Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A few good things about going back to work (aka looking for the silver lining)

1. Not having to clean
<----- this up ten times each day.
2. A paycheque. 'Nuff said.
3. Liam spent two hours at Cindy's house this morning, and when I went to pick him up, he was clearly having a blast. (Enough to almost make me wish he had missed me maybe just a lil' bit more.)
And, yet another reason to not look forward to going back to work: I just found out that I get my entire bonus from last year, even though I only worked three months of it. Why work when you can sit at home and get a nice little windfall like that!!

Monday, February 27, 2006

More scrapbooking geekiness

Late last week, Megan told me that she's recently been on a scrapbooking roll, and within hours of hearing her say that, I was able to finish off a page that has been stumping me for the last couple of months. Maybe this means that I would fare better if scrapbooking were a competitive event. To be fair though, this page was the first paper page I've done in quite a while, and I think that made the difference: deep down, I am a paste-eater at heart. I was on such a high from this accomplishment (and Liam was helping me out by taking a super-long nap) that I went back to the book I made for Liam's first six months, which had previously been dotted with yellow Post-Its detailing ideas to go back and finish (i.e. something to fill in the corner on this page, and some white Sarah Script stickers to finish the title on another), and I was able to finish off the majority of those loose ends. Even without shopping for a bunch of new supplies. This is a major accomplishment for me as my life's motto seems to be Finish Something 95% Of The Way And Then Go On To Something Else.I am now coming to the end of the scrapbook for Liam's second six months, something that has me a wee bit relieved (I don't need the pressure of this on top of everything else) but also saddened, as a lot of the 'firsts' have already been covered, and I won't have nearly as many photos of him to scrapbook once he's in daycare full time. I do plan to continue with a scrapbook for him, but it will likely be scaled back quite a bit compared to his first year. I know too many people who went all-out with baby #1 and whose last kids just have a shoebox with a few snapshots to document their babyhoods; I hope to avoid this and actually do the same for any future siblings of Liam's as I did for him. (Though I'm sure that everyone else thought that they would, too.) In the future I see myself making more use of photo albums; though at the rate we're going through photo albums now, we will soon need a library just to house them all, so I may need to ease up on that at some point in the future, too.
This morning I got up at six a.m. and did a trial run of a soon-to-be normal morning with Liam. I went for a run, came home, showered, got him up, nursed him, got him changed and ready for the day and we both had breakfast, finished my hair (kind of - it's a lil' bit messy) and makeup and clocked us in at about 7:55. Tomorrow I think I'll try getting up 15 minutes earlier. I'd like to have him on Cindy's doorstep at 8 a.m. sharp and the extra time will probably just get us there. He goes to Cindy's tomorrow for a two-hour stretch, so it will be a good chance to practise. I have also spent this morning composing a list of things I now have to do before going to bed in order to ensure a smooth morning: setting out clothes for both of us, making sure there is enough OJ made up in the fridge, packing a snack for myself, ensuring his diaper bag is stocked with diapers and a change of clothes and a clean sippy cup - that sort of thing. I'm now thinking that if I have all these things to do each night, in addition to getting myself to bed at an ever-earlier time (my most recent calculation is 9:30 p.m. if I'm actually going to be able to get up in the morning), then cutting back on the scrapbooking will automatically be done for me, because I won't have a shred of free time left.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Redheads of the world unite and take over

On Friday we had a playdate with Ryan, another friend from playgroup. He's the little redhead who was in the newspaper along with Liam. I missed the conversation at playgroup last week, but Deanna (Ryan's mom) was telling me that one of the other moms whose kid's photo was also taken, but who did not appear in the paper, told Deanna that the only reason Ryan and Liam made it into the paper and her son didn't is because how could you not publish a picture of two redheads together, and basically the other kids didn't even have a chance with a photo op like that to compete against. I admit that ever since marrying Chad, I always hoped to have a redheaded child someday... but world domination is a side effect/perk that I honestly hadn't anticipated.

Friday, February 24, 2006

The first day of the rest of our lives

Yesterday was Liam's first day at daycare. Well, make that first hour at daycare. We are easing him into this gradually. I took Liam over to Cindy's house mid-morning so he could spend a bit of time meeting her and getting accustomed to her house and the other kids. Here they are, doing just that.

It was, as you'd expect, harder for me than it was for him. He had no problem with it at all. The plan was that I would go in and spend ten minutes with him, then say goodbye and leave. While I was there Cindy was making small talk - introducing me to the other kids, telling me how long they'd been with her, etc. This was all fine and well, until I burst into tears in the middle of it. I did expect to cry - just thought it would happen as I was walking out the door or, hopefully, not until afterwards, rather than at a completely random moment such as this.

