November 27, 2011

uno, dos, flis, rauncho...

My little girl is a linguist. Of course its been said that the younger a child is when they learn a language, the more easily they will pick it up and retain it, accent and all. Well, with two grandmothers, a father and a mother who know French, Lady M has heard pieces of the French language her entire life.

From my time living in Sweden, I still recall some of the language, so I will throw the odd word or sentence at her, with my oh-so-realistic Scandinavian accent. Its a stretch, but who knows, she may find herself living in Scandinavia someday with an uncanny ability to order a ham and cheese sandwich, or take the #54 bus to the university.

I have also studied some Spanish, so will bestow my vast vocabulary on her from time to time, but I can't take all the credit for her love of the Spanish language. Rather, she has recently developed a mild obsession with Diego (the animated animal rescuer), and her mastery of this delightful romance language is budding before our very eyes.

In fact, just a couple of days ago, she started counting Spanish, rather than English. It caught me off guard a little bit, and while I had a moment of pride, I had an even longer moment of laughter For my little Lady M counted as follows... uno, dos, flis, rauncho, cinco, seis, siete, ocho...

Pretty close! But, for anyone who knows how to count it out, 'flis' should be 'tres', and 'rauncho' should be 'cuatro'. Let's be honest though, 'flis' and 'rauncho' were WAY funnier.

So, if she learns all of her Spanish from her pal Diego, we may have to work on pronunciation a little, but I'd say she's off to a great start. A little linguist in the making...

November 26, 2011

so long, old friend

We knew the time was coming.

It had to arrive sooner or later.

We just weren't sure how it would all pan out.

Lady M and her beloved soother have officially parted ways.

So long, old friend!

Here's how it all happened: From a young age, Lady M has had a tight-knit relationship with her dear little soothers. She hadn't slept without one since she was about 6 months old, so I found myself considering various ways to get her out of the habit of having it, as I felt she was getting just a little bit old to rely on its comfort.

There are plenty of methods out there for helping kids say goodbye: passing the soothers along to a new sibling when they are born, leaving them for Santa's reindeer on Christmas Eve, or cutting it out cold turkey. No matter how you slice it, taking something precious away from your sweet little child is never easy. However, with her third birthday looming, I felt the time had come.

We decided not to take it away from her when Lady A was born; I had this terrible feeling that passing her soothers along to her sister would just breed some sort of resentment, and I just didn't want their sisterly relationship to begin in such a way. (I know, dramatic, right?!) I thought Christmas was a little too far away, and the thought of cutting it out cold turkey seemed a little harsh. (Secret's out, I'm a bit of a pushover!)

So, for a couple months leading up to her third birthday we began to prep her for the parting. "Three year olds don't need soothers" we told her, "you're going to be a big girl!" She would repeat the same thing back, surely not realizing that she was actually going to be rid of her sleepytime pal once and for all in a short time.

However, she had preschool the morning of her third birthday, and when I went to pick her up one of her teachers asked me, "is Lady M losing her soother today"? I answered "yes" (feeling a little sad for her before she had even tried sleeping without it), but I guess my little girl was prepared because she had told her teachers that she wouldn't have her soother anymore, because she was three.

We got home, had lunch, and it was time for her nap...the time had come. Deep breath. I put her to bed without her trusty companion with only a small fuss. (I was amazed). She fell asleep relatively easily, but woke up a short time later extremely grouchy and clearly still very tired. So, I decided we had made a big stride by her going to sleep without it, so I let her have it to finish her nap. (It was her birthday, after all!)

That night, same thing...only a mild fuss before she fell asleep without her soother. However, waking up about halfway through the night sobbing, we chose to give it to her for the remainder of the night. For the next day's nap and overnight sleep, we placed the soother beside her in bed after she was asleep so if she woke up at some point, she would find it, and comfort. I guess it worked, because she slept through without issue. (Yay Lady M!)

Then on day three....the breakthrough! No soother through her whole nap, and no soother all night! She asked for it before bed, often told us she 'didn't want to be a big girl', and for a couple of days, she would come crawl into our bed in the middle of the night, but that was ok. It was a pretty big transition after all. And just a few short days later, she was soother-free and sleeping through the night.

After all is said and done, Lady M may have some negative memories of her third birthday, but I suspect all the presents, balloons, cupcakes and the farm party will alleviate some of the pain we caused her when she reminisces about her third birthday in the future!

November 15, 2011

my healthy quest...and 30 things update

My little Lady A hit the 6-month milestone two weeks ago. Hard to believe that six months have flown by in the blink of an eye, and that she's half way through her first year of life. It means we have a little more time between feedings and fewer naps, ergo, more awake time! With this somewhat 'found' time, I have a chance to focus a little more on me for the first time in a while.

With that said, I'm on a quest to get back to being healthy and fit...a place I haven't been in a few years, since having my munchkins. In between having Lady M & Lady A it was easy to set getting fit aside, knowing that I was planning to become pregnant again. But this time, my family is complete, so no easy excuses!!

My sister-in-law has recently graduated as a nutritionist, so with such great knowledge at my fingertips, I would be silly not to work with her, so I am! Thanks to her encouragement and ideas, I'm trying new recipes, making small changes to the items stocked in my kitchen, and drinking more water than I ever have before! The thing that's even better, is that these little lifestyle changes positively affect my entire family.

On the workout front, I continue on with my Zumba classes as often as possible. (To read about the moment I fell in love with this 'exercise in disguise', check out this old post). In fact, in just a few days I'm off to Instructor Training so I can not only attend these fantastic classes, I can teach them too!

I've also found a great Stroller Fitness class that I've been attending for a few weeks with Lady A; I'm working muscles I haven't worked in ages, and its awesome. I'm currently competing in a 'Biggest Loser' challenge with them, trying to win a big gift certificate so I can take even more classes over the winter and continue to challenge myself in new ways. And the best part? I can take my girls with me!

So between the nutrition, fitness classes and a little challenge on the side, I think they're all great steps. And its working to achieve one of the goals that I set out for myself earlier this year in my 30 things post.

