Thursday, July 28, 2011

all growed up

A moment you realized your child is growing up.

Look at those bangs ...

Four days shy of being 10 months old, I finally caved to Husband's suggestions and we decided to take Jacob to get his hair trimmed.

Not without giving him a full-fledged mohawk first ...

Much better! So handsome!

Somehow my baby is turning into a little boy. When did that happen?


Thanks, as always, to Mama Kat for the writer's prompt.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

a day in the life

I'm not sure why I haven't done one of these posts already. Most of my fave mommy bloggers have shared insights into their routines. Since I'm back to work now, I'm going to share a pretty typical Saturday. This is longgg, but, hey, it's real life.

6:15 am: Jacob is awake and saying so, loudly, from his crib. He's not crying exactly, but he definitely isn't impressed. This is one of my favourite moments of the day, because when I walk through his bedroom door, his sour face turns into a huge grin. It's pretty awesome to be loved like that. He's standing and starts to wildly slap the side of his crib as I approach, laughing. I scoop him up and nurse him briefly. During the week, I usually don't nurse him in the morning. It depends if he woke up to nurse during the night or not. We're slowly starting the weaning process, but that's a topic for another time. Today, he's distracted from his first snack of the morning by his infectious happiness. He keeps smiling up at me and I urge him to continue for a few more minutes. When he's had enough, I ask "Where's Dada?" and he whips his head toward the door. I say, "Let's go find him!" and we sneak into our bedroom where he pounces on Husband. "Good morning, mister boy!" is his daily greeting to Jacob. We spend some quiet time in bed. Jacob scales the headboard to look out the window as he does every day lately. He squeels at the sounds of birds chirping and dogs barking outside.

6:30 am: We all journey into our open-concept kitchen-living room area. Husband puts Jacob down on the floor and the baby starts to consider what kinds of mischief he can get into, crawling around the furniture, picking up and disgarding toys in his wake. Husband makes the coffee while I start to organize breakfast and Jacob scoots around underfoot. Jacob's having leftover French toast, diced pairs and lots of water. Husband and I are just having bagels today.

7 am to 8 am: Husband and I trade off between feeding Jacob and feeding ourselves. It's become so easy, this part of our day. It just flows. He does one thing, I do another, and it's all unspoken, yet somehow it all gets done. Husband goes to grab a quick shower, so I wipe Jacob's messy hands and face and we head to the play area in the living room. Jacob stands at his activity table, making music and bobbing his head and hips to the sounds. I sing a few songs -- we're stuck on Baby Beluga and Down by the Bay at the moment. Husband returns and I take my chance to get ready for the day. As I leave them, they're playing catch with a big beach ball and Jacob is laughing hysterically each time the ball slaps the floor and Husband shouts, "Ouchie!" They have the same sense of humour. God, help me.

8:15 am: Jacob's ready for his morning nap. This is his most predictable time of day; he almost always wants to nap exactly two hours after he woke up for the day. Since I can't feed him during the day on weekdays, I try not to do it on the weekends either because that would be confusing for his, albiet flexible, routine. Husband takes him to his room with a couple ounces of formula. They reada couple books and Jacob goes into his crib awake, but drowsy. He's asleep within five minutes.

Now, Husband and I clean up the breakfast mess, do a load of laundry, and tidy Jacob's toys. It's a cool, cloudy morning, so we veg on the couch and watch a couple reruns of The Big Bang Theory on the PVR. He catches up on sports online and I draft a couple blog posts. We both have another cup of coffee.

9:30 am: Jacob's awake. Not a great nap, but long enough that he's in a great mood when he wakes up. We change his diaper and dress him for the day. I grab our pre-packed diaper bag and we all head out for some errands. We'd usually put him back in his highchair for a snack at this point, but instead we bring a few snacks for the road, including mum mums and a sippy cup of water.

10 am: We're at Costco just as it opens in hopes to avoid the weekend infestation of people. Jacob loves Costco. LOVES. I don't know if it's the super huge cart that he rides in, or the millions of people who stop and say hello to him or give him a smile and a wave, but the kid is on cloud nine. Fine by us, makes shopping a breeze. We are efficient, get what we need and get out.

