Friday, August 29, 2008

4 Years: An Eternity in the Blink of an Eye.

Scott and I celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary yesterday. He brought me beautiful flowers and gave me a really sweet card. I totally flaked and didn't do anything (I thought we were "officially" celebrating this Saturday). What's funny is that our 10 year date-iversary is coming up in October, and to me, that is even more monumental. I mean, that's almost a third of my life - that's a long time!

In some ways, it feels like just yesterday that we got married. While that day now ranks 3rd in the "happiest day of my life" department, behind the births of Max and Cam (tied for 1st, thank you very much), it was still a wonderful day. Mostly, it feels like it isn't possible that so much could have happened in just 4 years. Let's see, we've had two kids, both changed jobs twice, dealt with four major health crises with our parents (one each!), Max has had surgery twice...and that's just off the top of my head.

I won't say it has always been easy or fun, because it has been a lot of work. I will say that the work has been worth it, and that I know we can tackle anything as long as we do it together. I love him more today than the day we got married and I will love him more tomorrow. There is something very sexy about a man who changes diapers without complaining and will get dressed (after he has already gotten in his pajamas) to go pick up Thai food. Scott may not be handy, but he has a heart of gold. Tomorrow he is taking me away (sans kids) to Niagara for a night. We are staying at the B&B where we stayed when he proposed, and going to dinner at the restaurant where he actually proposed. And going to all my favourite wineries...and I'm going to the spa. How lovely is that?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Maxwell Hunter: 28 months.

Dear Max,

This has been a really exciting month for you - you have started talking! We have been waiting for this for a long time little buddy, and each day we listen closely for whatever new words you are going to throw our way. I'm so thrilled, I am keeping a list of your words - I even sent a copy of the list to your daycare so they could listen for those words (and hopefully add to the list with new ones!). You seem to be a bit shy about talking in front of your dad, so he has to trust the rest of us that you are in fact starting to talk.

My favourites so far are when the other night at the end of your bath, I pulled the plug out and said "water go bye bye", you looked at me, stood up and said "done!" as you vaulted yourself out of the tub. You also gave your grandpa (aka "Bumpa") a thrill when he came in the door and said "hi Max" and you looked at him and said "hi". Your teacher, Jennifer, almost fell over when you said "hi" to her last week - I think you made her day. You also like to say "push" when you are laying on the couch to get me to push on the bottom of your feet. It comes out kind of like "ush", but I know what you mean.
Your favourite toys right now are your cars. You like the ones that rev up and roll across the floor on their own. I bought you some monster trucks that even flip over, which you think is really cool. When they roll under your trampoline you crawl under it to pull them out (quite a sight to see your little feet peaking out from under the trampoline as you try to reach them).

As your sister gets bigger, we are starting to bring out some of your older toys and you are very interested in these. Sometimes you take them and hide them (like that vibrating turtle toy) and sometimes you just hang out and play with them yourself. I hope you don't mind sharing your old toys too much - I know sharing can be hard.

Max, you are turning into a boy right before my eyes and I'm not sure I'm ready for it (though I'm kind of thrilled that you look like me - check out this picture of me when I was five). Every day you do something new and it we are all amazed at how terrific you are doing. Your grandparents love the daily progress reports and pictures of you with your big toothy grin. Keep it up - you are one awesome little guy.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Excuse Me While I Whine.

I think I have the flakiest maid in the world. She is supposed to come every Friday at 11am. But really, she shows up every other week at best, and when she does come, it is at whatever damn time she pleases. Now, before you start mocking me for complaining about how hard done by I am because my cleaning lady only shows up 50% of the time, I know that I am pretty lucky to have a cleaning lady at all. I even checked the site White Whine before posting this blog to see if anyone else had the "nerve" to complain about their cleaning lady.

She has trained me well. I now clean my kitchen before she comes because if I leave the dishwasher for her to empty, I can't find a damn thing until she comes back and I ask her where she put my rice cooker, strainer, or veggie steamer. She tells me that she leaves me messages when she can't come, but her number never shows up on the call display. If I don't bring the vacuum up and leave it on the landing for her, she won't vacuum. She puts my wine glasses and fancy Paderno pots in the dishwasher, which gives me heart palpatations. If I don't put the clean sheets on the bed (and leave them instead on the dresser), she will not change the sheets. She doesn't empty the kitchen garbage, and when she washes the floors, she mops around the area rugs instead of taking them outside and shaking them out and actually washing the floor below them.