Cindy has been in the business for 15 years and has seen it many times before, so I didn't feel too stupid, although I tried to get it together for Liam's sake because I thought if he saw me upset, that wouldn't bode well for him. I was OK by the time I left the house. Well, I was OK by the time I pulled out of the driveway, having taken the time to sit in my car and have a lil' cry in private in the meantime.When I went back to Cindy's after the hour was up, things were fine, as I knew they would be. They were actually all out for a walk when I got there; I found them around the corner, Liam in a stroller and intently watching the other kids, who had picked up sticks on the walk and were using them as magic wands or something. The only thing that appeared to be upsetting him was that these kids were walking and he was stuck in a stroller. A little incentive can't hurt, right??

As for me, I've decided that the only way I am ever going to be a fit and healthy person again is if I go back to working out in the mornings, as the evening routine with dinner and bath and bedtime is too much of a pull for me to leave the house. Since this was the first day of the rest of our lives, I set the alarm for 6 a.m. and got up and went for a run before Liam woke up, which I hope to continue doing in the future. I am pretty good at getting up early; what I stink at is going to bed early, in order to help the getting up early happen. I want to make this a total lifestyle change - wish me luck, because it's going to take a lot (including possibly giving up Project Runway) in order to make it happen.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Over the river and through the woods

A few photos from yesterday's trip to Grandmother's house (and Grandfather's, of course.) We're having a busy week...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The beginning of the end

We've just come home from playgroup, one of what will likely be our last few visits to it. Up until a couple of weeks ago, this thought really saddened me. We have had a blast at playgroup, met lots of friends - all in all, it's been a great experience. In just one more example of how second and subsequent children get screwed, you can't take child number one to Baby Play'n'Learn once they're past twelve months; so unless you spring for a regular babysitter who will keep them home while you go with child number two, which I can't see us doing, your time is up. You can't go home again.

Lately though, I haven't been as keen on playgroup, and though I thought I could chalk it up to the fact that several of the original group that was there when we joined have gone back to work, there's more to it than that. Today, for the first time since we have been there, they had to hang out the flag at playgroup. This means that the building was full and they were turning people away. Considering that the first week we went there was only me and two other moms... this was surprising to see. Today, we hit the limit, which is 45.

So how did the numbers grow so much, especially when a lot of people are transitioning back to work right now? Here's my unfriendly, non-PC but true answer for you. There are an awful lot of young moms who have started coming for the last few weeks. When I say young moms, I don't mean moms in their twenties; I mean moms in their teens. There is also an influx of CIS caseworkers who are there supervising said moms. In other words, there are moms dragging their kids (not to mention themselves) to playgroup who really don't want to be there. To make matters worse, these young moms are bringing their friends along. One girl had her baby with her, plus three girlfriends to keep her company and shoot dagger eyes at the caseworker. So to allow (force) one kid to attend playgroup, it required a party of six (caseworker included) and ate up the spots that could have been allocated to three other moms and babies.

Add this to the fact that the program is starting to repeat for us, and I don't know how much longer we'll keep attending. I still want to attend the upcoming massage class, but aside from that, we may soon bow out. It's not the same fun place it used to be. Maybe it's a good thing that I'm starting to think this way; that I'm maybe wanting to leave now, rather than being forced out the door kicking and screaming. We'll see what next week brings.

(Liam's new favourite activity is to stand at the top of the stairs, hanging onto the railing, and keep an eye on Captain, who is usually sitting about five steps down (the slight white blur that is barely visible here).

Also, he's getting lots of wear out of the new sweater, no? :)

Monday, February 20, 2006

Why my next camera needs to have an infrared feature, plus some bathtime photos

Last night was a difficult one in terms of Liam falling asleep. This sometimes taking one nap, sometimes taking two can take its toll on his moods and our usual routine. It took some tossing and turning for him to fall asleep, and when I went in to check on him before retiring myself, I found him lodged crosswise across the crib with no blankets on. I pulled the blanket and the quilt up so that he was covered and that's when I heard it -- MMrrroooooooow. There was Captain, cuddled up next to Liam under the blankets - or at least he was, until I stole the covers away from him, and he went off to find someplace else to spend the night.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Elliot turns two

