3.30.2011

Love-Hate Wednesday: The fun with recycling edition

I'm tired tonight and about to indulge in a bubble bath with a book, so I'll be quick!

My first love of the week - Judah has started to make art! Our first attempt at painting was about 9 months ago and Judah promptly attempted to eat the paint...who am I kidding, he did eat paint. That experience was enough to put me off painting avec Jude for awhile. My mom, being a much braver soul than I, tried again - success!! He loved it! We've officially started an art wall in the alcove where Judah likes to hang out- it consists of one painting (which you can see in progress below) and one print out of a photo of dogs which he is in love with. Only a grandmother would take the time to scan google images for such a picture..thank heavens.



"I could capture the essence of cubism here, but I think that might freak Morai out. So I shall lower myself to squiggles."



"I am good!"




I also wanted to share a video we took this week, which I love.

I love it
a.) because it stars Jude and I'm clearly obsessed
and
b.) because it proves that no matter how many newfangled Swedish toys you buy a kid, they will still find garbage (or in our case, recycling) more fun.

Also, in light of the theme, I hate when Judah takes chalk to the walls...perhaps I'm squashing his Monet-mural instinct, but a mama's got to draw the line sometimes.

Enjoy!

video



3.28.2011

Design freak: Out with the ugly, in with the re-newed!

I had today off, which naturally meant I had to undertake some sort of home-decor-improvement project.


Since I've shifted our bedroom to a bright, colourful theme, our ceiling fixture's been sort of bothering me. It's fairly new, and had nothing wrong with it per se...it was just very black...and austere...and foreboding...too far? I think not. 


Here's what it looked like this morning... when I woke up to feel its dark, sinister eye upon me. *DUN DUN DUN!*
Isn't it just the light fixture equivalent of Norman Bates? Something had to be done before I found it creeping up on me while I showered.  

A trip to Fabricland was in the offing! 

I normally buy my fabric online because I find much of my local Fabricland's selection is only suitable to bad house-dresses from the 1930's, however, I had been with my mom earlier in the weekend  and a couple of new, bright prints had caught my eye.

Fifteen dollars later, I had a meter of fabric (I still have enough to make throw cushions!) and a lot of velcro tabs. I cut a strip of the fabric approximately four inches wider and one inch longer than the drum shade itself. I then removed the bottom of the fixture and wrapped the fabric (inch by inch) around the perimeter bringing the excess width under and over the shade and affixing with velcro. 

When that was done, I smoothed out any areas that weren't taut and applied a bit of tape, again inside the drum. Once I was happy with the look all around the outside, I replaced the bottom to hide the dirty work, and voila! Fun, happy, non-life threatening drum shade. 
Mmmm! So good!


(Sorry it's so dark. You'll have to come visit in the day to do it justice.)


Our other DIY of the day is one we completed quite awhile ago, but I haven't gotten around to sharing. So here it is- equally, if not more lovely than the light. 


This was our bathroom vanity when we moved in...

Mhmm- nothing inspires like late 80's melamine. Best of all, the counter was painted white over bright pink (I swear the whole house was pink at one point) which was scratching off in a lovely abstract sort of way.

I scoured the internet for a piece of furniture that we could convert into a new vanity. We already had a new sink and tap, but there was no base that seemed to fit the bill. Finally, one day, I swiveled around in my office chair and inspiration struck. We had purchased two teak storage cupboards several years back in Ottawa. They had originally lived in a government building, but had since been retired for something modern (and decidedly less cool I'm guessing). We scored the pair for 50 bucks. And having two in the office was proving a bit crowded... Make it a vanity, you say? Brilliant idea.

Lucky for me, I have a renaissance man to call my own. He plumbed this baby in in a day and then cooked me dinner and played me a piano sonata...or maybe we had pizza and he fell asleep on the couch...regardless, this is how it turned out...



Oooh! Ahhhh! Brushing your teeth has never been so sexy!

3.25.2011

There's no accounting for taste

Today I decided to be a super-cool parent (at least for half an hour) and let Judah choose whatever he wanted to eat for lunch. 

These were his choices...

That's a bowl of yogurt, a cracker with peanut butter, an apple, orange juice, a cheese sandwich, pickles, chocolate chips and ketchup. If I didn't know any better, I'd say he was pregnant. 


Although his dipping pickles in peanut butter was making me a bit ill, he seemed satisfied with his selections...
There truly is no accounting for taste.


I guess I best be off to prepare the hot peppers, jam and cheerios for breakfast.

Happy Friday!

