relating to the final details of the purchase as well as a cheque. It turns out that the money which the law firm had held in trust for us was more than their fees had ended up adding up to. So, there attached to the cover letter was a cheque written out to Liam and I in the sum of $340 (Ok, it was actually something like $339.60 but $340 has a much nicer ring to it). Sweet. Who knew that you could actually GET money from lawyers?

The portion of my brain inhabited by the perma-child deep within me immediately burst out with "Wicked! We can go on a shopping spree and blow all of it since it wasn't money we were expecting anyhow!". Then (un)fortunately the adult me wised up to the situation and brought up the mature arguments such as "Weren't you just saying how nice it is having a bit of extra money sitting in the bank account at the end of the pay period?" and "Aren't you all into this non-materialistic stuff now?".

As things turned out, Liam and I did agree to spend some of the money. He will buy the Sandy Foster cd he's been pining after as of late. I will buy a YES nursing bra, a Diva Cup (guys, don't click if you really don't want to know), and some cloth shopping bags.

I also went on a shopping trip to Planet Organic today and was able to pick up some nice stuff. I splurged and bought a 1L bottle of organic maple syrup. Since it's pretty much the only sweetener I use in my baking and oatmeal, those little bottles just don't seem to last. I also got some organic extra virgin olive oil in a funky square bottle and some organic sesame oil. I was so sad when I ran out of sesame oil a couple of weeks ago since the tofu in my miso soup doesn't seem to have the same flavour or texture with olive oil. I also picked up a variety of items from the bulk section including a new kind of rice, quick-cook oats (so I can actually cook Nick's oatmeal before he gets on the bus for school), carob almonds (like chocolate almonds only more coacoa-y), and some nifty little things called energy squares (which taste incredibly like Eatmore's).

As I did a little happy dance over my bags of groceries at home, I realized just how much I've changed in the past few years. There was a time when groceries were taken for granted and I had no idea as to the cost of food. These days, I'm the one paying at the checkout so I realize just how little our dollars can be stretched. I'm also finding great satisfaction in cooking and experimenting with new dishes. Instead of opening the fridge or pantry and seeing a bunch of food to be eaten, I now see the little dollar signs attached to each item as well as the possibilities for the vareity of dishes I could create with each.

28 January 2007

Yesterday, I attended a workshop on voluntary simplicity which was being offered at our church by a few of the parishioners. There was a retreat a few months back, but being the mom of two little kids (one of whom still nurses several times each night) doesn't lend itself well to that type of activity. I was thrilled when the workshop was announced, both because it was something I could manage and also because it was free. I'm big into free things.

My idea going into this workshop was that I would learn ways of being fulfilled with less material goods and possibly find some ways of reducing excess spending. We're pretty good about keeping costs to a minimum, but living on one income means there's never a lot of extra money hanging about in our bank account.

I ended up learning much more than I would have thought. I learned how wrapped up we as a society are in material things and how much the media influences us to believe that spending money will put us in a better place. I was also given the chance to ponder how having, buying, and focusing on stuff draws my focus away from important things such as God and my family. I also found myself really thinking about the impact that my living has on our planet and how simple choices which I make can have very large results.

Since beginning my elimination diet at the start of this month, I've found myself thinking differently about the types and quality of foods I'm putting into my body and the bodies of my family. It seems like a very natural progression to go from healthier eating to healthier living.

I've also been focusing during the past year or so on streamlining my life and focusing on thoughts, people, and activities which enhance my life. It's so easy to get bogged down in scattered activities and negative patterns of thinking, and there's so much I want to do with my life. By the time I've worked through all my responsibilities as a wife and mother my time is very limited and I want to get the most out of my spare time and energy.

In all, I suppose I'm feeling drawn toward making more conscious choices about life which make me feel good about myself and satisfied with my actions.

23 January 2007

So red bell peppers and thumbs are completely different things. My knife and I learned this lesson together tonight.

In the last step of my mad-dash supper creation, I mis-judged the distance from the knife to my thumb and chopped myself instead of the pesky red pepper. I gave Liam the job of inspecting my thumb because I was too scared of what I'd see. His professional prognosis was "It's pretty bad" and he gave me a tissue to sop up the blood.

Ten minutes later, I pulled the tissue off only to have blood start oozing out at an alarming rate. On went a wad of toilet paper. As an aside, toilet paper is a BAD choice for dressing a wound. Fifteen minutes later when I removed the toilet paper I found that it was stuck and I accidentally opened the cut up a bit more. And I bled more. Of course.

At this point, Liam picked up the Lil and announced that he was taking me in to the ER for stitches. I managed to hold him off by phoning the Health Link to ask what the criterea is for getting stitches. By the time I got off the phone, the bleeding had stopped, the throbbing had mostly subsided, and I was fairly confident that I could forgo the two hours of waiting to see a doctor at the Medicentre. I contemplated following the Health Link nurse's advice to go in for a tetanus shot, but between Liam, my Dad, and I we figured that my clean and shiny knife posed little threat.

My lesson for the night is: chop more slowly, watch more closely. In the end, at least I didn't mess myself up as badly as Liam did. I'd be miffed if I lost the ability to make fun of his knife handling skills.

And on that note, off I go to watch TV. Liam has just put "Snakes on a Plane" on. I'm not sure if I'm excited or scared...

