Monthly Archives: July 2015

Things I’m Loving Friday #5

Running

I love the idea of going for a run. I love the bragging rights of having gone for a run. And you know what? I don’t even mind the run itself. I’m lucky that my little C tolerates going into her stroller for runs. It’s pretty cute: she sings to herself. Plus, we make post-run smoothies

Haircuts

Growing hair out is not fun, and while I nearly said: “Chop it off”, I’ve got a hairdresser that knows when to talk me out of something. Sometimes a little trim (and some fun with a straightening iron) is all you need.

Fun Pack Cereal

There is nothing that says camping to me like mini cereal boxes. While we aren’t camping (we rented a cabin just a few kilometers from where my parents are camping), I still had to buy some for our upcoming vacation.

8 Hours of Continuous Sleep

We still have our sleep challenges (like a child who thinks one nap is sufficient, but whose body definitely needs two), but we’ve had a string of solid nights. I’ve never felt more tired in my life (possibly because I’m not fueling my body with caffeine and adrenaline) but it feels like we’re doing something right

That 70s Show

I forgot that it was on Netflix, and so I’m reliving the joy that is the first season.

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Categories: The new identity, Things I'm Loving Friday | 1 Comment

Things I Love Friday #3

internet Friends

This week, I’ve been emailing, tweeting and Facebooking with friends I have never met in person. While I am working on rebuilding friendships with people I know in real life (those tend to suffer when you have a kid, and I definitely let those fall off), it’s been great having online communities who can be there when I’m trapped under a sleeping baby with only a phone to entertain me.

Baby Bonnets

C won’t keep a hat on her head, but for some reason, she’ll keep a bonnet on her head. Plus, a baby in a bonnet? Too cute. I bought this one at Carter’s and plan on adding some fabric flowers to spiff it up for her uncle’s wedding in a couple weeks.

Aveeno

I got a nasty nasty sunburn on my back the other day, because it’s not so easy to slather sunscreen on your own back (I even have what my sister calls “lonely man tan”: the tell-tale single hand print of sunscreen on the back). Fortunately, Scott has been willing to slather lotion on me to help heal before and after work. I’m loving the “24 hour moisture” of Aveeno’s Skin Relief lotion. It’s only about an hour before he gets home that I start to feel crunchy again.

Behr Mystic Light Paint

Is it grey? Blue? Purple? Green? Exactly. It’s whatever you need it to be. It’s the perfect colour when you want to buy one 5 gallon pail and paint the whole house. (FYI – not my house below)

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 9.32.00 PMThe Beach at Birds’ Hill Park

I’d never been to this beach, but apparently it had a make over last year. Sure, there is something odd about a man made lake, but as a mom of a little one, I love clear water, gradually sloping lakes and soft sand. (Picture thieved from my mother)

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The A to Z’s of Cara

I snagged this from Beth, because who doesn’t miss when Facebook was fun and you actually read things other people posted!
Age: 31
Biggest Fear: Something happening to Little C. Any time she sleeps through the night and I wake up at 5:30, I panic something has happened to her.
Current Time: 8:59 pm
Drink You Last Had: Powerade. Working on a nasty sunburn so have to keep hydrated.
Easiest Person to Talk To: My mom.
Favorite Song: I don’t have one right now, which is really weirding me out.
Grossest Memory: Have you ever seen a placenta? I will never shake that sight from my brain.
Hometown: I don’t really have one. I have a home province, if that’s any better (Manitoba)
In love with: the idea of popcorn. Too lazy to make it though.
Jealous of: Moms that seem to “do it all”. Or rather, I don’t feel jealous, I feel shame that I didn’t make the same decisions, even though I stand by my reasoning. I feel terrible over the fact my daughter eats those pouches of fruit/vegetables when we go to picnics (even though I make 99.9% of her food from scratch), that I don’t cloth diaper, (even though C can even pee through the most absorbent disposable diapers). That I still rock her to sleep (even though most days it’s the highlight of my day). That I’m going back to work (even though I got a whole year with her, which is much more than many people get).
Kindest person you know: My friend J is the kindest. She’s always so enthusiastic and energetic about the mundane details of my life. If you invite her somewhere, she won’t just show up, she’ll show up fully researched and ecstatic about what you’re doing.
Longest relationship: Scott. We met about 8 years ago, we’ve been married for half that time.
Middle Name: Diane
Number of siblings: One sister (and then 3 brothers-in-law, and 1 soon to be one sister-in-law).
One wish: Popcorn. Seriously, I just want something salty and crunchy.
Person you last spoke to on the phone: A fruit bouquet retailer. Our neighbour recently had surgery and then went on vacation, so we had a fridge full of spoiling fruit for a while.
Question you’re always asked: Oh, are you Debbie’s sister? Ok, that one hasn’t been an issue for years, but growing up, that was always the question I was asked. Blergh. #stuckinhershadow
Reason to smile: My little girl and her laugh.
Song you sang last: I’ve got Exes and Ohs stuck in my head. LIkely that one.
Time you woke up: 6:59 am. So thankful my little girl sleeps that late!
Underwear color: White.
Vacation Destination: We are going up to Clear Lake soon! I’m excited to show C around — my family has been going there for years and years and years and years (which really just means we’re not very creative with vacations… I mean, that’s how awesome it is there)
Worst Habit: Overthinking. I just need to decide things, and then let things go.
X-Rays You’ve Had: My ankle, my knees, my shoulder, multiple dentist / orthodontist ones.
Your Favorite Food: Right now, I’m really into hummus. With snap peas. (Or pop corn, but that’s mostly just tonight).
Zodiac Sign: Capricorn
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Getting out of my head

