Friday, October 30, 2009

This post is called: 33 steps to fixing a stove...

...or 33 steps to the insanity that is known as requesting service on a recalled appliance.  Or 33 steps to getting annoyed on a Thursday night.  Or 33 steps after almost burning down the house because of fire-hazard cooktop...
  1. After cooking pot of potatoes, turn element off.
  2. Stare in befuddlement at element that will not turn off.
  3. Try over and over and over again to turn element off.
  4. Wonder at one's own sanity as to why this simplistic task is so incredibly difficult.
  5. Finally realize (after 10 minutes of fiddling) that it is not, in fact, you that is broken, but said stove (more specifically, the element) that is broken.
  6. Unplug stove.
  7. Spend 15 minutes looking through organized (ha!) household appliance instruction manuals and warranties.
  8. Find manual/warranty for said broken stove.
  9. Call Canadian warranty number - find out that not only do they close at 5pm - they also get a break between 12pm-1pm from answering calls.
  10. Get annoyed and bitch with husband about stupid stove.
  11. Spend further 20 minutes looking through previous homeowner's paperwork to find purchase receipt to determine actual age of product.
  12. Discover stove is not under warranty regardless of what is wrong with it.
  13. Get even more annoyed and take your frustrations to the internet to Find! A! Solution!
  14. Discover your stove has likely been recalled - due to elements that will turn on spontaneously and never again turn off.
  15. Spend 10 minutes looking for serial number and model number to confirm recall.
  16. Recall confirmed.
  17. Call the recall line listed on website.
  18. Get transfered to Canadian line.
  19. Provide all of information and promptly get disconnected.
  20. Call back and barely shielding annoyance, provide all particulars again.
  21. Find out that yes, your stove has been recalled and is deemed a fire hazard.
  22. Determine they will fix said element (and all other elements) free of charge.
  23. Ask what could happen if same thing happens again.
  24. Advised: ideally should turn breaker off whenever not using stove. Oh, and don't leave anything on top of it when not in use.
  25. Laugh and ask for real answer.
  26. Told is real answer.
  27. Provide address details to determine timing of delivery man.
  28. Advised earliest appointment available 2 weeks from now.
  29. Promptly lose your shit and very sternly advise that this is Not. Acceptable.
  30. After several minutes of silence, told that they could schedule for November 9th.
  31. In effort of not pissing off service advisor, humbly accept date and write on calendar.
  32. Ensure a reference number is received before hanging up phone.
  33. Sit down and stare angrily at unplugged, dead, useless stove.
Thank you Frigidaire! I enjoy not eating. Or avoiding 3rd degree burns while cooking. Or spending my life savings in eating out for the next 1.5 weeks.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The H1N1 debate

The topic du jour. Are you going to get the H1N1 vaccination? I have a lot of friends and family that are quite vehemently against it. Citing that it's dangerous, untested and likely not very effective as the strain mutates so quickly.

Those that are for the vaccination argue the benefits far outweigh the risks, and that all flu vaccines cover similar testing (as the strains change every year, and for them to get the vaccine to market in a timely manner, there isn't years and years of testing). So in essence, if you're cool with the flu shot, you should also be fine with the H1N1 vaccine.

Except one little thing - the H1N1 currently available is adjuvanted. Which means it includes a mixture of squalene (shark liver oil), DL-alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) and polysorbate 80 (emulsifier used in ice cream). This mixture bolsters the vaccine - essentially meaning they have to use less of the actual antigen to make the vaccine (because it was limited, this was a way for Canada to buy from the limited supply, and still have enough to provide to everyone).  It's this adjuvant that is making many nervous. Because this is the part of the vaccine that is less tested.  Do a google search re: adjuvant and you can learn a lot about it - more than you want to probably.

To put it bluntly, I'm nervous about it. Nervous enough that I am going to do my due diligence to see if I can instead get Maddie an un-adjuvanted version of the vaccine. She's under 3 and there are reports that it will be made available for those under 3 and pregnant women under 20 weeks.

At the same time - for us, I don't see an option of not getting it. As much as the adjuvanted vaccine makes me nervous, it's the reports of otherwise healthy children dying from this virus (like that poor poor boy just this past Monday) that make me more nervous. Maddie goes to daycare - many of those kids go to school.  That just puts her at an exposure rate that I'm not comfortable with. And while I wouldn't say she is a sickly child, we have certainly had our share of "the sick" in our house in the past 2 years.

