Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The weekend, the battle of wills, and an evening sans bebe

We spent the weekend in Kingston - visiting the grandparents, including spending a day at my dad's cottage (which is actually a house, as it's winterized and is where he lives, but for some reason is still called the cottage, and anyways.....).

The day at the cottage wasn't as warm as we would have liked, but it didn't rain - so that was good. We spent the day outside - Maddie playing with all my old toys. That was a bit trippy, as I had barely remembered the toys - until of course I saw them again! Vintage Fisher Price is awesome - they just don't make toys so compact (choking hazard?) or with so many little pieces and bits (again, choking hazard?).

There was the classic A-Frame house with all sorts of little bits and pieces included.

And (this was the biggest hit with Maddie) there were Sesame Street Little People .... including her fave - ERNIE!
I was a bit nostagic seeing Mr. Hooper again - because, sad right? He's been dead for a while I think...

And then there was the pull horse - another big hit with Maddie.
She was pushing herself foward and backwards up and down the deck. And we adopted a bit of a vintage parenting attitude for the day - letting her just roam around instead of hovering over her to ensure she didn't push herself right off the deck (she didn't, and she had a blast - so lesson learned? Lighten up a bit and just let her play.)...

There were tonnes of other toys, puzzles and dolls that they had kept in storage as well. It was fun to pick through and go down memory lane a bit.

The only stickler to the visit to Kingston was Maddie's reluctance to take an afternoon nap. And by reluctance, I mean full-on army-trained resistance to the Nth degree. She sobbed and cried everytime I tried to put her down - regardless of how tired she was. I'm really hoping she's not trying to drop the afternoon nap, as um, she's not even 2 yet.

Since we had to work Mon-Tues of this week, but were coming back down to Kingston to spend a few more days with familly for the holiday and remainder of the week, we decided to leave Maddie down with her grandparents, while we enjoyed a few days sans child. We're working, so it's not too exciting, but we did hit up dinner and a movie last night. Movie = The Hangover, possibly the funniest movie I have seen, ever, in my lifetime. So do I recommend you go see it? Hell, yes.

Tonight we have plans to do a BBQ at a friend's house - hopefully anyways, as long as the rain holds off. It's funny how easily you can fall back into the pattern of free-wheeling, come-and-go-as-you-choose behaviour...

Life is a lot easier to manage without a little ankle-biter running around, but I keep getting a little pang of loneliness when I walk past her empty room. From all accounts though, she's having a blast at Grandma's, and I (hope) will be very happy to see us on Wednesday morning...


PS - Canada Day pics will come tomorrow - she has the cutest damn dress you ever did see - let's just hope it doesn't rain...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Easily a Top 10 Memory

We decided to go the easy route for dinner last night and just popped by the local fish & chip shop to pick up some take out on our way home from daycare.

It usually takes about 10 mins or so for the order to be ready, so instead of waiting in the shop (that is teeny tiny and just echo-y enough that I think Maddie's loud discussions of "Dat!" and "Outside!" would have worn quite thin quite quickly) I thought it would be fun to enjoy an ice cream cone before dinner.

Maddie was down with it, because;
  1. it got us outside,
  2. it was fun to walk down the street, and
  3. ice cream is a form of "freeze" which in her mind, is what life is all about these days (she's a popsicle/freezie/frozen anything monster).
So we walked down to the local ice cream shop, ordered a small vanilla cone, and headed to the park to enjoy it.

So we sat. Side by side on a bench in the park. Watching the traffic go by. Watching a band set up for the "Music in the Park" dealio that goes on every Thursday evening in the summer. Smiling at an elderly couple who were doing pretty much the same thing on the bench across from us.

It was incredibly peaceful. The weather was perfect. And the ice cream was really good.

Essentially one of those kodak moments you want to capture (but have forgotten your camera) - so you just soak it in and try to remember every detail.

It just doesn't get much better than this.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Little weirdo

Okay - I think I remember reading it somewhere. Or someone mentioning it to me. So it's common knowledge, I'm not uncovering some kind of groundbreaking truth.

But can we stop for a minute and talk about how WEIRD toddlers are?

A little OCD, a little manic-depressive, a little egocentric with a dash of eccentric.

Toys get lined up. Dirt gets pointed out (ALL the time - I know, the house needs to be cleaned kid, please stop pointing out what is "dirty", thanks). Meltdowns happen at the drop of a hat - and the next minute she's smiling. Nothing is as interesting as a mirror - full length is best - because didn't you know, she's PWETTY!

