Saturday, September 6, 2014

No More Radio Silence

Hey Humble Readers...

If you are here now, you are probably very aware that I needed to take an extended break away from the blogosphere.  Honestly, I was in a bit of a downward spiral and I didn't feel motivated to share how low I was feeling.

Spring and summer were very challenging for our little hobbit/ent clan.  Here's a bullet point list of what has gone on over the last few months...
  • my Beloved was laid off in late April and we were without any income for a month and a half.
  • He got a temporary gig working for the company he worked for a few years ago, helping their accounting department get out of a serious backlog.  He's still there, as the woman who was promoted to replace him two years ago has had to go on medical leave.  HOWEVER, this is not a permanent gig (as his boss likes to remind him), it does not pay what we need him to make and there are no medical benefits.  He is still applying for positions, and interviewing whenever something comes up.  We are still concerned that we may end up having to leave the Shire and move to one of the larger centers to the north or south of us.  Not really wanting to do that, but we know we will go where we have to in order to support our family. 
  • Just before my Beloved started his temp position, he drove the wee-lings and I to K-town.  He drove back that same weekend (10 hours each way) and the wee-lings and I stayed for a couple of weeks visiting my mom and her boyfriend.  It was a very difficult trip, with lots of conflict between me and Mom's boyfriend, hereafter called the Cactus.  It has put a strain on my relationship with my mom now too, and I miss what used to be. 
  • I have had to go back to work.  I'm back at the bookstore where I used to be a manager, working four nights a week, from 9pm-1am doing stocking/inventory stuff.  The work itself isn't hard, but the change in my sleep patterns has had a negative affect on my health (blood sugars aren't anywhere near where they should be, and my blood pressure is through the roof).  Working nights and caring for two wee-lings during the day is challenging, to say the least.  I know that a lot of women do it, and do it well.  Apparently, I'm not one of those women. 
  • Three weeks ago, my Beloved and the wee-lings went to the wee-town south of here to visit my MIL, while I stayed home to work on a project that needed quiet and focus.  While they were there, my Beloved and Pippin (out for a drive to get little mister to take a nap) ended up in a car accident.  Thankfully, no one was injured, but Tilly the Toyota was totalled.  The last few weeks have been a constant battle with the insurance, car rental company, and the car dealership where we ended up getting our new car.  Can I just take a moment here and express that this was my very worst nightmare come to life?  The thought of them far away from me and hurt or worse puts me into a panic. 
  • One of my very good friends was diagnosed with cancer... it's treatable thankfully, but means major surgery for her and is scary no matter how confident the doctors are. 
  • And last but not least, my little balcony garden that I was so very proud of took a major beating during a hail storm in the same week as the car accident, and has turned into a withered mess.  I still have a few cherry tomatoes ripening, but other than that it's a washout.  No big batches of basil for pesto this year... and the carrots didn't grow more than an inch. 
We were hopeful for a position here in town that my Beloved interviewed for a couple of weeks ago, but in the end, it went to someone with a bit more education that my Beloved.  It was definitely the best interview/interaction he's had so far, and we are praying that the right position is just around the corner. 

The insurance payout on the car was actually a bit of a windfall, in that it paid what was still owing on the Prius, and left us with a few thousand dollars.  In the end, we decided to put that money on our ever increasing credit card balance, and take advantage of the excellent interest rates available through the dealership for a car loan.  The majority of my little income is going to our credit card balance as well, so it feels like we might be making a few small steps forward. 

The wee-lings have managed the stress this summer rather well, I think. 

Ginny had a regression in the potty training department while we were in K-town (another stressor between my mom and I), but has since done very well, with no more poop accidents and only a couple of wet accidents while she had a cold and wasn't feeling well.  She's still in pull-ups at night, but I'm hoping to tackle that in the coming months.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Pip's vocabulary had a major explosion at the end of June, and while he's still in speech therapy, I am seeing some real progress.  He's starting to use multi-word phrases and sentences, and his words are becoming more and more understandable.  He's also showing some interest in the potty, and so we may make a first attempt to potty train him in the next few weeks.  We also transitioned the wee-lings into a set of bunkbeds (Pip out of the crib)... that was a frustrating couple of weeks, but they seem to be adjusting now. 

I hope you are all well, and that you had a much better summer than we did.  I hope to be back with good news soon. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

When Being a Girl is No Fun

Hey Humble Readers...

I know I've missed a few days, and I feel bad about that.  I also feel bad that I've slipped up a bit in the last couple of days with my health and fitness goals.  I know it's just a slip up, and not cause to give up... I just feel lousy about it.

Not making excuses, because I own my decisions, but I can recognize what I have stumbled over. 

AF is due soon, and making her imminent arrival very apparent.  I am grouchy (more so than usual), my lower back has been aching badly for days, and my feet and hands are full of retained water.  As an aside, my PMS symptoms have gotten much more pronounced in recent months.  Much more extreme than they used to be, and they have never been a cake walk.  My poor, long-suffering Beloved. 

I also have some unfun seasonal allergies going on.  The trees along the river that give off the fluffy white pollen stuff have kicked into high gear and my sinuses are killing me. 

As a result, I have avoided the scale for the last few days... about the only thing I have been doing right is getting my water in. 


100 Day Challenge - Day 9

Starting Weight - 309lb (heaviest was 318lb in the fall of 2009, lowest was 234lb last October)
Weight at Beginning of Challenge - 267
Current Weight - 259.8 (haven't weighed in recently due to the impending arrival of AF and the usual bloat/water retention that comes along with that)
Total Weight Lost During Challenge - 7.2 lb

  • arms & abs (10 min)
  • stretching (5 min)
  • 30 Squats
  • total number of steps - Unknown (forgot to wear my pedometer)
  •  6 glasses water (4 litres)
  • Breakfast: Breakfast sandwich (whole wheat English muffin, cheddar, egg, ham, sriracha)
  • Lunch: Sliced tomato, cottage cheese, farmer's sausage
  • Dinner: 1 cheeseburger (mustard, mayo), garden salad (romaine, tomato, cucumber, Italian dressing)
  • Snacks: popcorn w/ butter

Saturday, May 31, 2014

'Camping' Hobbit-Style

Hey Humble Readers...

Just a quick note tonight, as I am tired and sunburned after our day 'camping'.  As it turns out, Ginny is spending the night at the campground with Gramma and the aunties, uncles, and cousins.  It's her first time sleeping over somewhere away from home without us.  She's had nights without us in the past, but she's always been in her own bed.  I know I'm more concerned about it than she is... she's probably having a blast.  Just another milestone...

Things ended up changing a bit from what I was told about eating at this little campout/birthday party.  It turns out that they had burgers, salads, etc for everyone.  And because it was a pretty big group (close to 40 people there for dinner), I didn't feel right about bringing out the (relatively speaking) little Tupperware of potato salad and devilled eggs that I had brought to feed our family of four.  Instead, I'll put it out tomorrow at lunch when there's a smaller crowd. 

But the changes in plan meant that I was unable to fully mentally prepare myself for what I was going to have for dinner.  I ended up succumbing to the scent of bbq'd burgers after spending the day out doors.  I should have only had one, but I ended up having two.  I did, however, manage to avoid the Cheezies (my Achilles heel) and chips, and multiple offers of wine and beer. 

I love being out there with the family, but I really love being able to come home and shower, then sleep in my own bed at night.  I have never been really big on camping.  I'm off to go wash the smell of campfire out of my hair, and head to bed. 

100 Day Challenge - Day 6

Starting Weight - 309lb (heaviest was 318lb in the fall of 2009, lowest was 234lb last October)
Weight at Beginning of Challenge - 267
Current Weight - 259.8
Total Weight Lost During Challenge - 7.2 lb

  • Marched in place w/ 2lb weights 5km
  • arms & abs (10 min)
  • stretching (5 min)
  • 30 Squats
  • total number of steps - 12200
  •  4 glasses water + 2 bottles of water( 4-ish litres)
  • Breakfast: Breakfast sandwich (skinny multigrain bagel, cheddar, egg, ham, sriracha)
  • Lunch: Chicken Salad Sandwich, Apple Slices
  • Dinner: 2 cheeseburgers, raw veggies, 1/4 cup macaroni salad
  • Snacks: 1 diet coke, 1 coke zero, 1 sm rice krispie treat, 1 sm piece bday cake

Friday, May 30, 2014

Weekend Plans

Hey Humble Readers...

