Thursday, February 28, 2008

These boots were made for...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Melt my heart

Lately, I have found this little apple dumpling just completely irresistible. Maybe it's because her birthday is looming and I'm getting all misty-eyed because of it, or maybe it's because I'm going to be spending a lot less time with her soon when I go back to work, and I'm getting misty-eyed at THAT... regardless... I could just eat her up. She is teetering on the brink of walking right now. For the past few days she has taken a teeny tiny step or two here or there, and I said to Chad just yesterday, "Two weeks from now, she will probably be running all over the place." He then reminded me that two weeks from now, he's going on a business trip, and he hopes not to miss the walking debut on account of it!... so now I am really hoping she gets on it soon. This morning she took four steps in a row, so maybe she heard our silent prayers. Just tiny, tiny steps - shuffling along an inch at a time - but she's getting there.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Poor lil' sick dude

Yesterday, Liam woke up from his nap in tears. He does that from time to time - he's grumpy for 20 minutes or so when he first wakes up, then snaps out of it and he's fine. Except that yesterday, he never snapped out of it. He was grumpy for a good two hours. And then he started saying his neck was itchy, so we changed his shirt, but then his discomfort progressed upwards until finally he was saying his ear hurt. Every once in a while he would perk up for a bit (like when Diego came on TV), but then he was back to being miserable.

So when Chad got home from work, I packed Liam up and took him down to the ER, and 4 hours later we were diagnosed with Liam's first ear infection.

Most parents I know battle these things several times each winter, so I guess I should be thankful that Liam made it nearly 3 years before succumbing. Anyway, they gave us a painkiller for him at assessment, and he did really well for a poor little kiddo relegated to a waiting room for the next 3.5 hours. We killed the time by reading the few childrens' books we could scrounge and making a trip to the in-hospital Tim Horton's for a juice and a doughnut. When his turn to see the doctor finally came, he was calm as a cucumber to have his chest listened to and his ears checked. It struck me then that this was his first ever trip to the doctor aside from his well-baby checkups. In fact, his registration at the hospital came up as "Baby Boy Cook" - that's how long it had been since he was there last.

(I don't know how he ever got registered like that in the first place, because we had his name picked out long before he was born - it wasn't like we had to go home and think about it some more...)

Anyway, we got home at 10 p.m. and I left Liam with Chad to get ready for bed while I ran to the drugstore to get his prescription filled. So that pretty much took care of the entire night for us. Today is the Teddy Bear Picnic at Cindy's house and I made sure to check with the doctor that he's not contagious, so he did go to Cindy's this morning. I just hope staying up so late last night didn't leave him completely wiped and unable to enjoy himself today.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Now mopping Diet Pepsi off the computer screen

(Warning: explicit content; not for conservatives, prudes or parents, and not at all related to my two kiddos, but too funny not to share!!)...

You've probably seen this video by now... it's everywhere!... Sarah Silverman's video confession to boyfriend Jimmy Kimmel:

Sarah's original video

Just now I saw Jimmy's response... I am laughing so hard. How do they pull this stuff together?

Jimmy's response

Spot the trend

Not long ago, I was waxing on about Liam's love for all things crafty. He likes colouring, he likes Play Doh and plasticine, he likes watercolour paints... but there is one thing he likes more than any other. He has, I swear, a fetish for pom poms. It started out innocently enough... I bought a bag of them at the dollar store, and when he said he wanted to use them for something, I cut a heart out of construction paper for him and set him up with the pom poms and a bottle of glue. This was the result. He loved it.A few days later, he wanted to make another craft. Lacking any originality, I cut an Easter egg out of construction paper (YES, that is what that is!), gave him some glue and the pom poms, and let him rip.The next time he was in the mood to create, he didn't even ask - just got to work himself. He tells me that this is his 'ornament'.This is another ornament he made the next day. ("Are you sure it's not the inverted state of Oklahoma?" I said. "It's an ornament," he repeated....) Sadly, it used up the remains of the pom poms, so when he was done with the glue, Liam added some fringe with his scissors.We are now out of pom poms, and I haven't had a chance to restock the pom pom jar. (Are pom poms recyclable? I'm half thinking I should pull them all off the paper before his projects go in the blue box, and hey, maybe I can even restock the jar with them!) We still have some other craft goodies Liam hasn't seen yet, and we'll break those out first. Some popsicle sticks, some buttons, and lately Liam is loving sticker books, too - the ones that have the pages with backgrounds and the stickers that can be repositioned to make different little scenes. I have a feeling the Easter Bunny may be bringing some craft supplies in a few weeks' time so we're not too overloaded with chocolate.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Going through shampoo at an incredible clip