But that's us - and that's a decision made after several weeks of thinking, researching, asking for opinions and trying to learn all that I can about it.  I highly recommend you do the same.  The Globe & Mail published a great Q&A article about it, which I found to be fairly unbiased.

Lastly, vitamin D is being touted as a great defense against all flus/colds/seasonal shit.  Because we in Canada cannot get the recommended amount via sunshine from October thru March, it is highly recommended we use supplements. There is also vitamin D in milk, fortified orange juice - lots of stuff. But if you want to be sure, just get some drops.  And according to what I've read, the recommended dosage for kids is up to 400 IU from the 200 IU previously recommended.  We currently give Maddie a multivitamin - but I plan on getting some additional D drops for the whole family.  I mean, why not, right?  That, I don't feel nervous about at all.


Monday, October 26, 2009

She knits too!

Not Miss M silly. ME! I knit. I totally knit.

I am down with the knit-dawgs.


Er? What?*

Let's start again... So this lovely weekend I decided that I was tired of my darling little snugglebum's neck being exposed to the elements and after doing a half-hearted search for a kidlet-sized scarf, decided to knit her one myself.

Enter my coolest discovery of the week - Howcast.  It is like YouTube for "how to" videos. And is superawesomefantastic if you ask me. What makes it so? Well, I went to YouTube and the "how to knit - basics of knitting" videos I found were assy. As in - moved way to fast for this newbie, and used random language like "once you've cast on, you're ready to learn the knit stitch", which of course only made me click pause while I frantically searched "cast on knitting" in the YouTube search box. And ...... scene.

The vids I found on Howcast not only showed step by step, it also has these built in little buttons in the feed that lets you go back to any specific "section" of the video. All in all - if you already know about Howcast - well, bully for you. Clearly you spend far too much time online. And if you don't - now you do. You're welcome. Your life is about to change.... for the better! I jest. (not really).

Anyways - I'm approximately 1/16 my way through the scarf (turns out I chose super-hard yarn to knit your first project with, needed larger needles and generally need to relax the hell up while I'm knitting so it's not so tight as to build a blister on left index finger from pushing the needle thru). And I'm sure to more advanced knitters out there, it's not all that pretty or done with correct form, for that matter (the whole "cast-on" thing still has me stumped).  But it's a scarf and it will be warm and she will love it.

Turns out though, as I'm chatting with my daycare provider today, there's a reason toddlers scarves aren't all that maintstream. It's a whole, uh, safety thing. Because they're going to choke each other on their scarves? Get hung up on something with it? I'm not so certain the why's, but apparently schools are starting to request the youngun's (like kindergarten age) not come w/ scarves, but instead baclava type neck coverings.

So instead of teaching our kids to learn how to live with the (gasp!) dangers of wearing a scarf, we instead should make them look like a gang of carjackers.

The school system is awesome.


*Love that in 5 (10?) years I will look back at this and be mortified with embarrassment. And then spend the next week telling Maddie that I'm "down" with something. Or "jiggity". Perhaps "down with jiggity". And really, I will have no idea what I'm actually saying. Because at the ripe old age of my mid-40's I will be so out of  touch that I may still be wearing Uggs and think I'm cool.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Time to wean

It's time. I've faced the fact. We need to cut out the night-time bottle.  I am terrified of this because...
  • This is really her primary source of milk. All other milk from a sippy gets, well, sipped on, for 2.8 seconds and then thrown on the floor.
  • It's been a part of her bedtime routine forever - as in, this was the first (and only bottle) we were able to introduce, and she associates the bottle with bed.
  • When she wakes up in the middle of the night (oh yes, she still does this - awesome, non?), it's the ONLY thing she wants and will soothe her.
The reason I am actually contemplating this upheavel in our lives?  Here's a snippet of my Saturday night (early Sunday morning):

MissM (over the monitor at an ear-crashing shout of volume): MOMMY!  MILK!  MADDIE WANT MILK!  MOMMY! MOMMY! MILK. MADDIE. PLEASE!

Me: w.t.f? roll over and think perhaps I can just ignore this away


Me: blearily look at clock. 4:effing16 in the morning. Superawesome. Go into her room and attempt to reason (with a toddler - I know - demented...): Dude - it's still night night time. How are you so awake? Go back to sleep. Night night.

MissM: Milk mommy. Maddie milk NOW.

Me: No, you don't need milk right now. You can have some in the morning. Just go back to sleep. Night night bugaloo.