On Saturday we attended a birthday party for Liam's little swimming buddy, Elliot, shown here with her Dora cake (I'm glad I get to pick the cake theme for Liam this year, because I know by next year, he will have his own opinion about things, too!) These are all photos from the party - some of Liam's other little buddies.In other news, Liam is in the midst (I think) of dropping one of his naps, which he did yesterday, but he behaved pretty well at the party anyway (much to my surprise). He may or may not go to bed when I expect him to now, which means my beloved schedule, by which I have been able to set my watch for the last few months, is out the window.Chad spent Saturday morning & early afternoon installing baby gates. The first gate did not go back to the store, but found a home at the top of the basement stairs. There's a door down to the basement that we could keep closed, but then how would Captain get to the litter box in the furnace room?... well, we thought the gate would solve the problem, but so far Captain is refusing to jump it. He will jump it to go downstairs, but then refuses to come back up. This from the cat who never had a problem getting on top of our upper kitchen cabinets (before we remodelled the kitchen and ran them all the way to the ceiling... I still feel bad for doing it). We found him sitting on the basement side of the gate when we came home from our party, wailing pitifully for a rescue.We wound up installing a strip of MDF to the top spindle of the staircase in order to attach the gate to it. Not the prettiest fix, but one that works, and I'll paint it to match the spindles this week which will help things at least a little. (Baby gates are pretty ugly anyway - and big - you are never really going to be able to hide the fact that they're there...) (Mandy, I did take a look at One Step Ahead, but the idea of shipping a large item like a gate internationally makes me cringe!! Paying more for the shipping than the cost of the item itself always makes me feel like a sucker... this is one of those situations where living an hour south of where I do would come in awfully handy...)

Friday, February 17, 2006

Watergate, Lewinskygate, Nipplegate and now - Baby Gate

Ever since Liam started crawling and made his first hair-raising attempt at plunging headfirst down the stairs, we've been in Baby Gate Mode. We need a hardware-mounted fixture for the top of the stairs; easier said than done. I made a run to the store early in the week and brought home the first gate I saw, more or less, figuring they'd all be the same. Wrong. We live in an old house, which means we have several issues to deal with.

First, we have plaster walls, and the gates can't be mounted in plaster unless there's a stud behind it. Second, we have a spindle at the top of the stairs that has a square base, but is turned the rest of the way up; i.e. there's no flat surface on which to mount the latch. Third, we have high baseboards, and gates can't be mounted on baseboards. The first gate came out of the box so that we could read the instruction manual, but quickly went back in.

Today I brought home another gate, one that will mount above the baseboard. But, we've still got to be lucky to find a stud in the wall directly opposite the top spindle (if we don't, this gate will also need to be returned, and we'll need to spend three times as much to buy one that mounts at an angle from a specialty store); and Chad is off to Home Depot tomorrow to try to rig something up on the spindle that will allow the latch to mount to it. In the meantime, our poor little monkey has been penned into his room when we're upstairs, using a hand-me-down pressure gate we have from friends. I feel like we're treating him like an animal, but if I have to choose between this and an injured baby, well... life on the farm ain't that bad after all. And honestly, Liam hasn't even really noticed it.

Captain, on the other hand, is plenty miffed. Today I put the gate up and left Liam in his room while I was in the bathroom getting ready for the day. Captain was in Liam's room when I put the gate up, and when he was ready to leave, he sat on the dresser staring at it disdainfully for an awfully long time before using it as a springboard to get out the door. Seems that the extra effort that's now required for him to get around is a major inconvenience. Then again... what part of Liam's being here hasn't been??

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Ten months (and a lil' bit)

Another flip of the calendar page, and suddenly you’re ten months old. Maybe I am finally coming to terms with how fast you are growing up – for the first time this month, I can say you actually seem your age. You look and act a lot like a kid these days. Not a baby, a kid. Someone with ideas and opinions and the physical ability to do a lot of what he puts his mind to. Sure, this involves shredding my magazines a little more often than I’d like, but it’s pretty cool to see that you can accomplish what you set out to do, even if it’s just destroying stuff.

This month, we found you a daycare provider. You’ll start going to Cindy’s in just a couple of weeks – for a few hours at a time at first, to settle you in, and then full days before the month is out. I’m thankful that she had an opening. She seems to run a great program, has a nice setup in her home, provides good food – and you genuinely seem to like her. I am still having a hard time coming to grips with you having a home away from home – but it’s inevitable, and I think Cindy’s is the best possible place for you to be.

