Thursday, May 31

done like dinner

It is damn hot out. We had dinner on the beach last Tuesday -

Holy crap spring has flown by, it was already roasting out at 9:00am when we walked to the park (stupidly stopping for a hot coffee that ended up mostly un-drunk). I ran into the mother of one of the only two Sebastian's I have met since my son's birth - she has two little boys and Sebastian fit right in with them. She and I slipped easily into causal conversation - casual stuff like the weather (hot) and the playground (empty save for our three) and our families. Sebastian, having refused everything offered for breakfast, quickly got both tired and over-stimulated. He slipped back into that horrid beligerent-toddler mode and I decided we would best to leave (I was also getting hot and needed to pee - and was quickly turning into "yelling mom").

After a snack/early lunch (a nectarine that had earlier been refused, pb&j and a glass of milk) we played around for a little bit and the child took a header out the window of his "recycle-house" - a house made out of the box from his stroller - and a crap (simultaneously?). We went to the bathroom, assessed the damage, found it to be not-life-threatening and read a book.

During his nap I opened the mail and found *TWO* good bits - one, a letter from the credit card company apologising for fucking up my last payment (and giving me a heart attack) and vowing to put it all right again, the other was a bunch of stuff I got with the airmiles we both forgot we collected. I "bought" two passes to the aquarium, two two-for-one movie passes to subsidise my new passtime and a ticket up to the top of the Harbour Centre tower (spinning glassed-in deal that I will hate - ugh, heights - and Sebastian will LOVE).

We were originally planning on going to the aquarium this weekend but might go to the dump instead. I am actually really curious about trash and recycling now (since finding out about Sarah McGaughey and Kyle Glover’s no more trash project) and would love to see what steps are being taken by the city to deal with the trash produced.

Also during his nap I made a yummy sweet potato and red lentil soup that would later be served with cheese sandwiches and followed by popsicles. I skipped the library, even though we have stuff due, so will have to take care of it tomorrow (note to self - where the hell is Raffi?) - Andrew gets paid tomorrow so I will have to make some kind of a budget before we blow it all on hats. I am going to attepmt to once again hold us to a foodplan ala Hogaboom - we really neeed to get on that. And the worst part? Totally my fault. What may help this time would be including Andrew in both the meal planning and the meal preparing. We'll hit the farmer's market on Saturday morning with a specific list... I hope.

In other news, I had an ultrasound yesterday - bummed out that this kid is pulling the same modest baby thing Sebastian did at his mid-pregnancy ultrasound. So, we still don't know if it is a boy or a girl (not that is matters, right?) - I think I may have stepped over a line when I said to the little bean "come on, baby, open up your legs for mama," it certainly didn't do any good as the little prude kept its legs tightly shut. As far as we can tell everything looked normal (no gasps of alarm, there were two arms, two legs and a head... I suppose we'll find out when my midwife gets the results) and it was another dose of reality for me.

It has been yet another helluva week and I am starting to get the feeling that's just how my life is now - not so bad, but I should start getting more sleep so I can keep up. It is 9:30 now and immediately after this line I am going to get me a back rub and hit the hay.


heartburn makes me never want to eat again.

EDIT: I lied.

why can't I get into this pregnancy?

It used to be that when I thought of pregnancy, I thought of people like Gwynneth, Brittney, Liv, Angelina and Katie. This is because I used to spend my days working in a little shop and reading magazines. Sure I read things like Harper's and the New Yorker, I read Bust, Bitch and Ready Made, but my dirty little secret was I also read Star, the Enquirer, People and US.

My addiction started in earnest as I prepared for my wedding - I would pick up the usual wedding magazines for inspiration (really I would just lust over Vera Wang dresses and Martha's cakes) and something on the cover of People or In Style would catch my eye. Suddenly I cared about the lives of people I had absolutely no actual connection to. I started to notice "baby bumps" and marvel at how cool these parents were.

I already had baby fever - I would stare longingly at new parents with their perfect, wonderful little clones. I would sigh and giggle at the adorable baby clothes that were seemingly everywhere. I started noticing all the fashionable accessories babies came with. Funky strollers and diaper bags and shirts that proclaimed cute things like "boob man" and "party at my crib". But now I was starting to get pregnancy fever.

I wanted the adorable pregnancy clothes, I wanted a baby bump of my very own. I wanted the attention of strangers, I wanted that adoration and attention that is especially reserved for pregnant women. But most of all I wanted the clothes, fat clothes designed for skinny people who are only temporarily fat - so much more stylish than typical "plus size" clothes, more "au courant".

