Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

Proving yet again that she is afraid of nothing and no one, Katie was a fabulous sport about Santa... Maddie was probably more excited than ever to meet the big guy and tell him her special wish (a doll house). The result? My gorgeous girls and the big guy himself...

Yes, that's a beret. Maddie told me Katie looked like a police officer. I don't disagree...
Merry Christmas wishes to everyone - I think I might be more excited for Christmas day than the kids. Can't wait to see everyone's faces for all the surprises there will be wrapped under the tree.

2011 - 'Twas a good year...


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Life getting in the way

I had big plans for November. I was going to do NaBloPoMo - actually write a post every day and really get my blogging mojo back.

Hi! It's November 24th. I SUCK.

It's life dude. It's getting in the way. (insert whiny voice) In. The. Waaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy!

Without sounding like an autobot of every other person out there, I just can't seem to figure out a way to fit in everything I want to do. The house is never as tidy as it should be. Laundry is always a load or two (or eight) behind. I really need to finish paying those bills and file the papers away so I can see my dining room table again. The dog should've been walked today, maybe that's why he's being so annoying. The magazines and catalogues and borrowed books that sit upon my bedside table are at desperate risk of falling off and maiming my toddler.

I have a TODDLER. WTF? Last time I think I gave you any kind of update about Katie I was wondering when her first teeth were going to arrive and waxing poetically about my little one year old.

She is 17 months old now. Have I written any short little anecotodal notes about her daily cuteness and all the adorable happenings? No... I fail as a blogger. FAIL.

For the record, she is awesome. She is FULL of sass and grump, piss and vinegar, smiles and scowls. She is the epitome of what will soon become "a handful" soon I believe. She's SO awesome and SO sassy that she really does deserve her own post and therefore I'm not going to write any more about her gorgeousness, except to promise that I WILL write about her soon. I PROMISE.

Aside from the daily clutter and household drudgery things getting in the way I also keep starting (and not finishing) about a TRILLION diy projects around the house. I am maniacal in creating lists of what I want to "accomplish" each week, when in the end, all I end up accomplishing are little piles of unfinished projects in each and every room of the house.

It's a good thing the Hubs doesn't notice much during football season...

And add to all of that, I continue to search for a job. I'm unemployed and needing employment. And it sucks. Large, sucky, crap-balls. It's no fun to spend the wee hours of your nights drafting cover letters and applying for jobs that you don't really want, but will apply for anyways, because you never know, maybe it'd be OKAY. I've had a few exciting interviews for exciting jobs at exciting companies that I would be very excited about working for. But it's also the holiday season and things start to move verrrrry slowly. It can be disheartening  I am disenchanted with it all. And yet, one must trudge forward.

I'd say that's probably a reason I've been quiet too - because even when you have lofty goals of focusing on the positive, it's easy to get deflated and choked up with the negative. And I KNOW you're not here for that.

So here it is - a promise to be better. To do what I came here to do - which is (our little inside joke) document our lives dammit. And I will. I promise.

K: WTF are we doing here?
M: It's a pile of leaves and it's fall and it's FUN!
K: This is BS, let's go wreck some shit.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Remember last Monday?

Remember when I was an actual blogger and posted things in some type of coherent order? And actually within a reasonable amount of time, so as to make my posts kind of timely and in context of actual life?

Yeah. Me neither.

So HALLOWEEN! It was on Monday. Like 5 days ago... So? What are you gonna do about it? That's right, I'm just getting around to posting about it now. AFTER my rant about Blockbuster closing down and the obliteration of an entire era of movie renting for a generation (me) and the subsequent art of living life unplanned + at the last minute (us) and the beauty of purchasing bad-for-you-food in an impulse, yet justifiable setting (REESE BITES).

I had priorities, okay?

So back to the offspring. And their Halloween stuff...

We carved our pumpkins during the chaos of Sunday afternoon football transition (aka just before the 4 o'clock games started). It was all before dinner, but after nap-time convenient like, and featured: 1) a distracted Daddy wielding a sharp knife, 2) a grumpy baby who could have TOTALLY slept for another half hour if it wasn't for her stompy, loud-as-an-elephant-in-high-heels sister, and 3) a 4 year old who was about as INTO pumpkin carving as she has been in the prior 2 years we've been foisting this tradition onto her. Which is to say, NOT AT ALL INTO IT.

Yo - this is gross, y'all.
Monday morning I got Maddie dressed up for school, only to walk back home, guzzle 2 cups of tea, get my darling Kates also dressed up (completely against her will and better judgement) and trek back to the school 15 minutes later for the Kindergarten parade. Which turned out to be possibly my favourite moment thus far in unemployment - and now I know, for the future, take Halloween day off. Because being able to attend shit like that? Is THE Awesome.

Hey Mom! Look! I'm in a parade!
The rest of the afternoon was spent with me trying to convince Maddie that, no, it wasn't time to go trick or treating yet, and no, she didn't need to wear her costume for the ENTIRE day. It wouldn't, like, negate her ability to earn candy later on or anything, if she just took off her princess dress for 5 seconds to eat her pizza. I also tried to get a cute, non-costumed-pic of the girls wearing their Halloween shirts.

It didn't work out so well... 
By the time it was late enough that the girls could actually GO trick or treating, Katie was ready to pass out. She didn't nap so well - still sick from the weekend (teeth + cankers on her tongue (eww) = horrid weekend for her + us) - so she was a bit of a zombie before and during. But zombies are in, right? And yes (because I know you're wondering), Cinderella DID come by our house and THREW UP PRINCESS CRAP ALL OVER our Maddie. If it was plastic and sparkly or light blue, she wore it.
Zombie Butterfly FTW! We are so current.
In the end, we collected enough candy that Maddie actually had to come home and trade in her swanky McDonald's happy meal bucket for another - and since I have her on a strict 2-3 treats per day ration, I expect the candy should last us right until I get the Christmas baking started.

Which means she'll be on a sugar high for approximately 7 weeks.



I miss my Blockbuster

Last weekend I had the brainwave that the Hubs should get a get of jail free card for the evening, while I got to be "good Mommy" and let Madds stay up late and watch a movie. Awesome plan, yes? Here's the kicker...

There's no effing video stores anymore. Not sure if you've heard (I hadn't),  but Blockbuster went out of business and they have no more stores in Canada. So..... yeah. Include the various mom + pop stores that have gone bust locally, and I was starting to wrack my brain on where we were actually going to rent a movie from.

Sure there's Rogers On Demand - which I'm guessing, is one of the main reasons Blockbuster died its slow, corporate death - but have you checked out their children (sorry, FAMILY) selection? It's pitiful. I ended up finding a local Rogers Video and we checked out a few titles there - but it just wasn't the same. Selection was sparse and THEY DIDN'T HAVE REESE BITES. First Rule of Video Rental - have my effing candy. I want to impulse buy all sorts of unhealthy treats while I'm in line to rent my movies, and Reese Bites are at the TOP OF THAT LIST. (We settled for King size Reese PB cups - but they're just.not.the.same.)

But can we digress for a moment... because DUDES. Video stores are dying. And it's making me sad. Doesn't it feel like the end of an era? Does anyone else remember walking into a Jumbo Video as a teenager on a Friday night, helping yourself to a mini bag of popcorn and munching away as you browsed around? Because that memory for me is so vivid, such a REAL MOMENT that it makes me sad and a bit incredulous that my children won't ever have that same kind of experience.

Instead we all get to sit in our homes. Order whatever current movies our cable provider decides they're going to feature - and get to pay inflated prices for that one-time viewing (which, for a movie for me is no big deal - but for kid movies? They get watched over and over and overandoverandoverandover again - am I right?). I call bullshit.