And while I could understand the shoe obsession (still has it - often wants to just sit in her closet and try different shoes on - or my closet for that matter)...

But now we are experiencing a full-on OBSESSION with her toes. She is always touching them, picking at them. Wanting us to kiss them. And when we're putting cream on her at night (yes, we have this whole bath time/bed time routine that means she gets lotion top to bottom) she INSISTS we put cream on her toe. Specifically her big toe, on her right foot. And being the suckers that we are, we do it. We put it on in a dollop and that keeps her occupied enough for us to put the lotion on the rest of her, and diaper her up.

But seriously - weird, right? Really weird.

At least it's not boring...


Monday, June 22, 2009

Borderline genius?

Don't you love when you learn something new and random about your kid because someone else showed you?

My girlfriend was over yesterday for lunch, and while pushing Maddie in her swing, started counting. That is, counting every other number, because Maddie would fill in the next one.

Lisa: "One."
Maddie: "Twoooooooo"
Lisa: "Three."
Maddie: "Fo"
And so on and so on. Lisa turned to me and asked, "When did she start counting to ten?".

Uhhhhhh. Today? Holy hell, I have no idea. And that, my friends, is a titch embarrassing and sad.

So today, at drop-off, I asked our daycare provider what was up with that - did she know that Maddie could count to ten?

"Oh yes," she chuckled, "We count the stairs all the time."

Right. So apparently the mother is the last to know. I'm sure that's not the last time this is going to happen to me. But still....dude. Counting? That's kinda huge.


PPS - I know she's not a genius. I know she's not really counting. That it's more new words she has learned, and knows they go in a certain order. She's not picking up rocks and counting them, (although she understands the concept of "two" as anything in a pair is "two!", like two shoes Mommy!), she just gets that this is the order that you say these words in. But still. STILL. It's kinda crazy. Because a year ago? We were really impressed that she was up on her knees, rocking back and forth. And now she's balancing my checkbook...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Seth played in a baseball tournament all weekend long, so it was a bit of a girls weekend for us. But that just meant, by the time he got home tonight, Daddy was the superstar superhero man-of-the-hour.

I love to watch her, as she's adoring him. The Maddie-Daddy relationship is like this tight little secret club I don't have the password to. And that's okay - because at the end of the day, sometimes a girl just needs her Daddy...

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads in our lives:


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Life, lately - in pics

Eating ice cream at the Brooklin Fair

Fishing for a prize at one of the games at the Fair

Maddie & Daddy at the Fair

Playing in her pool with Lilo & Isla

Maddie loves corn

Enjoying a popsicle on a warm summer day

Having fun with Grandma

And lastly - my garden!

Life, lately

  • Work has been busy. 12 hour days busy. Not complaining as I ♥ my job, but yeah - makes for blogging and emailing and general other-life-having a little difficult.
  • Last weekend my mom came up to visit - and we did a whole lot of nothing. Meaning we didn't run around shopping and errand-running as we usually do when she's around. Instead we stuck close to home (granted, we did a bit of garage-saleing, but otherwise, nada) - I gardened, Maddie played, and Mom supervised.
  • Because of the above, my garden is now going gang-busters. Thanks Carly, I took your "assvice"... and my peppers and tomatoes love you for it. Although just by reading the little tag things that come with the plant-cell-packs (I know, genius right - who wouldn't thunk to actually read the directions?) I learned that beans and peas actually don't need a whole lot of room. Neither does leaf lettuce or onions.
  • I've made a new resolution, to try and make a new recipe once a week. Last week I made Spaghetti Carbonara with Prosciutto. It was yummy, but a little rich for me - I'd go less eggs, lighter cream and add a bit of garlic. But otherwise, a success. And now that I've actually blogged about it, I need to figure out a recipe for this week, dammit...
  • And for those of you that just read this blog for the Maddie info - here's the update: she's awesome. And chatty. And wanting to do things herself now, all the time. "Maddie do!" So she does. And life carries on - at a far.slower.pace.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I had a baby, not a lobotomy

This would make a great t-shirt, non?

Having been back in the "working world" for over six months now.  I've had occassion to actually use this line about 3 times.  

As in, I said the words, "I had a baby, not a lobotomy" to a colleague/work associate/mentor.  

That's me.  Making friends everywhere I go...

