Archive for the ‘Just life’ Category

Today I had a doctor’s appointment in Fredericton, our province’s capital, and spent the rest of the day shopping with my seven month old son.  As a young mother and son that live in the country, we don’t usually have exposure to that many people and things in the run of a few hours so, when we do, it’s fun to note the odd and unusual. 

Here are a few notes to some of the people (and things) that we ran into today. 


To Michael’s … I heart you.  I do.  Every aisle  – the overpriced baskets that scream “fill me”; the undecorated wreaths that beg to be adorned with something special; the unpainted wooden and ceramic items that are just dying for a shiny coat of paint; the multitude of fake flowers that are more expensive than the real thing; and, my latest artsy inclination, the cutters and colors and cake pans that are ready for the next savvy baker with a fancy cake in mind.  Yes, every aisle beams with crafty potential and makes me giddy.  (I will admit to your one downfall, though – much of you is bloody expensive.  I can’t believe people spend $30 on a package of scrapbooking paper – thank goodness I haven’t been sucked into that crazy vortex).


To Winners – I visit you often and am very fond of you (don’t get me wrong) but I always leave you wanting to spend a month’s salary on lottery tickets.  I look longingly at your fancy decorations and clothes but usually leave with a couple of items from the clearance rack.  C’est la vie when you’re working with maternity benefits, I guess. 


To every woman (and the couple of men) who stopped me to talk to Oliver – blonde, brunette, blue haired, young, old, walking, running, sitting, shuffling, shopping – he attracts you all like cheesy magnets to a refrigerator.  And yes… he is adorable, isn’t he? 


To the hospital  – I wish I had known that 2 pm was the absolute worst time to enter the parking lot (due to lack of spaces) and that 3 pm is the absolute worst time to leave the hospital (due to lineup to leave the parking lot).  Now I know. 


To the lady in Admitting wearing the banana clip – come on!  That went out of style at least 15 years ago – you’re not even pretending to try!  Maybe I should have checked your pants for stirrups. 




To the doctor I saw today – You’re friendly and all.  And I know it’s a distraction to have my son in the room with us so thanks for appeasing us young mothers travelling to your hospital.  But using my stirruped legs to hide behind during a game of peek-a-boo with him … well, I’m not sure I even have the words.  Oh wait, yes I do – what the hell?!  (I wish I was kidding.  Sadly, I was distracted enough by why I was there that it didn’t occur to me how out-of-a-sitcom this was until after I left.)


To the man that pressed the elevator’s “Down” button even though he saw me push it and even though he saw that it was lit up – I’m truly sorry that you touching the button a second time didn’t magically make the frigging elevator appear frigging faster!  It seems you don’t have some sort of Midas-like connection with the Otis gods. 


To the used clothing stores – Well… thank goodness for you.  I’m not opposed to buying new things for my son but will never understand why some people insist on having everything brand new.  Why pay $30 when you can pay $6 for something that was worn twice? 


To anyone who saw me breastfeeding publicly today – thank you to those who smile sweetly and get it.  I know we like to think our society is progressive enough not make a big deal out of it, but it is still a head turner for some (hell, it’s a grimace/sneer/aggravation for a few).  Don’t you worry, though, because we breastfeeders are on it.


To my baby boy – you’re so much fun to shop with.  I know many would shudder at the thought of schlepping their infant son to malls and big box stores all day long but not me.  I love that you are so smiley and good natured and happy most of the time.  And I love even more that people seem to be so attracted to your smiley good nature. 

It makes me smile and makes for an awesome day out and about.

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After a lengthy and somewhat unplanned blog break, here I am to brag about my son, Oliver!   


I can’t begin to explain how my world has changed since his arrival. During the nine months of pregnancy, you hear so many people say how different things will be and how your life will never be the same and all you can do is roll your eyes and mutter, “Uhh… eee-yeah, no kidding”. But then the baby comes and suddenly your life changes in ways that you couldn’t imagine and in ways you certainly didn’t see coming and that couldn’t be described with a hundred adjectives and adverbs. You remember life as a twosome but you wonder how you ever felt complete because you can’t imagine life without this little person in it.

