Monday, December 31, 2012

Monday Snapshot: Toddler Drama

Hey Humble Readers...

So it's been a long while since I did a Monday Snapshot post, but I'm wanting to get back into my bloggy groove, so here I am. 

And wouldn't you know it, but Ginny gave me some fodder for today's post. 

See that little cut below her lip?  Yeah, that happened this morning. 

We have these little bins that we use to organize the wee-lings' toys, and every morning we bring out one or two bins full of toys for them to play with.  Ginny likes to take the toys out and try to stand on them.  And being a safety concious obsessed mummy, I always try to get her to 'keep her feet on the floor' and at most, sit on the up-turned bins.  Well, this morning when I wasn't looking she tried standing on one, and of course she fell. 

Face first.

Right into the coffee table. 


There was a lot of blood.  A LOT of blood.  (Why do they always bleed so much?)  She's got the cut below her lip, and a gash on the inside of her lip where her teeth went through the skin.  And there were a lot of tears too.  She was trying to figure out how to move her tongue around and not bump the cuts, and was freaking out everytime she touched the cut inside her lip. 

Of course we needed to call Auntie and Mama to give them the play-by-play, about how Ginny was "cwyin' and cwyin'" and about all the "bwud".  And she didn't fight a bit when I suggested a dose of 'ty-nen-ol' to help her lip stop hurting. 

She managed to eat a bit of lunch, and then fell asleep listening to her U2 lullaby cd.  Thank heaven for small favours. 

Poor wee girl. 

This was posted as a part of Pail Bloggers Monday Snapshot series.  Click over and see what others are sharing today!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Hobbit-ish Christmas

Good Evening Humble Readers...

It's been a bit of a busy day around the hobbit hole.  But things are quiet now.  The wee-lings are asleep and my Beloved is working on his course-work.  And I am snuggled under a warm blanket watching the Call the Midwife Christmas special and chatting with you fine folks. 

So... our busy day.  First up, we skipped church this morning so that my Beloved could watch the Canada vs the US hockey game.  With the NHL lockout dragging on, this is the only hockey my Beloved may get to watch this winter.  While he did that, I worked on reorganizing the wee-lings plethora of new toys in the continuing-to-shrink nursery.  I was able to weed out a few things that were too well loved by Ginny to move on to Pip, and a few other odds and ends. 

After the hockey game was over (2-1 for Canada!  Yay!), I sent my Beloved out to run some errands and I began the depressing task of de-Christmas-ifying of the hobbit hole.  Now our living room and kitchen look stark and bare, but I feel a little less claustrophobic.  I love love love Christmas, but it seems that I can only handle the clutter of Christmas decor for a brief period of time.  December 1st to the day before New Year's Eve is about all I can take. 

I have to say though, even with the ridiculousness and drama of my family, we had a nice Christmas.  The wee-lings were spoiled rotten, and so was I... a programmable slow cooker with a temperature probe for larger cuts of meat, a plus-sized apron (so that both b00bs are covered at the same time... lol), and some movies (Downton Abbey seasons 1 & 2... with season 3 on pre-order, and Pillars of the Earth) from my Beloved and the wee-lings.  A creme brulee torch and ramekins from my Mom, and the most bizarre popcorn maker.  I had it on my wish-list, thinking that if she chose to get us that it would be an ordinary popcorn popper, but instead she gave us this...
Just a little random, as neither my Beloved nor
I have ever been interested in soccer.

It's hilarious.  I have to keep it just for the laugh.  :)

And because SRB demanded... ;) here's a slew of pictures of the wee-lings (and other random Christmas stuff). 
Not smiling, but they aren't screaming. 
I call it a win.

Our first Christmas with our scout elf, Hermie.


Mini Cinnimon Loaves with Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments
(for my Beloved's co-workers)

Mini Cinnamon Loaves

Peppermint Melt-Aways... sooo yummy!

In his Christmas Eve jammies

After Santa's visit

Ginny's first look at the tree on Christmas morning

Once she discovered her little kitchen,
Ginny lost all interest in her other presents


Opening more gifts with Daddy on Boxing Day

Ginny & Pip with Mama, Oscar, and Felix
on Boxing Day

Mistle-toes: Ginny & Pip's footprints

My newest nativity - need to find some straw for the manger
next year.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

What The Heck Happened There?

Hey Humble Readers..

Are any of you still out there? 

I know I just sort of dropped off the face of the planet this month, and for that I apologize.  I had grand plans... so many grand plans for battling my now traditional December-equals-no-blogging situation. 

Seriously, what is it about December?  Last year I was pregnant, diabetic, dealing with a major stomach flu and a carbon monoxide scare (which resulted in having to replace our hot water tank)... and I was traveling.  Ok, so that explains last year.  And the year before I was adjusting to a newborn and breastfeedings struggles.  So that explains 2010. 

But what happened this year?  The year when I actually succeeded in getting a huge amount of my Christmas prep done by the end of November?  When I had a plan for blogging all about developing family traditions?  And what about that December photo challenge?

I honestly don't know.  It wasn't one specific thing.  But there were a lot of little things and some gunky things that just sucked my ability, inspiration, and inclination to write. 

First, there was the anemia.  Why is it that you can struggle along for months just dragging your sorry ass out of bed and through the day, but as soon as you get a diagnosis that explains the fatigue, you just let it take over?  Oh, wait... that's just me?  Yup... that confirms my pathetic-ness.  Seriously, most days I need to at least snooze a bit and I'm in bed and asleep far earlier than I ever have been in my adult, non-pregnant life.  Things are improving.  I've gone back to taking my daily vitamins, my B vitamins, and have added iron pills.  It's going to take a while for my iron stores to build back up, but I'm getting there. 