“What is it with you two?”

A friend recently asked that about the tenuous friendship between myself and another friend. There was just something about this friendship where I know we can enjoy each others company, but I always walk away feeling… something. Something not right.

I’d been thinking a lot about it lately, and had recently come to the conclusion that we’d be inextricably linked through one way or another for the next few years and that I had little choice but to make the best of it I could. I could only control me.

This friend and I hung out recently. As we parted ways, I even commented to Scott that it was a really good night, the type that reminds you of why you’re friends with someone. I didn’t even have a tirade of smart-ass comments like I always tend to have. Sure, not every conversation went smoothly, and I did have a moment where I wasn’t as succinct as I liked, but overall a good night.

But as I was rocking a wound up baby to sleep, I started thinking about the night. Wait, what about that comment? What about this one? And when I said that, and she replied that, did that mean that? Within 20 minutes, I found myself thinking “Well it turns out it wasn’t as good of a night after all!” I was still in a foul mood when I put C into her crib and returned to Scott.

Barely half an hour had passed, and my mood had shifted dramatically. My attitude had shifted dramatically. But the events of the night did not shift at all.

The only thing that had changed was me.

This friendship brings up all my insecurities. It makes a large degree of sense when I look at our backgrounds. We have similar education and work experience, and parallel careers that may sometimes place us in the awkward position of competing with each other while simultaneously working together. Some of that competition is going to run into the personal realm. When I’m with her, I’m constantly viewing her as an opponent, always looking for her weaknesses, always ending up finding my own.

It’s not healthy. It takes me from being the calm, confident adult that invites people over for dinner to being a defensive twenty-something who is always being overly dramatic. And as long as I keep up this competition, I’m not going to be able to move forward.

It’s inevitable that there will be some times when we will be in a position of comparison. Without making major career changes, and cutting out entire groups of friends, there will be no avoiding it. If I want to keep growing in both my personal and work life, then I have to stop seeing “the same” and “different” in terms of “better” and “worse”.

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Things I’m Loving Friday #3

Jam

Our anniversary was the 8th, a Wednesday, during a really busy work week for Scott. Instead of doing something that evening, we dropped the wee one off at my parents on Saturday to have some brunch and stroll through some shops. Every anniversary should include waffles with jam.

IMG_3979

Baby Carriers

I sold my Ergo for a better fitting carrier — the Chimparoo Trek (and made in Canada!) this week, but the true hero of the week is my ring sling. We are struggling a bit with sleep, particularly the afternoon nap. We got home from a playdate a bit late one day, and a nap just wasn’t going to happen.  Usually, a walk in the stroller does the trick, but with the insane heat and humidity, I wasn’t endangering our health that day. Instead, I put her in the sling, and slowly walked on the treadmill for a mile. Worked like a charm!IMG_4062

JellyCat

My parents bought little C “If I were a monkey” when she was still very small because we called her our monkey. For Easter, she got “If I were a bunny”. We bought Miss C a JellyCat bear and when that became a favourite, we bought her a giraffe this week as an “alternate” friend.

Contigo Fit Water Bottle

I’ve been using Contigo travel mugs for water for years, but the water bottles I just recently bought. You’d think “same premise, same result” but the water stays cooler for so much longer. Very necessary with the hot week we’re having.

Fridays. In General.