She puts my fancy steak knives in the drawer where I keep all the mismatched cutlery, doesn't clean the mirrors on the closet doors (typically covered in Max hand prints) and have I mentioned that when she does change the sheets to the beds, she somehow manages to find the one clean basket of laundry yet to be put away and jams the dirty sheets on top of my nicely folded and so-fresh-so-clean-clean clothes (even when I leave an empty basket at the end of the bed).

So, why the hell do I keep her? Well, when I went on maternity leave, I wanted to go down to having her come every other week. But then I realized, that's how often she comes anyway, so if I actually changed to every other week, I'd see her once a month at best. Also, she is the only person in my life who is actually helping me with the housework (Scott, god love him, is not the most useful around the house). And there is the issue about her having a key to my home...I just think the conversation where I ask for the key back is way too stressful to even contemplate.

She probably thinks I'm the flake, that I don't even care that she only shows up every now and again, I don't criticize her work, and I rarely get specific about things I want. Oh well. At least she gives me subject matter to blog about. That's something.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

"Reigning it In".

I had every intention of not overdoing it this week at the local farmer's market at Oakville Place. Clearly, I was not successful in my attempt as I had to make about three trips from the car to the house just to get my groceries inside. We also hit Organic Garage on the way home to get some chicken, pork, milk, and pizza sauce. I figure with the price of chicken and pork going through the roof, I might as well spend a few dollars more and buy organic.

I was also sent a copy of the Rebar cookbook (it arrived yesterday - what a treat!). I am excited to delve into it and pick some recipes to try out on the family. The salad recipes and soups look divine. I swear, I never though I'd turn into a foodie, but it looks like I am heading down that road in a hurry. Between my homemade pizza, plans to can tomato sauce and apple sauce this fall, I feel like a cooking superstar. Well, maybe more of a local celeb (or a vision in my own mind). On a final note, I did make pizza when I was in Ithaca. Behold my work of art:I wasn't crazy about the crust, but it may just be that I once again didn't give the dough enough time to rise. I also think that whole wheat flour isn't the best for pizza dough (it seems a lot denser than white flour). Next time I'll used the unbleached white flour instead.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Home Again.

Cam and I got home on Monday night - and I'm happy to report we arrived in one piece (individually, that is). Ithaca was awesome as usual and the car was packed to the gills as a result of much shopping and my sister-in-law Haschmo being very generous with baby items she no longer needs because my nephew Zevi has outgrown them (I also think she is happy to get this stuff out of her house until she needs it again).

Scott and Max were happy we came home - each for their different reasons. I think Max missed story time and Scott missed having someone adult to talk with. I have been really tired since I got back, and Cam has been a little fussy. I think traveling took it out of both of us. Tomorrow we're going to head to the farmer's market to get our weekly supply of fruit and vegetables. I also want to get to Organic Garage to pick up some other supplies for the house.

Cam is a tired little camper (and 16 weeks old today!), so it's time to hit the sheets. More tomorrow, I promised!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Girls' Road Trip.

I had been planning to go visit Jennifer in Ottawa this weekend (a delayed birthday celebration weekend), but some really sad circumstances meant that we had to postpone our trip for a few weeks. Thing is, I had already done a lot of prep work to go on this road trip, baby and all. The car was full of gas, groceries stocked for Scott and Max, clothes and toiletries packed, cell phone fully charged, and nowhere to go.

I racked my brain on where Cam and I could go that was within a five hour drive and was baby friendly, and well, actually somewhere I wanted to go. It didn't take long for me to think of the perfect place - Ithaca, New York. Once I established that we would be welcome at my brother David and sister-in-law Haschmo's house, I reformed my plans and got some Yankee dollars, then we hit the road.

I am proud to say that Cameron did terrific. It took us 4.5 hours to get here and she only cried for the last half hour. I can't really blame her, that last half hour is tiresome. When we arrived, Cameron's cousin Zevi was thrilled to see her and I was thrilled to be off the road. I inhaled the sweet Ithaca air and relaxed like only you can do with family.

Now that I know Cameron is such a good little traveller, I am looking forward to the soon to be rescheduled visit to Ottawa. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy hanging out, do some shopping at Target, and drink some of that yummy Ithaca apricot wheat beer I love so much. Good times.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Homemade Pizza Take Two & Three.

We've been busy at the house of Feline the past few days. Max decided to come down with a nasty fever and has been home from daycare for the past two days. Needless to say, taking care of a newborn and a sick 2 year old is less than fun and very tiring. Looks like he is on the upswing though, so fingers crossed he is feeling better tomorrow morning and can get back into his routine.