Second, the situation with my parents went from bad to hellacious in a heartbeat.  Multiple times a day, for more than two weeks, I was getting texts, emails, and phone calls from my Mom and my sister detailing the new and despicable horrors that my dad is subjecting my Mom to.  Seriously, my dad and his 'girlfriend' (do you have any idea how gross it is to say that?  And how hard it is to not use some other nasty word?) harass my mom constantly.  She has changed her home number, bought a new cell phone, and has had a friend move in with her just for security.  My dad is pushing her to sign some papers that he printed up himself, and until she does he's making all kinds of threats, including moving himself and his piece of tail back into the house.  His primary goal throughout the whole month of December was to ruin Mom's Christmas... demanding that she give him all kinds of household items, primarily things that Mom would need to cook and serve Christmas dinner (of course, knowing that cooking is one of Mom's favourite things to do, especially at the holidays).  I know that sounds ridiculous and petty (and it totally is) but my mom does not have the emotional reserves to deal with the constant bullying.  Thankfully, my dad agreed to a truce for a week or so over Christmas itself.  Mom finally has found legal representation, so hopefully things will move forward soon and we can be done with him and his skeeziness.  I never would have expected that he would treat Mom this way, EVER.

Not everything has been bad news... My Beloved has been offered a new job!  There were several interviews this month, and while the process was stressful I think ultimately this will be a good fit and an improvement in our financial situation.  The job is with a publicly traded company that owns several hotels and casinos.  The salary is a modest step up from where he's at currently to start, but the big BIG thing is that this company is more than happy to pay for his CGA fees and courses!  That a $15K bill that we don't have to pay!  He starts his new job at the end of January. 

Ginny and Pip are both doing really well, and growing like stinkweeds.  Pip has two teeth now, with another two ready to pop through anytime.  Ginny is talking up a storm. 

I've managed to lose close to 20 pounds in the last couple of months, by not doing much of anything except upping my water intake.  I'm hoping to add some more physical activity to that soon, but it's been so freakin' cold here on the flatland that I have no interest in being outside for anything longer than it takes to walk to the car.  Seriously, the daytime high on Christmas Day was -25C... BEFORE THE WIND!  Yikes, that's cold. 

I was able to accomplish some pretty cool crafting this month.  And my Beloved really enjoyed his Christmas countdown that I made for him.  But I'll be back tomorrow with a bit about Christmas in the hobbit hole.  I hope you all had a great holiday season.  I'm looking forward to re-connecting with all of you!

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Busy Day At The Hobbit-Hole

Hey Humble Readers...

I fully intended to get here earlier to post for the Monday Snapshot, but it just didn't happen. 

Considering that I dozed a bit this morning while Pip napped and Ginny watched Sesame Street I still managed to get a lot done today.  (yes... I am a bad bad mummy.  In my defense, she was on the couch with me the whole time beating on my legs so I knew where she was.)

All of the usual morning stuff (shower, beds made, dressed) for me and the wee-lings went smoother than normal, and by 8:30 I was able to be working on folding laundry!  Will wonders never cease?

I cleaned the kitchen, top to bottom. I even cleaned the oven.  It sooooo needed it.  Set off the smoke detectors three times while making dinner last night. 

Made a pan of some yummy treats for my Beloved (as a part of his Christmas countdown... he gets to take them to work tomorrow.  Smores Bars - think rice krispie treats only made with Golden Grahams, chocolate chips, and a few extra marshmallows).

Made some yummy Chicken tortilla soup in the crock pot! 

Fixed the Christmas tree... It only took about an hour.  I ended up just leaving the defective string of lights on the tree and adding new ones.  But I still had to remove the garland and a whole bunch of ornaments.  Glad it's done now.  It looks great.

I finished a craft project that I started a while back.  A felt Christmas tree, with felt decorations, on the wall, for the wee-lings to play with.  I'm not great with fabric crafts, so I'll just say that the results of this one was a tad rustic and leave it at that. 

Overall, I'm proud of how things went today.  I'm pooped now and I'm going to bed pretty darn quick. 

Here's today's installment for the photo challenge... the theme is "gifts".

This is the only gift under the tree for us, between now and Christmas Eve.  Part of the reasoning behind it is practical (keeping a two year old away from wrapped presents all day gets tiresome) and the majority of it is for spiritual reasons. 

This little box contains four smaller boxes.  And inside each of those boxes, there is a a short devotional reading.  On each Sunday in Advent we read the devotional at the dinner table and then hang that week's little gift-box on the tree. 

I love the magic of the Christmas season.  My kids will know about Santa and Rudolph and the Grinch.  I love the shopping, the wrapping, the food, and the anticipation for what is in those pretty packages. 

But it is, for me and mine, first and foremost a time to reflect on the gift of the Christ-child. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday Night Chit Chat & A Photo Challenge

Hey Humble Readers...

I'm feeling a fair bit better than when I posted earlier today.  I'm still going to have to deal with the tree because it irks me every time I look at it, but I'm going to leave it until tomorrow afternoon while Ginny is sleeping. 

In other news... I burned my arm whilst making dinner tonight, and yesterday I found out that I am borderline anemic (at the blood donor clinic... hence I didn't donate blood).  Fun times!  Iron pills here I come.