Have I ever told you about the month of May in our family?  With my side and my Beloved's, we have a total of 10 birthdays and 2 anniversaries.  Three of the birthdays are today, and another is tomorrow.  And several of these birthdays are milestones as well. 

This weekend we are celebrating my SIL's 50th and my MIL's 75th.  Thankfully, this family gathering is just a short jaunt south, and is relatively low-key.  Most of the family is camping at a small campground (we will go out Saturday morning and come home to sleep, then go back on Sunday).  Thankfully, the forecast is calling for only a small amount of rain over the next few days. 

Today of course, has been a day of preparation.  I've done my grocery shopping, made a big batch of potato salad and made a dozen devilled eggs, made sandwiches for our lunch tomorrow.  I'm trying to plan for my own snacking, while still having a few fun 'camping' treats for the wee-lings and my Beloved.  I've put together a small smores kit, and have sliced apples and carrots ready to go into the cooler tomorrow.  I am purposely not going to buy any wine coolers or beer, as I usually would for a weekend like this, because I know that will just undo all the work I've done this week.  It will be hard enough to get my water in while we're out there, I don't need to add completely useless calories and sugar into the mix. 

The car is mostly loaded now, except for the cooler.  It's ridiculous how much stuff we need to haul just for a day out of the house.  Laundry is done.  My kitchen is clean... ish.  It's been a long day, and I'm pooped.  Tomorrow morning brings a blood donation (hopefully, if my iron is good) and then we hit the road.  For now, I'm going to zone out in front of the tv a bit before going to bed. 

100 Day Challenge - Day 5

Starting Weight - 309lb (heaviest was 318lb in the fall of 2009, lowest was 234lb last October)
Weight at Beginning of Challenge - 267
Current Weight - 260.6
Total Weight Lost During Challenge - 6.4 lb

  • Walked (with poles) 5km
  • arms & abs (10 min)
  • stretching (5 min)
  • grocery shopping
  • total number of steps - 10500
  •  6 glasses water (4 litres)
  • Breakfast: Breakfast sandwich (skinny multigrain bagel, cheddar, egg, ham, sriracha)
  • Lunch: Shredded chicken, sliced tomato, cottage cheese
  • Dinner: Ranch Chicken Club Sandwiches (bacon, lettuce, ranch sauce Italian bun), Salad (lettuce, kale, tomato, cuke, BBQ dressing)
  • Snacks: 1 devilled egg

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Meltdown and 100 Day Challenge Updates

Hey Humble Readers -

Rain rain, go away...

It's been raining for two days now.  Solid rain.  While it's great for our sprouting sunflowers, it's not so good for wee-lings who have gotten used to being able to go to the park on a regular basis.  It's also been a downer on my walking, as I don't enjoy exercising in the rain.  A nice romantic walk in the rain is great, but trying to work up a sweat for an hour while you're sopping wet is no fun. 

Yesterday was a challenging day all around, but mostly in the evening for me personally.  We ended up getting phone calls from both sides of our family, basically demanding to know if we were going to be traveling for a couple of different family events (to my mom's as we had originally planned, and to a family reunion/big birthday party on my Beloved's side) in June.  All of these people know our current situation, and we have said repeatedly that until my Beloved gets a job, we can't commit to anything. 

And they ask the most ridiculous questions... 'When do you think he'll be working again?' and 'Well, is he looking for work?'.  For pity's sake... I have no idea when the job opportunity is going to come.  Yes, he's looking for work... what do you think he's doing, sitting on his thumb while I slowly disintegrate under the stress?  And the constant, 'Any news?' question is driving me insane!  As soon as we have any information, I'll be shouting it from the rooftops, I swear. 

Throw in a rough night's sleep (Pippin had a bad night, and the little bit of sleep I did get was filled with nightmares), and today has been a bit of a washout... pun intended.  I dozed most of the morning, and haven't done much all day.  After dinner I made my sore butt get up off the couch and do some marching in place (with 2-2lb weights), and my arms and abs workout.  Didn't get the number of steps or distance that I would get walking outside, but it's better than nothing. 

100 Day Challenge - Day 3

Starting Weight - 309lb (heaviest was 318lb in the fall of 2009, lowest was 234lb last October)
Weight at Beginning of Challenge - 267
Current Weight - 263.4
Total Weight Lost During Challenge - 3.6lb

  • next to nothing... crappy rainy day combined with poor sleep = no motivation
  • total number of steps - 2300
  • 6 glasses water (4 litres)
  • Breakfast: Raisin Bran & Milk
  • Lunch: 1 pc fried chicken, Ham & cheese sandwich, tomato
  • Dinner: BBQ turkey burger w/ cheddar (bbq sauce, onion jam), 12 French fries (yes, I counted them), salad (lettuce, tomato, cuke), Italian dressing
  • Snacks: 1/4 cup choc chips, ice cream
100 Day Challenge - Day 4

Starting Weight - 309lb (heaviest was 318lb in the fall of 2009, lowest was 234lb last October)
Weight at Beginning of Challenge - 267
Current Weight - 261
Total Weight Lost During Challenge - 6 lb (all water, I think)

  • Marching in place with 2 2lb weights (38 min)
  • abs & arms (10 min)
  • total number of steps - 6400
  •  6 glasses water (4 litres)
  • Breakfast: Breakfast sandwich (skinny multigrain bagel, cheddar, egg, ham, sriracha)
  • Lunch: 2 ham & cheese sandwiches, sliced tomato
  • Dinner: Greek Orzo and Shrimp Salad (tomato, cucumber, feta)
  • Snacks: popcorn w/ butter, ice cream (the last of it!!!)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

100 Day Challenge - Day 2

Hey Humble Readers...

I'm totally exhausted so I'm just going to post my notes on today for the 100 Day Challenge. 

100 Day Challenge - Day 2

Starting Weight - 309lb (heaviest was 318lb in the fall of 2009, lowest was 234lb last October)
Weight at Beginning of Challenge - 267
Current Weight - 263.6  (lots of water weight lost)
Total Weight Lost - 3.4lb

  • walked (with poles) 5 Km - 1 hour
  • abs & arms (with 2 lb weights) - 10 min
  • 25 squats - 5 min
  • stretching - 10 min
  • total number of steps - 8500
  • 6 glasses water (4 litres)
  • Breakfast: Breakfast sandwich (skinny multigrain bagel, butter, 1 egg, cheddar, ham, sriracha)
  • Lunch: Slumgullion leftovers
  • Dinner: Fried Chicken (homemade, 2.5 pieces), 1/2 cup Mashed Potatoes, Salad, Italian dressing
  • Snacks: Ice cream
I know I shouldn't be having the ice cream.  I know.  Particularly after fried chicken (which is something I only make once or twice a year).  Once the ice cream is gone, I won't be buying any more. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Updates and A 100 Day Challenge

Hey Humble Readers...

If anyone is still out there reading this, I owe you all some updates. 

So, here we are, a month later and still no job for my Beloved.  Honestly, I'm not handling this well.  My stress level is pretty well maxed out and my eyes have been twitching for weeks.  He has had a couple of interviews, but nothing has panned out.  He did get a couple of good prospects at the end of last week, so we'll see how those play out for us. 

We are at the point where I'm probably going to have to go back to work soon, at least temporarily. Thankfully, there is an option for me at my old store.  And we are also talking about the distinct possibility of having to start looking outside of the Shire for work for my Beloved.  We don't want to have to change cities.  I'm not at all excited about the prospect. 

Pippin had a follow up hearing test today, just to be sure that the results we got six months ago were accurate.  His speech is still very delayed, but he is showing some progress.  There are several words that he says regularly, even if they are really only decipherable by my Beloved and I.  Bubble, purple, ball, car, fly, shoe, cup, Mum, Da (dad), bless you, down, up, uh-oh, and bye-bye.  He's still teething his two year molars, and there are times when the poor kid will just grab his cheeks and scream.  Not fun.  We are still having to tape his diaper with packing tape at nap time and bed time.  His eczema has flared up again (I think tied to his teething), and is as bad as it ever was. 

