Monday, December 25, 2006

ho ho ho

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.
Burton Hillis

Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noel, & Happy Ho Ho!
from little Lulu, big Daddy & thepetitegourmand..

Saturday, December 23, 2006

waiting in anticipation

I really didn't think Lulu would "get" the whole Santa thing this year.
But the man in red is pretty much everywhere these days, so it's pretty difficult for him not to be the main subject of conversation around here.
All Lulu's favourite shows have the whole Santa theme happening.
Max & Ruby, Blues Clues, and even her beloved Toopy & Binoo were dressed up like mini Santas.
Every store we enter seems to have an image or figurine of Santa, and in a few instances the man himself was there in the flesh.
Big daddy and I were trying to decide how to go about celebrating Santa & Christmas in general.
Chanukah is pretty straight forward, we lit the menorah each night and ate latkas.
(which I bought from Nortown as I couldn't bear the thought of stinking up the house with fried oil)
we played with the drediel and ate Brisket, barley pilaff and roasted vegetables with friends and family.
Simple & fun with no made up stories involved.
Thus the moral dilemma.
Do we tell Lulu that some fat guy in a red suit is going to squeeze down the chimney in the middle of the night?
(even though we tell her to stay away from the fireplace because it's dangerous and HOT)
and he's basically doing a B&E, but instead of stealing the dvd, car keys and laptop, he's actually going to leave presents for her, without once setting off the alarm..
Maybe I'm giving it too much consideration.
I mean as a kid I loved the whole concept of reindeer on our rooftop with Santa eating the milk & cookies we put out for him.
Every year I was determined to stay awake long enough to hear the hooves above and try to sneak a peek at Jolly Ol' St. Nick.

warning spoiler ahead.

My parents pulled out all the stops trying to keep the "story" alive for as long as possible.
My dad even dressed up one year and got up on the roof (I'm sure after a few rye & ginger's- he was only in his early twenties after-all)
They even left fake snow foot prints on the red carpet in the living room (hey it was the seventies)
The note I had left for Santa was wrinkled and even covered in soot, cookie crumbs left on the plate.
But ultimately I uncovered the truth.
Not sure when, but I do remember pretending to still believe for my younger brother's sake (and to perpetuate the awesome loot left by Santa every Christmas morning)

So I guess we will just have to play it by ear.
Though it is highly unlikely that Big daddy will ever dress up in a Santa suit and get up on the roof...
But something tells me he won't mind partaking in the eating of the cookie ritual.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Top Chef

Another reality show comes to an end.
This particular show didn't involve skimpy bathing suits, being stranded on an island or feeling hungry for 39 days.
On the contrary, it was the complete opposite.
I'm talking about "Top Chef" on the Food Network.
From the first episode I was hooked.
It had all my favourite elements in a show.
Juicy cat fights.
Lot's of diverse personalities.
Fun challenges & suspense.
But most of all it was all about food and cooking.
The guy I figured would win, did.
yay Harold.
He was totally pro, diplomatic, talented and cute to boot.
I'm kind of sad it's over.
Isn't that the way?
All season you can't wait until the next episode, then when the final show arrives
it's always a bit anti-climatic.
(kinda like Christmas if you ask me)
anyhow, big congrats to Harold.
I will definitely be looking up his restaurant the next time I'm in NYC.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

baking 101

I don't have much patience for baking.
I love to cook, no question about that.
But baking has to be so precise and there is usually no room for error.
When I do bake I tend to make things like banana bread or oatmeal cookies.
Simple stuff.
Besides, I'm definitely more of a savoury and spice lover rather than a sweet tooth.
Though I never say no to a bit of dark organic chocolate..
Now that I'm a "mom" I felt this obligation of sorts to throw on an apron and dust off my measuring cups and get baking.
I also figured Lulu would enjoy playing with flour and dough and making cut out cookies.
I picked up this little cookie cutter at polka dot kids a few weeks ago, and knew Lulu would love making these little gingerbread birdies.
Her first word ever spoken was "birdie" after-all.
so in keeping with the theme around here..
I think they turned out pretty good.
we had fun together.
they taste ahight..
Though I may have to stop by the local bakery for a good'ol oatmeal cookie or a slice of banana bread..