Andrew and I really wanted to start a family, I couldn't figure out how to step forward in my life career-wise, so the timing was good. I figured it would make things pretty easy if I didn't have a career to mourn, plus Andrew and I agreed that having kids early would likely mean greater freedom later in life when we would, theoretically, be more financially stable and able to do things like travel. We got married in May and were pregnant by August. I could not wait to look pregnant and to have people notice me as a pregnant woman, I couldn't wait to feel a little life inside me. I read pregnancy books and magazines with the same voracious appetite I had for food. We decided to cloth diaper and have a natural birth, I signed up for weekly e-mails that let me know how big my baby was and what wonderful things were happening inside me.

I was fascinated by the immense power of my body to grow a baby. I had never successfully grown anything before - so this was *huge*. I felt really connected to the life inside of me, everything I did was done while considering the life inside of me. I talked to my little peanut all the time, had conversations with it in my head, played it music and got lots of belly rubs. I spent my spare time figuring out what we needed for the baby, finding the "best" stroller, mobile (he hated it, by the way), clothes, diaper covers, bottles, and breast pump (we cheaped on this and I hated it). I rarely left the house without getting something for the baby or for me. I spent my days on the look-out for perfect names, eventually compiling a very large and detailed spreadsheet (only to pick a name in the car mere days before Sebastian's birth).

Pregnancy was my life for 8 months. Since then motherhood has been my life for two years. I love it, I love my little boy and I love being a mom. I love the fact that as much as we struggle, we can make ends meet with a single income. I love our home and I love the love that fills it, and I really, really want to love being pregnant again.

But I don't. It isn't that I hate it, I don't really feel much about it, actually. I worry about how I will parent a second child, I feel like I can hardly keep up with the one I have. I think about how Sebastian, who we had initially intended to be an only child, will adjust to having a sibling. I also suddenly feel like my life is being put on hold in a way I didn't last time around. Mostly, though, I worry that something will go wrong.

I don't know if feeling ambivalent about this pregnancy is caused by that worry or if I worry because I feel so ambivalent. Either way the feeling, while allowing me to function perfectly well, has left me out of step. I am searching for ways to shake this feeling - and it does leave me for moments or hours every day... and the smart, logical part of me tells me it is perfectly normal to feel like this, especially given the stresses of parenting a pre-schooler, a recent move, the recent dissolution of a very old friendship and the recent minor bumps in my marriage.

It still sucks.

I am having heaps of trouble staying mindful and centred through all of this. Hell, I am having trouble staying showered and fed. I have an appointment with my midwife tomorrow that Andrew will be taking the morning off of work for, and I am at the midway point of my pregnancy - I have a feeling that everyday that passes now will make this pregnancy feel more real.

Monday, May 28

I really miss "sick days"

I doubt sick day will ever mean the same thing to me again. There was a time when I could take a day off to sit on my butt and re-centre, recover from a hang-over, or,occasionally, recover from illness. Now when I have a sick day it is a day spent caring for my offspring while he recovers from illness, doing any variety of things that might help - renting videos, making soup, cuddling, nose-wiping, bum-wiping, book-reading, whine-filled trips to deserted parks (to avoid spreading too many germs) or long walks (that with luck end with a napping baby and a coffee-break for mom) - and the concept of taking a sick day for myself is completely alien.

I have been "understandably" run-down due to the whole baby-making gig, but this last week I have also been fighting off the hints of a cold. I awoke Saturday with a sore throat and headache that got both mildly better as the day wore on (and with the addition of only two tylenol). Sunday was the same, though the evening brought the symptoms back with a vengeance. I am thankful that one both days I have parental backup and I could do a little less. I actually thought I had licked the damned thing when this morning I awoke with a barely aching throat... then I tried to move. My body is achey all over and feels profoundly tired. I think this is a side-effect of all the work it has done fighting off my cold, but adding that to pregnancy and the fact that my husband needed to go to work today was all together unpleasant.

I was short-tempered with my son today, who I suspect may be coming down with the same cold, as we prepared to go to Granville Island to meet friends (who unfortunately had to cancel on us). All I wanted to do was crawl back into bed with the chocolate-almond ice cream I picked up at the store last night and watch TV. Or sleep. Instead I was trying to convince a crabby toddler to give me some peace while I assembled out picnic lunch. I finally caved and stuck a Thomas the Tank video on the computer while I got out shit all sorted out (and put on pants).