MissM: instant and v. loud meltdown

Me: What the hell... I go, warm up a  bottle and bring it back up. And then I take her out of the crib and hold it for her.

It's those last 5 words that I want you to pay the most attention to.  That's right.  She won't hold her own bottle.  Well, that's not true. She will. For 1.3 seconds. Then it will fall and she'll look at me like, WTH is your prob lady?

So yeah. The wakeups are annoying enough. The having to sit for 10 mins while she drinks her bottle and then force my insomniac ass back to sleep? So not cool anymore. Because as sweet and loving as it could be - it's just.not.anymore.

But aside from going cold turkey (which I expect y'all will tell me to do), how else do you get rid of the bedtime bottle?


Monday, October 19, 2009

Another birthday weekend + a case of the sick?

I know, I know. Enough with the post (pre?) dated posts already. But I need to get these out and into our so-called online journal. Otherwise we'll just look back and realize wow - we did nothing and mom just bitched a whole lot. Ohhhhhkay.... carrying on.

It was another birthday party filled weekend for us. We were supposed to be attending 2 parties, but because Maddie was fighting "the sick" all weekend (and her lack of enthusiasm at the first) made us have to miss the 2nd one unfortunately.

I don't know what "the sick" was however, as it never really culminated in anything diagnosable. There were a few sleepless nights and some low-grade fevers happening all week. And a crusty grumpy little girl. It was fun! (said with wide eyes smiling and nodding head...) Maybe 2 year molars coming in? I can't really get my head around that, since she barely done cutting her eye teeth and we all know she's breaking world records for being the slowest possible teether evah! Who knows.  Kids are germoholics.

Anyways - before bday party #1 we hit up Pingles for some good ol' pumpkin-pickin'-out. There's tonnes of other things (tractor rides, corn mazes, face painting) that you can partake in - but yeah, like I said, we were on our way places and Miss M was a wee bit grumped out.

Although you can't really tell from these pics (liar! she's a liar!)

So yeah - then it was off for an hour to a bday party where my good friend Vone (she of the magical crafting powers and coolio blog: How to do...something) put together pretty much the coolest bday cake strategy for a roomful of toddlers (and young 'uns) that I ever did see.

Cupcakes. Sorry - a rainbow of cupcakes. That the kids could decorate. Each guest got a section tin, with candies and chocolates and assorted cupcake decorating  paraphernalia.

They got to pick a cupcake and decorate it (and then eat it of course!). All in all - a pretty fantastic idea. The kids had fun. The parents had fun. Oh - and almost forgot my fave part - she (because she's crafty like that) also made each child their own apron. Like a little pint-sized lovely adorable apron that we got to take home. And since we've just started baking together (Maddie helped me make choco chip cookies on the weekend), I think that's like, the COOLEST thing ever.

After that massive sugar rush (and crash) there was no way we could make it to the other bday party, so we called it a day. Maddie slept. Hubs watched his football and I made cabbage soup.

What? You don't lurve cabbage soup? I'm done with you...


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Maddie's First Fingerpaint

Maddie tried out her new birthday fingerpaints on Thankgsiving Monday. It was a creative process. To some of the pics - go here.  Otherwise, just enjoy the results:


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Maddie turns 2

Don't you hate it when you mean to post something, and you don't do it right away, and then time gets away from you and next thing you know it's 3 weeks later?  Isn't it awesome that you can just post-date your post and in the future, anyone reading will just think you posted on that day?  I do...

So it was the weekend that Maddie turned 2. And since I'm (apparently) determined she grow up to be a total diva, yes, we called it Maddie's "birthday weekend". Because in the Vallier house, if you have a vagina, you get more than just a day for your birthday. Just sayin'.

Friday was still a daycare day for Miss Madds, so I sent her with some cupcakes to share with the gang, purchased from Brooklin Bakery (no, I didn't make them - but before you roll your eyes at my laziness, read on to the Dora cake adventure).  Fri night dinner was our mainstay Fri night dinner: fish & chips a la Krispy's (another Brooklin fave - look at us supporting the local biz!) - joined by Gramma V who came up to visit for the weekend.  With cupcakes for dessert, Maddie enjoyed her first rendition of "happy birthday". Then it was off to bed so I could finish the Dora Cake!