This kind of feels like a cop out, but this week has been long and short and confusing. I’ve never known what day it is, so every time I realize today is Friday, it’s exciting all over again. Yes, sometimes it takes very little to entertain me 🙂

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Raising Little Miss Independent

We’ve come to terms with C’s potentially serious egg allergy. We’ve even started to relax a bit about the ominous warning that babies with egg allergies often have more than one allergy that will surface unexpectedly, and could also end up being quite serious. We’ve figured out that it’s easiest to feed her food that we’ve made and so we regularly set aside days to cook her staples (steamed carrots, sweet potatoes, bread, chicken, etc). We’ve even found brands that we trust for those times when it’s just not feasible to make something from scratch.

But as you know, life with an offspring is far from routine.

Our Little Miss is becoming less and less of a baby every day and that is most obvious at meal time. Unlike her only slightly younger cousin, she does tolerate a wide range of foods, and for that I am grateful. She’s iffy on yogurt and peaches, but will only actively avoid eating prunes. She will eat almost everything you want to give her.

So long as she can pick it up with her fingers.

I struggle with getting enough sleep, and with C more regularly sleeping through the night now, I can only blame it on myself. Despite my best efforts, mornings are tough and I most often want to go the easy way out. It was great when that meant pureeing some fruit and adding it to baby cereal. Some days, she will surprise me and eat bowl after bowl of it, but most days, a few spoonfuls in, she wants to feed herself.

While this is rather welcomed from the perspective that it means I get to eat with two hands myself, it also means that she plays with her food. She examines her food. She drops her food, picks it up, tosses her food, finds it again. And then if we’re lucky, it goes on her mouth. For a kid that would start demanding the next spoonful the minute the last one touched her mouth, she definitely takes her sweet time feeding herself.

And as a girl with a huge appetite, it can take over an hour just to eat breakfast. It feels like we spend our entire day eating and sleeping. It reminds me of when she was a newborn and that was literally all we did all day. It’s just weird to be back in that routine with someone so fiercely independent.

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Things I’m Loving Friday #2

Phew, I need this post. This week hasn’t been rough. Just the last 12 hours. I need this dose of positivity.

Silver Linings

We have an annual brunch date with a friend from out of town. This year, he had to cancel at the last minute. Fortunately, we had just enough time to pack our bags and head out to my in-laws cabin. I love the drive out there, watching the landscape shift from prairie to Canadian Shield. It’s surreal that within the course of two hours, you can go from land so flat you can see for miles and mile, to driving a road cut out of the rock that stretches toward the sky on either side of you.

Fresh Fruit

We went strawberry picking on Wednesday, and then my poor strawberries sat in my hot car for the afternoon, making them a little, erm, squishier than is ideal for longevity. That meant Thursday had to be a big baking day. Bring on the strawberry rhubarb pie!

Lullabies

As I said, the last 12 hours has been rough. And it even included 7 continuous hours of sleep. Someone decided they didn’t need a second nap yesterday, which meant they were too exhausted to sleep last night. After 25 minute intervals of sleep from early bedtime until 9, someone decided it was just time to get up and play. So we tried everything. I rocked her. I walked her. I even talked to her (because at 11pm, you think you can reason with an almost 10 month old). Everything was interspersed with lullabies. No idea if they helped or harmed her attempts to stay awake last night, but they kept my sanity. While we rotate through a number of lullabies through the week, “If you can’t sleep” by She & Him is the lullaby I chose for C to be “her lullaby” before she was born. It doesn’t always prove to be effective on her, but it is on me 🙂

Caramel Ribbons Frappuccino

I don’t drink a lot of coffee. Trust me, that makes being a good, attentive, patient and alert mom very hard. Coffee and I have had a tenuous relationship, making me more jittery than alert, and randomly making my heart race somewhat uncontrollably.  But I recognize that sometimes jittery is better than grumpy and a racing heart makes it impossible to accidentally fall asleep. Thus, I recognize it’s desirableness to any parent. I tend to use coffee as a motivator in a different sense. When the day gets off to a bad start, I keep telling myself: “If it’s still a bad day by such and such a time, we will go for a walk and I’ll treat myself to a frappuccino”.  About 90% of the time, we get busy and I don’t get my frap, but it’s always nice to have that option and I think that is what calms me down enough to get through the day.

