Monthly Archives: October 2016

These Little Moments #15

It’s been a while (5 months) since I’ve linked up with Shaunacey for Moments of Gratitude, but boy oh boy did I have a moment for which I am grateful this weekend.

It wasn’t a great weekend. C and I were coming down with a cold we caught from some family at Thanksgiving last weekend. Add to that the fact Scott had to trench our backyard to find out why the power to our garage died on Saturday only to come down with our cold the next day. We were not exactly the most productive family on Sunday. There was a lot of “one more episode of Super Why? Why not?” going on. C was the best of the three of us, until evening. Then she slowly became more and more obviously sick. And then it was time for bed. And then the dramatics started and between the exhaustion induced hyperactivity, the reliance on a soother and the stuffed nose, we had a little girl too sick to calm down and breathe.

So I picked up her teddy bear, her blanket and all 34″ of her, legs and all, crossed the hall into her old nursery. I sat with her in the chair, rocking and singing her lullabies, being dreadfully aware that the next time I’d be in that chair, it was highly likely I’d be holding a much smaller baby, and my already big girl will seem gigantic in comparison.

I rocked and sang and rocked and sang, and enjoyed the moment, despite having TWO kids squishing my bladder, a raspy throat and a house in desperate need of cleaning.  And I accepted that it may have been the last time I rocked C in that chair as my baby girl.

And as if she could read my thoughts, at the end of a lullaby, she told me she was ready to go to bed. I carried her back across the hall to her big girl room, tucked her in snug as a bug in a rug, kissed her on the forehead and closed the door. I gingerly walked to the couch, awaiting the telltale scream of realization that she was awake and alone in her room, but there wasn’t a peep. Before long, she must have fallen asleep, likely with a teddy bear under one arm and her straw cup of water under the other.

While I have no doubt that she will always be my baby, there was no denying she was a big girl tonight, and she is more than willing to step up to that challenge. But if there is one thing I can be grateful for, it is that even as my “big girl” she still sometimes needs me to hold her close, stroke her hair and just let all the problems of the day disappear.

Linking up with Simply Shaunacey for Monday Moments of Gratitude

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Categories: The new identity | 2 Comments

A gift for me

I set out an edict this holiday weekend that anyone that wanted a present from us had to have their Christmas lists in by October 31st or they were getting dirty newborn diapers. And to make sure I put my money where my mouth was, I set to work creating my Christmas list.

But seriously, I’m facing 13 1/2 months of hard time in the big house (also known as “overly generous maternity leave”). If this kid is anything like C, I will spend the first 6-7 months feeding the kid on the couch. Feeding the kid in the nursery. Feeding the kid in my bed because the kid will refuse all bottles. And the worst part is that I likely can’t get away with marathoning showing I want to watch on Netflix. “Me Time” is essentially going to be non-existent for those first few months. And those first few months encompass both Christmas AND my birthday.

Needing some ideas that wouldn’t sit unused for months, making me resentful for the fact I’m tied to a child 23 hours a day, I went on Pinterest to look for Christmas or birthday gift ideas for new moms. Let’s just say the results were NOTHING even close to what I would give specifically to a new mom, herself. There were some great “new baby” ideas, and some great: “shower gift” ideas, but when the first 45 items of a 145 item list titled: “Gift ideas for the new mom she will actually use and appreciate” were “favourite children’s books” followed by about 50 different soother and soother related paraphernalia, you know this list is not about her.

So I spent the weekend thinking it over, and came up with some ideas of how to regain little bits of who I am in a time when things don’t get to be all about me:

  •  Kobo books so you never run out of something to read during those endless 3 am feeds
  • 3 am feedings are much easier with subdued lighting, so why not get new bedroom lamps that you’ll want to look at through bleery eyes?
  • Skip The Dishes gift cards for when you’ve got a terrible nursing craving ( I found those worse than pregnancy cravings!) and you’ve finally got one or more of the kids asleep.
  • A go to outfit that fits NOW, flatters and is still possible to nurse in (if necessary) for doctor’s appointments, baby’s first trip to work
  • Chewelry because, let’s face it, sometimes your momiform needs an accessory that won’t cut into your skin if pulled, that won’t make you paranoid that someone is going to choke on, and it might as well be designed to be chewed since you know that’s going to happen.

Any great ideas for me to add for my list?