Which brings me to a little update on that front. Its been 3 months since I first outlined my goals, so in an effort to stay on track, thought I'd provide a little update as to where things stand...
  1. Become a creative entrepreneur as an exciting side project
    • Haven't made it too far on this one, but I will get there! 
  2. Complete Zumba Fitness instructor training
    • All set to go this Saturday, and I couldn't be more excited!! 
  3. Donate blood (hopefully on a regular occasion, but let's go for once to start)
    • Hmm, I'll take this one as a reminder...I need to go do this. One of my friends said she'd like to join me, so I think we should make a date! 
  4. Have an impeccably organized home
    • Slowly, but surely...this is an ongoing process
  5. Learn Adobe Illustrator
    • This one is in the works! I think I may take a class in the New Year if I can find some time.
  6. Reach my post-pregnancy goal weight
    • As mentioned, the nutrition plans, and fitness goals are all leading toward this one... 
  7. Read a minimum of four books for pleasure this year (yes, that's a lofty goal with two munchkins in the house and lots of school reading at any given time!!)
    • I have finished one so far, and am working on book number two. The first was Mini Shopaholic (yup, that's right, total chick lit!), and now I'm reading Smart Couples Finish Rich. Might as well work on my financial future while I'm at it, right?! 
  8. Share more stories on my blog so my girls will have a great memoir of their childhood
    • Trying to write more whenever I can. I think I need to figure out some form of measurement on this one though...I guess as long as I'm writing more than I did last year overall, then I'm achieving this goal. 
  9. Start teaching a regular Zumba class
    • I can do this once I'm a full-fledged instructor! 
So there we have it...that's where I am with my annual goals; definitely some things to work on, but I'm making a few of the goals a reality already, so I feel like I'm on the right track. Feel free to hold me accountable to anything you read here!! 

October 31, 2011


I'm a very opinionated person. When I know what I want, I'm not one to change my mind, and I almost always go with my gut instinct when it comes to decision making. I've been like for as long as I can remember. I don't hang around in a store for long, trying to decide whether I want to buy something or not. I simply make the decision or leave. I only tried on about 5 or 6 wedding dresses because I knew what I wanted as soon as it was on. And when it comes to parenting, I'm no different.

While I appreciate that everyone has different parenting styles, I don't really care to know about them in great depth. I enjoy talking with my mum, sister-in-law, and girlfriends who are parents, but beyond that, I'm not interested in what everyone else has to say. That may sound harsh, but there are just so many opinions out there, that you have to draw the line somewhere! Cal and I just parent the way our instincts tell us to, and I'm proud of that.

When I was pregnant with Lady M, about to be a first-time mum, every other mother out there had an opinion and wanted to tell me how to parent, how to birth, how to do everything. Horror stories about deliveries abounded, and were certainly never asked for! People wanted to tell you what to buy and what not to buy, how to deal with sleep, eating, nursing, and anything else they could think of. And more than anything, people seemed to find it very important to tell you "oh, you're going to be so tired!".

Yes, though I hadn't had a child yet, I assumed being tired was part of the game. I think the piece of 'advice' that bothered me most was when people would say "get your sleep now!". Well, how the hell is that going to help me three weeks from now, after I deliver a child and have to start raising it?! So, since becoming a parent, and understanding the sleepless nights in a different way, I have made it a priority never to suggest that a parent-to-be 'get their sleep now'.

However, the one thing I found many parents telling me in my pre-child days was 'they'll grow up so fast'. Well, that just may be the one thing I have repeated.

In less than a week, Lady A will be 6 months old, and Lady M will be celebrating her 3rd birthday, and I really keep questioning 'where has the time gone?'. Three years have zipped by in the blink of an eye, and my little Lady M has gone from infant to toddler, and is somehow now a little girl, who has interesting conversations with me on a daily basis. She has strong opinions (not sure where she gets that!), and a never-ending interest in everything around her.

My little Lady A has gone from helpless infant, to a sweet little baby who reacts to everything, smiles every time she hears her big sister's name, has found her voice, and is on the verge of crawling. So, in fact, they do grow up so fast.

I promise I'll never hear myself telling a parent-to-be to get their sleep, or offering unsolicited details about child delivery that people simply don't need to know. I promise not to be one of those more experienced parents who try to tell the newbie horror stories to scare them before their wee one arrives, or how they should sleep train, feed or nurse their child. However, you may just hear me saying that it all goes by in a flash, because three years have never passed so quickly in my life, until now.

October 18, 2011

i went to iceland and took my rollerskates

I've decided to start fueling Lady M's interest in traveling at an early age. I've been lucky to travel a fair bit, and I hope that one day my kids will want to travel to fabulous, far off places too. In fact, the list of countries I still want to visit is enormous, and I look forward to the day when we can travel as a family and explore the world together.

Until then, we'll learn about new places right here at home. We're always pulling a new book off her bookshelf and over the last couple of weeks we've been enjoying looking at a children's atlas that was given to me at one of my baby showers. The book is awesome; great, colourful pictures and simple descriptions of people, places and things, just whetting her appetite for learning about the world.

The first time we looked at it, I pointed out a few key countries for her reference -

  • Canada, where we live, of course; 
  • Sweden, where I have lived; 
  • England where my Dad was born; 
  • India, where my grandparents were born;  
  • Australia where Cal has traveled and 
  • Costa Rica & Nicaragua where Cal and I honeymooned, just so we could really hop all across the map. 
She likes to tell me that she's been to each of these places with Cal and I which I think is great. I'd love to know what sort of travel memories her busy little imagination has conjured up!

Then, for a little spin around North America, we also look at Victoria and Daytona Beach, places Lady M has visited. Of course her concept of how vast the world is is quite limited, but we have fun talking about each place and I enjoy listening to her (often imagined) recollection of her adventures.

Right now she likes to point to each of the key places listed, and then finds new, colourful countries to point at. The other day when we were looking at the atlas, she put her finger on a country and said "I've been there!". I said, "that's Iceland", to which she replied, "yeah, Iceland - I took my rollerskates there and went all over".

Why shouldn't she want to rollerskate across Iceland, or think she already has? I love the imagination children have and hope many of these things really happen for her down the road.

