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). 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Snapshot: Goin' Shoppin'

Hey Humble Readers...

Ginny has become fascinated with my shoes.  She's always looked on our footwear as some of her favourite playthings, but recently she's started trying to walk around in my shoes.  She doesn't seem to want to wear my Beloved's shoes, but mine have shown up in all sorts of places around the house.

And when she wears them, invariably it's because she's "goin' shoppin'".  She usually has some sort of bag or bin or something that she carries to put her shoppin' in, and she's always specific about saying buh-bye. 

When did my wee sweet girl get so big? 

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


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Night Chit Chat:

Hey Humble Readers...

I hope you all have had a nice weekend. 

Ours started out busy, but has ended with a serious lack of motivation.  I blame the crud.  Yes, I'm still nursing this stupid cold, and I'm so sick of being sick.  I'm now on day 10 of wretchedness.  I am getting better, but it's going ridiculously slow. 

Ginny using Pip's bumbo chair as a helmet.
What are you....

Reading - The Hobbit!  Of course I'm re-reading it in advance of the movie coming out next month!  I'm super excited about going to see it.  And for those who asked... Casual Vacancy by Rowling... it was really good.  Obviously, very different from Potter, very sad in places.  It has a lot of colourful language and there were parts that were hard to read because her portrayals of family violence, drug abuse, and bullying were very gritty and heart-breakingly real.  All this darkness is held up in stark contrast against the quaint beauty of the village of Pagford, and is a commentary on the 'not in my backyard' mindset that holds us back from accepting that we are all a part of the problem AND the solution.

Watching - Once Upon A Time and Upstairs Downstairs.  Sadly, last week was the season finale of Call the Midwife.

Cooking/Baking - made two yummy lasagnas... one for dinner tonight with enough leftovers for at least two lunches for my Beloved and I this week, and another to freeze.  Had Caesar salad and garlic bread too,

Happy you accomplished this week? Finally moving those stupid bookcases! (see yesterday's post)  Sooo glad that's done.

Looking forward to next week?  My Beloved is taking this next week off, so I have all kinds of plans!  A good deep clean on the hobbit hole, watching the LOtR movies (my Beloved has never watched them... how is that possible?), rearranging the nursery, a possible date night, and my Beloved's vasectomy (no looking forward to it per se, but glad it will be done).

Thankful for today? That I am in relatively good health despite this stupid crud.  For the men and women who have served our country faithfully, even to the point of paying the ultimate price so that my family may live in freedom. 

Do you have any hobbies? If so, what are they?  Reading, spending a ridiculous amount of time online, crafting (just a bit of this and that), and of course, blogging. 

This was posted as a part of Carla's Sunday Night Chit Chat.  Click over and see what the others are chatting about tonight.  Or even better, join in!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Just A Note

Hey Humble Readers...

Today I was fully planning on writing Pippin's 6 month post.  It is his un-birthday after all, and it was a pretty momentous day as he started solid food (very eagerly). 

But, it ended up being a busy day...

- Making a big breakfast for the family (something I've started doing most Saturdays)

- Grocery shopping with the whole family (because it always takes me forever to get used to driving in winter conditions.)  There's a reason why I like doing the shopping by myself.  Yikes!

- Making a big batch of oven roasted marinara. 

- Making paella for dinner

- Moving two of our bookcases (something I had been putting off ever since we bought our new couch the week before Pip was born).  Of course this involved taking all the books off said bookcases, unbolting them from the wall, shifting them the needed four inches, fighting with the screws and brackets, putting more holes in my walls, and then reloading all the books back onto the shelves.  All so we could have a side table on either end of our couch.  *sigh*  At least it's done. 

- Framing a portrait of Pip. 

All in all, a bit busier than I anticipated and sadly the post about Pip had to be bumped to another day. 

What did you get done today?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Foodie Friday: A Work in Progress

Hey Humble Readers...

First up, thanks for all your suggestions on my last post.  I think I'm going to go for it, and hang on to the reciept just in case.  :)

And now I need some more input.

I used this recipe tonight for inspiration but it wasn't exactly what I was hoping it would be.  It was good, even worth repeating, but it needs some tweaking.  The author of the original claimed it tasted like the spice blend in KFC without all the deep fried badness. 

(And just take that comparison to KFC as a warning.  This is comfort food, not health food.  Tonight, I reeeeeeeeeally needed comfort food.)

I did tweak the spice blend a bit, because it did seem rather bland as written.  My issue wasn't with the flavour.  I'm happy with how that turned out.  I'm just trying to figure out how to get the crunch factor I was hoping for. 

