Thursday, June 29, 2006

No comparison

To say that we have had a trying day is a gross understatement. If this last tooth doesn't come through soon, I am going to go out of my mind. But, in the grand scheme of things, I still have it awfully good:

Baby found dead in vehicle; Mother apparently forgot to drop off baby at day care
By Lisa Gibson
Herald Staff Writer
A 5-month-old baby died in a minivan Wednesday after the mother apparently forgot to drop the child off at day care.
The tragedy was discovered about 5:30 p.m. outside the Wonder Years 2 day care. The baby's mother stopped at the day care after work to pick up the child and was told by staff that the baby had not been dropped off. She realized then that the baby had been in her minivan all day.
"The mother had forgotten to drop off the child at day care in the morning," said Curt Kreun, owner of Wonder Years 2. "She actually came in the building to pick up the child and then realized what had happened."

This hits so close to home. Full story here.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Thank you, sir, may I have another?

Cindy is taking a long long weekend and as a result, I'm off work today, too. There is something I love about being off work mid-week. And, while I love having family time with Chad home too, there is also something special about being on my own with Liam, the way it used to be. I'd bet that the very fact that there is nobody else to share the child care burden with helps; knowing that I can't shuttle Liam over to Chad in order to take care of stuff, I do a better job of incorporating time with him into my day.

Today, we went to Canadian Tire, where Liam rode around in one of the little cars for the first time, and loved it (clutching the steering wheel the entire way). We walked over to the grocery store to pick up a few items and then made a key lime pie. We went for a bike ride out into the country and past TJ Stables, where Liam got a kick out of the horses in pasture. After lunch we went outside; when Liam got tired of blowing bubbles, we turned on the sprinkler and he had a ball with that (well... except for when it hit him square in the chops, and he didn't realize that he could get away from it). We went for a trot around the neighbourhood in the wagon. And now Liam is in bed, tuckered out, which leaves me free to get ready for a party Chad and I are going to tonight.

I don't go back to work until next Tuesday, and maybe by then I will be sick of the endless games of chase and clamoring for stories and peace-making between Liam and Captain...

...but I doubt it.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Photographic mish-mash

Henry HenryMom and HenryWhoops! How'd that one get in there? :) Sleepy little thumb-sucker. Yeah, Henry again.
No more of Stratford for a while now... I promise.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Redemption, sort of

When Chad was a kid, he had an incident with the duck pond at the Jack Miner Bird Sanctuary. I can't remember the details of the incident well enough to repeat them here, but I believe Chad spent most of a field trip soaking wet, and to this day he doesn't care very much for either ducks or ponds, and certainly not a combination of the two. It was with some trepidation, then, that I took Liam down to see the ducks in Stratford (along with Steph and Kelly and their kiddos in tow) - would history repeat itself? I'm happy to report that it did not. In fact, Liam seems to have fostered some sort of kinship with the ducks. While the rest of us were content to chuck pieces of bread at the ducks en masse and let them squabble amongst themselves to determine the winner, Liam took the individual hand-feeding approach, fearlessly oblivious to the possibility of being pecked to death. I think the ducks appreciated the effort.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Saturday morning

In our house, Saturday mornings are 'mine' and Sunday mornings belong to Chad. On Saturday morning I can do whatever I want - sleep in late or get up and go out somewhere - and Chad is on duty with Liam. On Sunday morning, our roles reverse. Normally on a Saturday I will sleep in a bit before getting up to go for a run and to my yoga class. This is the scene that met me when I got up yesterday morning. One small view into the playroom - I'll leave it to your imagination to figure out what the room looked like as a whole. (Keep in mind that this all happened in the course of about an hour, and that normally we don't keep things like our lunch bags and shoes on the playroom floor). And that's all I have to say.


Sydney is my cousin Kelly's daughter. She and Liam weren't too sure of each other when they first met, but by the end of the day he was running around copying everything she did. Too bad it took him so long to warm up to her. Then again... this was the two of them just a little more than a year ago... so I guess I should just be happy that things are improving:Let's hope that he is a little quicker in warming up to Henry, because he's going to be seeing a lot more of him.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Road trip (not the kind with Tom Green)

Liam and I hit the road today, and killed many birds with one stone - made stops in London, continued on to Stratford, and saw Liam's gramma and grampa, Aunty Steph and cousin Henry, and other cousins (seconds? once removed? can't remember) Kelly and Sydney. Will post more later - I have to get moving, as I have yet to finish my assignment, which is due in 40 minutes. School sucks.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

What do you do with a drunken sailor?