In the first draft of this letter, I wrote that I don’t think you’re going to crawl - at least, not the way other kids do, as a primary mode of transportation. And then, just this morning, you did it – you took off. It was only five or six ‘steps,’ but it’s the first time you’ve gone anywhere that way before (at least that I’ve seen). And then this afternoon, you quickly doubled that distance; it seems that now the sky’s the limit. I suppose it’s time to batten down the hatches: our carefree days are over!…

At least until this crawling started, pulling up was your latest trick; and like all your past tricks, it’s something you are in the midst of repeating about a million times a day. I know that you will soon be on to your next trick though, and you’ll toss this feat aside as if you’ve forgotten how to do it. That may be a good thing – you love to pull up in your crib when I put you down to sleep, and use this ruse to avoid your naps, which makes for a very cranky baby by day’s end!

You decided this month that you are done with nursing during the day. There’s just too much to see and do for you to consent to being confined like that. This has been OK by me, as it expands my wardrobe possibilities quite a bit! You still do nurse in the morning and at night, so I still get my cuddle fix with you… It seems like your food repertoire has stalled, since your chewing capabilities are still limited. I should get a food grinder and see how much you’ll take from it. After eating it happily the first few times, you are off of fish for now; but you have never met a strawberry you didn’t love…

Another recent change for us: your days of Naked Playtime are over, after one accident too many. We made it through many, many months without incident, and now, well… let’s just say you’re not so predictable. Naked Playtime has been replaced with Diaper Playtime, which has made its loss a bit easier to bear…

We had some big events this month – you were baptized, you had your first haircut, and you had your picture published in the paper (again!) You are also quite sick at the moment, having finally caught the bug that Chad and I started battling weeks ago. You get mad now when I take stuff that you shouldn’t be playing with away from you. You can sort through the food on your tray and pick out the bits of cheese and stuff every last one into your mouth within seconds of them being put there. You give me bear hugs and nuzzle into my neck in a way that I would pay money for. You seem to be getting a bit more sociable, but you have this adorable way of looking first at either Chad or I for approval before you will engage with someone; and an even more adorable way of trying really hard not to smile out in public, even when you find something funny, and it results in a big smirk that sometimes does overcome you and crack wide open into a grin.

How much do you weigh this month? A lot. How tall are you? Tall enough. I don’t think I’m going to keep getting you weighed and measured; I know you’re growing healthy and strong, and I don’t need the numbers anymore to tell me that. At ten months old, you are really coming into your own. Today marks your friend Autum’s first birthday. Your own will be here all too soon.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

This one time? At playgroup?

Last week at playgroup, we were told that this week we'd be doing something with Jello as a sensory activity. By the time this week rolled around, however, the activity had changed to making shakers for the babies. These shakers were made out of plastic water bottles - we filled them with water, light corn syrup, shampoo (don't ask me why this mix of ingredients) and then tossed in assorted beads and buttons and bits of glitter to make it even more fun. Here Liam is playing with his finished craft. Although I was disappointed that Jello was not on the agenda - you'll recall that the last sensory activity (whipped cream) didn't go over so well, and I was anxious for a re-do - I was awfully proud of myself at the same time. Several weeks ago at home, I filled an empty water bottle with water and food colouring and detergent, and gave it to Liam. It's a pretty colour and makes a nice swooshy sound when he shakes it (which, admittedly, isn't all that often). Although he'd still rather play with a water bottle I'm drinking from rather than the crafty one I concocted, I am proud of myself for having come up with this before the Early Years Centre taught me how to do it. My original shaker bottle is so good, in fact, that the last time Evelyn (who is five) was here, she saw it and then went home and asked enough questions about food colouring and water bottles to lead Megan to believe that she might have wanted to make one of her own.I know I've said a million times that before Liam, people (not all, but some) gave us no credit for being able to figure out what to do with him. I'm glad to have my shaker story now; the next time someone assumes that I've got no clue how to be a parent, I can bring it out as proof that I really do know how to do this mommy thing. A few more photos from playgroup... Liam proving that not only can he crawl, he can do it with object in hand... I still don't understand why, when we go to playgroup and there are a million toys available for him to play with, he goes after the same Roll-Arounds that we have at home...I think Liam is ready for school - he already knows to raise his hand before speaking. Now if only we could find a kindergarten teacher who's willing to change diapers. :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Off to the races

Normally on the 13th of the month, I would be posting my monthly update on/letter to my little mister. I started working on today's edition last night, which included a paragraph about how he's not crawling yet and how I think he's going to bypass the crawling phase altogether, because he's clearly capable of crawling and just chooses not to.

