Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Out with a Whimper

I had so hoped to have something inspiring and eloquent to say about the close of NaBloPoMo, but I don't.

That could be because of the list of things I have to finish before Saturday is looming or because frankly, I'm out of juice.

What I will say is that I really, really appreciated this whole experience. I appreciated having the chance to improve my writing, to explore some subjects that I've had knocking around in my head for a while. I LOVED hearing from all those who took the time to comment! Thank you!

Shout out also to my SIL for harassing me inspiring me to take part this year. You were right, it IS fun!

So...  Thanks everybody! Going forward I think I'll be able to keep the new content coming...  Maybe three posts a week instead of one? How does that sound?

I will tell you now that I am FER SURE taking tomorrow off - our floors won't clean themselves after all. Believe me, with all the magic wands and assorted pixie paraphernalia we have around here, I've tried.  Bibbidi-Bobbidi-FAIL.


The good news is that I already have an idea for Friday Favourite so... see? I just can't quit you. 

À bientôt!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

What's In A Name?

It was in that magical moment right before dropping off to sleep that Stéphane came up with her name.

What about Liliane? 

We had been going back and forth - I wanted Lily (for my favourite flower), but he didn't like it.  I don't even remember what he suggested but Liliane was a perfect compromise.  Much lighter and prettier sounding than its English counterpart, Liliane is a lovely name on its own.  But there was the added bonus of paying tribute to my paternal grandmother and aunt in one fell swoop as both have Lilian in their names. Brilliant!  And to complete the homage, Liliane's middle name is Nicole after my sister Jennifer Nicole.

When we found out we were having another girl, we didn't debate for very long. We were looking for a simple but pretty name and, like Liliane, easily pronounceable in either language.

What about Alice? I said.

Done! And Ruth for my maternal grandmother as her middle name.  Oh and my youngest sister Jaime has Alice for a middle name so we got her, too.

Here we are, all the Piercy siblings. Just Uncle Matthew that doesn't get someone named after him. Sorry about that, bro.



Now that little Alice is here, I love hearing people use her name because it constantly reminds me of my grandmother. I can't wait to start calling her Al, like my Grandpa used to do.

My Honey Grandma and Grandpa have both passed, but I am lucky enough to still have Ruth and Rolf. I can't wait to see my Grandma this Christmas and introduce her to her chubby little namesake.


Ruth and Rolf, on their wedding day:

This is a teeny tiny photo (cursed technical problems, husband away) of my paternal grandparents, Alice and Bill (a.k.a. Honey Grandma and Grandpa) on their wedding day:



You can see them here a little better. This is actually how I remember them. 

And me with my Auntie Jean on her wedding day in 1974.  I'm about two months old.


So all this to say, wow, these girls have some pretty big shoes to fill.  From taking my first steps on Ruth and Rolf's patio to countless Friday evenings and Saturday dinners spent with Alice and Bill, my grandparents have always been an important part of my life. What better way to honour that than bestowing a little piece of those happy memories on my children.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Decorama, Etc.

I normally wouldn't put up the decorations (let alone the tree) this early but we're having a big family Christmas gathering here next Saturday (IN LESS THAN A WEEK PLEASE SEND HELP) so we did what we had to do. 




We even did the tree.  Just our little fake one since we'll be away for most of the season.  I confess to banishing Liliane to her room for some "quiet time" (a.k.a. MAMAN NEEDS TO BE ALONE) while I put on the ornaments.  I left some of the wooden ones for her and we did tinsel together.  You heard me, TINSEL.  Old school, that's how we roll.
.









In sleep news, Alice is pretty much back her to peaceful, long nights. Naptime is now about 15 minutes of protest before she gives up and finally drops off. 

FINE. You win.
She's starting to get a little unhappy before she falls asleep at night but we've found a kind of cuddle/rock/put-in-her-bed-drowsy combo that seems to work for everyone.

FOR NOW.

That's the thing about parenting, just when you think you've got something figured out BAM! We are no longer amused. Please to figure out a new strategy.

I have a pretty huge TO DO list this week including trying to fix our horrible, horrible chandelier in the dining room. I say chandelier as if it's all fancy, but it's not. It could actually double as a heat lamp if you ever wanted to come over and burn the top of your head while sitting at our table.


Today I have to find a replacement ceramic thingy because as you can see, one of the lights only has half of one. I also managed to cut the wires in another one as I was fiddling around with the malicious frosted glass cover trying to make it please for the love of heaven stop falling off and dangling dangerously over our already-burning heads.

I don't know much about electricity and design and whatnot, but I'm guessing that you shouldn't want to hurl your fixture out the window every time you have to change a bulb.  Amirite?