A while back I came across this photo challenge, and even though it's from last year, I think I'm going to play along for this month. 

Of course, I'm starting late, but here's my interpretation of "lights" and "decorations". 
I made these little "sparklers" earlier this fall to help
magnify the lights in our tree.
Santa's key... for homes without a chimney.
One of my favourite decorations
And now onto the Chit Chat.  Here's what I'm...

Reading: I'm embarassed to say I'm still reading the Hobbit.  *sigh*  I love it, but I just can't stay awake to read more than two or three pages at night. 

Watching: Once Upon a Time and later I'll watch a bit of Downton Abbey while my Beloved and I play scrabble.

Listening to: My Beloved doing the dishes and Pippin snarffling and gruntin in his sleep.

Cooking/Baking:  Did a roasted chicken with a bit of a new-to-me technique tonight.  I melted some butter in a saucepan, added finely diced onion and garlic, some thyme and a few slices of lemon.  Then I soaked a piece of cheese-cloth in the mix, and then draped the cloth over the chicken and roasted it.  I took the cloth of for the last 10 minutes to crisp up the skin.  It was great!  And I used the leftover butter/onion/garlic mixture as the base for my gravy (added the chicken drippings when the chicken was done).  Served it with mashed taters, green beans, and yorkies.  Yum!

Happy you accomplished this week: A special Christmas countdown for my Beloved.  See below.
Took a little longer than I expected to decorate the envelopes

Each envelope contains a surprise (albeit simple) for my Beloved.
Looking forward to next week:  Finishing up a couple of crafts and getting my gifts wrapped.

Thankful for today: A cozy hobbit-hole to snuggle in while it snows... and snows... and snows.

*Bonus Question* You receive a clothing gift from someone who is very close to you, but you absolutely HATE it. Yet you KNOW that they're going to expect you to wear the item & "can't wait to see you in it!!!" What do you do?  I say, "Thank you so much.  It's beautiful, but just not my style."  I have to say this a few time to my MIL when she finds random things at her local thrift store for me.  (Not that I have anything wrong with thrift store shopping... but my MIL and I have very dissimilar tastes, and she doesn't understand that). 

This was posted as a part of Carla's Sunday Night Chit Chat.  Click over and find out what others are chatting about tonight.

Christmas Crazies

Oh Humble Readers...

I'm so frustrated I'm ready to cry. 

We put up our tree yesterday and it ended up being rather drama-filled.  And all the drama was centered on the lights, or rather our suspicious lack of lights and my Beloved's efforts to go buy me more lights to put on the tree. 

Finally, ten hours after we started (remember, there are to wee-lings in this hobbit-hole who needed looking after and feeding and putting to bed), we were finally done with the decorations, and the tree looked great. 

Fast forward to now...

A strand of lights on the front now only has one in three bulbs lit up.  They were working fine one minute, and then they weren't.  I've isolated the offending strand, but in order to attempt to fix it I would have to remove the beaded garland, and all the ornaments on the front two thirds of the tree. 

(Of course, my immense emotional response to this situation has been coloured by the fact that Pip was up half the night with teething pain.)

I'm tired.  I'm frustrated.  And I'm not feeling the Christmas spirit just now. 


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Developing Family Traditions: Everyday Celebrations

Howdy Humble Readers!

(Ok... so I said I was going to publish this post a week ago.  Migraines and teething children and birthday parties sort of put it out of my head.  My apologies.)

I think, when people think of traditions, they think of the big events.  Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter... the big holidays when all the family gets together.  Those are all very important, and I will be posting about them later in this series. 

But there are so many more days in the year.  So many more moments to be commemorated and celebrated. Moments to pause and truly take in the achievements and growth of our families.  To me it's all about being intentional, about living more in the moment, and about teaching my children to do the same. 

Some examples of what I mean:
  • great academic effort/achievement (awesome score on a test, improving a grade, etc)
  • winning a spelling bee
  • before an especially tough day (like before an exam or a big game)
  • making the soccer team/winning a game/losing a tough game
  • recovering from an illness (like chicken pox, or having a cast removed)
  • overcoming a challenge (fear of speaking in public, remembering their first locker combination)
  • leaving/coming home from camp
  • mastering a new skill
  • getting a new badge in boy/girl scouts
  • before/after a dance performance
  • exceptionally good behavior
And there is also an area that, within western culture, has diminished... rites of passage:
  • learning to ride a bike
  • moving from kindergarten to elementary school, elementary to middle school, etc
  • being old enough to stay home alone
  • first cell phone/computer/tablet (whatever the newest expensive technology they crave)
  • first job
  • getting ears pierced
  • getting a driver's licence
  • first date/first formal dance (granted this one could be tough to celebrate with a teen, but you get the idea)
I think it's important that parents set the tone for how both positive and potentially negative events are handled within the confines of the family.  How a parent responds to an event that their child sees as life-altering will affect not only how the child responds, but how the child views himself and how he will face the world in light of the event.  Allow me to illustrate.

I was six years old when I had to start wearing glasses.  I was upset about it because I was only the second kid in my class who had glasses (and the other kid was the sickly one who had to stay in at recess all the time).  On the day I got my glasses, when my bio-mom and I pulled into the yard, my bio-dad came up to the car, leaned in my window, and called me 'four eyes' and laughed.  I was devastated.  For years I felt that my dad thought less of me because I wore glasses.  If, instead of marking that milestone moment with mocking and laughter, my parents had chosen to celebrate the fact that I could now see and do better in school, I might have had more confidence in the change, rather than spending a couple of years trying to hide/lose my glasses.