Baked Fried Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (you could also use boneless skinless chicken thighs)
Milk (enough to cover the chicken pieces)
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp grill seasoning
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 400F.  Soak the chicken in milk for 20-30 minutes.  In a large ziploc bag, combine flour and spices.  Melt butter in a 9x13 baking dish in the oven.  Spread the melted butter over the whole pan.  Toss chicken pieces in the flour and spice mixture to thoroughly coat.  Place chicken pieces in pan and return to oven.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Flip the chicken breasts and bake for another 20 minutes.  I then put them under the broiler for 5 minutes to darken/crisp up the coating.

I served them with mashed potatoes, corn, and a simple pan gravy. 

How could I have made them crunchier?  Maybe add some cornmeal to the flour mix?  Or panko?  Any thoughts? 

A Conundrum

Hey Humble Readers...

I'm looking for some advice.

But first, I need to say




Ok, enough exclamation points. 

There is an item that I know my Beloved would love, but at regular prices, it's just out of our budget.  It is the one item that I have been hoping and hoping would go on sale sometime before Christmas.  I was actually planning on waiting until Black Friday and hoping for a great price. 

Just FYI, for my American readers, the last Friday of November in Canada is really nothing like what it is for you.  The only comparison in Canada is our Boxing Day sales, the day after Christmas.  Only in the last couple of years have Canadian retailers started doing some major discounting on that particular day. 

Anywho, in my weekly perusal of the flyers, I discovered that Wally World has a pretty good price on this thingy.  It's about 22% off it's regular price.  I checked all the other usual flyers where they might sell this, and this is far and away the best price out there right now. 

Soooooo.... do I buy it now, or do I wait?  Do I go with a good price now, and be done with it?  Or do I wait and hope for a better price in a couple of weeks? 

What would you do?

Be back later with a Foodie Friday post!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Legacy

Greetings Humble Readers...

       noun \ˈle-gə-sē\

Definition of LEGACY
1: a gift by will especially of money or other personal property
2: something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past 
definition courtesy of

I mentioned in yesterday's post that I had recently been getting rid of my maternity clothes and some baby things.  My closet was getting ridiculous again, and as we are most certainly not going to have any more wee-lings (my Beloved goes for his snip-snip next week Friday), it was time to move on. 

And yet, it was hard.  From January 8th, 2008 (the day I took my last bcp... some dates really do stick) until May 10th of this year, it has at times felt like every breath I've taken was somehow connected to building our family.  And now I'm getting rid of things that I longed so desperately to need.  Pippin is outgrowing so many things so fast... the bassinet, the baby bathtub, the cradle and his too cute little track suit.   There won't be another wee-ling to need these things, and I'm 100% okay with that.

But it's still hard on my heart to get rid of them. 

The finality of where we are right now on this journey has me thinking about a lot of things. 

About my place in the IF community, about my role as cheerleader for those still in the trenches and as another voice to the world at large about what IF really is.  I may not have the communication skills of someone like Mel or Keiko, but I can share my experiences and what I've learned from my fellow IFers.  I can help my family and friends understand that IF is not only a physiological issue, but also a deeply emotional one.  I can help them understand terminology, procedures, and the realities of outcomes (as opposed to the sensationalized stories in the media).  And I want to be completely honest about our losses, be transparent about our journey.  I want to help remove the taboo and shame associated with miscarriage and IF.

But perhaps, most important of all, I will educate my children.

I will teach both of them, Ginevra and Pippin, about the realities of fertility.  I will encourage them to follow their dreams, and to seek out amazing experiences, but I will also teach them that the human reproductive system has limitations.  And that they can and should take their time to be sure of themselves and their life partners.  But I will also be honest and teach them that there will come an end date to attempting to have biological children. 

Sure, sometime in the future, medical science may come up with better and more effective forms of ART, but I want them to understand their bodies and how they really work.  I'm not going to leave it to the "if you have sex, you'll get pregnant" health classes in junior high to give them their only understanding of their reproductive systems.  I'm going to teach Ginny to pay attention to her body, to learn to recognize her cycles and what they mean.  I don't want Ginny's birthright to be being blindsided by her own body when she is trying to build her family. 

And, I'm sure sooner rather than later, I'll tell them about Emily and Olivia... about the two babies we never got to hold, but loved so deeply.  I'll tell Ginny about the dream I had about her, my beautiful dark haired blue-eyed dream baby in a pink dress, while I was still pregnant with Olivia.  I will tell Pip about the role his daddy had in holding me together when I thought I was going to break into a thousand pieces.

This will be my IF legacy.  This will be Emily and Olivia's legacy. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: Bits & Pieces

Howdy Humble Readers...

Have you ever tried to make your wishes known to and understood by an active toddler WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE A VOICE?  I am 100% voiceless and can barely manage a whisper right now.  Other than the voice, though, I seem to be conquering the crud.  I'm sleeping better and thankfully I don't think the wee-lings have caught it at all.  I'm only wishing that we had gone further with the baby sign than we did. 