*sigh* Yes. The Dora Cake. This monstrosity took away close to 6 hours of my life, when all was said and done.  I think because the Elmo head of last year's bday party ended up being so easy, I may have bitten off more than I could chew.  Followed the same steps - rented the pan from Bulk Barn ($2 a day - such a steal!), purchased cake mix, icing and icing tint.

We made the cake earlier in the week (actually fun as Maddie was totally into making her DORA cake - and we got some good pics of her first baking experience).  So that was f.i.n.e.

Really, it was the icing. So much colour. So many different steps to follow. So many intricate little spaces to get the star shaped icing globs into. It was like drawing Dora all freestyle, yo!  Nothing a little wine couldn't help, right?

Yeah - I fully blame Dora's eyes on that wine.  As a good friend stated, she looks like Lisa Simpson when she was the Lizard Queen (Simpson's reference that makes me sound super old).  Or as the Hubs commented - "Why did you make Dora look like she was beaned with a 2x4?"

Whatever - it's an A for effort, right?

Sat was actual party day - so we decorated and laid out all sorts of food and awaited the guests. Maddie was super-excited for her "Dora Party". That is, until the guests arrived. Maybe it was too many people? Maybe it was that I had wake her up from her nap to attend her own party? Maybe she doesn't like seeing all these other kids playing with her toys? I dunno. But she was s.u.c.k.y. the entire time. Like Gramma/Mommy/Daddy (whoever will pick her up and carry her around) sucky. Which, well to be honest, made me a little sad - but you can't force it, right?

Cake time was a bit disastrous as well - I forget candles (so she had tea lights on her birthday cake - I'm seriously a contender for party-planner of the year). Maddie hated all the people singing (as in, looked absolutely terrified the entire time). And she didn't even notice the cake. The 6 HOUR CAKE. Wouldn't even really look at it, acknowledge that it was Dora, nothing. Although in retrospect, perhaps she didn't recognize cracked out birthday cake Dora as the Dora that she idolizes on tv.

The rest of the weekend flew by - contrary to all my claims in the past, I actually attempted to cook some turkey on Sunday. There was way to many dishes and pots and pans and time spent over a steaming oven to convince me that this effort will ever be worth it again.  Sorry mom - I'm not like you...

Hmmmm - disastrous cake, disastrous turkey meal. Sounds like I just described a pretty shitty weekend - but we had fun. Honest!


Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving from Maddie!


PS - yes, this post was totally back-dated. Whatevs. I am not authentic. ;-)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Dear Miss Maddie,

Wow - 2 today. I've written and rewritten and rewritten today's post. You just learned and changed and metamorphised so much that I just couldn't get it.

So instead I gave myself the task of trying to capture a summary of it in a video instead.  It's over 7 minutes long (so apologies to anyone who is busy today... come back and watch later maybe?) - but I dare anyone to try and summarize someone's life in under 5 minutes.  It's bloody impossible.

I hope you look at this video someday and it really conveys just how much fun this year was.  Because holy crap - you are so much fun to be around and we just love the little person you have become.  Stay happy, stay curious and keep your humour, bugaloo.  It makes you such a special person.

Happy birthday my sweet little monkey - we love you more than anything.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I shouldn't even be posting right now - but I find when I get to write it out, it leaves my mind (if only for a bit) ... so if you don't feel like being part of my recessionerapy, carry on elsewhere...

  • People who judge moms who work - like full-time at other jobs - suck. Because you know what - you're right, I HAVE a choice. And I choose NOT to raise my kids in a squatter apartment in Siberia. Because I'm pretty sure that's all we could afford on one income. I live NORTH OF 7. Haven't I made enough comprises???
  • Speaking of work... Yes, I do work from home 3 days a week. Yes, my daughter is in daycare from 8-5. No, I don't think I could get as much done with her around. Seriously? Have you ever tried to write a 4 sentence email with a toddler around? Because, yeah. It doesn't work. And I'm already borderline homicidal on a good day.
  • And speaking of working-from-home... No, I didn't see yesterday's Oprah. Or Rachel Ray. Or Ellen. I know you don't believe me - but I w.o.r.k. from home. I don't sit on a couch in front of the tv with my laptop open. I actually do shit. Imagine that...
  • Yes, I know could tone/tighten/lose that baby weight. If I actually TRIED. I am well aware of my lack of effort and no, I really don't expect to lose weight just because I want to. (am totally lying - thought I would've dropped 10lbs just by the force of owning an elliptical)
  • Am I aware that I wear less makeup/dress more casually/am wearing flat shoes? Yes fucko, I am. Am also aware that I am currently (like right now! right this very minute!) wearing jeans with stretch denim for a waist, kinda like maternity pants (but I assure you they are not...please see below). Does that mean I gave up? No. But I'm far more comfortable now, fuckyouverymuch.
  • How long am I waiting to have a 2nd child? This is my fave. Here's the answer du jour: "Wow - you sure like personal questions!" Does said person often continue to badger for an answer? You'd think not right? Oh no ... they totally do. Next time I'm just going to scream in the little old lady's face at the grocery store as a distraction. Then she and the cashier can talk about how much they hope I DON'T have a 2nd...
  • And lastly (and most timely of all) - no, I'm not cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving. No, I don't plan on doing so. I have a thing about raw poultry and shoving things up the bum of a bird. Yes, I'm aware this makes me weird. Doesn't mean I don't love eating turkey and all it's yummy sidekicks. Yes, I totally get the selfish, self-serving spin of this all. I'm an only child, whaddya want?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Sleep