She doesn't actually eat the celery, but... if you don't let her try some of what you're having... she screams bloody murder.When I report back to you that she's fallen and broken her neck, you'll understand why.The penalty box.Life is tough when you're 10 months old.Enjoying being my baby for just a little bit longer.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A matching set

Well, they WOULD match, except that Mallory broke that mobile five months ago when she tried to do chin-ups with it.

What I have done with one child (Liam) I also like to do with the other (Mallory)... to the extent that it's possible. In some respects, you can't go home again. Mallory and I were going to baby day at the OEYC regularly for a while there, but for the past month or two, our attendance has dropped off. It's just not as much fun as it was with Liam. I have less in common with the other moms (would you believe I am the *only* regular with more than one kid? - the woman with twins aside). I took Liam faithfully because I made good friends there and I felt the need to expose him to other kids. I haven't bonded with anyone as much this time around, and Mallory already gets plenty of exposure to other kids - Liam, the kids at Cindy's, and the kids ages 0-6 from the OEYC general drop-in that we attend every Friday. So finally, I gave myself permission not to go when I don't feel like going. And I'm finding that I enjoy the time spent alone at home with just Mallory more than I ever did taking her out. It's a rare treat for us.

Anyway, I digress. The original point of my story is that I am trying to keep things the same for both kids. Which means recreating some staged photos, like these. And also making a shadow box for each of them of their newborn paraphernalia (did I never post Mallory's finished version? - can't find a link to it right now.) And I have a handful of my favourite baby outfits saved for each of them, because I'd like to make memory quilts with them (something I keep meaning to get on). And... and... and.

I even kept the little orange Old Navy hoodie that Liam used to wear all the time, and was thinking I should keep the white and turquoise one that Mal wears now that I love so much... and then I had an a-ha! moment and thought, I should frame them both and hang them up together.

Except that I worry that it might be too much. If, everywhere you look in our house, there is a matching set of kiddie memorabilia... well, it might be overkill.

Then again, we'll have a lot more wall space in our new house than we have here, and we have to fill it with something, so... why not these things that make me happy? At the very least, I will keep them tucked in the back of a drawer somewhere. Even if all this stuff is not out on display for the world to see... I can't bear to part with it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Why I <3 online shopping

Today, I finally made it to London to visit Darin and Jenn and do some shopping. I need(ed) some new clothes in a bad way. Having spent two of the past four years in maternity clothes and the other two of the past four years in stay-at-home-mom grubs, it is time to seriously overhaul my wardrobe and start pulling myself together a bit better. A few weeks ago, I went to a local boutique I really like when they had they half-off after winter sale, and I stocked up on several pieces there. Then I went home, got ruthless with all the stuff hanging in my closet, Goodwilled a bunch of it, reorganized the rest, and even went so far as to make lists of my 'good' stuff and then go through piece by piece and create outfits. (Can I wear this with that? With these shoes, or these ones, or both?) By the time I was done with all that, I had a short list of items I needed to fill in the gaps: some brown pants, a blue cami, and some shoes. That was what I hoped to accomplish in London today. I had a full day to do it, after all.

