Friday, July 30, 2010

Creative Problem Solving?

Going into parenthood, I always suspected that my child would one day outsmart me.

Never, ever would I have thought that day would come so soon.

While I was making baby food this morning, I heard whines and cries coming from the land of toys on the floor. Not knowing what could be wrong with Ember, I went to investigate. I sat down beside my distressed babe and scooped her up. Immediately, she stops crying, reaches over my shoulder, takes her soother off the coffee table and pops it in her mouth.

Apparently, that's all she wanted. Just a boost to reach her new favourite "toy".

My baby manipulated me! Worked me right over!!

My mum says she's creative problem solving. Interesting perspective.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Ghetto Babywalker

I've had my eye on a walker for Ember for sometime now. I love this one from Plan Toys. The reason I haven't purchased one yet is because she's progressing pretty quickly and I'd hate to bring another object into our cramped condo if it's going to be redundant fairly quickly.

Well, Ember seems to have sourced a walker for herself.


She's so proud of herself. Maybe it's the standing. Maybe it's the soother that she hasn't liked until now - what a fun toy!

The laundry hamper!

Yea, it's just the right height and we can put items in the basket stabilize it as she toddles along. (In this case - laundry (clean) - how novel.)

She's making progress to be sure. I think it's so funny to watch her take actual steps because she is still so tiny.

video
Just a bit of an abrupt ending; a minor meltdown ensued.

(The red tent in the background belongs to our cat and Ember plays in it too. And the pile of laundry would be a couch slipcover that I have to take the dry cleaners... that I haven't got around to yet. Don't judge me.)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Week in Photos: July 21st - July 27th

July 21st:
Today, Ember earned the name Doogie. She just seems to be acting beyond her 7 months. When we picked up Andrew from work this evening, she stretched her legs on the front seat and reached for my coffee. She took off her tank top tonight while getting her jammies on and nodded when asked a question, I swear! Pride and admiration pours out of me for that girl ... even though she is in a ridiculous hurry to grow up.

July 22nd:
This morning Ember and Hugo made huge strides in their relationship. Hugo the cat has been disdainful since our girl arrived in December - she took all of our attention and redefined his territory. Over the last couple of months, Ember has become very interested in the cat and he has had zero tolerance in indulging her curiosity. Now that she's mobile and can chase after him, he's been slow to forge a friendship. That changed today though, when Ember pulled herself up on his basket. Hugo didn't run away or dodge her touch. Today, Ember made contact.

July 23rd:
Playing in the light of the morning. She's beginning to look like such a little girl, isn't she? Oh, my heart.

July 24th:
Another Saturday, another rugby pitch. Ember happily plays on the blanket while the game plays out behind her. She was so interested in the family beside us and the little boys playing with their dog. If she were able, she would have walked over and joined in the activity. No matter how she studied the play, she couldn't get any further than this in being upright.

July 25th:
I spent the bulk of the afternoon making jam. During one of my breaks, I came into the family room to find Ember had pulled herself up to standing on the basket. I made such a fuss over the accomplishment that she got distracted and plunked down on her bottom. She tried to get herself back up but couldn't manage it while hamming it up for the camera.

July 26th:
Funny girl shoved the smallest of her stacking cups in her mouth and sucked on it for several minutes. She is such a goof! I couldn't help but giggle at her. She would start to giggle back, but the cup would slip out of her mouth prompting her to slurp it back in.

July 27th:
Lunchtime today. Ember had fresh pureed apricots. She seems to like them because she opens her mouth for spoonfuls several times over but her face doesn't sell it that way. With each bite, she winces, kicks, her hands clench into fists and tears form. Does this look like a happy girl?! This is the only food that garners this reaction. I'm such a mean mummy for feeding it to her over and over again, aren't I?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I Have a TV Kid.

My child could very easily become a couch potato. If the TV is on in front of her, Ember assumes this slack jaw, vegged out stance while staring intently at the screen.



To be clear, she's not allowed to "watch" television. We don't use it as an electronic babysitter. But Andrew and I do watch TV while she's playing often in the room with us. And sometimes, post nap, she catches it before I turn it off. Like this instance, I plunked her down in her exersaucer and she glommed on immediately.


Do you see that drool on her chin? Yea! Drool!!

It must be the flurry of movement and colours; she's in a trance. When I think of my childhood, television hardly had a role. Instead I remember building forts on our acreage, running races and playing house and school. I want the same for Ember and I would love to make it to kindergarten without her knowing who Dora and Diego are.

Though I don't want to be tyrannical about television either. I'm hoping to achieve some sort of balance as she grows into toddlerhood.

video
I guess I should be grateful she even acknowledged me.