As I mentioned our friends couldn't make it today, which just made me want to stay home more - but I knew that Sebastian would be hellish in or out and at least if we were out I could keep changing the scenery. As we approached the island the clouds looked ominous and I was losing my faith that this was a good idea. But I was committed, I had no back up, worse came to worse I had loads of towels and a change of clothes for Boo if the clouds split and drenched us.

Thank goodness that never happened, we played in the sandbox for a bit with some other brave toddlers then walked over to the market to watch boats and eat lunch. By this point the clouds broke and we had a lovely lunch in the sun, Sebastian danced to the live music while I ate a giant salad. We then headed inside for grapes - I rarely buy them, but somehow Sebastian has connected them quite powerfully to our weekly trips to Granville Island. I can easily buy just enough for him for that day - and will start feeling less guilty about it (and possible buy more) when they aren't coming all the way from Chile.

We then popped into a shop where I picked up a part of a secret gift for a friend (she might see this) - and then to another store to get the rest of it. Sebastian was wonderful and charming so we went and watched the "King of the Ukulele" play. Sebastian LOVES this guy and totally rocked out to his jams.

We chatted with another mother that Sebastian had befriended - she was wearing this amazing necklace whose pendant was made out of arbutus and pointed me towards the store she got it from. After some shared snacks and a hug we headed over to OrganiX to check it out. The necklaces are awesome and I also found some really cute baby stuff. The price of this stuff always gives me a little shock, but since most of little bean's clothes will be hand-me-downs I am thinking I can justify "splurging" on more responsible new duds.

In the store he continued to charm and delight, we talked with the woman there for a good 20-30 minutes (without buying anything, sigh, if I hadn't already bought that gift I would have purchased something there). I have one more birthday this week so may head back - though I am going to look for something while I am out tomorrow too - and I might, if I am feeling better, sew a little something for both women.

Sebastian was both disappointed and relieved to leave the island, most of our drive home was delightful until he threw his snack on the floor... we came home, played quietly and read a bit before going down for a nap. During this time my feeling of sick returned full-force, all I wanted to do was crash, but also wanted to a) get the child to nap and b) clean up, start dinner and repack our bag for the beach tomorrow. So sleep waited, Andrew got held up at work, which was alright - only 30 minutes or so - and Sebastian woke up, crabby and irritable, wanting to play with playdough and whine. We played a new "game" called "mom isn't talking to you unless you talk normally - or mom can't understand you, child, unless you use your calm voice." It meant talking to myself a whole lot (or my imaginary friends) but seemed to work, I don't know when we got to the point where I was reacting to whining, but that's gotta stop. I hate that shit and it can send me over the edge like nothing else. Generally we communicate very well, but every once in a while he becomes the master of whine.

Obviously part of it is his being sick, so I was patient and understanding while being firm - it sounds way easier on paper - I have been working very hard on keeping my temper in check, as lately my emotions have been so close to the surface and I have a tendency to be a "yelly mom" when the edges start to fray. It has been an up and down fight, days like this tend to be more difficult but also tend to give me renewed perspective. A sense that "I can stand this" when it feels like I can't stand another minute of it (and then, somehow, I always do). So, anyways, being firm and patient is hard but yet it really worked. He would eventually calmly ask for what he wanted and get it - and if it worked today then I am betting it will work even better when we are all feeling 100%.

I was going to complain about what a pain it is not to get to wallow in my sickness any more, but

Sunday, May 27

sunday already?

What a fun, quick week we had!

Not that things have been all fun and games, Andrew and I are still a little "off" around each-other. It has gotten loads better but I think we are just trying to feel out how to relate to one another better as we also settle into this short phase of our lives (pregnant and parenting a toddler).

I have talked a bit before about how I have been feeling lazy, lazy about cooking and housework, lazy about parenting and rules, lazy about just about everything. And it hit me last night that this profound laziness is what has been making me so profoundly (though thankfully, fleetingly) miserable. And it wasn't until I started *not* being lazy that I really got it. I would experience these periods of contentment, excitement and even, dare I say it, happiness. Not just fleeting moments, but hours, even days!

I also began to hold my head up higher, feel more confident and social, and to see what needed to be done in order to return order to my life. All of this while getting out, both with kid and without, doing fun and productive things and even getting some laziness in.