Are we that digitalized (yes, I realize it's not a word - but it is now - it means all LawnmowerMan'd up - and if you get that reference then, YOU WIN) that we can't even support the economy of video rental? Wherein we have to leave our home and go somewhere and borrow a movie for a fee and bring said movie back when we say we will, so others can also borrow it and watch it? You want me to rely on NETFLIX for my entertainment? (Yes, that was said with as much of a sneer as you may have read there - the concept of paying $8 a month to watch shitastic movies like Point Break and The Wedding Singer makes me seriously question the sanity of people.)

I know there's some other kind of video rental where they mailed the vids to you - where you pick them online and they send them to you when they're available. S'cool. I've done it in the past, way back when. Cheap too. But it's still not the same...

C'mon, seriously... Is anyone else as sad as me about this turn of events? Or am I the old dinosaur resisting change and technology while you guys are all, Yay! Let's all curl up and watch shit on our laptops and beep-boop-bop-bop-biddity-bop (this is my fancy computer sound-effect), perhaps I shouldn't laugh at that funny part there, instead I'll just tweet it: "LOL - I love Jason Bateman movies! " and someone you don't know can reply back "ROFLMAO - I know!!! He's teh funnyy!"...



Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

I'd love to say that our recent outing to the local pumpkin patch had everything to do with my Project: Happiness October resolutions... (it wasn't - well, I guess not technically, but I'm still counting it, as I'm failing miserably at this month's resolutions and I need to put a gold star up somewhere, y'know?). But the pumpkin patch trip in mid-October is our family tradition. It started waaaaay back when Miss Madds was only a teeny tiny year old, and I picked the coldest, drizzliest day of the month to rouse the Hubs up off the couch and head out to get our pumpkin. It was a grumpy start, but we all had such fun that day, 4 years ago, that it's now the Hubs that is bugging for us to go by the first weekend of October. And a tradition was born...

This year Katie did more than snooze in the baby carrier... she was all, "LOOKIT THIS STUFF! ZZZZOMG THIS! AND THIS! AND DID YOU KNOW THERE WAS A SANDBOX!?!?"

She would not.stop.moving from the moment we got there.

"Bowling" game with Daddy
Umm... dangerous spot for my toddler to be watching her big sister "bowling". 
There was a train. It was good fun.

She wanted to be just like her big sister - whatelseisnew.

Dirt. Yay, dirt.

Don't forget about the corn maze. Madds led us through to the end without one wrong turn. Methinks she's smart like Mommy.
Of course there was a tractor to drive...

And oh yeah, the pumpkin...

We had a great time and had great weather for it - so thank you Mother Nature, for letting us enjoy 2+ hours out in the crisp fall sun!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Dear Maddie,

Dude. You are four. FOUR! I don't even know how we got here.

As prosaic as it sounds, I still (and probably always will) think of you as my little baby girl. Except I have to squint extra hard to see it now. Especially when you stand, with your bony little arm perched on your hip, and whine your requests at me, "Moooooommm!" So apparently you're four, going on 14. Seriously - can I stay "Mommy" at least for one more year? Please?

So much change in just one year...

A year ago you used binkies. (Like all the time - it was quite annoying really. Good thing the Binky Fairy took care of that one.) Now it's like you never used them. I can't even imagine you with one now. (Thank god, right?)

A year ago you still had that toddler twang - lisping your "th's" and leaving words out of sentences. Now you pronunciate and articulate like a proper little lady. In fact, you may just mind your p's & q's better than your Daddy (don't tell him I said that).

A year ago you wanted to watch princess movies all the time, over and over and overandoverandover again. Now you ask for far less tv - more interested in doing, playing, creating.

A year ago you would argue and demand and tantrum. Now you reason, cajole, manipulate (in a good way) (usually).

A year ago you wouldn't try new foods (we're getting there).

A year ago you couldn't use the bathroom without help. Couldn't get dressed or undressed without help. Couldn't open the fridge. Find yourself a snack. Open the front door. Clean up your room. You are so self-sufficient now, I find myself asking if I can help you, please can I do that for you, all the time. "No Mom, I can do it. All by myself I will do it."

A year ago you couldn't swim. Couldn't ride a trike. Couldn't write your name, or any letters at all in fact. You draw pictures (of people! and other recognizable things!). You write your name, Katie's name, Mommy and Daddy. You're learning your last name. You have your address memorized.

You are getting fearless. More confident every day. Cutting those apron strings and becoming your own little person faster than I ever could imagine.

Four will be a doozy I think. So much learning for both of us - new skills and independence for you. Learning to let go, stand back, let you try on your own, for me.

So while I take a look forward, I also take a look back.

A year filled with dancing. Singing (you love to sing along to the radio now). A year of learning and practicing and playing and giggling and "Just teasing, Mom". A year spent watching you soak up everything around you like a sponge. And admiring how it still didn't change your sweetness, your generosity of spirit, or your humour.

You still wake up in the morning with a smile on your face and an eagerness or have funfunfun.

You are my libra. Here to teach me how to balance.

You bring us light and laughter and so so so much love.

Every year your birthday seems to hover around Thanksgiving. As if we needed to be reminded to be thankful.

Maddie's 4th birthday from Sara Vallier on Vimeo.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Project: Happiness - Sept update and Oct goals

Hey, remember when I said I was going to set all these lofty goals for myself and it would lead to happiness and zen for the whole famly, and, and, ahahhhhhhh (that is a frustrating laugh there my interweb friends)....... Yes. Okay. So let's catch up, shall we?

Project: Happiness - September Recap - The Month of Organization
- clean car (like, really, really clean the hell out of it) --> okay, I ACTUALLY did this very early in the month. And it's still (sort-of) clean. But I must admit - the floor mats are still sitting in the garage, waiting for me to lug up the vacuum and give them a solid clean. So, 7/8ths check?
- clean off dining room table (this is our junk/mail/bills/papers depository and just makes everything look messy on our main floor at all times) + keep it clear for entire month --> *cue insane laughter* This was a lofty goal. I did get it 98% cleared for approximately 3 hours one day. My dining room table is my fucking organizational nemesis. That is all I'm going to say about that.
- Kijiji/Freecycle/give away items in garage not returning to basement --> YAY! I kicked ass on this goal. of all the crazy clutter we had sitting in our garage, I have only a box of dishes and a bag of clothes destined for Goodwill. I also made +$250 selling all our crap, which is even more awesome.
- update Flickr + Facebook photo albums, organize and backup photo/videos on computer --> Hmmm, I give myself a B- on this. I did update the online albums, but my backups are (as always) horrendously out of date... ugh. I feel stressy just thinking about the fact that I didn't finish this one.
- pack away summer clothes, sort through winter clothes - make goodwill donations and reduce wardrobes by 30% --> Another B grade. I did go through and did make some donations - but not nearly enough to constitute a 30% reduction. I got bored somewhere between t-shirts and old holiday-themed pajama bottoms... In all fairness, while my wardrobe is not "capsule" in the least, it is pretty pared down already. Except for the shoes - and I will not submit to giving up a single pair. Nope.
- clear out email accounts, unsubscribe from unnecessary email lists and delete or respond to all incoming emails that day --> Oh I OWNED this one. I subscribe to so many blogs that tell me about deals and offers that I really did a major email purge and while I'm not sitting at Inbox Zero or anything, the influx has definitely lessened significantly. This is one of the more glorious results because for some reason, I always felt guilty deleting an email without reading it through - which was such a flipping time waster. Oh I recommend taking a few minutes every morning for a week or so and doing this yourself. It really is freeing.
- create remainder of monthly goals for Project: Happiness --> Bahahhhaaahha. Okay - so I've started, but nope, this isn't done yet.