Anyway, can you tell that my universe has gotten a little, um, small?

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Finally

Caught the giggles on camera last night. I defy you to keep a straight face as you watch this.

video
You're welcome!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Life's Candy and the Sun's a Ball of Butter*

Last year was the first time the St. Hubert Christmas parade was held at night and we FROZE.  Stéphane had to buy an emergency hat at the drugstore that is about the dorkiest looking piece of headgear you have ever seen. Complete with pom-poms and snowflake motif.

But last night it was practically pleasant.  Perfect standing around on the sidewalk weather.

Of course that didn't stop all the other kids from wearing their warm and cozy tuques. Literally, a sea of children, all wearing appropriate head coverings. 

Except one. I know because I was arguing with Stéphane that she wasn't the ONLY one but I could not find another kid not wearing a hat. For real.

Oh well. At least she had her jacket on.



Daycare pal Yannis joined us for his first parade experience.



















Yannis has some smooth moves. Good thing he's so cute.




This one was nice and warm.


Aaaand, then she fell asleep. Alice is big on being consistent.


Manon and Luana also joined us for St. Hubert supper and stayed for the parade.




 It was awesome, as per usual.


This llama was pretty cool. Meant to be a camel? I think it was a three wisemen kinda deal.


This reaction was reserved for...

Smurfs!  Nothing says Christmas like little blue, Belgian comic book characters.

And the big man himself. 




Such a great way to spend Friday night.  Free, fresh air and close enough to walk home. 


Time to get your decorations up people! Get off the computer and get to it!

Also, thank you husband for all the super cool Instagram photos!

*Any other musical nerds out there who caught the reference? Family members excluded - I KNOW you guys know.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Friday Favourite: Chocolate+Cheesecake

This is a weird Friday favourite because I tasted these evil little morsels for the first time ever only yesterday.

Oh mini chocolate enrobed cheesecake, I loved you even before I met you.

BUT, a friend of mine went on and on about them (or the Loblaw's version of them) back when I was pregnant and I had to physically stop myself from driving to the store immediately, that's how good they sounded to me.  Hi Tara! This is all your fault!

Since then I have managed to steer clear, not due to amazing willpower on my part (Ha!) but mainly because my IGA didn't carry anything like that.

Until this week. It took me all of about 0.35 seconds to justify buying a box.

Heaven help me, they are spectacular. Something about how the dark chocolate contrasts so perfectly with a scrumptious, rich and creamy inside.  Wow. So good.

Don't you love the use of the word "enrobed"? I think normally these would be called chocolate covered cheesecake bites but for some reason, they stuck with enrobed. Not sure that's even a word in English. But what's even funnier is that enrobé is also a way to describe someone carrying a little extra weight. Like: elle est un peu plus enrobée depuis la naissance de sa fille en juillet. 

Maybe they did that on purpose, as a warning. Because if you eat just three of these babies it'll cost you 240 calories and 16 grams of fat. Ouch.

Full disclosure: I just ate two while writing this. HELP.

Something else that I find funny on the box is the "How to Prepare" section.  Remove from box and defrost in the refrigerator for 25 to 30 minutes. WHAT!?  Take it from me, eat them directly from the box, making sure you clean the chocolate smears off the baby before your husband gets home.

Oh, and if you think you can try them by dropping in to visit me, think again. The rest of this box will be gone before you can say Weight Watchers. And they shall never darken my freezer doorway again.

Happy Friday everybody! Tonight we'll be at the Santa Claus parade (that L keeps bizarrely calling the Santa Claus barrette) so fair warning, tomorrow's post will be all about freezing our behinds off, waiting for Père Noël.

Better bulk up with some more cheesecake bites.


Thursday, 24 November 2011

Schadenfreude, Lite (Also - It's My Blog and I'll Whine if I Want To)

All you parents of non-sleeping babies please look away. As I have maybe mentioned in the past, Alice has been sleeping through the night since she was around 6 weeks old. I KNOW. (Sorry)

But can I tell you that there is a downside to that? Like when your perfect, preshus babee commits the most innocent of sleep crimes, it's shocking. SHOCKING.

*insert eyeroll here*  (It's OK, I deserve it.)

So Alice is now four months old and like most babies this age she has been getting all wriggly and a little whiny every two or three hours as she goes through her newfound sleep cycles. No more instant REM sleep (sad face). Since she is installed right beside me in the beloved co-sleeper/mini crib, I wake up every few hours to pop her soother back in until goes back to sleep.  Okay so maybe it only takes about a minute each time but COME ON.