Tuesday I exchanged the stroller - I really do love the new one!

I did fail to mention in that entry that dinner caused another "fight" - though I realise now that I have been very difficult lately. I blame pregnancy, and it is definitely the mitigating factor, BUT I am also adult enough to handle myself better in situations like that. We ended up getting rolls from the vietnamese place down the street and eating those with leftover veggie burgers. I think the main issue I am having right now is I don't want to cook, nor do I want to choose food because I keep not enjoying the things I choose to make/order. What I *want* is for my husband to be able to magically pick the perfect meal for me and exclude me from the preparation. But that is a) impossible and b) not actually likely to make me any happier - I miss cooking.

Wednesday we had to go to the laundromat, which I routinely bitch about, but usually turns out to be fun (as long as we get out before the breakdown) and afterwards, even though I couldn't get Sebastian to take a nap (as much as he needed one), I did get him to play quietly in his room for almost an hour. I spent the afternoon emptying out all the boxes and crap from our bedroom and reclaiming that space. It had gotten so crowded and miserable in there I wasn't even sleeping well. I piled the boxes onto the couch because I knew that way they would get unpacked quickly.

Thursday gets its own entry because it was such an awesome, fun day!

Friday was much quieter, coffee and the park in the morning and a trip to Granville Island in the afternoon. Sebastian played at the water park for a while, perhaps sharing a little less well on this day, but having a ball showing everyone he could find the toy he had found. It was one of those deals where you pour water in the top and it makes baskets and wheels turn. I think one of these may be in our future, he really enjoyed exploring the cause/effect relationship and especially enjoyed showing it off.

We grabbed some food for dinner and came home, I prepared a dinner I would ultimately end up not eating and fed Sebastian cheese on toast, grapes and dry cereal for dinner while we watched the Muppet Show (with Debbie Harry). It was about this point I realised that when Andrew said he would be staying for beer and cake at work he did not mean he would stay for an hour and then come home, but instead would be staying until he got tired. This is not something I look down on or would get pissed about - it just took me by surprise. "Oh, hey, my husband would also like some time outside of the house with friends?"

I am proud to say I successfully put Sebastian down for both a nap and to sleep on Friday - all. by. myself. - really really. By the time he was down I cleaned up, did dishes, put toys away - all the things I expect Andrew to do while I am out yet rarely do when I am home. It felt good. I then made myself a HUGE salad and some tea and watched an episode of Arrested Development in bed (someone needs to get me season three so I can stop memorizing entire episodes of season two - season one is on loan to one of my sisters).

Andrew locked himself out - thank goodness for late-night pot-smoking neighbours with phones!

Saturday was a great family day - we went to the beach, home for lunch, long nap taken by the boys while I made some killer (and totally impromptu) chili, and a nice dinner. Sebastian went down well, we have been trying something new - we have been working on getting him to fall asleep by himself, Andrew has a better hang of it than I do - and so far it only works for night-time - essentially we just keep telling him we will be right back and leave for increasingly long periods (sounds Ferber but is actually from the No Cry Sleep Solution for toddlers and preschoolers). I thought I had done it Friday night but he woke up in a panic 15 minutes after I was convinced he was asleep and I stayed with him while he went to sleep - selfishly because I didn't feel like spending the rest of my night in and out of his room. After talking with Andrew today I think I know where I went wrong (stayed too long in between leaving - there is a system to this) so I will try again next week.

We watched Children of Men and were both really impressed. Really, really impressed.

Today was chore day - unpacked all but two boxes and the boys took the recycling to the recycling centre so I could vacuum (Sebastian hates it). But my mom called and I got sidetracked and our home remains un-vacuumed. I think I will just do it tomorrow morning and hope for the best.

And that, in a nutshell, was our week.

thursday fun

Thursday gets its own entry because it was such an awesome, fun day!

So, Thursday morning we went to Science World with the Family Centre we discovered last week. Sebastian and I both had loads of fun, he was so good - there was one point where we were playing in the toddler area and there were a couple activities that used these little white balls, There were less than a dozen balls for all the kids to share and Sebastian really really wanted to play too. He kept chasing other kids' balls, but as soon as they protested he would give them back. He even made a game of it for a bit - retrieving balls and returning them to their rightful "owners," his patience paid off and we found abandoned ball before he got sick of being left out.* We then checked out the rest of the exhibits, played whack-a-mole with an environmental twist, watched the "balloon show" but got fed up with not being able to see through the chatting field-trip mums in front of us who I wish I would have asked to be quiet but found rather intimidating. We touched a snake and watched some bees, then we played with some puzzles and optical illusions before getting hungry.

