26 December 2010

More fun with gum

Day two of Christmas festivities and the “gum bucket” is proving to be one of Drew’s favourite things. This morning, as I was sitting down to pay some bills (a horrible task at this time of year), Drew managed to grab the bucket of gum off of my desk. He remained occupied for all of five minutes until he impressively managed to pop the lid off the bucket, showering the room with 60 piece of chokable sugary goodness. Hubby and I pounced on him as he attempted to put the gum in his mouth, eyes bulging in excitement. I love it when days start off like this…

After washing and tidying away all the loot we acquired yesterday, we went off to enjoy our second family dinner with my in-laws. Once again, we were spoiled rotten. Andrew received a classic Radio Flyer wooden/metal sled that can transition into a wagon in the summer…complete with personalized license plate. I can’t wait to put Andrew in it for his first ride! Thankfully, Drew was a bit better tonight with opening gifts – no freak outs and he even managed to tear a corner of wrapping paper himself.

With a roast in my belly, not to mention a dozen or so candies and sweets, I am looking forward to starting a new exercise and detox regime tomorrow. It was a fantastic Christmas, if not a bit hedonistic, but I’m looking forward to relaxing now and giving both my stomach and liver a much-needed break.

25 December 2010

Merry Christmas 2010

There is nothing like a child to rekindle the joy and excitement of Christmas.

This morning hubby and I woke up, had our traditional Mimosas, brewed some coffee and got set to “play up” Santa’s big visit. Even though Drew has no real concept of Christmas, we figured we would indoctrinate him early by going through all the habitual motions that we remember from our own childhood. Last night we made a rather large fuss over leaving milk and cookies by the fireplace while Andrew looked at us as though we were off our rockers. This morning we made a big show of the fact that Santa had enjoyed his little snack – Santa even left a small dribble of milk and a few cookie crumbs to add further punch to our story. I know it seems a bit excessive for a 1-year old but we want to sow the seed as early as possible.

Sadly, Andrew derived little joy from opening presents due the fact that he suddenly adopted a large fear of wrapping paper. Instead, hubby and I had to open gifts for him while he cowered behind us. Thankfully, we went a little lean of presents this year, knowing full-well that he wouldn’t really “get it.” Despite the cool things that Santa left for him, he had more fun running around the house shaking a bucket of gum that his mother got in her stocking. It went something like this…

Reading chair – meh.
Penguin punching bag – meh
Thomas the Train reading book – meh
Thomas DVD and Zoo DVD – meh and meh
Bucket of gum – OH MY GOD, BEST THING EVER!

Truth be told, gift opening was a bit of a gong show. It was much more difficult than last year, when we could simply strap Drew into a bouncy chair and not have to chase him around the house, trying to pry the gum bucket from his hands as well as a pair of metal BBQ tongs that he managed to snag from the kitchen. Exhausting as it was, we wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Feeling a bit worse for wear (Mimosas don’t help at 7 AM), we put Drew down for a blissful three-hour nap and managed to have some downtime in front of the TV during the afternoon. Our evening was spent at my parents’ house for the big turkey dinner. Rinse and repeat the same gift opening scenario as the morning. Hubby held down a bucking, howling child as I tore through the gifts with reckless abandon. It was truly magical.

Replete with turkey, sugar and holiday cheer, our little family of three is ready for bed! Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

24 December 2010


It’s Christmas Eve and I find myself taking a trip down memory lane, as is prone to happen after too many glasses of spiked eggnog.

As a young girl, December 24th was always a pivotal day in my yearly calendar. Much to my poor parents’ chagrin, I was one of those children that got themselves so worked up over Santa that I would (a) almost wet myself (b) bounce off the walls and (c) exhaust the entire house with my excitement. I can still recall those days with absolute clarity – the butterflies flapping incessantly in my tummy, the sugar-high from too many cookies, and a sleepless night spent listening for any little noise indicating Santa’s arrival. I would lay trembling and unblinking in my bed, eyes trained on my bedroom door and heart beating a mile per minute. Meanwhile, my poor parents were creeping around the house knowing full well that I was listening to their every move and fervently hoping that that I would heed their warnings, “If you try to peek at Santa, he’ll go back up the chimney and take all your presents with him.”

Of course, my family never really helped in curtailing my excitement. On the way back from Christmas Eve mass, my father would always turn on the radio so that we could hear the NORAD Santa-tracking report. In all my childhood innocence, I took those reports very seriously. I would have believed anything Mom and Dad told me, but add on NORAD and there was no debate.

Other things I took very seriously – selecting cookies for Santa. I never questioned why my parents would always steer me in the direction of double chocolate chip. I’m sure they would have preferred wine to a warm glass of soured milk but, like all parents, they did all they could to protect my naivety .

Before heading to bed (note I did not mention anything about sleeping), Christmas Eve often culminated in a dubious re-enactment of “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” which my brother and I painstakingly acted out with a Fisher Price doll house and an assortment of little Leggo people. God bless my parents for sitting through the entire production with a straight face.

As I look at my own son I cannot even begin to fathom what sort of little surprises or holidays traditions he will concoct for our family. At only fourteen months, I am starting to see little glimmers of recognition and excitement. He marvels at the tree and loves to touch all the decorations we have strewn about the house. If there is anything more exciting than being a child at Christmas, it’s watching your own child get to experience everything. I may not lose sleep over Santa anymore, instead I’ll lie awake in anticipation of watching my little boy’s face as he tears through the presents and gets to spend time with all his family.

These are the golden moments, the ones that make us understand why we decided to travel down this crazy road called parenthood. It’s joy, plain and simple.

23 December 2010

It's ALIVE!!!!!

Worst. Blogger. Ever. I try to post, honestly I do.

I have lost count of the number of times I have tried to sit down to bang out a stellar update, only to walk away in utter frustration. I want to write and yet I seem incapable of even completing a single thought. In short, I’ve been too damn frazzled to blog these days.

The transition from stay-at-home to career Mom has been nothing short of exhausting. With the new job came an increased workload and a considerable deal of stress. I looked in the mirror this week and could deny the effects no longer, my hair is going grey! I’m not sure that I would ever recommend starting a new career direction directly upon return from maternity leave; it was a shock to the system. Only now, two months later, I am finally starting to feel as though I am swimming more than sinking. Tomorrow marks my first day of Christmas vacation, a blissful 11-day hiatus from craziness, and I am eagerly counting down the minutes;

Work fun aside, life has been good. Drew is such a happy little fellow. He is still sleeping like a champ and, horrific inherited temper aside, he’s a very loving and funny little boy. He started walking/ running in November and hasn’t looked back since. While the sudden change in mobility did bring about a certain degree of unwariness (for huuby and I), and a good deal of bumps and bruises (for Andrew), we enjoy chasing Drew around the house. We are entering that stage where family outings become a little more interesting and hands-on.; the world is a much friendlier place when you’re upright! Everywhere we go, Drew wants to happily stumble around like a little drunkard, basking in glow of appreciation and pride in his newfound talent. The only problem – he NEVER sits...NEVER.

That’s all I’ve got for now folks. Rather than attempting to recap the past two months, I’ll simply leave you with a few gratuitous “Mommy pride” photos. I regret that I did not do a big post-mortem on Halloween but I fear that I am still recovering from all the work we put into the house this year – truly the talk of the neighbourhood. Christmas, while slightly less obscene, also renders a good deal of decorating around the house. Here’s hoping Andrew grows into a holiday lover!

Family photo shoot, 2 days shy of Drew's 1st B-Day

My little man at his 1st Birthday party

Puzzled Dragon on Halloween - he went to 5 houses

Animated talking heads in the window

Busted! Came home to Mimi feeding him chocolate.

Meeting Santa for the 1st time - he was awesome.