As parents, I think we need to remind ourselves to think how our kids think.  An event may seem trivial to us, but it is life-changing to a seven year old.  And in validating their feelings (within reason), we can help to shape our children into healthy and happy people.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not implying that all of these kinds of events need to be celebrated in big ways.  But it does require a teensy bit of planning.  Particularly because some of these kinds of events will sneak up on you.

Dollar store plates, sharpies, and baked at 350F for 30 min.
(this one can actually double as a dessert plate or a shallow bowl)

Full size plate
(really not happy with the lettering, but who cares)
So, now, while our wee-lings are still so young, I am taking some time to plan out how we will commemorate and celebrate the little victories. 
  • I made these 'special days' plates.  They aren't anything really spectacular, but they are something that we can use at the drop of a hat when a an ordinary day becomes extraordinary. 
  • a secret stash of crepe paper streamers, ribbon and balloons is always a good idea.  It's easy to decorate a dining room chair or a bedroom door in just a couple of minutes
  • make up a stash of 'coupons' for a night off from chores, for staying up an extra half hour, or for a trip to the ice cream shop/bookstore/movies (depending on the magnitude of the achievement and your budget)
  • allow them to choose a special meal or dessert
And I think, no matter how big or small you choose to celebrate, it's important that our kids hear us brag about them.  Call Grandma, aunties and uncles, or family friends and share you child's victory.  Mention it to their teacher.  Or your pastor.  Anyone else who is invested in seeing your child succeed and be happy. 

Oh... don't forget to include yourselves and your beloveds in the celebrating.  Children need to see adults to take pride in both the big and small events. 

Are there everyday events that I missed on my lists?  Milestones and rites of passage?  How do you or think you will celebrate the 'smaller' moments in the life of your family?

Next up in the series... Birthdays and Unbirthdays!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Special Delivery

Howdy Humble Readers!

So, remember in yesterday's post I mentioned something about not being able to post on Monday because I was kind of busy?  Well, this is what was keeping me busy.

Our Santa's Choice boxes arrived!  I was so excited! 

We signed up around this time last year, and we've paid a bit every week until mid-October.  Our 5 boxes arrived and I had a lot of finagling to do to figure out where all our goodies were going to go.  My pantry and cupboards have never ever been so full.  My freezers are overflowing!
Holy cow!
Hokey Dinah!
Box #1 of the frozen goods

Two Turkeys!
What I like about this service is that you lock in your grocery prices a year in advance and I'm able to get things that we would never otherwise be able to afford in December with all the other holiday expenses, particularly name brand stuff.  Seriously, I know that a lot of this food will last us well into February or longer.  We've signed up for next year already, and I'm happy with the decision. 

Of course, with so much shifting, consolidating, and tearing my hair out over where to put those 8 boxes of cookies, I decided that I wasn't cooking dinner.  We indulged with some of my recent Kijiji (a Canadian version of Craigs List) income and splurged on middle eastern food for dinner from a new place a block away.  Fanstastic hummus!  Ginny couldn't get enough of it too. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ginevra @ Two Years

Howdy Humble Readers...

Whew... How can she be two??? 

I meant to post this yesterday, but some stuff got in the way of me having computer time (nothing serious, just busy-ness) and since today is her actual birthday, and right about now, two years ago she was taking her first breaths, this feels appropriate.  So much has changed...
My favourite pic from in the hospital two years ago.
She looks so much like Pip here.
Ginny's birthday party, as I mentioned on Sunday, was fun.  I kept the food relatively simple, and the only thing that gave me any sort of frustration was the cake (a chocolate-chocolate pudding poke cake with crushed oreos and whipped cream)... or rather trying to decorate it.  I had intened to use gel icing to write "Once Upon A Time There Was A Girl Named ..." but that crashed and burned pretty quickly.  Hence we just had her name spelled out in chocolate chips and a sprinkle border.  I'm just thankful I had the chocolate chips to use. 
The Cake!

Fruit tray

Mini Corn-dog Muffins
She got spoiled rotten with a lot of books, a couple of toys, and a new outfit.  Her favourite item just now is a denim purse given to her by her Unca D, and some rubber bracelets.  Poor little Pippin was so tired during the party that he fell asleep sitting on Unca D's knee while Ginny was opening presents. 
the loot
Ginny's got such a personality.  I'm afraid that she's got my tendancy toward being easily frustrated.  Whenever she can't get one of her toys to do what she wants, she expresses herself loud and long.  She is showing some awareness of her brother's interest in her toys, and she usually responds in a good way.  So far. 

Every day she adds new words to her vocabulary.  It's hard to believe that I was so worried about her not talking a year ago.  One of her newest acquisition: delishush (that would be delicious).  She's also started to understand that she can request certain foods for meals, or decide between a couple of options.  Ginny loves pancakes, ham & cheese, grapes, oranges, chicken fried rice, yoghurt, toast with jam, french toast, soup & buns, and any kind of pasta.  Other than that little blip when she was sick earlier this month, she's a great little eater.  She's getting better with her spoon, but still has problems with remembering to hold it straight so that it doesn't dump down her front. 

She's grown again, I swear.  Almost all her pants are too short.  And her shirts are showing off too much tummy for my liking.  Still waiting on those rotten 2-year molars to make an appearance, although they seem to have settled down again and aren't hurting her too much right now. 