Liam woke up at 4 a.m. this morning, and never went back to bed. Initially, his teeth were bothering him; and after he was awake, he decided there was too much fun to be had at dawn to go to sleep. I tried putting him back in his crib, and he cried; I tried bringing him to my bed with me, and he treated it as a giant trampoline, and kept poking me to wake up. By the time I got into work at 8 a.m. I felt like I had already put in a full day. When I picked Liam up from Cindy's after work, the early morning had taken its toll. Liam had spent the day walking like 'a drunken sailor', as Cindy put it, staggering around bleary-eyed, but still refusing to nap. Eventually it caught up to him and he fell and bonked his face on a watering can. Serves the little stinker right.

Snakes in the house

The subtitle to this post is Man of the house part III. Chad is away on yet another jaunt, leaving Liam and I to hold down the fort. It seems like every time he has left us this month, something has broken (the stroller, the sump pump, etc.); so I am glad that this is the end of the business trips until the fall.

Part of holding down the fort this morning involved clearing the house of snakes. Prior to our trip to Chicago, we went out and bought an assortment of cheap little toys to amuse Liam on the plane. I picked up a couple of new board books. Chad picked up a package of about 20 assorted rubber snakes. Which was a pretty mean thing to do, given the inherent fear of snakes that most women have and me in particular. I admit that I am a lot better about them now than I used to be - largely owing to the repeated exposure I've received thanks to Chad (the only one I know who sets out on vacation with the declaration that not spotting a particular breed of snake while away will mark the whole trip as a failure) - but as far as I'm concerned, they still rank pretty far below puppies and kittens on the cuteness scale.

The problems with these snakes of Liam's are threefold. First, there's too many of them. Second, Liam likes them a lot, so they are always out. And third, they are way too freakin' realistic for my liking. We have coiled up snakes perching on the stairs, and sunbathing snakes stretched out on the sofa, and playful snakes hiding underneath discarded toys and clothes. Everywhere you go in my house, you come face to face with a snake.

I have (somewhat) gotten used to this, but whenever someone comes over, I always run around trying to get all the snakes out of view so that we don't scare the bejeesus out of them. Which is what I had to go back inside and do this morning, after I was already on my way out the door for work, when I realized that today is cleaning day and that Shirley would be coming over. Shirley is a small, older woman, very quiet and just about the nicest person you've ever met. I have this awful image in my head of her picking something up and finding a snake underneath it. And quitting on the spot.

And I have come to love having a cleaning lady way too much to let that happen.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Mama said there'd be days like this

I have not seen the inside of the gym for far too long, and have hit snooze for the past three mornings instead of getting out of bed to go running. Add that to copious amounts of peanut butter cups and a stressful week at work, and I was ready to do something about it. Tonight, I had the brilliant idea to feed Liam, eat lightly myself, and then take him out running in the stroller. It's not too hot, I got home at a decent time, etc. All went well until we were just about as far from home as I usually get, and that's when I noticed that the stroller was getting awfully hard to push and was lopsided and going clunk-clunk-clunk. I pulled over into a parking lot and sure enough, one of the tires was flat. Luckily I had the pump in the basket, and Liam laughed his head off when he saw me exerting more energy with the pump than I had done in running the past few kms to where we were. With the tire reinflated we were set to go - and we got about another block before I heard the clunk-clunk-clunk again. Yup... the tire is toast. We walked the rest of the way home, me trying to take some of the weight off the flat tire so as not to ruin the rim. It could have been worse; it started raining when we were about five houses from home, and it's currently pouring. We have a veritable mountain of product warranties and owner's manuals related to all things baby, and that includes the stroller. Thank goodness we saved them! Unfortch, the stroller is no longer under warranty, and from what I can gather it's going to cost $12 for a new tire and $15 for the shipping - how backwards is that? - that is, if they still make them. I will call tomorrow to find out. We'll be without a stroller this weekend... and you don't realize just how much you rely on it until it's gone... anyway, methinks it may be time to break out the baby backpack. Hope Liam's ready to take a hike.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Backyard splash bash

On the weekend we filled up the pool for the first time. I think I was the first one to say we should get a little wader pool for Liam, and I had visions of green Turtle pools in my head. Leave it to Chad (a.k.a. Mr. Go Big Or Go Home) to take an idea and run with it. He went to the store and came home with a square inflatable pool that is at least 8x8 ft. His reasoning, of course, being that it would be big enough for himself. Well, when the mercury hit 38 with the Humidex on Saturday, I no longer thought it was such a dumb idea. It really is amazing how just a few inches of water can cool you off. Liam loved it, of course - not so much being in the pool as getting out. And in. And out. And back in. And out... He also loved the fact that Chad picked up another ball for him to play with in the pool. Because while Chad and his buddies may always be up for some Killer Pool Basketball... it's really not so much a game for toddlers.