Overall? I give myself a B+ - nothing was that major of an accomplishment on that list - but finding an hour a day (or more) to really push through some progress was tough. Probably because none of it was really "fun" - and for the start to a "Happiness Project" it really wasn't all that inspiring. BUT the legitimate head-space that got cleared out? End result = totally worth it. I feel far more focused. Less concerned by junky, unnecessary, niggly little thoughts of "Oh I need to do X, Y & Z sometime soon." Really - the organization was probably a lot more internal than external, and that was kind of the point of it, you know?

Which brings us to October....

Project: Happiness - October - Month of Family
Maddie's birthday, Thanksgiving, two weeks of school holidays upon us - I thought it only fitting that this month I focused on us...

- make a bigger effort to stay in contact with close family - appreciate time spent with them
- plan fun family outings every weekend
- make more crafts, play more actively, read more books with the girls
- get outside, play harder, limit screen time
- start gratitude journal for the month
- bite my tongue, practice more patience, be more forgiving - to everyone (well, immediate family at least - stoopid drivers may still incur my wrath)

Huh. That seems like a big, lofty list...


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Snippets for Fall 2011

You know the ever elusive refreshing 20 minute cat nap? One that you may attempt on a Saturday afternoon,  but either end up being woken up approximately 0.893678 seconds into falling asleep, or actually getting to sleep and crashing out for a sweaty, sleep-crusty 2.5 hours that you wake up feeling completely disoriented (and frustratingly more tired)... of course I managed to catch one tonight during the first PVR'd Modern Family of the season. Out like a light after the first commercial break, only to wake up, get myself to bed and lay there for a solid hour, wide awake and unable to fall asleep.

Which brings me here... to you... for some incoherent ramblings...

* * *

Maddie's "new" thing is picking out everyone's outfit in the morning. What started with her sometimes picking out her sister's outfits have morphed into Total Fashion Domination. She (sometimes) gets the chance to pick out the Hubs tie. She (always) picks out lil' Kate's duds. And my "walk her to school outfit" - meh, I'm down with being told what to wear - decision making before 8am was never my strong suit. Except yesterday - when she looked through my closet and picked out a green sparkly "going out dancing back when I was in my early 30's and perhaps did that kind of thing" tank top. She declared it JUST PERFECT and told me that OF COURSE it matched my yoga pants and no it WASN'T TOO FANCY for 8am. (I'd love to be that cool, "who cares what people think" mom and say I wore it ... but too effing bad - I do have some dignity...)

* * *

Recovering from hernia repair surgery means I haven't been able to pick up (read: tote around on my hip for 68% of my waking hours) my little Katiebear. Like, at all. While still a tiny one, she definitely qualifies for over the 5-pound limit I have for the four week post-op recovery period. I've had plenty of help from my mom and MIL, and really, she's not had any lack of attention... but OF COURSE this past week is when she has decided to pull out the big guilt guns, right? And started mewling "MA-MA" whenever she wants a cuddle. (Also? As an aside? What is UP with toddlers sounding like baby goats when they first start saying "mama"? It's all gurgly and bleaty and baby-goaty, non?) So yes. To answer any aspiring-mom-to-be who may not know this - the emotional manipulation starts EARLY, yo.

* * *

Aside from spending time not-picking-up-my-baby and not-wearing-sparkly-tank-tops-to-JK-drop-off, I've also been making good on my promise to get myself organized. The garage. Our closets. The spice cupboard (oh you don't even want to know what was going on in there). It's just been organize, organize, all the time organize, around these parts. (Which you know, makes the Hubs a BIG fan of me. *cough*cough* Lifting totes of clothes up and down 2 flights, back and forth, several times buddy - yay!) But at least I can say I've accomplished this month's goal. As for the actual list of goals for the next 11 months - that is coming... soon. Erm.... Shut up. I've been busy organizing...

* * *

Remember that cookbook that Jerry Seinfeld's wife wrote a few years ago. Teaching moms everywhere to hide vegetables in various meals. Because, Yay! Healthy! And also, Yay! No more complaining from the loud, annoying kidlet at that table! Well, I saw it on one of the restocking carts at the library last week and was all... I'm Inspired! Let's make purees! And hide them in food! And try out new, weird, recipes!!!

Big fat 'effing failure. Three recipes in and I'm already eyeing up the pureed beets with suspicion of just HOW long will I let them take up precious ice cream space in my freezer before they hit the green bin.

I give them 3 months. A month per recipe failure perhaps...

* * *

It's an old friend's birthday this weekend and I'm taking her up on an afternoon facial, some hardcore window shopping for me (here I come Anthro - you better be ready for me), and an evening soiree. My prediction for the outing goes like this... I spend so much time window shopping I don't allot nearly enough time to hair-straightening-the-mane, and therefore spend the evening looking like a 1987 throwback (thereby solidifying my entrance into cougertown), I drink just that one glass too many glasses of proseco and become the loud "I DON'T GET OUT MUCH" lady at the party, and spend at least a half hour on the drive home looking for a drive-thru McD's in downtown TO so that I can scarf a hangover-reducing Sausage & Egg combo (supersized for the extra hashbrown) on my drive home to the 'burbs and screaming kidlets. All in all - a great time that I'm VERY much looking forward to...

* * *

Speaking of girls' nights out ... I'm planning an awesomesauce party of my own for November. It's an idea I first saw on Pinterest (if you haven't checked this site out, you need to set aside, oh, AN ENTIRE WEEKEND, to really go through and savour the gorgeousness and inspirational messiah that it is)... It's called a Favourite Things Party and essentially is this: everyone brings their favourite thing (anything they like... favourite lip gloss, favourite kitchen tool, favourite gift wrapping supply, etc). It can't cost more than $6 and each person brings five of the same thing. Then, everyone draws names - and there's a massive exchange, so everyone goes home with 5 different items - of other's party-goers' favourite things... I think this, along with copious bottles of wine and kid-free weekend status will make this a fairly fantastic evening.

* * *

That's all I've got... Oh - a Seamus update.... he's still around (barely, some days) - his puppy-ness is starting to subside (as in, no more chewed toys/shoes/random boxes of kleenex), but he seems to have forgotten everything he ever learned in puppy class. He can't walk on a leash for shite, he still jumps on everyone (including Kates - which doesn't help her "new walking status" so much), and he stinks. Like very, very bad. It's like he's rolled in a pile of mildewy, rotting, wormy, leaves. Every day. All the time. Mr. Stinksalot. (Yes, I've tried bathing him - it just adds the distinct odour of "wet dog" to the above.) Maybe it's a terrier thing? It bothers me less-so than the Hubs - but even I can't deny he is a stinky gross smelly hotmess. Awwwww - and he's all miiiiiiiiiiine!

Yes, that's totally a skull + crossbones leash. Maddie calls him her "Pirate Dog".

* * *

And on that note..... I'm hoping the two mugs of warm milk I've had while writing this incoherent mess of a post will actually do something and I'll catch some zzz's. G'nite.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

I would like to thank...

With the Hubs off the past week taking care of me (Aside: I got to cross one of my "firsts" of my life list - reluctantly - surgery - nothing major, just a little hernia thanks to having two massive baby bellies in the past 3 years - for that I get a frankenbutton and the inability to lift anything over 5 pounds for a month - can I get a wootwoot?) I decided to take advantage of his spare time and get a good start on the organizing resolution for the month. 