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An Ideal Quick Read

So let’s just take a minute here and be like: “Seriously? A book published before I was born? The only way that could difficult is if I was born before the Gutenberg Press”. But then again, English major nerd alert. I always forget that people tend to gravitate towards the latest and greatest and I’m like: “Hey, you old book I can get for free through the Gutenberg Project”…mmd-2016-reading-challenge-page.png

But making my life even more difficult for this one is the fact that I like old books that tend to be L-O-N-G, and when you’ve forgotten about your challenge for MONTHS, brevity is key. Which is where one of my favourite playwrights comes in. I could take or leave his fiction, but his plays always have me tittering quietly over his witty repartee (Miriam-Webster informs me that “witty repartee” is redundant, since repartee by definition is a quick and witty response). And the best part is that plays read up so quickly it feels like cheating. An ideal situation to read An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde.

The banter is the number one reason to read any of Wilde’s play. Afterall, the plots are obvious. Take a socially sanctioned arrangement. Have someone issue an ultimatum, which launches the play into action. A comedy of errors ensues before all pieces of the puzzle come together and re-align the characters into socially sanctioned arrangements, but with audience feeling quietly smug that the socially sanctioned arrangement is actually socially subversive in some small, private way.

And as a result, I have nothing interesting or enlightening to say about Wilde’s play. It’s kind of like that pair of jeans that you just can’t get rid of. They are wonderfully comfortable, always fit just so, but aren’t the most remarkable thing in your wardrobe.

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Currently: In October

Oh wow, we’re officially in fall now. Usually I’m anticipating the pumpkin spice latté’s return for weeks before it arrives, and I savour every sip of that first one. But this year? I saw it, had to order it, and went: “Hmm… shoulda gone for a frappucino”.  Fall, you came out of nowhere and I’m not ready for you yet. I am ready for another month’s Currently, brought to us this month by Anne, of In Residence, and Jacqui of the awesomely named Drink the Day!

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Cheers-ing : making it through September. It’s the busiest month at work. We’re still adjusting to our new office space meaning that we had to play a lot of the impending chaos by ear. Plus, we were short one staff member, our boss announced her retirement AND that was all right around the time those pregnancy hormones decided to start messing with my dreams, leading to a lot of disjointed sleep. But I made it through, I maintained my sanity, and I didn’t have a single person cry at my desk (you know, other than me, and that was mostly from heartburn :P).

Organizing : Oh my goodness, everything. I just hung up three message boards in our kitchen to help corral all of our to-do lists, calendars and papers. Scott is currently in the basement organizing his half of what used to be just his office, and so I can move my stuff in, which has been in boxes since C took over my office as her “big girl room”. We’re going to have to sit down and re-jig our budget with some shifts in priority because *surprise* a small-ish summer landscaping project has snowballed into trenching our backyard to re-wire our garage and oh, while you’re here, Mr. Electrician, can you check out that light in the basement that doesn’t always work because, oh, apparently it and the other lights are so old and outdated they are actually carcinogenic? My father-in-law laughs when I set my budget for a project and then add another 50% because I know this is how this house works.

Dreaming: That the baby is breach and I go into labour at work and our Records Management specialist delivers my baby but walks away when she realizes it’s coming butt first. That I have to drive a train without lights on because someone is trying to kill me to steal my baby. That when I go into labour, I don’t actually deliver a baby as much as I deliver a giant dried up mass of Play-Doh. Oh wait, you mean dreaming in the figurative sense?

Buying: New lights for the basement. 40 feet of wire for the backyard. Maybe a lottery ticket? Fortunately, Scott and I had just talked before repairs started cropping up about reigning in our spending since we’d been getting too comfortable with what started as $10 here, and $20 there, that had turned into $40 here and $50 there. We’ve been living within our means, but we also know that a second kid will bring extra expenses, and that of the 13 1/2 months of mat leave I’ve managed to convince my employer to let me take this time around, only some of it is at full pay, some of it is at roughly half pay, and some of it is at no pay.  I’m grateful to be getting as much time and pay as I am, but I know we’ll have to tighten our belt a notch or two to make it work. Nothing like a huge repair bill to help get you used to living on less!