Liam does Godzilla

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Now and then: Father's Day edition

Father's Day 2006:Father's Day 2005:Liam decided to celebrate Father's Day by cutting two more teeth, these ones being the canines (?) - at any rate, they're not molars. In spite of not feeling 100%, he still helped me make Chad some waffles for breakfast, and presented him with the 8-man tent - which actually says 10-man on the box. Why we need this thing is still beyond me. We spent the afternoon at Rondeau with Gramma and Grandpa, and whiled away the evening by purging the toybox of all its newborn contents. Unfortunately, once he laid eyes on the stuff, Liam decided he really enjoys playing with it after all - so much for clearing it out and making way for the new.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Me do it!

Liam is not speaking this phrase out loud, but I'm sure it's what he's thinking. For fourteen months I have been able to dictate when and what he eats, wears, and does (well, to some extent)... and it's all coming to an end. He's decided that he is sick of being my 'property' and is turning the tables and starting to impose his own views on me. Case in point: he no longer wants to be spoon-fed. He still wants to eat foods that arrive on a spoon, but he wants to do it himself. Part of me wants to cheer that he has made the connection that he can perform this task himself, but that part of me is nowhere to be found when it is 7 a.m. and I have to be out the door to work in 15 minutes... because mornings when he feeds himself, he usually winds up needing a clothes change and a sponge-bath on the head before being presentable at day care. Lately I have been easing him off the infant cereal and onto the waffles and toast. Pick your battles, right?

PS -- within 48 hours of posting the photo of Liam and the snow globe, he had broken it. Live and learn. Off to eBay to find another.

Friday, June 16, 2006

From the fair

Thursday, June 15, 2006


I’ve had several questions about digital scrapbooking lately so I thought I would answer them all in one place. I am far from an authority on the subject – you can buy magazines etc. devoted to digi-scrapping if you are super keen… they offer lots of tutorials etc. to get you started. But honestly – they’re not really necessary. You can get started without them. Any graphics program will work; I use PSE (Photoshop Elements – a dumbed-down, cheaper version of Photoshop that came on our computer.) There are hundreds of websites selling digital scrapbooking kits, and most have a couple of freebies you can download to sample the designer’s work. Kits run around $5 US apiece, which is comparable to what you’d spend on supplies for a traditional page. Kits vary in size, but typically include an assortment of papers (backgrounds), an alphabet set, and assorted embellishments, like digital versions of stickers and ribbons and such. When I do a page, I just start a blank 12x12” file, then open the files from the kit that I want to use and drag and drop them onto my canvas. The same goes for photos and text. Each piece is a new layer, and you can arrange the layers in any order you wish, or delete a layer at any time.

Some of the benefits of digi-scrapping (to me) are:

  • I don’t have to wait to get photos printed before I can do a page
  • I can adjust the size of the photos as I go
  • I can alter the size of any of the elements in the kit
  • I never run out of a letter like I do with stickers – I can copy an element and use it over and over again
  • I never glue anything down, so it is so much easier to manipulate things and rearrange them until I’m happy
  • I like that I can have my gridlines turned on so that measuring things is easy (the anal engineer in me coming out!)
  • I can change the colour of the elements to better match my photos (though I admit that I rarely do – because half the fun is in finding a kit that already suits my photos)
  • I don’t make a huge mess and have supplies spread all over the dining room table

All in all, it is much faster for me to do a digital page than a traditional page. But, I’m bi-scrapsual, and doubt that will ever change; I will never abandon the paper world, because I still love the artsy-craftsy look of traditional pages (versus the ‘magazine’ quality of a digital page) and process of putting them together. And there are lots of cool traditional supplies that digital can’t match.

