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Mommy and Me Music Program

I am very excited to announce that I will be starting to teach my very own parent and child music class starting September 24 at the Cedar Heritage Centre!

The Mommy and Me Music Program is a fun and interactive way to introduce your child to the world of music. This class will help to stimulate your child’s developing brain by giving them the opportunity to explore music through movement, instrument play, sign language, stories and games. This class will give parents simple tools and ideas that will keep the music and fun times coming.

Where – The classes will be held at Cedar Heritage Centre 1644 MacMillan Road

When – Tuesdays 10-11 am starting Sept 24 2013 for 6 weeks

Who - Children ages 0-4 and their caregivers

Cost – $30 Subsidies are available!

To Register: contact me OR call: Cedar Family of Community Schools 250-722-2414 ext 249

I am so excited!!!!

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The Great Apple Heist of 2013

It’s that wonderful time of year were fruit and berries are a plenty and we can not get enough. I’m new to the canning/jam making/sauce making/pie making game but since I’m basically June Cleaver, I figured I better start to get good at all of it.

We have this apple tree in our neighborhood that is on the road and seemingly doesn’t seem to belong to anyone. Two years my husband had the idea to climb the tree while I stood at the bottom of the tree with a bag catching the apples he threw to me. Newly pregnant and new to the neighborhood I was so afraid someone was going to stop us and get mad at us as we giggled our way through our apple picking. This year, feeling more comfortable about how things work around here – we brought a laundry basket. We have friends down the road who plan on pulling their truck up beside the tree so we always joke about who’s going to get to the tree first.We had the same routine of my husband climbing the tree and throwing down the apples but this year we had my son in the backpack and he has squealing and laughing the whole time at his parents picking and throwing all of these apples.

I actually really enjoy the whole process of picking fruit (especially when there’s a heist involved) and then making something with it. The whole process seems so pure, wholesome and relaxing. Somehow it’s different than making dinner or other chores that have to be done in the kitchen.

I love making sauce – it’s so easy and such hit with my baby. I’ve made tonnes of rhubarb sauce this year and since the apple heist this evening have made my first batch of apple sauce.which we will have with our oatmeal for breakfast in the morning.

My husband is the pie maker. He makes the most amazing pastry – I think it’s a family secret passed down for generations. I thought I would share it in case anyone is looking for a good recipe…He follows the directions on the back of the Crisco box. Apparently, the recipe on the back of box has changed so if you’re interested, this link has the original recipe. http://poweroffamilymeals.com/recipes/1242 He has made the new and old versions and both are good but he prefers the tried and true old one.

I’m hoping to go out blackberry picking tomorrow if it’s not too hot or can find a shady spot and get blackberry picking. Not sure how far we will get with my son wanting to eat every berry I will pick but we will have fun. I’m sure I’ll have a fun diaper waiting for me afterwards too!

 

 

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Mommy’s Night Out With Justin Timberlake

Last Wednesday night – I had my first overnight away from my baby! Ahhhh! It took me almost 18 months to do it and it took a man by the name of Justin Timberlake to motivate me. Since I live on Vancouver Island it takes a ferry trip to get to the concert in Vancouver and of course the ferries don’t run late enough to give me a ride home so it became an overnight adventure.

I have left Liam for the evening before but this was a whole new ball game. A step in the growing up process….for both of us. I was so nervous about the whole thing and cried a little in the morning as my husband drove off with our son waving and saying “Bye, bye Mama”. Every time I felt sad or worried about leaving him I just reminded myself that my friend who I was going with was leaving her 6 month old baby at home so I thought I’d better “toughen up”.

I was left at home to my own devices to get ready, which was actually really fun and really weird to be at home alone. It does not happen very often and when it does happen, I usually choose to sleep. I put on some JT, danced around the house got ready and packed up. Before I knew it my sister and brother-in-law were there to pick me up and the adventure was about to begin!

Since I don’t get out very often, I decided to bring a bottle of wine with us on the ferry. My sister very slyly and sneakily poured us some during the “voyage” and the party had officially started! We met our friend at the hotel, got all dolled up, grabbed a bite and were ready to go. The best dressed that evening was my brother-in-law who had a shirt that said “I’m a Mother Lover” on it…if you don’t get it, it’s from when Justin Timberlake was on SNL  - so funny!