Thursday, December 14, 2006

blue skies

I have a confession to make.
I'm secretly waiting in anticipation for it to snow.
Yup that's right, nice big fluffy snowflakes.
Covering everything in a nice cool white blanket of prettiness.
I know this might sound crazy,
but it just doesn't feel Christmasy when the weather feels more like March or April temperatures.
Sure it's great that I can still get away with wearing my ballet flats with my skinny jeans and a blazer in the middle of December.
And it is nice not to have to put layers of clothing on before heading out the door.
And then have to de-layer as you go inside to overly heated places (ie.the mall..)
then have to lug a bunch of extra clothing around with you.
Like I don't already have enough stuff to tote with a toddler in my life.
You can never have enough containers of animal crackers, fruit or cookies you know
(just in case Lulu finally decides to end her hunger strike)
And it's nice not to have to scrape the snow from the car windows or wait 10 minutes for the car to warm up.
Or salt the sidewalks and shovel the driveway.
Or mop up the melted salty snow puddles at the front door.
Or try to manoeuvre the stroller down the sidewalk hoping that everyone had the common courtesy to shovel.
Or trying to still look fashionable while wearing sensible snow/waterproof/warm foot wear..Is this even possible?
or trying to put things (i.e.. stroller) in and out of the trunk of the car without getting long black puffy coat covered in salt and slush.
did I actually say I wanted it to snow?
I think I need to lay off the rum and eggnog for a while.

That is of course if I actually liked eggnog.
which I don't.
Though I have nothing against rum.
I had to state that for the record.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

say cheese

Lulu has become quite particular about food lately.
dare I say she has unleashed her inner-diva?
when it comes to food, it's starting to get more and more difficult to get her to eat.
My pediatrician sais we should be moving away from jarred baby food by now,
yet it's really the only thing I can get her to eat these days.
Even that has become a bit of a battle.
She won't eat chicken, fish or beef.
It's either ham or nothing.
Is this normal??
I just hope my mother in law never finds out about this love of ham.
Or as big daddy likes to refer to it "pink chicken"
not exactly kosher.
It's difficult not to get too worked up about her fluctuating appetite.
I just want to make sure she is getting enough fruit, veg and protein in her diet.
Some days she will literally only have cereal, a jar of peas and a tiny bit of ham.
She will eat avocado, hummus and a bit of pita on occasion.
blueberries, strawberries, mandarin orange and banana are tolerated.
Whole-wheat pasta with tomato sauce (& hidden blended spinach) and parmesan cheese are usually accepted with a bit of coaxing.
I've had to toss out many a batch of nice home-made meals that I have so lovingly prepared for her.
But if all else fails, I can always crack out the fromage.
She never sais no to a bit of cheese.
like mother like daughter.
This past weekend she's decided she likes truffle cheese
(with carrs crackers and a "dip" of red wine) of course.
we had to keep her away from the Romans Part Dieu and the Bleu de Gex.
not sure if unpasturized cheese is okay or not for 19 month olds.
but let's not even get into the whole pasteurized or unpasteurized debate..
things are pretty tense here in Toronto on that particular subject these days.
I'm just glad Lulu isn't lactose intolerant.
Now THAT would be great cause for concern.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

deck the halls

Lulu is quite the little santa's helper.
she was really getting into the spirit of things this weekend and helped to decorate her first Christmas tree.
Needless to say there is an abundance of ornaments on the bottom half of the tree.
But I didn't have the heart to relocate the ones that she so carefully applied to each branch.
So our tree is a little bottom heavy (kinda like mommy)
Though I have to say that each ornament was nicely spaced apart from one another.
She was very methodical in her ornament application.
that's my girl.
I'm one proud mama.
(hey it's the prop stylist in me)
Big daddy wasn't entirely enthusiastic about the entire situation.
I think the Jewish guilt factor was creeping in.
But kudos to him for helping put it up in the first place and for putting on all the lights.
I hate having to deal with the lighting.
Anyhow, It always seems like such a "dad like" thing to do.
He drew the line at full on decorating and left that up to us girls.
but I do appreciate the fact that he is okay with having a Xmas tree in the first place and humouring me this year.
Like he really has a choice in the matter.
so we decked the halls.
fah laa laa laa laa laa la..
tis' the season to be...okay I'll quit while I'm ahead.

