Thursday, May 31, 2007

My new toy

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Today is my birthday. Getting older is no fun, but keep 'em coming... it's better than the alternative! I decided I wanted to do something fun today, something much less predictable than the usual daily timetable of breakfast, a round of Mr. Potato Head, getting dressed, out for a walk, home for lunch, down for a nap, more Mr. Potato Head, dinner... the mundane everyday. No, today would be fun. I decided to go to the beach. Liam knew this involved sand castles, but I think that is all he really expected, and I thought it would be fun to show him a good time. I mentioned my beach idea to Cindy last night when I picked Liam up, and she said she was planning to go to Mitchell's Bay today herself, and I should try going there. So we did. It was a great idea... first, this place is only about 15 minutes from home. Second, there is a ton of playground equipment in the sand. There is no real beach per se, but you can wade out forever (albeit off a concrete ramp) and only be knee deep. And... there's a splash pad... one we didn't expect to be open this early, but it was.
We had fun on the playground equipment on our own, but the real fun began when Cindy's van rolled in. I hadn't even told Liam she would be there, but he went nuts when he saw it. Having the other kids to play with definitely made his day, and they spent the vast majority of their time on the splash pad. He glommed onto their group like you wouldn't believe - even helped himself during her snacktime (even though we had just finished snacks of our own right before they arrived) and plunked himself down at her picnic table for her lunch. Luckily she had enough food and was very accommodating (we probably deserve to be billed for today!)Mallory slept through most of the morning, which made for a perfect excursion. I plan to be out at the beach (this one or another of our 2 local favourites) once a week all summer, weather and behaviour and stamina permitting (mine, not the kids'... the packing up that's required is unbelieveable!!) Unfortunately Liam turned into a little monster for most of the afternoon, refusing to nap and generally being miserable. Luckily we did all eventually get a bit of shut-eye, and then Chad took me out for a great dinner, with Gramma and Grampa Cook corralling the kids for us so we could get out. I was also treated to a very cool and fun birthday gift... something that will hopefully make its debut here on the blog one day soon. :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Going home again

Today I took Mallory to baby day at the OEYC for the first time. They were running an infant massage class... in fact, it was our doula who was running the class... how could I pass it up? Liam is back to going to Cindy's house on Tuesdays, as per our original arrangement, which was struck specifically with getting out to baby day in mind. (Older siblings aren't welcome.) Anyway, it was a strange feeling, being back down there with newborn in tow. The faces are all unfamiliar; even the centre's staff have changed. And as far as the babies go, we are back at the bottom of the totem pole: Mallory was definitely the youngest one there. I'm not sure how often we will go. Looking at the June calendar, there are several days set aside for education sessions, one on infant literacy and another on car seat safety. I think I have already sat through both presentations twice, and will lose my mind to do it again. We'll make use of the centre this time around, yes, but only when it's to Mallory's benefit - not, supposedly, to mine.

With that... a few more photos from today:When Mallory was first born, we had a FedEx truck come to the door one day with a huge box. Upon opening it we found the biggest new baby gift basket we'd ever seen, but rather than being in a basket, the whole thing was piled into a Bumbo baby seat. (The gift was from some of Chad's customers, and prompted both of us to say, "We're going to need to report this!") I can't say I would have bought a Bumbo on my own, since we have a bouncy seat contraption that serviced Liam just fine and frankly, who needs more baby gear at this point?... but I have to admit... it's pretty cool. Mallory is just about ready for it now. Also, I can't get over what a ham she is... so unlike Liam!... and I am loving using the nursery rug as a backdrop these days.
The point of this photo, which you can't really see here, is that Mallory and I totally coordinated today... and not even on purpose. I'm wearing brown capris under my pink T shirt. I think I see a future of mother-daughter outfits unfolding before me.Also big news today: Liam has finally figured out how to blow bubbles. This is a very big deal, as it comes on the heels of weeks of him not understanding how to pucker his lips and blow, and sticking the bubble wand fully in his mouth, soap and all. Go, Liam!