We got to the concert, had amazing seats and a fantastic time. The combination of a great concert and me having the opportunity to “let loose” up pumped up the fun factor to 100% for me. I danced and sang along the whole time. I also had to fan my face several times because I was flustered by JT! He is very talented! I even danced and sang/rapped/made up the words when Jay-Z performed (I don’t know him as well) and was thankful I didn’t get busted on the big screen not knowing the words to his stuff!

After the concert, we went to the “Official” after party at the Commadore Ballroom with Jay-Z’s personal DJ. It was basically just a fun party and we all ended up dancing, laughing and having till 3am! Which was no problem for me because now that I’m a Mom, I’m seasoned to be up at all hours during the day. All in all I had a blast!

It was actually the next morning that I found hard to be away from home. I wanted to be there right away and of course missed the 10:15 ferry and then was on the 12:45 ferry which was delayed by rescuing people who’s boat flipped over and then another separate medical emergency. In the end I’m not sure what was more exciting – the concert or the trip home!

Finally, I was home with my boys. Even though I was tired I also felt really refreshed and happy to be there. I think it was really good for me to go and have fun but the best part was actually coming home.

Some things that helped me have a really great first night away were:

  • It was something I REALLY wanted to do. If I wasn’t really into it, I would have been worried/anxious the entire time. I was having so much fun that I didn’t have time to think or worry.
  • Go with great people – I went with a great friend, my sister and brother-in-law who all made it an awesome time.
  • Wine helps! Luckily I’m “mature” (haha) enough now to know my limits. I was worried if I had too much I would pass out before the concert. Luckily the $9.00 beers they were selling at the concert slowed me down big time!
  • I didn’t call home! Crazy, I know. I just thought if I heard crying on the other end I would feel helpless and upset. Instead, my Mother-in-law (who watched Liam for the day) and my husband both texted me little updates throughout the day which was great. My last text was right before the concert started and it said “Baby is asleep”. Whoohooo!

I was so thankful to have such a positive experience with a first night away from home. I’m not sure if I know the whole story of everything that happened when I was away but the truth is, it doesn’t even matter. Everyone survived,they were all in one piece and were happy to see me when I got home. I think I  learned how important it is to take the time to do things for yourself – guilt free! I felt rejuvenated when I walked in through the door and couldn’t have been happier to be home.

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Prince George

Growing up, I used to wish that I was a princess. To say that I loved Princess Diana would be an understatement. My sister would always convince me to let her do my hair by telling me that the final result would look like Princess Diana’s hair – of course that one line worked every time. To this day, I have a serious collection of royal books, magazines, tea cups, saucers and spoons that could rival your grandmother’s. So yes, I was probably more excited than the average bear to hear of the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s new baby boy Prince George.

I watched “live” on CBC in order to see Kate and Will emerge from the hospital holding their new little bundle of joy. My poor toddler wondered what the heck we were doing as I just kept feeding him snacks as we stared at the live shot of the hospital doors…just waiting. Of course it was worth the wait. Kate looked absolutely beautiful and William looked handsome and proud as he showed off his new baby boy to the world.

It’s fun to see the royal family welcome Prince George into the world in a similar fashion as any old regular family would. You could see the beam on Prince Charles’ face as he exited the hospital after his first visit with his grandson. I loved watching William put the baby in the car and that Kate road in the backseat with the baby. Even baby prince’s need a proper car seat and their Mom in the back.

I can’t help but compare my experience and the birth of my baby to Will and Kate and the birth of theirs. Many thought they were having a baby girl do to a little stumble Kate made when speaking in public and my husband thought we were having a baby girl to a slip up the technician made during our final ultrasound. The similarities probably end there – except that my hair and make up looked equally as glamorous as Kate’s when I left the hospital. I’m just so glad the hospital didn’t tip off the paparazzi when we left…

All this to say: Welcome to the world baby Prince. Every baby brings so much hope and joy with them as they enter the world and you are no different. I look forward in anticipation to what life has in store for you and your Royal Family. Make wise decisions, be who you are, laugh a lot and watch out for Uncle Harry!

