Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day

I hope everyone in reading this had a happy day today. We had so much fun. I must say, this has been the least stressful Christmas Day I can remember. One of the best gifts I got drove up last night out of the blue: my brother. We didn't think he'd make it this year because of his job, but he did and it was great seeing him again.

The kids had a lot of fun opening gifts and everyone did well choosing toys for them--they were all well received. Emmett had no use for the new clothes he got from his grandparents and aunt and uncle, but his mother is thrilled with them. We managed to make present opening at the house last until after lunch. It was nice to stretch things out and let the kids play and goof around at their own pace. We even had a visit from a movie star at one point in the morning. She was quite aloof and spent a lot of time on her celphone while she was here. There seemed to be a lot of people phoning her. Thankfully her teensy dog stayed in it's purse and didn't bug Lucy.

I got a fantastic new purple handbag that I will have to hide from my grandmother, and a shiny new breadmaker that I have big plans for tomorrow!! I also got some squishy new yarn that I can't stop petting.

Matthew peeks out from under his baby gym at all the commotion around him.
Emmett opening his new-to-him Gameboy (yes, the oldskool one) It didn't leave his sight for the rest of the day.

Little Miss movie star making calls and cutting deals.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

Four sleeps.

Is there only four sleeps left?? How did that happen? Remember when you were a kid and Christmas took For-Ever to come? December has passed in a flurry. Church Christmas Pageant, Family Dinners, Christmas Shopping......I still have so many gifts to wrap!

To make matters worse Richard, the kids and I have been playing Pass the Cold. I have finally succumb to it and have spent a couple of nights coughing and spluttering and now I have an earache (whine). I am going to suffer through it a bit longer before I go for antibiotics. I hate antibiotics. Matthew and I are barely over our thrush. I don't need to suffer that agony again!

I am getting excited because Richard and I went out and got the kid's gifts yesterday. I can hardly wait for them to open them! I am also looking forward to Midnight Mass at my church. I always come away from the service feeling so peaceful and happy. It kicks me in the heart and reminds me why we are celebrating in the first place--something that is easy to forget when you are caught up in shopping, wrapping and baking of this season.

Oh, and does anyone know where my Love Actually DVD is?? A new Christmas favourite, I need to have my annual holiday screening soon!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Meme

I'm hiding from sick kids.....you get a meme!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Wrapping paper--it[s more fun for the kids.

2. Real tree or artificial?
Artificial. We used to get real trees until I was forever traumatized by a half-dead tree lot tree that had me finding needles in my baseboards for two years afterward. I have fond child hood memories of finding a real tree every winter with my Dad's friend, the forestry teacher from our high school. (Yes, our high school had a conservation program....didn't yours??)

3. When do you put up the tree?
Whenever the mood strikes us.

4. When do you take the tree down?
After the twelfth day of Christmas. Of course, our tree is on the front porch so we may forget aobut it until Spring.

5. Do you like eggnog?
I like the eggnog lattes at Starbucks--it is too thick and sweet by itself.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
Hmmm... that would have to be my Barbie RV. I have been trying to find pictures online because mine was much bigger and cooler than the ones you can get now. My Barbies had lots of fun camping in my back yard in it.

7. Do you have a creche?
Yes. I have a cheapo plastic resin one I will use until my kids get old enough to not destroy the one my mom made in ceramics class many years ago. (Hmmm.... I may never get it!!)

8. Hardest person to buy for?
Hubby. He likes things like RAM and hard drives and lap top hinges.

9. Easiest person to buy for?
The kids.

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
A battery charger from my then-boyfriend now-hubbie. He has been briefed on appropriate gifts since then.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards?
I don't send them. I could give you many excueses, but you can use your imagination.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
Muppet Christmas Carol

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
When the mood strikes.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Grandma's shortbread and lefse at hubby's aunt's annual Christmas dinner.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Coloured, but not flashing.

17. Favorite Christmas song?
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen as sung by Barenaked Ladies and Sarah MacLachlan

18. Travel for Christmas or stay home?
Stay home. How would Santa find us if we traveled?

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers?

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Christmas morning. We open our stockings, have breakfast, and then we do presents.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
The clash of family and church obligations that have me in a state of anxiety until after the Christmas Pagaent.