Do your children watch TV? At what age did you think it appropriate to let them? Is there certain children's programming that you deplore and forbid in your house?

I ask because I'm really afraid of certain characters being household names and want to know if I'm the only one.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Because I Can, Can

On Saturday morning, our family took its ritual walk down to the town's Farmer's Market. We usually just wing it, buy whatever veggies look beautiful and I plan our week's meals around our purchases. This past Saturday however, I went with a list. Being that it is the height of berry season, I needed to take advantage so I could tackle #23 on my 28 in 28 list - make jam with BC berries. So I headed out with quantities in mind so I would have just the right amount of fruit to achieve the proper fruit to sugar to pectin ratios. Going in, I wasn't too sure what jam concoctions I was going to create, but I wanted options. I came home with various juicy berry gems as well as a bag of peaches for good measure.

Despite the glorious weather, I took Sunday off to jam. I chose to make freezer jam since this was my first time jamming. As I ladled my first concoction into jars, I felt such accomplishment ... though it's so easy! Puree/mash fruit, stir in pectin and sugar, continue stirring for a few minutes and ladle into prepared jars.


A significant amount of freezer real estate has been taken over.

I managed to make three different kinds - strawberry honey, peach raspberry and straspberry (1/2 strawberry, 1/2 raspberry) - and they are all so good. There will be no more store bought jam in our future!


I hate to play favourites, but strawberry-honey is my favourite. yum!


I hope your weekend was a fruitful one. Ohhh. Bad pun; sorry!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Classy Lassie

My mum.

She's kind hearted, generous and beautiful - inside and out.

Happy Birthday to the lady who was hoping to get fresh fruit at IHOP.*

I love her. Lots.


*Mum: Do you have fresh fruit?
IHOP waitress: Uh no. We have fruit from those fruit cups. But, we can put it in a bowl for you.
Mum: Oh, that's all right. I'll just have the short stack.
(waitress walks away)
Me: Mum, we're at the IHOP. Fresh fruit? Really?
(Mum shrugs)
Me: (laughs) I love you.

Update: My mum just brought it to my attention that she has also sought out fresh fruit at Denny's. It really begs the question, why does she eat at such establishments??? HBD Mum!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Suck It!!!


I'm grateful everyday that breastfeeding came easily to Ember and me. She quickly established an excellent latch and we're still going strong seven months in, even with the eruption of a couple of teeth. I've not had any issues with milk shortage - this dairy queen is producing. I know all women aren't as lucky; I'm grateful.

However it hasn't been without its difficulties. There is a crack in Righty (that is now a permanent part of my anatomy), which prompted the use of a nipple shield and the subsequent reliance that had to be broken. Oh and let's not forget the bout of thrush, blanching and vasospasm because I had too much milk rushing at her.

I think any breastfeeding veteran, newcomer or mummy-to-be will get a kick out of Parenting.com's guide in how to "really" prepare for breastfeeding. It's lighthearted, not meant to be taken seriously and I can certainly relate. Especially with Day 3 and Day 6 - hubby can attest to that.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Week in Photos: July 14th - July 20th

The number one item on my 28 in 28 is to take a photo a day for 365 days. (Inspired by Wendolonia.) That alone isn't too much a challenge for me. However to take a photo to act as a journal for our family and actually document it the moment properly ... a wee bit trickier. Alas, I'm off to a good start and feeling good about the organization system I've created to succeed at the project.

Here are the photos from the past week.

July 14th:
My 28th birthday. I had a fantastic day with my family. I thought it fair to skip my morning run and laze away until Ember woke up. It just so happened to be 10 am when I woke up to Ember 'la la la-ing'. Though I like to think she was singing Happy Birthday to me. We stumbled out of the bedroom to find a birthday banner hanging on the wall and a note left by Andrew wishing me a wonderful day. What a nice surprise! After dinner we enjoyed a white chocolate mousse icebox cake which I couldn't resist having a family picture with.

July 15th:
While getting Ember ready for bed, I spotted dirt all over her piggies from her adventures from throughout the day. When Andrew began wiping her feet with a wet cloth, Ember erupted in giggles that came straight from her belly. Being that baby belly laughs are more contagious than chicken pox, all three of us laughed until we cried.

July 16th:
These bouquet of beauties arrived from my mother-in-law today as a belated birthday surprise. Aren't they lovely? Ember and I were battling over nap time and my patience was running dangerously low when the deliveryman rapped at the door. My mood was restored upon seeing these and I looked at Ember and said, "Nana just saved the day."