In all seriousness, I've been meaning to actually blog about the annoying comments that one starts to get in the workplace from the moment of announcing pregnancy.  But that's a whole in-depth post that I've started numerous times and trashed without publishing, because I everytime I write it my blood pressure rises slightly and I think my snark comes off a little less flippant and more full-on-snarling-snarkity-snarkness.  Let's just say - I have a LOT to say on the subject of balancing a career and being a mom, and the reaction you get (daily!) in the workplace, and blah blah blah whingy-cakes.


Monday, June 8, 2009

An open letter...

...to manufacturing companies, food distributors, um, just about any company out there.

Why the over-packaging?  Why the overuse of non-recyclable plastic?  

Our household made the transition to using cloth shopping bags 100% of the time after my trip to Ireland last year.  They had gone to charging for plastic bags at all major grocery stores several years back, and so everyone used reuseable bags for their shopping.  It had just become the norm.  It was fantastic to see, and made me realize that it's just a mindset, and not really all that inconvenient if you had no choice.  And then Canadian grocery stores got smart, and now it's turning into the norm here too.

But if we can move to this "extreme" level, why can't we set guidelines on food packaging?  Here's a perfect example - mushrooms.  You can buy loose into a brown paper bag (sometimes, depends on the store).  Or you can buy pre-packaged in a plastic container with plastic wrap (far more widely available than the loose, package-yourself option).  

I get the convenience factor.  I'm not saying pre-packaged produce is wrong.  But why can't they just use the cardboardy containers instead of non-recyclable plastic?  Still wrapped in plastic wrap, but just a different base.  One that is actually easily recyclable.

Same goes for berries - the biggest offender.  I can't buy fruit (and we eat A LOT of fruit - especially berries - in our house) without feeling guilty everytime.  Because as I buy them, I know the containers are going into my garbage bin, not the blue box.  

As I wrote this, the thought occured to me that perhaps it's not the issue with the plastic, but with the actual recycle program here in Whitby.  So I called them to see what the actual "rules" were - what numbers were allowed/disallowed.

The answer?  "We don't sort based on the number, it's based on demand of what will be purchased.  So we accept based on what it is.  For example, if it's a plastic shampoo bottle and has a twist off cap, that would be accepted.  It doesn't matter what number it is."

My response?  "So you're saying the people buying the plastic don't care if it's a 1 or a 2 or a 7, just that it was a bottle with a twist off cap?  Because that doesn't make any sense"

Her response?  "I can only tell you how it works m'am."

Just for sport, I thought I'd take a look at the City of Toronto's recycle program (because as I've complained about before - they also accept diapers in their compost bins, which Whitby doesn't - so perhaps they're just more advanced?)... well, turns out they don't accept the "clamshell" plastic containers either.

Soooooo... after that diversion, I'm back to my original question. Why use that type of plastic, that seems to be widely unaccepted?

With green + frugal being so "in" these days, I'd say you could capture a lot of market share as a company just by changing your packaging model.

Just some food for thought... (oooooh - punny!)


Friday, June 5, 2009

Starting a new tradition?

Do you ever get that feeling?  When you are making plans and think, huh, I wonder if this will become a family tradition?

Or maybe I just think too much...

So this weekend is the annual Brooklin Spring Fair.  Last year at this time, Maddie and I flew to Ireland for a week with BFF.  And while that was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and more than well-enjoyed, we were a little bittersweet about missing our first spring fair experience.

But this year we're doing it up in style.  Friends have been invited.  Plans have been made.  A bbq is in the cards.  Enjoying the midway and whatever the heck else we can do up there, then come back here and watch the kids run themselves around into unconsciousness, and then the adults get to have a little fun.  And by fun, I mean cocktails and a fire (or Rockband - you never know).

Woo to the hoo.

I've lots more to tell you guys about (like window painting tips and how to move a lawn spike for your clothesline) ... but I also have a shedload of work to finish up today - so hopefully I have energy to post over the weekend.  Until then... tra-la!


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

This should come with instructions

We bought and installed a clotheline last Sunday.  It's one of those 4 sided, opens up like an umbrella, clothelines.  Quite unlike the long straight, on a pulley, clotheslines that I had at every house I ever lived in.

Let me tell you - the long straight ones?  Much easier to use.  MUCH.

However, because we live in a town where all the telephone lines and such are underground (and therefore no telephone poles to be found anywhere), there really isn't much to attach this pulley-style clotheline to.