23. What I love most about Christmas?
Midnight Mass and cookies.

Won't someone think of the elves??

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It's a teensy sweater!!

Knitpicks bare merino fingering weight dyed with Kool-Aid. I used the pattern found here.
My good buddy Poppins turned me on to these adorable little ornaments. I am now searching my stash for little oddments of yarn to make a whole family of them! This one is hanging out with one of my favourite Christmas Tree ornaments, a snowman made by a talented stained glass artist I stalked on Ebay a few Christmases ago.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Shhh. It's a Surprise.

Don't you just love the rustic colours?? Don't you wish you were getting this for Christmas??
Maybe you are!

Monday, December 3, 2007

File under: Things I never thought I'd have to know.

How to get playdough out of an espresso maker.

A letter to the well-dressed lady wearing the fur coat this past Sunday at church.

Dear Well-Dressed Lady Wearing the Fur Coat this Past Sunday at Church:

I just wanted to point something out to you. When you see two gorgeous, fabulous young women struggling on the steep wheelchair ramp with two carts laden with baby food and the fabulous young women discover the door at the top of the ramp is locked at the very same moment several jars of food fall off of a cart and start rolling in the snow and the fabulous young women start to scramble to control the impending disaster the appropriate course of action for you is to NOT stand there staring pityingly at us.

There were a few things you could have done:
  1. Pick up a couple of jars of food
  2. Offer to hold one of the carts so one of the fabulous young women could run inside and unlock the door.
  3. Offer to go inside and unlock the door.
  4. Get out of the way so someone else could have helped them.
You did none of these things. Next time, if you feel like helping is beneath you, at least go away and leave the poor women alone. Don't just stand there. They didn't need the audience.

I really hope you are not the sort to let a door slam in the face of a person behind you exiting a store, but I wouldn't be surprised if you are.


The Fabulous Young Woman Who Was Wearing the Green Sweater.

Ok, I feel a little better now.

I get to drop over $1000 dollars worth of food, formula, and diapers off a the local food bank this week. That will make the little accident on Sunday infinitely worth it.

Friday, November 30, 2007

I'm out of control!!!

I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a crafter. I am high on oxytocin. These things combined with -36 degree Celsius windchills this week gave me an uncontrollable desire to make my family warm. Richard walks to work. He needed a scarf that was warmer than the ones we had in the house. Now, I do own a couple of fairly sizeable bales of yarn, but time was of the essence. What is a crafty woman to do? I dove into my fabric stash and found a very large scrap of heavy, double thick fleece. In less than 10 minutes my sweetie had a cozy scarf to block the chill.

Next on the list? A way to keep mittens together and close to little hands. Cords are considered a strangulation hazard and would be frowned upon at Emmett's preschool. Mitten clips seemed like a dandy solution, but none were to be found in any local stores. No worries. A quick trip to the fabric store and 20 minutes on my Grandma's sewing machine gave me 4 mitten clips. The kids can't stand them, but I am stubborn and they will get used to them!

The clips consist of around 6 inches of elastic sewed securely to suspender clasps. The close ups show how I sewed them in place. I am sure if you find some pretty suspenders in the second hand shop this would be a great way to recycle them!.

Now, I know what you are thinking. "What about you, Jen?" "What have you done for yourself to keep warm?" Thanks for asking. Emmett's therapist told me about a wonderful creation called a London Fog she had at a local coffee shop. She reproduces it at home and I hope she won't mind if I share her secret.

Find your largest coffee mug (I think mine holds 16 oz if filled to the brim) In the bottom of it place 1 teaspoon of sugar and around an ounce of coffee cream . Add a splash of vanilla extract and stir. Fill the mug with strong brewed Earl Grey Tea. Wrap your hands around the mug and enjoy.

Our therapist uses vanilla coffee syrup she bought at the coffee shop instead of sugar and vanilla, but I didn't have any so this was my way of improvising. If you have the time and inclination you could also scald and whip milk instead of using cream for the real Fancy Coffee Shop effect.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A post about knitting!? (.....and a question for the parents out there.)