19 October 2010

Happy 1st Birthday!

I can’t believe my little boy turns one today. This time last year, I was anxiously awaiting the anesthesiologist and getting ready for the big job ahead. While I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look upon that day with fond recollection, in the end, it marked the greatest thing to ever happen to me in my life – it brought me Andrew.

In short, the past year has been one hell of a ride. Somehow I went from a girl with seemingly little maternal instinct, a proverbial fish out of water, to a confident and contented mother. I’m amazed not only by how much Andrew has grown and changed over the year, but how hubby and I have changed as well. For me, motherhood has brought about a whole new self-confidence, a sense of strength that comes from having to be responsible and caring for another human being. Hubs and I often joke that 2009-2010 will forever be remembered as the “year we grew up.”

We don’t have big plans tonight to mark the occasion because we already hosted a birthday party for Drew over the weekend. He was spoiled rotten by family and we look forward to setting up all his new loot tonight. Here’s hoping he has a great day at daycare; I think they are having a small party for him there too.

Happy Birthday my little man. You have brought so much joy and laughter to my life and I can't wait to see what your future holds. Your father and I couldn't be more proud

18 October 2010

Back at it

I can’t believe I once thought of maternity leave as captivity; now I realize just how fortunate I was to have that time at home with Andrew…no matter how miserable we may have both felt in the beginning. A year ago today, I was about to head to the hospital in labour; now I find myself the mother of a soon-to-be toddler – CRAZY!

It definitely felt bizarre returning to work this morning. My office seems so empty and there’s really no point in decorating because I’ll be “officially” starting my new job in three weeks. Right now I’m working between both locations so I plan to spruce up and make myself at home when I check out the new digs later this week. It’s difficult coming back after being away for a year, only knowing that I’ll be leaving again shortly – I feel like I have no home at the moment and I’m being a bit cautious about letting myself get too close to people… I suck at goodbyes .

The early wakeup and getting Drew off to daycare wasn’t as brutal as I thought it would be. He cried, as is customary anytime I walk out the door but I’m confident that he is in capable and loving hands. I’m so glad that we phased him into daycare gradually over a month – while he stills hates leaving me (and I hate leaving him), I was able to personally avoid tears and meltdowns today. It still pains me to think that I’ll spend more time at work than with him but I know we’ll survive and it will make me work harder at making the most of our time together. I’m glad that our morning went well and was not rushed; hubby and I were dressed and ready for work by the time we woke Drew up for his bottle and breakfast, we had an entire hour to enjoy with our little man before we headed out the door.

Lunch break is over now and it’s back to the plethora of emails clogging up my inbox.

15 October 2010

Last day of maternity leave

So ends another chapter of my life and so begins a new one. It’s hard to believe that this is my last day of maternity leave and I’ll be sitting in my office on Monday morning. Several months ago I would have gladly returned to work, now I’m almost petrified. Dedicating an entire year of your life to one little person is hard to let go. I guess I’m afraid of how I’ll readapt to work life. To make matters more interesting, I’ll be transitioning into a new job upon my return; for three weeks I’ll be traveling between my old and new office, closing files at one and learning the ropes at the other.

To make a long story short, I was head-hunted by a colleague at the end of the summer for a position within my organization that I had aspired to work in for quite some time. I was generously offered a six month assignment to learn the ropes and get my foot in the door so that, hopefully, I’ll be the ideal candidate for the job when it goes up for competition. Seeing as our organization cannot do a straight deployment to a new positions, my colleague opted to give me the proverbial “kick at the can” so that I can gain more experience and see if this is an area that I want to remain in. While the timing sucks (very difficult asking your boss to grant you permission to leave for half a year, when you haven’t even returned from maternity leave), I would have been crazy not to jump at the opportunity. And so, not only am I experiencing the nervousness of starting something completely new, I’m also coping with the emotions attached to leaving Drew fulltime in daycare. Essentially, I’m a bag of nerves right now.

So how am I spending the last day of maternity leave? I’ll be treating myself to a haircut and highlights, followed by some shopping for a few new outfits to wear to work. Sadly, I still don’t fit into any of my old work clothes – somehow I don’t think yoga pants and drool stained t-shirts will make a good impression of the new coworkers. In the afternoon, I’ll be cleaning and prepping the house for Drew’s 1
st Birthday party this weekend. I feel bad that he is at daycare on my last day of maternity leave, but thankfully we had the past few days to play and enjoy together. I still can’t believe that my baby boy is turning 1. It has been a year of ups and downs, the path hasn’t always been rosy, but I’m ending maternity leave on high. I’m proud of the mother I have become and I’m equally proud of both my hubby and Andrew – we have all grown up this year and our lives changed for the better. While I’m sad to be ending this chapter of my life, I look forward to moments we will share together as a family. While there are tears in my eyes right now, I’ve no doubt that there will be plenty of smiles in the future for us.

04 October 2010

Sigh...it will get better

Not having the best day. Now that October has arrived, I find myself feeling weepy about returning to work. Drew has been to daycare four times now and, while it’s nice to have some peace and quiet around the house, I do miss having him around. I don’t find the days too long as I try to keep busy and, in the back of my mind, I know he’s only a five minute drive away if something happens. It’s getting into a new routine once works arrives that has me a bit worried. I’ll be dropping Drew off much earlier in the mornings and his pickup will be dictated by how busy I am at work on any given day. It frightens me to think that I will only have about two hours on weekdays to spend time with him – factor in making/cleaning supper and that really isn’t much quality time.

I think Andrew is also finding the new adjustment a bit difficult. He cries at daycare on and off throughout the day and, while he does genuinely seem to like his caregiver, he whimpers in the mornings when I drop him off at her house. I always make sure to keep a big bright smile on my face when I drop him off buy my heart sinks a little every time I get back into the car. I’m sure it will get better once we both get into the groove, it’s these transition periods that always seem to be most difficult.

29 September 2010

Drew’s first haircut

This past weekend hubby and I got to witness another of Drew’s firsts. It was another dreary day in Ottawa so we decided to head to the mall for a little window shopping, lunch and a haircut at Melonheads. For those of you that are not familiar with Melonheads, it is a place that specializes in cutting children’s’ hair. Rather than sitting in barber chairs, kiddies can sit in an array of fun little trucks and vehicles. Being a “busy” little boy, we knew that Drew (and the hairdresser) would greatly benefit from the distraction of a steering wheel and so, exorbitant fees aside, we found ourselves laughing to the point of tears as Andrew happily sat in a propeller plane while a very patient hairdresser attempted to tidy up his bangs.

I still can’t believe we paid $25 for a mere trim but I guess the novelty and the photos were worth it. They included a few little keepsakes - a lock of his hair in a bag, a “my first haircut” certificate and photo. The hairdresser through it would be funny to spike Drew’s hair into a Mohawk, which we promptly combed back down the second we were out of the store. Baby or not, that will hopefully be the first and last time I’ll ever see him with a Mohawk…I cringe to think about future style choices as a teenager.

Lesson learned – it’s alright to pay for “firsts” but either Mom’s scissors or a regular barber will have to do for the next cut.

22 September 2010

We survived

Day two of daycare and I am happy to report that Andrew did fairly well yesterday. His daycare provider, Jackie, told me that he cried for a bit in the morning but he was a happy boy when I picked him up. He seems very comfortable with Jackie and was even reluctant to let her go to come back home with me…little bugger ; )

I thought I’d feel jealous seeing him snuggle another woman but it actually made me very happy and reassured that I made a good choice. In the end, as long as Drew is happy, healthy and well-loved, that’s all that matters. There is nothing wrong with having an additional mother-figure in his life; it’s just one extra person to love him and care for him. It’s also nice to know that I have another person (aside from hubby), to help figure things out as Drew grows.