After months of renos, our garage was PACKED full of items that needed to go. I'm talking full on hoarders-style garage where things were packed on things and tables were precariously stacked upon boxes and bags of SHITE (this is where any good blogger would insert a pic of said hoarders-style garage - but not me - I keep you guessing as to just how disgusting it was!)... Luckily for me, I was up and able to move around enough by Monday to start snapping pics and measuring furniture. Several hours later I had posted everything that needed to go on Kijiji or Freecycle. Within the week I've made over $250 and reduced the clutter in our garage by, oh, 70%? (Yes, there was some big stuff in there - but still, I am awesomesauce - just for the record.) I got $50 alone for the drapes that were hanging in our house when we bought it - which I promptly took down, stored in the garage and FORGOT ABOUT for 4 years. That's like finding money right there, my friends. For drapes that I never did, and was never gonna, use.

So thank you Kijiji, thank you Freecycle.... your powers of clutter-reduction have brought me a lil bit of zen this week.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Project: Happiness

This summer has been balls. I got laid off. We've been living with extensive home renovations, which has been hard, really hard. Needing to get out of the house for weeks at a time meant living out of a suitcase. Arguments. Tired, off-schedule, cranky kids.

I can usually look at a situation that bites and see (good or bad) what needs to be done to improve it. It's a talent (sort-of) - very useful in a professional sense. On a personal level I've been called ruthless on more than one occasion. But I'm efficient. I'm a problem-solver. I get things done.

Until this summer. I don't know if it was being laid off (sorry, restructured) that threw me off balance. Or not being able to live in my house for almost 3 months. We were there - on and off - but never living in any kind of order, and always under a cloud of drywall, carpet, renovation dust.

Two major life stressors at once. Two children with non-stop summer colds and sore throats and ear infections and fevers and just sickness. Two adults that weren't getting enough sleep or "me" time or sleep.

It all resulted (and is still in recovery stages) of a very "hard" time for our family. One that you'll look back on in memory as "Oh that was the hard summer" or, "Yes, lucky we survived that time". It's a period that requires italics in the memory banks of our brains, for one reason or another.

But we are coming out the other side - renos are complete. Maddie has started school. Fall is approaching. A change of seasons always brings about a change of mindset. And fall, being the start of a new (school) year for so much of your life always has felt (to me) like the true beginning of the "new year".

At such a key time, this past month I have been reading the book, "The Happiness Project" by Gretchin Rubin. I think it was during a regular errand-filled pilgrimage to the local Walmart, where I was walking around zombie-like, with Pampers and dog food piled high in my cart, that I noticed the book on display in a middle aisle. I know I stopped suddenly in front of the display, because I remember the lady behind me giving me a sigh of annoyance as she veered around me. I had promised myself not to buy any more new books (in one of my first efforts to hone a thriftier household budget), but after glancing at the book jacket and "Note to the Reader" I couldn't put the book back on the display. And so, it came home with me. And slowly (about as slowly as possible actually, as leisurely spare reading time is not freely on tap of late) I read the book.

Any time I've tried to explain the book's concept, people have responded, "oh it's a self-help book"... it isn't. It really is just, almost, a thesis if you will, of another person's attempt at making her life happier over an extended period of time. And the premise on which she did that, was to break it into "themes", assign them to months and tackle it as it if was just like any other project. Except this one is completely and utterly self-serving. Selfish, in fact. As it really is her own happiness (not her family's, not her children's) that she is concerned about for the entire book.

And yet - shocking, I know - the result of her being happier of course is her family, her children become happier as well. Be it through changes they make in reaction to her changes, or resulting from the benefits of the changes she makes.

It's quite fascinating - and inspiring. So much so, that I in fact, have been inspired to start my own project happiness. One that I'm going to document here - even just as a behavioural check to ensure I stick to it and at least reflect on any results - good or bad - that I observe. (Don't worry, this isn't going to become a self-improvement blog where I pontificate about how to become a better person. In no way will this be a major life overhaul. But perhaps an interesting way to set some goals - resolutions - and see if it makes a difference in the end if I follow them or not)... And dudes - if there was ever a time where I could use a little dollop of happiness - now is it.

Following the same type of structure the author set, I'm going to assign "themes" to each month. Here is September (hoping the results of it will help me get the rest of my months planned out!)...

Project: Happiness - September - Month of Organization
I picked organization because I have a lot going on in my head and it's hard to be focussed and make progress on anything lately because of so many things floating around up there. So before I get started on making progress on anything, I think I need to get organized...

- clean car (like, really, really clean the hell out of it)
- clean off dining room table (this is our junk/mail/bills/papers depository and just makes everything look messy on our main floor at all times) + keep it clear for entire month
- Kijiji/Freecycle/give away items in garage not returning to basement
- update Flickr + Facebook photo albums, organize and backup photo/videos on computer
- pack away summer clothes, sort through winter clothes - make goodwill donations and reduce wardrobes by 30%
- clear out email accounts, unsubscribe from unnecessary email lists and delete or respond to all incoming emails that day
- create remainder of monthly goals for Project: Happiness

Holy shit, I feel like I've just given myself a lot of work to do. And yet, it's so freeing to ignore a few of those other niggling "to do's" (like the bookcase for Katie's room or printing photos - that's just going to have to happen another month, and I refuse to worry, plan, spend any more brain-time on that).... so now, my "free" time will be spent attempting to bring some order to our lives and clear out some of the chaos, baggage, whatever...

Here's hoping I actually stick with it (my track record with proper "new year's" resolutions is absolute shite) - and if I don't, please feel free to openly mock me. In fact, I realize how loopy this post may sound anyways, so feel free to openly mock me in general.

Aaaaaaand..... away we go!


Sunday, September 4, 2011

First day of school

It only took me a month to write about it - not because it was traumatic in any way - life, as it does, has gotten in the way a lot, and this blog seems to be the biggest sufferer. Whatevs, no more apologies - back to the topic at hand...

Maddie's first day of junior kindergarten was August 4th. The school on our street offers both regular and "modified" school calendars - since we had heard so many great things about the modified program, we chose to enroll her in that schedule - which means we lucked out with getting the most amazing teacher for Miss Madds. She's young. She's stylish (bonus points from Maddie for all her cool belts and scarves and shoes). And she's so lovely and patient and everything you think a Kindergarten teacher should be.

So yes, kindergarten is a big shiny bright spot in our rather grey, grumpified life right now. Maddie loves it. She's learning, she's making friends, she misses it on the weekends. Pretty much the best case result for the whole "sending your child to school for the first time" scenario. Lucky = us.

How adorably cute is my firstborn on her first day?

And how adorably cute embarrassing is this exchange between us - right before we walked her to school for the very first time:

Me: So - when we get to the gate, you will go in with the other kids to line up for school. Mommy and Daddy will say bye to you at the gate.

Maddie: {silence}

Me: But that doesn't mean we won't be thinking about you the whole time you're at school. We'll miss you while you're there and we'll be there to pick you up as soon as you're done.

Maddie: Mommy, you won't be sad that I'm gone. Don't cry, okay Mommy?

Me: Umm.... well, I might be a bit sad. But it's a happy sad. I won't cry Maddie. I mean..... well, I'll try not to cry, okay? I will miss you though. Such a big girl, going to school. It's a big step. Mommy is very proud of you, boo.

Maddie: Mommy, I'll be right back, okay? You don't have to miss me. And don't cry, okay Mommy?

For all those friends that knew me, way back when, whoever thought I'd be counseled by a three year old not to shed emotional tears - yes?? Jeebus...


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Remember me?

Hey there. So I have so many excuses for not writing that this could turn into a post all about why I didn't write. Let's just say extensive home renos + my baby turning one + being laid off at the end of my mat leave = big mess of emotions + zero blog posts for oh? A Month And A Half...

And now...