Canadian-ism of the Day:  I switched my cold remedy from the day/night pills to an old standby and seem to be getting much better results.  Yes, my fellow Canucks... I have resorted to taking Buc.kley's.  For those of you who aren't familiar with the dark brown bottle and the awfulness contained therein, please allow me to educate you.  Imagine if you melted down Vic.k's vaporub and boiled it with pine needles... that's about what it tastes like.  In fact, their company motto is "it tastes awful, but it works".   And in my experience, it does.

The crud has impacted my attempts at being productive, but I'm still managing to get a few things done.  Yesterday I went through our closets and dressers, and bagged up 3 large black garbage bags of stuff to go to the thrift store.  All my maternity wear and things I haven't worn since I was working (how has it been more than two years since I left my job at the bookstore?) were all packed up and sent on to a new home. 

Update on the applesauce:  Ended up making enough applesauce to last us about 9 weeks!  My freezer is now stocked with bags and bags of the golden loveliness. 

Ginny has picked up a few new words that I'm hoping she doesn't say in public, but I know she will... First, she's learned the word 'dark' and because we are approaching the darkest time of the year, she's saying it a lot.  The thing is, when she says it, it doesn't sound like dark.  It sounds more like a not-so-nice word for lesbian.  Second, while my Beloved and I have been under the weather, she's taken to imitating us and doing this little fake cough thing.  She's now picked up on the fact that we are calling it her fake cough, so she's started saying it too.  Only when she says 'fake cough' it sounds a whole heck of a lot like my precious wee girl is telling me to f!#@ off.  *sigh*

I'm planning on writing a series of posts, starting next week, on family traditions.  Be thinking about some of what you and yours do to make special days stand out and how you make the ordinary extraordinary.

We are forecasted to get a pretty significant amount of snow today.  5-15cms.  Lovely.  Thankfully, we don't have any major plans that require being outside today.  Wherever you are, please stay safe and warm.  :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Monday Snapshot: A Busy Day

Howdy Humble Readers...

Whew... it feels like it's been crazy morning already.  I'm pooped. 

The wee-lings' laundry has been folded and put away.  There's another load in the washer that I have to deal with. 

Everyone's dressed, beds are made and the diswasher is empty.  Breakfast and a snack have been consumed, and lunch is in process.

Pippin has been is major teething pain today.  Seriously, even with a solid dose of ty.len.ol he was still in sooo much pain, poor wee man.  He seem's to be mellow at the moment, which is a blessing. 

But the big task on today's list is well under way and I'm thankful that the hard part of it is over.  I peeled and chopped 50+ apples this morning to make applesauce.  Ginny was fascinated with how the apples floated in the sink full of water.  I had enough apples to fill my slow cooker and another large pot on the stove.  She also managed to munch down almost a whole apple, stolen from the pile of apples I had chopped.  As an added bonus, the hobbit hole smells divine!
Apples peeled and chopped, two cinnamon sticks and two
strips of lemon peel in a slow cooker on low for 5-6 hours,
stirring occassionally.

It goes a little quicker on the stove, but you need to add a bit
of water, and stir it often.
This should be enough to make enough applesauce in the freezer to get us through until the new year... I hope.  It's hard to say how much Pippin will like it, but Ginny adores having applesauce in the morning with her yoghurt and cereal. 

While Ginny naps later, I'm going to put our Christmas lights out on the balcony because it's rather nice out today (above freezing).  Then I'm hopefully going to give my kitchen a real deep cleaning.  After that it will be time to prep for dinner (Pork Souvlaki, Greek salad, and lemon roasted potatoes. YUM!).  And I'm hoping to get to the dollar store after dinner.

Man oh man... all this while I'm still feeling the effects of the crud.  No wonder I'm tired.  :)

This was posted as a part of PAIL Bloggers' Monday Snapshot!  Click over and see what others are up to today.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday Night Chit Chat: A Houseful of Sickies!

Hey Humble Readers...

So you may have (or probably not) noticed that I didn't get a Foodie Friday Post up this past week.  That's because Thursday afternoon the Crud landed in a big way on yours truly.  My Beloved had been suffering with it since last weekend, and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  A head cold accompanied by a doozy of a headache and fever.  Not fun.  But I am feeling moderately improved, and my Beloved is almost over his bout.  Now if we could just get past two teething wee-lings with diaper rash who are having difficulties with the time change...
Pip falling asleep sitting up.  He was fighting it so hard.
Reading - Sad to say, I'm still reading Casual Vacancy.  I'm enjoying it, honest I am.  I just haven't been able to get much reading done this past week.  *sigh*  I need to get my butt in gear, I need to be re-reading the Hobbit soon!

Watching - Nothing much right now.  Later, once the wee-lings are asleep it will be my usual Sunday night fare... Call the Midwife and Upstairs Downstairs. 