I guess Liam wasn't thrilled with this, and decided to take matters into his own hands. As of today, ladies and gentlemen, he's a crawler, and life will never be the same. This morning he took five or six successive 'steps' (if that's what they're called) without flopping onto his belly (which is normally what puts an end to his crawling attempts). I'd never seen him go so far before collapsing. By this afternoon he's acting like crawling is something he's done his whole life. Chad, if you're reading this, after lunch he crawled the whole way from his diaper basket over to his bookshelf. In other words, from one side of his room to the other. As soon as he got to the bookshelf, he proceeded to try to destroy all the books that have so far been out of his reach. I think we will spend tonight installing plug covers and cupboard latches, and hiding anything and everything of value; the time has come.

And now... on to reworking that monthly update.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Hooded Fang

Admittedly, I have never read the book, so I don't really know who the Hooded Fang is; but it seems to be an appropriate nickname these days...

Busy weekend, as usual - but not too busy for the boys to spend some time being boys...

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The proof is in the shoppin'

All photos courtesy of Megan: 1st stop at the scrapbook store. The only place I deign to shop that has a wallpaper border!Megan lent us an old stroller of hers - a lightweight little Peg Perego that's more manoeuvreable around a mall than our running stroller. Despite having a beautiful stroller that I love and that looks comfy as can be, Liam has decided that the old loaner is just the tops. Man, he loved it.Lunch. Man, do I look like a big ol' goofball when I get my picture taken. It's no wonder I'd rather be the one doing the taking.Liam enjoying lunch. And I'm sure the restaurant enjoyed vacuuming up a million Cheerios and bits of bread after we left.You know it's been a successful shopping trip when your baby passes out at Old Navy.

Finally - a Fun Day

Yesterday Liam and I finally got out for one of our much-fanfared Fun Days. I'm still bummed that I spent the first half of February hacking up a lung, but I'm determined to make the most of what time I have left since I am slowly on the mend. Liam, Megan and I went down to Windsor for the day and met Jennifer there so we could do some shoppin'. I'm hoping Megan, who documented our day, emails me some photos (I brought my camera but left it in the car) - when she does, I will share. Hint, hint, Megan. I have not gone shopping like this for ages and ages and ages - maybe it's the thought of being back on payroll that let me cut loose a little? I came home with a few back-to-work items for myself, and of course a few things for Liam... a cool orange hoodie and a ball cap... some jeans in the next size up... and then we went a bit crazy at Gymboree thanks to a great Baby Sale... Aunty Jenn treated Liam to this (with matching socks, no less):
As for me, I got him a little sumpthin-sumpthin that I'm trying to decide between dressing him in every day because I think it's so stinking cute and he'll outgrow it way too fast, and saving for a special occasion. Still haven't decided which way to go with it.

I needed all this retail therapy (and a yummy lunch out with the girls) after putting the final nail in the coffin last week and scheduling Liam's first few trial runs at daycare, and then calling my boss to announce my imminent return. There's no turning back now. March 6th will be here all too soon.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Another mess to clean up

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Addicted to Lost

Link here. You might have to sit through a commercial first, but it's well worth it. New episode tonight!

Almost famous

Yesterday, I came up for air. Liam and I had not been out of the house for five days. So even though I am not better, my illness having simply moved from my head down into my chest, where it is rattling around my ribs and making me feel like I'm going to explode every time I cough, I decided to take Liam out to playgroup. No, I don't think this is irresponsible of me, as I made sure not to handle any of the other kids, and did a good job of suppressing my coughing while I was there, and also made sure not to put any of the communal toys in my mouth.

Anyway, it was a good day to decide to go to playgroup; in addition to getting some fresh air and remembering once again that there is life beyond these four walls, Liam received his first Valentine from one of his little playmates, Elizabeth; we spent most of our time with Ryan and Deanna now that Autum and Jeannine are gone, got to know them a bit better, and may arrange a playdate with them in the future; and, best of all, Liam had his picture taken for the paper. We had a guest speaker from the library this week, and a local reporter came to cover the event (you know nothing newsworthy is happening when this becomes, well, newsworthy). The reporter took several photos of the librarian, several of Elizabeth playing with another little boy who just joined our group, and several of Liam playing with Ryan. I got the paper today - there's the photo of Liam and Ryan, and no mention made of the librarian, which I thought was the point of the reporter's trip. Ah well. Unfortunately, Ryan is looking at the camera and Liam is chewing a block. Typical.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Cage match

Captain defaults; Liam wins.