I never knew just how much my happiness could depend on someone else's sleep. Whether they're getting enough. Or waking too often. Or waking too early...

Oh the snark - it is alive and well this morning.

In other news - I have continued to NOT use my brand new elliptical. Because I refuse to wake up at 5am to exercise. 

Read: I am not using my new elliptical because Miss M is waking at 6am every morning.

And that my friends, is lame. With a capital W.T.F.


Monday, October 5, 2009


There is a little boy at daycare that Maddie adores. Well they adore each other, I suppose. Apparently they are inseparable and it's an example that you can have personalities that "jell" even at a preschool age.

And he really is the sweetest little boy you ever could meet. Like if your daughter, who was in daycare from 8-5:30 could be hanging out with another kid everyday, this would totally be that kid.

We knew about "Kyle" before Maddie brought it up - just from our daycare provider letting us know how adorable they were together, how much fun they had together, yadda yadda yadda.

And then at storytime at night, his name would start to come up. The random bunny on page 6 would be "Kyle's". The little boy going to bed at the end of the book was "Kyle". Again with the adorableness and that proud mama bear feeling of your child building relationships outside of her family that she enjoyed. I was such an introverted little kid that it was literally painful for me to make friends. So watching her do this with ease and charm, it was a bit of a learning experience for me.

But then came the icing on the cake. A few days ago - Maddie sitting in her highchair at dinner time, telling us random shit things about randomness, and these words came out, "Maddie play park with Kyle. Kyle Maddie friends."

You know you want to... let's do it together: Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.......

And also - she's not even 2 yet! I so love that she gets what the hell a friend even IS, much less making them like it ain't no thang.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

The countdown is on...

Our little Miss turns 2 in exactly 5 days. Not to sound all typical-mommy on you, but holy crap it's blowing my mind a little bit. Perhaps not the age thing, because 2 doesn't sound all that old yet. She's still in diapers. We still give her a bottle at night (I KNOW - we will wean soon, I promise). She's still a baby in so many ways.

And yet, she's totally not. She's a little girl. A little person with likes and dislikes. With a sense of humour (which still surprises me to no end - but she is the biggest sarcastic joker you'll ever find this side of preschool).

Since she's our first, I don't know from experience - but it really seems like these first two years are crazy-banana-cakes in terms of development. I think I said this after the first year too (just how much they change) - but after spending a few hours last night looking at home videos and pics from the last year - the change from October 2008 to present is bonkers.

We do timeouts now (sometimes self-inflicted if she's annoyed at us - she just goes up to her room to be alone - hi, MiniMe!). She understands the concept of "later" - as in, No we can't go to the park, but we'll go later today - I totally get called on that quite often. She recognizes letters, she's starting to count actual things (getting the concept of counting - how cool is that?), she breaks into spontaneous song (and dance). She's a little card. She loves to be in the limelight, and clearly lives for a laugh.

She's possibly the most happy-go-lucky, thoughtful, kind, funny, carefree children you could ever imagine.

Especially with two moody, selfish only-children for parents.

I jest.

Not really.

Anyways - this isn't a post about how fabulous my daughter is - because you know I'm saving that one up for Friday, right? It's just a comment on how crazy it is that we're here already. How time has flown by so fast but and at the same time it feels like it's been forever.


**This post brought to you by my cheesy nostalgic feelings of motherdom after spending 3 hours pouring through photos and video archives.