The only eating area is attached to a Triple O's home of both a delicious veggie burger and awesome fries - but I had packed a wonderful lunch of sandwiches (two cheese and two PB&J), fruit, yogurt, milk and juice. And we're broke. I tried to find a seat in the "cafeteria" but found the smell of fast-food overwhelming and decided that it was a good time to leave. So instead of eating under the haze of fried goodness we ate in the sun, on the grass overlooking the water.

It was really cool, we watched dump-trucks dumping dirt (I assume) onto a barge, Sebastian ran around the carved tree trunk we were sitting under, we talked to a couple of tourists from Seattle, watched bikes go by, kept an eye out for the parking cops (we were way over the time we had paid for, but could only purchase in 2-hour increments which would have been a waste), and really enjoyed each-other's company.

After lunch we headed to the library - armed with our fancy new library cards - we wanted to check out the central branch because it has a *huge* children's library
, I am pretty positive I was far more impressed with it than Sebastian was - he was a tired and unhappy that I was asking him to keep quiet. We quickly grabbed a few books for him and without even looking at the adult section checked out. We stopped for coffee (god I needed it) and then headed back to the car. On the way home I realised we had forgotten to return the bag of library books sitting in the back-seat so had to stop at another branch to do that. We then returned our videos and headed home.

By this point it was late and Sebastian had, of course, not slept - so we had a little quiet time while I got the car unpacked and thought about dinner. Andrew came home, made macaroni and cheese with hot dogs while I got ready to go see a movie with my friend Kristi. She had gotten me tickets to Saudi Solutions for my birthday and took me out for cake and nachos before-hand. The cake was AMAZING - we went to True Confections and I ordered the most incredible dark chocolate mousse cake ever, I was still hungry after (having not eaten dinner) and we grabbed nachos and "virgen chi-chis" at a little mexican place around the corner.

The movie was great, I still feel like I am processing what I saw - it has really changed the way I think of women in Saudi Arabia and has left me reeling. It was an amazing film.

I came home to a sleeping house and sat in my chair reading emails until Sebastian got up to come into the "big bed" at which point I also went to bed. Mind and body full and satisfied after a perfect day.

*Brief mention to the older little brat who had FOUR balls and would not give my kid one, even after he (and then I) asked nicely - Sebastian and I turned it into a little talk about how much it sucks when people don't share well, but that we had done all we could and would just wait for her to get bored of hoarding the balls or find someone more willing to share. I added that she might be hungry or need a nap.

Tuesday, May 22

I lied

I didn't like the new stroller at all this morning, so I exchanged it for a better colour. The only bummer is I had to get this season's model so it wasn't on sale (an extra $90 that my Dad may or may not reimburse me... not that I really think he should have to, but it sure would be nice).

Edit: I was assembling the new stroller when Andrew got home (Sebastian took a marathon nap) and we both agree that it rocks. Not only is the colour nicer, but the new model has a few extra features (cup-holder) and some nice (though minor) design improvements (I prefer the pocket on this one, the "toy bar" is now made of wipe-clean pleather instead of fabric, and the seat fabric is more breathable).

We went for a walk this evening and Andrew and I both love the thing, the handle is height-adjustable, the shade on it is HUGE, the cup holder, while not suitable for a coffee or other "open" drink, holds Sebastian's cup and a bottle of juice or water, as well as my keys, camera and phone in the zip-up pocket.

The only cons so far are - it won't fit through our gate without opening the other side and .... nope, the gate thing was it. We have been "spoiled" with our teeny-tiny umbrella stroller that fits anywhere, but I can totally see us taking this baby to the market and on all our walks (a once daily habit I have fallen out of lately and dearly miss). Thursday I will cram it in the car (it is far from compact) and bring it to Science World where it will face its most daunting challenges to date. Normally I would take the smaller stroller (or no stroller) and expect him to spend most of the visit walking, but I have a secret hope that Sebastian will take a nap and give me a chance to nerd it up old school. Cross your fingers for me.