Ginny is 3 and a half, going on 15.  She loves the park, the library, and our little garden on the balcony.  Honestly, I don't know what she's going to do when my Beloved goes back to work because we won't be able to go to the park as often as we have been.  She does a few lessons every day at and is doing really well with her letters and numbers.  I think she's feeling the stress in the hobbit-hole... she's regressed on her thumb-sucking.  She had cut it back to just when she was falling asleep a few months ago, but now it's sneaking back in during the day.  Oh, and she's become quite the little gear-head... she can recognize and name several different makes of cars and their logos. 

My weight-loss plateaued quite a while ago now, and started going the wrong way.  The size 16 jeans that I bought in January aren't comfortable at all now.  And a few months ago I got rid of all my capris from last summer because they were too big... Sadly, they would probably fit me fine right now AND I don't have any capris to wear now that the weather has warmed up. 

Because of my realization of my current weight situation, I have come up with an idea.  I am going to challenge myself to 100 days of change.  Starting today, and until September 2nd, I am planning on posting my daily progress and efforts toward getting myself back on track.  I'm very angry at myself for allowing the weight to come back, for the poor choices I've made.  I want to use that anger as a catalyst, and if posting here will keep me accountable in some small way, then that's what I have to do. 

And hopefully, I will get my bloggy poop in a group and strengthen my writing muscles again in the process. 

To that end, here is today's update. 

100 Day Challenge - Day 1

Starting Weight - 309lb (heaviest was 318lb in the fall of 2009, lowest was 234lb last October)
Current Weight - 267lb

  • walked (with poles) 5-ish Km - 1 hour (forgot my pedometer)
  • abs & arms (with 2 lb weights) - 10 min
  • 25 squats - 5 min
  • stretching - 10 min
  • 6 glasses water (4 litres)
  • Breakfast: Breakfast sandwich (skinny multigrain bagel, butter, 1 egg, cheddar, ham, sriracha)
  • Lunch: 2 peanut butter and raspberry jam sandwiches
  • Dinner: Slumgullion (ground beef, tomato soup, sour cream, onion, garlic, peas, macaroni), salad (romaine, tomatoes, cucumber, Italian dressing)
  • Snacks: popcorn w/ butter, ice cream
Overall, a good day in terms of getting my butt moving, but pretty bad with food choices.  I didn't snack in the morning, so I know that's why I ended up making some poor choices in the afternoon. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

No-Good-Very-Bad Month

Hey Humble Readers...

I'm sorry to have been absent for so long.  Things in the Shire have been challenging at best, and down-right awful at their worst. 

It started a month ago, when I tried a new workout and on my second time through the workout, I managed to hurt myself in a big way.  The workout wasn't anything big, a short and quick routine that involved doing leg lifts (both sides), squats, some tricep curls with light weights, 15 push ups (from my knees), and 30 crunches.  Pause for a minute, then repeat... do this three times.  Sounds pretty easy, right? 

Well, I managed to damage my left shoulder.  I thought I had just strained it and didn't seek out medical attention for a couple of days, until every breath was bringing tears to my eyes.  A trip to the ER, and low and behold, I had slightly torn my rotator cuff (or so the ER doc claimed).  I left the hospital with a Rx for naproxen and orders to do no heavy lifting for a week (ha ha... with a very large toddler in the house?  Not to mention an active preschooler?  I ended up having to have help for a couple of days to manage the kids). 

Here's the thing... apparently, I can't take naproxen.  I don't know if it was a reaction with my regular meds, which my pharmacist should have caught, or if I've developed some sort of sensitivity to it (used to take naproxen regularly for menstrual pain when I was a teen and young adult).  Whatever the cause, I was only able to take the meds for two days, because I ended up feeling like I was having a heart attack.  Breathing was still painful, my chest was super tight, shooting pains up my neck, tremendous headache, and I could feel my heart banging against my ribs it was pounding so hard.  I stopped taking the meds, and went to just extra strength ibupro.fen for a while.  I still wasn't feeling great, but it was better.  It wasn't until I went completely off the ibu about a week later that I began to feel better.  I can still feel it in my lungs occasionally, and it scared the tar out of me.  I will be getting my doc to make a note in my file that naproxen is a no-go for me from now on. 

I was just starting to feel better from all that mess when we woke up one morning to Pippin puking his guts out.  Grand.  The next day it was Ginny puking, and by that evening it was me.  Pip seemed to recover quickly, but then developed roseola (baby measles).  Ginny and I took a couple of days to get over the stomach flu.  And then, just as we were starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, when I thought I might be done cleaning up puke for the time being... my Beloved got slammed with it.  This is the man who never gets sick.

It's been a week now since we were all sick, and I was beginning to think we were coming to a bend in the road.  The weather has been improving, and spring is finally starting to emerge.  I have been able to get back out walking, and while I'm not up to the 6km I was doing last year, I'm feeling good about getting in 4km in 45 minutes. 

That bend in the road I was hoping for, well, it came today.  It turned out to be a blind corner that led us right off a cliff.  At 8:30 this morning my Beloved came home from work with a pink slip and a severance package.  He's been laid off. 

Needless to say, I've been hovering on the edge of panic for the last few hours.  His severance amounts to a little more than a month of his salary.  My Beloved has been, for the most part, taking this in his normal stride... nothing frazzles that man for very long.  He's been quiet and just focussed on playing with the wee-lings while I stomp around in anger and frustration. 

I am trying very hard to get to a place where I can be optimistic about all this... we weren't 100% happy with his job, but it was a good paying job and the company was paying for his CGA courses.  The benefits package wasn't sufficient for our family, either. I can only hope and pray that the right door will open, and will open quickly. 

In the mean time, I will likely be raiding our Christmas savings jar, and all vacation time we had planned for this year is out the window (oh my mom isn't going to be happy about that).  I'm really trying not to panic too much, but if he doesn't find a new job quickly, we could really be in a bad place financially.  If you pray, could you please remember our little hobbit clan?  I would appreciate it. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday Night Chit Chat: Gutter Balls

Howdy Humble Readers...

Do you know how to tell if you're a bad bowler?  If your three year old daughter beats you.  Yes, she had the bumpers up, but she still kicked my butt. 

Ginny and I spent the afternoon at the local bowling alley with a bunch of families from our Sunday School.  It was a lot of fun and Ginny was hysterical.  Waiting for her balls to get to the pins was painful, and once an employee had to come and clear two balls from right in the middle of the lane.  Even so, she still managed to knock down more pins than I did.  Oh man...

This past week has been a bit on the challenging side.  I have had PMS from hell.  Not that I was terribly grouchy... there were moments, but not constant.  It was all the other stuff... particularly the water retention and the back ache.  I thought I was going to lose my mind, not to mention that it was very frustrating when I was just getting back on track with some exercise to see all that weight come back (even though I know it was just water). 

Other highlights from the week... taking the wee-lings for hair cuts (Pippin looks like such a big boy with his hair so short), introducing the wee-lings to people at my Beloved's office, and having some success with a new approach to Pip's diaper issues (we are now putting his diaper on backwards and taping it). 

On to this week's chit chat.  What...
Are you reading?  I put American Heiress on hold temporarily as my copy of my friend J.R. Vikse's new book arrived the other day.  Fictions Of Questionable Length is an interesting collection of short stories and poems that J.R. has written over the course of the past six years.  Definitely eclectic and surprising (especially since I know the author), the stories have something for everyone.  If you want to check it out, you can order it via Amazon. 

Are you watching: A documentary about the Tower of London on PBS.  Also recording Once Upon a Time, and Believe. 

Are you looking forward to this week: Hopefully getting to see my mom on Saturday.  We'll see if we are able to make that happen. 

Is one thing you did last week that you don't want to repeat this week:  I didn't work out once all week.  The intense (read: excruciating) back ache that dogged me all week put the kibosh on any serious physical activity. 