I'm as surprised as you are. How can I, mother of three very young children possibly find time to knit?? Well, a few things have recently happened:

  • Matthew is sleeping longer and longer at night, leaving me much more energetic during the day.
  • Matthew is three months old now--he is happy for short periods of time in his bouncy chair or under his baby gym.
  • Charlotte still naps.
  • Emmett is happy to play computer games or watch a video while Charlotte naps.
  • I turn a blind eye to the dirty dishes and laundry that needs folding.
A recent cold snap has left me eager to get the needles and yarn out again. What have I been up to? Thanks for asking!
A hat for Richard--knit in Lion Brand Wool-ease Thick and Quick on biggish dpns (don't ask me what size, I don't know!) cast on 60 stitches, knit in k2p2 rib until "big enough" (this isn't brain surgery) decrease for the crown and cast off. Have a happy husband with warm ears.This is a Top Secret Christmas gift. It is Noro Kureyon. It is very scratchy to knit with, but it redeems itself by entertaining me with gorgeous colours. The Thing is very easy and fast to knit. I may make another.
This is a garter-stitch triangle shawl in Fleece Artist Goldielocks. It is in a black hole right now. Every second row I increase by 4 stitches so I feel like I knit and knit and knit but see no discernable progress. I am in love with the colour changes and the yarn is soft and squooshy and a delight to knit with. That is the only reason I persevere with this. That, and I'm cold and I want to wear it!.

Subject change:

Any experienced parents out there have advice for me on how to discourage Charlotte to ask for things in a plaintive whiny voice that pierces my brain?

Click on any picture to enlarge and delight in the yarny goodness.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A song for the Mommies in the room.

I don't know if I should laugh or cry. Maybe a bit of both. I do know I have a bit of a crush on this guy now.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

It's craft time!!

Next week begins the season of Advent in my church and many others. We start to get ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. To kick things off we threw a party at church for my Sunday School students today. We made Advent Wreaths they could take home and share with their families. Want to see how we did it?

We started out by cutting lengths of berry garland and wiring them into wreaths (small grapevine wreaths would work well too) We then had the kids sculpt "candles" out of Sculpey clay--three in purple, one in pink, and one in white. While the candles baked, the kids decorated their wreaths with various shiny things we provided for them. Glue dots were used in quantity!! After the candles came out of the oven we stuck circles of velcro to them and the wreaths. Gold beads were glued to the top of the candles with gold glitter glue for flames. To stabilize the white candle at the center of the wreath we attached it to self-adhesive foam snowflakes we found at the local Giant Craft Store. The children now have safe Advent wreaths they can use in their homes through the Christmas season!For more information on Advent and the colours of the candles and the order we light them in, go here. Here is another place to look too.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Quiz time!

Guess what Matthew and I have?? (I am not going to post a picture of the parts of me that match his purple face!)
Do you think I should cancel the kid's portrait session tomorrow??

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Feels so good.

Life feels so crazy lately. I am busy running a playgroup and Sunday School (and getting busier with Advent and Christmas coming up) Emmett is busy with school and therapy, Charlotte is busy doing all of the things 2-1/2 year olds do and Matthew is busy growing. Matthew has grown so much people raise their eyebrows when I tell them how old he is. (is 15 pounds big for a 2 month old?)

Anyway, today I got to be busy doing something really fun: shopping with someone else's money. I love shopping. One could call it a hobby of mine. My Sunday School is collecting donations and diapers to give to our local food bank for Christmas. A very generous member of our congregation gave us a very generous donation. My co-teacher and I headed out to spend it. We ended up with two shopping carts full of diapers, baby formula and baby food.

I can hardly wait to deliver it to the food bank!!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Hi Grandma.

My Mom is working nights tonight....here are some pictures to brighten up her shift.

4 generations

More smiley

There isn't really anything new to report--I could wonder out loud why Char is daytime potty trained but the boy in the house who is twice her age is not, but that is boring.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Too good not to share.

I had some delicious muffins at my Grandma's last week. Check out my food blog for the recipe. You won't be sorry.

Grandma Jean's Date-Orange Muffins

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Cut from the same cloth.

Richard helped me go through some old pictures to burn on CDs. This of course resulted in a sweet trip down memory lane. I didn't realize how much our kids look alike until I started looking at baby pictures.......