Love this

Yes, you could do this in Photoshop, but why waste the time when it's available here? I just wish it were high enough resolution to print.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Lookin' a little like Suri Cruise

OK, so maybe that's just my opinion. No, her eyes aren't green, they are definitely getting darker every day and generally look brown now; but every now and then, when the light hits them just so, they do tend to retain that greyish/bluish/greenish shade that all newborns' eyes have.

How do you like the 'hawk? :)

Seven weeks

This one's going to be long on photos and short on words - I just woke up, and the kids are still napping. I have to take advantage while I can and knock some stuff off the to-do list!

This morning I almost made it through the weekly grocery shopping excursion without incident. Same as the last few weeks, Mallory was in the Snugli, Liam in the cart, and the logistics of who was to be moved where when were nailed down. Everything sailed smoothly along until we got to the checkout line, and an elderly couple we'd seen down an aisle earlier were checking out beside us. They finished right around the same time, and came over to ask whether I'd like any help getting my groceries out to the car. Sweet of them, yes, but a big blow to the ego; I thought I'd finally done a good job of looking like I was holding things together pretty well. Apparently I still have that deer-in-the-headlights look about me. Will have to work on that. (I also think it says a lot that these really-very-elderly people keep being the ones to offer assistance. They are a dying breed, the courteous people of this generation, quite literally. I don't think I'd ever have someone of my generation make the same offer.)
The past few nights Mallory had been sleeping really well, only up twice each night and going about six hours as her longest stretch. Last night she regressed a bit and kept me up a lot. Liam had some coughing fits that got him out of bed too, so after the groceries and a good power walk this morning, we were all ready for bed.
Speaking of power walks... although they constitute the vast majority of my exercise these days... I actually made it out to a yoga class yesterday. Go, me! Number of days postpartum w/ Liam before hitting a yoga class: 6. Number of days postpartum w/ Mallory before hitting a class: 35. Some things just ARE harder the second time around.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

It seemed like a good idea at the time

Haven't I used that title for a blog post, like, a dozen times already? :)

Yesterday was a cold, wet, blustery day, and rather than sit around the house going stir crazy, I decided to go down to the Early Years Centre for the morning. Chad and I spent the first part of the morning running around getting the kids fed and dressed and ready to go. Liam was totally psyched. And then, wouldn't you know it, I got down there... and there was nary a car in the parking lot. Closed. We came back home and I checked the schedule again. Although there was no specific program advertised, it also didn't say CLOSED the way it did for the Victoria Day stat, and I've never known them to be closed on a Saturday before, so I am still a little ticked.
Anyway, Liam wasn't quite understanding what had happened to the fun morning I promised him, so I decided to take matters into our own hands. I put a bug in Chad's ear before he took Liam out to run some errands, and they brought the vision to life by coming home with an assortment of measuring scoops and funnels from the dollar store, and ten pounds of rice (plus a few lentils to mix things up a bit). We threw it all into a Tupperware bin, and let Liam have at it.
Wow. What a hit.
We absolutely did have to run the vacuum through about three or four times yesterday, and even so we will be grinding rice underfoot for the next month, I'm sure. And it figured that as soon as we'd cleaned the whole thing up once, Liam wanted to get it out to play again. So we let him... but this is going to be a special rainy day activity only. Because otherwise, I might quite literally go mad.
Today, poor Mr. Liam is under the weather... he's got a cold, one I assume he picked up from a sick kid at Cindy's who I saw sneeze all over him (sigh). He went to bed early tonight... I hope he's feeling better tomorrow, because he hasn't been himself all day.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Reason #103 why digital scrapbooking rocks

Because you can knock off a page - in no time - with one hand (even your left hand) on the mouse while feeding a baby with the other. Mallory's baby book is going to be much, much bigger than Liam's (which was made while I was still a paste-eater) at this rate - here's just a fraction of what I've accomplished over the past few weeks.