Was your best moment over the last week? Pippin, this morning, completely responding to our clean up song by putting toys away.  Shows that he was not only paying attention, but understood what I was asking for and was able to comply.  He also got into sharing the peace at church (the part in our liturgy when we shake hands with those around us and say "Peace be with you"), and would put out his hand to shake whenever I said "Peace be with you". 

Is your #1 goal for next week? Fitness!  A multi-pronged goal... early morning workouts (get in 5), drink my water every day (120 oz each day), walking/marching for 15-20 minutes following each meal. 

Song can't you get out of your head? The theme song from Peg + Cat (a kids show on PBS that Ginny loves). 

Best/Worst financial decision over the last week?  Best - kept my grocery bill under budget.  Worst - Two trips to Tim Horton's this week.  Completely unnecessary.  Both nutritionally and financially. 

Is something that you'd like to learn to do?  I'd like to learn how to make jewelry... the wire wrapped kind.  I like so much of it when I see it at the farmer's market, but it's so pricey.  I'd like to see how much it would cost for me to make it. 

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

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tearing My Hair Out

Hey Humble Readers...

I know I have brought this up before, but Pippin is going to drive me around the bend.  I love my wee Mister to death, but there are certainly times when I'm not his biggest fan. 

He has, for quite some time, been taking his clothes at the drop of a hat.  And after the clothes are off, his diaper is quick to follow.  Then we end up with varying degrees of disgusting messes to clean up. 

There are some factors to take into consideration when I think about why he's doing this. 
  • His eczema flares up regularly around his ankles and his waist, so I know that pants aren't his best friend right now.  He rarely wears socks for this reason, but I don't feel I have that option with pants... might not go over well out in public.  Not to mention that it is still winter-like out there. 
  • He has recently gone through a growth spurt so many of his pants and jeans are snug around his waist (and I'm trying not to have to buy him more pants so close to the end of winter). 
  • It almost always happens when he is bored.  This is usually when he's in the playpen or the crib.  I do try to limit the playpen time for him, but I feel forced to choose between keeping him safe and contained when I have to leave the room or am cooking etc, and having a potential mess to clean up.  He always has toys to play with in the playpen, but only a soft book and a stuffie in the crib at naptime. 
  • Sharing a room with Ginny means that naptime rarely includes a nap.  They both need a rest, and if they get a little bit of quiet time that's better than nothing.  But Ginny has been caught not only egging Pip on while he removes his diaper, but actively helping in diaper removal and the finger painting that follows. 

We have been using packing tape on his diapers for months now.  I don't like it... it's inconvenient, not to mention time consuming, and I'm always concerned about the adhesive coming in contact with his skin. 

But now the little stinker has managed to figure out how to take his diaper off, even with a double strapping of tape around his waist.  Hence the tearing out my hair scenario. 

I don't dare say anything about it to my mom because she'll start in on how he's ready to start potty training (and beyond the saga that is my potty training experience with Ginny, and how I'm not interested in starting down that road with Pip just yet, but really, how would I go about potty training a little boy who is only just beginning to communicate in basic form?).  Potty training is also the consensus on most of the mommy message boards I've perused. 

I'm going to try a set of footie pjs put on backwards tomorrow at naptime.  Do any of you have any other suggestions? 

I love my little boy, and I don't want to wish away this age, but man oh man I cannot wait until we are DONE with diapers. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sunday Night Chit Chat: Pity Party Of One

Hey Humble Readers...

I know it's been a while.  A long while.  I've been in a bit of a funk lately, and haven't really felt like I've had much of anything worthwhile to say.  But now, after a week of sunshine and warm temps that have the huge mounds of snow in retreat, I'm beginning to feel a bit better about things.  My eagerness for spring to get here always makes the dregs of winter a bit unbearable. 

We seemed to have a stretch of bad luck for a while that didn't help my overall outlook.  My Beloved and I were in a car accident (no one was injured, thank Heaven) that caused more than $5000 damage to Tilly the Toyota.  I've had issues with AF, coming both late and early, with extended stretches of my PMS symptoms which makes things very uncomfortable (seriously, this month my PMS symptoms started right after ovulation and have just gotten more and more intense each day).  My back and bo.obs are killing me, I've had a lot of IBS flares, and I'm not the most pleasant person to be around.  And then to top it all off, on Friday night when I was doing my grocery shopping, I dropped my phone (only had it since December) and the glass totally cracked and spidered.  It's going to cost almost $300 to fix it.  The touch screen still works, but I'm hesitant to use it much until we can afford to fix it. 

Things, however, are not all bad. 

Pippin is a part of what has me feeling better about things in general.  While he still isn't talking, there have been some great steps forward.  He used his first hand sign (he said "No" to my Beloved just over a week ago), and often will actually say "buh-buh" and wave when one of us leaves.  He claps a lot, does this funny little stomp-shuffle thing whenever I say "dancin'?" to him.  He now can point out his ears and his toes when asked, and he is generally a lot more vocal than he was a month ago.  Still a very long way to go, but it gives me hope that the road might not be quite as long as I originally thought. 

Ginny also had a big accomplishment this week.  She has been a thumb-sucker almost from the get-go.  I remember when she was very small she would put her thumb in her mouth, with her palm to her nose, and tap her fingertips on her forehead.  It was adorable.  But a three year old who sucks her thumb isn't quite as adorable.  We have been working on 'no thumbs' for a while now, and this past week she went all week without sucking her thumb during the day (at night will take longer, I know).  As a reward for working so hard, she and I had a date-day yesterday.  We ran some errands together, went to a 'grown-up' restaurant (Denny's) where she got to have pancakes for lunch which she thought was amazing, did a little shopping (got her some rubber boots so she can splash in the puddles), and then went to a little cupcake bakery for a treat. 
Yum!  Mint Chocolate!
On to this week's chit chat.  Here's what I'm...  (Ooops... I wrote my post before Carla posted her's and she has new all questions this week.  I'll jump on the new questions next week.)

Reading - Right now I'm reading a Downton-esque novel called "The American Heiress".  I only just started it, so I have high hopes for it.  I just finished "The Dressmaker", a novel which follows the aftermath of the sinking of the Titanic.  The main character is a wannabe designer who works as a pseudo-secretary for Lady Duff Gordon (infamously the one woman in the lifeboat with only 12 passengers when it could have held 50).  The story about the inquiries and the public outcry after the Titanic sunk was fascinating, but the romantic parts were a bit weak in my estimation (3 out of 5 hairy hobbit-toes). 

Watching - Being Sunday, and no Downton for a very long time, I will be watching Once Upon A Time.  I may also record Resurrection. We'll see what happens. 

Listening To - Pippin is playing with his remote control car that keeps saying "I'm a little racer."  Over, and over, and over, and over, and... you get the idea. 

Cooking/Baking - Lots of good things on the menu this week.  Tonight is Italian pot roast with mashed taters, roasted green beans, and Yorkshire puddings.  Tomorrow night is true Shepherds' Pie (made with lamb!) and mint chocolate chip ice cream pie, in honour of St. Patty's day.  Later in the week I'm making chicken paprikash (my special 1/2 birthday gift to myself). 

Happy I Accomplished This Week - Got in 5 days of work outs.  Yay!  The scale hasn't moved in a while, but I know that AF's prolonged announcement of her impending arrival is a part of that.  I'm retaining a lot of water.  Oh, and I was able to donate blood again!  Yay!  That's two donations in a row where I had good iron counts (and I had really good blood pressure too!). 

Looking Forward To Next Week - My Beloved is going to take Friday off, using some of his banked overtime.  The wee-ling's are going for haircuts, which is always fun.  And I WILL make some progress on my spring cleaning. 

Thankful For - Being able to go out with the girls.  I really needed some good conversation and wine this week, and last night I was able to get both.  We went and saw the Hobbit at the discount theater (we had all seen it together on opening night, but we were sitting so close to the screen that it wasn't a great experience), and then out for drinks and nibbles.  It was really nice. 

What's on your wish list right now?  A new enameled cast iron dutch oven/soup pot.  Mine is woefully stained from doing coffee braised roast beef, and the handle on the lid broke ages ago so it makes things a bit tricky when removing the lid.  I seriously long for Le Creuset. 