The smoke is finally clearing. Life is returning to normal.

Renos will be done this week (and that's where fate intervenes with an evil "bwa-ha-ha-ha" at my naiveté in believing my contractor).

I am still without job and earnestly playing the lotto weekly whilst avoiding the crappy job of updating my resume.

My baby turned one and we celebrated with family. I wrote a sappy post about it many moons ago. And I also made a video... which I finally sat down and uploaded.

So without further ado... here it is - my tribute to my Katiebear in her first year...

Happy 1st Birthday Katie from Sara Vallier on Vimeo.

And if you can't view the video here for some reason - visit our Vimeo page here.

More updates to come - now that life is getting normal again... or at least less horrifically crazy.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

12 Months

Dear Katie,

Oh my Lady Katharine. My Katiebear. My Kates. We made it - one year. I was worried you know, about how I'd handle two. I was worried there wasn't enough of me to go around I was worried that somehow our little family dynamic would be changed and upset by the addition of another.

What the hell was I worried about? It's like we were waiting for you!

You, my little grumpy little troll baby from the get-go.

You, my aggressive little miss who has scratched the shit out of both yourself and everyone within your reach.

You, who has managed to wrap everyone in the house around your teeny tiny little finger (including Seamus, who clearly has a soft spot for your cheeky little self).

You, who melts my heart with every belly laugh you give me. You make me work hard for those. The toughest sell I've had to dance for. So when I manage to garner a giggle, it's a triumph.

I couldn't have had two more different girls if I tried. Of course, you're just as clever, charming and gorgeous as your sister. But that's where the similarities end.

Where she is more cautious, you charge in, bull-like in your temperament. Headstrong you both are, yes, but you, are now, and will (likely) always be the louder, more insistent bull in the house (says the alpha bull - yes, I'll concede, you win my dear).

This may also just be a side-effect of your enthusiastic adoration of your older sister. Anything Maddie does, you want to do. Whatever she's eating, you (loudly) insist on sharing. You watch her so closely, wanting to play with whatever she has, whatever she's doing - it's been fun to watch how much sisters can teach each other (already). Patience. Sharing. Learning-absorbing-emulating.

And because of this, you do so many things earlier. Call it second-child syndrome - or is it because you just insist on it? You eat whatever we eat at meals - forget the baby food - that's been passe for a while now. You're climbing stairs. You're taking baths in the big tub. You roam around the backyard and play with whatever you can possibly get your hands on.

You are a one year old going on twelve. The attitude. The opinionated little grunts and screeches. The faces you make when you don't like something (or when you do - the beam is ear-to-ear).

And yet... you are still such my baby. More of a Mumma-suck than I could ever imagine. I love that you love me so much. Only I can snuggle you to happiness when you have your grump on. And when it's time for bed I'm the first one you come looking for, tugging at my leg and give me the "eat eat" sign (yes, this means a bottle in our world).

Ah, the communication - it's amazing how quickly it grows once it starts. Your first word was "tickle tickle" (which is so hilariously random) - but to that repertoire you're added "Dada" (for Daddy), "Mama" (for Mommy), "Duh-Duh" (for doggie), "Ah Dun" (for all done - and this was early! Food, the great motivator), "Hai!" (for hi, duh!), "Dat!" (for that - as in, "what's that?" or "lookit that!"), and "Nuh nuh nuh" (that one's no - every baby's fave). You also know the signs for "more", "eat", "water" and "all done". Oh, and you high five like it's no one's business. (That's kind of a requirement for our house, much to Daddy's dismay)

I can't believe a year has gone by. And soon I head back to work, and you off to daycare. And with that a whole load of new experiences for you to have, without me always by your side. I hate to think of this time ending, and yet, I know you'll be ruling the roost over there within a week, so I don't worry about you. Too much, anyways.

We love you so much my little Katiebear. Your strong-will. Your sloppy open mouth kisses. Your outraged shrieks when dinner isn't on the table fast enough.

All of it. All of you.




Friday, May 27, 2011

Yes, you are.

While making cookies today, I swat Maddie hand away from the bowl to keep her from eating her 48th bite of raw cookie dough:

Maddie: What Mommy?

Me: That's enough cookie dough for you bugaloo. You'll be sick.

Maddie: I know! I eat cookie dough all the whole long-long time, don't I?

Me [laughing]: You would, if I let you.

Maddie: Yes. I am the cookie monster! Yarrgghhhh!

Me [full on belly laughing at this point]: Yes, you are.

Maddie: I am very-very funny Mommy. I make EVERYONES laugh a long-long time.

Me: Yes. Yes, you do, bugaloo.

Well, maybe not "EVERYONES", but definitely me. Thanks Maddie - for the laughs - everyday.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Free at last!

We had a check up for Katie with our pediatrician today - I didn't mention it earlier because honestly, these appointments scare the crap out of me. We've done the tests and we know there's nothing "wrong" with her. But she still is off the charts weight-wise (well, at least I thought so, more on that in a sec) and every time we have an appointment where her weight is being checked I get this sick feeling in my stomach, like people in white coats are going to come around the corner and take her away from me, because clearly I can't raise a child properly and why oh why can't she just gain like 3 pounds and get back in the 25th percentile so they'll just leave us alone?


Okay - so aside from my neurotic thoughts - our appointment went well. In fact, I'd even say swimmingly well. Katie is now at 16 pounds 12 ounces, she's happy, chunky(ish) looking and hitting all her milestones. In fact, she didn't shut up the entire appointment and flirted her ass off with the pediatrician. (Meh - I say well done girl, go for the doctors...) And her height registered in at 29.33 inches. That's almost 2 full inches taller than Maddie was at a year. It's also in the 75th percentile. So yeah... she's growing. Just tall and skinny, I guess.

The interesting part of the appointment was right at the end. I asked him to print out the growth chart with all Katie's plots that he was looking at on the computer. He did and then said, "But take this with a grain of salt - these are old growth charts."

Old growth charts.

So I've been sitting here, for the past 4 months, worrying my ass off, because my child isn't even registering on the chart, and I find out that really, these are old charts so not to worry so much (in fairness - there was a growth pattern problem - which has been resolved - so it's not like I'm saying there was nothing wrong) - but really? Why would it be so difficult to plot on the current growth charts? A bit speechless to that idiocy.

Of course I came home and googled the current charts. They put her solidly in the 3rd percentile for weight. Instead of not registering on the chart at all, she's right there, in a shaded little part. That made me feel so much more comfortable - my only question is why the hell it wouldn't just be mandatory for doctors everywhere to use the up-to-date charts? Silly.

All in all - it's good news. And we got the all-clear. Which means I don't have to have any more heart-palpitating pediatrician appointments anytime soon.
Yay Katie. Chunk that monk!


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Eleven Months

Dear Katiebear,

I know I say it every month, but holy crap, you are ELEVEN months old. That's almost a year. Which means Mumma is very behind on party planning. And also means our gorgeous vacation-style life of me being on mat leave and getting to spend every minute with you will soon be coming to an end. Let's not think about that right now...

Instead, let's talk about what a little lady you are becoming. Oh. My. Word. You are a master crawler and a bit of a curious cat. You like getting into almost anything you can. You LOVE to play with your sister's toys (she may not love this however), you love playing with Seamus' toys (who is far more willing to share, but ew, gross Katie, GROSS) and you love to climb things (like the stairs, any chance you get, usually while I'm making dinner, and giving me heart attacks - stop that too, okay?).

Along with crawling, you also love walking behind pretty much anything you can push. The little pushcarts we have specifically for this purpose. Or your piano. Or Maddie's shopping cart. Or even your exersaucer (which isn't on wheels, and therefore is a bit of a feat in itself - you little tank!).