Ginny recognizes almost all her letters and numbers, and can sing most of the alphabet song, just not in one long stretch.  She's still struggling with colours.  Everything is yellow, brown, or purple when we ask.  My Beloved is helping her learn to use her toothbrush on her own every night as a part of her bedtime routine.  We'll give potty training another go in the new year.  Napping has recently become a challenge, with her not wanting to nap at all.  It makes for long evenings. 
wearing the bumbo seat as a helmet
She is adventurous, sometimes too adventurous for Mummy's liking.  She climbs, she bounces on the furniture, and reaches for things that she shouldn't. 

She certainly keeps us on our toes.  And I wouldn't have it any other way!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Night Chit Chat: Recovery Mode

Howdy Humble Readers!

Long time, no blogging.  Oy!  It has been a long week, with both good and bad. 

The bad... The migraine I had last week threw my whole week's schedule out of whack.  I ended up doing all my cleaning, shopping, decorating, and cooking for the party on Friday and Saturday morning.  Ginny is pushing a lot of boundaries, trying to assert her independance, but it ends up coming out as naughtiness.  Typical two-year-old stuff, but it's taxing.  Especially when you're not at your best.  And, we haven't heard anything about Beloved's interview.  They said they would call either way, but we haven't heard a peep.  We're giving up hope on that opportunity.

The good... I managed to get the house cleaned and decorated for Ginny's birthday party. It was fun, even with only three adults (Gramma, Unca D, and one of my Beloved's co-workers). She has a ton of new story books, a couple of toys, and a new outfit. Pippin FINALLY cut his first tooth yesterday! Hopefully the next one doesn't take three months of drooling and fussiness to make it's appearance. Pip has also expanded his palate to include oat cereal and applesauce. 
Blowing Out the Candle

Onto the chit-chat!

What I'm...

Reading?  Still the Hobbit *sigh*  Migraines aren't really conducive to getting a lot of reading done.  Gotta get my butt in gear.  I'm no where near my target for the year.  Plus, I still haven't gotten to Deathly Hallows, and there are other books on my nightstand just waiting for me, mocking me. 

Watching? Once Upon A Time, and then I'm planning on an early night. (I'm recording Downton Abbey Revisited to watch tomorrow)

Listening to?  Pippin grunting in his sleep as he sucks on his fingers

Cooking/Baking? Not a lot really.  I copped out and used a rotisserie chicken for dinner tonight, last night was frozen pizza.  We'll be back on track tomorrow.

Happy you accomplished this week?  I posted a bunch of baby things on Kijiji, and I've sold most items already.  The baby tub ($5), the bassinet ($25), the bumbo seat ($30), the bouncer ($30).  All that's left is the sling I used with Ginny (hoping for $20... originally paid $60 and it's in like new condition).

Looking forward to next week? Crafting!  Now that we're past Ginny's birthday party, I feel that I can go all out on my Christmas preparations.  And we get our Santa's Choice delivery on Tuesday!!  Yippee! 

Thankful for today?  The fact that my Beloved has a job that does cover almost all our expenses while he continues to search for a better place. 

What is the #1 item on your Christmas wishlist?!  I don't know.  There's a few things I have on my list, but none of them are particularly tops.  I need a new slowcooker, and I would like a waffle iron.  There are a few books I would like.  But there isn't any one thing that I'm pining for this year. 

This is posted as a part of Carla's Sunday Night Chit Chat.  Click over and check out what the others are chatting about tonight!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: Mid-November Blahs

Howdy Humble Readers!

I'm sorry for my absence, especially right at the beginning of ICLW.  I can blame part of it on a two-day migraine, and part of it on sheer lethargy after the fact.  I'm beginning to wonder how much of my headaches are triggered by the weather (there have been a lot of ups and downs in the temperature lately).  Fun times!

I hope that all my friends south of the 49th parallel (and those in Alaska too) have had a great Thanksgiving.  I was seriously craving turkey today... we had pork schnitzel instead.  Ginny and I watched the Macy's parade on tv (which translates to her playing and climbing all over me and trying to comb my hair until a balloon or the Sesame Street float showed up).  It was fun in a demented kind of way.

Plans for Ginny's birthday party are coming together.  Sadly, it's going to be a very small group at her party.  Just us, Gramma, an uncle, and maybe one of her little friends from church.  I know that she won't notice or miss anything, but is it okay for me to be a little bummed that no one else is coming?  I wish she had a few cousins her age. 

I had a dream last night that freaked me out.  I dreamed that I was pregnant.  As in, I just found out, watched the line change colour.  And I was PANICKING!!!  Who'da thunk that a dream about being pregnant would ever be almost a nightmare?  And in the dream, I was particularly freaked out because I had just sold a bunch of baby stuff on Kijiji (which reminded me that I had to post a bunch of stuff on Kijiji today). 

Ginny is fully recovered from the roseola.  No more spots, and she's eating almost normally again.  I think she may be starting to develop some pickiness which makes me sad.  Hopefully, it's a short lived phase. 

Still haven't taken our Christmas card photo, as I've been waiting for everyone to be healthy and happy enough to take it.  It also doesn't help that I want to take the pic outside, but it's dark when my Beloved leaves for work and when he comes home.  Hopefully we'll be able to get it done on the weekend. 

Speaking of my Beloved... still haven't heard anything about the interview, but they said they'd call by the end of the week.  Keep those fingers crossed for us please. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Interview Update

Howdy Humble Readers!