Friday, May 25, 2007

On vacation

Yesterday, we packed Liam up and shipped him off with Gramma and Grampa Cook - he is out at the trailer even as I type. The past almost-24-hours have been a welcome break - it's amazing what being back down to one kid has done for me in terms of resting and recharging. I ran some errands yesterday without worrying about schlepping both kids in and out of carseats. I took Mallory into the office for a visit - something I'd been promising to do for weeks now. Normally in the afternoons I might not have any more than 90 minutes while Liam is napping to do a quick cleanup and nap myself - yesterday I got some cleaning done, and took a long, luxurious nap, too. (Mallory seems to be the ideal cosleeping candidate - she will sleep just fine as long as she is nestled up next to you. I am especially well rested today because I spent half the night taking advantage of Liam's absence and snoozing with her in his bed. Methinks we need a bigger house so we can get our spare bedroom back!!) I had the camera out and took a bunch of photos that took some time to set up. I made dinner. And then last night, Chad and I just sat there looking at each other for some time, saying, "What do you want to do? I don't know, what do you want to do?" - so lost were we without multiple rounds of Train and Mr. Potato Head and five bedtime stories and just one bath to arrange, not two. (The fact that there was no new The Office/Grey's to contend with might also have had a tiny bit to do with it...)


I'm starting to miss him right now, but... thank you, Gramma and Grampa... we have enjoyed our break!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Oh. My. HECK!!!

Best. Lost. Episode. EVER!!!!!

Needing about 4 more hours per day

...but only if my kids, husband, and, yes, cat spend those hours asleep, so that I can hoard them all for myself!

I also need to figure out how to catch up on everything I've been meaning to post. Just a few months ago, I wondered how I could stretch a few photos out to post over the course of a week. Now, I have about 20 I want to post every single day, and a huge backlog of shtuff I have been meaning to get to... but not enough time to do it... one of these days you will log on and just find a string of about 100 or so pictures!

Anyway, yesterday was a busy day. Aunty Jenn came to spend the day with us, something that we will have to keep up for the next several months that I'm not working and she has some free weekdays. (Only next time I'm thinking we should do it in London... at Storybook Gardens and the new Hyde Park shopping areas, perhaps?? :) ) She helped me take a few photos of me and my girlie - something I have not had much of a chance to do yet - so you know I was all over that! Thanks Jenn, there are definitely some keepers!

We also had a visit from Uncle Ron and Aunt Anne, and then Megan took some time off work and we went out for lunch while Gramma and Grampa came to babysit and the kids ran them ragged. However, I think Gramma and Grampa ran Liam ragged, too. As soon as I got home from lunch, he came in from being outside, took off his shoes and hat, and asked me to pick him up and take him up to bed for a nap. Like that happens very often!!

To wrap up a busy day, I had book club last night... and Mallory came out to it, too.

All this girl talk has me thinking that it seems Liam is being neglected these days... something I definitely hope is not true! To prove it... here's what he has been up to lately:I hope everyone is looking forward to Lost tonight as much as I am. For once in my life I have been staying away from the spoilers, but I hear you can read about the entire episode here.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Playing catch-up

ETA: can someone try the slideshow again? Maybe she's fixed...

I have schwacks of long overdue stuff to post this week... mostly photos (surprise, right?) I'll start with some hospital photos. Most of these were taken by our doula; I just did a B&W conversion. You might want to stop play on the Death Cab for Cutie track before hitting play.

Friday, May 18, 2007

New wheels

The addition of #2 to our family required the addition of a new stroller, too. With Liam being not quite 2 when Mallory arrived, and unable to walk more than a few blocks on his own, we knew we would need something that had a comfy ride for him for some time to come. I was dead-set against any sort of side-by-side model, since I already find a single stroller to be a tight fit in many indoor venues; I know they say side-by-sides fit through a standard doorframe, but many store aisles, etc. do not adopt that same minimum clearance. We also didn't like standard front-to-back models that are longer than I am tall; they seem difficult to manoeuvre for the time being, and awkward to handle when you really only need to be pushing 1 kid.