In fact, I hope one day we can roller skate in Iceland together.

September 30, 2011

night vision (or lack thereof)

I'm blind as a bat. Without my glasses or contacts I really can't see a thing, but I can see shapes enough to make my way around the house enough at night, so when I have to get up (frequently with a four-month-old in the house) I just lead myself somewhat blindly. This had never been a problem, until last night.

Truth be told, I don't like to put my glasses on in the night for two main reasons:

  1. It makes me wake up too much; having groggy vision lets me fall back to sleep more quickly when the time comes.
  2. I don't like to know the time at night, and don't have to worry about it when I can't see the clock! I always want to pretend that I still have several hours more to sleep, not that the alarm is due to go off in 14 minutes.
However, last night I probably should have put my glasses on. 

Why? Well, in the morning I handed Lady A to Cal so he could change her, telling him that her pyjamas seemed to be a little wet. I continued to get ready, and moments later he came to me saying "ummm, maybe this is why she is wet?" and showed me her diaper...that I had put on inside out in the middle of the night. 

Not backwards, inside out. Absorbent material facing out. Brilliant. 

Please feel free to send the Mother of the Year award to my home address. You'll find me here in the middle of the night, wearing my glasses. 

September 24, 2011

are you my mummy?

Over the summer we've had several weddings to attend, and each one has been so much fun in its own way. We started the wedding season in June with an event filled with friends from our university years. In July, Madelyn and I were in a wedding for very close friends of ours, and the guest list was filled with amazing friends from my high school era. September brought us my brother-in-laws wedding where we very much enjoyed spending time with Cal's family, and a great party. Then yesterday we had more nuptials where we celebrated the wedding of more great friends, and had a fantastic time with the group of friends Cal grew up with, and I have adopted as a close friends over the years.

Sadly, we are going to miss the final wedding of the year as one of my beautiful friends is getting married out of town and with the new munchkin its a little tougher to make the trip. Its been a busy year of weddings, but they have each been so much fun, and have provided a wonderful excuse to catch up with friends who we'd always like to see more often than life allows.

In yesterday's wedding, I was a bridesmaid, and the lovely Lady M took on her second flower girl gig of the season. It was a 2pm service, which is normally a time when she is visiting dreamland, but instead had a quick nap in the car on the way to the venue, and was carried in to the ceremony location over Cal's shoulder as she slowly woke up. By the time I arrived with the other bridesmaids, Lady M was awake and playing with the ring bearer, waiting for the magic to happen. As soon as she saw me, she came straight to me and we told each other how pretty we both looked, then she went to check out the beautiful wedding gown my friend was wearing.

Fast forward a little: we had all made our walk down the aisle, and Lady M had since gone off to find her Daddy in the crowd of guests. Then she walked back up to me at the front, looked up at me with a hint of confusion in her eye and said "are you my mummy? ... you don't look like my mummy!" Trying to contain my laughter, I quietly said, "because mummy doesn't wear a gown and all this makeup on a regular basis!", and she seemed content with my response and once again accepted me as her mum.

Content that I was, in fact, her mother, we made it through the rest of the ceremony, and she stood still for a few pictures and played in the surrounding gardens before the lack of nap kicked in, at which point Cal took the yawning little lady home while I happily continued on with my bridesmaid duties well into the night.

So, its been a great summer of weddings, and I'm actually a little sad to see it all draw to a close. What will I do with my weekends now without bachelorette parties, showers and weddings to attend?! I'm sure I'll find something; it just likely won't require a gorgeous gown and beautiful makeup, so hopefully my daughter will recognize me.

the big apple

A few weeks ago, as summer was drawing to a close, we took a little family road trip. My dad's parents live in Ottawa, and we wanted to take the girls for a visit and introduce little Lady A to her great-grandparents. Its about a four or five hour trip, but with little ones along for the ride, we knew there would be an inevitable stop or two. And no trip along the 401 Eastbound route would be complete without a stop at one of Ontario's finest, um, lovliest, no, most intriguing, ok, tastiest stops: The Big Apple.

Whenever we go to this place, literally a giant apple structure that you can peek inside, accompanied by a wonderful bakery with everything apple or fruity that you could want, and a rather lame petting zoo, I'm instantly taken back to a road trip I made many years ago when my cousins were visiting from Victoria, BC. Though a family of four kids, just the twin boys, 4 months my junior, came back from Ottawa with my parents and I for a visit, traveling in my dad's old black Eagle Vision (shiny and new at the time).

At the tender age of fifteen-ish, my darling cousins decided to make my ride less than cozy by throwing themselves as hard as they could in the direction of every turn. Car turns left, boys throw their entire body weight across the back of the car to the left. Car turns right...well, you get the picture. Did I mention that I was in between them though? That's right...a cousin sandwich with every turn of the 5 hour drive. Delightful.

It was one of those moments that made me thankful I only had ONE brother, but enjoyed the time with my two cousins anyway; more so once we were out of the car. My break from the squishing game came when we all stopped at The Big Apple and my cousins and I happily explored the attraction. So now every time I travel east, I think of that fateful journey with my darling cousins when the giant fruit becomes visible along the horizon of the 401.

So, back to this past summer and Lady M's first experience with the landmark in question. While the "petting zoo" (outfitted with two whole llamas who didn't look up from their hay lunch) left a little something to be desired, Lady M happily devoured her apple crumble and momentarily delighted in her foray inside the apple, until she said "Daddy, can we go now?"!

But, the visit must have made a small impression on her two-year-old self, because when I picked her up from her first day back to preschool her teacher said "Did you guys take a trip to New York this summer?" Confused, I said "no...", and of course she told me: "Madelyn has been telling us all about her trip to the Big Apple!"

So, I guess she enjoyed it! She should just be thankful that nobody was squishing her in the backseat for the rest of the journey to Ottawa and back.

September 20, 2011

break it down

So it seems that every stage of toddlerhood is just a little funnier than the last. Currently, Lady M is in a stage where she likes to break down words for us, just like we do for her when she's trying to add yet another word to her vocabulary. She is a sponge right now, and I'm amazed by the things that come out of her mouth each day. She's blunt and eloquent all at the same time, and makes me laugh constantly.