Just wanted to let you all know... 

My Beloved feels that his interview went really really well.  It was a pretty lengthy interview, lasting about an hour and a half.  He said that he didn't come out feeling that he should have answered anything differently. 

He'll hear, either way, by the end of the week. 

I'm trying really hard not to count any chickens before they're hatched... but this would be such a good thing for us.  The bottom end of the salary range for this job is more than what our total combined income was before I went on mat leave two years ago. 

Thanks for all your prayers and good thoughts.  Please keep 'em coming!

Monday Snapshot: Smooches From Ginny

Howdy Humble Readers...

Just a little video of our wee sweet girl this morning.  She's been recently trying to say Pip's full first name (rather than the nickname we use), so that's what she's saying at the beginning. 

Ginny's continuing to improve, but her molars are bugging the heck out of her, and she's super tired, so of course she's easily frustrated.  Both she and Pip have been rather clingy today, too.  BUT... I was feeling brave today, and I put them both down for a nap at the same time IN THE SAME ROOM!  Woohoo!  They went down about a half hour ago, and other than Ginny babbling a bit, they seem to be doing well.  All is quiet... maybe I should be worried?  :)

(reminder - of course Ginny and Pippin are just their bloggy names.  If you comment, please don't use their real names.  Thanks!)

This is posted as a part of PAIL Bloggers' Monday Snapshot series.  Pop over and check out what the others are sharing today!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday Night Chit Chat

Hey Humble Readers!
mega blocks as teething toys
I hope that your weekend was great, busy if you needed it to be and quiet if that's just what the doctor ordered.  Things around the hobbit-hole have been fairly mellow, with Ginny slowly returning to her normal happy almost-two-ness (albeit still covered in spots) and my Beloved recovering quite nicely from his little 'procedure'. 

Our only outing this weekend was to church this morning, and it was nice to connect with people I haven't seen since this crud landed on our house almost three weeks ago. 

Beloved's week off was great.  We got a few important things done around the hobbit-hole, and got to spend some time just enjoying being together at home.  We got through all the Lord of the Rings movies, and he actually enjoyed them.  Of course, I was sitting there blubbering like a baby at the end, like I always do, and he was just laughing at me.  I still can't believe that we've been together for more than 6 years and he had never seen them!

On to the chit-chat

What are you....

Reading - Still reading the Hobbit.  Just haven't had much reading time this week, and my usual, before sleep reading has been very abbreviated (as in, just a couple of pages a night).  I have so many other books on my to read list, I need to make more progress!

Watching - Maybe the new Ken Burns movie "Dust Bowl", or I may just go to bed early tonight.

Listening to - my Beloved doing the dishes and Pippin grunting as he tries to get up on all fours. 

Cooking/Baking - Tonight's dinner was Parsley Stuffed Chicken, baby taters, and green beans.  The chicken was done in a dutch oven on top of the stove, with just salt, pepper, and butter and stuffed with an onion and a bunch of parsley.  Tasted great and was super simple. 

Happy you accomplished this week?  Did a super deep clean on the hobbit-hole, rearranged the nursery so that Ginny can't climb into Pip's crib from hers, rearranged a few things in the kitchen, watched the LOtR movies, and made some serious progress on my Christmas list.  Only a couple more things for my Beloved and then some hand-made things I need to get done. 

Looking forward to next week - Crafting with the girls on Tuesday, tackling a few more around the house projects, GINNY'S BIRTHDAY PARTY!

Thankful for today?  My family... the fact that we have two beautiful wee-lings.  There were so many days when I thought this wouldn't be a reality. 

You're handed a round trip plane ticket to anywhere in the world for a weekend and $1000 cash. The catch? You have to go alone, right then & there with only whatever you have on hand. Do you go? Where would you go?  Hmmmmmm, that's a tough one!  Ultimately, I think I'd go.  Now where?  maybe it wouldn't be the other side of the planet, but I would pick somewhere where a lot of my bloggy buddies are close to, and set about meeting them. 

One last thing... my Beloved has an interview for a great job tomorrow (substantial salary increase, great benefits, and job security with room for advancement... talk about awesome if he gets it!).  If you think about it, could you send prayers/positive vibes/good thoughts his way?  We would appreciate it.  :)

This was posted as a part of Carla's Sunday Night Chit Chat blog hop.  Click over and check out what everyone else is chatting about tonight!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Developing Family Traditions: An Introduction

Greeting Humble Readers...

I have been thinking a lot lately about the traditions that we celebrate and carry on in our family, and about how I want to develop some new traditions for our little family.  Coincidentally, the lovely ladies over at PAIL Bloggers have chosen this topic as the November theme posts.  Talk about great minds thinking alike!

noun \trə-ˈdi-shən\
Definition of TRADITION
  1. a: an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom)  b: a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable
  2. the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction
  3. cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions
  4. characteristic manner, method, or style tradition
I feel that I need to start with a few pieces of information.  First of all, I'm coming at this whole topic from the framework of my Christian faith, and how we commemorate holidays, holy days, and the every day celebrations are all informed and shaped, in large and small ways, by what we believe.  Second, I'm not one to follow a tradition just because 'we always have'.  Traditions should have meaning and purpose, even if that purpose is simply something fun.  But if the sole purpose of a tradition is because it's fun, and over the years it becomes un-fun, well then why the heck are you doing it? 
I think, when most people think of traditions, they think of the biggies... the things they do around the big holidays, like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter.  And those are good starting places.  But when I look at my family, I want to have celebrations throughout the year, marking the wonders of the everyday as well. 
And I think, for my family, an important part of our future traditions, whatever shape they take, service to others will play a role.  At least I hope it will. 
So, in the weeks to come, I will be writing about the things we do now as traditions, and things that I am hoping to incorporate in the future.  Some will be frivolous and silly, others, I hope, will be more thoughtful. 
Next week... Everyday celebrations.  How do we take the the ordinary happenings and make them memorable and extraordinary? 