I’m also pleased to report that I ended up keeping myself so busy yesterday, that I didn’t have any more time to cry or dwell on the fact that Drew wasn’t home. I took advantage of an empty house and made a good dent in my fall baking – four massive deep-dish apple pies to put in the freezer. Today I’ll be making some freezer meals and a big batch of low-fat banana muffins. I’ll be very happy for all the pre-made food once I return to work. I also have several girlfriends expecting little ones in the coming months, so I plan to give them some meals to take home and enjoy during those hectic first few days back from the hospital. It’s hard to believe that, this time last year, I was preparing a plethora of freezer meals in preparation for the arrival of my own little one – time flies.

Other plans for the day – cleaning the house and shopping for an anniversary gift for hubby. Tomorrow marks our 4
th year of married life…crazy! We will be heading for a small romantic getaway in Wakefield. I feel poorly about leaving Drew again, especially after his first few days at daycare, but Mom and Dad watch him often and he’s usually pretty happy with them; this will, however, be their first evening doing an overnight with him.

I best be off now to make the most of my time. Fingers crossed that Drew does well again today, I’m certainly feeling a bit better now that we survive day one.

21 September 2010

Good luck little one!

Today is Andrew’s first day with his daycare provider. Only an hour has passed since dropping him off and I’m feeling his absence in the house. Being a mother is like living with a piece of your heart outside of your body, when that piece is apart from you, you feel it all the more. I thought I’d be happy to have time to myself, I thought I was strong enough not to cry…man was I wrong.

I never knew how attached I was to my little boy until it came time to entrust his care to a stranger. To know that I will see my office walls more than my own child is a horrible thought. To think that he will be running to another woman for comfort on a daily basis is almost heartbreaking. It’s inevitable; we need my salary and I know, deep down, that I’m a working woman. However, I didn’t foresee myself feeling this emotional about returning to work. It’s difficult to loosen the cord after devoting an entire year of my life to one little individual. I guess it’s the unknown that scares me – the thought that I’m not sure how to be the same person I was before. I’m so used to being “Mom” now that I’m not sure how I’d reintegrate into “Jenn.”

As difficult as the transition seems, I’m sure I’ll find my own rhythm eventually. I have changed almost beyond recognition over the past year and, fact is, I’m not the same person I was before. I will now need to find a way to balance out my dual roles as both mother and career woman. I will have to strike a balance and learn not to exist solely as Mom. In a way, it is good that I will be among adults again; I need to regain a sense of self.

As for Andrew, he will have to learn that he cannot always be the centre of attention; he needs to learn social skills and gain confidence through interacting with others. It still pains me to know that we’ll be apart so much but I imagine it will make our moments together more precious. For all I ever laughed at my mother’s sadness or reluctance to see me grow up, I completely understand now. The old adage is true, children do change and grow up in the blink of an eye. That’s life - we’re always in a state of transition. What I failed to recognize, however, is that this evolution doesn’t just happen to the child, it also happens to the parent.

19 September 2010

Pumpkin Fun

This afternoon Drew, hubby and I decided to celebrate the impending arrival of Fall by visiting the Proulx Berry Farm for their annual Pumpkin Festival. It was too perfect a day to simply sit at home; days like this are for living!

Keeping in line with my own upbringing, every weekend we try to head out and do something special as a family. Some of my fondest memories of growing up involved day-trips with the family around Ottawa and the valley; it didn’t have to be anything expensive – a hike in the Gatineau hills, a picnic in Perth, a visit to the Rideau canal locks to watch the boats, etc. While Drew is a bit young yet to appreciate all our outings, he certainly seems to perk up anytime we head out and see something new.

Yesterday was Andrew’s first time in a petting barn and we were pleasantly surprised by how fascinated he was with the animals. In particular, he seemed to enjoy two over-friendly (over-hungry?) pigs; he kept giggling at them and was brave enough to reach his hands through the fence to try grabbing their snouts. Those piggy teeth looked a little too anxious for me, so we opted to let him pet a gentle old donkey instead. This is where parenting starts to become fun – being able to the see the world through his eyes and watching him react to new experiences. We really want to expose him to as much as we can and hopefully he will develop a sense for adventure and travel one day. There is no better way to learn about the world than being in it.

I look forward to many family outings in the future. With Andrew starting his transition into daycare tomorrow (sigh), we will savour these little moments together all the more.

18 September 2010

La famille ensemble

This evening was one for the family scrapbook! We attended a small family reunion of sorts in Gatineau where Andrew was fortunate enough to meet several third and fourth cousins, as well as two of his great-great-aunties (sisters of my maternal grandmother). Being that my own immediate family is so small, I treasure any opportunity to connect with relatives. It was fun to look at my son being passed around from person to person, thinking all the while that there is a little of piece of each person in him somewhere. Watching him with family feels amazing, like life comes full circle and I have played my role in continuing the line. It’s nice to know that long after we’re gone, there is piece of us that lives on in our children and, God willing, their own children. That is the wonderful thing about family, we owe a debt of gratitude and respect for those that came before us, otherwise we would not exist ourselves.

All seriousness aside, I also have to admit that I would never miss a family reunion based-solely on the fact that we eat very, very well at such events.
Nothing beats French-Canadian cuisine …all very low-fat, of course. I don’t think I’ve had baked beans since the since the last gathering about nine years ago. I am happy to report that Drew had a very successful indoctrination into some of the family recipes last evening; I’m not so happy to report, however, that his diaper change went as well this morning…

A toute ma famille, je t’aime tout simplement.

Fall greetings

Okay, so technically it’s still summer, but I’m finding myself in the autumn mood with our recent bout of chilly weather here in Ottawa. I also happen to be a huge fan of “all things Fall” and would readily sell my soul to have this type of climate and colour year round. There is something so cozy and comforting about Fall – apple picking, pumpkin patches, regional fairs, spooky wagon rides, thanksgiving, etc. It’s a time of year that simply makes me want to hold my family close and celebrate life. Heck, even the décor of my home is centered around fall colours…I’m a veritable addict.

The only damper on my spirit this season, is the looming fact that I only have one month left until I return to work. Four months ago I was eager to get back to the grind; now the thought of being away from Drew brings tears to my eyes and leaves me with a very heavy heart. It seems so unfair that I have to go back just as I’m starting to settle into motherhood and truly enjoy my time with Drew. I often feel like I wasted the first six months of his life because I spent them sad, frazzled or worried. It seems like time started flying the moment we moved into our new home, I got into my groove as a mother and Drew grew into a much happier (albeit still difficult) baby. Nothing could have prepared me for the onslaught of emotional and physical highs and lows that I experienced over the past 11 months; the key is to try to find the good in each step along the way and to savor those moments because children grow remarkably fast and soon, those little things you fretted over, merely become a small blip in time. I wish that I had the same wisdom or perspective eleven months ago that I now have, but I guess learning and growing is par for course in motherhood…babies aren’t the only ones that grow up.

All thoughts of daycare and growing up aside, we had a wonderful summer and I feel quite horrible for not posting more updates along the way. I have sat down to write at least a dozen times but couldn’t seem finish a single post. At this point, I’m hoping I still have readers out there!

I am happy to report that our first family vacation to the Thousand Islands was a complete success. I think even Drew enjoyed the distraction from his usual day-to-day routine; he was very well behaved and didn’t hold us back from seeing anything or eating relaxed dinners in restaurants. We were able to visit a winery, Boldt Castle and the village of Alexandria Bay – very cute little place but two nights is more than enough. The hotel, despite being a little rundown, worked out perfectly because it had two bedrooms; while Drew napped, hubby and I could sit of with a drink and watch the boats go by. On the way home, we stopped by Fort Wellington to indoctrinate Drew in early Canadian military history (we are fort junkies) and to take a few photos of our wee man riding atop cannons. All in all, it was a wonderful little getaway that we will look back on fondly and hopefully the first of many family vacations.