Listening to - Ginny whispering secrets to her Daddy.  It's toooo cute!

Cooking/Baking - Lemon Dill Roasted Chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy, mixed veg (broccoli, cauliflower, & carrots), and yorkies.  It's Sunday!  Tomorrow I'm making up another big batch of applesauce in the slow cooker.  Ginny just flies through it, and with Pip starting solids soon we're just going to go through it faster.

Happy you accomplished this week - Sorted through most of Master Pippin's clothes.  He's completely outgrown his 3-6 month wardrobe.  There are a few holes to fill, but I think we're in pretty good shape right now.

Looking forward to next week - Re-establishing my daily to do lists.  I've gotten off track, but as of tomorrow morning, everything goes back to a routine.  It's the only way we'll get through the holidays.

Thankful for today - For the fact that my cold symptoms seem to be fading, for a warm chinook wind that's melting the snow, and for my Beloved who has let me be a whiny sack of snot for the last couple of days. 

What was your favourite show as a child? Tough one!  When I was really young Mr. Dress-up was the bomb!  When I got a little older (about 8 I think), I fell in love with Dr. Who... it was the doctor with the camel coloured coat, poofy hair, and the long scarf around his neck.  I remember it used to be on PBS and I would be very upset if I had to miss it (back in the days before VCRs, and decades before DVRs). 

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

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Ginevra in September & October

Howdy Humble Readers...

It's been a while since I've done a regular update on Ginny.  I want to record these things mostly so that I don't forget them as time goes by.  Please indulge me as I spend some time blathering on about our wee sweet girl.

It's not going to be much longer that we'll be able to call her our 'wee' sweet girl.  She's grown more than an inch in the last three months.  She's now over 26 pounds.  We are facing the same issue we had last winter, with her legs being too long for pants that will stay up around her waist. 

Her eyes seem to change colour daily.  Blue one day, then green the next.  The day after they'll look hazel, leaning toward brown.  Her hair has lightened considerably, and sadly her curls seem to be slowly disappearing (although it could just be that she needs a good haircut with some layers). 

She's so stinkin' brave and curious!  Bad combination for Mummy's heart.  Ginny has figured out how to climb from her crib into Pippin's.  She's almost sorted out how to get out of the playpen, and the locks on the cupboard doors are no match for her. 

Ginny loves to 'hep' (that would be 'help').  She puts clothes in the hamper and in the washing machine.  She takes Pip's empty bottles and her sippy cups and my water glasses to the kitchen and puts them in the sink (great, except for my water glass.  She hasn't broken one yet, but I know it's coming).  She attempts to put her lunch dishes in the dishwasher, but she can't quite reach.  And her favourite thing to do is help make supper.  Ginny will pull a chair from the table to the counter so that she can 'stir da soup' (no matter what I'm making). 

Recently, Ginny has really gotten into playing with Pippin.  She loves to make him laugh.  Several times a day she will look right at him and say very emphatically "TALK!".  She's not so sure about sharing with him, but she likes to trade toys a lot.

I'm fairly certain that one of her 2 year molars is on it's way.  She's been particularly clingy, short tempered, and wanting to snuggle more than usual.  She has all the classic physical symptoms, too... pink cheeks, sucking her thumb a lot more while she's awake, runny nose, diaper rash. 

One of her favourite things to do in the morning is watch Curious George (yes... tv... I know, I know) while snuggle on the couch under her 'cozy 'ket'.  Ket is her blanket, the one I knitted for her when I was pregnant with her. 

Ginny's an amazing eater.  She'll eat pretty much anything I put in front of her.  Veggies (especially 'bwocclee') are great.  Her favourite lunch is 'hamncheez' and she's fiend for these dinner rolls I make whenever I make soup for supper.  She's still totally hung up on rice, particularly chicken fried rice (which I have become an expert at making).  Grapies and 'nanas are still very popular, although she does adore her applesauce in the morning.  And as I mentioned earlier this week, she's finally making progress with using her spoon. 
She has the most beautiful laugh.  She's figured out that 'smooches' are fun.  And she loves squeezie hugs.  She doesn't know what 'slow down' means, and only goes top speed all day long.  She still plays shy with strangers, but she's fascinated with other kids.  She's a bit OCD when it comes to her toys (she organizes them a certain way and heaven help you if you mess it up).  She can recognize about half of the alphabet and a few numbers.  She likes it when I sing (there's no accounting for taste) but has yet to really try to join in. 

As I've mentioned before, she is addicted to her books, sometimes to their detriment.  She particularly loves books that have animals in them so she can make all the noises.  She even tries hard to read her storybooks to Pip.  She picks up new words like a sponge, even though it sometimes takes my Beloved and I some time to figure out what she's saying. 
I can't believe that she'll be two in less than a month.  She's such an amazing little person.  I'm so incredibly blessed that she's in my life.