Update on Ginny (The episode in which the hobbit mummy sounds a bit nutso, but really isn't)

Hey Humble Readers...

Thanks so much for your input on what's up with our wee sweet girl.  I appreciate it all so much. 

We discovered a new wrinkle this morning, which I think has led me to a possible answer to the questions. 

She woke up this morning with a rash over her neck and shoulders.  It's now spread down her trunk.  Little red spots.  Flat, not raised.  Not itchy, and non-responsive to benadryl, which to me indicated to me that it's not an allergic reaction (and with Ginny's history of allergic skin reactions, that's saying something). 

So I did some looking around online (reputable sites only) and I think I've figured it out. 

Have any of you ever encountered roseola

I found it in Dr. Sears' listing of the most common rashes children get.  Caused by a virus, starts with a fever that lasts for a few days, followed by a rash when the fever is gone (timeline is specific to this particular virus).  Can be accompanied by respiratory and/or tummy issues.  The rash can last a few days to a couple of weeks, but once the fever is gone, there's no real worries. 

Ginny has been having some odd-for-her BMs... she's nothing if not regular, but right now her timing is way off.  Plus, they have just been 'different'... colour, etc.  But no change in frequency. 

I'm ruling out an ear infection for now, because we were just at the doc for well-baby appointments for both wee-lings on Thursday (before her lack of eating raised a red flag and long before the rash showed up).  I mentioned the come-and-go fever and her occasional lethargy, so he did a thorough check of her ears, nose, and throat.  Other than the symptoms of a bit of a cold, all was good.  I will keep watching for signs, but I don't think that's the case. 

And if she's not showing any improvement by Monday, then it's off the doc we go. 

Her appetite has improved slightly.  She ate most of her breakfast (applesauce and yoghurt, but no cereal), and about half her grilled cheese sandwich at lunch.  She didn't want a snack this morning, but she's still drinking well.  We're just planning on continuing to make foods available to her (although I did say no to a request for candy this morning) and not making a fuss. 

Thank you again everyone.  I really appreciate your input! 

(Be back later this evening with the first in my Developing Traditions series)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Foodie Fridays: Comfort Food (& A Quandary)

Hey Humble Readers...

Today's recipe is brought to you in honour of my Beloved, and his need for some TLC today.  My brave Beloved went for his vasectomy today, and was feeling a tad... well... less than his best.  The procedure went well, and with the prescribed pain killers and an ice pack, he'll be back to his happy self in a few days. 

So, he was in need of some comfort food. 

This recipe is fairly easy, and makes use of one of the best values in the grocery store... the rotisserie chicken.  Think about it... a rotisserie chicken costs around $8 (here on the frozen flatland) and a tray of three boneless skinless chicken breasts costs around $10.  I use the dark meat pieces for this recipe and then save the breast pieces for chicken salad or chicken fried rice later in the week. 

Creamy Chicken & Rice Soup with Sauteed Mushrooms

10-12 cremini or button mushrooms, quartered
1 med onion, diced
3 tbsp butter, divided
1 tbsp olive oil
1/3 sherry or dry white wine (optional)
2 tbsp flour
1 box chicken stock
1 1/2 - 2 cups milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried chives
1 cup long grain white rice
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 cup frozen peas

In a large heavy pot, melt 2 tbsp butter.  Add olive oil.  Add quartered mushrooms, and saute until lightly caramelized.  Using a slotted spoon, remove mushrooms from pot and set aside.

Please disregard the stained pot.  I made coffee-braised
roast beef one too many times in that pot, and it's stained
the enamel
Melt remaining butter in pot and add the diced onion.  Saute until just softened.  Deglaze the pan with sherry or wine (if desired), making sure to scrape up the brown bits.  Sprinkle flour over onions, and stir into onions and butter until it resembles wet sand.  Slowly begin to add chicken stock, while stirring.  Add milk, starting with 1 1/2 cups (add more if soup gets too thick later) and bring to a slow boil (should thicken slightly).  Reduce heat to slow simmer.  Add in garlic, thyme, chives, rice, and chicken.  Stir frequently to ensure that rice doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.  Allow to simmer gently until rice is cooked.  Add in frozen peas. 

I served this with homemade buns.  Yummy!

Ok... now onto the quandary.  And I'm really looking for input.

Ginny, has stopped eating.  Mostly.  My little girl, who loves food, and has always eaten really well, is refusing to eat.

You may recall that a couple of days ago she was congested and had a fever.  It has come and gone a couple of times over the last few days, but it has been easily controlled with tyl.en.ol and wearing lighter clothes. 

Ginny was a little bit pukey on Wednesday (less than 24 hours after the onset of the fever) and threw up a bit of her breakfast.  She ate well later that day... both lunch and dinner.  Then, on Thursday she started refusing to eat.  She ate a couple of spoonfulls of yoghurt at breakfast and that was it.  She refused to eat both lunch and dinner.  She also refused a snack of mandarin orange segments (which she usually looooooves).  Today, she ate applesauce for breakfast, but no cereal or yoghurt.  Lunch was only 4 little cubes of cheese and a few small pieces of ham.  She completely refused dinner (and she normally devours soup & buns). 