On my birthday last week, she came running into my room and started my day by proclaiming: "MUMMY!! Its your birthday!! I got you a cup....". Interesting, because the day before she told me that she was getting me a ring, so I wasn't too sure what I would be opening. But, sure enough, as I unwrapped the birthday present that she and Cal had lovingly put together, I found an adorable mother/daughter 'cup' (read: giant mug) that she had chosen for me. Being a lover of a huge cup of tea, I was, and still am, thrilled.

Like I said, she is also breaking words down for us, and sentences too. We have to repeat after her, and then build our sentence by the end. Apparently she is a fan of phonics. However, she will also take a small word and give it extra syllables just for the purpose of being able to break the word down for us.

For instance, this morning while watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, she decided to break down the word Tootles for me (a character on the show, for those who don't see it as often as I do). To get me to properly say the word she told me to say "too" (too), say "tuh" (tuh), say "ulls" (ulls). "Now put it together mummy!" Right, too-tuh-ulls. So, with a couple added syllables, I was able to say Tootles with no problem...what a great teacher I have!
I sometimes wonder what she's going to be like when she gets to Junior Kindergarten next year. Will she be as advanced as I think she will? Or am I just a typical mum who thinks her child is brilliant and is promptly applying for her Mensa membership card? Either way, I think she's progressing just perfectly, and that's all I can ask for.

On the newborn front, Lady A is four and a half months old and rolling all over the place. I'm fairly certain its only going to be a matter of time before she is crawling around the house on her tiny little 13-pound frame exploring everything she can. She is so full of smiles and cuddles, and I love every one.

Lady M is completely smitten with her, and speaks to her just like we do, calling her 'sweetie' and the like. She is an almost-three-year-old mother hen, and its so sweet to see their relationship. Of course Lady M is rewarded with smiles every time she chats with her little sister, so what more could she ask for? Well, I'm sure she'll be happy when she can start to enhance her sister's vocabulary along with Cal's and mine.

Well, I'm off to see what new words I will learn today thanks to my adorable toddler teacher.

August 26, 2011

the little apprentice

Lady M is often stuck to her daddy like glue. She is his faithful little helper around the house, quick to grab a hammer or screwdriver when needed; the first to grab a new lightbulb or battery as necessary; and even happy to take a step or two up the ladder to be just a little closer to whatever her daddy is doing. Its really quite sweet, and I know Cal doesn't mind having his little helper at his knee all the time. She's at a fun stage where she simply wants to take part in everything we do, ask a million questions and then try to do things on her own.
Her new favourite past-time is going to the office with Cal - to her it is a world filled with people who are kind and welcoming to her, a space with endless road cases to explore, and more importantly, her very own desk to sit at while she creates her colouring masterpieces.

I think I find this especially sweet because I can distinctly remember visiting my dad's office as a child and feeling so special anytime I had the chance to go there. At the time, my dad had an old-fashioned sort of desk with a little pull-out secretary's table, where I happily drew pictures and coloured. I recall making myself right at home, pulling my chair up to the little surface and colouring my heart out, much like Lady M does now.

I also enjoyed floating from office to office visiting his secretary and various colleagues. In fact, I can distinctly remember popping into one woman's office one day and listening to Patio Lanterns by a singer she told me was named Kim Mitchell. I was extremely confused as to why "Kim" sounded like a man, thus learning the concept of unisex names. In any case, 25 or so years later, I can still recall the happiness I felt when I went to work with my dad, so I love seeing the excitement in Lady M's eyes when she receives the same opportunity.

In every sense of the word, Lady M has become Cal's little apprentice, wanting to learn about everything he does, and more importantly, take part. I'm sure as soon as her hands are big enough she'll be picking up the guitar just like him too.

August 16, 2011

30 things...

In exactly one month I'll be thirty years old, much to the joy of all my friends well into their thirties who I have been teasing mercilessly for being so much older than me for years now (you know who you are!). Hitting this milestone birthday really doesn't bother me very much; in fact, having watched Sex & the City all through my 20's I'm supposed to know that the 30's are the best years, right? Well, works for me!! And I plan to feel the same way about my 40's, 50's, and every other decade I hit.
So I decided that as a little gift to myself, I would write down a list of 30 things that I'd like to achieve. As I work through the list, I'll have to decide whether its 30 things I want to do this year...or before I'm 40, or whether its more of a bucket list for the longer term, but we'll see!

I think everyone knows that a goal is more likely to be achieved if you write it down (Harvard Study anyone?), and I know its even better if you tell other people that you want to do here we go. I will share with each one of you the thirty things I want to do, and you can hold me to it!

And onto the list...
  1. Become a creative entrepreneur as an exciting side project (details to follow...)
  2. Buy a boat or seadoo (or both!)
  3. Complete the CN Tower stair climb
  4. Complete my Master of Education degree
  5. Complete Zumba Fitness instructor training
  6. Donate blood (hopefully on a regular occasion, but let's go for once to start)
  7. Explore more of Canada
  8. Find and buy our dream home
  9. Gain more teaching experience
  10. Go on a European bike tour
  11. Go parasailing
  12. Go white water rafting
  13. Grow my own vegetables and herbs (This is a real challenge for me; see my Green Thumb post.)
  14. Have an impeccably organized home
  15. Involve Lady M & Lady A in a fabulous and worthy volunteer opportunity
  16. Learn Adobe Illustrator
  17. Live abroad again
  18. Plan a Muffy reunion somewhere tropical and fabulous
  19. Reach my post-pregnancy goal weight
  20. Read a minimum of four books for pleasure this year (yes, that's a lofty goal with two munchkins in the house and lots of school reading at any given time!!)
  21. Share more stories on my blog so my girls will have a great memoir of their childhood
  22. Start teaching a regular Zumba class
  23. Take an art course (drawing, painting, sculpting...or something like that)
  24. Take my family to Sweden, England and other areas of Europe
  25. Take piano lessons again
  26. Travel to Africa
  27. Visit each country where my dad has lived, as well as India where his whole family was born
  28. Visit every continent
  29. Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity on a build
  30. Write a children's story
So, there's the list. As it turns out, some are definitely longer term goals, some short term. I've noted the ones that I plan to complete by the end of this year in pink; nine in total. I'll be sure to keep you up to date as I finish each one, and feel free to help keep me accountable for anything on the list! 