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

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Night Chit Chat: Valentine's Day

Hey Humble Readers...

I confess, I had a rough couple of days after Pippin's speech assessment.  I know that it's nothing but good that we are seeking help at this early stage, and that the likelihood is that he will be caught up developmentally by the time he starts school.  It was just difficult to know that my wee little mister is going to have a tougher road than I would have hoped. 

We have actually already seen a few small improvements in just the last few days of being very intentional with him.  He sort of plays peekaboo now, he can point to his ears when asked about half the time, and he's already vocalizing a bit more (that might just be wishful thinking on my part).  Pip also really got into watching some of the Olympic figure skating and would spin and spin until he fell down and then he'd laugh like crazy. 

Valentine's Day was a big hit in the hobbit hole.  Because we are housebound so much at this time of year, I really try to make the most of the small celebrations.  Anything for a break in the normal routine.  Ginny and I decorated the house with some craft foam hearts, and some sparkly heart garland (Thank heaven for the dollar store!).  We also created a little centerpiece for the table with some jars filled with cinnamon hearts (Ginny loves how they make her 'tongue tingle') and a little mailbox for their valentines. 
Our little centerpiece

The wee-ling's valentines were small bags of m&m's with a tag that said
"Mommy & Daddy love you more&more every day!"

I made a special dinner for us, crab Rangoon stuffed salmon, roasted potatoes, and steamed asparagus.  And for dessert, I made a chocolate espresso ganache tart topped with raspberries.  It was so yummy!  Both of the wee-lings chowed down like mad on all of it.  Pip particularly enjoyed the salmon (mental note - make more fish for my wee mister). 
Dollar store fake rose petals made for some fun times.

The ganache tart!  Yum!

My Beloved is now on vacation for a little over a week.  I'm so happy... between year end stress and overtime, and his course work, he has been stretched super thin lately.  Of course it doesn't help that he hasn't had a vacation since the summer of 2012 (other than when we went to K-town a year ago for GG's funeral, but I'm not counting that).  We've both been lazy the last couple of days, napping and not doing much except watching the Olympics.  We do have a few plans for this week, including a day out for the two of us without the wee-lings.  I'm also hoping to tackle a few of my bigger spring cleaning projects while he's home too. 

On to tonight's chit chat.  Here's what I'm...

Reading - I finished the Sabrina Jeffries romance novel (not as enjoyable as some of her others), and then went on to read Escape by Carolyn Jessop, about her life in and escape from the fundamentalist polygamous Mormon sect where she was born and raised.  Her life truly was harrowing (married to a man more than 30 years her senior at age 18, as the fourth wife, she and her children were subjected to horrible emotional and physical abuse), and the fact that she managed to get out and gain custody of all eight of her children is nothing short of miraculous.  Now I'm re-reading Ride the Wind, a fictionalized account of Cynthia Ann Parker's life after she was kidnapped by the Comanche in the late 1800s. 

Watching - Downton, and I might watch an episode of Salvage Hunters from the dvr if I feel like staying up later. 

Listening To - My Beloved blow zerberts on Pip's tummy, Ginny singing bah-bah black sheep. 

Cooking/Baking - Tonight was a honey-garlic roasted chicken, mashed taters, roasted broccoli, and yorkies.  I'm looking forward to tomorrow night... I'm going to do a large pork shoulder low and slow in an apple cider braise, and we're going to have it for a few different meals.  Yum!

Happy I Accomplished This Week - Ummm... I can't think of anything.  How sad. 

Looking Forward To Next Week - going antiquing with my Beloved, getting a few things done around the hobbit hole.

Thankful For - My Beloved.  It was eight years ago on Valentine's day that we were matched on eHarmony, and I have been thankful every day since for his presence in my life. 

***Bonus Question***  If you could have Carla (our Chit-Chat host and seamstress extraordinaire) make you anything what would it be?  There's a really groovy wallet and cell phone case that I've seen on pinterest several times and I would love to have one.  And Carla always has the best combinations of fabrics, I'm sure she would do a beautiful job. 

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

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Verdict

Hey Humble Readers...

Don't fall off your chair... Yes, I'm writing two days in a row. 

Pippin had his speech therapy assessment today.  The speech pathologist had him play with a couple of different toys, and asked me a lot of questions.  What sounds does he make when he's happy?  What types of sounds does he make when he's upset?  Does he like music?  Does he point out his body parts when asked?  Is he a loud little guy or is he quiet?  And on and on and on. 

She was particularly happy that I had brought a video of Pip making some of his usual sounds.  (Thanks again, Rain, for the suggestion!)

At the end of it all, we got her take on things.  Ultimately, it's a good news/bad news situation.  The good news is that we sought intervention early, as many parents wait until their children are three or older to seek help.  There are resources and support available, and we are willing to do the work. 

The bad news is that his speech is categorized as a severe delay, and his understanding delay is considered moderate. 

I have to say at this point that I feel slightly vindicated.  For several months I knew that something wasn't right, but so many people in my life told me not to worry, Pippin would talk when he was ready.  I knew that he was struggling, and I'm glad I pushed to get him assessed.  Trust your mommy-intuition!

The plan, for now, is pretty much centered on my Beloved and I.  We are going to be working on labeling everything in Pip's world... verbally, of course.  We had already been doing this a fair bit, but now it will be a lot more intensive.  The speech pathologist said that we'll be 'giving him the answers' rather than asking the questions (not asking 'what's this?' while holding his cup, but rather saying 'cup' over and over).  We need to simplify our communication with him, from sentences down to key words. 

She said that she really wants to see Pip using more gestures (he has only a handful of gestures that he uses regularly) and she wants him to be a noisier little guy.  We will be working on sounds (animal sounds, car sounds, etc) along with simplifying our communication with him.  Again, these are things were doing already, but just being much more intentional and intensive about it. 

Next, we are on the wait list for a three month program (called It Takes Two To Talk, from the Hanen Center), primarily for the parents, that will give us more in depth tools on how to help Pip.  It won't likely be until May or June before we are able to take part, but at this point I'm just glad that we have some forward momentum. 

Our speech pathologist really gave me a lot of really good feedback, and encouragement.  Ultimately, no one can make a child talk.  It's all about giving him opportunities to mimic and repeat what he hears.  Also, the fact that he doesn't talk is in no way an indication of a lack of intelligence.  He's a bright and curious little boy (I knew that, of course, but it was good to hear an impartial observer say it), and is just slow to talk. 

She's going to be sending a copy of her report to me and to Dr. B, our family doctor.  She told me to call if I ever have any questions, or am in need of suggestions, or just need to bounce ideas off her. 

Overall, I'm pleased with how things went today.  Did I like hearing that Pip's delay is indeed 'severe'?  Not even a little bit.  But I'm glad to know that we have a plan, and are moving forward. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sunday Night Chit Chat: Back Into The Deep Freeze

Howdy Humble Readers...

Whew, that was a rough week.  The crud that landed on my Beloved and I is finally starting to ease.  I can breath easily, but the cough still keeps me from getting a good night's sleep.  Thankfully, other than Pip getting a touch of the sniffles, the wee-lings have been relatively untouched this go round. 

Winter has decided that it's not done with the Shire, not by a long shot.  We have been under an extreme windchill warning for the last two days.  We haven't gotten much new snow at all since the beginning of January, but it's absolutely frigid out there.  We actually decided not to go to church this morning because, even though my Beloved and I are feeling moderately better, the prospect of bundling the wee-lings and ourselves up was just too daunting. 

I forgot to mention last week that Pippin's hearing test went really well.  He only missed one tone out of the whole test, and that was right at the beginning when he wasn't really sure what was going on.  We have his speech pathology assessment tomorrow morning, and I'm curious how they are going to help us help him.  I took Rain's advice and recorded Pip making many of his usual sounds to show the speech therapist. 

The wee-lings and I watched the opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympics, and I made a bit of a game out of it with Ginny.  She has a placemat with a map of the world on it, so during the parade of nations she would try to guess where they were from.  She only knows a few countries (we added Russia to the list this week), but we had fun and it was a great way for her to get engaged with the Olympics. 