I have been having my digital pages printed by a place in Utah, and they are mostly turning out ok and are cheap to print there (and only $2 to ship)… but some other printers have hit the market, so I am now shopping around to see who I like best. Printing a 12x12 at a photo lab is way expensive, so I think these businesses devoted to printing digital scrapbook pages are the way to go. I am also considering designing my pages as 12x12 but then shrinking them down to 8x8, pasting them onto an 8x10 canvas and having them printed at the Superstore photo lab for just a few dollars each… then I would just need to trim off a couple inches of white space before storing them in 8x8 albums. I may also switch over to 8.5x11, which is the other ‘traditional’ scrapbook size, when I buy my next album… also much cheaper to have printed. Lots of options.

One of my favourite digi-scrapping designers is Shabby Princess… … she has some cool free downloads to get you started. Check her out.

(Liam has started collecting snow globes from all the places he visits... here he is with piece #1... a snow globe from Chicago.)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

14 months

Man of the house, part II

Chad has been gone on business again for a few days... what business? - he's been playing golf again. Man, I would suck at his job. I hate golf. Anyhoo, this has left Liam and I to our own devices for a few days... overseeing the completion of our front porch (now finished and looking great; our next door neighbours came over today to look into hiring the same crew to do the same thing to their porch, and it's nice to know that other people think it looks good, too!)... fending for ourselves for dinner; now that there are two of us even when Chad is gone, I have to get into the habit of still considering it worthwhile to cook something - last night Liam was treated to the meal I swore I'd never make, chicken nuggets and french fries, though they were PC Blue Label (trans fat free) nuggets and homemade fries, not the McDonald's kind - he still inhaled it all... getting ready for Father's Day; I won't go into details here and spoil it for Chad... making some plans for our weekend - we may or may not put off Storybook Gardens until next week, but we are definitely going to the fair this weekend, and I cannot wait to squish into one of those twirling teacups with Liam on my lap... and finally, garbage picking - neighbours put out some multi-paned windows tonight, the kind I have been looking for for a project for a while; I saw them as we drove home from work, and right after dinner I plunked Liam in his wagon and took him for a walk down the street to get them; we stopped one door short to talk to some friends, and a man pulled up in a pickup truck and proceeded to load up all the windows right in front of my eyes - except for the two that I wanted. Lucky break! I had thought about waiting til after dark to go pick through my neighbours' garbage but am glad we got it over with early now - they probably would not have lasted that long. The windows came home in the wagon and Liam walked all the way back down the street, nearly a full block. Well, he ran; he seems to be past walking now. He gets very angry when you try to take his hand or slow him down. My days of being the Uncool Mom have begun.

Monday, June 12, 2006


Sunday, June 11, 2006

If only they'd both look good in the same picture

Although it is rarely used, Liam has his own email account. When we switched our internet provider over from Netrover to Cogeco, we got 5 email addresses as part of the deal; so, since he was already around, we reserved an account for Liam on the chance that we might still be with Cogeco a few years from now when he is able to actually use it. I didn't have an email account of my own until I was in university, but I am assuming kids these days have them by the time they hit kindergarten. Anyway, I was caught off guard a while back to receive an email at work from Liam Cook. I opened the email, and it said something like this: "Dear Mom, I saw something that I thought Dad would like for Father's Day. Here is the link to where you can buy it online. I would buy it myself, but I don't have a credit card. Thanks for taking care of this for me." I take it this means that Chad has taken my threats of considering the hitch to be his Father's Day present seriously. Which is good. Because it is. Only now, he wants something more; and it's not just a little something, it's an 8-man tent. Why we need an 8-man tent is beyond me; Chad will be the very first to tell you that there is no way, now how that we want five more kids. Father's Day is just a week away... we'll see what happens...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Injury of the day

I'm thinking that this might become a regular feature here at Too Many Cooks, because I seem to have more than enough material to make it happen. Shortly after I dropped him off at Cindy's this morning, Liam tried to make it across her playroom with a dinky car in each hand. According to Cindy, who makes meticulous notes of the happenings of Liam's days, one dinky was a fire truck with an extended ladder, and in the other hand he had a sports car dinky with a protruding spoiler. You can probably guess what happened next; he fell, and with both hands full, the dinky cars stopped his fall. I believe the forehead scab is from the fire ladder.

This wouldn't be so bad on its own, but right before I picked Liam up last night, he fell and skinned his knee. I had to wash my shirt when I got home last night, as it was a good work shirt and was smeared with blood (thank goodness for that new sump pump!) And, of course, this all comes on the heels of that stripe of bruise on his face finally fading. I just can't keep him injury-free. On the upside, Cindy said Liam stopped crying as soon as he had both dinky cars back in hand. And to make myself feel better, I did a bit of therapeutic shopping last night; Dumbo is out on DVD, and now on its way to our house.

