Thursday, 27 March 2008

UPDATE: No Train

As I was typing my last post, I got a call from Amtrak informing me that the train would not be running tomorrow as planned so they arranged for us to take a BUS from Montréal to Albany then the train from Albany to NYC. No one could really tell me how long the bus ride would be but they figured around 8 hours since that's how long the train takes. EIGHT HOURS. ON A BUS. WITH A BABY. No thanks! I booked us the last Communauto available in the whole city of Montréal and got a full refund from Amtrak. So we're driving! I also just signed us up for a CAA membership and will hopefully be moving Liliane up to a bigger carseat since I just measured her and she is 29 inches. Yes, 29 inches. Her baby carseat is only good to 26 inches. Ooops. Now I won't even get shortlisted for the Mother of the Year award.

Anyway, we're pretty excited to be driving actually because it will take less time and we can stop when we want, plus we get to listen to cool music and bring more stuff than we would otherwise.
Lots of pictures to come next week!

Inching her way to freedom + Baby Rose

Took this photo à matin. Since I won't be posting for a few days, I'll put a bunch of baby photos up to tide y'all over until we get back from our trip. Yes indeed, tomorrow our little family is getting on a train and heading down to New York City for the weekend. Crazy to take a 5-month old on an eleven hour train ride? We figure it can't be worse than taking a 2-month old on a five hour plane ride, plus it has an adventurous ring to it, don't you think? Riding the rails down to the Big Apple, yippee ki-yay, etc.
Naturally I have a few projects that I'm trying to finish before we go. My plan is to bring our own snacks so I want to make some oatmeal raisin cookies. This is as far as I've gotten:
The laundry is almost done (in the dryer), the packing is sort of started (the suitcase is out and random items are piled on top of it) but most importantly we have our passports all ready and we have U.S. cash! Heck, have cash, will travel. Especially to NYC where you can buy your way out of almost any clothing/supply emergency. Anyway, whatever happens, we'll be hopping into a taxi at 8 tomorrow morning to get to the train station for our 9:30 departure. I'm hoping to have lots of great photos and stories to post when we get back.
In other news, Liliane has discovered that she can scoot around on her back, inchworm style. I tried to capture her in motion a few minutes ago...
This is her starting position:
Then she bends her knees...

And arches her back...
And pushes herself along the floor like so:
Maybe one day she'll figure out how to do this on her tummy but for now, my baby's mobile!
Last week I got to spend a day with my friends Julie and Joyce and their new baby girl, Miss Rose Victoria Boro-Norman who was born on March 7th. I was not with the program and hardly took any pictures, but Julie kindly sent me these:
She is an adorable little bundle and her parents are completely in love with her. Our first of many playdates!
Otherwise, my latest fixation is daycare. Liliane has been on waiting lists since even before she was born, but since it's government subsidized (only $7/day), it's very, very popular and hard to get into. I get a little panicky when I think about it too much, but I'll just keep doing the follow-ups and we'll keep our fingers crossed. I go back to work in September but I feel like time is going to fly by until then!
I'm off to cross a few items off my To Do list before Stéphane gets home. Have a good weekend everyone!

Monday, 24 March 2008

First Easter

It was Liliane's first Easter and hotdiggity, what a weekend! I am starting to realize that Stéphane and I tend to be activity people - we like to go out and do things and see people and have people over perhaps more than the average family with a five-month old baby, but hey, we're having fun. We figure that the more places we drag her to now, the easier it will be to continue this lifestyle the older she gets. Luckily for us, she's turning out to be quite a social butterfly. We will be putting this theory to the test on Friday when we pack up and take her with us to activity central a.k.a. New York City! More on that later.

Stéphane had Friday off so we took it easy in the morning, then headed out to Toys R Us to spend our gift certificate from my sister-in-law. We got a Diaper Champ (super smell-blocking diaper disposal system) plus a couple of new toys for the big train ride down to the Big Apple and Stéphane found me a sort of pitcher thingy made for rinsing baby's hair in the bath. I love it!

We felt a little guilty basically spending Good Friday at the mall, but it was the only time we could get a car AND I really had to go exchange some clothes that are now too small for Liliane before the 90 day expiration date of the return policy. Can I just say also that we didn't buy anything for ourselves! Except for a quick stop at the Starbucks drive-through :) On Friday evening we headed up to the Mont Royal funeral home to give our condolences to a friend of mine who lost her sister AND her father within about four days of each other. She was holding up amazingly well and I was glad that we made the effort to do that. All in all a good day.