10:45 am: We still managed to spend nearly an hour from start to finish in Costco, so it's on to Walmart for a few more things, including diapers, which are on sale, plus I have a coupon, of course (if you are a new or soon-to-be mum, take my advice: never buy diapers at full price). We also find an adjustable pair of sandals to fit our boy who was blessed with what we like to call "meatball feet" ... you know, pretty much as thick as they are long. On clearence for $9. Deal. We throw a few more odds and ends into our cart and beeline for the checkout as Jacob's deciding he's had enough retail therapy for the day. I finish our transaction as the boys take a walk outside.

11:30 am: Home again from a successful outing. Jacob is glad to be home and shows us so by crawling like a marathoner into his room. We call his name and he peeks out and laughs. What a joker. "What are you doing?!" I call and he squeels and takes off into the bathroom. We recently caught him attempting to crawl in for a toilet swimming lesson, so we invested in an $8 lid lock. Works like a charm. Now he just uses the firmly closed cover as a big drum. Within seconds he's pulled himself up and I hear the familiar bang, bang, bang on the plastic lid. I retrieve him from his impromptu concert and deposit him into his highchair for lunch. On his menu: chic peas, green peas, bits of cheese, more diced pears and some yogurt. He's not so interested in the green peas today and most of them end up on the floor. Once he seems satisfied (read: refusing to eat another bite), he is released from the clutches of his chair. He's less interested in being solo on the floor and demands my company, so Husband takes care of clearing the mess and Jacob and I retire to the living room again for some Wiggles.

12:30 pm: Time for nap No. 2. This nap usually occurs about three hours after the wake up from the first nap, but it isn't as dependable as nap No. 1. Today, though, Jacob is exhibiting his classic eye-rubbing, long-yawning signs. After a bit more formula, he's put in his crib awake. He sleeps during naps and at night with either music playing or white noise provided by a static station on the radio. He's not as interested in sleep as he was this morning and cries in protest. We can see in the video monitor that he's sitting up. Wait, no, he's standing. He protests for a couple minutes and just when I'm thinking of going in to soothe him a bit, the cries start to stagger, mixed with periods of quiet or soft babbling. We hold off going into his room, and he transitions quickly from standing to sprawled out on his belly. In less than five minutes total, he's snoozing. It doesn't sound like long, but if you've been witness to a crying baby, every minute can feel like an hour. Lately, since I miss out on naptime through the week, I find I want to go in sooner than I should. When I resist the urge, I'm almost always glad that I did. He's doing very well at getting to sleep on his own, and we're very thankful.

12:30 to 2:30 pm: Husband heads out for a round of golf with a neighbour. Lovely friend A comes over to visit. She and I chat in the kitchen while I make a batch of muffins and then catch up on a few TV shows that were saved during the week (titles of which shall remain nameless, to protect our dignity coughPrettyLittleLiarsandTheBachelorettecough).

2:30 pm: Jacob is awake from a great nap. He's happy to see Auntie A and she's equally delighted to see him as she fetches him from his crib. They play and I take some photos. I used to take so many pictures of Jacob when I was on maternity leave, but there are a lot fewer now that I'm not staging photoshoots during the day. I try to make up for it on the weekends. The three of us decide to take a walk so we load Jake into his stroller and head out. We take our picnic blanket along and spread out at a nearby playground. Jacob swings and I take some more photos. We all enjoy some watermelon. Jacob explores the grass and watches other kids playing. On our walk back home, Jacob is lulled to sleep from the vibration of the stroller on the sidewalk.

4:30 pm: We're back home and A is happy to play with Jakey while I get supper organized. I'm not ashamed to say that I love having someone else around to take over with Jacob while I cook dinner. It's one of those little Muma's time-out things I really enjoy. Life is much easier now that I don't bother with purees and Jacob eats mostly the same things we eat. I make simple pasta with tomato sauce and cottage cheese mixed in for Jacob; I jazz up the adult sauce with veggies and chicken for the meat eaters. Husband returns home and we all eat dinner. Jacob makes a huge mess with this meal so he is just dressed in a diaper, which leads to yet another photo op — orange tinted sauce spread over his hands and face.

5:30 pm: Into the tub with you, dirty kid. We soap him up from head to toe, give a quick rinse and out he comes. I like to let him crawl around naked for a bit after his bath. I think it's adorable; he thinks it's hilarious. Win-win. In the hot weather, he sleeps in a T-shirt onesie or just in his diaper. I'm looking forward to the fall, though, because miss his snuggly footie pjs.