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick or Treat!

Emmett loved his costume. Richard told the people at the houses they stopped at the muscles were real.
Charlotte didn't master the words "Trick or Treat". She said "I want treat."
I was impressed that Emmett shared his treats with me. I was even more impressed that Charlotte willingly shared too.

Matthew didn't know what to think about this Halloween business.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What's for dinner?

Check out my food blog to find out what I'm having for dinner tonight. You might want to try it too--especially if you have kids!

Cheeseburger and Fries Pie


Last Friday Emmett and Charlotte headed out to spend the afternoon with Grandma Lynn, as usual. She dropped them off after dinner slightly dirtier and exhausted as usual. The difference? Emmett came up to me, shoved a Halloween flashlight in my face and said BOO! BOO! A word! A real word, used in context and said spontaneously, not randomly. This is huge. This means one more neural pathway is complete and we are one step closer to having a conversation with words, not hand gestures.

He is making so much progress with therapy and his preschool. I am just so proud of him.

His teachers at school had a session with one of our therapists. It turns out Emmett wasn't working as hard with the teachers as he does with the therapist. It is very normal that he tries to get away with doing as little as possible if he can. Emmett is very charming and has a winning smile that gets him out of many things. (Not so much at home, mind you--I have become immune to the megawatt grin.) The therapist has changed that--really told the teachers what he is capable of and how to get it out of him.

I am expecting grand things to happen now.

Monday, October 22, 2007

What makes a baby "good"?

I have been pondering this question. As the mother of a newborn I get asked the big question "Do you have a good baby?" a lot. When we are out in public and people see Matthew contentedly sleeping in his carrier or my arms I am told what a "good" baby he is. This past weekend we were at my brother-in-law's conformation. Total strangers came up to me at the end of the service to tell me what a "good" baby I have.

I know the first question is a thinly veiled question about how much Matthew sleeps and how much/little he cries. I usually brush that question off, generously rounding up the consecutive hours every night that he sleeps. I don't mention how little I get done around the house sometimes because I am too busy cuddling my boy. My boy is happiest in my arms and experience has taught me that if I tell some people that I am just setting myself up for scolding about how I am spoiling my boy and how I should let him cry.

The second comment got me thinking. Of course Matthew is a good baby. He is cute and sweet-smelling and cuddly. The fact his is good has nothing to do with how quiet he was during that particular church service or any other time I have been at a gathering where he has been content and quiet.

I try to feed Matthew just before we go anywhere and start out with a fresh diaper. This is a no-brainer. Usually the walk or drive over to our destination is enough to lull my full and dry baby to sleep. We start our outing out on a good foot that way. As soon as we reach our destination I automatically scope out possible spots to quietly nurse Matthew if the need arises. I choose where to sit based on how I can discreetly leave if I need to. I then spend our outing with one eye and ear cocked in the direction of my baby. We have been nursing buddies long enough now I know when he needs to be rocked or if he is really hungry long before he needs to become hysterical. Usually I am out of the room and have him latched on before anyone can look up. I know that mothers who are reading this are not thinking I have come up with any great insights here. This is what we all do, insinctively with our babies.

My point is, perhaps we should reframe that comment. Instead of going up to a mother with a happy and content baby and telling her what a good baby she has, I think it is time we tell that woman what a good mother she is.

By the same token, if a mother is holding a hysterical baby try going up to her and telling her the same thing--sincerely. While you are at it, hold the door for her, and offer to help her with her grocery bags or stroller or whatever else she is juggling while her good baby is expressing himself.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

More questions....

We took Emmett to the developmental pediatrician yesterday for assessment. We didn't learn anything new except that she didn't think he would progress the way he has since his last assessment. She is not optimistic he will ever speak. She wants me to take formal American Sign Language lessons to help him communicate meaningfully. She didn't really have anything new to tell us--I hope the report we will get from her later will have more information in it.