Saturday was my day to do some errands so Stéphane stayed in while I braved the super chilly wind (I'm talking minus 10 at least) to get some groceries for our annual Easter dinner party. It was nice to have the sun shining all weekend but wow, it was cold!! The coldest Easter I have ever experienced. The upside is that all the slush is now frozen so your feet just get chilly, not wet. Since we missed mass on Good Friday, we went instead on Saturday night. If anyone is keeping track of these things, I think extra points should be alloted for not only a) going to church on a Saturday night but b) going to an extra-long special mass and c) bringing our baby along with us! I've never been to an Easter-eve mass and it was actually really lovely. When we came in (only five minutes late!) the lights were off except for a spotlight on a simple tapestry depicting Christ rising from the tomb and the sanctuary was lit by candles held by each member of the congregation. The idea was that we are to be a light to the world, which is something that I've heard often, but it really had an impact on me, seeing all those candles lighting up the darkness. Beautiful.

Stéphane had a hankering to watch the Jesus of Nazareth mini-series that he saw every Easter when he was a kid, so we popped in the DVD and watched some of the highlights if you will. I don't think it's the same Jesus of Nazareth series that I remember watching - this is the Franco Zeffrelli version with lots of well-known actors (including Ernest Borgnine as a Roman soldier!?) and almost everyone speaks with a British accent, including Jesus. It's about 6 hours long all together, but we mostly watched the end. I, sadly, fell asleep and missed the resurrection.

Sunday morning we took advantage of the sunny weather and walked over to my church (although did I mention that it was really, really cold!?) and enjoyed the Easter Sunday service. Liliane wore her new Easter dress and prerequisite white tights, pictured here with matching halo:

Here she is saying "see, it comes with matching bottoms!" And "don't you just love this embroidery?" Clinton and Stacy would be so proud.

Like everybody else in Montréal (and everywhere?), Stéphane and I have a tradition of going out for breakfast after Easter Sunday service. We strolled past all the chic restos packed with brunchers on Bernard Street on our way to the diner in our neighborhood where we enjoyed a $4 plate of eggs, bacon, hash browns, toast and coffee, with a slice of orange and chunk of banana as garnish thank you very much. No highfalutin' brunch for us! For some reason, it's always been a "trucker" breakfast (Stéphane's phrase) for Easter, nothing particularly elegant, but it sure hits the spot! Liliane obliged by sitting in her stroller and playing with her dangly toys while we ate which was good because those vinyl booths were a little too squeezy.

When we got home, we opened Liliane's first Easter card. It was so cute! It came from her Grandma who also sent her some more Pekkle sleepers (my FAVOURITE) which is great since she's outgrown all her other ones... Thanks Mom :)

At least one of us was still dressed up for Easter...

Sunday evening we hosted our annual Easter dinner party. I remember that one of my first blog entries featured last year's Easter party and our friend Eric took our first family picture - Stéphane, a pregnant me plus our first ultrasound:
Awww! I have to say, actually having the baby with us for Easter is WAY more fun. Now that I'm typing this, I'm thinking we should have taken a new family picture THIS year! Oh well. Here are some pictures of our evening:

Colleen took over baby duty which was good because it appears that I am still not able to multitask like I used to...

Mikayla and her new toothless grin...

Emilie hard at work on her egg creation:

Mmm... dip. People go crazy for the vegetables when you don't feed them right away because you are slow to get the chickens in the oven...

Ariel's stained fingers - the price she paid for egg art.

The fruits of their labours:

Pierre lookin' pretty good with a baby!

Thanks to Martha and my new roasting pan, another happy ending to a chicken roasting story.

It was our first annual event since the baby's been born, and I have to say that it wasn't as different as I thought it would be! The biggest changes for me were that I felt compelled to wear an apron (what is up with that??) and I just didn't care about a lot of stuff that would have driven me crazy before. We don't have Easter-themed napkins? The house isn't spic and span? I'm still wearing my shorts when the doorbell rings? Oh well. Stuff like that.

So that was Easter. It's a sunny day again today and the sidewalks are basically clear now so getting outside for a walk is a little easier. As I mentioned earlier, we are heading down to NYC for the weekend on Friday morning. The trick is that we are going by train so our challenge will be to not go crazy on the 10 or 11 hour journey with our wee wiggle monster to entertain the whole way. It will be worth it to get back to one of my all-time favourite cities and see Matthew and Bari to boot. Plus, we figure that (sing along with me!) "if we can make it there, we can make it anywhere" :)
Happy Monday everyone!