Monday, May 21

last of the birthday bashes

Tonight we had a lovely dinner at my dad's place with dad, his fiancee, my sisters and the three of us. We had an assortment of bbq'd burgers to choose from (veggie, turkey, bison and salmon) as well as a lovely cous-cous salad and pasta salad. Sebastian was an adorable terror prompting more than a few disapproving, but loving looks from my dad (aka. Grumps) - Grumps' house is far from kid-friendly, it is full of expensive antiques and art work. But the reality is, he loves his grandson and would let the boy get away with murder (just don't touch the stereo).

I got my new stroller (a 2006 Zooper Boogie) - initially disappointed with the colour (I wanted teal but got navy as the store was sold out of teal) - after a long, drawn out discussion of the pros and cons of each stroller colour we decided to assemble the thing and decide. We love it, it is cool, fits our current and upcoming needs, won't go out of style, doesn't scream out for attention, and totally works for us.

I also got an amazing pair of earrings from my sisters and a gift certificate to Motherhood. My ex-step-mother sent me a lovely card with a note indicating she would like to comission me to sew her a scarf like the ones I made my sisters for Christmas (no pics, sorry). I have been looking for an excuse to start sewing again and this one seems perfect!

Sunday, May 20

my amazing (amazingly easy) salsa recipe

because I really do make awesome salsa - and you can too!

You'll need:

- some nice red tomatoes* - enough to equal the volume of salsa you want**
- one average white or red onion
- a jalapeno
- some cilantro
- a lime or two
- salt
- and any additions, like avocado, beans, corn, pineapple or mango

You'll do:

1) cut the tomatoes into quarters and get rid of the cores and all the oogy bits - your salsa will be plenty wet without all that snot. Dice em up and toss them in the bowl you'll be serving in.

2) chop up about half the onion - you're aiming for a 2:1-3:1 tomato to onion ratio. Sprinkle on some salt, not much - about the amount you would put on your dinner. Be conservative, you can add more later.

3) carefully cut the jalapeno length-wise and seed it - throw out the seeds... do not touch your eyes or pick your nose after this step... it will hurt like hell. Chop one half (or less) and add to salsa bowl. If you are unsure how spicy you would like it, just add a little bit now and save the rest to add later.

4) chop up a small handful of cilantro, try not to swear too much, add to salsa a bit at a time, stirring, until it "looks right."

5) wash your limes (especially if non-organic) and add the zest of one to the bowl. Then cut in half and add the juice to the mix - watch those seeds! Hang onto lime number two - you may need it or you may end up using it with your drinks.

6) taste. Add salt, lemon juice and jalapenos as necessary.

7) (aka. the hard part) let it sit in the fridge for as long as you can. The salsa tastes best on day two - but can, if necessary, be eaten immediately. It will keep in the fridge, wrapped, for about four days.

This is best served with que pasa chips, because they are the best.


Add any combination of pineapple, mango, corn, beans, and avocado*** - in an amount about equal to the onions, though more has never hurt it. Our favourite is salsa with avocado and mango. I will often serve original salsa on night #1 and use the left over salsa with some additions to eat with chips or leftovers the next day.

* I prefer the ones "on the vine" or plain old romas... but as long as they are red and not too big they'll work well
** for my family, with two very serious salsa eaters, I use three smaller tomatoes for one day's worth - ie. one meal or one plate of nachos
*** when adding avocado you will shorten the life-span of this dip, adding more lime juice will help keep it from turning prematurely brown, but this is best served within 24 hours. You can also make the salsa in advance and add avocado shortly before serving.

Thursday, May 17

while I'm procrastinating, I might as well write something rambly

Sebastian just went down for a late nap - having been kept awake by his mama's need to buy dinner fixings (I know he would have been happier if I had let him nap and tossed a box of mac and cheese together for dinner). But I save those for real emergencies (and days when we haven't already had hot dogs for lunch). Dinner tonight will be a feta and asparagus frittata. I amsupposed to avoid all but hot, cooked feta while pregnant - and yet have been craving it like MAD, so this is my comprimise. We had eggs last night too, because until we get paid tomorrow there's something like NO money in the bank. Thankfully I stashed a carton of eggs away earlier in the week and veggies for dinner were cheap (though I had to split a $9 bill between cash and debit - how embarassing). We also have half a bottle of half and half in the fridge that will go bad in a couple of days. I buy the smallest bottle I can for my almost daily coffees and always end up having to find a use for half of it at the end of the week.

On a related note - I have found the joy of organic, fair trade *bulk* coffee. I can buy enough for the week for less than two americanos and with my new grinder can measure precicely enough to make two cups of coffee. And my hand-me-down coffee maker, while missing the handle, does have a thermos-brand carafe - so when I get back to that second cup in that afternoon it is still hot! ...speaking of...