August 9, 2011

a taste of fall in the summer...

Looking for something new to make? A little taste of fall flavours in the summer perhaps? My faithful baking assistant and I made a yummy recipe this past weekend, so I thought I would share it here. I had been thinking about making some oatmeal chocolate chip muffins and decided to go on a little recipe hunt. Thank goodness for the internet and the plethora of recipes you can come across at the touch of a couple buttons, because after a brief search, I found a recipe for pumpkin oat muffins with chocolate chips - fantastic!!
Lady M was quite excited to get into the kitchen to give me a hand, and promptly pulled her stool up to the sink so she could wash her hands when I asked if she wanted to bake with me. Moving over to the counter, we pulled out the bowls and some measuring cups. Helping scoop the ingredients is her favourite thing to do, and she was eager to place each ingredient into the bowl herself, and did a terrific job.

But, like any kid, her busy little fingers couldn't quite resist the bowl. I turned to grab one ingredient from the cupboard, and when I turned back around, I noticed her mouth curling, and her eyes looked slightly watery. I realized instantly what she had done...scooped her little finger in the bowl and popped some delicious baking powder in her mouth! Mmmmm. I was laughing, of course, and after the taste was out of her mouth, she was laughing too. She got it together to help finish the recipe, lined the muffin pan with her little bunny muffin wrappers and turned the light on in the oven so she could watch them rise. And even better, when we took them out of the oven, they were delicious!

So, if you're interested in a yummy new recipe to try, you can click here to get the recipe. They were a great, filling breakfast, but make a nice hearty snack too. I know we'll be making them again. Enjoy!!

July 31, 2011

Have a read...and make a difference!

My friend Kirsten had a rotten experience on the train the other morning where a new immigrant mum from Ireland, and her three little girls, were made to feel like they didn't belong by some horrible, unkind man who should have chosen a different train car that morning.

Please have a look at the post Kirsten wrote entitled "Let's Do Something Really Wonderful", and if you feel so inclined, you can leave a message for this mum and let her know that's she's awesome, and didn't deserve to be treated the way she was. It only takes a moment!

It's appalling to me that people think its okay to treat a stranger so poorly. Everyone deserves to be treated with kindness, and that's just the point that Kirsten is trying to convey. Please take a couple minutes to read her post, and leave a comment.


July 30, 2011

stay small, little one

She's growing way too fast! At nearly three months, my sweet baby girl. Lady A, is already getting so big. She's smiling, giggling and tall enough to fit in 6 month old sleepers. How is this possible?

Ok, I know how the 6-month sleeper thing is possible, I married someone who is 6'5", and I'm not a shorty myself. But, does she really need to grow so quickly?
I already have one little lady who is wise beyond her 2 years and 9 months, and now a baby who is showing me once again how quickly time passes.

One of my girlfriends and I were chatting about this the other day, about how you want everything to go just a little faster with your first child - you're ready for the sleepless nights to end, you want your child to crawl, walk, and talk because each new milestone is so exciting. But not the second time around. In fact, I'm finding its quite the opposite; I want things to slow down. She's already trying to roll over, and before I know it she'll be strapping on her first pair of running shoes, and chasing after her big sister! I just want her to be my little snugglebug a while longer.

I do find I'm able to enjoy the baby stage in a much different way this time though, which is nice. Its likely because I know each stage doesn't last forever, and of course, part of it can be attributed to the fact that I'm more confident in my parenting skills this time so can relax a little more. But, since I can't make time stand still (although that would be a pretty awesome superpower), I'll just soak up each moment with both my girls, knowing that time passes all too quickly. Thank goodness each stage is so much fun in its own way.

roughin' it

There comes a time in everyone's life where you just can't help it. You just won't make it in time. You just have to do it right now. There's no other choice. 

Well, the other choice is having a very wet carseat. 

The other night, after a nice dinner out, and perhaps a little too much fluid at the dinner table, Lady M could not hold it any longer on the drive home, so like any good parents we contemplated our options: 
  • suggest she hold it until we got home, risking the wet carseat
  • find the nearest public restroom as quickly as possible
  • or, the inevitable...
That's right; we pulled over to the side of the road, and let our baby girl pee in the grass. I always thought her first moment of roughin' it would be on her first canoe trip, or while experiencing some fabulous outdoor adventure. But no, it was on the local expressway, a mere five minutes from our home, with cars zipping by. No cottage scenery or waterlilies dancing along the water here...just a patch of grass, my little lady, and me holding her up. 
The best part of the whole experience was how fabulous Lady M thought the scenario was. Quickly going from grave concern, and a stern face as she tried desperately tried to hold it in the car, to realizing I was actually letting her squat in the grass to empty her bladder made her light up like a Christmas tree - she was thrilled! She started giggling, I started giggling, and Cal was laughing right along with us from the driver's seat. (Lady A was fast asleep in the back, blissfully ignorant to what was happening). 

So, it was no canoe trip, but my little lady's first experience of roughin' it was memorable. In fact, the next day when we were heading somewhere in the car she told me she didn't have to go to the bathroom beforehand. Thankfully, I knew her plan...but there would be no expressway pit stops that day. 

June 22, 2011


It drives me crazy when people mispronounce words. I have a degree in English after all, so that gives me the right to make fun of others when they say words incorrectly, right? However, for some reason the delicious chocolate frozen treats enjoyed in the summertime have always been known to me as a 'fudgicle', as opposed to a 'fudgsicle'.

I suppose like many people who mispronounce words, I never really realized that I did. That was, until I said it one time several summers ago to my husband who teased me mercilessly. Why did I drop the 's'? I have no idea; but I liked the way it sounded, so I went with it. Even after realizing the correct way to say it, I chose not to. Truthfully, I was just being stubborn, wanting to do things my own way, as usual!!