Your newest trick is to be standing at your piano, look at me with a devilish grin, and then just "let go". While you stand there, wobbling and wavering for about 5-10 seconds (before you eventually lose your balance and have to go down to your knees), you look at me with this utter self-satisfactory grin on your face, as if to say, "Look Ma! No hands!". It makes me laugh. Every single time. Oh, you are going to be walking soon I think.

Your other trick that makes me laugh to no end is what I call your "puppy dog trick". You've learned to carry things around (like a random Little Person or the Wii remote cover), it's easier to just pop it into your mouth and crawl that way. And then you look up at me, give your head a little shake, as if to say (again), "Look Ma! No hands!" and then you belly laugh. Usually in response to me laughing. Because dude - you're not a dog! Stop carrying things around in your mouth! But also? Too funny.

So yes - not only are you curious and bombing around all over the place, you're also developing a great sense of humour. Doing your "jokes" and whatever it takes to get a laugh. We have another clown on our hands and that suits me just fine. Because you know what? Funny is good. Always.

You love our kitchen dance parties, where I turn up the music and you take turns with your sister getting twirled around to the latest on the radio. You love playing outside - crawling all over the grass and trying to get to wherever your sister is playing (usually on the slide or a swing and you want to be right there in the action). You love watching her at ballet or swimming - your eyes shine while I see you picking her out of the crowd of kids and you track her every movement.

As for eating - well, you pretty much eat whatever we're having for dinner, along with a kicker of some kind of baby food. You still have no teeth and I have no idea when they'll finally get here (I gave up watching for them, as I spent 5 long months doing that with your sister and it just wasn't worth it, they'll get here when they get here) ... but it means you are still a bit limited in diet. Not that we haven't given you steak (which you loved - medium rare of course) - but I'd so love for you to have some teeth so I could feel like you could actually chew/bite something. So, yeah, work on that, would ya?

What else is there to say? You are my funny, jokester, crazy brave/scary inquisitive baby who is a big mom-suck. And I'm not going to lie - I love that you light up like crazy when I walk in the room. I love you too my dear - very, very much. And I can't wait to see the little person you grow into - already so clever and funny - so like your sister and so different at the same time.

Happy eleven months, our little Katiebear.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Where do I even begin?

I hate when I have to do a massive catch-up post after being away for so long (away from here, not away on holiday - because, oy, that wouldn't be something I'd whine about). It's annoying and boring. But, I do have that OCD drive to actually "document our lives" and all ... so here goes:

THIS is why I've been so quiet of late. We are living through renovation hell. Notice, if you will, the two different wall colours going on. The grey on the right is the "new" paint colour. The horrible peach/beige on the left is old, and going (eventually - it's hard to make progress when you're painting in one hour segments). The basic builder's oak railing? Currently sanded within an inch of it's life and awaiting the next step - which is a dark stain on the handrail and white paint on the spindles. Our stairway has been a debacle for going on 30+ days. I think the hubs is ready to kill me - and yet, I don't see him grabbing any sandpaper to help get the job done, so he can bite me.

Add to that, our basement is currently being framed and there's hardwood going in on the main floor any day now. Yes, we decided to make almost every floor of our home unlivable whilst on mat leave, home with 2 kids. We are SO smart. Just promise me, when all is said and done, and I post my after pics you'll tell me how lovely everything looks and how worth it, it was. Because that's the mantra that just keeps running through my head right now to keep my sanity in check.

In other news...

  • Maddie had her kindergarten orientation where she met her teacher and got a goody bag and pretty much proved to me that she was growing up whether I liked it or not so I decided to try and embrace it and stopped referring to her as "my toddler". Her therapist 20 years from now thanks me for this concession.

She wasn't the only red-head in her kindergarten class - but she was the cutest!
  • Our dog Seamus has decided, with all the banging of the renos and the chaos that comes with a crawling baby, he would rather try his luck elsewhere ... so his new trick is to BOLT out the front door whenever someone opens it. Which, when you're hosting various workers and tradespeople in your home, is often. Which also means, my neighbours are now well-acquainted with my pj wardrobe (yes, I'm wearing pj's while strangers traipse in and out of my house - who gets dressed before noon on mat leave? am I right??), and Seamus may have given me about 8 heart attacks just last week by crossing the road during the 9am school rush. Dog for sale.. anyone want a dog?
Puppy dog eyes don't work with me - Imma gonna kick his ass.
  • We got blessed with gorgeous weather this weekend - which meant outdoor play. Katie is a master crawler now and just bombs all over the yard looking for more dog toys to chew on. Mmmmm, orange road hockey ball covered in dirt - you are so delicious! I love our backyard in the summer. It's not big, but we've kitted it out enough that it's fun for the kiddies. And now... more photos...
Watching Daddy get the pool ready

Katie's first pool experience. Unlike Maddie, there were no tears - and we call her a grump!?

What IS it with babies + sunglasses?

SO flippin' cute!


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It only took 10 months and 11 days

But Katie slept through the night.


That means from 7pm until 7am - no wake ups.

*happy dance*

Of course I woke up at 2am, 3am and 4am ... because, you know... I'm a trained seal.

And yes, I realize I just jinxed myself and she won't sleep through again until sometime past her 2nd birthday. But last night? LAST NIGHT SHE SLEPT.

*random high five*


Sunday, May 1, 2011


Maybe I'm getting soft in my old age...or maybe it was the two glasses of wine with dinner - but I had the urge to share: I am content. More than that - right now, in this exact moment in this sliver of time, I'm feel lucky. Fortunate. Just...happy.

Is that really effing annoying to write? Are you reading this rolling your eyes and snorting with disdain? If so, I'm sorry... because there's more...

We spent the weekend building a playset. This big cedar swingset / fort / slide / picnic table. It is, in a word, effing AWESOME. And fits so perfectly in the back corner of our backyard it's almost hard to imagine that it was never there.

Except for the sore arms. And backs. And just pure body exhaustion that comes from two full days of hard graft. But it's a good tired. A "job-well-done" kind of tired.

And I can already foresee hours upon hours of happy playtime for my girls. And that? Is one of the reasons I'm so content.

And thank you to Gramma and Grandpa Vallier for visiting this weekend and helping us get the monstrosity up. We couldn't have done it without your help.

My girls are happy.

And so am I.

Happy Sunday,


Monday, April 25, 2011

Hippity Hop

Easter came for two little girls this year. While Katie (obviously) didn't participate in the egg hunt this year - she loved watching Maddie (her favourite past-time anyways) and I had visions for next year's Easter already. Maddie got her "little Rapunzel" she so desperately pined for this past month. Katie got a new ball for the backyard and some Crayola baby markers to call her own.

The Easter Bunny even set a tea party to create more ambiance! What a clever bunny!

 My childhood dollhouse has a little balcony on one side - from which "little Rapunzel" hung her hair all morning.

Matching dresses and white cardis - I love Easter. Also - say hi to a random Seamus pic - we took several "family" pictures before I thought about including the poor little scruff.

Hope your weekend was just as enjoyable!


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ten Months

Dear Katie,

You were a milestone machine this month my bug-a-lug - crawling, pulling up, cruising, first words. You knocked them out one after another. No wonder you couldn't sleep - too much going on in that little brain of yours.
We also survived your first fever this month. Oh my little one, you were so sick and it was so sad and my heart just broke for you. I did my best to make you better as quickly as possible - stomach flus are nasty I'm afraid - but you were miserable for almost an entire week.

Even through all of this, you smiled, giggled and belly laughed more this month than ever before. You love the tickle-tickle game, itsy bitsy spider and this little piggy. You love your books - we're now up to 4 books before bedtime - you grab for the next one before I'm done reading.