3.21.2011

Mouse!

This morning, just after Luke and Judah had departed for the day and I was returning to my office with a cup of tea in hand, Sadie-Cat came in from outside and followed me upstairs. It took a moment before I realized she had something in her mouth. It took a moment longer to realize the something in her mouth had a tail.

I am terrified of mice. I know it's an unfounded ridiculous fear, but I am terrified of them nonetheless.

I shrieked (naturally) and told the cat to go downstairs. Amazingly, she did not follow my directive to exit the building with her little friend. Instead, she dropped it.

And then it moved.

That's right ladies and gentlemen, not only does our cat bring mice in from outside, she brings live mice in from outside because, let's be honest, she's not hungry- she's just bored (note to self: cut back on the cat's kibble quotient).

So I did the only thing I could do in the situation. I screamed like a banshee, shut the office door and did not come out for over two hours, despite Sadie's meows of "Come see what I brought you!" under the door.

It sounded like Sadie played with the mouse for awhile- and I don't mean double dutch- but I could be wrong. I can't be sure as I was locked in the office with my feet up in the chair in case it squeezed under the door.

By lunch, I worked up enough courage to venture out into the interloper's area. There was no mouse to be found. I casually peeked my head into the doorways of the bedrooms- no mouse. I cautiously crept down the stairs- no mouse. I surveyed the main floor- no mouse.

It is now approximately 12 hours since Sadie and the mouse made their appearance, and still there is no trace. There are only three possible explanations:

1. Sadie ate the mouse whole and will hack up a diminutive rodent skeleton sometime this evening.

2. The mouse is dead and seeking its final resting place in my closet, ready to strike terror in the heart of the next person who foolishly chooses to wear the black turtleneck.

3. The sounds I heard were Sadie and the mouse dueling in the ultimate battle of the food chain. The mouse succeeded against all odds and is now under my bed plotting its revenge and waiting for lights-out so it can run itself a hot bath in the kitchen sink.



I hope it's option 1.

3.19.2011

The post-baby body

My dear friend Wendy recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. One of the last times we chatted before her daughter's birth, she mentioned how one of her friends had been warning her that after pregnancy, you could pretty much kiss your body as you know it goodbye. I was reassuring, "It's not that bad." "Things return to normal within six months." etc.


What was I saying!?


The conversation stuck with me and I started to actually consider the state of my body post-pregnancy/breastfeeding/ and sleep deprivation. After recognizing how much had in fact changed, I was left with only one conclusion: I had a bad case of post-partum amnesia. Yes, that magical brain chemical that had left me remembering my labour complete with rainbows and leprechauns, was now telling me, "Honey, you've always had a chest like Kate Hudson's, your arms muscles were always way out of proportion and I'm pretty sure those lion-attack-scarring stretch marks were there before your stomach stretched to two times its normal circumference."


That being said, I've embraced my post baby capsule state for the most part. My stretch marks are a lasting reminder of the amazing thing it was to contain another human life and my strangely muscular arms are testament to the hours I've rocked and carried and cuddled my son. The one part of my mommy physique I've had a hard time accepting, however, is my stomach.


Judah was a pretty big baby. I'm a pretty tiny woman. By the time week 41 of pregnancy rolled around, I looked like I had swallowed a large torpedo. I was seriously huge...and pointy. This is me two and a half weeks before he was born...







I don't remember that much from the anatomy unit of my gym class, but I'm pretty sure your abs are supposed to be really close to their next-door neighbour. By the time Judah was out, the right side of my abs would have had to make a trans-atlantic flight to visit their left hand counterparts. A veritable ocean of nothing divided them.


At first, I was fine with this new, weak, bulbous little belly. Then I got a little tired of it. Then, by the time Judah turned one, and the chasm remained I decided I had to take action. I ate a cupcake at his party, and was pretty sure I could see the sprinkles through my skin as there was no longer any muscle to block the view. Ok, it wasn't that bad...but almost.
I decided I had a few options to tackle this issue.


1. I could get pregnant again, then I could just blame the pregnancy on the fact that I already looked like I was entering the second trimester. This had the appeal of not having to do any exercise, but the drawback of actually having to go through another pregnancy, labour and childrearing quickly cancelled this one out.


2. I could enhance it by letting go, eating a lot of spicy Doritos, and wearing sweat pants all winter. I tried this option out for awhile, then I got tired of the chips and decided it was time to move on to plan 3.


3. I could get a gym membership and work out. I wasn't asking for a six pack, a mere two would suffice. Any sign of any abdominal muscle would be considered a victory.


