Friday, September 29, 2006

A heartbreaking work of staggering genius

by Liam Harrison Cook (2005 - )
Painted 2006
Medium: fingerpaints on paper, painted with leaves

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The beginnings of a big boy room

It's hard to believe that we're thinking of deserting the crib already, but for the past couple of months we have begun talking about moving Liam into a big boy bedroom in the new year. I have only a few ideas in mind, most of which hinge on taking a look at what's out there; it really depends on what I can find. But one thing I have known since the start is that I want to get Liam bunk beds. I always thought they were the coolest when I was a kid, and since the whole experience of having Liam is just a chance to relive the kind of childhood I always wanted... ha ha... bunk beds he is getting. I wanted something in an antique pine stain to match the armoire that is also in his room; and I love the look of a twin over double bed, though wasn't sure that was how things would wind up. We have spent a couple of months searching online, checking out department stores and furniture stores and Pottery Barn Kids... thought we had found something at The Bay that was OK; not head-over-heels beautiful, but fine for the job; and then today at lunch, at a local little furniture store, Chad found this beauty. I love it. I love it. It's a bit more than the set at The Bay, but much more beautiful, and The Bay's set was also twin over twin; this will probably last Liam longer. We may still look around some, but I have a feeling that this is it. Now, if only I could luck out and find the bedding...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

More on number two

Number Two and I went to see Dr. Kate today. The good news: first, there was a strong heartbeat that took no time at all to find. Maybe even better news: the lab finally found the bloodwork I had done back in July and shipped it to her office. They had taken 7 vials on my first visit, and then somehow lost it for a couple of months; the thought of going back and giving that much all over again made my stomach turn. The test results were good news (though nothing I didn't already expect - my doctor tests for everything under the sun - I do not have AIDS, syphilis, Hepatitis B or C; I have immunity to Hep A and rubella; I'm not diabetic. The bad news is that I'm still RH- which means a few big needles in the bum down the road. I totally disagree with their policy of needlessly poking me over and over like this; test Chad, I say, and find out whether we're even incompatible first. Their response: there's no way for sure they can tell that Chad is the father. I guess my word isn't good enough.)

The heartbeat was still in the girl range. Dr. Kate says she is still rooting for a girl but thinking there's no way it won't be a boy - citing the large number of boys in Chad's family as the reason why. Yes, there's a lot of them, but that's not to say there are no girls at all; this heart rate thing totally has me convinced that Number Two is a girl. And I think part of why I'm convinced that it's a girl is because I'm totally nervous about having a girl. I love little boys. I think I have them figured out OK. I don't think I'll know what to do with a girl. Pathetic, huh? One more month til the big ultrasound that might reveal all... and I will be waiting for it with bated breath.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


After a whirlwind little while, we are back to normal now, at least for another ~6 days. I spent the rest of Sunday alternating through working on my presentation for class last night, and trying to finish a book. The presentation being over, I am a much happier person. I am commuting to the University of Windsor to take an international marketing class, and it's awful. I had a group presentation to do with 6 other students who didn't seem to understand why I couldn't just meet them on campus for half an hour on Wednesday morning or Friday afternoon to work on things. Not only that, but someone in my group came up with the bright idea of all of us wearing costumes to do the presentation. Traditional Pakistani costumes (the presentation being a case study on Bollywood). With the University of Windsor being The Most Multicultural Place on Earth, it only took a few knocks on her fellow residents' doors to procure 7 outfits... so there was no way out of it. By the time I drove home last night I wasn't feeling well at all, and I pretty much puked my guts out the minute I walked in the door. Which was kind of funny, because the only time I threw up when I was pregnant with Liam (the 8 times during labour aside) was after I drove home from a night class at the University... the only other time I took an on-campus class... and I even remember starting to feel sick at the exact same place on the highway: the Queen's Line exit in Tilbury. Freaky freaky.

This morning I immediately drafted an email to my professor to beg off the remaining group work required of the course, and he's agreed to let me do an individual assignment in lieu. And I didn't even have to pull out my I'm-pregnant-and-sick trump card to do it. Woot!