Except that, even though I showered last night instead of this morning, I was still 20 minutes late getting in the car. And then I frittered away some time at Homesense and Chapters, looking for stuff for the house instead of for my closet. Then we went back to Darin and Jenn's for a snack and to play with their cats for a bit, and when we went back out, I went to four different childrens' clothing stores and bought stuff at three of them for the kiddos. After lunch and some more shopping, Liam and Mallory were beyond tired, and I was not able to find the pants I wanted during my 30-second foray into The Gap. I also did not look beyond the windows of the shoe stores. It felt like our time had come to an end and it wouldn't have been fair to the kids for me to start trying stuff on. So I packed them back up and we came home. I seriously don't know where the day went.

Neither Liam nor Mallory really needed much. Well, that's not exactly true. I'm looking for a blush pink cardigan for Mallory, and she also needs some summer sandals (Crocs don't come that small, right?) But I didn't find either of those things, either. I didn't find ANYTHING I went with intentions of getting. But I did come home with lots of cute stuff... like this, this, and this... and very nearly these... I am turning into such a sucker for cute little girl clothes! So much so that I guess I am doing it at my own expense. It will serve me right when I have nothing to wear to work...

I am planning a trip to Toronto in a few weeks' time, and I plan to be better prepared then. I am going to do some online research to narrow down which shoe stores to hit (in fact, that's what I told Chad I was doing on the computer tonight... and now I'm posting this instead. :}) I remember when spending a day at the mall was, well, spending a day at the mall, when I had the luxury of picking up a top here and then browsing several places until I found some matching bottoms there, and then going to a third place for shoes... but those days are long gone. Now, if I can't scout it out ahead of time on the internet, it's not likely going to get my business. I'm all about efficiency these days. Well... that, and staying away from the childrens' clothing stores!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


We've been dealing with a lot of sibling rivalry lately, and the hostility has all been directed at Mallory. As Mallory has grown increasingly mobile, Liam has grown increasingly protective of his turf. I swear that he spends more time informing me that Mallory is not allowed to interfere with whatever he's doing than he does actually doing it. For her part, Mallory does not care what she is playing with, just so long as it is the same thing Liam is playing with. So you can see where all this is headed.These are some photos from last week, when Liam was playing with the toy cash register he received for Christmas. There's a game on it where a voice prompts him to insert different coins (quarter, dime, nickel) and he loves playing along with it. Uh oh... who's this swooping in to interfere?I am usually torn on what to do when these fights happen. Is it Liam's right to play by himself, or should he be forced to allow Mallory to join in? Does it depend on whose toy he is playing with? Sometimes I force the issue of letting her play too (though that usually results in tears from Liam and his abandonment of the whole idea), and sometimes, when I have the energy, I pick her up and try to distract her with something else. That rarely works though; she can be pretty one-track-minded, and in no time she's back clambering all over Liam again.As Megan says, this is lucky for me, because I don't need to teach Liam the lesson. Mallory will take care of that for me. She won't listen to 'no' and will keep coming after him until he finally realizes that he's got a sibling and life now involves sharing. Let's just hope that the lesson is learned soon. On this particular day, he actually relented and let her play with a few coins of her own. It figures - this is the one toy I don't want him to share with her - because the coins are small and she keeps putting them in her mouth!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Family day - the inaugural

Here in Ontario, we are celebrating our first Family Day. Finally, a stat holiday in February! Previously, we've never had a long weekend between New Year's and Easter... which makes for a very loooong winter sometimes. I know this holiday is just a bone the premier threw out to win the last election, but I'm not one to complain about holidays.

The downside to this holiday is that it falls (duh) in February. Meaning that it is most likely too crappy to head outside, nothing is open, and there is not much to do here in our small town without some advance planning. We didn't think this one through ahead of time, so last night we were still scrambling for something to do today, and finally Chad suggested that we take the McDonalds gift cards we received as birthday party 'loot' the other night and have lunch at said place today. We could walk down in about five minutes, Liam could run amok in Playland, and it would be quality time spent together. It was fun - the last time we went to Playland, Liam wasn't able to scramble up the climbing structure without a boost from us, but this time he scaled it in no time. Once he came out the door crying - I think he got stuck coming down a tunnel for a bit and spooked himself. Within a few seconds though, the tears stopped and he headed back in for more. The birthday party at the Wild Zone is sounding better and better.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