In the meantime, I have been going a bit nuts with the pizza experiment. I decided to try making my own dough, and I learned a hard lesson about patience. Turns out, if you don't give the dough long enough to rise, it tastes like cardboard.

Attempt #2:

I decided to add a control group to attempt #3 and I upped the ante on toppings (in case my dough failed to "rise" to the occasion). My dough stacked up just fine ( tried a different recipe) against the store bought dough, so I think I have finally mastered the art of pizza making. Woo wee! Now I can really go crazy with the toppings and try some different crusts as well. Is my family lucky or what?

Attempt #3:

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Hey! Guess What?

Max has ringworm. Boo to that, poor kid. Also, he is starting to talk. Wicked. Awesome. The Best. Superb. So HAPPY I COULD FLY. Champagne. Celebrations. Hugs all around.

The words are not consistent, but they are definitely starting. So far we have:

down (heard at daycare)
all done
nay (like a horse)
mommy (heard at daycare)
more (heard at daycare)
did it (as in "we did it" from Dora)

We have been waiting a long time for this and working hard with Max to get him communicating. I have prayed many times a day for over a year for this. Now we just have to keep 'em coming!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Homemade Pizza: Take One.

Before today, I had never, ever, made homemade pizza. I've had my share of frozen mini pizzas, and eaten pretty much every kind of take out pizza available, but I've never made my own. I remember visiting Jennifer once in Ottawa, and she made homemade pizza, which I inhaled. I marvelled at how fabulous it was, but figured it was too hard to make. But, now that I'm on the "eat local" train, I figure I need to find a way to make some of our family favourites from scratch (or semi-scratch as it may be). After doing a little bit of research, I got Scott to pick up a pizza stone and some pizza paddles for us. I then went to our local Italian grocery store, Longos, and purchased some pizza sauce, pizza dough, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, sweet roasted red peppers, portobello mushrooms and corn flour. I even bought some yeast so I can make my own dough next time.The first pizza ended up a little deformed because I had a hard time transferring the pizza from the paddle to the pizza stone. It turned out very tasty though, so, for a first attempt, not bad.
The second pizza proved marginally more successful - I slid some plastic plates under the pizza to move it to the pizza stone. Still not perfect, but a little better. I think next time (when I will make my own dough), I will try waxed paper and a lot more corn starch. Regardless, it was a big hit with the family, so I am satisfied with the first attempt.

Interesting note - Scott and I (both lactose intolerant) usually feel a little icky after eating take out pizza. Neither of us felt sick at all after tonight's pizza. I think it is that it is less greasy and there is a little less cheese on it.

If anyone has any tips on how to transfer the pizza to the pizza stone without it losing its shape, I'd sure appreciate your tips. I figure if we make pizza on a weekly basis I'll have it down pat by Christmas.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Cameron Elizabeth: 3 months old.

My dearest baby Cameron,

They say the first three months of having a newborn in the house are the hardest, and while I don't entirely disagree, I also have to say that they are magical. Sure, there is the crazy schedule and lack of sleep, time to eat, and basic fuzzy brain, but getting to see you grow and change before our eyes has been awesome. So awesome that I now understand why people keep having babies, and why everyone who meets you wants to stop and "oo" and "ah" over you.
This past month your personality has started to come out. I think you will be one sassy lady. I saw a psychic when I was six months pregnant with you, and she said you would be sassy, so it must be true. ;-) You like to squawk at me until I get ready to feed you, and they you look over at your dad as if to say, "see, I told you I could get her to take her boob out". Then you don't even eat! You just lay there and smile at me like I'm the funniest person in the world.
Your smile could light the world, and each morning when you wake up, you give me a dreamy look that makes me think you are pretty happy with your lot in life. And who could blame you really? I mean, boob pretty much on demand, you sleep in nice queen size bed with your mom (and sometimes dad too, though he prefers the cool basement guest room). You have enough clothes that you haven't even worn them all yet, and you have a lineup of people who want to give you kisses and cuddles.
The past few nights you have slept seven hours in a row for me, and that, little lady, is wonderful (keep it up!). You do like to stay up pretty late - your last feeding is usually around midnight or a bit later. The other night, just after you fell asleep, I looked down at you and you laughed in your sleep. I imagine you were having the field of boobies dream? Whatever it was, it was very sweet and I was very lucky to catch it. Something that I do want to bring up, is that you are a bit of a bed hog. I'm not sure how you manage it, but every night you start out in the middle of the bed, and by the end of the night, you have wiggled yourself so close to me, that I end up at the edge of the bed almost falling off, while you are laying diagonally, with one arm over your head (just like your dad sleeps). I swear, between the two of you, I'm lucky I don't end up bent like a pretzel at the foot of the bed.
Cameron, you seem to have a lot to say, and you are ever watchful. You seem to know the moment I enter the room (is that your boob-dar?), and you love to look at your dad (he can be very distracting when I am trying to get you to eat). You are also very chatty, which cracks us up. Sometimes your expression is so serious, we think you must be telling extraordinary tales, so we say "oh really?! That is amazing, tell us more!".