We know that he developmentally normal in all aspects except communication. She thinks he will need supportive care in kindergarden if not beyond. She assures us he is not Autistic. She wants to send us to a neurologist and a geneticist so he can have tests to determine why he is the way he is. This will not change his course of treatment, we will just have a reason. I am not sure how I feel about putting Emmett through blood tests and possibly sedation for an MRI if it won't really help him, but the appointments won't happen for at least six months so I have time to think about how badly we need to know.

I don't know how I feel about this. I have seen real progress with Emmett's speech development in the past few weeks. I was feeling so hopeful. I just feel let down now.

I guess I have to take a line from my favourite character in Finding Nemo and Just Keep Swimming.......

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Six weeks.

Lactation consultants (and friends who are La Leche League Leaders) will tell you that the first six weeks of a baby's life are the hardest for establishing a good breastfeeding relationship. My friend told me if I can soldier through the first six weeks I won't look back. Well, six weeks have passed since Matthew joined our family. Let's take a look back, shall we?
  • I survived engorgement that made me look like I had implants worthy of a xxx-movie star.
  • I survived a boy whose overzealous sucking and hearty appetite left me bruised and cracked.
  • I survived parenting two older children during the day while nursing their younger sibling through two growth spurts at night.
  • I got the flush of pride knowing that the double chin and chubby cheeks and thighs on my sweet baby were made by food I alone manufactured and provided.
  • I get the thrill of seeing my sweet baby's eyes light up and his arms wave with excitement when he snuggles to me for a feeding.
  • After two less than stellar experiences nursing my two oldest I finally get to know what all the happy nursing mommies know--it DOES get better! Nipples heal and nursing CAN feel good.
  • I get to stay in bed all night--no running to mix and heat bottles.
  • I get to dash out the door without having to pack bottles into an already overstuffed handbag.
  • I can leave the dishes at night if I don't feel like doing them because I don't have to worry there are enough clean bottles for the next day.
  • I can breeze past the formula aisle and spend the money I would have spent on that on more important things, like cute sleepers and treats for the rest of my brood.
  • I get to remember the first night of Matthew's life when I laid in bed and nursed him while a Sam Roberts concert wafted through my window.
Not too shabby, huh?

Isn't this video sweet? I wonder if it would be acceptable to show breastfeeding on a children's television show today?

Friday, October 5, 2007

My boys.

Emmett has not shown much interest in Matthew since he was born. Today I asked him to sit beside Matthew while I made a couple of phone calls. When he started talking softly to Matthew and smiled at him so sweetly I absolutely had to take some pictures!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Guilty Secrets

Lindsey at Suburban Turmoil has started a sort of meme she calls Guilty Secrets
She has listed 5 things she considers guilty secrets about how she parents. She also listed 5 things she thinks she does well as a parent. She has challenged her readers to do the same.

Oh the shame!
  1. My kids watch a disgusting amount of TV during the day.
  2. We haven't been to the library in over a year. I still have overdue fees to pay.
  3. My kids don't get their teeth brushed every night. Sometimes not even every second night.
  4. Emm and Char know how to wipe up spills with their socks so I don't have to run for a rag.
  5. I shamelessly bribe my kids to behave in the grocery store and to potty train.
Yay for me!
  1. My kids are veggie lovers 90% of the time.
  2. I have/will make my own baby food from scratch.
  3. Even though we haven't been to the library in a year, the kids are read to every day.
  4. I teach Sunday School and will be running a playgroup soon.
  5. We are a very huggy, cuddly family.
How about it? What are your guilty secrets? What are your strengths?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Delusions of knitting.

Fall is definitely here. The leaves are changing, there is a real chill in the air in the morning, the sun is setting a bit earlier.

Fall is the time to put away the tank tops and capris and get out the sweaters. Fall is also the time I feel like I need to start a big project. A sweater. Something cozy.

Now, I know I have a big project on the go already. His name is Matthew. He has two accessories named Emmett and Charlotte who also require some extra attention right now. This is not stopping my fingers from itching.

The new Knitty just came out. There is a fantastic sweater in there for a new nursing mom. Flattering ribs and cables, three-quarter length sleeves, cardigan. I want it. I think Charlotte would look adorable in this.

Maybe I will take the edge off by starting this hat. It would make a great Christmas gift for my brother and I could feel some cozy wool between my fingers. Three months is a realistic goal for a hat, isn't it?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007