Friday, December 08, 2006

little elf

Lulu has been living it up at grandma & grandpa's house all week.
Three days and nights without our little lulu.
It certainly does make it easier to work and take on extra freelance jobs.
It also was a bit of a festive week with a bunch of Christmas get togethers and parties, so it beats hiring a baby-sitter.
I also managed to go to the doctor (finally after almost three years...) and get a haircut.
feels good to cross so many things off the To Do list.
But it felt so empty around here.
I thought we would catch up on a bit of extra sleep, but no not really.
Lulu fills our lives with so much joy and happiness, that although it was a nice break, it just didn't feel right without her around.
I don't miss the "old days" when it was just big daddy and I in the least.
I thought I would, but I don't.
It was nice however not having to use those annoying plastic cupboard safety things every-time we open and closed the cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom.
and I don't think we used the dishwasher once all week.
no sippy cups, bottles, winnie the pooh plastic plates.
No avocado bits all over the floor or little pieces of crocodile cheese crackers stuck to my socks.
We actually ended up eating out most of the week so I barely stepped foot in the kitchen.
that in itself felt really odd.
But Lulu had so much fun and really enjoyed spending time with "baba and bampba"
My mom is also going through some very stressful times, so it was a really great diversion for her.
I absolutely love watching the relationship between Lulu and my mom grow and develop.
Though I almost melted when I picked her up, she kept clapping her hands saying "mama mama MAMA!!!"
I can't remember getting so many kisses and hugs.
That felt really amazing.
All in all it was a really good week for everyone, I'm just glad to have my little elf home again.
Just in time too, because we are decorating the tree tonight.
Our first Christmas tree-ever.
should be fun.

Monday, December 04, 2006

sibilantly sumptuous secondi

Lulu is currently absorbed in her ABC's.
besides the usual sing song and various abc themed books I picked up these rubber letters from the $1 store.
She loves them and we have fun spreading them out all over the floor, pointing to the different letters.
who knew such a simple and inexpensive thing could be such a winner?
If she had been with us for dinner this evening she would have heard plenty of overly enunciated "S-es"
Big daddy and I went to dinner and a movie.
then dinner at Tutti Matti.
what the hell does that have to do with the alphabet?
well we were sitting next to a well known society "writer" about town.
He and his dinner date were chatting up a storm.
To put it mildly it was raining S-es.
If you know what I mean..
I couldn't help overhearing a bunch of ssssstuff about sssso many fabulousssss placessss and fabuloussss people.
Sssso much ssssso that I won't need to read a certain ssssection of the paper thissss weekend.
but enough about the fellassss beside us.
The meal.
absolutely Di-VINE.
we started with the Fagottini
a chickpea flour crepe stuffed with mixed mushrooms, asparagus and chef's mix of cheeses and truffle pate
drizzled with truffle honey
we also had the Carpaccio di nana
Smoked duck carpaccio served with fresh orange, shaved pecorino di pienza and Tuscan extra virgin olive oil.
then we had the Insalata di Matti
Fresh arugula with grapes, walnuts and shaved pecorino di pienza with pomegranate vinaigrette.
we shared the homemade pheasant & chestnut ravioli followed by the Costole di maiale-- "Nastro Azzuro"
Pork short ribs slow roasted with Nastro Azzuro Italian beer, blood oranges, rosemary and garlic.
by far one of the best meals I've had in a while.
Chef Alida Solomon calls her restaurant "Tutti Matti", meaning "everybody's crazy" in Italian.
I'm crazy about this restaurant, that's for sure.
Rustic Italian cuisine that is upscale, yet casual, a great little place that offers up a little taste of Tuscany.
Bonus was the excellent and friendly service.
The place was fairly busy for a chilly monday night and it seemd to me to be many regulars and other chefs from other restaurants.
That's always a good sign.
Unfortunately we had to postpone that trip to Tuscany, but in the meantime Tutti Matti is the next best thing.
It was Deliciousssssssss.