I was feeling well enough on Friday to go out with the girls to celebrate JJ's birthday.  We went to a new-ish place in town (I had a really good burger), to a movie (the Monuments Men... wonderful movie!  Made me so thankful that I've been able to see so many great works of art in museums around the world), and then out for drinks at an Irish pub with a VERY loud band.  We had a lot of fun and laughed a lot.  I always love getting to spend time with them. 

Potty training is still an ongoing process with Ginny.  I think we had a minor victory today.  Ginny claims that she 'went stinky' in the potty.  I was in the living room, and my Beloved was putting Pip down for his nap, so we don't know for sure (if she did, she cleaned herself up really well).  She's gotten very independent about going.  She usually only needs assistance with dealing with buttons and zippers after she's done.  She hasn't had a wet accident in weeks now.  Of course, we are still using diapers at night and nap time, and Pull-ups when we go out. 

Enough rambling.  On to tonight's chit chat.  Here's what I'm...

Reading - My reading binge has come to an end.  I haven't been able to focus on reading hardly at all this week.  I'm still reading the trashy romance that I started a week ago.  Now that I'm beginning to feel better, I'm hoping to get back into reading more.  Next on the list is a biography from a woman who left one of the polygamist sects we hear so much about in the news. 

Watching - Other than my usual Sunday night trip to Downton Abbey, I've been watching a lot of the Olympics.  I particularly enjoy the hockey and figure skating, but I was thrilled with the gold and silver medals won by the Dufour-Lapointe sisters in women's moguls. 

Listening to - I can hear my Beloved taping Pippin's diaper.  Yes, we've had to go back to using packing tape to keep him from taking his diaper off and making a huge mess. 

Cooking/Baking - Tonight was coffee braised short ribs with garlic mashed potatoes, roasted green beans, and yorkies.  I'm trying a couple of new-to-me recipes this week... chicken Florentine penne, and chili garlic pork.  I have a special dinner planned for Valentine's day, although I still need to decide what I'm doing for dessert for that night.

Happy I Accomplished This Week - Ummm, the wee-lings were fed, read to, and bathed.  Oh, and I managed to run the vacuum.  That's about it. 

Looking Forward To Next Week - Getting back into a normal routine, Pip's appointment tomorrow, and celebrating Valentines Day with the wee-lings. 

Thankful For - Relative good health.  I am such a wimp when I get sick, but knowing that it will go away and I will feel better is such a blessing.

***Bonus Question*** What lesson did you learn this week?  Never trust that a toddler won't do something just because it seems unlikely.  Pip, even with packing tape or duct tape over the tabs on his diaper, has once or twice managed to take his diaper off.  And he's fast about it too.  I'll put him in the playpen while I go to the bathroom or into the kitchen to make lunch, and in just that short amount of time he'll have his pants and diaper off, and have managed to make a mess for me to clean up. 

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

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sunday Night Chit Chat... Sort Of...

Hey Humble Readers...

This won't be my usual recap of the week, or Sunday Night Chit Chat, as I am totally under the weather.  My Beloved brought home a wretched cold earlier this week, and it took up residence in my respiratory system a couple of days ago.  I'm a bit of a mess.  But all things considered, this is my first cold since October, so I'm thankful to have such a long stretch of relative good health. 

I've been reading a lot again this week.  I finished Blood by Lawrence Hill, and it was AWESOME!!  I loved it, and I so rarely read non-fiction.  I want to put some more thoughts together on it, and give you the full run down.  Then I went on to read The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom.  It was a very good story, although I thought that the actual writing was a bit weak.  Set in the late 1700, the primary character is a little Irish girl who loses both parents on the voyage to America, so the captain of the ship takes her to his plantation as an indentured servant. She's given to Belle, the slave who runs the kitchen house, and is raised by the slaves who work in the big house.  It follows Lavinia, the little girl, as she grows up trying to walk the line between the black family she loves and the white world where opportunities lie.  As I said, it was a good story, but I had some issues with the actual writing (choppy, repetitive in places, a lot of showing rather than telling).  Next, I'm onto a rather trashy romance novel, but it's light and entertaining. 

Well, that's about all I have the wherewithal to write tonight, Humble Readers.  I'm going to watch Downton and then head to bed.  Hopefully, I will sleep well tonight and feel a bit better in the morning. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Night Chit Chat: Spring Dreaming

Good Evening Humble Readers...

I hope that you all have had a great week.  It was sort of a sluggish week around the hobbit hole, with a serious lack of anything significant being accomplished. 

The weather this past week has been astounding.  We have been having a prolonged January thaw, punctuated by several chinooks.  It was so warm toward the end of the week that I was able to have the windows open in the afternoon to allow fresh air to fill the hobbit hole.  It felt so nice!  As of today, we are back into seasonal temperatures (well below freezing).  While there is still no shortage of snow (if only you could see the mountains of snow in all the parking lots around town), we have actually had a very dry month. 
You can actually see a bit of grass under the trees!
I'm in no way thinking that winter is waning, because I know for a fact that we will likely still get our heaviest snows of the season in February and March.  We still have a good three months of snow left to go.  Heck, we've had snow in May in the last several years. 

Even knowing that winter is far from over, I'm starting to itch to plant things in the pots on our balcony.  I want to expand our container garden this year to include a few vegetables, and I want to include the wee-lings in the planting and maintaining of our little garden.  Do any of you have any experience or tips for container gardens? 
My sad little flower pots right now.
I know I want to attempt to replicate the success I had last year with basil and thyme, and I'm hopeful that at least one of my lavender plants will come back after the winter.  I'm thinking of getting Ginny to plant some chives (for quick gratification... it grows so fast), and she's very excited to grow some carrots.  I'm going to attempt to grow tomatoes again, although I think I might stick to cherry tomatoes.  Any other suggestions? 

The main hurdle for container gardens is that they dry out much quicker than a traditional garden, but I have a plan to help combat this (going to try the pop-bottle trick).  My only concern is our planned week away in June.  Perhaps I'll see if I can get a friend to stop by to water the plants for us. 

***Ugh.  Just had to spend more than an hour cleaning in the wee-lings' room.  Pip has taken to removing his diaper again, and I forgot to tape the tabs down before naptime.  I walked in to get them up from their naps and found him naked from the waist down, and the entire crib, inside and out, covered in poop.  I know that Ginny was in on it, because it was in places that he couldn't reach and of course she had poop all over her hands.  I don't want to rush them growing up, but I'm sure looking forward to the end of this phase.***

On to this week's chit chat.  Here's what I'm...

Reading - Oh my, I have been reading up a storm this week.  I finished Plantation by Dorothea Benton Frank (meh, I didn't like the main character... she was very wishy washy, whining about her lack of attention from her mom one moment, and then treating her sister-in-law like total crap).  Then I read the newest Stuart McLean, The Vinyl CafĂ© Story Exchange.  Love, love, loved it!  It's a collection of stories submitted from people all across Canada.  They were funny, poignant, and sweet.  Wonderful read!  And now I'm reading Lawrence Hill's new book, from the CBC Massey Lecture Series, called Blood: The Stuff of Life.  I love this book so much that I'm planning an entire post about it.  It's all about the politics of blood... race, gender, religion, how blood figures in our language, in our culture.  It's awesome!  Next book on the list is The Kitchen House by Grissom.  Oh, and I discovered an awesome website this past week,  You put in titles you've read and it makes recommendations on what you might like to read next.  I love it.

Watching - It's Sunday, so that means Downton!  I recorded it earlier this evening, so I'm planning on pouring myself a glass of wine as soon as I'm done this post, and curl up on the couch with the Crawleys. 

Listening to - My first ever episode of Modern Family.  I understand why I don't watch this show.  I really don't like half the actors. 

Cooking/Baking - Tonight was garlic and herb pot roast, mashed taters, steamed vegetables, and yorkies.  I found a recipe for a copy cat version of the Starbucks chocolate cinnamon bread that I want to try.

Happy I Accomplished This Week - All that reading.  I'm so excited by it. 

Looking Forward To Next Week - Pip's hearing test on Tuesday.  I'm 97.6% certain that there's nothing wrong with his hearing, but I'm glad we're going ahead with the test. 