July 17th:
Andrew joined rugby late in the season this year. As he hasn't played for a couple of years, due to life and injury, he committed to third division. After playing just three games, the first division coach recruited him to come out and play with the premier boys. Saturday marked a big game for the club, against the only team to have beaten our first division boys this season; there was a lot of pressure on the team to win. It was a real nail biter of a game but our boys pulled it off - they won 18-16!! This photo was taken immediately post game.

July 18th:
Our trio was over at my father-in-law's for a belated birthday dinner. Very suddenly, the skies opened and rain poured down. It was a lovely downpour as the heat of the day remained. Ember just loves walking while hanging on to our hands for support. So it's not surprising that when I took her out to see and smell the rain, she gestured to get down and dip her tootsies in the small puddles. We did a dozen laps of the deck, or more, while raindrops fell on our faces.

July 19th:
Ember freaking loves rice rusks. It is pure, unadulterated love. I'd kept them in hiding for several days as I want her to learn to love fruits and veggies with the same passion. Today, I decided to let her have a treat after eating some applesauce. Just upon hearing that package, she began to vibrate. Check out the focus and desire on that face.

July 20th:
I wish I could have seen the look on her face when Ember realized that she could reach the top of the coffee table and pull herself up. My fear of the tumble that could take place, had me stay right behind her. She got right up on her feet and she giggled with pride. I giggled in response. But more so because her right pant leg was stuck under her left foot and as soon as she shot up, her pants drooped a bit.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

High/Low

Each night, while laying in bed, Andrew and I reflect on our day by asking each other what the high and low of our day was.

I got the idea years ago while watching 'The Story of Us', an old Michelle Pfeiffer and Bruce Willis movie. It's not the greatest movie of all time by any stretch but it has become a guilty pleasure of mine, one that I enjoy watching while feeling under the weather. If chick flicks float your boat, you may enjoy it as a rental.

Do people rent movies anymore?

Anyway, by asking each other high/low it forces us to reflect on our day. Usually, by that point in the day, the rough parenting moments are forgotten and only the gems of Ember's character development and personality are all that remain. My 'highs' lead to stories and that is how Andrew is often brought up to speed of what happened in his absence over the course of the day. Of course there are days, when I can rattle off my low without blinking an eye.

High/low has been part of our bedtime ritual for years now. Actually, we end trips, holidays and family visits with high/low, too. When looking back on your day in this manner, you realize that life is charmed. The little wonderful moments, which are all too easy to forget, are highlighted. And, you realize that the trying moments are just that - moments. At once, you see the little things and the big picture. It's a good perspective.


High: Mutual adoration society.


What's the high/low of your day?

Monday, July 19, 2010

My Family Celebrates my 28th

Rather than going out for dinner, I wanted to stay home and make myself an easy, summer dinner. Okay, we were planning on dining out until I found this recipe: avocado fries.

Yeah. Avocado freaking fries.

Immediately, I pictured them on a plate with a grilled steak and mixed green salad; a drool worthy summer dinner if you ask me. I couldn't resist and told hubby to cancel the dinner reservation.

Drool worthy indeed. This dinner totally delivered! I would have loved to share photos, but um, it disappeared too quickly.

Ember got in on the avocado action, too and loved it!



I thought it only fitting to follow it up with a homemade a dessert. Craving white chocolate with summer berries and wanting minimal effort, I settled on an icebox cake. I'd not made an icebox cake before and ,my word - why have I waited so long?? So simple and delicious, I highly recommend it.*


food photography is not my forte

My day was made better with presents. I'm not going to lie, I love receiving gifts. He decided that he theme all gifts in helping me accomplish my 28 in 28, very clever and much appreciated.



Thank you family, for a fabulous day!



*To get what I really wanted, I fused this recipe with the white chocolate component of this one.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Twenty Eighth Year

Now, more than ever, a mental list is compiling of things I'd like to achieve in a somewhat timely fashion and of course, it's harder than ever to effectively get things done for myself.

So, as this is my first birthday since becoming a mummy, I feel it's paramount to set the tone of prioritizing me from time to time. Without returning to work, I fear that I may get lost in the shuffle and become too much of a mum and quit working on me. In the efforts of prioritizing me, I've created a list of 28 things I'd like to accomplish in my 28th year.