Tonight I joined a book club (I know... about 5 years after it became fashioable to do so), which is why I spent most of Sunday trying to cram in the last 200 pages of Sweetness in the Belly. It was slow to start, but thankfully quick to finish. And now that it's over, I am going to put a hold on all school-related and even school-like endeavours for a few days (because really, book club is a bit schoolish). I'm just going to play the part of the high-school dropout and kick back for now.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

I'm officially offended

Looking through his Brainy Baby ABC's book tonight, Liam flipped past the cat and the dog and the orange and all the other pictures that normally make him stop, point and label (even if he does call the orange "ball")... he went straight to a picture of the Queen, pointed at it, and said "Mom". If it were a picture of the Queen Mother maybe I could forgive him, but as it is... I'm offended. See if I take him back to the swings at the park anytime soon if that's the thanks I get.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Last night, for the first time in ages, Liam fell asleep in my arms. It has been months since that has happened. Partly because he is pretty good at falling asleep on his own; partly because things have been so frickin' hectic around here lately - there's always been something to run and tend to the minute I think I can safely put him down without any fuss - housework, homework, even something on TV. Although we're having a busy weekend (Chad and I participated in a volunteer tree planting this morning, then whipped up some goodies for a bake sale this afternoon, I'm in the midst of photo-editing overload as I try to work through my Amazing Race post-processing, and I have the Group Assignment From Hell due on Monday), last night none of that mattered, and Liam and I just rocked and rocked, and I enjoyed every snuggly minute of it. Making a vow, no matter how hectic things get, to enjoy that experience a little more often.

(That's not Liam in the bottom photo - it's his buddy Ryan at the apple orchard. The blue eyes are really the only give-away.)

Friday, September 22, 2006

What we did this morning

There's a pie in the oven even as I speak.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Banff & Lake Louise

By virtue of the fact that I have been posting this week, and that there were no reports of major plane crashes on CNN last weekend, you have probably gathered that we survived the trip and Liam still has his parents. We had a fabulous time last weekend at Lake Louise. It was pouring rain and about three degrees when I got into Calgary on Thursday night, and when we woke up Friday morning the TransCanada Highway to Banff was closed on account of the snow. Luckily it didn't take them long to clear it and we left Calgary on Friday afternoon after Chad's course finished. As for me, I spent the day sleeping in, paddling around the hotel's pool, and shopping in the maze of Calgary malls that line the Plus 15 walkway. Not only do they keep you out of the cold... they also keep you dry.We only stayed at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise because we got a 2-nights-for-the-price-of-1 deal through Expedia. The hotel is insanely expensive (my true cheapskate tendencies come out). The funny thing is that we booked into the bare bones room - it was supposed to be a view of the parking lot - instead, this is what we got. Dead centre on the water, top floor. Hee hee.It came at a price though. We basically had bad service all weekend (starting when we checked in and they offered us a room with 2 twin beds - not exactly what we had in mind - though that did get rectified) so we blamed it on the fact that they knew we were the Expedia people who somehow got a free room upgrade and deserved the worst of the worst in every other way.
The idea behind staying at the hotel (besides always having wanted to try one of the old CP Railway hotels) was to do some hiking; there are trails that start right outside the hotel's back door. It snowed Friday night as we arrived at the hotel and was still overcast on Saturday morning, but at least we stayed dry as we hiked to the Plain of Six Glaciers. The trail first skirts the lake... here we are at the far end of it......then we started climbing into the mountains. You can still see the lake and a smudge of the hotel behind me. There's a tea house at the top of the trail where we stopped for some hot chocolate. It was a well deserved treat because we were the first ones up to the tea house that morning and had to break the trail through the snow ourselves.
Normally at this time of year in Banff/Lake Louise it is fall - it's colder than it would be at home, but the snow was still somewhat unexpected. Typically the area would just be bursting with fall colours right now - the snow is a bonus I guess.
Another view outside our hotel room window. For our anniverary dinner (still in Calgary) we had an amazing dinner - I had a big steak with jumbo shrimp, lobster butter and tarragon bearnaise sauce and smoked gruyere mashed potatoes - oh my, it was good. Like I said before... it was soup and salad for the rest of the weekend. :) Not too much else to report... lots of hiking... we spotted one elk, three mountain goats and also saw an avalanche in person (they sound exactly like thunder and my first thought, as we were 2.5 hours from the hotel at that point, was crap - we are going to get soaked.) Westjet now offers seatback TVs on its long haul flights so we were able to catch the season premiere of the Amazing Race on our trip back home, which made the time fly. We came home with a souvenir Christmas tree ornament, a t-shirt for Liam, and a stuffed animal for #2 who accompanied us - something by which to remember his/her first travelling adventure.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

It's a...