With newfound social graces

Last night, we went to a birthday party for Liam's little friend who is turning 4. Mallory and one other little girl aside, Liam was the youngest one at the party - in some cases by as much as 7 or 8 years. That kind of spread on kids' ages is a pretty big deal - meaning that he had absolutely nothing in common with most of them. So it cracked me up big time when I asked him if he wanted to eat his dinner with me and Mallory and the other adults in the kitchen and he said no, he wanted to eat with the kids. Meaning, at the kids table in the dining room. I asked if he was sure, at which point Chad accused me of trying to make him a mama's boy and rendering him socially inept. And I had to agree. I still think of Liam being such a shy little thing, but while he is still really sensitive... the shyness is starting to wane. He is much more likely to join in with other kids' activities than he was even six months ago. So I fixed him a plate, and he found a spot at the kids' table, and although I don't think he talked to anyone... he clearly enjoyed himself. It got me all happy for him and proud of him. It was pretty cool to see.By the time the cake was cut it was past 9 p.m., and Mallory had clearly had enough, and Liam was starting to head south himself. But when I told him we were going to go home, he got his pouty lip and said, "But she hasn't opened any presents yet!" So we stayed a bit longer to watch the gift-opening, and then Liam decreed that we could all go home.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

No time to talk... I have lobster in the fridge upstairs, and am trying to figure out what to do with it for dinner. Broil? Steam? I have never made lobster before, and I would hate to ruin it due to ineptitude!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sure enough, the kiddos are not empty-handed

Liam sorts through his Valentine's after coming home from Cindy's last night. One of the other kids' moms made a heart-shaped cake for their party, and Liam ate two pieces. I'm surprised we got him into bed last night at all.
Liam wasn't keen on modelling the crown he made there for us, but Mallory was happy to oblige.She got a pile of Valentines, too, the lucky little thing. Lucky for us, she's still a bit young for candy, no?
A package came in the mail today from Gramma and Grampa Cook... these kids are spoiled, I say! Thanks for all the goodies!I love this shot: Liam trying to fend Mallory off of the Sweethearts...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

He does realize these are for giving away, right?

This was Liam on his way to Cindy's house this morning. Today is her Valentine's Day party (she generously moves most of her events onto Tuesdays so that Liam can participate.) We were told to dress in red and white, and of course we made Valentines for the other kiddos - dollar-store tubes of Hershey kisses topped with a teddy bear (for $1! Score!) with a couple of cards tied on, one from Liam and one from their soon-to-be classmate, Mallory. Now let's just hope that he gets something in return, so there are no temper tantrums when he comes home tonight after having given away all his treats!

(There was plenty of candy exchanged last year, and I'm thinking this year will be no different.)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sunday, Sunday

Since it's -20 outside and not really suitable for outdoor pursuits these days, we took the kids to the Wild Zone on Sunday. We had a complimentary ticket book to get used up, and we are also considering booking Liam's birthday party there, so I was able to do some snooping around the party room. I don't think we have the room at home for his party, especially not once we convert our playroom back into a formal dining room, because by then our house will officially be on the market. Plus, it would be great to let someone else do the cleaning up, especially when we have to be ready to show the house at the drop of a hat. A month ago Liam was talking about having a Spider Man birthday cake, something the Wild Zone won't accommodate (no outside food or drinks allowed, and they don't do Spider Man), but Liam has dropped the subject and I dare say he's over it now. Besides, we could always do Spider Man invitations and Spider Man goody bags to get his Spider Man fix. And frankly, if he gets another ride on this thing:...well, that should be more than enough to help all his Spider Man dreams come true. (Even if we don't wind up with Spider Man kitchen cupboards at the new house.)

Back at home, both kids took good naps, and when they got up we made up a batch of sugar cookies - only this time, instead of using the Christmas cookie cutters, they were mostly hearts. Liam did throw a few holly leaves into the mix, and at first he said we weren't allowed to eat any of the heart cookies until Valentine's Day. But after the holly leaves quickly disappeared, he relented and allowed us to start in on them right away.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

10 months

Dear Mallory,

You’re ten months old today. The older you get, the more your personality emerges... and the more I think boy, are we in trouble. There is never a dull moment with you, and no rest for the weary!