Me Time

While evenings have been a struggle with Miss C, once she goes down for a nap during the day, she’s been staying down for at least 45 minutes. That is HUGE considering there was a time not that long ago when 30 minutes was a long nap. While I know there is a never ending list of things I should do while she naps, I haven’t been so great at putting myself on that list, and if the tiny meltdown I had after stepping in a puddle of water from a leaking sippy cup when I was try to unload the dishwasher this morning is any indication, I need to look after me. While it isn’t a caramel ribbon frap, I’ve made myself a cup of coffee, grabbed my daughter’s fluffiest blanket, and am curled up on the couch. There are worse ways to spend a Friday morning

Categories: The new identity, Things I'm Loving Friday | 1 Comment

When I’m the baby in the family

I was born into a family of campers. My parents tell stories of camping with my 6 month old sister in a tent. My sister and I goad my father about the time we were camping outside Ottawa, and everything that could go wrong did, and so she and I were sent out on a walk to “find the bathrooms” so my father could vent his rage in a more offensive language. We’ve seen it all, from field to forest, from east coast to west coast in our trusty tent trailer. My sister even spent a summer living in it one year.

You would think with that background in “roughing it” I would be accustomed to less than stellar facilities. But here is the important thing to note: my mother married into a camping family. As a result, some accommodations have been made on her behalf. We camped at sites with electricity, when possible, to run a portable heater when necessary. We limited camping to a couple weeks, or a small handful of weekends, rather every weekend, like the excursions my father’s family took all summer. And most importantly, we camped at campgrounds with above adequate washroom facilities.

You see, my need for a proper toilet is genetic.

I married into a family of cottagers. You would think that camping vs. cottaging would likely mean that I would be improving upon my camping-toilet upbringing. And regarding the cabin that my in-laws owned when I married into the family, a case certainly could be made to support that. It was a nice cabin, boasting two washrooms: a three piece just off of the kitchen, and a two piece just out back. While I never set foot in the outhouse (I was told on my first visit out to the cabin, the indoor washroom was “The Girls Washroom”), I did try the outdoor shower a time or two. Quite refreshing, I must say.

Sure, the cabin did have it’s short comings (I never did get to see the kitchen not in a state of being remodelled), it was cozy and met my requirements for acceptable facilities. But with a father-in-law who is never happy just sitting (he has “retired” many a time, only to get bored, and start working again), once the cabin was nearing completion, it was time to move on and move up.

It turns out the best way to ensure that my father-in-law remained retired was to ensure that he had no end of projects, and those projects came in the form of not one but two cabins PLUS a boathouse with sleeping quarters. Now don’t get me wrong, the place is amazing (picturesque landscapes, a lake made for boating and fishing, and a location so remote you can’t get there by land). But there is no end of projects. And the bathrooms? They function. And for now, that’s good enough for them. In fact, they do more than function — they even provide some topic for conversation. The main cabin’s bathroom slopes at a dangerous angle making you constantly fear falling off the toilet.  And there are a couple steps you have to climb once you’re in the bathroom in the guest cabin just to sit on the composting toilet. And you never know what kind of reading material you’ll find in the outhouse (which is reserved for the “big jobs” I was told when I first arrived).

In the year and a half that they’ve owned the cabin, we’ve been up twice. Admittedly, in the year and a half that they’ve owned the cabin, we bought a house and had a baby, so it’s been busy. I kept expressing apprehension at taking the baby up there every time my in-laws laid on the guilt. After all, the first time we went up was only for a day trip because at 9 months pregnant, no one was that crazy about having me on an island in another province even if medical care is just a 7 minute boat ride away. And isn’t a baby a more delicate creature than a pregnant woman?

The second time was this last weekend when we found ourselves unexpectedly with some time on our hands. It was supposed to be a day trip. I kept telling my in-laws and my husband that it would be rough on the baby — being in a new place, and going through this sleep regression, and cutting some teeth, and on and on and on. But in the back of my head, I kept calculating how many times I was willing to go to the bathroom there. If I was conservative on my liquid intake, and stayed away from alcohol, I could handle the minimum required bathroom stops over 12 hours, including a total of 4 hours of travel time. But as the tall fir trees whizzed past us, the steep rock walls climbed either side of the highway, and the lake glistened in the sun, I became mesmerized and found myself agreeing to stay the night before we even boarded the boat to get to our island destination.

“In the end, it only mean packing  a couple more diapers than we would have needed for just the day” I rationalized to my father-in-law as we loaded up the boat with the bags and suitcases required to take a baby anywhere for more than an hour. And that’s when the reality hit me. My “12 hours” quickly climbed past 24, and there was no getting around the bathroom issue, even if I got creative and went swimming just to pee in the lake. Suddenly, I was jealous of my daughter for getting to wear diapers.