GIRL - at least, it is if you believe the old wives' tale about the heart rate being an indicator of sex. It was always right with Liam, and my first feeling did say girl. Holy crap. This might really happen... I should start getting used to the idea.

An update on #2

Later on today, I have an ultrasound booked to check up on #2. (I fear that #2 will always be referred to as #2, and will have some sort of Austin Powers phobia as a result; though it could be worse - at least I am not referring to them as Mini-Me.) This will be the second ultrasound and I am looking forward to making sure that there is still actually somebody in there. Since everything seems to happen faster the second time around, I should be feeling some movement soon, and it will be so reassuring to have daily confirmation that things are still on track. Even more exciting... with Liam the heartbeat predicted a boy at every single appointment... so I am dying to know what the heart rate is for #2. At my last appointment Dr. Bailey was still unable to pick it up via doppler, so this will be my first chance to start guessing boy or girl.

Speaking of which - for the first month, I was totally convinced this one is a girl. I have no idea why, and it shocked me, because I've always thought we will have all boys (and I would LOVE to have another boy). Lately I've lost that feeling, and now I could see it going either way. In fact, now I tend to refer to the baby as 'he' all the time. Not because I have an inkling that it's a boy... I think it's just that having a boy is all I've known. It's what I'm used to.

I am mostly over the nausea, but am still hungry all the time. Consequently I am also starting to show. (Just how much of it is baby and how much of it is food remains to be seen.) I wasn't into maternity clothes until 18 weeks with Liam, but I doubt I will be able to hold out that long this time. With Liam I never had any cravings whatsoever, but I seem to be addicted to Caesar salad right now (not so good for the potential raw egg content, but no ill effects so far) as well as soup of any and every kind. Aside from one glorious big steak dinner in Calgary, I had a soup and Caesar salad at every meal. What can I say... it's working for me.

Something that's NOT working for me right now: scrapbooking! Since the beginning of July I have only done 2 pages, this one included. I am woefully behind on Liam's album. I just haven't felt much like it recently (or had the time to get around to it, either). Hopefully once the nasty weather sets in and we are cooped up inside more, I will get my mojo (see - Austin Powers is taking over our lives) back.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Back to reality

We're home from our trip, which was lovely (albeit snowy), but reality has set in in a major way - ugh. We weren't in bed until the wee hours of Monday morning, I was at work all day yesterday, then had school last night - which I will be sure to gripe about in the future. Definitely more to come on that. I haven't had a chance to look through our trip photos yet but will post some when I can.

In the meantime, I just wanted to say Happy International Talk Like A Pirate Day to everyone (it's amazing what you can find on the internet). Coming to you from Jolly Prudence - that's my honourary name for the day. Pirate Name Generator

Now, off to complete a pick-me-up online purchase... what do you think... this:...or this?...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Mr. Congeniality

Today, at 17 months old, Liam is in love with jumping on the bed. He is starting to hate being confined to a stroller (it's OK for walks around the neighbourhood, but for trips to the mall he wants out). He still loves reading books, but now prefers books with simple pictures of animals, people and things over books with drawn illustrations and a storyline. His new words for the month include cat, meow, waffle, bird, eye, hair, water, and Captain. Cindy says that she couldn't believe the difference in him when he started going back to her in September: after being apart for only 2 weeks, she thinks he is much more of a conversationalist now (even if most of it is still gibberish) and he's mimicking the older kids more and more every day.