I’m not saying it’s all easy and fun though. Don’t get me wrong; having a child is a wonderful high that is really great and makes me feel happy and loved and important but I’m not going to be the mother that pretends every moment is glittering and glowing and all smiles and roses (I’m sure there are mothers that have that experience but I think that most don’t). It is a huge adjustment and just plain hard sometimes! Falling into a rhythm and routine takes a lot of work that no one really prepares you for (who knew you essentially have to teach a baby to sleep?). While the mechanisms of breastfeeding are very natural, learning how to breastfeed involves a huge learning curve that often involves a lot of pain, a lot of emotion, and even a lot of tears. Frustration is at its peak when you are pacing the floors, rocking a crying baby that you only want to be comfortable but that you can’t seem to soothe. You question your instincts, your sanity, and every bit of common sense that you have.

I’m realizing that, while it’s great to go on about the good moments, it is equally as important to talk about the not-so-great moments. A new mother can easily feel lost and alone while feeding at 4 am and for the third time that night. You can feel like the only one who is experiencing . You can feel guilty when your thoughts and feelings stray from everything frilly and pretty. Moms need to share their experiences with each other from birth stories to potty training.

So I’m going to write about it all… the ups and downs, the good and bad.  I don’t intend for this to become a “mommy blog” but I am so immersed in motherhood that it will inevitably play a part in my writing from here on out.  I feel like I have some catching up to do. 


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My niece was full of wonder at my big ole pregnant belly when we visited on Boxing day a couple of weeks ago.  Honestly, so am I but it’s a lot cuter coming from a three year old.  

“What is that big belly for?” she asked, several times through the day. 

Her mother and I would explain that there was a baby growing in there, just like she grew in her mommy’s belly.  She would look at me funny but seemed to accept the explanation and went on to the next Christmas toy, only to have the same question pop up again an hour or so later. 


Fast forward to bedtime, laying on her bed and reading a story. 

“What is that big belly for?”, she asked again.

“Remember?  I told you there’s a baby growing in there!  A new cousin for you that you’ll be able to meet in about two months”. 


“Well, the baby needs to grow in there a little bit more.  You remember how big baby Lucy was [another cousin who recently visited]?  The baby needs to grow almost that big before he comes out and meets you”.

She put my hand on my belly and I said, “Sometimes I can feel the baby move in there”.  


“Well, because someitmes he needs to stretch and he pushes on my belly because there’s not a lot of room in there”, I responded. 

She looked at my belly, the gears in her mind grinding away.  “Poor baby”, she said, realizing how cramped the baby must be in there. 

And back we went to the story book, me thinking that her curiosity was satisfied.  A few moments later she abruptly pulled up my shirt and began looking at my belly again, putting her hand on it.  I thought, “How cute!  She wants to feel him move!”. 

But then she put her arm up in the air and came down on my belly with a big ole slap that smacked out really loudly!  I’m still not sure what was going through her mind to make her do that but her face wasn’t angry or upset so all I can imagine is that it was still curiousity and her way of saying hello.  All I could do was laugh and then she laughed and we went back to the book. 

A few minutes later she said, “How will the baby come out of there?”. 

I said, “Well … ” and I looked at her and back at the book.  Then I looked at her.  And then back at the book. 

All the while I was thinking that really the only two explanations were a) the bellybutton, which is freaky enough to give her alien-like nightmares (even to a 30-year-old) or b) the truth, which seemed a little deeper than I wanted to get with her over Dr. Seuss. 

So I just ignored the question and we went back to the book.  When I went back downstairs, I gave her mother a good warning of the questions she was going to get the next day.  Apparently she didn’t but she DID go around all day sticking her belly out and saying she was me. 

Too frigging cute.

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So amid the constant flurry of all things related to pregnancy, curling club, choir, piano lessons, and just plain ole life, the ole blog has unfortunately fallen down on the list of priorities the last couple of months. 

But fear not for I bring you tidings of great joy. 

I’ve decided that December is the month for re-connecting and what better time to do it… Christmas is a-foot (or maybe a-stocking?), winter is upon us, and I am now 29 weeks pregnant… all of which makes for great blog fodder. 

So to kick things off, I give you what has been my favorite Christmas carol for as long as I can remember.  Remember the California Raisins Christmas special on TV?  Yeah, me neither… except for this one sketch.  I always got a kick out of these frigging bells and it turns out I still do … I laughed through the whole thing.  The dumb bell actually reminds me of a few people I know (“I lost mine”… hee hee!). 