The rest of the summer was spent around town, visiting with friends and family, lots of BBQs, a wedding and generally just keeping busy. This fall we look forward to celebrating our 4-year wedding anniversary in Wakefield, Québec. It’s pretty much non-stop activities until I return to work, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

07 July 2010

First family vacation

Once again – horrible with the blog updates.

I am happy to report that our first official house party was a hit. Not only were we celebrating hubby’s big “30”, the occasion also marked Andrew’s very first sleepover. How did he handle it? Very well! How did Mom handle it, not as well…

Motherhood is indeed a bizarre thing. On one hand, I was looking forward to a night free from responsibility and routine, on the other hand I spent half of my evening thinking about Drew and missing him. It’s amazing how attached I have become to my little guy; up until that day we had never spent a night apart since he was born. The house felt very empty without him sleeping away in his crib. On a positive note, however, this is a good sign that Drew is getting more adaptable and can have more sleepovers if need be. He can be a handful, however, so I don’t think I’d ask anyone to watch him for more than one night.

The success of Drew’s first sleepover got hubby and I thinking about planning our first family vacation. While we are certainly not brave enough (nor wealthy enough) to hop on a plane with him, we do think we could manage a short two-day escape to the Thousand Islands. We have booked ourselves at a cute little Inn on Alexandria Bay, NY, in August. We lucked out and were able to grab an efficiency suite with a separate bedroom that Andrew can nap it. The room has a balcony overlooking the harbor so hubby and I can sit out with some wine and a good book while the little one catches up on some rest. We will only be a short 10 minute ferry ride from some islands and tourist attractions so we should be able to get in a fair bit of sightseeing during his awake hours.

I’m sure the trip will be a bit of an adventure but, if others can managed to travel with young infants, so can we. It certainly won’t be one of those footloose and fancy free vacations of the past, but I look forward to traveling with Andrew and letting him see the world. My parents brought both my brother and I everywhere with them when we were young and we developed a great interest in history and geography at a very early age. I want Drew to have the same opportunity. While he may be young yet, it never hurts to start him off early. I think the change of scenery will do us all some good. We have been 100% focused on setting up the new home, it will be nice to just focus on the family and enjoying ourselves.

Let the countdown begin!!!

19 June 2010

Still no photos but lovin' life

Would you believe that I haven’t even taken pictures of our new home yet? I know, I know…horrible.

Judging by the lack of frequent updates, I’m sure you can deduce that things have continued to be busy for our wee family of three. I’m happy to report that all boxes are unpacked, blinds are installed and the bulk of our artwork has found a home. I’m very nitpicky (imagine that) about where things go and decorating, sadly for hubby, is a very precise measure. Thankfully, the rest of the little details can wait for a while. I was very eager to get everything “just right” so that I could finally relax (ha!) and start enjoying the house.

Despite only having been settled for one month, we have had some time to take it all in. Hubby and I are like a little old couple; our favourite activity is sitting out on our big covered porch, drinking wine and watching the world go by until the sun goes down. I have a love affair with our new porch and try to get out there when Andrew naps with a good book and a cool drink. I can even sit out on rainy days and stay dry and comfy. It doesn’t sound like much but it’s honestly my little oasis amidst a sea of mud and construction equipment. I like to think that if my Grammy were still alive, she would heartily approve of the porch and we would sit out for hours just talking like we used to all those summers ago when I was a little girl.

Drew has settled well into his new home. He is now crawling and I’m grateful for the extra space. It is nice to have a safe playroom to put him in and not have to worry about turning my back for a single second…although he does manage to find trouble despite having things bolted down in there. We have yet to gate off the house but, after catching him chewing on our new (and splintery) entertainment unit, I’m thinking we’re going to have to break out the big guns soon. Thankfully he’s not too fast yet but he is starting to learn at an alarming rate and I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before I find myself chasing after him. I find myself saying “No!” and “Don’t touch,” far too often these days. People are so true when they you that parenting gets better but not easier.

Let’s see…what else can I throw into this mishmash blog post with no discernable theme or outline? Can you tell I have been away from the office for far too long? My ramblings truly are just that! Hmmmm…

We are throwing a 30
th Birthday party for hubby / house warming next weekend. We have over twenty people attending and we are both very excited to give our friends the grand tour and enjoy a much-needed night of libations. It will be Drew’s first sleepover away from us and I am both excited by the prospect of a night of freedom but also nervous about having him out for the night…motherhood is strange mixture of emotions. I’m sure my father-in-law will do just fine, as will Drew. I can’t believe it took us eight months to finally relax enough to leave him overnight with family. I always swore I would never be overprotective…that was before I had a child. Honestly though, the space does both he and us good. We usually have Drew babysat several times in a month and he is becoming much more adaptable and comfortable around others. I’m making a conscious effort to boost his independence now as he’ll be starting daycare in less than four months, how strange that will be!

Speak of the devil, sounds like Drew is done with napping. I hear him cooing “DeDeDaDa” in his crib. Sadly he only comes remotely close to saying “Mama” when he is whining, overtired or angry…go figure. I think he does it to mess with my head.

25 May 2010

Home Sweet Home

Just a quick post to let folks know that hubby, Drew and I are happily settled into our new house. The move was exhausting and I was sad to say farewell to our first place but, as more and more boxes are unpacked, our new abode is starting to feel like home.

The move went very smoothly thanks to an excellent moving company, what a wise decision that proved to be! The truck arrive at 8:00AM on Tuesday morning and everything was in five hours later without any chips or dings to the walls or furniture. Most of the day was spent cleaning, unpacking boxes and getting Andrew’s room ready for his return from Mimi and Grampy’s house that evening. Thankfully, he had no trouble settling in whatsoever.

For the remained of the week, hubs and I have been unpacking, decorating and setting up the house. Our days start at 6 AM and don’t end until well past 11:00 PM. We try to make the most of Drew’s naps by rushing around and getting things done; it certainly is more exhausting than when it was just the two of us moving into our first place. Despite being tired, we are reminded of how fortunate we are every time we see Drew rolling around happily on the floor of his new playroom, it makes the hard work and added expense worth it and I think he’ll appreciate the added space to spread out. I honestly never knew he could roll so well because, quite frankly, he didn’t have anywhere to roll to in the old place.

I feel sorry for poor hubby as he has spent every waking moment of his vacation working on the house. Neither of us really enjoys living amongst boxes or unfinished projects; we rather tire ourselves out to get everything done at once and enjoy the house that much sooner. So far we’ve had the big expenses installed this week - air conditioning and eavestroughing. The rest our large projects will have to wait for future years. We will hopefully be able to save up and get something new accomplished every few years. We plan to stay here until we are old and gray so we have plenty of time to get things just right.

Not much else to report right now. I hear some boxes calling my name so I best get back to it. I promised pictures and you shall receive, just as soon s I unearth the upload cable for my camera.

17 May 2010

All packed up

Today is the day we get the keys to our new home. Hubby is bouncing off the walls with excitement; I would bounce too but I’m too damn tired to barely even stand straight. At this point I just want to get in there, unpack and start enjoying the fun that comes with setting up and decorating. I don’t think I want to pack another box for a good twenty-five years…which works out well because that’s how long it will probably take us to pay off the mortgage – Ha!

Cross your fingers everyone for a smooth move. We’ll be taking over some of the fragile ourselves today and we have movers coming for the rest of the furniture and heavy boxes tomorrow. We’re in for some exhausting days ahead but we’re very happy and thankful to be able to move into a family home – something I didn’t anticipate happening for another two years or so.