So I did. I bought the membership. I recruited workout buddies in my sister and mom. I still go twice a week...when I feel like it...


My abs have made somewhat of a reappearance; I can no longer store wrapping paper rolls between them, merely markers. I still get a "food belly" after a big meal, a concept I thought was a myth before Judah entered our life. More and more, however, I don't really care. I'm healthy, I'm happy and I'm loved. Besides, Judah's got me so beat in the world's- cutest- tummy category, that I'm not even sure it's worth competing.






3.16.2011

Design freak: "Vintage" pendant lights, on the cheap!

When we moved into our house the lighting over the kitchen table consisted of a 1980's track of spotlights. Our ceilings are really tall, so the light was barely making it to the table surface and it definitely wasn't doing anything for the dining ambiance, so I went on the hunt for something cheap and cheerful.

What I ended up with was a couple of these pendant fixtures from IKEA.


They cast the light I wanted but kind of lacked personality and colour - which are two musts, if you ask me!!

So naturally, an Ikea hack was in the offing.  As Luke will tell you, I will "paint anything that stands still".  I went to my friendly, neighbourhood hardware store, bought myself some funky high-gloss, enamel, metal paint and voila!




Faux-vintage enamel pendants for 30 bucks a pop. I love them! And, if I ever tire of the colour- it's just a trip to the paint section and 10 bucks later to change it up.

Enlightening, no?

3.14.2011

Mama's Boy

Judah seems to be feeling almost back to his old self. He even stayed awake until bedtime tonight, which is a first in the past six days. One thing his illness made very apparent to us, besides the fact that you take health for granted until you don't have it, is that Judah is a mama's boy...big time. Judah has been practically affixed to my neck for a week. Today was the first day since the attack of the killer stomach bug, that we went more than an hour without Judah sticking his hand down my shirt (stay tuned for the "Mommy's cleavage is my attachment object" post).

There was a time, not so long ago, that Luke was the "stay at home" parent. And, although I was merely working upstairs all day, daddy reigned supreme in the kingdom of Jude. Judah snuggled with him more often, kissed his cheeks more frequently and stubbornly refused to say "mama" all summer along... although "dada" tripped off his tongue like the most natural combination of consonants and vowels ever spoken.

The tables have turned.

We aren't quite sure when the switch was made, but the mama boy diagnosis was cemented when Luke climbed into bed last night. Judah had already been in our bed, snuggling with me while I read and he convalesced. I couldn't bring myself to put my sick little baby (toddler) in the cage (crib) in his dark dank dungeon (brightly-coloured, warm nursery). In any case, Luke climbed in and the seemingly sleeping Judah began to mutter and kick in his general direction. The kicking then became wild flailing, and the grunting became full-out grunts of vexation. Dad was unwelcome in the mama-boy nest. Before long, Judah was perpendicular to me, ensuring no one could enter his territory and Luke was at the end of the bed.

"I'll just sleep down here like a dog." Luke conceded. 

"Alright dear. I'll just have his birth certificate changed to Oedipus in the morning." I said, while turning off the light. 

I think that's how the conversation went...

Regardless of how it happened, I'm enjoying my new status as favourite parent. There's a certain charm to hearing him say "mama" when he's in a room with other people, knowing he just wants a mama hug...

The charm wears down slightly when you haven't showered for two days and you wait anxiously for your spouse to return home, only to have your mutual offspring recoil in horror at the sight of said spouse (I mean, I know your dad goes to Western dude, but we have to forgive him for the bad purple hat and move on). Anyway, bathing is overrated right? Right?

I foresee a day, 15 or so years from now, when Judah will be taller than me and will have that weird smell that adolescent boys have (stink, covered by some poorly marketed body spray) and he'll want to take my car to go to some questionable gathering in some equally stinky adolescent's basement. And I'll probably say no. Chances are, he won't self-identify as a mama's boy then. So for now, I'm drinking it up.

Good night world!

Sincerely, 
World's most huggable mama...just ask Judah.




3.10.2011

Hospital Holiday

I had this week off. By off, I mean I didn't have to work in the classic sense of the word. I didn't have to sit at my desk, or attend meetings, or answer the phone. I was supposed to have a week to do nothing at all with Judah. And, as Christopher Robin once observed, doing nothing is one of the sweetest somethings to do. Instead I ended up having a week that can best be described as more arduous and stressful than any work week I've ever endured.