You're (learning to) liking the swing and being outdoors more and more. Our new habit is to go for walks with you in the Bjorn facing out, instead of in the stroller. This gives Mumma more exercise and I think you like being up high.

I can't wait for Spring to get here so you can see just how fun our backyard can be. There's water and sand and toys and slides and swings - so much to play with. And I know Maddie can't wait to have a little cohort to share it all with.

We love you my little sweetheart - from the top of your fuzzy little head to the tips of your nom-nom-nom toes. I can't believe it's been 10 months. Oh how time is flying...


Monday, April 18, 2011


Katie spent yesterday and today pretty sick - fever of 104 type of sick. Not fun. No sleep. No keeping fluids down (until I started administering them by the 1/2 tsp via medicine dropper - never tried it before, will swear by this method forever, as it really worked at keeping her hydrated)....

Anyhoo - it meant she was Misery Incorporated. Wanted to be held. Then too hot to be held. Wanted to sleep. Too miserable to sleep. You know how it goes - and as Maddie would say, "She's just a baby Mommy, she doesn't know anything" --> I guess that would also go for the whole, doesn't even know why she's feeling so shitty, but she just wants Mama to make it all go away.

Apparently wants that to happen so bad, that she dug real deep and said "MA-MA" while I was cuddling her at one point today.

WOOT! Katie is on a roll, people! If this were hockey she'd be doing a double hat-trick or some other bullshit sports analogy...


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Milestone Mania

I've been feeling the crunch of guilt when I think of the future conversation I am destined to have with Katie that will go something like this, "Mom, why did you write five bloody paragraphs every time Maddie achieved a 'first' when she was a baby, and you didn't even write about it in my baby book when I did?"

Uh.. yeah. I'm tired of apologizing for not writing and saying it's been a tough week because that started getting old about four weeks ago. I don't like people who make excuses so I won't. Let's just leave it at: I just plain suck at keeping up with anything these days. You don't even want to see the state of my laundry. Trust me.

Instead, let's talk about some Katie milestones, shall we? Because she is like a little wonder baby these days. I already mentioned in a previous post about her first word (and subsequent more "official" first word that she repeats all the time now - tickle tickle - which she said on April 8th). Then, that same weekend (on Sun, Apr 10th), she started pulling up (mainly on Daddy) to a standing position. And the look of pride/happiness/"look at what I just did!" look on her face is super-awesome-fantastic!

The very next day (Mon, Apr 11th) she started officially cruising - and by cruising, I mean slowly shuffling her feet while making the slowest of slow process around our ottoman. She is by no means cruising around all helter skelter. Oh no, it's slow. And she complains and whines the entire time, reaching for my fingers so she can "walk" instead. But hey, a milestone is a milestone, right? Moving right along...

As the week went on, she started to do more and more of the whole crawling backwards thing when she was on her belly, which then turned into the backwards scoot into sitting position (Tues, Apr 12th). Which is when I started thinking, hmm, she may just crawl (because just before Maddie figured out the whole forward crawl thing, she figured out how to back herself up into a sitting position).

And then.... and theeeeennnnnnnnnnn..... Wed, April 13th - forward motion! Not technically a crawl (yet), but she definitely was army crawling/dragging herself forward if you put something super intriguing (like my blackberry) just out of reach in front of her. Progress! "She'll be crawling by the end of April!" I would brag to everyone I spoke to.

And then came Friday, April 15th. She was getting up on all fours so easily all day and doing that adorable rock-rock-rocking motion they do (you know what I'm talking about). So sometime after lunch, Katie decided she wanted to get at Maddie's Barbie (much to Maddie's dismay). I quickly grabbed the camera, straight-armed Maddie aside and commandeered her Barbie to use as bait. (Which means Katie's first crawl video has Maddie protesting the entire operation quite loudly in the background while I wrestle her into the background with my left arm - classy, all-the-way-classy).

So there you go future-Katie - your wonder-week of milestones has been documented! Guilt?? Go away now please...


PS - I'd love to say we spent the weekend helping Katie perfect her newfound skill, except both kids have been sick with some nasty cold/flu/cough-type virus. And yes, by "kids" I'm including The Hubs.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Dear Madds,

You are three and a half. Or, as you would say, thee-an-a-HALF! Extra emphasis on the half, of course.

Oh my, you are such a little girl now. The baby chub is gone - long gone in fact. You're all bones now. Bony knees and elbows that dig into me when you crawl into bed in the wee hours of the morning. (Yes, that's your new trick and to be honest - I haven't the heart to kick you out - yet).

But while you're looking more and more like a little girl, there are still so many reminders of toddlerhood, as if it's trying as hard as I'd like it to, to keep it's hold over you. The toddler pot-belly you get after a big meal. The stumble-y toddler klutziness that comes when you're over-tired. The toddler pronunciation of so many words still.

And yet.. you've started calling me "ridiculous" (where'd you get that from, huh?). You want to use a knife to cut up your own meat. You can (but don't always) drink out of a "big girl" cup.

You count. You reason. You deduce. Hell, you find loopholes in the "rules" we give you.

You negotiate (very well, I might add). You dress yourself ("Does this match?" you're constantly asking). You compliment and share and act so considerately of other little friends that my heart just wants to burst with pride.

You stand with your hands on your hips in defiance if you're pissed at me about something. You tell me "I'm angry at you momma!" You test my limits and watch me try to rein in my frustration and temper and I can see when you're just pressing my buttons for the sake of it, because your eyes squint up in mischief while doing so.

You can exasperate me with your dawdling. And yet, so many times, you are dawdling because you're seeing things, noticing things that I never would have looked at. "Lookit that bird over there momma - why won't he fly over here and sit on my hand?" That was our first red robin of spring you saw the other day - and I probably would have missed it in my rush to the car, had it not been for you.

You colour oh so well these days - and take great pleasure in deciding just what colour to choose for the princess' dress. And you draw - you can draw FACES! And people (well, 4 lines for arms and legs coming directly out of the head - but it's effing awesome is what it is). And you so badly want to be able to write your name - so we practice - M-M-M-M-M-M-M - you try to write M's all day long.

You are such a picky eater that it makes my head explode - and yet, I think (knock-on-wood-knock-on-wood) that we are coming back around on this curve as you are more willing to try "one bite" or "just a taste" of things more and more instead of point blank refusing. Often you end at just that one bite, but the victory in just getting you to taste more foods is, in itself, sweet enough for now.

You sing. You dance. You're constantly performing and joking and laughing and trying to make us laugh. You insist everyone around you is "a clown!" - knowing perfectly well that it is, in fact, you that is the clown.

We started a new family tradition this year - to celebrate half-birthdays. No fancy party. Just a family affair.

For this half-birthday we went out, just you and Mommy, to see a Max & Ruby live show in Oshawa and then out to a restaurant for dinner. It was your first theatre experience and you loved it. Getting up in the aisles to dance or jump and clap - you couldn't hold the excitement of just watching your favourite characters up on stage - you had to move to express it. And then, at the restaurant, I introduced you to my childhood favourite - the Shirley Temple. You declared it DEEEEEELISHUS and only for fancy girls (like us) on fancy days (like your half-birthday).

I had such a fabulous time with you and I'm pretty sure you had a great time too. I hope it was a half-birthday to remember, although I know you probably won't. But I will. For both of us.

Love you my little boo.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Well, she hit that milestone

We (myself and the girls) spent the past week away visiting family in Kingston. As Maddie would say, "We visit lots of people's houses!" - yes, it was a busy visit, as it so often is, but luckily the kids didn't get totally wrang-y - as so often happens when we're sleeping at different houses, off schedule and such.