I’m still feeling quite emotional about leaving our first home. I’m sure I’ll tear up when I come back to clean it and see it completely emptied. I think it’s Andrew’s nursery that gets me the most. I’ll never forget the hours spent rocking him while looking out his bedroom window during those rough first three months. I’ll never forget seeing him roll for the first time across his bedroom floor or running laps around the entire house, jumping up and down, when I found out I was expecting him. I have so many wonderful memories attached to these walls. I think that some of the best years of my life, thus far, were spent here. All this being said, I’m sure our new home will witness some wonderful new memories.

Okay, so now that I’m crying (I think I need to have me head examined), I’ll sign off with my last official post from my first home. See you on the other side. I’ll be sure to post a few pictures of the new digs when I manage to find my camera connection cord.

13 May 2010

Five more sleeps

Get me out of here! These bare walls are starting to drive me bonkers and I’m tired of stubbing my toes as I navigate around boxes. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I hate moving! Don’t get me wrong; I’m happy and thankful that we are able to move into our “forever home” but, as far as the process of packing and moving all our belongings, I hate it!

Last night hubby and I worked on tearing things down and packing up until 11 PM. I think I spend every second that Andrew is napping packing boxes. I broke down and finally escaped on Tuesday evening to go to the gym for a sorely needed change on pace and a long-overdue butt kick as we have been eating garbage lately.

Having my license has proved very handy as I have been running errands and shuttling things around for the move. With two drivers on moving day, things should go a lot more smoothly. I still haven’t braved the highway but I have been jigging around Orleans a good deal. I love the freedom of it!

Today’s errands consist of: bringing frozen meat from my deepfreeze to my parents place for storage, dropping off empties at the beer store, getting applesauce and searching for a drum for Andrew…because he’s really in a ‘smashing’ and ‘banging’ phase right now. Okay, so they aren’t the most glamorous or exciting errands to run, but at least I am able to do them on my own without relying on hubby.

With any luck, and providing Drew naps well this afternoon and lets me pack more, I may get to head to the gym again tonight. It’s probably good that I keep myself as busy as humanly possible, otherwise I’d just be sitting here getting excited to the point of bursting…almost there!

10 May 2010

Vroom Victory!

Perhaps it is a small victory for some, but finally getting my license after 11 years of deliberation feels like a huge accomplishment. Ever since I got my “first” learner’s permit when I was eighteen, I have been carrying this monkey around on my back, wanting so badly to drive and constantly doubting my ability to do so. I really had no excuse, even my mother got back into her car after losing her leg to an impaired river, yet this was one wall I couldn’t seem to climb over. It’s not like me to be afraid of things; I felt abnormal for not being enthusiastic about something that the rest of the teens my age were doing at the time. Perhaps I really wasn’t mature enough to get behind the wheel. It took becoming a mother to finally make me feel responsible enough to quit the excuses, get over my fear and just get on with it. It is important to me that Andrew never remembers his mother as someone who was too afraid to try. And so, for the past several months, I have been driving around town with a hollering baby in the back of the car and a very patient and wonderful husband insisting that I, “calm the heck down, believe in [myself] and keep on trying.”

I wasn’t sure whether to whoop for joy or cry tears of relief when the driver examiner told me that I passed my test this afternoon. For once I’ll be able to drive myself and Andrew to appointments; I’ll finally be able to chauffeur others and help run errands. I feel like a whole new world is opening up to me because I won’t always be stuck at home waiting for hubby to get in – freedom and independence!

It is still going to take lots of practice to get 100% comfortable as a driver but, considering I was shaking like a nervous leaf in a high school parking lot three months ago, I think I have grown considerably. It’s amazing what motherhood will drive you to do…pardon the pun.

09 May 2010

My first Mother’s Day

It feels surreal to be celebrating my first Mother’s Day . I woke up to breakfast in bed and a lovely card from “the boys”. Hubby also tells me that Andrew made me something, however it hasn’t arrived in the mail yet…I’m guessing it’s a photo mug ; )

Our first stop of the day was to my mother-in-law’s grave. It was particularly difficult this year as it was the first time we have been to visit with Andrew. It feels so horrible knowing that she’ll never get to hold him or meet him; she was such a lovely woman and would have made an amazing grandmother. I never got to meet my maternal grandfather and I hated that I only came to know him through pictures or stories. I so wanted for my children to know all of their grandparents, what a shame. It is somewhat comforting, at least, to know that part of her lives on in him.

On the way home we dropped off to The Brick to purchase an entertainment unit for the new home. I really got to show off my “mothering skills” as we forgot to pack the umbrella stroller or a toy. The service was horrendously slow and, by this point, Drew was close to meltdown. I had to whip out the big guns and galloped around the store making “clip clop” noises. It’s amazing how you really don’t care what other people think, so long as your child is happy, healthy an entertained. Thankfully, I was rewarding with huge smiles and giggles…and a few odd glances from shoppers.

The remainder of my Mother’s Day was spent celebrating with my own Mom. Rather than cooking the usual family dinner, I wanted to spend some time relaxing together (AKA: neither of us having to cook or clean). We went to see the quintessential cheesy chick flick, “Letters to Juliet” and ended up at a pub for a Mother’s Day buffet afterwards. It was simple, relaxed and, in my opinion, the perfect end to my first Mother’s Day.

I look forward to future Mother’s Day when I’ll start received handmade cards and macaroni bedazzled necklaces or treasure boxes from Andrew. I laugh now thinking back to all the bizarre stuff I used to make for my own mother – things no human would ever want to wear but that she lovingly assured me were beautiful.

04 May 2010

Two weeks to go

We are living amidst boxes and the excitement is starting to build - only two more weeks until moving time!

I am, however, starting to see a flaw in my preparation. When I went to grab my flip flops to take Andrew on his walk yesterday, I realized that I left the right sandal in the closet and packed the left side. Don’t believe it when people tell you that it always pays to be organized. Maybe I’m just disorganizaly (yes, I’m make that an adjective) disorganized.

Things are starting to look a little bare around here and I think poor Drew is wondering where all the colours went. We try to spend lots of time in the sun these days because soon we’ll be back to no yard…or rather a mud patch for him to slosh about in. Come to think of it, Andrew would probably enjoy mud more than grass ; )

03 May 2010


Perhaps I don’t mention it enough, but I am thankful for everything I do have in my life.

I never thought that people would read this blog, a somewhat light and satirical look into my life and thoughts (hence the ‘ramblings’), and actually take offense to what I was posting.
Believe me, that wasn’t and isn’t my intent.

I realize that what I write here is public domain and therefore subject to comment or criticism.
But I’m hardly writing about controversial matters…or so I thought.

While I may complain about little day-to-day frustrations, never once do I actually take for granted what I do have.
I still pray to God nightly and give thanks for all the good things in my life. If I gripe about a bad day with my son, an issue at work or how much I hate packing for the upcoming move, it doesn’t mean that I feel burdened, unlucky or hard done by. I know I have it good.

I won’t get into the specifics re: why I am posting this but I will say that someone personally and publically (via facebook) attacked me concerning what I post here on this blog.
Yes, I can see many of you scratching your heads right now in confusion – don’t worry, so am I. I realize that worrying about clothing size, overfeeding, temper tantrums, etc., are trivial in the grand scheme of things. But you know what? We all complain; it’s human, it’s healthy and it doesn’t mean that we aren’t grateful for what we have. I’ve lost enough people close to me, seen poverty beyond description, and spent countless years volunteering with the less fortunate to know that I’m lucky…but you didn’t know all that about me, did you? I never knew I would have to give my entire life history for fear of an attack on my character.

I am fortunate that my life has been relatively easy thus far, but the path hasn’t always been rosy and perfect.
I do, in fact, live the real world and have been my entire life. Too bad satire is lost on some people, but not as sad as pointing a pessimistic finger at people before you even really truly know them.