6 pm to 7 pm: The boy gets to play a bit more before bed. Sometimes we dance around the house to some mellow songs or read some books. Once he's completely tired out, I take him for some Mama time. I nurse him and talk to him. He usually ends up falling asleep on me while he has his bedtime snack. I hoist him up on me, snuggle him up and pat his back. He usually wakes as I lay him in his crib, but he wraps his arm around his buddy, Hooey (from Oh Say Can You Say?) and settles. I tiptoe out of the room and close the door. I click the monitor on occasionally to check, but generally he's asleep within five minutes.

7 pm to 10 pm: Our Saturday nights aren't exactly wild and crazy lately, but that's fine by us. We recently got a Netflix subscription and we've been enjoying watching some oldie-but-goodie movies. Even on Jacob's crankiest days, we usually end our evening by talking about him and how lucky we are. We just can't help it. We marvel at how our lives have changed, mainly for the better. We turn on the monitor to see what kind of crazy position he's sleeping in — he's flat on his back with his arms and legs flung out. Makes us laugh. What a nice boy.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

try it tuesday: bling storage

Note: I know I owe you a Meatless Monday ... it will probably pop up later today. I had words with Blogger yesterday. Luckily, we appear to be on speaking terms again.

This week's fab Try it Tuesday project comes to you all the way from Cape Breton where lovely sister-in-law C did some inspired repurposing in her new home.

She started with a couple old frames, and popped the centres out:

Then she painted them to coordinate with her bedroom, and added chains that she had stashed among her jewellery making supplies.

Et voila, instant bling storage:

No only is it super convenient, but her impressive earring collection now does double duty as part of her decor! Well done, C!

Friday, July 22, 2011

what's up

So this post is super duper random. My brain has been all over the place this week. Not unlike a hamster on a wheel. Ba dum bum.

This little graphic really illustrates the weekend I hope to have with my two best boys.


We're going out to dinner tonight and then we plan to do lots of lounging and snuggling. Bliss. Looks like it's going to be a sun shiny weekend, so we might to some of the aforementioned activity on the beach.

Have you ever heard of LeechBlock? I heard about it from Ashley at Our Little Apartment. Click the image below, courtesy of Ashley, and add it as your desktop wallpaper.

And finally, are you familiar with dear blank, please blank? Enjoy.


Happy weekend!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

coming to an email near you

Don't you hate it when you're anxious for a new blog post to read, you click to one of your favourite writers, and there's nothing new. Lame-o. So to make life easier, there's a new feature in the good ol' right-hand nav that allows you to subscribe to like a hamster on a wheel via email. Be the first to know when new posts are added!

As always, thanks for reading!

things that make me happy

The simple things …

hot coffee first thing in the morning.
a snuggle from my best boy.
reading a just-can't-put-it-down book.
hand holding with husband.
the smell of fresh-cut grass.
good news on the front page.
tear-inducing laughs with my best friend.
having extra time to play.
freshly washed sheets on the bed.
cool breezes on hot days.
days with zero stress.

What are your favourite simple things?

Thanks, as always, to Mama Kat for the writer's prompt.

Monday, July 18, 2011

growing by the minute: 10 months

For some reason, 10 months seems so much older to me. In two short months, my baby will become a toddler. Unbelievable.

Vital stats: Jacob was 22 lbs. (75th percentile) and 29.5 inches long (75th percentile) at his nine-month check up. So he's presumably a little heavier and a little longer. But his growth is definitely slowing down because he's not busting through clothes quite as fast, plus he's crawling and climbing everywhere, so he's burning calories like a marathon runner.

Milestones & firsts: Jacob has learned so much this month. I think this has been his most developmental month in terms of things he can now do.

He gives high fives! You don't have to put your hand up in his face or anything, just say, "Hey Jake, high five!" and he puts his hand up with a huge grin. Love it.

Also with high fives came waving. He doesn't do this as readily, but he's learning.

Over the past few days, Jacob has been trying to stand up without pulling himself up. He tucks his legs into a crouching position and tries to push up, but can't quite get there. He's also been standing next to the couch or coffee table and letting go for five or 10 seconds at a time, balancing on his own. He's also quick to grab anything that moves and truck across the floor at warp speed. If I had to predict, I'd say we'll have a walker on our hands before the one-year mark.