Unfortunately my kiddo has acquired another new skill this month as well. Yesterday I pulled out his notebook to read what Cindy had written about his day, and it included this little tidbit: Natalie's parents noticed a mark on her arm and asked her about it, and she told them Liam bit her. I wish I could say I didn't buy this story, but that isn't true. For the past couple of weeks Liam has been biting us at home. Not in a vicious way, mind you, more as an experimental type of thing. We tell him no and that biting hurts, but I was still thinking he was too young to really get that. Well, after reading Cindy's note, I picked Liam up, looked him in the eye and said, "Liam, did you bite Natalie?" And with that he leaned into me and gave me a nip on the shoulder. (I take that as a resounding yes.) I'm not sure what to do about it other than to keep telling him no and not make too big a deal of it. I made the mistake early on of freaking out when Captain nips me on the ankle, and now he thinks it's a full-fledged game. And I don't want to screw up my kid the same way I ruined my cat.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Finally available on video


(It's written for her kids - how sweet is that? Liam may get a scrapbook and a stack o' photos, but he will never get a song from me!!)

Losing my (in)

I guess there's no way around it: with Liam running around like a holy terror, and #2 on the way, it looks like I'm fertile.

It's a label I love having. One that, for a short time, I didn't. One that, even with a miscarriage and surgery and fertility drugs, I knew would one day come back; which was always at least in the back of my mind - we were fortunate to know from early on that, eventually, children should happen for us. Just that they wouldn't happen on our timeline. Which was heartbreaking enough; I truly ache for those for whom it will never be.

When you're dealing with infertility issues, all you want is to not be dealing with them. Watching other people sail through life with babes in arms or on the way sucked. I knew our day would come, but still - it sucked. We weren't exactly early starters in the race to have kids, but it bugged me that some of my friends had two or more before I even got one. No matter that it wasn't a race, nor that one certainly did not preclude the other - it bugged me. And if something so totally innocent as that bugged me, you can probably guess how I felt every time I heard about a baby on the way that - gasp! - wasn't planned. Oh, the horror. The practical side of me knew that an unplanned child could be every bit as much of a struggle as no baby at all; the emotional side of me said that these people knew no pain like mine. I wish I could say I was gracious through it all, but I can't. It's not that I wished difficulty on anyone else; just that I didn't like being reminded of my own.

Now it seems that I've crossed over to the dark side. I have one. I may have two before many others get one; I may have two while many others get only one, or none at all, ever, period. How does that make me feel? Considering my situation alone - wonderful. Considering the collective situation of us all - awkward. In the months and years leading up to Liam's arrival, I met a lot of people; people with situations like mine; people with situations far worse than mine. A lot of people I already knew and I met them for a second time as I got to know a side of them that wasn't often publicly shared. I consider these people to be my friends and yet know how hard it can be to remain friends when circumstances divide. I remember how bitter I often was to be the one left behind; now I'm the one kicking back clouds of dust.

To them, I have moved on, and that puts us on entirely different playing fields. But deep down, even waist-deep into building a family of my own, I don't feel like I'm entirely on par with the people who never knew what it was like to want a child and not have one. I don't think I will ever entirely feel there, whether I have one child or two or six. It's just that I will never forget that part of my life and what it felt like. I'm no longer infertile; but even with a uterus that currently seems up to the task of taking on tenants, I still don't feel fully fertile, either. I'm somewhere in between, and I'm hoping to retain a part of my membership in both groups... if only they will have me.

Monday, September 11, 2006

A history lesson & an update for Daddy

I had just finished a post when Blogger ate it, so here is the succinct version. Five years ago today I was at work reading the Yahoo! homepage when I saw that a plane had hit the WTC. A colleague and I went down to the lobby to watch on TV and arrived just in time to see the second plane hit. It was my second-last day of work before Chad and I got married on 9/15. The entire day was a surreal alternating back-and-forth between making sure that the flowers were the right colour and watching the towers collapse on TV with the broadcasters speculating that there could be up to 40,000 people inside. When we left for our honeymoon that weekend - we were very lucky to still be able to go - I remember being totally freaked out by the presence of police dogs at the airport. I could never have imagined that now, five years later, I would routinely be removing my shoes to prove they don't contain bombs and foregoing my lipgloss for the same reason.On a happier note, Liam and I are trucking along in our Week Without Daddy. Here he is eating dinner tonight - I turned my back for a second, and before I knew it there was yogurt all over the table, floor, and sofa. Guess what I have on the agenda for tonight?