And... while we were away - although Katie didn't start the massive milestone of crawling, she did pop out her first "word"! (Yes, she's been saying da-da-da and ba-ba-ba and the rare ma-ma-ma - but really? I don't know if these really count).

This was clear. It was definitive. It was... "NO!" (in the face of being licked to death by my mom's overly zealous dog) - accompanied by a head shake and push away.

Well, we knew she was going to have some strong opinions, of course her first word is no.

(So was mine.)

I haven't heard a "NO" since (maybe that means she's been happy?) - but then I shared the "tickle tickle" game with her (a made-up game I play with Madds - tickling up her leg to a different body part each time, while you say, "tickle tickle tickle...... belly! [or whatever place you end up]" - yes, that does sound weird trying to explain it). Anyhoodle - she thought the game was bloody hilarious and belly-laughed her way through it. And now? Randomly, out of nowhere, she'll just start saying "tickle tickle". Yes, it's very mumbly and she sticks her tongue out whilst doing it (damn, I gotta get video of it because it's really the cutest thing ever) - but it's clear and she gets a massive grin if you say back to her, "tickle tickle!".

Yes, she's a flipping genius.

Of course she is. Was there any doubt?


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nine Months

Dear Katie,

Oh, what a month my little Katiebear. It's been stressful to say the very least.

We spent the month trying to fatten you up as much as possible - on strict doctor's orders. You moved from solely breastfeeding to solely bottle-feeding (you dealt with this far better than I did). And you moved away from jarred foods into the table-food arena of eating. This proved a bit challenging, because as much as you dislike the purees, your gummy chewing abilities still have a ways to go before we're offering you steak and the like.

However - we learned that you LOVE avocado when mixed with a bit of tomato and cream - guacamole for beginners. You also love broccoli, little hunks of overcooked carrot, pasta (any kind of pasta - avec beurre svp), salmon, yogurt and RASPBERRIES. Oh, how you love raspberries. Then again, they are the best fruit imaginable - so I totally get it.

Daddy and I did the unimaginable and left the country for 4 whole days this month. Grandma & Grandpa V and Bucky came up to take care of you and your sister. Apparently you were a sweetheart, taking your bottles like a pro, sleeping far better than you ever do for us, and enjoying the attention lavished upon you. It was so hard to leave - if it wasn't a free trip to Mexico in the final throes of winter, I'm not sure I would have gone. Again, I took it much harder than you did. You independent little thing.

This month also brought about your obsession with walking. Any chance you get, you'll grip onto my fingers and just start motoring towards whatever/whoever tickles your fancy. You've gotten quite good and can even stand for a second or two unassisted before starting to topple. I keep encouraging you to use the little push-walker, but you have absolutely no interest as of yet.

That being said - crawling is still a non-issue. You are starting to roll and scoot a bit more - but crawling seems like it may never happen. My back needs a break from all the assisted walking though - so we'll be "working on" your crawling this month...

Because - oh the frustration! You know when you want something. And to watch the frustration in your face when you flail and "air swim" to try and get there - oh it's comical and yet endearing, because you, my love, have a Temper. Yes, mastering the ability to craw would make everyone much happier I think.

You have also started "talking" so much more. We hear "da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da" all day long. I get the odd ma-ma-ma-ma -- usually when you're annoyed or grumpy or upset about something. "Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba" has started to come out often too - I'm not sure if you mean bottle just yet, or just making sounds - but it's amazing to watch the words starting to form. You are going to be a chatterbox just like your sister - I'd bet the farm on that.

You're also learning sign language and you're already signing "all done" and "more" quite well - not consistently, but definitely when you want to get your point across. And you love the baby signing classes - you flirt with the teacher and try to "kiss" the little boy sitting next to you - I wish we had more baby classes to take you to, as you so love being around little ones your age.

Oh my Katiebear - you are turning into such a little girl - still so much baby, and yet I can see your personality poking through more and more and more.

I can't wait to see what this month brings - you are our sunshine - filling up the days with brightness.

Now, just learn to sleep, would you? Please?


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sigh of relief

Wow it's been a while and I've been silent. I do that when I don't like life - just kind of hibernate and deal with the now and my energies don't extend to complaining quite as vocally. Which is in direct contrast as to how I deal with minor hiccups - I'm usually quite a loud, complainy, bitch.

But now I can talk to you again, because on Monday we received word back on Katie's test results (the doc's office actually called me to give me the results over the phone! How refreshingly helpful is that?)... she passed them all and we're in the clear. We have a final follow up appointment with the pediatrician to wrap up the assessment and I'm guessing for us to ask any final questions, but yeah, we're done with the worry.

She is, as we hoped, just a tiny little thing.

Which she makes up for in massive attitude. Totally my girl...


PS - I have to add - all the tests were performed at Toronto Sick Kids and W.O.W. is all I can say. Yes, there's a LOT of money put into that hospital - but it was the employees that we encountered that made a stressful visit just so much easier. They were all brilliant with Katie, brilliant with me - encouraging, efficient, comforting - pretty much everything you could hope for in a situation like that. What an incredible hospital with incredible staff.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

This isn't an easy post to write

We had our follow up pediatrician appointment yesterday - Katie is still not gaining weight at any progressive rate that makes the doctor happy. Our little 8 month old weighed in at 14 lbs 2 ounces - which is actually down 2 ounces from when we were at the doctor a few weeks ago when she was sick.

Awesome possum.

And so - now we have to do tests. Start ruling things out (hopefully). Start loading up her food with butter or full-fat cream. And offer formula only.

There's the rub for me. That little sentence, "Oh - and quit the breastfeeding, now's the time for formula only." cut through me like a knife.

And I know it's best for her. And it's not about me. And regardless I shouldn't feel guilty. And we breastfed for 8 months and thats something to be proud of. And. And. And...

I don't get it - that I could breastfeed my first so easily, without issues and while she was tiny, she was always roly-poly. Smack dab between the 10th and 25th percentiles, never a cause for concern. Always a great eater. It makes no sense that I have trouble breastfeeding my second. It's supposed to get easier over time, not harder.

And yet - that's the best I can hope for. That somehow my milk is nutritionally deficient and that I'm at the root of this, because the alternatives could be far worse and I'm not even going there yet, because we have visits to Sick Kids and tests to run and bottles to push and extra-caloric butter to add to mashed potatoes right now.

That's where my focus is and needs to be. The future will tell us what the future will hold. No point in worrying about it now.

The silver, ironic little lining?

We came home from the appointment, she was EXHAUSTED and drank a 4 ounce bottle before her nap like it was no big deal. Of course she did, right? Because we haven't been fighting with her to take a bottle for 5 months or anything. Maybe she saw the determination in my eye. Or pure panicking desperation...

Regardless - she's taken 4 bottles thus far - all 3-4 ounces at a time. So we are doing what we can do for now.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bright shiny star

Even in my sleep-deprived grumpy bear-like state, I could help but brag about this...

That's right. She's a fucking genius.



The deepest part of night. Where things still go bump and boo and you can't be convinced that the shadow is just a shadow.

It's a time of night when thoughts get dark - things are bigger, worse, more troubling, more concerning - nothing is as it seems and everything seems as it shouldn't.

Rambling internal monologue is depressing and veers into the fantastical. Reality is tenuous and sleep is like a forgotten dream.

And through it all, there is a little person who needs you. For comfort. For snuggles.

She is your rock. Your grounding reality. Her eyes stare into yours, wide and dark pools of blackness - trusting you to be her rock.

And so you swallow your anger. Your self-pity. You find reserves that do not need sleep. And you hum one more lullaby...