You are turning into a true drama queen. When we take away something you shouldn’t be playing with – which happens ALL THE TIME – you are likely to put your head down on the floor and just sob, like we are the meanest people EVER. It's as if the world is ending every single time, so I'm looking forward to the day when you learn to pick your battles! And speaking of things you shouldn't be playing with, I am still baffled by how attached you get to some of them. Lately you have been all over the paint chip we are considering for the dining room. Not all the paint chips lying around the house; just that one in particular. What is it about Audubon Russet that makes your heart sing? You carry it around with you in your mouth as you crawl...

Your latest tricks include your ‘spaghetti arms’ – when we pick you up and you’d just as rather not be picked up – you throw your arms up in the air, stick straight, hoping that without that little armpit ledge to hold you by, you’ll slip right out of our grasp. Not necessarily a smart move - have you considered that the alternative is falling? You are also babbling more coherent syllables now, with your favourite saying being ‘da dap’. Translation, please. We’d like to know what that means. Most significantly, for the past couple of weeks you have really enjoyed standing on your own for long periods of time. It entertains you in and of itself, but it really makes your day if someone notices you and comments on it – you’re a true performer. I know this month's shot makes it look like you topple easily, but really you are just easing yourself down after a few moments of standing there, grinning. (I call this shot "Imaginary Surfboard".) You truly do look like walking can’t be far off, though we’ve tried to egg you on and you don’t seem interested in our coaching.

More than ever, you are into everything, leaving a trail of chaos behind you. You eat cat food and Play Doh, you shred toilet paper and trail it through every room in the house, you dump the recycling bin on the kitchen floor and rummage through the garbage cans. Last week I found you eating a piece of garlic bread you’d fished out of the trash after dinner. I’d like to think we feed you enough, but you have me wondering. We have finally resorted to moving the cat food to the basement and installing locks on the cupboard doors, babyproofing measures I suppose we should have taken from the start, but because we never needed to do those things with Liam… it took us a long time to figure that out. Next on the agenda may be packing away the art pottery and family photos in the living room – knocking these off their shelves is your latest favourite game. On the bright side, your interest in toilet water has waned somewhat this month, giving me hope that this need for non-stop vigilance will be over before we lose our minds.

Then again… if we don’t figure out the high chair issue soon, we might lose our minds anyway. We switched you from the original high chair to Gramma and Grampa’s after the original proved to be a royal pain to clean, and too big for your small stature. The problem is that the new high chair didn’t come with a safety belt, and you know it. You climb up out of your seat at least 20 times during each meal and perch precariously on the tray, and it is a constant battle to get you safely back on your bum. I am SO sick of fighting you on this, but it does not look like you will ever tire of your little game.

The silver lining this month is that just as suddenly as it appeared, your eczema is virtually gone. So at least I can feel like I'm winning one of my battles!

This month, you weigh 20 pounds 5 ounces (fully clothed) and I'm not even going to bother checking your length - because I know it's something that will just get you all riled up, and really, who needs more of that?

As much as I gripe about the need to hover over you and the non-stop cleaning up after you, there isn't a thing about you that I would change. You are spunky and mischevious, but it's just curiosity and a desire to keep up with the rest of the family that makes you that way, and who can fault you for that? You always have a twinkle in your eye and a belly laugh ready to let rip. I can have wallflower tendencies, myself, and I admire your audacity and reckless abandon. Let's just learn to channel them for good rather than evil now, hmmmm?


Friday, February 08, 2008

What goes around comes around

I have had the TV on The Today Show every morning for the past 14 years, and I have always had a bit of a thing for Matt Lauer. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to turn on the show yesterday and hear the first words out of his mouth: "I have to admit, I've always had a crush on Mallory."