Listening: So guilty pleasure alert… I listen to Apple Music’s Kids & Family radio station with Charlotte when we’re at home. And sometimes it keeps playing when she goes down for a nap. And you know, sometimes, when I’m at work, and I need something to get my toe tapping and head bobbing to stay awake, it’s my first choice as well. Some of it is current(-ish) pop music (I can’t help but to shimmy to Pharrell’s “Happy). Some of it is old mo-town favourites (Jackson 5’s ABC). And some of it is just insane (have you heard that stations version of Joy to the World? What kind of bullfrog loves to drink his milk??? I mean, he always had some mighty fine milk).

 

Categories: The new identity | 4 Comments

CSA Wrap Up

Well summer has come and gone and our CSA adventure is over.

Thank goodness.

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We learned a lot about vegetables this summer. Here is our CSA experience by the numbers:

  • 16 weeks of vegetables picked up
  • 10 minute round trip from Scott’s work, 45 minute round trip from our house.
  • 43 different vegetables (with some very general categories of “lettuce” since I didn’t always track which variety we were given)
  • 12 of 16 weeks involved zucchini, because it’s basically a weed here in Manitoba. This was not a good thing for a family who is not crazy about zucchini.
  • Only 2 weeks involved peas, which is a travesty because I basically signed up for peas. Peas are freaking delicious.
  • I was surprised to get 1 clamshell of raspberries. Also freaking delicious.
  • All it takes to get me excited about serving beans is having them show up in my fridge in THREE DIFFERENT COLOURS! (Yes, a horticultural gimmick, but it works on me)

The stand outs from the experience:

  • Local organic garlic tastes a million times better than any other garlic ever could. Spoils a lot faster too, which is too bad because it’s the only type of garlic that I use exactly as the recipe calls, not feeling the need to double or triple it.
  • I don’t actually hate beets. Of course now I hate beets for the effort it takes to prepare them without staining everything
  • I cannot underestimate how great it was to open up the fridge and be like: “What vegetables do we want to have tonight” rather than defaulting to frozen mixed vegetables (though C was begging for them by the end of the summer. Girl loves her beans, corn, carrots, and peas)
  • We were more likely to grab other local produce options at the grocery store when we needed to round out our veggie options.
  • Homemade salsa. I could eat that with a spoon.
  • C was super excited every week to see what vegetable we had.  She wasn’t always as excited once they were cooked up, but it was neat to see her excitement over zucchini, peppers and onions.
  • Scott now will eat squash!
  • Pesto on ground chicken burgers? Oh my goodness, the best thing I’ve eaten in my life.

Some learning opportunities (also known as veggie fails)

  • Every freaking leaf of every freaking vegetable can, and apparently should, be eaten. And C doesn’t eat lettuce or other raw leaves. Scott and I don’t eat cooked greens.
  • Sometimes you just cant bring yourself to eat fennel until one day you open the fridge and find its gone bad. Lather rinse repeat for a few other vegetables
  • We don’t actually store so much of our produce correctly, and that became much more obvious when dealing with organic vegetables.
  • It didn’t make us any more inclined to ensure we were eating enough vegetables.  In fact, but made vegetables seem like a chore.
  • We just don’t have the time during the work week to come home and roast a squash, and weekends in summer are often too busy to do a lot of the prep that is required. With the exception of cucumbers, peppers and cucumbers, there weren’t many options that we had that were very close to being “ready to go” type options for busy days.

Conclusion:

I do not regret trying a CSA, but looking at the food we received and the food we ate, the CSA model doesn’t work for us. Between picky adults and a picky toddler, it was hard never knowing what was going to show up until that day, and then not being able to have any control over the vegetables we don’t like beyond giving them to someone else. It also does not make sense next year, when I won’t be working. Since I’ll have the car, Scott won’t be able to just quickly drive over to pick up them. I’m certainly not going to drive 20 minutes, spend 5 minutes moving vegetables from a crate into a bag into a car, and then drive 20 minutes home with two kids every week. At least going to a u-pick farm or a farmer’s market seems like a better use of time, even if the drive is the same or longer, simply because it becomes an “activity” rather than “one more stop to make on the way home”.  And then we won’t have to deal with all that zucchini that we’re never going to eat because zucchini is gross. Even better (and I know my mother and sister are already laughing at this, since I killed every one of my planters this year) would be to grow our own vegetables in our backyard.

Categories: The new identity | 3 Comments

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