Thankful For - That AF finally showed up.  She was a full week late, and I was not only pms-ing beyond belief, but I was also starting to freak out a bit.  I know it's extremely unlikely that I could get pregnant, but the fear of facing it again was starting to creep in. 

***Bonus Question*** Do you have any phobias?  Other than getting pregnant again?  Well, birds.  Yes, I'm ornithophobic.  Any thing with feathers and anything that flies creeps me out beyond belief. 

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

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Night Chit Chat: Best Laid Plans

Hey Humble Readers...

How is it Sunday again already??  Where did this week go?

It was a pretty busy one for all of the Gamgees.  My Beloved didn't have to work overtime this week, but likely will next week.  I ended up at the walk-in clinic, thinking I had an ear infection.  Thankfully that wasn't the case, but I had some pretty odd pressure in my ear, and a lot of headaches from that.  The doctor was sure it was just a bit of a blockage, and whatever it was it's cleared up now. 

I got to hang out with my friends, Sira and JJ, and we did our Christmas gift exchange.  My plan this year for the girls was to do homemade gourmet gift baskets.  I included some of the plum jam I made in the fall, some orange and grapefruit marmalade that I made this past week, a bottle of wine each, some crackers, and honey.  I also wanted to include some homemade goat cheese.  It looked so easy to make... whole goats milk, lemon juice, and a bit of salt.  I was so excited and so hopeful... I had visions of making goat cheese a couple of times a month, never having to buy those expensive little blocks again.  HA HA!  It TOTALLY DIDN'T WORK!  After doing some further reading, it turns out that the milk I used was too pasteurized.  Bah.  So I bought little blocks of goat cheese for their baskets.  LOL.  At least I tried.
I have never been this close at a hockey game before.  It was awesome!!!
Friday night was a date night that didn't go exactly as planned.  There's a new-ish irish pub in town, and my Beloved and I were going to go there before the hockey game (tickets were a gift from the wee-lings to my Beloved for Christmas).  The place was crazy busy, and we ended up eating at a pretty blah pub (too loud, bland food) down the street.  The hockey game was fun, even though our local team was thoroughly trounced.  Our seats were right at ice level, next to the penalty box.  I spent the entire first period twitching and flinching every time the puck came near us or someone was checked into the boards in front of us. 
A hot chocolate junkie!
Yesterday brought a busy morning, with a trip to the blood donor clinic (my iron was high enough to donate! Yay!) and the grocery store.  And then Ginny and I had a date.  I took her for a haircut, did some window shopping, and her first St.arbu.cks treat.  She had hot chocolate, which ended up dribbled down her front, and she was thrilled. 

Ok, onto tonight's chit chat.  Here's what I'm...

Reading - Finished 'Year of Wonders' last night.  I really enjoyed it, although the epilogue seemed a little out of place to me.  Didn't go anywhere close to what I was expecting.  But the book as a whole was great.  Now, I'm reading a book called 'Plantation' by Dorothea Benton Frank (or something like that).  Very different direction than my last read, this one being in the present day American South.  I'm only a couple of chapters in, so not really sure about it yet. 

Watching - Downton Abbey once the wee-lings are in bed.  And I'm recording the season premiere of Sherlock.  Don't think I'll watch it tonight though, as I'm pretty beat. 

Listening To - Pippin sucking back his milk.

Cooking/Baking - Tonight was an experiment in pork... a parmesan balsamic ranch pork roast.  Turned out really yummy.  Also, I have 100% perfected my Yorkshire puddings.  They come out huge, puffy, and hollow every time now.  Just the way I like them.  Yay!  We had mashed potatoes, gravy, and roasted acorn squash along side tonight. 

Happy I Accomplished This Week - Sent a ton of stuff to the thrift store.  Purged our cd collection, from nine boxes down to four (and they aren't full).  Got rid of all my size 20 and higher pants, jeans, and capris. 

Looking Forward To Next Week -  This is going to sound ridiculous, but I am looking forward to AF's arrival.  I have had particularly bad PMS this past week, and I'm feeling bad about how lousy my mood has been.  She's due any time. 

Thankful For - Pippin's most amazing hugs.  Seriously, he gives the best hugs ever. 

***Bonus Question*** What colours of clothing do you tend to gravitate towards?  Reds and purples.  I look better in deep reds, with a hint of purple in them, like burgundy.  For a long time there was a lot of grey in my wardrobe, but I've slowly been weeding that out, as it doesn't make me feel that great.  I definitely stay away from yellows and oranges.  They make me look ill. 

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

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday Night Chit Chat: Best Intentions

Hey Humble Readers...

Several times this week I intended to sit down and talk to you folks, and repeatedly I got distracted.  It's been a long week. 
Tucking in all her babies.

All tuckered out
Both Ginny and Pip have been just generally fussy and uncooperative.  At least five days this week began with full on tantrums from both of them.  The smallest thing can bring on a meltdown from Ginny these days, and I think Pippin is starting to really feel the frustration of his inability to communicate.  Top the week off with our first ever bona fide tummy ache for Ginny last night, and a tantrum from Pip this morning because we gave him Chee.rios rather than toast for breakfast, and you can see it's been a doozy. 

My Beloved is totally swamped at work, and has had to work overtime five of the last seven weeknights (he goes back in to the office after the wee-lings are in bed for 2-3 hours, after he's already worked a full day), and is currently at the office putting in more hours.  I'm more than a bit irked with his boss, who implied on the phone yesterday that my Beloved isn't putting in enough time (you know, he did take the whole day off yesterday.  How lazy, right? Gah!).  And given his boss' attitude, my Beloved will likely be working overtime for the next few days at least.  We are hoping that boss-man will at least approve my Beloved's time-off request for mid February.  My Beloved hasn't had a real vacation in more than a year, and with his course work on top of everything else, he's approaching burnout. 

The hobbit-hole is a mess, I've been eating a bunch of crap that I totally shouldn't be, and I'm generally feeling gross.  I've gotten myself into that wretched cycle of feeling like crap because I'm not taking care of myself and not taking care of myself because I feel like crap.  What bothers me even more, is that I KNOW WHAT I NEED TO BE DOING, and yet I'm not doing it.  About the only success this week was that I got in four workouts.  I need to go see Dr. B in the next week or so to get a refill on my prescriptions, so I need to have my ducks in a row by then. 

I really don't want to whine, it's just been a particularly challenging week. 

A few good things... Pippin has recently begun to really show affection.  He gives the best hugs I've ever gotten.  He also has begun to mimic a few different gestures, like putting his hands together when we say grace at the table or bedtime prayers.  Ginny, who has always been a bit standoffish when it comes to cuddles, has been wanting to spend a lot of time with me, reading or cuddled under a cozy blanket.  It's also been much warmer for the past few days and is due to continue for the foreseeable future, with temps almost at the freezing mark.  Thank the good Lord above for a January thaw!

On to this week's chit chat.  Here's what I'm...

Reading - Finally finished The Emperor of Paris.  It was a good story, I loved how the author wove together the stories of Octavio (an illiterate baker who collects books), his father (the thinnest baker in Paris), and Isabeau (a young art restorer at the Louvre with a tragic history).  A lovely book.  Now I'm onto Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks.  So far, I'm enjoying it very much. 

Watching - Right now, 101 Dalmatians with the wee-lings (it's the Disney movie this week).  Later on, DOWNTON! 

Listening to - The roar of the furnace, and Ginny saying 'peeka-peeka boo' over and over again. 

Cooking/Baking - Tonight is a roasted chicken with lemon and garlic.  Last night was baked beef, bean and cheese burritos with black bean salad. 

Happy I Accomplished This Week - The aforementioned four workouts.  That's four more than I've done in a good while.  Hoping to get that up to five this week. 

Looking Forward to Next Week - I have a couple of fun projects to do this week.  I hope they turn out for a multitude of reasons, but I do want to share them with you all if they turn out well.  I'm also getting together with the girls later this week to do our Christmas gift exchange (it's always too busy in December to get together), and a date with my Beloved on Friday (going out for dinner and to a WHL hockey game). 

Thankful For - For loving children, a husband who works hard, and a life that isn't always tidy. 