And my absolute favourite -- kisses and hugs. He is so lovey these days and happily lays a big, drooly, open mouth kiss on you whenever you ask for it.

Last weekend, Jacob experienced the ocean for the first time. It was adorable to watch him crawl through the ebbing surf. He only munched on the sand once and quickly realized that is wasn't as tasty as he thought it might be.

See what I mean? It was a big month!

Teeth: Still two. It's so weird how much it varies from baby to baby. His girl bestie, who is a wise and mature four days older, has at least six teeth, maybe more. Another one of his girl friends, who is two weeks younger, has no teeth yet. A boy buddy who is six weeks younger has four teeth already. Ah, the joys of teething.

Speech: Jacob seems to be saying Mama more and Dada less, which is weird since Husband is the one who is home with him during the day now. I sort of think he's using the word Mama to refer to both of us. We've started to notice him saying om nom nom nom when he's hungry. Coincidence?

Zzzzzzz: Usually one wake up per night still, to nurse as I mentioned last month.

Om nom nom: Among his new faves are whole chic peas, mashed potatoes, turkey and blueberries. Husband has been giving him a combo of bran and yogurt in the mornings, which he loves. They also sometimes make smoothies as a treat.

Likes & dislikes: Loves dancing!

Lately he dislikes naps. He's reluctant to take them and only sleeps for 45 minutes or so, which barely counts.

Challenges: What a little stinker. I swear he knows everything that he's not allowed to have or shouldn't play with and makes a beeline for it every time. Shoes, the plugged-in computer charger, the grassy rug in front of the door. What is it about these things that looks so tasty? Over the weekend though, I was quick to say "Nooo" as he was about to put something like that up to his mouth and he'd stop, grin a little, and then hold his hand out to pass me the offending item. Could he really be learning that this early?

Standing up in the bathtub. For a couple weeks, his baths were about a minute and a half long. Water, soap, rinse, done. No playing or splashing, because the first thing he'd do is grab the side and try to stand, ultimately slipping all over the place. Then Husband bought an inflatable tub insert, which has worked quite well. Eventually he still tries to stand up, but he's usually happy to sit there for at least five minutes first to wash and play.

The added bonus is that the tub doubles as a swimming pool:

Special moments: Receiving voluntary hugs and kisses is the best. He's such a sweet boy.

With our new routine of me getting ready for work and Husband staying home, it's been fun to go into Jacob's room together in the morning. He's so happy when he wakes up. We usually spend a half hour just playing and snuggling in bed as a family. It's the perfect way to start the day.

meatless monday: strawberry rhubarb sauce

I seriously can't type the name of this recipe without drooling. I love the combination of strawberry and rhubarb. Sweet and tangy. Delicious.

This delight comes to you courtesy of Suzie the Foodie, one of my fave local bloggers. I get so much culinary inspiration from her posts. This time I just had to try her strawberry rhubarb sauce, which she used for crepes and I used for pancakes.

- two heaping cups of hulled strawberries
- one heaping cup of chopped rhubarb
- 3 Tbsp. sugar
- 3 Tbsp. water

I did exactly as Suzie suggested, I started with the water and sugar in a large pot. I added the rhubarb, brought it to a boil and then turned it down and let it simmer for about 15 minutes until the rhubarb is soft. Then I added the strawberries and cooked for about 10 more minutes.

Hold on to your hats; this is where things get exciting. I used my new immerson blender to zip this into a smooth, saucy consistency. Yes, it was saucy. The best part? This handly little appliance cost $7. Thanks to K for spotting this and picking one up for me!

We drizzled this over our pancakes and it was so delicious. Even Baby J got to try some and he loved the sweet-and-sour blend. I'm already thinking about what else I could pour this over ... waffles, crepes, angel food cake, biscuits ...