 

 

 

 

 

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“Babycation” 2013

In case you have been wondering – no I haven’t given up on this blog. I was just busy gathering extra writing material and ideas as we went on our first family vacation (or babycation as I like to call it) last week!

A very good friend of mine was getting married in Portland. Deciding to go was a big decision for us for financial and of course all other reasons that are baby related. We were one of those annoying, last minute RSVP’s but were very excited and happy when we decided yes.

Our plan was to drive and camp our way down to Portland stopping as we needed, stay at my cousins house one night  (who gracefully accepted the job of babysitting so we could attend the wedding), stay in Portland downtown one night, meet up with some other cousins for lunch, head out to the coast and head home.

My husband both like to be ‘free’ when we travel. Not too planned so we can go where the wind takes us. Sometimes it works out really well like when we found the amazing campground in Arctic, Washington that boasted such beautiful grounds and a garden we could help ourselves to. Sometimes ‘being free’ works out really poorly when it’s really hot in your un-air conditioned car with a crying baby and your on your 4th loop around Portland (which is a stressful city to drive) because you can’t find a hotel.

We learned a lot during this babycation road trip that will help us when it comes to our next one. I thought I would share some ideas that worked really well for us in case anyone reading is about to venture out on a babycation of their own:

1) Snacks, snacks, snacks, snacks….did I mention snacks? We found having a variety of snacks available and within easy reach in the car helped to entertain our son during our long car rides. Our favourites on this trip were: apples, bananas, arrowroot cookies, cheerios, baby mum mums…you get the picture. We also really liked those baby food containers that the baby can suck out of (almost like a juice container full of baby food). I’m not sure what they are called but they were a real hit and not messy which is a plus!

2) One favourite stuffed animal or toy. There is so much change during a road trip that it was nice to have the consistency of an old friend. “Big George” sat beside our son in the car for all of the trip, propped is head up when he fell asleep in the car seat and cuddled beside him at nighttime.

3) A variety of toys. I packed a little backpack full of different toys that I could pull out at different points during the trip as “something new”. This worked really well at entertaining our son in the car. One word to the wise is don’t bring too many “good” toys or books as they can really get trashed in the car. We let our son rip up a pretty nice book – but it was near the end of our trip and we had all had it at that point so didn’t care.

4) Playpen. Since our son is 17 months old we brought a playpen from home for him to sleep in. It was another sense of familiarity for him but also was awesome for camping as he could play in there a bit when we were setting up camp etc.

5) Sing silly songs in the car. Our goofy singing got us a lot of extra miles – especially when my son was at his “breaking point”. My husband and I singing along to “Life is a Highway” on the radio evoked laughter and clapping during a particularly tiring stretch of highway.

We had a pretty awesome time on this babycation of ours. There were some challenges for sure, but nothing outweighs the memories we made together as a family. Touring our bikes around downtown Portland and the promenade in Seaside was a really incredible way to get to know and develop a feel for different areas. Seeing the delight and wonder in our son’s eyes as we watched him explore and discover the amazing beaches on the west coast. Of course the whole reason why we went was to catch up with family and friends and ended up being icing on our already pretty terrific babycation cake.

 

 

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Hair Raising Experience

Having a baby is a hair raising experience and I’m not even talking about giving birth here people! When I was pregnant, one of the things I really had going for me was my hair.  Uncle Jesse from Full House would have told me almost every day was a good hair day during my pregnancy. Thick, curly, shiny, easy to manage could have been in a commercial kind of hair. Well apparently, those were the good old days. It’s just too bad you don’t recognize that you were in the good old days until they’re over….

My post postpartum hair sucks. Nearly a year and a half later it’s still falling out like crazy and I have serious regrowth that can sometimes make my fly-a-ways look like devil horns when I put it back in a pony tail. Don’t worry, I don’t have a medical condition or anything – I have been to the doctor about this….twice. I am assured by my doctor that this is perfectly normal.

When my hair first started falling out I think it was about 6 months after I had my baby. I was totally shocked at the amount that was coming out in large clumps. One time, I actually thought there was a brown little mouse in my shower until I realized it was just a clump of my hair. In this scenario, I was actually relieved it was my hair.