OK, so he was talking about Mallory Keaton from Family Ties - the entire original cast was reuniting to celebrate the show's 25th anniversary. But still...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Good for a rainy day

When we did our annual Christmas get together with my side of the family last year, we went around the table and everyone told us what their favourite Christmas gift ever received was. I was totally surprised when my sister Katrina said the best gift she'd ever gotten was a box I put together for her when she was young that was full of craft stuff: plasticine, pipe cleaners, paints, etc. I had totally forgotten about giving her that (of course - terrible memory, remember?) but was really happy that she remembered and that it had been such a hit.

Fast forward to yesterday, which looked like this:That is to say, it was not the best day in the world to be outside, or to be travelling anywhere. I asked Liam in the morning what he wanted to do. I had a couple of errands to run, but was out of ideas for what to do afterwards. He replied that he wanted to do a craft.

One of the stops of our trip out was the dollar store, and while I'm not usually fond of their made-in-China junk that never lasts more than a week, it's a goldmine as far as kids' craft stuff is concerned. I have pads of construction paper and finger paints and scissors and paintbrushes - all kinds of goodies that have come from there. We hadn't brought home anything new in a while though, so I figured we were due. We picked up some new markers, some pipe cleaners, some pom poms, glue and a watercolour paint book. Once home, I cut a heart out of red construction paper and Liam probably spent a good three hours gluing (glueing? - can't think right now) pom poms onto it and colouring with the new markers. He was quite entranced by the new markers. His old set is 8 and the new one is 30, and he can't quite get over the fact that there are FOUR blue markers! And THREE orange ones!
When I was a kid, I was pretty into the crafty stuff, too. (Hard to believe, right? Ha!) Only we had to make do with toilet paper rolls and egg cartons and the styrofoam trays that our meat came packaged on (washed, of course). In other words: stuff that was otherwise destined for the garbage. I always wanted stuff like pom poms and pipe cleaners, though I can't remember ever asking my parents for them and being turned down. Maybe that's why I gave Katrina what I did - maybe I was really fulfilling a dream of my own. I would still have made caterpillars out of egg cartons, but then I could have given them a pipe cleaner antenna and some googly eyes to really finish the critters off right.

In my mind's eye, I already have the kids' playroom in our new house set up. It doesn't involve any new furniture or toys, and it's not very much bigger than the one they have now. But it has a corner that's entirely devoted to creative pursuits, including all the materials needed. There are egg cartons and toilet paper rolls, but there are also markers and paints, papers and glues, glitter and buttons, all readily accessible any time the kids want to get crafty. Of course, Liam was ready for something like that when he was ten months old. But given her track record, we'll be lucky if Mallory knows enough not to put the glue in her hair, the pipe cleaners in the toilet and the pom poms in her mouth by the time she's 3. In other words... it will be a while before this crafty dream of mine comes true.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Why we had fish for dinner last night

Pancake Tuesday kind of snuck up on me this year. I didn't realize it was yesterday until I was driving Liam to Cindy's house and passed a couple of churches with Pancake Supper signs out front. This was after I had already fed Liam waffles left over from the weekend for breakfast. Liam is not one to turn down anything covered with maple syrup, and I was considering making pancakes for dinner nonetheless, but when we went to pick him up again yesterday afternoon, we found him sporting this Mardi Gras mask and gloating over the fact that Cindy had made the kids pancakes with blueberries for lunch. So we had salmon instead.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Never a dull moment

Last night, when Chad came home from work, I was upstairs tending to Liam. I hadn't seen him in a bit so I went looking for him, and I found him lying in Mallory's crib, crying. I was playing 20 questions with him, trying to figure out why he was crying. Did he want out of the crib? (He can climb in, but not out.) Was he feeling sick? Was he hungry? Did he want company? Did he hurt himself? Did he want me to bring him his stuffed bunny?

After a few minutes of this, Chad walked in door and I heard something to the effect of "What the heck is going on ?" come out of his mouth. Which made sense when I came back downstairs and saw what he was looking at: namely, this:I don't know how or why Mallory decided to climb into the dishwasher while I was upstairs with Liam - and it's not like she had more than two or three minutes to decide to do just that. But she did.

Lor' help me.

Monday, February 04, 2008

With kids, some things are just different