I also notice that she has a curious new approach to naptime. Instead of dozing off peacefully, she prefers the "what is this feeling, I MUST FIGHT IT" technique. She doesn't want to be rocked or fed or cuddled (I know that because the back-arch-of-doom has now become part of her repertoire), she  wants to get into her bed but feels compelled to yell about it for a while once she's comfortable.

No, not hungry. She is screamy and incredibly persistent when she's hungry.  And since we did start giving rice cereal to Liliane at this age, I think that's on the agenda next week.

Oh and then I made the mistake of Googling "4 month old baby sleep." For about five minutes I enjoyed a little shadenfreude of my own reading about other people's baby sleep issues. But a knot started forming in the pit of my stomach as I started to dread all the disruptive things MY baby could be doing (and is maybe starting to do?) and OH NOES IT'S ALL GOING TO GET WORSE.

I know, cry me a river, right? But I thought I should share my concerns so I can a) have something to talk about on this here blog and b) have something to talk about  next month when it all goes wrong. Or right. The way things have been with this kid, it will all be fine and I'll once again be that annoying mother of a freakishly good sleeper.

Also, I have to attempt to pump some milk and give Alice a bottle. Don't talk to me about some WINDOW between 6 and 8 weeks, hippies. I missed the freaking window so we're trying it now. Or soon. Why is everything taking so long with me?

I'll keep you posted. Please don't throw rocks at me.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Thigh Master


It happened in 6th grade. I had a conversation with one of my very best friends (still is) wherein I moaned about the size of my thighs. I was eleven. Ever the diplomat, my friend wished that hers (athletic, Korean, perfect) were more curvy.

When did bodyparts become an issue? Sure, I said it out loud at eleven, but when did that switch go off? When did I even notice that thighs were supposed to look a certain way?  I don't remember the exact moment but I don't think there is one single woman who is immune to it.

But oh, look at these babies. Chubby and gorgeous, I'm already sad for the moment that she'll start resenting them.





I solemnly swear to do my very best to make sure that you, Alice Ruth, will appreciate your delicious haunches as long as you possibly can.

And that goes for you, too.

Although if Liliane sticks to her current plan of becoming a ninja (Un ninja fille, Maman. Avec du rose et du rouge.) I don't think we'll have to worry.


Up tomorrow: Get ready for some good old fashioned schadenfreude, my friends. SOMEONE around here isn't sleeping quite as well as they usually do.
Who, me?
Turns out little miss perfect snoozer is not immune to the four-month baby crazies. Ouf. Details demain.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Betcha Didn't Picture This While We Were Backpacking Through Europe in 1993

My long-time and very dear friend Deb came to visit us overnight from Ottawa last night. It was lovely to see her and introduce her to Alice.  Liliane was her usual low-key, aloof self.  Ha ha! Good one! 

It took her about two minutes to warm up to "madame" (and eventually Deb) and by the time she went to bed they were the best of friends.

Poor Deb.



So great seeing you! Let's go back to our Christmas tradition of shopping and eating, you know, out in public, next year, OK?  Just us? PLEASE. 


Looking forward to it already.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Coup d'État

Look out blondie, there's a new Princess in town!


I shall be a firm, yet benevolent ruler. 


Royal tributes of tummy zerberts, goofy faces and nomming of the cheeks will be accepted. 


Hee hee, I pooped in my throne!


In case you were wondering, last night we decided on the big present for the 4 year old:

We're going to adopt a slightly older, also very adorable blonde kid to play with her!  Ha ha, no. We're going with the Cinderella horse and carriage. Oh, and of course we have to buy the Cinderella doll to go inside. 

We actually had the doll AND the carriage in hand yesterday but chickened out because the box was a little junked up.  I KNOW. Taking bets now on how quickly these will disappear from the shelves now that we figured out that we want it.  I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Trading Up

We spent time at toy Mecca today (Wal-Mart and Toys R Us)and have come to the following conclusions: 1. We're scrapping the LeapPad idea 2. We need something shiny in a big, impressive box. Remember when the size of the box determined the coolness of the present? 3. Santa's job is harder than it looks 4. I think my best idea is the hippety hop for freaking $12 About to pull out the haul and make some decisions. Wish us luck. In case you missed yesterday's post, please scroll down. I really like how it came out.

Friday, 18 November 2011

The Last Time

It was a balmy spring day, typical of Vancouver in May. Her son was waiting with the car running in the driveway. A driveway they made big enough so that four cars could park there at once.

She fixed her hair, made sure her lipstick was on and hooked her purse over her arm. She glanced at her reflection in the mirror of the mudroom, the cold entryway that always smelled like the Macintosh apples they stored there. Carefully she walked down the back stairs, making sure the door was shut behind her.  She had done this a thousand times.