While we’re on the topic, what was with the California Raisins anyway?!  I don’t remember ever really caring about them except for this one show but they had their stint didn’t they?  What kicked off their popularity and, more puzzling, what retained their popularity?  Did they have names?  Anyway, here is an additional bonus clip of the raisins themselves. 

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Yes, it’s true… today I reveal to the blogosphere that hubby and I are expecting!

It is amazing (and quite scary) how little you know about being pregnant until you’re actually here, reading the articles, forums, and magazines.  You try and try and try and say you’re ready and then bam!, there it is and you’re left going, “Hmm, okay … umm, so what is it I’m supposed to do now?  Oh yeah, there’s a million things”. 

Anyway, to celebrate the occasion, I would like to write about a few observations from the last 15 weeks.  Some of them may be obvious to you but they are apparently not obvious to many. 


  • It may have once been, but it is no longer acceptable to touch a pregnant woman’s belly.  Pregnant women talk about this.  A lot.  The already-moms tell stories about their encounters while the first-timers, like me, plan what their reaction will be when it happens to them.  It’s true. 

My opinion:  Do I reach for your belly just because it is oversized?  Since it isn’t feasible to wear this shirt every day for the next five-and-a-half months, if you touch my belly without asking, I will either recoil in exaggerated horror or I’ll touch you inappropriately. 

Just don’t do it. 


  • Once people know you are pregnant, their eyes automatically go to your belly when you meet.  It’s a reflex that, while completely inappropriate and rude any other time, is now unstoppable. 


  • Fibre.  It’s not just for grandma anymore.  Denis Leary did a bit in No Cure for Cancer about insanely healthy people eating horkin’ fibre chunks.  Frig, he’s funny.  That’s all I can think about when I eat a bowl of my super-fibre-fied cereal now.  I know it’s not pleasant but neither is skipping that bowl of horkin’ fibre chunks. 


  • I have not had any morning sickness, aside from a twinge of nausea here and there when I let myself get hungry.  I do not tell mothers this; unless they are in that lucky minority that the pregnancy gods decided to smile on (singing angels and all), they are not likely to smile and congratulate me on this. 


  • Women love to see other women get fat.  I’s all part of that ugly cattiness that seems to exist by default between women.  Apparently pregnancy is not a exception to this rule.  That’s why some most women seem oddly interested in me “showing” (“Are you showing yet?”  “I think you’re shoooow-ing!”  “Let me see if you’re showing!”, followed by the bend over so their head is level with my stomach).  It’s creepy. 

“Umm, the baby is two inches long right now so I’m pretty sure I’m not showing”

  • Along the same lines is this, another pet peeve among pregnant women: 

Would you say the following to any woman that was not pregnant?  “You’re getting so big!”  “Wow! Are you sure it’s not twins?”  “Look at that belly!”

The answer is NO, you would not because you would get a slap across the face or a knee to the groin!  So why,pray tell, do you think it is appropriate to say this to pregnant women?  Just because we’re pregnant does not mean we throw all self-consciousness and image issues out the window!  We know we’re getting fatter and, while we know it and expect it and it’s all for the beautiful baby we are creating, hearing you say it is really the last thing we want or need.   

Just stop it.  Tell her she’s beautiful and stop there.  Even if she is as big as a bus. 


I’m sure there will be more of this to come.  I’m just figuring it all out as I go along.

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I am annoyed by headphones. 
I have decided that ear buds were created by a dyslexic guy that really meant to call them ear duds.  Could they be less useless?  

I suppose it depends on how you’re using them.  If you’re sitting perfectly still on your couch with no one around and the cord protected from any chance of movement, buds are probably fine. 

To begin with, I have never picked up a pair of head phones that weren’t mercilessly tangled, regardless of where they have been or how long they have been there.  You sit them down for 15 seconds while you wash your hands and they’re tangled.  You put them in your pocket for as long as it takes to tie your shoe and they’re tangled.  You sneeze and they’re in knots around your neck.  Is there such a thing as tangle-less headphone cords?  

I mostly use mine at the gym and am constantly adjusting them because they are slipping and sliding around at the slightest hint of sweat.  And boy, do I sweat.  The cord gets the slightest bump and they’re falling out of your ears; not exactly feasible when you’re on the treadmill.  I get to the point where I’m basically trying to screw them into my ears, jamming them in there.  I’m not sure if I expect them to catch on something in there or just get in there so far that they’re lodged.  I’ve probably got issues past tangled headphones if either one of those things actually happens. 