Yesterday I ran out to pick up a couple of things - went past the Halloween section, just to see what was out, and Liam fell in love with this cat, so it followed us home. I think Captain fell in love with it last night, too, because this morning it was knocked off the table and on the floor clear across the room.

If you have no idea what this thing is, rest assured that you're not alone. This week at Cindy's house it is The 5 Senses Week. Today the kids made Touch Cubes (if I remember correctly). Each side has a different texture on it, like sandpaper or soft fabric. The top of the cube is supposed to be covered in cereal, but Cindy wrote in Liam's notebook that he ate the rest of the pieces. Let's just hope they didn't have glue on them at the time.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Man of the house (again)

Chad has just left on a weeklong trip to Calgary, and Liam and I are now playing house on our own. For Liam this is all fun and games, because there is one less pair of eyes watching him and he can get away with that much more. For me, it's just a lot of work. I never appreciate Chad more than I do when I am home alone on garbage night.

In a few days' time, though, I'm headed out to Calgary myself to hook up with Chad for our anniversary weekend in Banff. Our carefree travel days are over: this is the first vacation which has been preceded by me downloading, printing and filling out in detail a legal temporary guardianship document; and also the first vacation to be preceded by the drafting of a will. It's rudimentary at best, but hopefully will get the job done (did I just say hopefully in the same breath as will? Yikes.) We are flying out separately, so we just need to survive the single flight home together in order to not leave Liam orphaned. As luck would have it, different departure dates mean we will also be driving to and from the airport independently; and we all know we're much less likely to survive the drive home on the 401 than we are the airborne leg of the trip, so the chances of at least one of us making it out alive are hopefully pretty good.

Also, speaking of leaving our carefree days behind - Calgary is currently 10-15 degrees warmer than it is here, but there's a cold front coming through on the weekend that's expected to dump a ton of snow. So to say that packing will be challenging is an understatement. I'm not so sure that our hiking plans will survive; we may need to consider snowshoeing instead.

Most of my evening hours this week will be spent getting Liam packed up and ready to spend next weekend with Gramma and Grampa Cook. This is an undertaking in and of itself; in addition to the wardrobe and neverending supply of diapers (in two sizes, no less, one for daytime and one for overnight), there is also the question of which toys and how many to take to help him feel most at home, the issue of double-checking that secondary car seat to make sure it is fit for use, and the detailed instructions regarding routines and food preferences and every conceivable occurrence. By the time I get away from here, I will have earned that vacation. My first day will be spent lounging around the hotel in Calgary until Chad finishes his business and we can pack up for Banff. You can bet that I will be sleeping in and loving every minute of it.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The 5 o' clock meanies

Lately Liam has developed a case of what I refer to as the 5 o' clock meanies. It's been in the works for a while now, but seems that much worse now that we've been back to work after our vacation time; and it's probably no coincidence. When I pick Liam up from daycare, most days he still wants nothing to do with me and is angered that I am tearing him away from his activities and his friends; but when we walk in the door at home, and I am juggling making dinner with reading the mail with clearing out both of our bags and stocking them for the next day, he turns into a whiny, clingy little guy who has nothing better to do than to latch onto my legs as I try to manoeuvre around the kitchen. I make a conscious point of trying to sit down and play with him for a while before I get dinner going, but sometimes (depending on what's on the menu) it would make so much more sense to get some water boiling or some chicken in the oven or something like that BEFORE attending to him. Alas, he just doesn't get it. Lately it's gotten so bad that I am increasingly resorting to picking up takeout on the way home from work, just to avoid the situation; I can have quality time with him or my health, but not, it would seem, both. I have also tried (with little success) giving him a snack the minute we get home so that it's not an empty tummy that is making him irritable. You'd think that once Chad comes home things would improve; but even if Chad is offering to play ball or chase with him, his very favourite games, he's still latching onto me and wailing pitifully. If he actually enjoyed sitting down and playing with me I could understand the cause and effect relationship here and maybe that would make it easier to bear. But normally when I sit down to play with him, he is off and running to the other end of the house to do something completely different on his own; and I'm left wondering what he gets out of me being completely uninvolved with him yet 100% at his disposal, and also what sort of sixth-sense magnetism it is that he has that brings him back to me only after I've tiptoed into the kitchen to try to get something done.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