Yesterday I got out the bumbo chair for you to try out. You seemed to like it, though I didn't keep you in there for too long as I don't want your neck to get tired holding up your head. I sat you on the table and we had our morning talk about our plans for the day while I drank my coffee. I think you liked the new perspective of the world sitting up in your bumbo chair gave you. We also went for a play date with Maya and her little sister Hannah last week. They really liked holding you and playing with your toes. I'm not sure what you thought, but you were fairly agreeable with the whole situation and behaved quite well, so I'm pretty sure we'll be invited back next week.

I'm not sure how big you are now, we'll know for sure at your checkup on Wednesday. You are still wearing your 3 - 6 month clothes and wearing size 2 diapers, and you seem to be growing into your feet. Your face is filling out beautifully and I think you must be storing nuts in those cheeks of yours.

What else is there to say? You like to play with your woozit toy and your baseball bear. Sometimes I look over and I see the toys swinging and your arms and legs in the air as your bat the toys around, your eyes open wide in amazement. Your mobile and swing are also good at keeping you entertained, though not for too long. You still prefer to be held, and you and your big brother Max sometimes have staring contests. He still doesn't like it when you cry (if you carry on for too long, he starts crying too). You seem to be crying a bit less now that you are getting older, so we are all relieved about that (not that you were ever a super cryer).
Cameron, you are a wonderful baby, and your dad and I are enjoying having a baby in the house again. You light up our days and your dad can't wait to get home from work to see you and your brother every day. This coming month we'll get out the jolly jumper and exosaucer (more toys!) and see what you think of those. We also have a mom-daughter road trip planned to go visit your Aunt Jenny - a busy month for sure!


Edited to add: At your 3 month checkup, you weighed in at 12 pounds even, and measured 25.25 inches long. Your head cirmcumference was 16.5 inches.

Friday, August 01, 2008

You Can Stick Your Peruvian Apples You Know Where.

After sadly discovering that Max is allergic to plums (a real tragedy since he LOVES them), I decided I'd better get him some apples. Since it was Wednesday and the weekly Farmers Market wasn't until Thursday, I trotted off to my local grocery store (Dominion). And I looked for some locally grown apples. Huh. I looked some more. Argentina, USA, Peru... and you guessed it - not ONE stinking apple grown locally. I was so annoyed that I walked out apple free. Poor Max would have to eat some local blueberries until I managed to get to the Farmers Market. When I think about how much it must cost just to ship that produce from South America to Oakville, and how little the farmer is getting paid, it makes me feel a little sick. Not to mention just how little nutritional value is left by the time it gets to me, however many days later. No thank you - I'd rather buy my produce from someone who I can shake hands with.

I was actually surprised with how strongly I felt about buying local. I think I'm going to have to find another grocery store to shop at, just on principle. Dominion does a horrible job of providing local produce. In the peak of strawberry season, they had zero Ontario strawberries. I have yet to see Ontario blueberries or raspberries either. Everything is from California or South America. I think Loblaws may be a little better at selling local produce, so I'm going to check them out next time I need to shop outside of the Farmers Market.

Anyway, enough with the rant! We had much success at the market yesterday. As you can see, I bought a pile of apples, cucumbers (those small ones are tasty!), summer squash, blueberries, raspberries, peppers, cream corn and the big hit of the day was the Sugar Baby Watermelon. I immediately carved up half of it to be enjoyed by all, and it was super tasty.

Big ups to my friend DAM's wife, Natasha, who I finally got to meet yesterday. Natasha is hugely involved in charity work in Toronto. She told me about an organization in Toronto called "The Stop" that provides healthy food and produce to low income families. They also do a lot of work and education in the community. Way cool and very inspiring. I am definitely going to check out their new Green Barn. This just solidifies my goal of planting my own vegetables next summer. I'll probably start small, but I figure even a container garden on my deck is a start.