We first saw a Phil & Ted's E3 when we were at the zoo last summer. It seemed like a cool, compact little thing. We actually approached strangers to ask about the make and model of their stroller, and looked it up when we got home. The Children's Furniture Gallery in London was carrying them, so we made a trip up to the store to take a look and take a test drive. Even though I balked at dropping the cash on it, I am so glad now that we went with this model. It's no bigger than our single stroller. It drives so smoothly, and manoeuvres like a dream - I can push it single-handedly, even with both kids loaded in. For now, Liam sits up front and Mallory rides in the bassinette in the back. When she's a little older, the bassinette pushes up to form the main seat for Liam, and the seat Liam is in now mounts on the back of the stroller to form a second seat for Mallory - a change that can be accomplished on the fly in a matter of seconds. I like the fact that, with or without the extra seat removed, it becomes a compact little ride for 1 - perfect for those days when Liam decides to walk more than ride, or when he outgrows a stroller altogether.

The drawbacks? So far, only 1. On those days when Liam goes to Cindy's, and I take Mallory out alone, I like this stroller so much that I still use it, rather than reverting back to our single. And I get a lot of funny looks. Once I had a mildly alarmed bank teller tell me she thought I had forgotten someone somewhere. People don't even notice Mallory in the back - in an Emporer's New Clothes sort of way, they think I am pushing around a figment of my imagination.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Mallory goes to school

This week, I was invited to go talk about photography and assist with a photography assignment in Mrs. Clingersmith's classroom at Errol Village Public School. Liam spent the morning with Gramma and Grampa, who spoiled him with breakfast at McDonalds, a trip down to feed the geese, new Jibbitz for his Crocs and lunch made to order (grilled cheese, of course). My little nursling tagged along with me; she can't eat McDonalds and doesn't have Crocs, anyway. I'm typing one handed again, so this will be short, but I do have to say I was surprised by how popular Mallory was with the students. I don't think I ever paid any attention to babies when I was their age. This photo was totally unposed; just Mal getting an overwhelming sendoff from the class, which culminated with them spontaneously breaking into a lullabye to help get her to sleep. It was too cute!
Pardon the scribbling on the young man's face... I don't want to post the kids' mugs without their parents' OK.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Happy birthday, Henry!!!

Today Henry officially turns 1. Happy Birthday, Henry! Here are a few more shots from the party... still trying to get through them.

This week also marks a milestone for me, but it's a sad one... I am a student again. I'm taking a strategic management course, which is the capstone course of my business degree. It's not offered very often, so I am gritting my teeth and taking it now... rather than waiting for the next time it comes up, which could be who knows when. My first assignment is due next week. I was full of good intentions, thinking I could tough it out and knock this course off without any trouble... well... Mallory is trying to prove otherwise. Normally she settles down for the night around 9-9:30. Liam went to bed early last night, and I was hoping to get Mallory down early too, so I could spend an hour or so getting my assignment started. Not so!!! Totally not so!! She was wide, wide awake from about 5 p.m. til nearly midnight last night, and up early this morning again, too. Arrrrghhh. So much for having time for schoolwork. I'm starting to worry I may have bitten off more than I can chew.

Speaking of which... that's it from me today... I'm going to see if I can't get a bit of work done while she's sleeping now. Who knows how long it will last.

(Forgive the wacky layout here. I'm not going to take the time to try to figure out how to fix it!!)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

It's a bird... it's a plane... it's a blue-hair!!

(Liam... stop mauling your sister!!!!!)