If you are looking for sunshine and roses, you may find it here on occasion.
If you’re looking for trivial little anecdotes about my day, you’ll find those too. I’m not looking for a Pulitzer Prize, this is not some underlying social critique. It is a satirical blog, written by an average Canadian woman, wife and mother.

You know what is truly trivial? Getting up in arms over a trivial little blog. You’re right; there are more important things in the world, so I suggest you turn your attention to them and leave me alone.

To those of you that do support me. To the people that make me truly thankful (Hello auties, uncles and cousins across Canada reading this). I love you and thank you.

29 April 2010

Out damn teeth, out!

Do you know or remember what it’s like staying cooped up with a teething baby for twelve hours each day, solo? Try running your nails down a chalkboard or banging your head into the wall repeatedly. Sound familiar now?

As you have undoubtedly guessed, Drew has started cutting his first tooth. I was so excited when I finally saw the very tip of a sharp little tooth poking through his lower gum; that was a whole six days ago and the damn thing hasn’t budged since. While the pain hasn’t been waking him too often at night (knocks on closest available piece of wood), he hasn’t exactly been a joy to deal with during the day. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame the poor little guy for being more irritable, but the whining does get irritating after listening to it and trying to distract him all day. Add this on top of trying to clean the house and pack everything for the move and you are left with one frazzled mom.

In short, I am pooped. I spend the bulk of my days covered in drool and lugging around a 21lb baby while trying to maintain some form dwindling order in the house. Yes, you read correctly, I have a 21 lb six-month of. At last week’s appointment with the pediatrician he actually didn’t even fit on their measurement table because he has grown so long. My little boy (oxymoron) is close to the size of a 1-year old. I cut back his milk slightly because he is hoovering down solids but he is still getting more than the norm for his age. Drew’s problem (or rather mine), is that he never seems to reach “full”. I keep having nightmares about an 8” foot teenager eating me out of house and home. I am glad he’s a good eater but his enthusiasm is a little frightening at times. Once again, I find myself playing the sick and twisted blame game, always doubting myself and worrying about whether he’s eating too much or not. The doctor seems to think he is just big and solid; either way I do cut him off when I think he’s had enough. Some people are of the opinion that you cannot overfeed a child – to those people I say, come and spend a few meals with my son.

Perhaps the fact that he doesn’t have teeth yet is a blessing. Can you imagine the damage he would do with a mouth full of pearly whites? He’ll be begging for filet mignons before I know it!

27 April 2010

Breaking up is hard to do

No. Put the telephone down. I am not splitting from my wonderful hubby.

The “breakup” I am referring to is not with a person but rather an object…a house to be exact.

With only three weeks left until the highly-anticipated/ dreaded move, I have officially started the process of breaking all emotional ties to my house. I realize this sounds nuts but I think it will help me with the transition. By packing away all photos, paintings and mementos, I’m trying to depersonalize the house (note I’m not saying home) so that I’ll be sick and tired of living in this bland space by the time moving day comes around. However, while I’m growing weary of the bare walls, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I still feel sad about leaving.

Yesterday I actually started tearing up as I puttered in the garden one last time. Most folks would probably just leave the weeds but I gave it the works– edging, pruning, weeding. I’m not sure why but I feel more sorrow over losing the garden than anything else. The garden is somehow symbolic ; hubby and I started it as newlyweds, tended it religiously and watched it grow along with us. Some of my happiest moments were spent in that garden – the one place I could truly unwind. It will be strange not seeing the new shoots come into bloom this spring. I’d love to be able to come back and see what it looks like five years down the road but it would break my heart if I discovered it was gone or poorly tended. I really hope the new owners enjoy it and can add to it.

Isn’t it strange the things we get attached to? I feel silly for getting choked up over a garden. I’ll be able start all over again at our new place but there’s nothing quite like finishing that very first project. Nothing can ever beat the excitement or the sense of accomplishment that comes from owning your first home. I guess I just feel a little more jaded this time because I actually know how much work and money a new home entails. I’m also moving this time as a mother, with significantly less vim, vigour, or time to put towards projects.

This was a house of many firsts and I’m sure I’ll cry when I turn the key in the lock one last time. That being said, I do look forward to creating new memories in our family home; it is, after all, the place that we’ll be living (God willing) until we’re old and grey.

21 April 2010

Cooking my way through maternity leave

I sometimes feel like I’m living the movie “Julie and Julia.” While I may not be paying direct homage to Julia Child, I do find myself zipping through several cookbooks that had been collecting dust on my kitchen shelf. There is something very comforting about cooking. While I may not have as much control over my own life and schedule anymore, trying new recipes gives me a bizarre sense of order and liberation at the same time. The rest of the house may be in shambles, I may not have even had a shower, but I know that something nutritious and delicious will usually be on the table at the end of the day.

One of the benefits of trying out so many recipes is that I often have leftovers to put in the deep freeze; this has proved very useful on Tuesday and Thursday evenings when I have to get to the gym by 6:30. I also find myself spending less on takeout and have the added benefit of knowing exactly what I am putting into my body. I have certainly become a little more concerned about additives in food, especially since I started making baby foods for Andrew.

While some women would probably think I’m crazy for spend my limited free-time in the kitchen, I honestly love it. I’m a little worried about how I’ll adjust to going back to work this Fall. I really don’t want to default to garbage meals so I’ll have to figure out a way to keep this going. I foresee food prep in the evenings.

19 April 2010

Happy “Half Birthday”

It’s hard to believe that six months ago I was being admitted into my hospital room after a long night spent walking and moaning around the labour and delivery triage unit of the Montfort Hospital. I was somewhere between six and seven centimeters dilated and getting antsy for the anesthesiologist to give me my epidural. I was so tired but so excited to get on with it and meet my baby boy. I was elated when I could start pushing and all I could think keep asking was, “Can you see his head? What colour is his hair?” Even though three hours of pushing finally revealed a fuzzy little red head, he was too big to deliver past the pubic bone. I was crushed when they told me it would end in c-section. To this day I still feel saddened and cheated out of being able to hold him straight away.

I’m not sure I’ll ever get over Andrew’s birth entirely. I didn’t have that instant maternal love that you hear about; in fact I was terrified of leaving the hospital and actually having to hold and take care of him. I think I was so self-absorbed and focused on regaining my own strength that it prevented me from bonding with him as I wish I could have. Nobody can tell you how you will feel post-partum. I remember crying to a public health nurse on the phone when she suggested that I might have post-partum depression. Nothing could have prepared me for the rollercoaster of emotions that would course through me over the first three months of Andrew’s life. We were a sad sight to behold – crying baby and crying mother. I’m not sure how we got through those difficult days but somehow we did and the bad parts are starting to fade from my mind.

I was worried that my rough start would somehow affect my relationship with Andrew; I was terrified that we wouldn’t connect. Now, at six months, I can’t imagine a stronger bond than the one we share. I don’t have to do anything other than lock eyes with him to receive a big smile in return. When he’s scared, hurt or just plain tired, Mom is his world. There are days that he tries my patience and tires me to no end, but my heart is also full to bursting. While that primal love and instinctive need to nurture did not exist in the beginning, it certainly does now. The tears have been replaced (mainly) by smiles and giggles and I’m much more confident in my own abilities as a Mother. Perhaps my rocky start has come to make me appreciate what I have now even more.

These past six months have been the most challenging times of my life, the most humbling and exhausting. They have also been the most rewarding. Today I feel like we’ve reached some invisible milestone – half a year of life. Andrew has grown and changed in so many ways; so have I.

17 April 2010

Busy Momma

Don’t believe the rumours; I’m still alive.