oh and Borat was pretty hillarious.
Though I wonder how many people didn't get his sense of humour, and left the movie feeling offended.
and was Palm-ella Anderson in on the joke or what?
That's what this enquiring mind really wants to know.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

out of tune

happy birthday to me.
happy birthday to me.
happy birthday.
happy birthday.
happy meee.
god another year has come and gone.
dec. 3rd. 1970.
that officially makes me closer to 40 than 30.
36 (for those of you that are as bad at numbers as me)
It's hard to believe there was a time when I bumped up my age by a few years to sound older.
Now I can hardly believe I'm officially in my mid-thirties.
I'm in total denial.
Fortunately I often get mistaken for say...27-30ish.
which of course makes me feel sooo much better, then again people could just be saying that.
Which is fine by me.
so much has happened in my thirties so far.
30. got married.
31. bought first home.
33. preggers.
34. had Lulu.
36. NOW WHAT??
I kind of covered all the big stuff, now what am I supposed to look forward to?
Menopause for god's sakes?!
okay I'm obviously not thrilled about getting older.
In fact I'm really not taking it too well at all.
but on the up side,
I still don't have any grey hair (with the exception of one single persistent eyelash.. I'm a freak what can I say?)
I feel healthier than I did in my twenties. (due largely in part to the lack of wild & crazy living like in my younger years.)
I'm pretty comfortable in my own skin (regardless of how stretched marked it has become)
I have a good life with a lot less stress than I had in my twenties. (or at least a different kind of stress)
so I guess it's not thaaaat bad getting another year older.
Besides I really have no choice in the matter.
so yeah. I'm 36. hip hip hooray.

Big daddy and lulu let me sleep in an extra hour this morning.
seeing as I was up with Lulu at 3 a.m. & 5 a.m. (damn teeth)
so the day is off to a good start.
minus the mild headache I have due to the consumption of an entire bottle of 2003 Rodney Strong Pinot last night.
Last bottle on the shelves at the LCBO.
I cooked myself and big daddy a birthday dinner last night.
first course- white asparagus with taleggio
second course- bacon wrapped beef tenderloin with a red wine glaze & sautéed leek.
I skipped the porcini mash to save on calories.
But instead had molten chocolate cakes for dessert.
what the hell, it's my birthday damn it.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

it's the little things

I recently picked up a little treat for Lulu while shopping at polka-dot kids on Queen st.
I could have bought everything in the store.
Everything is so precious.
This little lady bug has been entertaining my little lady bug for days.
It's pretty tempting to want to buy so many toys for her, especially these days.
Every store has their best retail foot forward.
'Tis the season after-all.
But I really don't want to overindulge her with a bunch of "things".
It seems as though new hip children's stores are opening everywhere.
Obviously there is a demand for it, otherwise they wouldn't keep opening.
Designer diaper bags, cool strollers, 600 thread count crib sheets, Swiss made highchairs..
the list is endless.
Hey I love good design and it's great that when you have a child you aren't forced to carry around some ugly diaper-bag with Disney characters all over it if you don't want to.
That's not to say if you don't give a hoot about that kind of thing and don't mind what kind of diaper bag you have,
I'm judging.
It's just that, personally I wouldn't really feel comfortable carrying one around with me everywhere.
Just because I'm a mom, doesn't mean that I have lost all sense of fashion.
I don't buy purses anymore, so at least I can have a nice diaper bag.
Choice. that's what it boils down to.
I think it's great that there are so many new kids stores opening up,
and from what I've seen many of the store owners are moms who have decided that they don't want to return to their corporate jobs, and wanted to do something that they enjoy and that will give them more flexibility to spend time with their kids.
Well that and I'm sure having access to everything at wholesale prices is pretty tempting as well.
lumiere, Polka Dot Kids, Simon Says, kolkid,Dick and Jane, Nestings,That new one that just opened on Strachan that used to be Duvere..can't remember the name, Li'l Niblets, Mom's to be, The Ella centre just to name a few.
So many options.
I usually go to these shops when I want to pick up something special for a friend that has just had a baby.
But the reality is that Lulu can't tell the difference between $ 8. wooden blocks from Ikea or $79. hand-painted pastel coloured blocks from Kol Kid.
And we are sticking with our original plan not to have it be toy central around here, so we are really trying to keep things minimal and edited down.
so far so good.
But if the need to shop arises and I feel like I just have to buy something, there's always the Childrens's wish foundation or so many other toy drives happening over the next few weeks.
I want Lulu to understand that there are many children who are not as fortunate as her,
and I think it's never too early to start teaching these important life lessons.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