It started late last week. Luke had been showing the classic signs of a cold for a couple of days and by Thursday, lo and behold, I had a sinus headache the size of the GTA. Both of our colds took their time morphing into various runny, sneezy, scratchy, achy characters. The cold was a bother, but a bother we could live with and best of all, Judah appeared to be healthy.

Monday I woke up at 4 am with discomfort in my left eye. It took me a moment to realize the eye was sealed shut...with a lovely yellow crust...not the apple pie kind.
A trip to the doctor confirmed my suspicion- I had made it through childhood without pink eye, but re-entering the world of childhood germs with Judah, had broken my hopes to make it through adulthood as well. One tube of antibiotics, 24 hours of annoying itching, and 156 hand washes later - the eye had cleared up. Again, we were thrilled that neither Judah nor Luke shared in the rosy wealth.

Yesterday our "good luck" ran out. Judah had a normal morning. Better than normal in fact. He was happy as a clam, full of laughter, running around. Luke and I commented to each other how he was in such a great phase right now- so independent and happy and free. We spent the morning shopping with my mom and sisters and Judah settled down for his nap in my mom's bed. He woke up around 12:30 and promptly threw up. Odd we thought, must have had an unsettled tummy.

Then he threw up again...and again...and again....every 15-30 minutes from 12:30 until 7:30.

I was in a bit of a panic. We called in the family on-call physician (my sister's boyfriend) who very kindly calmed me down and told me what we could do, with the warning that if it kept up we should probably take him to the ER. By 7:30, with no signs of abating, and the knot in my stomach becoming unbearable, we drove him to the Children's Hospital and started the wait. Judah regaled all the other families in the "contagious" waiting room with his frequent vomiting into an ice cream bucket (which he occasionally gazed at long enough to say "mmm!"). After 2 hours of waiting, Judah's bucket contents started to include blood. Suddenly, my normal non-conflictual self kicked into overdrive. Someone needed to help my kid- now. I brought the nurse the bucket and explained what was happening. My  insistence was enough to get us moved up to being next in line for a room that was just being cleaned out.

The room was private- a lucky break- and we were seen by a resident in fairly short order. We expected them to give him a shot of something to stop the vomiting and send us home. They didn't. Also concerned about the colour of his vomit, they deemed it wisest to hook Judah up to an IV drip, take some blood for blood work and have him spend the night. The doctors left the room and I broke down. Never had I felt so helpless. My child was in pain and there was nothing I could do for him, except allow them to inflict more pain to fix the problem.

Two nurses, expert in finding baby veins, came in with their IV kits. Five horrible minutes later the IV was in, yet Judah wasn't calming down and falling asleep, instead he seemed to be in more pain than before. The IV had missed the vein and hadn't shown the signs while the nurses were in the room. Luke noticed his fingers starting to go blue, before I ran for the nurse again. They came quickly and removed the IV. The fluid had just been pooling into his heavily- taped hand. With the swollen hand wrapped in a warm blanket they tried again on his left side. It worked- an answer to prayer. He quickly calmed down and fell asleep.

It was midnight by now and Luke and I were both exhausted. Luke still had studying to complete for the next day's tests so he headed home to do what he could and collect anything we may need in the morning. Judah and I curled up on the narrow hospital bed where he slept and I kept vigil. Around 1 am the nurse came and administered some stomach calming drugs via the IV. At this point, Judah hadn't thrown up for almost 3 hours, things were looking up. Judah had developed a slight fever (which he hadn't exhibited until this point and was also given some Tylenol). At 2 am, the new doctor on call came in and diagnosed him with a violent case of some stomach virus, but one that was now safe to treat at home thanks to his newly-full hydration levels. The relief I felt was indescribable. We called a sleepy daddy. Watched the nurse remove the IV and bundled up for the car ride home.

I've spent the day snuggling my little Judah. He has a fever, but no more vomiting. In between naps, he's been reaching up to me and kissing my face. I'm so thankful he's on the mend. I'm so thankful we live in a country where we received the care we did, in the time we did, without giving a thought to cost. I'm so thankful he's home with us. I'm so thankful he's ours.

3.05.2011

Design freak: Springifying


As those who know me best are aware, I'm an interior design freak. I seriously LOVE it! I spend equal time browsing Apartment Therapy as I do browsing mommy blogs and Facebook...and that's saying something.


Sometimes the greatest deterrent to doing any interior (or exterior, for that matter) improvements on the home-front is the cost. If you read home design magazines and watch HGTV, you can quickly become convinced that you need to be some sort of oil tycoon with a full-time designer who is willing to hold your weak, sweaty little hand before you can buy a proper bath mat. I am stubborn and generally cynical (so my sister tells me), and not independently wealthy- so I have to get a little creative.