So last night we bought a box of this timeless summer treat and I sent Lady M to ask her daddy if he wanted one. I fed her the line, and she headed over to him and said "do you want a fuckle?". Er, my mispronunciation has just come around to bite me in the butt. I was laughing like crazy, but I'm not sure that I should encourage the word 'fuckle' to be in my two-year-old daughter's vocabulary.

After my fits of giggles subsided, and I pulled myself off the floor where I had turned into a puddle of laughter, I tried again. Carefully pronouncing the unnecessary "s", I said "oh, he'd like a fudgSicle?", and she said "yes, a fud-sicle". Phewf.

I guess that means I'll have to call it a fudgsicle too...lesson learned.

June 13, 2011

the bug conundrum...

I'm ok with bugs - for the most part. I can find a spider in my house, and have no problem sending it to its watery grave...although it always gives me a little chill when I have to do so. I spent several years of my life working at a summer camp, and bugs were just part of the deal (along with assorted rodents and wildlife). As long as they weren't too big and scary, I was ok with getting them out of the cabin as necessary. Especially when you've got a cabin full of young girls who are scared of them, somehow you just assume the parental role and remove the creepy crawler as needed.
But now, I really have assumed the parental role. Last week Lady M and I were getting the laundry from downstairs while Lady A was slumbering in dreamland. While downstairs, Lady M said she had to go to the washroom so we hustled upstairs to her potty. Once she was settled, I went back downstairs to grab the abandoned laundry basket. I was halfway upstairs when Lady M started screaming "Mummy! Mummy!" and burst into a fit of sobs. Assuming she was stuck in the toilet or had hurt herself somehow, I dropped the laundry basket on the landing and went to her rescue. She was standing outside the washroom, inconsolable and it took a minute before she finally calmed down enough to tell me what was wrong.

After asking 'what's wrong' several times, she finally pointed to the base of the stairs where a little spider was exploring a square inch of our main floor. It had completely freaked her out, and I'm really not sure why! Cal and I are ok with spiders, so she's never seen us react that way. Her Auntie Muff (who is incredibly afraid of spiders) lives on the other side of the country, so she hasn't seen her reaction, and I don't recall her seeing anything on tv or reading a book where someone was afraid of spiders. So, I'm not sure where the fear developed, but suddenly the creepy crawlers that intrigue her outdoors elicit an entirely different reaction indoors.

Today she found a moth type creature in her curtain before nap time and called for me to come up and remove it. She didn't burst into tears like last time, and I tried to make sure she didn't see my little shudder when I removed it from her room. I'm the parent after all, even if I hate it, I have to pretend its not so bad, right? Hopefully she'll get over this little fear in no time.

wedding season is open!

Yesterday marked the first wedding of the year for Cal and I...and it was wonderful! I loved planning my wedding; every little detail was exactly what we wanted, and almost five years later I still look back at it and wouldn't change a thing. So, now I really enjoy attending other people's weddings to see what choices that have made in planning their own big day, and always enjoy seeing how the ceremony and reception complement the couple.

The wedding we attended yesterday was for a great friend from my university years, so not only was it fun to see this lovely couple tie the knot, it was a real treat to see several old friends from school who we don't get to see very often; the same people who witnessed the beginning of our own relationship when Cal and I started dating, and shared in our wedding day with us. Just having the opportunity to catch up with some friends we haven't seen in a while - those who flew in for the occasion, those who live around the corner, and those who we just don't get to see very often - made an already great day even better.

This particular wedding had the most adorable flower girls and ring bearers who were incredibly well-behaved, which made me really excited to see my little Lady M as a flower girl in a few short weeks. We've got her dress already, and she loves wearing her 'wedding shoes' around the house. She doesn't quite understand what she's going to be doing as the flower girl, but I think its going to be fun to watch! And my dear friend, the bride, says that even if she doesn't walk down the aisle, that's ok! We'll see how it all goes down soon...

It was also Lady A's first big event, and she seemed to be quite riveted as she slept through most of the night! She happily slumbered through the ceremony, until the reception started, and right through the appetizer. She woke up for the main course and dessert, had her own little meal and slipped back into dreamworld. She was a star guest!

So, with this wedding over, the couple happily married, starting their lives together, and feeling blissfully caught up with old friends, it's time to keep working on preparations for the next wedding - which will be filled with friends from high school - another group to catch up with and enjoy the company of!

Wedding season is officially open!

June 1, 2011

confession of a stay at home mum

When I was off on maternity leave with Lady M, I succumbed to a lot of daytime television; the characters filled the space of 'adult chat' I was lacking at the time, and I couldn't help but enjoy them. However, as the months passed, and she started to pay attention to the television, I stopped watching a lot of things in front of her, as any good parent would. Of course, after going back to work I had to give up the glorious world of The Price is Right, Rachael Ray and The View. (However, I'll be honest - after watching the latter two for nearly a year, I couldn't stand any of the hosts any more, so wasn't too devestated to give them up!)

However, I'm now enjoying maternity leave, round two, which has opened up some new shows to me that I didn't know about having spent my days in an office and not near a television for quite some time. So what have I discovered? Well, when Lady M naps each afternoon, and I spend a significant amount of time feeding Lady A, I've started watching a show called The Talk. Its like The View, only lighter and less malicious! (Obama was elected days before Lady M was born, so the show was rather politically fueled when I watched it a few years ago). Now, I get right into The Talk every day, and must admit, I love it!

I've also been a fan of The Price is Right since I was a kid - my brother and I used to love to watch it at lunch. We'd watch it in the kitchen while eating lunch, would run up to brush our teeth after the showcase showdown bids were in, and would head back across the street to school as soon as the winner was revealed. I still find the same enjoyment in watching it from time to time when I'm home. And might I add, Drew Carey is a fantastic host! 

Now onto the more significant confession...

What I'm about to tell you, I'm not proud of; please don't think differently of me...but I'll just say it: I'm addicted to shows about the Kardashian family. Yes, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Kourtney & Kim Take New York, Khloe & Kourtney Take Miami, Khloe & Lamar - thanks to my newly aquired E! channel, I'm watching them all. Please forgive me, this is very embarrassing, but they are trash tv at their finest, and thanks to my PVR I've become well versed in the adventures of this ridiculous family.