With minimal time on my hands and difficult to manage hair I have learned a few tricks and tips that I would like to share that have helped me get through some of these “bad hair days”. Hopefully this will help some other Mama’s out there who are having similar issues:

  • Since I don’t have time to wash my hair every day baby powder has become my new best friend. Apply it directly to the roots and it soaks up oil and grease and gives your hair a nice lift. Don’t put it right where you part your hair because unless your a total hipster or Kelly Osbourne you might not want white hair.
  • I shampoo my hair twice in the shower because I don’t always know when I’ll get to do it again. “Lather, rinse, repeat – as needed”.
  • Wait about 10 minutes until after I’m out of the shower to add product and then another 10 minutes before styling it. For me, I find my hair much more cooperative at these stages. It sounds hard but I have so much going on at once I just space those steps out rather than time them our perfectly.
  • If my fly-a-ways are giving me trouble and I’m short on time, I will sometimes straighten only my top layer of hair so it will lay flat against my head into a ponytail. I also add a liberal amount of hairspray!
  • I call it the Kim Kardashian but it’s most popularly referred to as the sock bun: 1)Put your hair in a nice high ponytail. 2) Cut the toe off a sock put it over the ponytail and roll the ends of the hair over the sock towards the ponytail it up to make a pretty bun. 3) Add bobby-pins to make it neat and pretty. 
  • Hats and headbands are always good!

I was in a fashion show for charity awhile back and I think part of the reason I agreed to do the fashion show is because I got to have my hair professionally done. It turned out great but I was reassured to see the hair stylist have to struggle to work her professional magic on my hair. It was good for me to see that postpartum hair really is difficult to style – even for professionals.

Luckily the little guy who I spend most of my time with doesn’t seem to care how my hair is styled.

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Biker Mama

This past Christmas, my husband’s Grandma gave us the iBert safe-T-seat http://www.ibertinc.com/  which is a baby seat for our bikes and it has literally changed our lives. Family bike rides has become our new go-to activity. We all love it. My son babbles and laughs as the breeze hits his face and we get to explore our community through his eyes. We were even recognized at the grocery store yesterday as that “bike riding family with the happy baby”.

It wasn’t easy for me to get back on my bike after several years. My bike was in terrible condition my break was stuck in the “on” position so we walked up several hills and took several breaks.  My son loved it so much that we kept at it. Soon, I was surprised to see myself getting up some of the hills and I wasn’t gasping for breath the entire time either! Eventually my husband was able to fix up my Mother-In-Law’s old bike for me and now I basically eat hills for breakfast.

I’ve been really happy with my fitness results but even more so, the quality family time we’ve been able to spend together. I feel pure joy and freedom when we ride our bikes together. Like I’m a kid again with no worries in the world. We chat, we laugh and enjoy each others company as ride along through our favourite trials and routes.

I’ve even gotten to the skill level now where I feel comfortable and safe to have the baby seat on my bike. A little while ago, we were without a vehicle for a week or so and it was a real blessing for us two to have the wheels and the freedom to get out of the house during the day. It’s also a great way for me to include my son in on my fitness regime rather than scheduling exercise around him.

Family bike rides have become the highlight of our weekends. I don’t think it’s coincidence that our son’s middle name is Rider either…

There are a variety of makes and styles of baby seats for bikes. Look around and see what works for you and your family. We really enjoy the iBert and feel safe using it. Ours was bought at Arrowsmith Mountain Bikes http://arrowsmithbikes.com.

Just in case you need some inspiration from Queen: “get on your bikes and ride!”

 

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A Stellar Performance – Poem

A Fingers-Crossed-Prayer-Filled Performance

for Liam 

 

you are thirty

your womb aches

surpassing your childhood figure-skater

movie-star dreams

ache

you are ready for the role of mommy

 

your made-in-heaven husband agrees

he has achieved his provider-first-then-daddy quest

 

emotions evoked by premeditated procreation equal those of losing your

virginity

 

your faith in your fertility is confirmed

the print out reads

pregnant  1-2

 

your husband asks

1-2 children

you smile and say

no

1-2 weeks

 

you long to share your news

but two weeks is barely a blip on the screen

 

two weeks later you Skype your visiting-your-sister-in-Australia parents

it’s your mother’s sixty-fifth birthday

 

your dad is on the computer when you call

three generations gather to listen where

at three sentences in you say

I’m pregnant

 