This is a must-try!

cook's question

You know when you Google for a recipe and about half a million hits come up with all kinds of ideas? How do you know which to choose? Sites like and allow users to upload their own recipes. This makes me think of a potluck where you don't necessarily know all of the people/their cooking habits/the cleanliness of their kitchens/what kinds of ingredients they'd use. Can you really trust these kinds of recipes? I usually trust or, since they're compiled by chefs and the like, but often these recipes include little bits of weird ingredients and I don't want to have to go out to buy a $8 jar of spice/herbs/magic ingredient just to use a quarter teaspoon. So then I end up substituting ingredients and I can never be 100% sure what the original recipe would've really tasted like. That, and I rarely think to record my adjustments, so next time the recipe won't be the same. And I know, you're saying, "Be more organized! Write crap down! Use that adorable cook's journal that your sweet Grammie gave you for Christmas two years ago that is perfect for these exact scenarios!" Are you kidding? If I remember to bring my cellphone, wallet and office key card with me to work five days a week, then I think I deserve an award.

So my question is this, which websites do you trust for dependable recipes?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

meatless monday: verdict


The slow cooker vegetarian chili shepherd's pie (must do something about that name) is delicious! It's a tasty mix of flavours and a nice, warm bowl is the perfect comfort food at the end of a long, rainy day. Jacob loved it, too! It made a lot, so I split it up into several containers and froze more than half of it for future lunches, which was a bonus.

Score one for the Crock-pot.

Monday, July 11, 2011

meatless monday: vegetarian chili shepherd's pie

One of the great things about being home on maternity leave was being able to make supper. Sometimes I'd cut veggies or make side dishes from scratch when the babe was napping. I'd scan cookbooks or Google new meal ideas.

Now that I'm back to work, I find I automatically jump to whatever meal choice is going to be easiest. Husband, who is spending his summer off from teaching with our boy, often plans dinner, but I still cooking for my family.

Enter: the slow cooker.

This is a highly underused appliance in my kitchen, but really it should be a regular player. How simple is it throw ingredients in and come home to a hot, homemade meal? The trouble is, I've never really made anything in my Crock-pot that I actually liked very much.

So with the help of another blog, A Year of Slow Cooking (so may great ideas here!), I'm trying a new recipe:

So simple.

Stir together in slow cooker:
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (16-ounce) package frozen corn
1 small onion, diced
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Sprinkle with:
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cover with:
2 cups mashed potatoes (leftover, fresh, from a box-- your choice!)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours, or on high for 3-4. Uncover the slow cooker near serving time and let cook uncovered on high for 20-30 minutes to cook away any collected condensation. The potatoes will brown on top a tiny bit and begin to pull from the sides.

I'll be back to give you the verdict on taste tomorrow.

Have any slow cooker recipes that you love? Do tell.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

an ode to awesome

Today, Husband turns 27.

He'll be celebrating this day with Baby J because they are spending their whole summer together. So far this week, they've been to story time at the library, swimming at the beach and attended a pool party with friends.

And then today at lunch*, their outfits matched.

And that's awesome.

Happy Birthday to you, Husband xo

*We had lunch at the Armview, which apparently is our big-occasion place. It's where we had our wedding rehearsal dinner and where my water broke.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

inside out

41 weeks and three days.

As of today, Jacob has officially been on the outside as long as he was on the inside.

How did we get so lucky?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

resolutions revisited

1. Drink more water. I could say I'm doing this, but I'm not. Does coffee count?

2. Run a 5k race. Not yet, but definitely will. I swear. Really.

3. Save more money. Or spend less money. I started out with this goal by preparing a detailed monthly budget for Husband and I to track our spending. It worked for a while, but then we got lazy about it. Now that I'm working again, our finances have changed, so this is a great reminder to adjust the budget and keep working at it for the next six months.

4. Correspond with friends and family more often via snail mail. I did this a bit, but definitely not as often as I'd like. Can I blame it on the mail strike? Luckily, I already have a few stamped cards ready to be dropped in the mailbox.

5. Write in Baby J's journal more often and keep his scrapbook up to date. Oh man, this is just getting depressing. Have I accomplished anything in the first six months of the year? I haven't event touched this one.

6. Read 26 books. Fail. Fail. Fail.

7. Be adventurous in the kitchen. Make recipes I've been too afraid (or lazy) to try. Experiment with new ingredients. OK, I think I'm doing well with this one. I even tried some new muffins today. I've also made a few new salads, baked some tofu and enjoyed some tasty desserts.

8. Focus on the amazing joys in my life and make a serious effort to keep all kinds of stress at bay. Ah, my favourite resolution. This is such a great reminder. Deep breath in ... and out.

Just like all those people out there who hit the gym in January, never to return, I am really slacking on my resolutions. What have you been avoiding/forgetting on your to do list lately?