I tried to keep my secret Kardashian indulgence from Cal, but thanks to the PVR listings, he quickly caught on to what I was watching, and thoroughly enjoys making fun of me for enjoying such smutty entertainment. What can I say?

I'm not alone, obviously - other people must be watching these shows! I couldn't tell you if any of my friends do though, as I'm not very open about how much I watch it. (I fear my darling Psychologist friend may offer me some free counseling sessions after reading this...)

But there - I've said it; its out there in the open. I'm a stay at home mum who enjoys smut. But, with two girls in the house now, it will be a limited viewing window, because surely these are not shows that will be on around them when the tv is on in their presence. And eventually I have to go back to working full time...

But, for now, I'll enjoy every minute of it!!

May 17, 2011

welcoming lady a

Its been a busy time around here having welcomed our newest little munchkin just two weeks ago. Although my pregnancy was completely different from start to finish, and I was certain I would be welcoming a little man into the family, I was more than thrilled to discover that we had another little girl! 
Lady A made a simple entrance into our lives; with about 6 good pushes, she came into the world, and my doctor almost missed her delivery! I'm pleased to say he made it on time though, because if he hadn't, Cal may have had some more responsibility in the delivery room than he bargained for! 

The entire delivery was much simpler than sharing a hospital room with the loudest snoring new mom I could ever imagine later that night, but that's a story for another day...  

Of course Lady M has been the wonderful big sister we always imagined she would be; she just wants to play with her sister's 'teeny little toes' and offer her love and hugs at every turn. She's even quick to share her favourite stuffed animals and toys, which is really nice to see. Of course its been an adjustment, as Lady M has had all of our attention for a long time, but I think we're all managing the change very well. 

Its funny how quickly you realize that having one baby, no matter how challenging you thought it was, was really quite simple! Managing two is a whole other story. That being said, I'm sure parents who have more than two...or multiples...would say two is a breeze! Its all relative, that's for sure. I think back to how challenging I thought one baby was at the time, but now it all seems so easy. But, this time I don't have the stress of figuring out how to be a parent, and I find I felt like myself again very quickly.

Getting to be at home with my two girls is just wonderful, although Lady M keeps asking when Lady A will be able to play with her; its hard to understand that it will still take a while. But for now she seems happy when her little sister just wants to look at her, and wiggle her toes.

So, after the first two weeks, we're doing rather well. And now that I know I have my two girls, I look forward to everything that we can do together as they grow up, and look forward to seeing the relationship they have with one another and with Cal and I as they grow... 

April 14, 2011

waiting for the stork...

Right now, our life is just one big waiting game. Baby #2 is due next Saturday, but obviously could arrive any day now. I really have no idea when to expect him or her, seeing as I was quite overdue with Lady M. But, I know he or she will arrive when they're ready!

I have been reminded that I'm now under constant watch by everyone around me who is awaiting the news, since they won't receive the crampy and painful physical notice that I will when its time for this munchkin to arrive! I have to remember to respond quickly to all emails or phone calls, or the natural assumption becomes that I am in labour. No sign of labour yet - just hanging tight. Both Cal and I are pretty relaxed - probably the calmest out of everyone playing the waiting game, which I suppose is a good thing - but never fear, we'll tell you when the baby is here!

Lady M started preschool this past Monday and seems to be adapting quite well so far, likely due to the fact that she's been in a wonderfully structured and educational daycare since she was one. Its a bit of a change though because she is now the youngest in the class, whereas in daycare she was steadily climbing her way to the top! But, since she's going to be a big sister, and undoubtedly possesses my ability to be ever-so-slightly bossy, being the 'little one' may be a good thing for her!

I'm on week two of my maternity leave, which is lovely. In fact, its a bit of a treat that the baby hasn't made his or her appearance quite yet because its giving Lady M and I some Mummy & Me time, which I am soaking up every minute of. On non-preschool days, we're waking up to tea and crafts...what more could you ask for?! My colleagues threw me a baby shower before I finished work and gave me a beautiful diaper bag stuffed full of craft supplies which are now being put to good use. In so many ways, I think its important for Lady M and I to have this special time before our world turns upside down someday soon.

So, I will continue to wake up each morning, check the date in case it becomes the birthday of my new baby, and enjoy tea, crafts, fun and games with my beautiful munchkin until the time comes to meet the newest addition to our family and change our routine a little.


March 28, 2011

what shall we read next?

Reading has always been one of my favourite things to do, but lately it seems my pleasure reading has been replaced with journal articles for school and toddler storybooks. Both of these actually make me quite happy, but somedays I really miss having a good book on the go. Perhaps when my course finishes next week, my maternity leave begins (also next week), I might rediscover this ever-precious personal reading time, but I guess we'll see.

In the meantime, I'm thrilled that Lady M has discovered the vast world of literature. Up until a couple months ago she enjoyed stories, but now she is just devouring them and can't seem to get enough. We sit and read a pile of books at a time, and I love seeing her get into the story and process both the pictures and the text.

One of the latest stories in our rotation has been "Pajama Time" by Sandra Boynton. Now, I'm sure every parent out there has at least one - if not ten - Boynton books on their shelves because her stories are wonderful. They read like little songs, and I think I have as much fun reading them as Lady M does listening to them. They're sweet, fun and the illustrations are great. What more could you ask for?

The other stories I'm pleased to say are in the current selection list are a couple of the Little Miss & Mr books - you remember them, of course. Who could forget the classic adventures of Little Miss Sunshine, or Mr Noisy? I LOVED these books when I was younger, and when I was in England several years ago I restarted my collection. I was at a bookstore in London and they had them on sale, and I can distinctly remember thinking, "someday I'll have kids I can read these to", so I purchased several from the series. Now here I am, 8 years later, with a sweet little tyke who is hanging on their every word.

Currently we are reading Mr. Funny and Little Miss Naughty. Mr Funny has encouraged us to learn several new funny faces, which I'm told she is now using to help cheer up the younger children at daycare - that's my girl! And we're learning important lessons with Little Miss Naughty about how to treat people with kindness and respect, all the while giggling our way through the pictures and words.