emotions erupt like candies from a hard hit piñata

tears trickle down your mother’s cheeks

her obvious joy consummates yours

 

your next nine months will be baby-growing-in-you focused

wine is turned back into water

one daily-coveted cup of coffee is allowed

cornucopia amounts of fruits

vegetables

fish and fowl are consumed

 

ice cream is your go-to treat

 

you have never been so hungry

you have never been so tired

you have never been so happy

 

your four-month summer job

your final four months of education

where you are barely-able-to-close-the-robe big

followed by one last month of baby vigil

and it is time

 

the baby,

living up to soccer-dad-hopes

kicks a hole in your uterus one week before you are due

water trickles out at an am I peeing my pants rate

 

the midwife confirms it

labor has begun

you are given a shot to jump start real labor

you are sent home

you walk up a hill to bring it on.

 

 

at 2:30 p.m. your husband hoists your hospital bag over his shoulder

for your third trip to the hospital in two days

he takes one last picture of the pregnant you

closing the door he says

next time we come home

it will be with a baby.

 

in the hospital you are hard wired to drips and monitors

a cacophony of beeps and heart beats fill the room

 

you are

so sweet

so excited

so nervous

so coachable

 

more pictures

more nervous giggling from you and your husband

more walking

more contractions

more deep breathing

more baths

more gut wrenching contractions

 

at 12:30 a.m. your obstetrician says

she’s smiling too much to be in real labor

 

 

your mother is in the waiting room

praying

your mother-in-law is fingers-crossed pacing

your dad leaves

your brother

twenty-eight minutes into his thirtieth birthday

brings food

 

he stays

 

at 1:30 your obstetrician says

she’s still smiling too much to be in labour

 

the nurses say you are

awesome

amazing

exhausted

 

you cry

you get an epidural

your mothers fall asleep.

 

at 2:30 a.m. your husband wakens the mothers and brother with the words

get your cameras ready

we can see the top of the head

 

your door is open

you are shielded by a curtain

they coach you into perfect birthing positions

then

a door closing set back

the baby is out of alignment

your mother is camera-put-away worried

 

at 6:30 your mothers and brother enter your room

 

your husband

cloaked in pride and fatigue

makes the announcement

it’s a boy

 

you say

can you believe it Mom? 

 

you look gorgeous

 

post birth stories slip out of you like a self-healing

soothing ointment

 

the past four anxious hours are summed up with the words

forceps

tearing

cutting

so many stitches you lost count

 

you say

the pain washed away

when they handed me our boy

 

 

then came the kudos

the male obstetrician says

he is the best father I have ever worked with

 

your husband smiles and points at you

she’s the real star

his obvious pride for you

and his newborn son

fill the room

 

pictures were taken

the proud uncle is more than happy to share his birth day

family similarities were noted

he has his father’s eyes

his father’s feet

his grandfather’s forehead

 

we all agreed we had been part of a miracle

that every baby is a miracle

 

we hugged you

made phone calls

locally and abroad

London

Australia

Korea

we phoned everyone we had promised to phone

and left your three to recover

By Jo Ann Lorimer

You can read more of Jo Ann’s poetry and her own blog at http://yukonjo.wordpress.com/

When Life Gives You Dandelions…

Dandelion Picking

Dandelion Picking

Many people might look out at a yard full of dandelions and be annoyed or frustrated at the amount of weeds in their yard. I must admit that we are a little behind in our lawn mowing because of the rain last week and now that we have the sun we need to take advantage of nature’s bounty before the lawn mowing can commence.

It is possible that the casual person walking by our house might think we are those neighbors; the ones that can’t keep up with their yard maintenance. This may be partially true. The whole truth is that we like to take advantage of all the uses of our friend the dandelion before we mow them down and they grow back up again.

Instead of fighting what grows up on our lawn we have learned to embrace what we’ve got. Gwyneth  Paltrow writes on her blog about the benefits of using dandelion leaves in her detox program http://goop.com/journal/make/15/detox. I bet since she lives in London she probably pays money for expensive imported dandelion leaves and doesn’t have the abundance of them that I have on my front lawn.