She's still drinking milk and water, so I'm not concerned about her getting dehydrated. 

There are several things that I'm thinking may be possible contributing factors. 
  • She's just not feeling well.  She's been kind of up and down ever since that fever set in.  She'll be okay for a while, and then be very lethargic and just want cuddles.
  • She may be teething.  She's not happy with having her teeth brushed and she actually bit me today when I tried to check her molars (they still haven't cut through).
  • We started feeding Pip solid food this week.  Maybe she's jealous of the attention he's getting about eating?
  • She's just trying to exert her independence?  Some sort of excercise in becoming self-aware? 

My Beloved and I are trying very hard not to make a big deal about it at the table, because we don't want this to trigger some sort of larger battle with food.  Our rule is, she can choose not to eat, but she will sit at the table with her bib on until everyone is done eating.  And she isn't allowed to play with her food.  If she's not going to eat it we will move her bowl/plate to the other side of the table where it is available should she change her mind. 

Do you think we are handling this right?  When should I get concerned?   I am, of course, going to keep offering her all her usual snacks and meals, and I've always bought into the accepted wisdom that if a child is hungry they will eat (and most children can miss a few meals without being negatively impacted). 

But the Mummy in me is struggling. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pippin @ 6 Months

Howdy Humble Readers!

Well, it's three days late, but I really wanted to get this down for posterity. 

I cannot believe it's been six months since we met our wee little man.  Pippin's grown so much!  I haven't weighed him recently, but I know he's well over 18lb.  We go for his well-baby check up on Thursday, so we'll get a good accurate measurement at that time.  He's totally outgrown 99% of his 3-6 month wardrobe, and we're going to have to head to the consignment store on the weekend to pick up some new pants for him. 
He wanted to help with the Christmas lights
We are still struggling with his eczema and cradle cap.  Because of the cradle cap he's lost a lot of hair, except for a strip down the center of his head, so he looks like he's got a faux-hawk going on.  Pip's eczema quieted down in September and October, but as soon as the cold dry weather started, he flared back up.  He often scratches his face and head (no matter how often I trim his nails), so he looks like he's been fighting with a cat. 
Every morning is a new discovery of scratches. 
I've tried the socks on his hands thing and it just doesn't help.
He rolls.  Oh how he rolls... everywhere!  I generally put him on a blanket in the middle of the living room and within seconds he's in the dining room, or chewing on the rocking chair. 

And speaking of chewing... oh my stars!  Pip chews on anything and everything and drools like a faucet.  Ginny has a large plastic Noah's Ark and for some reason Pip thinks it's a teething toy.  He's teething like mad, but still not making any real progress.  There are some bumps in his gums, but for all the pain he deals with, they don't seem to be going anywhere.  Ginny didn't get her first tooth until around 8 months, but I'm hoping for Pip's sake that he doesn't have to go that long. 

When Pippin isn't rolling, he's trying very hard to push himself up onto all fours.  He's desperate to keep up with Ginny, and sometimes his frustration at being left behind gets the better of him.  He's also recently begun to pay attention to the toys around him.  He will roll to get to certain items, and has an incredible grip once he gets hold of something (and he loves to wrap his fingers in Mummy's hair... ouch!). 

He loves to sit up, but can't manage it for very long on his own just yet.  He loves his toes, thinks they are the funniest things in the world, next to his sister.  He has yet to discover his penis, but given the strength of his grip, that's probably a good thing.  :)

Pip babbles and jabbers so much more than Ginny did at this age.  I always knew that Ginny was quieter, but wow!  He talks non-stop all day.  Of course it's still all nonsense syllables but it's a marked difference. 
First meal of rice cereal
(Finally got the pic to post!)
He's just started eating solid foods this week, and he's loving it!  He dives for the spoon, and gobbles up his rice cereal like a mad man.  Later this week we'll be adding sweet potatoes into the mix.  Of course, the addition of solids has not been all giggles and shits... Pip's had some tummy issues over the past few days.  A small increase in gassiness and some ooky changes in his poopy diapers are of note, but Ginny went through similar challenges when she first started solids too. 

Sleep at night is great.  Both he and Ginny are sleeping in the nursery now (Ginny goes down at 7:30 and he snoozes in the living room until 9 and then has a final diaper change and bottle before moving to the nursery), and they have managed to deal with each other's noises.  Napping, on the otherhand, has been a challenge.  At least part of the issue is again logistics.  He NEEDS a nap in the morning, but fights it so hard, I think because Ginny is up and playing.  At most he'll sleep for 20 minutes to a half hour.  In the afternoon, he'll often sleep when Ginny is napping, but where to put him is still the question.  I need to just bite the bullet and try putting him down in his crib at the same time as Ginny nap and see what happens. 
I know I've shared this pic before, but I just adore it!
 He's such a happy, laid back baby.  He adores his bouncy/jumper thingy, and will try to bounce on your knee.  He fusses when he's tired or hungry, but it's an obvious need.  He smiles and laughs constantly, and he's such a joy.  I can't believe he's 6 months old already! 

The crud has landed on Ginny.  Poor sweet girl has a fever and a seriously runny nose.  I hope and pray that she doesn't get it as bad or suffer with it as long as I have (almost 100%... my voice is still really weak).