Please excuse my lack of updates. It seems I have a difficult time even cobbling together a decent sentence these days. I have tried to sit down and compose a few posts over the past month but it usually ends with me hitting the delete key and walking away from the computer. I truly think that maternity leave has depleted a few brain cells. When you spend your days changing diapers, singing silly songs and amusing a baby with all manner of crazy tactics, you tend to lose your grip on writing…or language for that matter. I can, however say Bababa, Mamama, amd Dadada, like a pro!

So what has the rambling redhead been up to in the past month you ask? Have you been waiting with baited breath? Ready for the super exciting answer?


In exactly one month, hubby, Drew and I will be saying goodbye to our first home and will be movin’ on up (cue the Jefferson’s music) to our forever home. I like to call our new place the “forever home” because I literally want to remain there until the day I either (a) kick the proverbial bucket or (b) am forced into a retirement home. Can you tell that I enjoy moving?

I abhor clutter and refuse to bring unused junk into our new digs. I have been fighting an uphill battle to convince hubby that a larger home does not necessarily mean a larger holding pen for his crap (AKA old computer bits and bobs). I swear to God men are more emotional about “stuff” than women are. Cleaning out of basement has been less than fun but we are managing to purge quite a bit before we complete the packing. I can’t stand living in a sea of boxes but it has to be endured because we simply don’t have a big empty space to hold everything. Every time I think about all the work that remains to be done, I start to feel a little panicky. While we will be doing all the packing ourselves, we at least opted to hire movers for the day of.

I’m going to stop thinking about the move now because it makes me cringe. Let’s turn our attention to Andrew – my whopping little (oxymoron) boy that is already wearing 12 month clothing. He is growing at an alarming rate and nobody seems to believe me when I tell them that he’s only just going on six months. He is certainly a sturdy fella and he loves food a little too much. People who claim that you can’t overfeed a baby have obviously never met Drew; I swear this kid has no “full” button. Now that we’re onto solids (Good Lord the poop!), he’s in seventh heaven and adores banging on his highchair for more. I keep having visions of a seven foot teenager eating everything in my cupboard.

Aside from eating, which occupies a good deal of time these days, Drew has changed in many other ways. He has certainly found his voice and loves to shriek and giggle. We have started him in swim and baby music classes which he seems to tolerate; if anything, it’s nice for me to get out of the house with him from time to time. Developmentally, he seems right on target – rolling often and starting to sit up unsupported for longer stretches. The rolling, however, is a double-edged sword. He enjoys flipping to his tummy to play but suddenly forgets how to roll onto his back and freaks out. This wouldn’t be a problem if it happened only during the day; it’s the nighttime “roll-a-thons” that really get annoying. Suddenly we are experiencing what it is like to have disturbed sleep (our string of good luck had to end at some point). We are hoping this a phase he will outgrow soon. I’ve heard it’s very typical for babies to learn one skill and forget another. It’s frustrating because he first learned how to roll from his tummy to his back but apparently forgets that phase of his life……gah!

Despite the disturbance in sleep, being covered in flung food and generally looking haggard, Drew is a happy little fellow and we’re starting to finally enjoy the craziness that is parenthood. While out little man still throws us for a loop some days, we are coming to recognize his little tics and tendencies. We know how to get the best out of Drew and we are rewarded with huge smiles, coos and a bond that truly cannot be described unless you are fortunate enough to be a parent yourself. It amazes me how all I have to do is look across the room, lock eyes with my son and he breaks out into a smile – I warms my heart and makes all other worries melt away; it reminds me why I am doing this.

I think I’ll leave my post at that for now – congrats if you have made it this far! I have loads more to say and will, hopefully, be able to post more frequently from now on – it does the brain good.

17 March 2010

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

We survived the party and I’m happy to report that my wee hooligan slept the whole night through without a single bleep on the monitor. I was beyond amazed because the house was packed and you practically had to yell to be heard over all the hubbub . I guess the luck of the Irish was with us that day.

No time for a large post but I thought I’d share a few pictures of Drew and I in our finery. While his mood and temper is as changeable as the weather, he does like to ham it up for the camera on occasion. I see so much of myself in both his looks and temperament that it frightens the bejesus out of me.

08 March 2010

When Irish Eyes are Crying

I’m fairly certain that my ancestors from the good ‘oul Emerald Isle are probably rolling over in their graves and crossing themselves. I have done what every Irish emigrant or indeed every Irish-born citizen bemoans on a yearly basis. Let me paint you a lovely picture…

Imagine a Leprechaun were to enter your home and vomit on your walls. Got it? Perfect! That is pretty much how my house looks right now - green everywhere, shamrocks covering every surface, tacky foil garlands, giant leprechauns and a flag. If we lived in a trailer park, I’m sure we would be the toast of the neighbourhood.

In preparation for St. Patrick’s Day, hubby and I will be throwing our annual party; we certainly outdid ourselves with the décor this year. Normally our house is quite elegant and uncluttered but we suspend all sense of reason, or class for that matter, when holidays roll around. It has become somewhat of a joke with our friends - if the “O’Tomkas” are throwing a party, you are sure to be stepping into a theme house – all very tongue in cheek of course.

This is going to be hectic week for the lady of the house! On top of taking care of my increasingly curious wee hooligan, I still have to prepare two more batches of Guinness beef stew, traditional soda bread, cupcakes, cookies, mint bars and whatever else comes to mind. It’s going to be quite the spread and I’m thanking the good Lord that we inherited a deep freeze to store everything.

Sadly, I don’t think we’ll make it out to the St. Paddy’s Parade on Saturday. It feels strange not to be participating in any of the cultural events this year as I completed my term with the Irish Society and did not want to enter elections for another two-year term. I need to focus on my family right now but I hope to get back into volunteer work in the future again. Sorry folks – no rambling redhead on your television sets and radio waves this year. It was a very busy gig but a fulfilling one that enabled me to help raise the society’s profile and garner some wonderful media relations experience. I never thought I’d say this, but I miss giving interviews at a moment’s notice. I think my brain was a lot sharper then than it is now.

Wish me luck folks. Only five days until party time and still loads to accomplish. Here’s hoping I don’t have one beer and crash at my own party. It feels a little bittersweet because this will be the last big event we host in our first home (sniff, sniff). Whatever will I do in the new place with more space to decorate?
Be afraid, be very afraid!

01 March 2010

Now what ???

First off, I’m a horrible excuse of a blogger. I beg your forgiveness for my extreme tardiness in posting but I had come down with a bad case of Olympic fever; life was temporarily on hold for the duration of the games. You probably think I’m exaggerating but the sad truth is I’m an absolute Olympic junkie and the condition was worsened by the fact that the games were taking place of home soil. Andrew was fed in front of the TV (gasp!), dinners were spent sitting on the living room floor cheering or cursing with our mouths half full, sleep was minimal, exercise almost nonexistent, and beer plentiful.

Now that Vancouver 2010 is over, I find myself wondering how I’ll survive the coming weeks with no sports to watch. It was hard not to get swept up in the reverie after Canada’s stellar performance and final standings. Who will ever forget François Bilodeau’s first Gold on Canadian soil, Joannie Rochette’s unbelievable strength and poise through family tragedy, Crosby’s winning score or Jon Montgomery’s victory beer walk? As for the closing ceremonies, while a bit hokey, I adored the massive beavers and floating moose – a veritable buffet of Canadiana kitsch.

Do you know what I loved the most about these Olympics? For two whole weeks, Canadians held their heads a little higher, cheered a little louder and showed that we are not simply some “eh-saying” backwoods nation.

Now what ???