And so we went with the umbrella style.  And bought a spike for the ground that eliminated the need of pouring concrete (yay!).  This also means we can take the clothesline out of our yard if we don't want it there (i.e. winter... um, this is the only reason I can think of... perhaps some people find it too unsightly so therefore remove it whenever they're not using it - that's just - wow, too time-consuming for me).

Because hubby still wasn't all that in love with the idea of a clothesline (even though it folded up and will save us all sorts of money and make our sheets smell sooooo nice!) - so we put it in the back corner of the yard behind the tree.  So really, it's there, but not "in your face there" like I would have had it by placing it right beside the patio.

Today was the first day I put clothes out.  And I realized a few things...

1) Putting your clothesline behind a tree - in the back corner of the yard, where grass barely grows because it's so shady?  Maybe not the best spot for it.  In the sense of sun and drying time...
2) Hanging sheets on a umbrella style?  Not the same as hanging on the long-straight-style clotheslines.  So it took a while, but I figured out you have to fold the sheet in half over the line - instead of just hanging it like I always did as a kid.
3) Are you supposed to hang on the inside lines first, and work your way out?  Makes sense I suppose - to allow you to hang more than one load to the line.  But sheets are too big for this - which means I have to time and organize what laundry I do first?  Oy...

Anyways - we'll see.  I don't know how quickly the sheets will dry where they are.  And if they'll be all non-wrinkled since they're not exactly billowing in the wind (because that was another big reason that I wanted a clothesline - I remember it negating the need to iron much of anything)... and I hate ironing sheets...


Monday, June 1, 2009

Maddie bits

  • Trucks are "crucks" and cars are "car-car".  Why the repeat?  No idea.  But apparently our daycare provider has seen this in multiple kids in the past, and that it's common.  I wasn't even interested in why she said "car-car" before, but now that I know unrelated kids that have never met have all done this?  Now I wonder why.  What developmentally makes them repeat it?  Little weirdos...
  • Smarties (MARTY!) are like crack.  She hates all other treats and cake and chocolate of any sort.  But Smarties?  Hot damn...
  • "Helping" is the new "make a mess".  Except she does it with such earnest and pleasure, you can't really get mad about it.  So she "helps" me put away laundry or sweep, and then I clean up after she goes to bed.
  • She is newly obsessed (OBSESSED!!!!) with puppies.  And goggies.  Just canine creatures in general.  She lives with two cats, who she now really couldn't care less about.  But I always know if a dog is somewhere within her line of vision because she starts shouting "RUFF RUFF!  RUFF RUFF!".  The kid has eagle-eye vision when it comes to pointing out a dog.  This is only making my quest to get a puppy easier and easier...
  • Manners are really coming along - we pretty much have her saying "thank you" after anything she says "please" for.  Which, cool, right?  That's better than most adults...
  • Does it amaze anyone else with kids (maybe this is a little girl thing) how maternal they are?  Maddie takes care of her IgglePiggle like a little Mommy.  She feeds him in the highchair, wipes his face, takes him for stroller rides and puts him to bed before she goes up for her bath. I know she's playing by mimicking what she knows, but it's just funny.

Random babysitters

Okay, here's the situation... We live in a town where we don't really know many people. Actually, in all honesty, aside from Couple BFF (who also moved up to the boondocks around the same time we did), my circle of friends consists of the women I met at Babyville last year.

I know most teenage babysitters are found via referrals from friends. You know, the elusive roster of casual sitters that you can rely on for weekend afternoons (or evenings!). Who took the "babysitting class" (do they even do this anymore??). Who's the niece of a neighbour's friend's sister, but can be totally trusted.

Yeah, I don't even really have access to these kids... So my next best bet, I've realized, is probably getting the list from the school, from which we oh-so-conveniently live across the road. It may not be a personal referral, but at least it feels a bit more trustworthy than that post on Kijiji, you know?

So here's my question. When I do get that list, and start calling. What's the Modus operandi? What do I say? Do? 

Is it normal to do an initial "interview" of sorts? A "getting to know one-another" session with Maddie present, see how it goes?  Then maybe do a short afternoon out, see how things go?

I'm quite aware of how paranoid and um, crazy, I sound... but I didn't do a whole lot of babysitting as a kid. And everyone I know already knew their babysitter, or uses family members... 


PS - how 'bout that AWESOME weekend weather?  Pretty lame, huh?  Hi Canada.  This is Sara.  I'd like it to be summer now please.  You don't have to stay cold all the way through June to convince me that you are the great white monster that can unleash hell on earth in the form of arctic gale winds.  I believe you, really, I do...