Yesterday I took both kids to the grocery store for the first time. Together. Both of them. Not a big deal for many, but for me, it took a lot of mustering up of courage to attempt it. The night before I even discussed it at length with Chad. Should I leave Mallory in her car seat and put that in the grocery cart? Should I use one of the carts with the built in baby seat, and let Liam walk? In the end, I decided to use the Snugli. Mallory really seems to like it, and I am all about keeping things easy these days.
I ran through every possible scenario in advance, and had it all planned out:
*park the car
*go get a cart
*put Liam in the cart
*then strap on the Snugli and load Mallory into it
*return to car
*unload Mallory first
*unload Liam second
*unload groceries third
This thought and planning was required because of the lifting issues created by the Snugli itself. It takes care of the baby, yes, but does limit your mobility in other ways.
Anyway, I made it through my whole grocery shop beautifully. Mallory dozed her way through it. Liam didn't throw a fit when I refused to open a bar of cheese right there in the store and let him have some. The checkout girls admired the kids. And then... we went outside. And it was pouring rain. I mean, it was cats and dogs rain. It hadn't been raining at all when we went into the store, and I had checked the forecast before we left the house... and they hadn't been calling for it.
So there we are, we three, no coats on, no umbrellas, and this was not a nice mild summer rain, but a cold, miserable kind of rain. We're standing under the store overhang and I'm trying to decide what to do, when an elderly woman comes up to me. She must have been at least 80. She says she saw us come into the store and she is parked right next to us and she has two umbrellas in her car, and won't I please let her go get one for me? I try declining, and she won't hear of it. She runs out to her car and comes back with both umbrellas and a raincoat for me. Then she tries to wrangle my cart away from me and push it herself. At least I had the good sense not to let her do that. It turned out she had no idea where I was parked, so I'm not sure who she saw come in in our place; but she did help us all get loaded into the car safe and sound and dry.
So, I admit defeat on the grocery front - obviously, I was not prepared for every scenario. One of these days, there will be no senior citizens around to come to my rescue. I had better get my act together before then.
On a happier note... here are my cool new boots!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Weekend wrapup

I swear that my year off is going to be gone before I know it... I can't believe how much faster time seems to be flying now than it ever did while I was working. I've been off now for two months! Still pretty much walking around in a sleep-deprived stupor... Mallory has been up all night now (like, 1 - 5 a.m. inclusive) for 3 nights in a row. Not sure how the Americans do it going back to work after just six weeks. Incidentally, I had my ten-year service anniversary with my company on the weekend, too. I picked a stereo system out of the service award catalog and I'm hoping it arrives soon. The stereo in the nursery (which I bought with babysitting money at the age of 16) seems like it's about to go... I'd like to have a replacement lined up before that happens.

Anyway, it was a busy weekend... like, when is it not?... we were in Toronto on Saturday for cousin Henry's first birthday. I still have a stack of photos to weed through... these are just some of my favourites.Steph finally got to celebrate Mother's Day this year... she missed out by 2 days last year.I had a wonderful Mother's Day, and was spoiled rotten, but my very favourite gift of all was a pair of very cool rainboots that Liam gave me so we can puddle-jump together.
(I'm typing one-handed here, hence the brevity. I'm starting to realize I can't keep waiting for the opportunity to type two-handed... because it very often doesn't materialize!!)
We went out to the trailer for Mother's Day proper. Liam remembered it from last year and had a blast.

This one cracks me up... looking very ready for Top Gun, but wait... is that... a milk beard???

Friday, May 11, 2007

Tyrannosaurus Liam

On Wednesday, when I had to take Mallory in to see Dr. Bailey for her one-month checkup, I had my first public toddler tantrum experience. Not that we have had many of these at home, and as a result, I felt woefully unprepared. All started out well, but when the nurse called us into the examining room, Liam didn't want to stop playing with the train he had found in the Neat and Tidy Room (kids' section of the waiting room). I offered to let him bring it in with us; no dice. He wanted to stay in the Neat and Tidy Room. Because I am sure there are just as many child snatchers here in my small hometown as there are anywhere else, that was not going to happen. Ialready had Mallory in hand, as she was fussy, and then I had to try to drag Liam down the hall to our appointed room. He basically broke down in tears and arched his back and dragged his feet and yelled "No!" oh, about a hundred times. A kind elderly man came up and offered to carry Mallory down the hall for me so I could scoop up Liam, and I was so distraught by then that I actually let an elderly man carry something for me. My daughter, no less. There are so many things wrong with that, I don't even know where to begin.

