Friday, 30 December 2011

sparkly tights and all

I am sure I have vented about (made fun of, ridiculed and teased) people who spend copious amounts of money on their kids for an outfit they will wear only once. 

No? huh. I totally thought I would have. I personally chose to spend my money on things like new winter boots, snow tires, groceries, sushi lunches and lattes - you know stuff that matters (grin) but hey - to each his own.

But you know, dressing P up for J's family's formal holiday festivities helped me to finally get it. It's fun to get all dolled up, and it really is fun to get the babe dolled up with you! If you have the disposable income - why the hell not go all out. You only get to treat your kid like a doll for what, a year? MAYBE 2 before they start insisting on dressing themselves? 

But you don't HAVE to spend the equivalent of your oil bill on an outfit. This is what I did - I found a dress on consignment (BNWT) for only 10 bucks. Normally I wouldn't even spend that much since she's only going to wear it once. But, I justified the purchase with plans that it will end up being an art piece in her nursery with a giant vintage frame I found. So, even Penelope was dressed to the nines for the holidays!  

She was in full princess mode...

Seriously - the dress was actually called a Cinderella dress! (Who the hell am I and what have I done with my former self)

I caved and bought the sparkly tights. (I know, I'm a sucker for sparkles) And yes, they were almost as much as the dress. 

So, thanks to the shoes being courtesy of a hand me down, P ended up being super fancy and adorable for less than 20 bucks. If I had have just stuck with the hand me down tights and a 3 dollar Value village dress, we could have done this for under 5 bucks. 

See, we really can treat our babies like big dolls and not go broke doing it.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Is it really the holidays without...

... drunken family members?

... drunken in laws?

... drunken family members and in laws who fight over who gets to hold/kiss/play with/sing to the baby?

... drunken family members and in laws who fight over who gets to hold/kiss/play with/sing to the baby WHILE SHE'S SLEEPING!?

Conversation at In Law Christmas dinner: 

Why does he get to hold the baby?

Cause you're drunk.

20 minutes later:

Oh sure, let her play with the baby and not me.

*tapping foot

You can play with the baby... just not when she's sleeping, or nursing, or crying.

Or awake, or laughing....

Or when you're drunk.

10 minutes later

Where's the baby?


Would you get upset if I woke her up so I could play with her?

Maybe a little, you're drunk.

5 minutes later

Look how cute she is sleeping... look at her little bum

If you wake her, I will kill you.

Just let me hold the baby one more time

*tap tap tap - Can someone get me a drink?

Friday, 23 December 2011

Baby Brainz Moment #32

Walking through Loblaws with my shirt unbuttoned after nursing Penelope upstairs.

Yup - I'm a classy gal.

Monday, 19 December 2011

I am the love child of Jamie Oliver and Martha Stewart

No, I'm not drinking too much. I hosted a Yule feast for our families yesterday. A 5 course Yule feast. A five course Yule feast complete with crafty place settings, a linen table cloth and I even decorated the house with fresh holly and cedar. You'd think that would lean towards the consumption of multiple bottles of wine, but it turns out I just got to embrace my inner geek:

(I can't believe I didn't get a picture of the table!!! You'll have to take my word for it that it looked amazing. It was all white and red with black and white dishes and just a hint of cedar from the cups and centrepiece).

I have to admit, the day went a lot more smoothly than I thought it would. First I was worried that because of Penelope's intense cuteness, there may issues with sharing her.
Two women in one room, both ferociously in love with their granddaughter... can you blame me? Then I was worried about each dish being on time, and still hot... and of course there were the nerves over each dish being delicious or not. But the whole day was amazing; there is something satisfying about providing a beautiful meal, and hosting a wonderful afternoon of great conversation.  

I learned a few tips along the way:

1. You can throw the perfect dinner party if you take what needs to be done, and spread it out over two or three days.We tidied and cleaned the house a little at a time through the day Friday and Saturday. Then we chopped and prepped as much food as we could on Saturday so Sunday it was just a matter of cooking and presenting all the food.