(Also on the upside - Liam has a new word - Up! - said when he wants out of his highchair, or when he is picking himself up and dusting himself off after taking a digger. 2/3 of the way there...)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Man of the house

Chad is on a business trip this week. Again, don't fret that he is spending long hours working his fingers to the bone; rather, he is on the Black Fly Tour, spending a day this week golfing in each of the Soo, Timmins, Sudbury and North Bay (Thunder Bay? - whatever). I am on my own with Liam, trying to muddle through. Normally this would not be much of a problem - exhausting, yes, but a problem, no - except that the stars are all aligning this week to make it a busy one. It would be enough to be doing the daycare dropoff and pickup on my own each day, which puts me in the office for less than the required number of hours and therefore I should be taking my computer home at night to get some stuff done. I also had a dentist appointment to contend with yesterday. Today, as I write (still at home, yes, at 9 a.m.), there is a plumber in my basement replacing the sump pump that quit on the weekend. This is quite a big deal when you realize that our wash empties into the sump (the joys of old-house plumbing) and I've been unable to do any laundry since Saturday. Liam is beginning to run out of stuff to wear. Not only is the plumber downstairs, sawing pipes, but there is also a crew jackhammering the remains of the tile off our front porch in an effort to get it fixed up once and for all. Rather than surfing the web right now, I am supposed to be working on an assignment I have due at the end of the week for the course I'm taking; really wishing right now that I had picked up a couple of extra courses seven years ago so that I wouldn't be stuck with this ridiculousness now. Live and learn.

Monday, June 05, 2006


Yesterday we were in Blenheim/Erieau for the 'Trot to the Beach'. It was a surprisingly big race for our small community; thank goodness that the online registration, which only showed about 12 runners and 3 cyclists the night before the race, was obviously not up-to-date. Chad ran the 1/2 marathon and I biked the same course with Liam in tow. This proved not to be very smart, as Liam started whining before 4 km and was outright crying by about 15. I finished the last 6 km of the race by stopping at every water station to ply him with goldfish crackers and apple juice. The ambulance even stopped by to check on us and make sure all was well. He put on quite a show, but all was quickly forgotten at the finish line, where he got a medal for finishing and it was all-you-can-eat hot dogs. His first taste of hot dog, and it seemed to go over well. He enjoyed practising his walking on the sand dunes while waiting for Chad to finish, and then a trip down to the waterfront... too bad it was far too cold to go for a post-race swim. Today I am quite sore. I am not in the shape I used to be, and when you add a 30-pound load to the back of my bike (between Liam and the seat)... yowza.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Saturday, June 03, 2006

A very happy Friday

I am pretty sure I have already mentioned that Chad and I are both taking advantage of our company's new flextime policy that went into effect this summer. We work an hour longer each day in order to have every other Friday off. This is probably not rocket science for a lot of you, but utilities tend to be pretty old-school and conservative, so this is a major leap forward for us. I cannot tell you how much I am enjoying having every other weekend as a long weekend. Yesterday, we all slept in (even Liam!), then tested out the waffle maker I got for my birthday with a batch of banana waffles (which Liam positively inhaled). We went for a walk downtown to run some errands, and spent most of the rest of the day out in the backyard, blowing bubbles and playing with Liam's wagon, sidewalk chalk and (you guessed it) rubber balls. Between the Happy Fridays and the stat holidays (nevermind the vacation days that we are also planning to take over the next couple of months), it feels like we are hardly ever in the office. It is going to be tough going back to a regular workweek in October.

Friday, June 02, 2006

There's always something

In the past day or two, Liam's teeth have been bothering him less, which is a welcome relief but also a cruel trick, because they are still down there in his gums somewhere and they have to come out sometime; I just wish it had already happened. While he was so miserable on account of his teeth, he had taken to wanting to be carried everywhere; but now he is back in full walking mode, and don't you dare interfere with him or try to help him, or you will endure his wrath. Alas, he is still not as a good a walker as he thinks he is, as evidenced this morning in a round of Head vs. Doorframe. The picture doesn't really do it justice; it is a four-inch-long, red and purple monstrosity that got us some good looks when we took him out for a walk this morning. The only good thing about it is that it is too straight and symmetrical a mark to have arisen from a human being - it isn't our fault, I swear.