First off, I’m a horrible excuse of a blogger. I beg your forgiveness for my extreme tardiness in posting but I had come down with a bad case of Olympic fever; life was temporarily on hold for the duration of the games. You probably think I’m exaggerating but the sad truth is I’m an absolute Olympic junkie and the condition was worsened by the fact that the games were taking place of home soil. Andrew was fed in front of the TV (gasp!), dinners were spent sitting on the living room floor cheering or cursing with our mouths half full, sleep was minimal, exercise almost nonexistent, and beer plentiful.

Now that Vancouver 2010 is over, I find myself wondering how I’ll survive the coming weeks with no sports to watch. It was hard not to get swept up in the reverie after Canada’s stellar performance and final standings. Who will ever forget François Bilodeau’s first Gold on Canadian soil, Joannie Rochette’s unbelievable strength and poise through family tragedy, Crosby’s winning score or Jon Montgomery’s victory beer walk? As for the closing ceremonies, while a bit hokey, I adored the massive beavers and floating moose – a veritable buffet of Canadiana kitsch.

Do you know what I loved the most about these Olympics? For two whole weeks, Canadians held their heads a little higher, cheered a little louder and showed that we are not simply some “eh-saying” backwoods nation.

22 February 2010

Trials, tribulations and possible teething

There are days when I thank the Lord that I’m a mother, the world seems perfect and I feel like the most blessed person to ever walk the earth. Then there are days, like today, when I wish I didn’t even bother waking up.

There is no greater misery than knowing that your child is in pain and no amount of soothing or cuddling will help. In a nutshell, you’re completely helpless and all you can do is plug your ears and try not to lose your own sanity.

I have no idea what has been bothering Drew since yesterday morning. I returned home from aerobics to find poor hubby clutching a wailing baby in his arms. It took me a good twenty minutes of forced cuddling and swaying with a soother to get Drew down for nap. Normally I’ll just put him in his crib when he looks sleepy and let him fuss for five minutes before he crashes on his own and goes down for an hour-long nap. He seemed alright for the remainder of the day but decided on a repeat performance when we were at my parents’ house for dinner; he woke from a nap shrieking and was completely beside himself for about 45 minutes. Hubby and I were so desperate to stop the pained shrieking that we gave him a full dose of children’s Advil – the first time we’ve ever had to resort to medication. After his bath and bottle, he went down for the entire night without issue.

Drew seemed cheerful enough this morning but woke from his afternoon nap shrieking again. It had only been 2 hours since his last 8 oz feeding so I really didn’t think it could be hunger, even burping him didn’t seem to work. I felt like I was reliving colic all over again, something I thought we had finally shut the door on. Feeling desperate, I fed him another smaller feeding and he eventually settled, albeit a little grumpily. I brought him for a walk which would typically help him fall asleep but he kept his sad little eyes locked on mine the entire time. I put him in his crib when we got back and he fell asleep without a peep. I have no clue what is going on. He doesn’t have a fever, he’s eating well, he slept well at night and even napped fairly well today. He could be teething as he’s drooling lots and always sucking on his fingers (or mine) but I honestly didn’t think it could bother him this much. I’ve done a thorough examination of his gums and he doesn’t seem to be cutting anything, nor do they look swollen. That being said, his right cheek is red and he filled a few more diapers than usual. I checked both ears to look for signs of infection but he didn’t seem to mind my prodding around the lobe, as my mother suggested I try. I’m totally stumped.

Days like this truly remind me that patience is a virtue, one that I am sadly missing. While I don’t want him to grow up too fast, I honestly can’t wait until he is old enough to actually tell me what is bothering him. I can feel his frustration because I haven’t a clue how to help him, which leaves me equally frustrated. While I don’t typically drink on weeknights, tonight I will be making an exception by pouring myself a well-deserved rye….come to think of it, Andrew could probably use a shot himself.

19 February 2010

Happy one-third birthday

I’m finding it hard to believe that Andrew is four months old today. In some ways it feels like he has been here forever; at other times I feel as though I only became pregnant yesterday. Life is certainly different than it used to be but, as all people will tell you, time is great healer and things get better.

I feel like a far different person than I was four months ago. I came into motherhood blind and with very little experience with babies – now I have a happy little boy that is thriving, smiling and growing by the day. The path to get here was certainly not paved in gold but somehow we survived those crazy early days of colic and are settling into a new norm. I marvel at how confident I have become as a mother and how instinctive I am. The little things that use to phase me when Andrew was first born have simply become part and parcel of life. I worry a little less and I don’t lay awake thinking about how I’ll get through the next day. I’ve stopped reading 101 “How to” parenting books and simply follow my own intuition which, surprisingly, seems to work best.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, being a parent is the toughest job in the world but it is also the most rewarding and humbling. It’s only when you become a parent that you can truly appreciate your own parents and come to know them on a much different level. You also come to realize that nobody is perfect, which is not always easy to admit. It’s all about doing the best job you can muster and trying to make sure your child is happy and healthy.

15 February 2010

Olympic fever

I can remember the 1988 Calgary Olympics almost as if they happened yesterday. I was a young girl going on seven years of age, completely glued to my television, both transfixed and inspired by our Canadian athletes. It was the first time I recall feeling an immense sense of pride in being Canadian; it was also what would eventually inspire me to take years of figure skating lessons. My parents have Elizabeth Manley to thank for countless early morning practices, numerous pairs of skates and show dresses.

While twenty two years have passed since those memorable Calgary games, my love and enthusiasm for the Olympics has not waned over time. Needless to say, I was thrilled when I found out the 2010 games would be back to Canadian soil; I was even happier when I discovered that I would also be on maternity leave during said games. Not surprisingly, I have kitted Drew out in Olympic finery and we spend a good deal of our days within sight or earshot of the television so that I can keep up to speed on all the latest medal standings.

I’m not sure why I’m such an Olympic junkie but I still feel like that spellbound little seven-year-old when I see one of our athletes win a medal or see the Canadian flag hanging over a podium. In many ways, it’s refreshing to simply celebrate the athletic achievements of the country rather than focus on the usual negative stories and headlines that fill the news. One other aspect that I enjoy is that the Olympics tend to break down the typical regional silos and rivalries that we Canadians are so found of; it’s nice to celebrate and focus on the collective for a change.

09 February 2010

Back on the plan

In an attempt to shed this dreaded baby weight, I’ve decided to join Weight Watchers online again. While I don’t follow it to a tee , because I don’t think it’s good to eat under 1200 calories a day, I am using it a rough guideline to track what I eat, watch my portions and make wiser decisions about food. It worked very well for me in the past and I was able to keep the weight off until I got pregnant. Hopefully this will jumpstart my weight loss and help get me back on the same path I was following.

I’ve got to admit that it’s a relief to finally be back on course, eating well and exercising daily. My spirits were starting to get low so I knew it was time to make a change. I always vowed that I would be a fit Momma. It’s very important to me that my children see me as a positive role model. If they grow up with an active and healthy parent, they will hopefully be inspired to get moving. Growing up with a Mother that had a disability may have bolstered my attitude towards fitness. Mom was unable to play sports with us as she would have loved to and I think it has made me appreciate my body more and to not take anything for granted.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my ultimate goal is to eventually become a certified fitness trainer. I am hoping to take my certification in early 2011 and start teaching classes locally on the weekend or at the workplace during lunchtime. It’s going to be hard fitting in evening exercise as Andrew grows. I don’t want our time together to suffer as I’ll only get a few hours each evening to see him once I’m back to work full-time and he is in daycare. Getting workouts in during the day is key; getting paid to do them would be the icing on the cake!

It’s funny how my attitude has changed over the past few years. I used to look at these slim and perky fitness instructors and think “God I hate you.” Now I look at them and think, “I’m going to be you.” Envy turned into inspiration and, that alone, is a big step forward. It may take me a while to get there, it won’t be easy but it’s a dream of mine and something to work towards.