Her carefully tended backyard garden was thriving and she glanced up as she walked towards the car, making a mental note to water the marigolds. The pink dogwood was in magnificent bloom and the air was fresh and sweet.  She drew a sharp breath and as her head hit the pavement, her last thought was that the patio needed sweeping. Rolf must tend to that.

****

It was her usual 4AM wake-up. So familiar now with her grunting and rustling, neither mother nor baby opened their eyes as baby latched on to the breast. Even after 3 months, the mother still marveled at the sounds a nursing baby makes. A special sigh, a particular swallow. Like nothing she had ever heard before. These moments were rare now as the once-fussy babe had recently started to drink formula, a relief for both mother and child.  But neither was ready to give up this special, quiet moment in the wee hours.

****

Four years old is not not that old, but already she could see her oldest girl pulling away. Not a surprise given her own independent spirit but surprising just the same. She found herself looking wistfully at pictures of her little bundle toddling around on chubby legs or standing precariously on a chair to help her make cookies. Nostalgic for when she always wanted to be picked up, extending her arms and willing her mother to do her bidding with enormous blue eyes.  When she needed her. When was the last time she picked her up?  Felt her baby's arms around her neck? Why was she so anxious for that to be over?

****

She couldn't remember the last time she held her parents' hands. Her grandmother had an iron grip and required her granddaughter to hold her hand as they crossed their sleepy street, even when no cars were in sight. She was probably 8 or 9 and rolled her eyes at this quaint precaution. So funny that now she would give almost anything to feel her hand being squeezed like that.  The way she holds tight to her own daughter's hand. But for how long?

****

I've been preoccupied with this idea that all things end. I mean, obviously, yes. But in each of our lives, we did something that was once significant for the last time. The very last time ever.

But those moments come and go, they pass without fanfare. There is no hallelujah chorus, no finale, no curtain call, no debriefing, no official notice. It's just.... over.

My grandmother walked out of her home one day in May of 2010 and took a spill in the driveway. She didn't die, but she was injured badly enough that she needs constant care. We were all so relieved and thankful that she survived that all the rest didn't matter.

And in the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter that she will never again see the home she lived in for 55 years. She will never again see her flowers bloom or pick raspberries or ask her son to rake the leaves. That part of her life (and subsequently our lives) changed in an instant and changed for all time. She looked in the mirror of the mudroom for the last time ever that day. She walked unassisted for the last time ever that day. And there was no warning.

We decided to start giving Liliane formula when she was 3 months old. She wasn't sleeping well, she was irritable and we were exhausted. My sister (bless her) having raised 5 children at that point suggested we try it and our baby was completely changed. Happy, content and sleeping like an angel. A decision that we did not regret. I continued to breastfeed her in the night until one day, we just stopped. I don't know what the date was, it wasn't planned, but one night it was the last time I would breastfeed my daughter. Ever.

Now that Liliane is a big sister, I can see her growing up at a ridiculous speed. Maybe it's the comparison between 4 years old and 4 months old, but it has struck me recently that she doesn't seem to need me. Of course that's not true, she just doesn't need me in the same way.  And just like one day I didn't hold my Dad's hand as we crossed the street or my Mom's hand in the mall, Liliane won't need to hold my hand anymore either.

And it will be the last time I ever hold her hand.

Holy cow, I am re-reading this entry and it all sounds crazy, but I've had this on my mind for a few years now and I think it's important to acknowledge these tiny passages. To acknowledge the Last Time. It's not morbid, it's not sad, it's life.  We need for these big change to pass imperceptibly. Or at least I do anyway.

So how do I deal with this? I work on cherishing every moment, even the crappy ones.  Not in a greeting card way, but I know a few years from now I'll be at my computer, all choked up, reminiscing about how great it was to fight about bathtime or how sore my nipples were from breastfeeding. Or how it's weird that our kids don't call out for us in the night anymore. Which is a good thing!

But today I want to pay tribute to those changes, to those passages that leave their mark on us physically and spiritually. To write it all down so I can read this entry 5 years from now and laugh about how hormones took over my blog for a day :)

So whatever you're doing these days, enjoy it! And remember, the good news is that the Last Time brings wonderful NEW things.

Friday Favourite: How My Vacuum Cleaner Makes Me a Better Person

It's after midnight, I'm sitting in the rocking chair, breastfeeding. AGAIN. The same chair I find myself every 2 hours or so with my newborn. I have nothing else to do let my head loll between reality TV and the living room carpet where I see the same crap on it that's been there for days and days and days. Ok, maybe two days but when you're  that tired it's like forever. Can I get an amen?