My favourite part of all her story time though, is that she is now "reading" the story back to herself, or to Cal & I. She's remembering so many parts of the story, and will retell it based on the pictures she sees as she flips back through the pages. Its so exciting to see her relating to books in this way, and to see her storytelling and recall abilities emerge.

So although my own reading adventures may be a bit slowed right now, I'm more than happy to dive back into some of my favourite children's books, along with lots of new ones with my little Lady M. Plus, whenever we are reading stories, the baby on its way tends to kick like crazy, so I think I'm going to have another little reader on my hands in a very short time, and I can't wait to share more and more stories with both my munchkins over the years to come.

January 25, 2011

who should name the baby?

Is it a good idea to let a two year old name a baby? Well, that's debatable. If you ask my parents, its a terrific idea. In fact, my brother (2 years and 10 months my senior) chose my name. My parents were smart though, because they gave him three options from which he could select: Kristin, Lauren & Julia. His decisive two-year-old self determined that his new little sister would be Kristin, and I must say I have always liked my name and have given my big brother credit for his excellent choice! (Way to go G-Brother!)

Truth be told, I know my name came from my Mum's favourite evening soap - Dallas. For those of you who can remember the famous "Who Shot J.R.?" episode of the series, the answer is Kristin. Kristin shot J.R. And yes, I know the series well - I watched it in reruns with my mum when I was old enough to!

So now, almost 30 years later, I find myself at the same stage - with a two year old, who has come up with a brilliant name for her sibling-to-be. The only difference is, I haven't given her three choices. She has simply made the decision for us. Whenever you ask her what the baby is going to be (as in boy or girl), although she originally chose a gender each time, she now goes straight to the name: Ella.

She has decided that when the baby arrives in April, it will be named Ella...Cinderella.

Although giving naming power to a toddler worked for my parents, I'm not sure we can - in good conscience - name our child Cinderella. But, there are still a couple months to go, and Lady M is a persuasive little girl, so who knows what will happen!

January 22, 2011

alphabet lessons

I like that learning can happen in all sorts of places.  When out and about with Lady M, we turn most adventures into fun lessons; of course this is especially easy when there is so much for her to soak up at every turn, and her curiousity is piqued by the simplest things. In fact, its so much fun to re-explore the world from her sight line and vantage point. Sometimes she draws my attention to things I haven't looked at in years; case in point, I had to re-learn all of my work trucks - from a digger to a cement mixer - last year when she became fascinated with each vehicle we passed while on the road. Considering we drive right past a construction site every morning, I had to learn them all (again), and fast! I think she still knows them better than me!

But sometimes I love how the simplest things at home can turn into lessons as well. Take the other night for instance: Lady M was eating alphabet vegetable soup for the umpteenth time; she loves it. However, this was the first time that it turned into a lesson in the alphabet. She started by pulling out the letter 'o' and identifying it to me, and then did the same with the next soupy letter out of the bowl, 'y'. The next one she couldn't identify, so I flipped it around so she was looking at it properly and our letter lesson was on! We identified every letter that came out of the bowl and matched a word to it. It was so simple, and easy. Of course, she identified each of the vegetables too, and although most were pulled out by hand by the end, and the perimeter of her mouth was turning a lovely shade of orange, we had turned a simple part of supper into an important lesson. 

Later that night we were watching one of my favourite shows, Wheel of Fortune. Wheel has been family viewing in my house for as long as I can remember; my Mum, Dad, brother and I always watched it as a family when I was growing up, and I'm thankful that my hubby and daughter like to watch it with me now. Of course I've watched it for years, but until my little lady got a bit older, didn't see some of the lessons that could be found in it. Once again, the alphabet! Its simple, a contestant calls a letter, identifying its sound; and good ol' Vanna faithfully walks across the stage revealing that letter sometimes in multiple places. Perfect! Lady M hears the letter sound, and then sees several appear right before her eyes. Seems simple, since we like to watch it as a family anyway, but I like to know she's getting something out of it as well.

I find little lessons like this everywhere with Lady M, and love turning life into a great educational tool for her. But, if she starts answering all the Jeopardy questions, I'll know she's really made it.

January 8, 2011

i should mention...

I should mention that I have once again shared some of my so-called 'wisdom' over at Be Positive Mom. I have written my A-Z list of tips for working moms as part of Steph's Working Mom Interview series. You can see it here!

And if you're interested, you should just check out Steph's blog, because its great!!


January 6, 2011

where have the months gone?

Its been a while since my creative juices have been flowing. Its been so long since I've written, I suppose, that somehow I'm now six months pregnant with my 2nd munchkin, and sporting a lovely pregnant belly! I seem to have lost a great deal of time in there having suffered from morning sickness for about four months, and by the time I made it through my work day, came home and played with Lady M and got her to bed, writing with a little bit of creative flair was the furthest thing from my mind!

Thankfully, in the midst of all of this, while I could barely stand walking into my kitchen, let alone think of making dinner, my darling hubby kept the house in check. Not that he doesn't help with the cooking in a regular week, but he really had to step up his game for a bit there!

By the beginning of December the sickness had subsided (phewf!) so my mum, Lady M and I took a little jaunt to Florida to visit our family and do some pre-Christmas shopping. (For the record, I have never shopped so early for Christmas in my life! I'm totally a Christmas Eve kind of girl, and I like it that way.) So, between our trip, and then the insanity that is Christmastime, its suddenly January!

In that time, Lady M seems to have grown several inches (judging from the fact that her pants are all now sitting at her ankles when we put them on in the morning), she has begun to display the classic two-year old tantrum tendencies, and we have officially entered the 'why' stage of life. Ahh, yes. Its been a busy couple of months!!

So, now that I feel like myself again (and am in the so-called 'honeymoon trimester'), I'll do my best to share some stories of what is happening in our world again. Certainly my two-year-old monkey provides lots of entertainment these days, and keeps Cal and I laughing all the time. Hopefully some stories will make you laugh too!