At the office

Yesterday, as the last hurdle to making our news ‘official’, I had to have a chat with my boss. Apart from actually being in labour, this is probably the worst part of the entire process for me. We were both on vacation at the end of August, and I had actually considered telling him at our monthly one-on-one meeting, which last occurred on my last day of work prior to vacation. Unfortunately, I then found out that the subject of said meeting was my mid-year performance review. Given that I came back to work in March and wasn’t full-time until April, my list of accomplishments for the year was much shorter than it would normally be – and I decided it would be a really dismal time to spring the news. Instead, I spent an additional two weeks full of nerves and was shaking like a leaf by the time I was back in the office on Tuesday. I was prepared to grab him as early in the day as possible just to get it over with… but his calendar was full of back-to-back meetings and he wasn’t at his desk for more than two minutes all day. Thus it was Wednesday before I managed to do it. It went ok I guess (he asked if we were happy about it – as several have done so far, including my dad – I guess if you have kids less than 2 years apart it leads a lot of people to believe that something has happened by accident?) and the relief I felt at having the news out in the open was enormous.

It was not ten minutes later that I was in the washroom on 4th floor, as our 5th floor washrooms are currently out of service, and ran into someone that I don’t see on a regular basis (though I swear that I HAVE seen her at some point during the last six months). Oh, she said, are you back now? It took me a minute to register… you mean back from my maternity leave? And then we got into an entire discussion about maternity leaves and how long they are now compared to how long they used to be. I found it totally ironic that this discussion was occurring on the very day that I was announcing my intention to take a second leave and she was still talking about the first. I didn’t say anything to her about it; I hadn’t told the rest of my immediate department yet, and wasn’t considering it official news until that was done – plus, I think I would have floored her. She ended the conversation by saying she had seen a copy of Liam’s birth announcement and loved it and left with a parting comment about what will I ever do in that regard for (in-her-mind-still-hypothetical) #2.

Hmmm. I’ll have to add that to my to-do list.

(Telling the rest of my coworkers was much easier; a couple boxes of doughnuts and muffins this morning, and they were won over...)

Props go out to, who not only had Liam's Halloween costume here within 4 days, but also somehow managed to skirt the customs office so I was not slapped with any duty or GST. Woot!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I've been outed

So... yeah. Obviously there has been a lot going on around here for the past few months. ;) I hadn't intended to spill so soon, but these things have a life of their own and the word is already out. If things work out as we hope, #2 will arrive in March. So far, the pregnancy is going similarly to how it did with Liam - I have felt about the same level of tiredness and about the same level of sickness, which peaked during the same weeks. At first I didn't remember being so sick with Liam, but then memories of retching into public garbage bins on the streets of Paris came flooding back to me... I guess you really do block out the bad in your mind and only remember the good. Actually, that makes it sound a lot worse than it really has been. My nausea has pretty much been confined to stretches of no more than 20-30 minutes or so - a far cry from the unlucky souls who actually puke all day for nine months straight. Or from those who never get to experience the joy of knowing that the puking is all for a reason. I am not complaining.

While this is all terribly exciting for us, it's still early - as in still-first-trimester early, as in been-here-before-and-know-what-it's-like-when-it-doesn't-work-out early. So send me your sticky baby vibes, and we'll continue to proceed cautiously for the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

How are you Bloggers doing it?

...I can't get a photo to work for the life of me. Testing! Testing!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Before Sunset

I finally, finally saw this movie on TV last night, after having seen its predecessor, Before Sunrise, about fifty times in the past ten years. Like the original, it was wonderful... except for that completely open-ended finale that leaves you completely up in the air. Someone tell me... how do you think it ends??

Baby... you are gonna miss that plane!