So, what's the big deal? Get up and vacuum, problem solved. Yeah, I'll get right on that but wait! I think I'd like to ACTUALLY CLOSE MY EYES for an hour or two first. Sleep wins, as it should if you want to survive those first few months.

Also we had the world's most disagreeable vacuum cleaner (yeah YOU aptly named Dirt Devil) that took to spewing out more dust than it sucked in.  Noisier than a jack hammer, about as easy to manoeuvre as an elephant in a wheelbarrow and just as heavy.  Ugh. 

But a crappy looking carpet, (not to mention dust bunnies lurking in every corner), doesn't help your already fragile morale. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the sight of all my hair on the bathroom floor triggered more than one "waaaaahhh, this is too haaaarrrddd" breakdown in the early days with both babies. Hormones for the win!

So when we got our Dyson DC35, my life (and the frequency of my crying jags) completely changed. Sound crazy? Hear me out.

This completely cordless (runs on rechargeable battery) super lightweight vacuum has changed my life.  Our one and only rug is back to its original colour. Dinnertime crumb disasters (of which there are MANY) are a cinch, even pesky ceiling dust is a thing of the past. And my HAIR (currently at the 3.5 month falling-out-in-huge-clumps-everywhere stage - bye estrogen! It was a great party!) which is everywhere all the time, is now under control.

And I vacuum EVERY DAY. Why?  Because I'm insane it's fun!

This baby is perfect for our 1100 square foot hardwood floor condo. It hardly takes up any space hanging on the wall in the laundry room and what they say is true, it never loses suction.

Also super easy to empty and one filter to rinse out with cold water once a month. And it's light enough that I can do the whole house with one hand, carrying a chubby almost 4 month old on my shoulder with the other.


It comes with a wall mount where it plugs in so the battery is always ready to go. There are nifty little attachments and the long nozzle comes off so you can use it kinda like a dustbuster. The roller bar is amazing and super easy to clean.  Plus the instructions are user friendly (perfect for sleep-starved parents) and shipping is free!

No, Dyson is not paying me to rhapsodize about their product (hey! Let's get a random mommy-blogger with three readers to promote our stuff! That will get us a big fat Christmas bonus this year!), this just me, genuinely so happy with.... a vacuum cleaner.

And that my friends, was another edition of Friday Favourites.  Hmm, maybe next week I can talk about my dishcloths!  Ha ha, just kidding. Kinda.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Under the Wire - A Post About Dinner

Yesterday I shared a photo on Facebook of our pot roast dinner as it was about to go in the oven.  But I didn't include a photo of the world's most adorable sous chef:


Yo Batali, I'm getting bored over here.
In case you didn't see it yesterday, here is Pioneer Woman's perfect pot roast on its way into the oven:




Um, is this dish appropriate for us milktarians?







I forgot to take a picture of the final result but here is my lunch of leftovers.

Yep, totally ate that entire bowl.


So happy she likes the Bumbo. Unlike other babies I've hung out with (not to name names but rhymes with FLILIANE) Alice was happy to sit and watch and occasionally comment on my cooking.

You deglaze like a newborn!


Do I need to motivate you with mah spoon?
So yeah, that's it. This is what happens when you make cornmeal cranberry orange muffins this afternoon instead of blogging.  Sorry, but they were DELICIOUS. 

Also, my brain is a little busy lately what with Christmas coming and hello did you know that it's already November 17?  We're hosting an Arbour family Christmas brunch here on December 3rd which is REALLY REALLY SOON. 

AND we really want to get Liliane the new Leappad tablet and I'm having flashbacks to the great Cabbage Patch Panic of 1984 or whenever it was. I can't find one anywhere! If you have any leads, please help me out on this one okay? I'm a little desperate since we'll be flying out west in a few weeks with TWO CHILDREN and since we can't (legally) knock them out for the entire flight, fancy electronical toys and games are the way to go. Plus some Gravol for the 4 year old who never met a chair she didn't like to wiggle off in 3.2 seconds. FOR HER TUMMY, yeah, that's it. 

Oh and I can't remember the last time I washed the floor. Like I've stopped trying to figure out where the gunky spots are that keep making my feet stick to the hardwood. Welcome to our home!  Complete with movie theatre floors!

ANYWAY, thanks for the new comments, readers!

Mark L: Am totally enjoying The Marriage Plot. Sorry, more poop than politics around here :)

Ally: Yay, your first comment! Now who are you exactly?

Back tomorrow with Friday favourite!
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