I have 365 days to:

1. Take a photo a day for 365 days to act as a journal of our family. Bind in book at end of year. Inspired by Wendolonia's Project 365.
2. Properly learn to knit. Complete a lace scarf.
3. Catch up and complete Ember's baby book.
4. Learn to sew and sew myself a skirt, a dress for Ember, and re-usable grocery & produce bags.
5. Run 10 kilometres.
6. Swim 600 metres in 15 minutes
7. Make ricotta, yogurt, mayonnaise, sour cream
8. Bake bread (sans machine), pretzels, bagels, croissants, challah bread and crumpets.
9. Make pulled pork sandwiches from scratch.
10. Make pasta from scratch
11. Find the perfect concealer
12. Snowshoe in Jasper National Park with my family.
13. Make authentic marinara sauce - my current sauce just isn't cutting it.
14. Colour my hair for the first time EVER - just highlights and/or lowlights.
15. Start a new tradition as a family.
16. Paint the kitchen.
17. Start planters on the balcony.
18. Make ice cream and create a new flavour.
19. Take Ember to the Vancouver Aquarium.
20. Learn how to tie a tie.
21. Learn how to fold a fitted sheet.
22. Organize all the photos on my hard drive and back them up weekly!
23. Make jam with BC berries.
24. Begin compiling (handwritten) our family's favourite recipes in a notebook.
25. Re-purpose old sheets and clothes - sew cloth napkins and rags. Stop buying paper towels.
26. Create a budget and stick to it.
27. Go away with Andrew for a night.
28. Learn the rules of my man's sport, rugby.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Her Favourite Colour is Blur

In the months of pregnancy, Andrew and I would lie in bed at night imagining what our baby would be like. I asked him, "What would our little boy's favourite colour be?" Without missing a beat, Andrew replied "blur, because he will run so fast, that's all we'll see." I thought it hilarious and marvelled at the little boy that still lives inside him.

Turns out, it's Ember's favourite colour. Or maybe it's mine. It has crept, er zoomed, into many a photo.


Kicking.


Ordering.


Crawling.


Flapping.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Few of My Favourite Things

Dimples on elbows,
and long auburn ashes.
Wrinkles on noses,
and mad crawling dashes.







video

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Over The Shoulder Boulder Holder

Running with breastfeeding sized boobs has necessitated a new sports bra. Enter the Shock Absorber.

This thing is intense. Imagine wearing three sports bra, and then wrapping the girls, nah the ladies, in duct tape. There is no bounce!

So the straps are the size of seatbelts... whatever.

Monday, July 5, 2010

MY Seven Month Itch

I've gotten this urge as of late, to have another baby. It's ridiculous!!!

I think it's because Ember is going full force towards toddlerhood and her wee baby days seem so foggy already.

Just an urge people, it ain't going to happen.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Seven Month Itch

Miss Ember turned seven months old yesterday. We are just charging towards that one year mark. La sigh.

Oh the character development that has taken place over the past month. During the months hitherto Ember's six month birthday, she was my 'ladybug'. Since then, she has earned the nickname 'turkey'. She is fully mobile now - pseudo crawling - and itching to go.

All. The. Time.

It's all hands on deck when Ember isn't contained, strapped down etc. because she can clear a room in no time. She is now trying to pull herself up using furniture though without any success - yet. These acts of bravery and strength have resulted in two black eyes. They lasted all of 5 hours each, but 0f course this hasn't detoured at all from trying repeatedly.

Andrew and I are trying valiantly to baby-proof without going overboard or buying new furniture. There has been one casualty, a lamp, which we apparently neglected to properly tuck its cord away.

In other news, Ember is slowly warming up to food, with her favourite so far being pears. Sleeping has become less of a hassle; we've even established some semblance of a schedule. AND, we can see a bottom tooth - just waiting for it to pop through!

Likes:

- Patty cake - she will hit my hands as I sing the song.
- Bedouin Soundclash. The first time this they came up on the shuffle, she started bouncing and swinging her arms.
- Laura Branigan's Gloria. She bounces back in forth to the beat of this song which is hilarious because this was my favourite song when I was her age.
- Walking along with the help of Andrew or me; she could go for hours viewing the world from her 26" vantage point.
- the 'Bless You' that comes after sneezes
- being scared. Not kidding. She erupts in giggles when you spring up behind her and startle her; it's the cutest and strangest thing.

Dislikes:

- Having freedom dashed away when being strapped down into her carseat, stroller and so on.
- black eye inducing slips and spills.

I was going to post photos from her seven month photo shoot, but the following video sums Miss Ember too perfectly not to share.

Happy seven months, turkey!!


video

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Summer Eats



The flavours of the earth are bright, juicy and bountiful in the summer. However, for me, it's sometimes hard to pull myself away from the heat and fun to prepare dinner. That's why I love the two lists that Mark Bittman of the New York Times has compiled.

101 Fast Recipes for Grilling
101 Simple Salads for the Season



I'm going to print both lists and keep them close by for quick meal planning inspiration. Enjoy!