Because we weren't having the party on Saturday, we weren't stressed about getting stuff done in time, and Sunday almost all the prep work was done so there was no stress about having dinner ready on time, and we were able to sit and visit with our family. And there's something to be said for going at your own pace to lessen that "go go go" feeling.

2. Pinterest is AH MAZING (see link above) in keeping you organized, and to gather ideas. I started a Yule feast board just the day before so I could find all my websites easily for each element that hadn't been done yet. The next party I host, I will use this right from the beginning. Warning: it's crazy addictive.

3. If you are slightly ocd like me, after you've put the baby to sleep (providing you have a baby) send your partner (providing you have a partner) to a party and set the table. He gets a couple hours baby free to hang out with his friends and you can indulge in channeling your Martha Stewart without ridicule. 

4. Speaking of Martha, keep the DIY projects to a minimum, just two things each evening helped add the festive flair and I wasn't worried about whether or not I'd finish everything in time. This included decorating.
5. Remember that glue guns are hot. 

6. Remember that holly is sharp and will stab you.

7. If you have men in your family that hound you in the kitchen... you know the ones - they circle you like a hound dog looking for scraps tripping you when you're trying to get a meal together - put out a Smörgåsbord of snacks on the coffee table - I did rainbow fruit kabobs, chocolates, hummus, various pickles and olives and crackers. Surprisingly it held them over until the first course.


8. Do not dress baby in fancy dinner clothes until at least one grandparent has arrived. This way you ensure baby is adorable before spitting up or shitting on their cute little outfit. 

9. Take pictures once everyone has arrived and the baby is awake. This way guests are free to leave when they need to and, well, it guarantees baby will be wide eyed in pictures rather than looking like you nursed them after indeed drinking those two bottles of wine ;)

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

A picture's worth a thousand words, right?

I debated whether or not we would "do" Christmas this year. I'm pretty simple - celebrate the Winter Solstice, have a nice feast with family and call it a year. But, since our family is such a mix of culture and tradition I figured Penelope may benefit from learning about not only Yule but Christmas and Chanukah as well. And then I started thinking about HOW we were actually going to celebrate the holidays. Do we celebrate all three? How do I go about teaching her about festival of lights, celebrating the moon, honoring the sun and seasons, and the parallels with Christmas - let alone the bs associated with Santa. (Yes, she'll be told it's a dude in a suit). It's so much!

And then I remembered...

She's a baby.

So this year, we'll have a Yule feast for me and we'll have a small stocking exchange for J on xmas morning. And that's it. 

And really, nothing can compete with the lovely insanity that was yesterday: Penelope's first "A very baby Christmas" party!

A picture's worth a thousand words right?

Need I say more? 


Friday, 9 December 2011

Saying goodbye to 7 inches of baggage

No this isn't a post about my ex husband. Although I'm sure that there was a bit of him in the massive suitcase I threw overboard. No, I didn't go all Aileen Wuornos, this post just happened to start with a giant metaphor.

I cut my hair. 8 years and almost 7 inches gone. And it feels MAGNIFICENT!

I always thought "mom hair" was when women cut all their hair off because they couldn't be bothered to take care of it or their kids were yanking on it too much. While I'm sure there are women who relate to that. "Mom hair" for me was not the short hair cut but the hair before the cut; I had been living in braids for weeks. One morning while I was attempting to untangle the straw like texture, in a shower longer than a teenage boy's, I looked down at the pile of hair on the shower floor and decided it was time to say goodbye.

This was a BIG deal. At least I thought it would be, to the point that I asked friends how short I should go. It was thanks to one comment a friend made that turned what could have been a sad, vain moment into an incredibly uplifting and releasing one. She told me, "Move with your spirit sista! Transformation within = transformation without. Besides, hair always grows back, so there's no real danger here...just thrill!"