We’ve also used the dandelion leaves to make pesto. We’ve mixed them in with basil leaves and also just used them on their own. It’s a delicious and healthy substitute. We like to use Jaime Oliver’s recipe when we make our own pesto and substitute dandelion leaves as needed http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/vegetables-recipes/pesto.

By far my favourite thing we have harvested the dandelions for is to make wine! It does pack a punch but is delicious! I like this link for wine making http://www.mnn.com/food/recipes/blogs/5-recipes-for-dandelion-wine because it gives 5 different recipes so that you can try out a variety and find one that works for you. My husband tried a different one from a friend last year and the corks kept popping off the bottles which was disappointing for that batch but hasn’t deterred us from continuing to try to find the perfect recipe!

I’ve also learned that dandelion picking is a great activity to do with your toddler. It keeps my son happy and busy as he walks through with his little bucket picking dandelions. It’s also a fun obstacle course for him to walk through because he’s so little and the dandelions come up so high on him. It makes for lots of tumbles and lots of laughter.

 

My husband’s Grandma used to talk to us about making dandelion tea with her Mom. We haven’t tried the yet but it shows that the possibilities are seemingly endless when it comes to dandelions.

Writing this post has got me thinking about turning potential annoyances to the positive. I wonder where there are other ‘dandelions’ in my life that I need to find a wine recipe for.

 

 

 

One of my very own hanging baskets!

The Princess Gardens

Tonight after dinner, my husband and I sat down with a glass of wine and watched Arrested Development. After some entertaining laughs we went to switch off Netflix and on regular old TV was a documentary about Prince Charles and his gardens at his Highgrove home – or  should I say castle? It was a funny coincidence to find this show because my husband is a gardening enthusiast and I am a royal enthusiast (to an embarrassing degree). Our interests collided in an unlikely way.  I don’t think we were even close to the documentary’s intended target audience but we both enjoyed it!

The documentary showed that visitors are allowed to take tours through the gardens at Highgrove and they look absolutely stunning. I would love the opportunity to tour through the Prince’s gardens but would of course be secretly hoping to bump in to Charles and Camilla and of course they would want to have us for tea – wouldn’t they?

I am very new to gardening. My husband has always had an interest and is very talented at growing food and beautiful flowers. Don’t get me wrong, I love flowers and love eating food fresh from the garden but I don’t really like getting my hands dirty, especially dirt in behind my fingernails – the worst!

Last year for my first Mother’s Day, my husband bought me plants to create my own hanging baskets. Luckily he also bought cute gardening gloves for me so I didn’t have to get my hands dirty. I had absolutely no idea what the heck I was doing, but surprisingly enough, started to really enjoy myself. I felt a new sense of creativity as I stuffed my flowers into the baskets, chose where to hang them on our back deck and found myself surprised at how good they looked.

The whole process of making the baskets and then heading outside to water them everyday was actually really relaxing…and healing. I would strap the baby in the carrier and we would head outside to water the flowers and literally “stop to smell the roses”. Those hanging baskets gave me a reason to get outside every single day.  The baby and I would get some fresh air and I would take some deep breaths. It felt so good for this brand-new, sleep deprived, stressed mother to have this little fun ‘chore’ to do. The fog began to lift as I would tend to my hanging baskets.

I loved having my own little activity to do, something that was just mine. It worked well to start small with just hanging baskets because I would have been totally overwhelmed at that point in my life if I had anymore serious responsibility. I started enjoying the hanging baskets so much that I then bought seeds for our flower garden, started weeding the other beds and even helping my husband with things here at there. I sometimes even forgot my gloves and it felt surprisingly good to get my hands ‘a little’ dirty.

This year, I started the hanging baskets, herb baskets and planted lots of bulbs in our flower garden. I still don’t really know what I’m doing and I’m really not great at keeping up with the weeding but I’m going for that natural look. I was a very reluctant convert and if you asked me two years ago if I wanted to go outside and dig around in the garden, I would have suggested going shopping instead.

My new hobby is a new form of me time but also family time too. I love watching my son toddle around the garden and say ‘oh wow’ to the new things popping up and nothing beats the pure joy he gets out of getting dirty ‘helping’ in the garden. If you are reluctant like me, start small and get cute gloves and crocs (or other fun garden footwear) to start – it really helps and it’s worth it!