Spending and saving

As 'payment' for the family photos the other day, Anne sent me home with a Little Tykes basketball net to go in our driveway. Her family had just upsized to a regulation-sized set and the Little Tykes hoop had a home no more. It fits into a corner of our yard perfectly. Not only does Liam somehow know what it's for - he says ball every time he looks at it - but it has already seen some use. Today is the Annual Nicholls Golf Challenge and Killer Pool Basketball Playoffs. Up until now the guys have had to make do with the single Little Tykes hoop and net at the MacBarrs to play KPB - now with our assistance, they have a regulation pool (court?) going, with a hoop at either end. I just hope it comes home in one piece so Liam can get some use out of it, too. Besides, isn't it way too cold to be in the pool today?

Getting freebies like this is a total blessing - it totally helps defray the cost and guilt of life's other expenses. Chad took Liam out yesterday to buy some new fall shoes. It was cold enough that I wondered whether his feet would freeze if I put him in his sandals (and then, having no plan B, did it anyway) - so it was high time to broaden his footwear horizons. Chad picked him up a super cool little pair of retro leather running shoes that satisfy his (Chad's) need for fashion and my need for something to appropriately support the little dude's arches. Would you believe this was accomplished at Payless? I had no idea Payless carried name brand, reputable shoes - I thought they were merely the home of the $10 pleather special. I stand corrected. In the past week I have also picked up several fleecy new pairs of footed pajamas. It has been ages since Liam wore anything other than a onesie to bed, but I am pretty sure those days are over, at least for this year, and if there's one place where you can't cheat and squeeze your kid into something that's a little too small for him - it's the footed pajama.

The shoes and pajamas were necessary expenses - but there have also been some recent ones of the more frivolous variety. Such as the Fisher Price Little People Airplane that recently followed me home. There's also a super cute little Halloween costume shipping out to our house for Liam in the next couple of weeks. It was more than I think is necessary to spend on Halloween, but he does have a full dress-up day of daycare to attend this year to make it worthwhile, in addition to trick-or-treating, and I figure after we've gotten our use out of it we can eBay it - the same costume in sold-out sizes is currently listed at three times what I paid for it retail. Let's just hope it fits when it gets here.

(Photos are down again - good grief - is there no end to this??)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Toronto Zoo

Since everyone else seems to be giving zoo recaps on their blogs lately, I will jump in with my own. One of our stops on last week's rambling across Ontario was at the Toronto Zoo. Liam is an animal lover, the weather was great and we had heard good things about the splash pad there - seemed like the perfect formula for success. We headed out early in the morning and it's a good thing we did. I have not been to the Toronto Zoo since the sixth grade, but Chad and I went to the Detroit Zoo a couple of years ago, and I always had the impression that Detroit was inferior to Toronto. Not the case. Toronto is a perfectly good zoo, but it is massive. Spread out in a way that defies explanation, and that's saying a lot, given that Chad and I actually enjoy walking a few miles when we are out and about. Also, many of the exhibits have just a single animal in them. Shouldn't they at least be in pairs? And, despite the fact that Torontonians rave about the splash pad at the zoo, it is completely inferior to the splash pad at Storybook Gardens in London. Plus, the monorail is gone, and you can no longer buy a massive white spiral sucker with the green Zoo logo on it - my all-time favourite Zoo souvenir. Those were my gripes - but there were also high points to our day. The aforementioned Beaver Tails were a welcome surprise. We arrived at the polar bear exhibit just in time to watch the feeding (though Liam preferred to loudly inform the crowd that there were toy balls floating around in the pool, rather than focusing on the fish being tossed the bears' way). And Liam loves a splash pad - have water, will have fun. The Africa exhibit is definitely the best part of the zoo but I took almost no pictures - I have hundreds of photos of lions and zebras in the wild, thanks to our travels, so to take photos of the same animals behind a fence seemed kind of silly. I did pull out the camera once - you'll have to take my word for it that those are elephants behind Liam's head.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Do these two look alike to you?

When Liam was a newborn, he was all Chad. Did not look one whit like me. As he has grown I think he has resembled me more and more, and now people typically say he looks like me in the face (especially around the eyes) but with Chad's hair colouring. Most people say this... except that on our road trip last week, there were a couple of instances when waitresses or salesclerks or other strangers asked, with Chad in the immediate vicinity, where Liam got his red hair. I know Chad is not a flaming redhead the way he was in his youth anymore... but surely this is a question that didn't need to be asked???