So, I am in a wicked-good mood today. This morning, Sebastian and I went to the nearby family centre for their drop-in program. This is set up much like the family place we went to when living in New West - but bigger and better, and best of all, still FREE. They only ask that you bring fruit to share at snack time. Sebastian played so nicely I was able to sneak off and sit in on a discussion about healthy snacks in the "parent's room" before story time. Sebastian was reasonable well behaved during story and song time - he shared his book well, but was pissed when they took the books away for a group story. But, thankfully, he sat on my lap nicely for two whole books before song time. He LOVED the song about elephants playing on a spiderweb (Sharon, Lois and Bram, I think) but wasn't digging the wheels on the bus.

There were two incidents where I thought we might have to take off, but the staff were great and came over and made him laugh while singing and doing their actions. We then had a snack of fresh magoes, banana, orange and apple - a bona-fide hit! And got to go play outside in the fenced-off basketball courts with a variety of trikes and cars. When that got dull Sebastian went to the playground and was amazing about waiting his turn and sharing (right up until it was time to leave, but promises of lunch helped sidestep that tantrum).

Other things I loved - I talked to not one, but TWO awesome, friendly mums, I spilled coffee down my clean, white shirt and didn't feel overly self-concious about it, next week we're going to Science World as a group and it will only cost me $5 (reg: $16) plus bus fare, and the place is within walking distance.

We then went to the library and signed up for library cards (I had to wait to get something sent to the new address before I could sign up). Sebastian was good there until it came time to look for books for mama... thankfully I found what I was looking for fairly quickly (some of the same pregnancy books I had used last time and some back-issues of mothering mag) and the yelling was kept to a minimum. Lunch was next - hot dogs all around! We then had a parcel and dinner fixings to pick up before heading home. If I hadn't put him down at the market, he likely would have fallen asleep on my shoulder - but I let him roam free and that was it for any sleepyness. We came home to find *another* parcel at the door! This one was addressed to me and had been shipped via UPS... a mystery.

We came in, opened the package from Andrew's parents to find gifts from their recent trip to England. Sebastian is the proud owner of an official England soccer uniform - complete with socks and a new Thomas the Tank sun-hat. Lucky kid! Andrew and I both got some sweet trinkets, including a beautiful picture frame and a cheesy, but cute "World's Greatest Computer Whizz" mug for Andrew (I wonder what the extra "z" is for).

The other parcel?It was my birthday gift from my mum and step-dad, a new CAMERA!!! It is a tiny and awesome Canon SD600 that I will love and cherish and use often. I have been wanting a little point and shoot camera for years - hating to lug around Andrew's massive Kodak. Especially hating the shots missed because I hadn't had the forthought, or room, to bring it. Now this can just go everywhere with me. I love it. I have never loved an object as much as I love this camera.

I wish I had known years ago that when people ask what you want for your birthday and you *tell* them - they'll actually get you that thing (as long as it is reasonable). I hate putting people out and asking for anything, so this is a lesson I am just now learning. But it makes lives a little easier and I only ask for things that I wouldn't buy myself and only for things I think are reasonable. And I really never expect anything from anyone (though I *love* getting presents!!), not because I don't think I deserve anything (that might be a part of it) but because I really don't think anyone should feel obligated to get me anything. In recent years I have extended that to both my husband and my parents, I am so blessed just to have wonderful people in my life - I don't actually need presents. This also means that when I do ask for things I like them to be sensible and useful (like the vacuum I got for my birthday or christmas from my mom a few years back - and the gardening tools). They are both things that I still use today and when I do (especially my beautiful Lee Valley tools) I think fondly of the gift-giver.

The little things that I am hoping to get for my birthday this year? A new Moleskine journal, subscriptions to Mothering Magazine and/or Brain, Child, and anything that was made (or purchased) with thoughtfulness. Books are also aweosme... I assume you're all taking notes.

Actually, by combining my brithday and wedding anniversary into an afternoon picnic, I hope that no-one feels obligated to get me anything. I really hate feeling like people feel like they might "need" to do anything for me. Except show up.

Sunday, May 13

return to me

I have just had the most amazing, wonderful weekend with my family. Mother's Day was a great excuse - but we know we didn't really need one (it just allowed me to feel like a little less of a bitch while calling all the shots, that, and I got flowers!).