Our bedroom has been the one room of the house, that I've tried to give some lovin' to, but haven't been totally happy in.


 When we moved in, it looked like this:










At first I liked the colour, but after awhile I felt like I was in some sort of dark box with a big white lid. The room is tiny, yet the walls seemed to stretch up to the area of the atmosphere where the air would most definitely be too thin to breathe. Something had to be done! So we added a moulding a foot from the ceiling and repainted the whole shooting match, ceiling and all.


The results looked like this:



It was ok. Not great, a little bleak, but ok.


I can live with bleak...for about 2 months.


Today was warm. It rained. I saw grass. I got excited. I bought high gloss paint the colour of grass and I decided to springify our room while Judah had his morning nap.


Judah's nap lasted about 40 minutes. So it became a family project.


Luke, being the wonderful, understanding man he is, moved the curtain rod brackets up and out for me, so our window would seem luxuriously large (even though it isn't). Judah helped me pull some of our currently unused curtains out of the closet to brighten things up. He also helped by winging the curtain rod into the walls of the hall for awhile and then making a tent in the duvet cover. It was helpful in an entertainment type capacity.


I painted my "bedside table" chair the emerald green (Little Luke forgive me, I know that I have sinned) and painted the large, rather dark, ominous dresser mirror while I was at it. Throw in a few homemade throw cushions (and a couple needlepoints for good measure) and voila!


The after...














This should keep me satisfied until Autumn at least....

3.02.2011

Love-Hate Wednesday: The hydrophobia edition

Judah made juice this morning. And by “made” I mean he stirred some juice concentrate in with some water. I didn’t witness the event as I was upstairs working, but Luke told me on his way out the door that Jude had made juice. Nothing remarkable really, he loves to stir stuff. 


 I later poured myself a cup of said juice, took a mouthful and then, very nearly returned it from whence it came (the cup). It tasted like fish and had a cat hair and some unknown piece of something (it resembled the molar of a squirrel) floating in it.  I’m not sure how this offensive combination was born. I can only imagine it involved a lack of paternal supervision and a spoon retrieved from under a couch. 

As for the fish flavour- we have no rotting fish in the fridge (that I know of), but I think it was the result of the liquid absorbing the flavours from other untold refrigerated treasures. This phenomenon grosses me out. I’ll go so far as to say I hate it.

Note to self: buy baking soda, stat.




In the love category...I’m squinting!

Why?

Because it’s incredibly sunny!!

            Why?

Because the sun is still in the sky...after 5 pm!!

*Insert angel chorus here*
Spring's acomin’ children!





Now for a second inductee into the hall of dislike....Judah’s newly developed hydrophobia. 

That’s right, a kid who used to look like this in the tub...



Now looks like this...

 
The fact that he's not in the tub in this picture further illustrates the fact that he'd rather be anywhere else... anywhere...

We don’t know how it happened, although we suspect it has something to do with a bum rash he developed during his most recent bout of some virus...that and the full moon...
In any case, he refuses to go in the bath. I once had the pleasure of giving a cat a bath... This is worse. He screeches and screams and climbs up your arms and generally makes an impressive scene. Last night I was able to coax him to at least stand in the water for about three minutes. At first he resisted loudly (ie. freaked out) but his head smelled like cheese, so action was necessary. 

I’m hoping we will gradually be able to convince him that the water will not cause his internal organs to fail. I’ll keep you updated on our progress.


Back in the love category this week – Judah kisses galore! 
I think it may have had something to do with the fact that I forced him to have a bath, thus throwing our love for him into a dubious light in his mind; in any case Judah is on a big kissing kick. It’s adorable.

Last night Luke had to crouch for a good 15 seconds while Judah gave him numerous kisses on each cheek (it’s his European genetics). The best part about the adorable smooch-streak is that it’s all very spontaneous. One minute he’s picking his nose and the next he has a sudden overwhelming urge to kiss you, so he runs right over and plants one on you. The kissing isn’t even limited to people- oh no,  he kisses his stuffed mouse, he kisses pictures of animals in his books and, most beloved of all, he kisses Sadie-cat. The result is a toddler face that looks more like a pubescent male’s who needs a razor for Christmas... It’s still cute.

Now that I think of it, perhaps Judah kissed the cat before concocting his juice this morning...

And with that full circle analysis, I shall bid you adieu!

Have a love-filled night world!