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Easter Lili

Since there is wet snow falling outside and deep slush adorning the streets of Montréal like the aftermath of a great big slurpee fight, you'll forgive me if I find it hard to believe that it's Easter weekend. In an attempt to make myself believe that spring is actually coming (here today actually!), I bought myself an Easter lily last week - one of my favorite kinds of lilies because of their scent. It brings me back to my Grandma's Easter buns, new girlie dresses and the green carpet in the house where we grew up everytime I breathe it in.

Lilies are actually my favorite flowers (with roses coming in at a close second but not red roses and especially not red roses with babies breath or actually anything with babies breath. Although now that I have a baby, I might have to re-evaulate that statement) which is another reason for my daughter's name. It seemed only natural to take a few pictures of her discovering the joy of yanking the leaves off my plant. Happy Easter.

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Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Tummy Time + Vaccuum?

I took these yesterday during tummy time. Forgive the cutesy term, but you are supposed to play with your baby for at least a few minutes every day like this to help them build up their wee upper body muscles. Liliane doesn't really enjoy it so I've been slacking off a little, but she was actually having fun yesterday and I just so happened to have the camera handy...

So adorable, I can hardly stand it.

I took these this morning of Liliane with her new blanket that my friend Deb's Mom made for her. Thank you Nora! She loves it!
She loves sticking her chubby little fingers through the holes.
So since I have decided to take back the housecleaning for the next little while, I need to buy a new vaccuum cleaner. I have a hand-me-down that dates probably from the sixties and it just doesn't do the job anymore. Our apartment has all vinyl tile floors (classy I know but we're renters) and I have a total of two rugs in the whole place. I am a little obsessed with keeping the two rugs free of all the crap that accumulates - my hair, dust, lint, more of my hair, etc. But I need a vaccuum that works also on the vinyl floor since all that aforementioned crap junks up the floor as well. I like the idea of stand-up vaccuum for storage, but I need something that can get into corners and behind the toilet, too. Any recommendations would be very much appreciated since I've never owned a new vaccuum. I know you are out there, fellow carpet obsessed people/family members... you know who you are!
Big news: our side of the street was finally cleared of snow last night! Only 9 days after the big storm. I did take Liliane out yesterday in the carrier and it was such a joy to be outside and breathe in all that fresh air and soak up all that vitamin D. What a treat. Today we'll take the stroller out! Who said that being a stay-at-home Mom isn't exciting??

Monday, 17 March 2008

Five Months Old!

Liliane is now five months old! I know I say this every month, but it is so hard to believe. It's gone by so fast and yet it feels like we've been doing this for a very long time. I'm thankful every day for our healthy little bruiser! We celebrated by having a busy weekend hanging out with friends and family...

Saturday morning was reading time with Papa while I went outside for the first time in what felt like weeks (probably only a day or two) to do a few errands:

Saturday afternoon our friends Deb and Doug came in from Ottawa to finally meet Liliane. We spent the rest of the day with them and completely enjoyed their company. Liliane was happy as always to have visitors:

Deb and I have been friends since junior high school so it's such a treat for me that she lives only a couple of hours away. We always feel a little less homesick for the West Coast when we get together to pine for the ocean, the mountains, Triple-O cheeseburgers from White Spot and springtime in March. REAL springtime. Like with blossoms and green grass and flowers and everything. Not the Eastern so-called spring of slushy streetcorners, melting dog poop and snowbanks.

On Sunday we went to church in the morning, then headed out to my sister-in-law's house where Liliane spent the afternoon while Stéphane and I went to see "Be Kind Rewind." I forgot the camera so I don't have any photos but imagine a very happy (and apparently well-behaved) baby and my very sweet brother and sister in law (already featured on this blog) taking very good care of Liliane AND also making us a delicious dinner. Once again, so spoiled!

When we got home, we took a couple of photos for posterity:

She was a very giggly baby last night so we took this video as well:

Who knew that having a baby could be this much fun!

It's a beautiful day here in Montréal so once sleeping beauty wakes up, we'll head out to do a couple of errands. Or I'll just stay home and take more pictures of her. I have a concept for her room that I finally came up with this morning... I want to buy 12 identical white frames (à la Ikea) where I can put a black and white portrait of Liliane every month. (Or thereabouts). Might be nice, right? I have at least one per month so far that is frame-worthy.

No news of the squirrel living upstairs, although I did see four of them frolicking in the trees outside AND they left their little prints on our back balcony.

That's about it for today! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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