So I asked Hubby for a pair of headphones for Christmas.  He got me a pair with the little ear brace on them. 

I thought, “Great!  This is exactly what I need!”.  Turns out, they were made for someone with ears the size of Dumbo because they didn’t fit around my ears at all.  The ear braces were making no contact at all with my ears so they were basically buds with handles.  I tried to shape them … no luck (but isn’t that a great idea? bendy ear braces?).  Hmm … maybe I have small ears.  Regardless, I was back to adjusting and screwing and jamming those suckers in until I stepped on and broke them by mistake a month or so ago.  I was back to plain ole buds again. 


Recently Hubby found me a replacement pair of Sony phones.  They have an ear brace, like the pair from Christmas, but I actually have to tuck my ear into them a bit so they actually serve their purpose.  Maybe I have normal-sized ears after all!  They are still buds but don’t seem to go into the ear as far because of the ear brace.  And they stay put!  They might have only cost me $7 american dollars but they work for me and my seemingly small ears. 


Their cord still tangles, though, and it’s actually worse because now the cord can get tangled around the ear braces as well as with itself.  I guess one out of two ain’t bad. 



But wait … what is this??  While looking for images for this post, I came across this little goody: Retractable headphones! 


Yes!  This is what I was looking for!  Sony, work with me… can you make those with ear braces and for people with normal-sized ears?  Oh, and cheaper… make them cheaper. 

I’ll wait. 


EDIT 06/12/08 – Joe sends me this:  SmartWrap.  I like it.  It looks smaller and less cumbersome than the retractable device.  Hey SmartWrap, if I link to your site three times in one post, will you send me a free SmartWrap?  How about a SmartWrap for my cousin Joe too? 

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That is me, circa 1997. 

Behind me is my crazy father. 

Yes, that is a field of snow. 

And yes… that is most definitely a canoe. 

Allow me to explain. 

You see, that particular winter we received a storm that delivered a lot of freezing rain over a couple of days.  The result was a crust of ice several inches thick on top of a few feet of snow.  That crust was hard and it stayed that way for weeks. 

How hard was that crust?  You could walk anywhere and the four wheeler went anywhere… not just on the skidoo trails, but on top of the drifts, straight through the fields, everywhere. 

It was around this time that we also experimented with our downhill skis on the hill behind our house.  How did we get to the top of said hill?  We were towed to the top behind the four wheeler, using a plain old rope. 

Yes, my father is quite the character. 

So one day while on break from university, my father said to me, “You know, I have always wanted to try to go sliding with a canoe”.  He had heard of this being done before.  My dad is the curious sort, you see, and once he gets an idea in his head, it will gurgle and stew in there until he can make it happen. 

The crust that winter made the perfect surface:  instead of trudging along in a few inches of soft snow, we would do it in grand old Carleton County style and that was going to be in a green canoe that was sure to quickly turn into a lightning fast torpedo on top of that hard crust. 

We hauled the canoe to a field not too far away and lugged it to the top of a hill.  The field was open, save for a couple of rock piles in the middle and about halfway down.  I piled in the canoe and Dad gave us a push to get us started.  So far so good.  We were laughing at the sheer hilarity of what we were doing when the canoe steered towards the middle of the field.  In cartoon style, I think the light bulbs went on for both of us at the same time. 

How were we going to steer this thing?  I guess paddles would be the obvious answer but there we were, up the snowbank without a paddle, picking up speed, and heading toward this rock pile.  Dad was trying to steer but he was not being that successful.  As the rock pile loomed closer, in a moment of panic… I bailed. 

Both knees and shins and I think even my elbows went through that thick layer of crust.  I was bruised for three weeks after that. 

Are you wondering what happened to Dad?  You should be.  He actually managed to narrowly miss the rock pile and continued down the field, drastically picking up speed (which I’m sure was happening more quickly because part of the cargo, me, had went overboard). 

What was at the bottom of the field to stop him?  Forest. 

He didn’t get too far into the trees before coming to a stop (without the aid of a tree, I should note).  And when I caught up to him, he was laughing so hard that I couldn’t help but join in. 

That’s my dad.  He’s fun and funny and the life in any room and he can make me laugh like no one else.  We’re never quite sure what he’s going to say and do next and he would try (almost) anything once.  I hope to be just like that:  ready to make my own fun and not waiting for it to find me.  Boy, do I love him. 


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