This last week saw me hit my breaking point in a few areas of my life. I hit an all-time low when a mama at the park actually made me cry, I called a friend on an episode of racism, I got realistic about our financial and dietary laziness, and felt hatred and resentment towards my offspring like never before. I also started therapy that will in time develop into couple's counselling for Andrew and I, finally got a working fridge, stood tall, planted a garden, and am working on parenting mindfully again. I found deep love and admiration for both my husband and son - who are smarter, sweeter and more understanding than I ever give them credit for. I felt a change within me when instead of feeling anger towards the woman at the park who stepped on my proverbial toes and made me question my parenting, I felt compassion towards her and saw how fragile my confidence in my mothering had become. I used it as a catalyst for change.

I feel the change deep within me. It has been rolling under the surface for weeks - just waiting for me to let go and let it return me to a state of inner peace. It is amazing, I knew the key was in this book I love called Mommy Mantras but it took days of reading to find it, I was so focused on the sections about dealing with anger and depression that I missed it completely. A simple mantra full of power "I took the vow," meaning I made the decision to have a child and to get pregnant a second time, I took the vow - shit and all. It instantly took me away from the place where I was constantly second-guessing everything and daydreaming of a different life, to the present, with all its problems and trials and reminded me that I made a promise to do right as a mother and that no matter what life throws at me that is the one promise I don't get to walk away from. I took the vow.

when the shit goes down

I think my longest friendship is over - and contrary to what I thought I might feel, I feel at peace. I stood up for myself, stood up for what I believed, and accept the consequences. I feel no guilt, I feel awful about the timing (just over a month before her wedding in which I am supposed to be bride's maid); but feel confident in the decision I made. The gory details are known to the people who really need to know them, I don't take what I set into motion lightly and I would very much love to change the way this last week went down. But I know that I was true to my beliefs and can stand tall knowing I did the right thing.

Sunday, May 6

My week in notes Part 2

So the last installment got a little out of hand - I will have to keep this one short and sweet so that I can get back to all the things I need to get done today.

Thursday: As far as I remember - we did very little, still feeling a little under the weather. I'm positive we went for coffee and a walk (because we do the a LOT) and looking back on my photo album see that this was the day Sebastian found a MASSIVE puddle in the park and splashed until I had to make him leave the park because he was starting to turn blue with cold. Because I am super mom I was prepared for such dampness and had brought along towels and a blanket. Once dry (we'd stripped him of all wet clothes) he warmed up really quickly and, re-energised, decided to walk most of the way home.

Yes, those are cowboy boots. A block from home he climbed back in the wagon and nearly passed out - only to get really irate the moment we pulled up to the gate, knowing that that meant we would be headed back indoors.

After naps we went back outside and played in the yard until dad got home - at which point I realised I hadn't gotten dinner together and decided we should get (organic) pizza*.

Friday: Walked to the park early in the hopes that Sebastian would crash before my 11:00 midwife appointment. No dice. He was pretty awesome though, he helped check my blood pressure (good) and held the doppler goo while we listened to the little bean who was dancing around a whole bunch and only let us get a hint of a (healthy) heartbeat.

All goes well and I am really starting to feel excited about the new babe. I still feel tired, and often forget that I am indeed pregnant - making things like having to pee all the time, being hungry or winded, always catch me by surprise at first. Last time around I spent every moment thinking "I am pregnant" this time I don't have that "luxury" instead I have to remember that I am a mother and wife and housekeeper and cook and assistant. Life was simple once.

After lunch (leftover pizza) we went to a nearby kid's consignment store and bought a gift for a baby shower. After far too many minutes spent wandering the store trying to figure out what to get a woman who I a) don't know well and b) is very very different from me - I wanted to get her one of these wonderful locally made pouch slings, but worried that it would not end up getting used at all, since buying a carrier can be so personal. I ended up getting her an awesome playmat and an extra musical toy to hang from the centre. Sebastian loved stuff like that when he was new.

I bailed on going downtown after that and instead Sebastian played in his room with the plastic tool set I'd bought him while I cooked dinner. After bed Andrew and I watched Idiocracy again... this is by far the best movie no one has ever heard of.


May 11 - well, things here, there and everywhere got a little crazy this past week and this post never ever got finished or posted. As I put my family's needs aside for a considerable amount of time while I wrote this, I am posting it unfinished and as is.

*we have moved to a place where awesome, healthy takeout is plentiful - making it really easy for me not to cook... not good.