***Bonus Question*** If you could choose any time period to live in, what would you choose? I've always believed that I was born 100 years too late.  I don't have any illusions, if I had in fact been born in the 1870s rather than the 1970s, I wouldn't likely have been in the upper classes.  If anything I would have been someone like Daisy (Downton)... a lowly scullery maid or a washer woman.  But I do so love the clothes, and the etiquette. 

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

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunday Night Chit Chat: The Saga of The Nursery and Other Frustrations

Hey Humble Readers...
Bestest Buds...
I hope you've all had a good weekend.  Sadly mine was hijacked by a migraine and then a rather major overhaul on the wee-ling's bedroom.  I wasn't able to get my grocery shopping done until this afternoon (and I despise grocery shopping during the day on the weekends).  But, I'm feeling better now, the shopping is done, and the nursery is in a much more functional, albeit sparsely furnished, layout.  Are you ready for a convoluted tale? 

The overhaul on the nursery was predicated by our need to lower Pippin's crib.  He climbed out a couple of weeks ago, and I'd been worried ever since that he would fall and hurt himself, which he actually did just yesterday morning (he's fine, but I freaked).  When we moved his crib (which was the one we originally bought for Ginny) the previously cracked/repaired leg gave out.  This led to a mad search for an inexpensive toddler bed, as their room is too small to allow for a crib and a twin bed.  We abandoned the search after a rather frustrating bout of kijiji shopping.  Ginny is currently sleeping on a crib mattress on the floor and we converted her toddler bed back into a crib for Pip. 

And because of the space constraints and where the heat vent is located, we had to remove the attached dresser from Pip's crib and dispose of it (it only worked if attached to the crib).  That meant that I ended up having to rework every storage system I had in their room. I had to dash off to Wal.mart for a set of shelves (for toys), an organizer that hangs from the closet rod (for Pip's clothes), new room-darkening curtains (because the wee-lings have managed to destroy the blind), and a hamper.  It's all in order now, but it was a pain while in the process. 

If we are still in this condo in a year's time, we'll look into getting a set of bunk beds for the wee-lings because Pip will be done with the crib by then.  I'm hoping that won't be necessary though.  I am very much looking forward to the day when they each have their own room... for so many reasons. 

Other than that, this week has been relatively mellow.  Ginny's been doing very well with potty training, at least on the pee-pee side of things, only having one accident in the past two weeks.  I often have to remind her to take potty breaks, but at least once a day she tells us that she has to go.  As a rule, she'll only do BM during naptime when she's in a diaper, but there have been a couple of instances when she's wanted to try to 'do it like a big girl'.  Her listening skills have gone out the window the last couple of weeks, but from what I understand that's fairly normal for this age. 

Pippin, other than his major tumble that made my heart stop, has been doing well.  We were contacted by the speech and language department of our local health unit, and he is now scheduled for his assessment on February 10th.  He seems to still be teething, but it's not every day.  I really think we're almost done with that.  Yay!

Ok, enough rambles.  On to this week's chit chat.  Here's what I'm...

Reading - Still reading the Emperor of Paris.  It's good, although the author jumps around in different time periods, and it sometimes takes me a bit to figure out when things are going on.  Next up is Year of Wonders (thanks Rain, for the recommendation!).

Watching - DOWNTON ABBEY!!  Can you tell I'm excited?  I've been looking forward to this for ages.  After the wee-lings go to bed, I plan on curling up on the couch with a glass of wine and falling back into the world of the Crawleys. 

Listening to - Pippin's most adorable giggle as he watches the Muppets. 

Cooking/Baking - Major frustration here... I was planning on making pizza tonight, using my new pizza stone.  I made my usual pizza dough recipe, and it totally didn't work.  The yeast is brand new, just bought it today.  The dough didn't really come together very well in the mixer, and was rather dry when I kneaded it.  It barely rose, and was really spongy.  I'm not an experienced baker when it comes to yeast breads, but I've never had a recipe flop quite this majorly.  I ended up sending my Beloved to the store and we had pepperoni pizza bagels.  Not exactly what I was looking forward to for tonight. 

Happy I Accomplished This Week - I wrote.  I mean I really wrote.  I've been using some prompts in a book I bought years and years ago, just to stretch my writing muscles, and it's only been for fifteen or thirty minutes a day, but it's felt good. 

Looking Forward To Next Week - Getting started on my spring cleaning, working out five times, and trying a new recipe (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup).

Thankful For - Warmer weather that is coming.  Today our daytime high was -21C, with a wind chill around -30.  Tomorrow, and all of next week is supposed to be much milder, hanging out right below freezing.  And no more snow for a while!  Yay!

***Bonus Question*** Do you enjoy any winter sports?  LOL!  Well, I certainly don't play any, although when I was a kid I loved ice skating, and in the little town where I lived the only thing to do in the evenings was go to public skating.  I do appreciate a lot of winter sports more so than non-winter sports.  Hockey (international and junior level... not into the NHL), curling, figure skating are all good.  I prefer the winter Olympics to the summer.  Maybe that's just because Canada tends to fare better in the winter games. 

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

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy Hobbit-ish New Year!

Happy New Year, Humble Readers!

I hope that you all have had a wonderful holiday season, and that it was topped off with a great New Year celebration.  For my Beloved and I, it was a quiet night... a dinner of appies and baked brie, rum punch, playing cribbage, and watching stand-up comedy specials from the dvr.  Sadly, I didn't make it to midnight, having to head to bed at around 10:30.  I'm getting so old. 

As I write, it's fairly quiet in the hobbit-hole.  The wee-lings are both down for a nap (Ginny is likely just looking at books in bed, as she doesn't sleep often in the afternoon anymore), my Beloved is snoozing on the couch, and I'm half-watching the Westminster Kennel Club dog show.  A lovely pot roast is sending off the most delicious garlicky aroma, and sunshine is bouncing off the mounds of snow outside making things feel light and happy inside. 

It's terribly clichĂ©, but the new year is always such a good time to pause and take stock of where I've been, and to think and plan ahead for where I want to be going.  I recently went back and re-read my 2013 New Year post, and I'm fairly happy with how I've done in the last year.  I didn't accomplish everything I set out to, but I did make some good progress in a lot of areas, and I'm happy with where I am right now. 

I don't make resolutions, but I do set goals.  Some are silly or a bit frivolous.  Others are big, long term projects, that I couldn't possibly hope to accomplish in one year.  But I like to have them out there, in front of me so that I don't forget what I'm working toward.  Here's what's on tap for me in 2014...

Health - Continue in the direction I started in 2013 (*cough* need to get back on track).  This includes doing my daily workouts at home and the gym, tracking my blood sugars and food intake, and taking my vitamins regularly

Home - Have my spring cleaning done by Easter (list is written, planning on doing a few things each week), start prepping the hobbit-hole to be listed for sale in a year (replace a few light fixtures, fix a few things, push the condo board for new windows and doors), and expand my balcony garden this spring. 

Creative - Blog REGULARLY (three posts a week should be do-able), continue to strengthen my writing muscles (creative writing at least 15 minutes, 5 days a week), continue making my 'subway' art. 

Learning - More reading, less tv and pinterest (average 4 books per month, half should be new reads).  This category needs to be filled out, but I'm at a loss right now. 

Self-care - Same as last year, cut and colour my hair regularly, buy new summer clothes (build it into the budget, none of my old summer clothes fit). 

Other Projects - update the wee-lings' baby books (ASAP!), use Shutterfly to create family year books

I know it seems like a lot, but really a number of these are carry-over from last year and are just reminders for where I want to be heading.  My reading target is up only slightly over what I accomplished in 2013, and my self-care targets are to help me feel good about myself and to celebrate the work I'm doing to improve my health. 

2014 will bring a milestone birthday for me, and I have a few goals that I want to achieve before then, mostly health related (I WILL be off my blood pressure meds by then! I will!).  I know that this year will also have many other areas of focus, including discovering what comes next for Pippin's communication issues, and expanding Ginny's horizons with new program opportunities now that she's almost potty trained.  My Beloved will continue to plug away at his CGA course-work.

What's on your radar for the new year?