Liam calmed down, some, in the exam room; but threw a couple more fits for good measure - one when Dr. Bailey took too long to come in after us, and Liam decided to try to make a break for it back to Neat and Tidy Room, and another when I had to stop at the receptionist's desk on the way out to book another appointment, and he tried to make a break for the parking lot. I was taken by surprise each time. It was so NOT like him, I was completely caught off guard.

Liam had been exhausted the night before, and slept terribly, so I was hoping to chalk it up to sheer exhaustion. However, today Chad and I attempted a family road trip. Chad needs a new passport and decided to apply in person at the Windsor office, and then we wanted to do some shopping afterwards. The passport part went OK and lunch went OK, but both kids were cranky by shopping time; and how much fun can parental clothes shopping be for kiddos, anyhow? So Liam pitched another fit or two today. This is either the Terrible 2's kicking in right on time, or perhaps some latent sibling-induced moodiness coming out in him. Tomorrow we have to travel a distance to a family birthday party, and I was really hoping he would be well behaved for it... heaven help us.

For her part, Mallory is deep in the throes of infant acne (a.k.a. A Face Only a Mother Could Love). She has it much, much worse than Liam ever did. I took this photo a couple of days ago, but it is so much worse now - this is just the tip of the iceberg (and she's showing her good side here, too):
Poor little peanut... I was hoping she would make it through the first dozen years or so before having to deal with this!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

One month

It’s hard to believe that it was only a month ago that I was practically rueing the day I had ever gotten pregnant, and was teetering on the brink of letting the doctors do just about anything to me in order to Please Just Get the Baby Out. Thank goodness you did decide to come on your own terms; but don’t think for a minute that I won’t lord that two weeks of overdue misery over you for the rest of your life. It’s been a month now, and you’re still here! You’re not broken yet! Consider yourself lucky that you’re our second child, and we used up all our dumb rookie parenting mistakes on your brother.

Something struck me when you were born… and that was how oddly familiar you were. There you were, a brand new person nobody had ever seen before; but you had Chad’s eyes and (we think) my nose, bits and pieces that we had seen before. On the one hand, we couldn’t stop checking you out; but on the other – you looked more or less exactly as we expected you to look. It almost seemed like we already knew you.

Oddly enough, I can say the same thing with respect to your personality. Liam has always been quiet and introverted and content. I half expected you to be the exact opposite, a little firecracker who was going to turn our world upside down. But, you seem to be a lot like Liam. You are generally very content. You only cry when you are (a) hungry or (b) set down somewhere against your wishes… like Liam, you want to be held most of the time. Unfortunately, because of Liam, we can’t always cater to your desires. I guess that comes with the territory for second and subsequent kiddos everywhere – eventually, their unattended-to squawking just becomes background noise. Lately I have taken to using the Snugli a lot, and thank goodness, you seem to like it… hopefully it will continue to be our happy compromise.

I do think you will turn out to be more social and outgoing than your brother. For a couple of weeks now, you have been flashing us fleeting smiles, something that took forever to coax out of Liam. Which reminds me… do fully expect to be compared to Liam for the rest of your life, or at least the rest of your babyhood. We have no other benchmarks to go by. He’s it.

You are eating well, sleeping well (settling into a routine of being up just twice each night, a welcome change from the early weeks of half a dozen wakenings), doing well with baths and diaper changes… the rather dull mainstays of your early life. We are looking forward to the days ahead when your repertoire expands a little. It’s hard to get to know someone when they have a boob in the mouth during the majority of their waking hours. There are still a million unknowns with you. Things we have yet to find out. Reasons each day to look forward to tomorrow.

At one month old, you weigh 10 pounds 10 ounces and are 23 inches long. Welcome to our family, Miss Mallory… we are very glad to have you!!