19 January 2007

15 January 2007

As of today, I'm down 9 lbs in 14 days. Who'd have thunk that cutting out all the crappy food in my diet and not snacking for emotional reasons would result in weight loss? (I should amend that statement. I do still occasionally eat when I'm not really hungry, but it loses its charm pretty quickly when you're chewing on carrot sticks and pieces of apple.) I'm sure a certain amount of the lost weight was fluid, but it feels great nonetheless. This is the lightest I've been since Lily was born. I think I'll throw myself a party when I'm down another 30.

The transition with changing Lily's diet has gone pretty smoothly, mostly because she's too young to really know the difference. We've had the occasional bumps in the road such as when she saw the yogurt in the fridge this morning and when she saw Nick eating a ham and cheese sandwich the other day. There's really nothing quite as sad as a toddler moaning "Cheeeeese. Cheeeese." especially when it comes out sounding more like "Deeee, deee!". The really nasty patches of eczema on her elbows and knees have faded quite a bit and now look more like dry skin than the red, raw patches they were a week ago. I worried a bit at first about what she would eat but she actually seems to be eating more now that I've cut dairy, wheat, and sugar from her diet. She's been devouring big bowls of oatmeal and kamut, entire boiled eggs and kiwis, and soups and casseroles of all sorts. She's also been nursing more lately and actually drinking lots of milk rather than wiggling around constantly like she used to. I get the feeling that a growth spurt is in the making.

I bought groceries today and it was a nice experience outside of the episode with Lily running wild in the bulk section (here's a tidbit for other parents: the bulk section is NOT the place to finally cave and let your toddler out of the shopping cart). I loaded up the cart with produce of all kinds, chicken, and various foods from the "natural" sections scattered throughout Save On Foods. I feel better about the foods that I'm buying and cooking since I know they're nourishing my family instead of filling us up and adding to my previously-expanding waistline.

11 January 2007

I feel the need to update since the comments on my last entry have been so lively. I'm starting to get jealous.

I'm now on day 11 of my elimination diet and I'm doing really well. In my first week I lost five pounds between the change in diet and having the flu. I'm sure I'm down a couple more by now judging by how my clothes are fitting and how well I'm feeling. Eating so much more healthily is actually really nice in a subtle sort of way.

I've also dragged my poor innocent baby down into the mud with me. About a month or so ago, she began to develop some patches of eczema in the creases of her elbows and knees. The patches are now red and angry-looking and new spots have shown up all over her arms, legs, and torso. At the suggestion of my ND, she's now completely off of dairy, wheat, sugar, and red meat (the alcohol and caffeine are kind of a given). I'm also shoving flax oil in her once a day and smearing various lotions all over her whenever I can pin her down long enough. It's starting to look a bit better after three days of this.

Watch for updates. I'm sure I'll have found a reason to overhaul Nick and Liam's diets before long. Mwahaha!!!

04 January 2007

If I like it, it's mine.
If it's in my hand, it's mine.
If I can take it from you, it's mine.
If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.
If it's mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.
If I'm doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.
If it looks just like mine, it is mine.
If I think it's mine, it's mine.
If I saw it first, it's mine.
If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.
If it's broken, it's yours!

(Anybody else going crazy because of siblings picking on each other??)

03 January 2007

Oh Baby,
When your Mom
Drags her sick butt off the couch
To tidy,
The bin of toques
Is not
An appropriate sign of your appreciation.

01 January 2007

Happy New Year everyone!!!

Last night, I did my New Year's Eve reflecting from my bed. It was 9 pm and I was cozied up in bed between both kids and getting ready to fall asleep. You see, we ditched the party at James and Janine's in order to take the kids to the early fireworks in Sherwood Park. Then we ditched the fireworks in order to keep the sickly children from completely dying. Then I decided that going to bed as soon as I got Lily to sleep would be my best bet at shaking the early tinglings of their germ getting to me.

So, there I was going to bed at 9 on New Year's Eve while my friends were out at various parties and my husband was downstairs writing. I started thinking about how past New Years Eve's (which I will now type as NYE because I'm lazy) have set the tone for the coming year. I decided that instead of feeling sorry for myself for missing out on NYE I would instead appreciate stepping into the new year in a manner which was respectful and nurturing to my body. It fits well since today is the first day of my elimination diet and I've decided that it's time I really start taking better care of myself in general. You'd think that as a holistic health practitioner I'd be doing a better job than this, but you'd be wrong.

Looking back at past NYE and the way they have fit in with the following year...

2005: We took the kids out to the fireworks then once they were in bed Liam and I played Monopoly and had a really good time. The past year has been one filled with so many wonderful family moments and our marriage has grown in many ways.

2004: We went to a house party and announced our pregnancy to our friends. I was exhausted (thank you first trimester hormones!) and we went home shortly after the countdown. This one's pretty self-explanatory, but the year was consumed by my pregnancy and Lily's birth. I spent a lot of time tired and sleeping.

2003: We went to a party at The Party House. I remember being annoyed with Liam about something and not really enjoying my evening at all. In the coming year, I learned a lot of lessons about relationships, and the first few months of marriage taught me more than I could have imagined.

2002: The infamous party at The Party House where I met (or re-met if you want to get technical) Liam. I stayed up until 4 am talking to him and spent the next day exhausted and trying to think of a reason to call him. The following year was filled with falling in love and getting way way WAY too little sleep.

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