Nine diapers later (for the little lady, not me), we arrived back home, and I made a b-line for the bathroom. Sure, we missed cleaning day with our impromptu trip, but it was a nice to be on a porcelain thrown of my own. As relief washed over me (as I relieved myself), I realized the level of my bathroom paranoia. I had spent the 24 hours fixating on my apprehension over using less than pristine, (and somewhat unconventional) facilities, instead of realizing the countless struggles we overcame in those few hours that were immeasurably more difficult than basic waste removal. Our little girl survived (and didn’t completely hate) her first two boat rides. We managed to get a decent night sleep with a baby sleeping in a new place in a new bed. We even managed to stay dry during a thunderstorm that caused our cabin’s ceiling to leak.  And we managed to have fun through it all.

I’m sure in the months and years ahead, the cabins will be fixed, possibly even including the bathrooms. We’ll undoubtedly take more day, weekend, and maybe even week long trips up there. I also have no doubt there will be many times we’ll talk about a trip up to the lake and I’ll raise a concern about “the baby” taking a tumble down the treacherous stairs, or “the baby” screaming the entire drive, or “the baby” getting caught in the rain on the boat on the way out to the island. And in the back of my head I’ll know that the real baby will adapt just fine, it’s me, the big baby, that just has to make sure she doesn’t get her panties in a knot when it comes to going to the bathroom.

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Things I’m Loving Friday #1

I’ve been wanting to blog more but struggling with what to write about. Since I’ve enjoyed the organized/scheduled nature of the monthly “Currently” posts, I thought I’d jump on another blogging bandwagon. While there is no official link up that I’m aware of, many blogs I follow do a “Things I’m Loving Friday” (or Things I’m Grateful For Friday). And really, it’s nice to end the week on a note of positivity

Babies in Rompers

Oh my goodness, rompers are where it’s at this summer in baby fashion, as far as I’m concerned. C is sporting a lovely handmade one from a friend of mine today (see pics on my Instagram), and we’ve got 3 or 4 others in constant rotation. It’s too much effort to throw her in a onesie and a pair of shorts, and it’s too difficult for her to crawl around in a dress. Plus, one of my favourites has strawberries on the bum, and I love watching it wiggle as she crawls around.

(Not) Spicy Chicken (Marinade)

We totally forgot that we were going to make something a little more time consuming for supper on Canada Day, since we had the day off. Instead, we were searching for a quick marinade recipe. Despite it being adapted from a fried chicken recipe, it turns out AMAZING. So amazing, all I want to do is eat chicken all day every day. It’s definitely not spicy though.

Routines

After getting way off of our routine, we’re back into the groove. Wake up. Say goodbye to Scott. Play. Eat breakfast. Clean kitchen. Get dressed. Clean room. Water planters. Read books. Everything goes smoothly until nap time, which has been a struggle lately. But starting the day with a strong routine and having the kitchen and C’s bedroom cleaned means I’m more patient with our little sleep fighter. Between having C wrapped on my back for water plants, and then the quiet reading has been helping so I think she likes routine too.

My “vegetable” garden

We are the only house without a dog pretty much on the block. That means the neighbourhood rabbits like to visit us. While I had a huge dream of a large vegetable garden (self weeding, of course, since this is a dream), my vegetables grow in planters. I don’t grow a lot (I don’t so much have the family green thumb gene), but I LOVE how this one looks. It’s leaks, basil and strawberries. It’s the one that motivates me to make sure it’s well watered, and so the other not-quite-as-visually-thrilling ones get watered too.

IMG_3907Eating The Rainbow

I don’t know when I first heard about the whole “Eat the Rainbow” campaign, but it has made planning C’s meals a lot easier and ensures she’s getting a good variety of food. We managed to get three colours out of the way at breakfast alone today! (Egg-free Banana blueberry pancakes with a side of watermelon chunks).

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Currently In July

Craving: Sangria. Since I’m generally limited to one drink, and I’m married to a beer or scotch kind of guy, so there isn’t much value in the effort required for sangria. I’m contemplating throwing a party just to justify making some.

Grilling: It’s Canada Day, so we’ll be going traditional with some hot dogs (Ok, all natural chicken dogs in whole wheat buns). Likely grilling some chicken tonight, maybe with some sweet potatoes. Chicken is our go to grilling food.

Listening: Right now, to all the NHL free agent talks. Not by choice. Usually, when it’s just C and I, we tune into the Family Roadtrip station on Spotify (or Songza or whatever internet radio service which offers near identically titled options). It’s peppy, and (obviously) family friendly.

Planning: Our day and upcoming weekend. Yes, it’s almost noon. We had a productive weekend last weekend, so we’re enjoying some relaxing thus far today.

Decorating: Nothing thus far. I do intend to patch some walls today, and maybe coordinate some babysitting to actually get some painting done. Painting is a form of decorating, right?

Thanks to Anne and Jenna for coordinating this!

Categories: Currently, The new identity | 3 Comments

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