So I decided while I sat at Luce with my conditioning treatment on, I would have a little pow wow with my spirit self. And deep down I knew I wanted it short (ish) but I was still scared to go above my shoulders. Still scared to let go. So I told my stylist Chris (AMAZING at cutting curly hair btw) that I was trying to embrace what my spirit needed but to keep as much length as possible.

My hair was such a mess that he ended up having to snip sections of it just to get it untangled and ended up cutting it the perfect length. When I looked in the mirror the pieces around my face still touched my shoulders and the long pieces in the back still came between my shoulder blades. I left happy.

And then it dried.

Curly hair, remember? So I ended up with the short (ish) style my spirit wanted all along but that I was too afraid to ask for, Chris being the clever (and sneaky) guy he is.

I decided through the cut that the 7 inches of hair would represent baggage I had been holding on to. Released was my fear. Released was the attachment to my old self; my hair had become the thing by which people identified me. I no longer have my hair as my safety net, or as a curtain to hide behind. I'm free of the past. I'm embracing the unknown and trusting in my spirit. 

 (I'm actually thinking next time another inch or two might be a lot of fun!)

Monday, 5 December 2011

All Aboard!!

Last week Penelope and I went to visit friends in London. It was hard not having a partner to rely on for 5 days (a salute to single moms everywhere). And, I learned that travelling with a baby can really go either way. Some of the trip was good, some of it caused me to pray under my breath for strength, wondering why I thought this might be good idea in the first place, and some of it was truly gigglicious. It was a week to just be; to spend time with those I love, and to bond even more with my little noodle. We got that, and I got the learning experience of a lifetime.

Welcome to the story of Penelope's first adventure on the train. 

First step, climb aboard and look for a possible baby friendly person to sit by. The 20 something in the university sweats and Ugg boots? The 13 year old kid with the giant headphones? I went with the middle aged lady with a kind smile. Stereotypical of me? Yes. But it totally paid off. Diane, my seat mate, played with P a lot during the trip when she got fussy and other than the guy in front of me, who thought Penelope would stop crying if he glared hard enough, it wasn't a horrible two and a half hours. Mind you there was a lot of walking to the back of the car with her - she loves being 'up' - and a lot of talking and interaction so she would stop fussing but I told myself that it could be a lot worse, and I discovered how true that was on the next leg. 

I thought by upgrading to first class from Toronto to London, I would have an easier go of it - a little more leg room and a meal. Was I ever wrong. 

Rather than risk this blog turning into a total bitchy rant, I'll just share a couple highlights from my letter to Via Rail: 

I recently travelled with Via Rail from Kingston to London and was surprised to find that "First Class" doesn't necessarily mean better service. 

Here I was, spending my first class train ride standing by the bathroom or, once my daughter had fallen asleep, crouched down in front of my seat. The least they could do was give me my meal.

I'm guessing your staff that day is not aware of just how hungry a nursing mom can get.

It was hell. A seriously unhappy baby and terrible service meant that by the time I got to London I was seriously ready for a nice cold beer. There were a few tears and deep breaths, but we got through it. And I got that beer. Two of them in fact. :)

The train ride home was the yin to my yang journey 5 days before, but definitely not without it's epic moments. Like Penelope deciding to sleep from London to Toronto and, after not pooping all week, taking a colossal shit ten minutes before we arrived. (I never thought I would find myself talking about feces as much as I have since having a baby.) In that ten minutes of cleaning her off, changing her clothes, redressing her, packing up our things and getting her strapped on as the train pulled into the station, I was a freakin' super mama! I was so incredibly proud of myself, and so grateful to have a happy baby girl for the rest of the trip home. We had lunch, boarded the next train - where she dozed on and off - and 45 minutes from home...

The train hit a person walking on the tracks. For real.  A person!!!

But for the 4 hour delay we had, P was a freakin' rock star... and not the full of themselves, faux encore, high maintenance type. More like the "you're amazing and I want to grow up to be like you" type. It was like the morning set the mood for the day. She was so wonderful dozing on and off. Chilling in her seat with her toys, smiling at all the people on the train. 

 I am blessed to have such an awesome person as my daughter.