balancing act

Before Lulu, big daddy and I used to eat out a lot.
In fact probably a little too often.
But now a days it's down to a couple of times a week, usually at our usual stand bys.
Toronto has so many great places to eat, and we are always on the hunt for something new.
The key is finding somewhere that is child friendly- and by friendly,
I mean they don't give you the evil eye when you ask if they have highchairs or a booth you can sit in.
But is also a place where you would want to go even if you didn't have a toddler dining with you.
On Sunday we went to Flo's in Yorkville which we have been going to for years, but now that we have lulu, have a whole new appreciation for.
Great service, crayons and toys, an extensive children's menu, booths (lulu's personal favourite place to sit)
and a balloon when you get the check. Awesome.
The food is typical of diner food, but we left feeling satisfied and bonus that we got to polish off Lulu's kid sized pancakes.
So much for my egg white omelette & dry rye toast order...
Anyhow, I was working yesterday and had Lulu with me, it was getting too late to pick up groceries so we figured we would grab something quick somewhere.
We ended up at Kubo Radio.
The owner came over to the table and asked how old Lulu was and offered her a complimentary cupcake for dessert.
They had highchairs, sides of steam greens and brown rice-which lulu LOVED.
They even heated up her baby food without as much as a raised eyebrow.
Big daddy and I were lovin our pork and leek dumplings.
The watercress and cucumber salad.
Big daddy had the duck burger (thanks for the recommendation metro mama)
I had the rice noodles with tofu.
everything was really tasty, and again, we had fun.
The service was Excellent and bonus was the nice dim lighting (which I love) and the really good music.
No wonder Cortney Cox and David Arquette took Coco there to eat so many times.
It is possible to find a balance when dining out with a toddler.
Because of our love for food and restaurants, we want to expose Lulu to as many different dining experiences as possible.
Something for her and something for us.
It also made us feel pretty great when the couple sitting beside us commented on how well behaved Lulu was, and that they had two small kids at home who would not have been nearly as "contained and mellow".
I'd like to think that by taking her out all the time we are helping to encourage this type of behaviour.
Fingers crossed that she continues to make us proud when we are eating out on the town.

I had to include this particular photo of lulu, because of her method of chewing her food.
The poor little thing still only has her two bottom teeth and four on top.
Though two upper molars have finally popped through.
It totally cracks us up watching her chew like a little rabbit.
At this rate she might have all her teeth by kindergaten.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

construction zone

Is it me or is there an exorbitant amount of construction and renovations happening everywhere?
especially in my neighbourhood.
It seems as though every other house has one of those huge metal industrial garbage bins on their front lawn.
We moved to this neighbourhood three years ago because of the huge old trees, charming older homes & quiet streets.
But now it's reno central.
Seems like everyone has dough to blow and needs more space, and a bigger house.
True, I'm not sure how they did it years ago with bigger families and more kids in these old Victorian houses with 3 bedrooms, next to no closet space and unfinished basements.
Mind you, people didn't have a quarter of the things that we have today.
1 winter coat-check
1 hat-check
1 Sunday (or Saturday pending on your religion) dress- check
1 pair of shoes-check
The generations before us didn't exactly need custom California closets like we do today.
Oh I wish I had a custom California closet with beautifully crafted custom drawers...ahh.
Everyone "needs" that right?
So I'll have to settle for the Ikea equivalent.
My point is I guess we need (or think we need) bigger houses to house all our "things."
It's not like we are having big families anymore.
And besides the size of all that cute pottery barn for kids furniture is so space consuming..
The construction IS pretty annoying though.
Noise and power tools first thing EVERY morning.
The mud and dust everywhere.
I don't even bother washing my car anymore.
The trades cars and trucks taking up all the parking on the street.
That stupid snack truck that blares it's damn horn just as I get lulu down for a nap.
Lulu however looooves looking at the tractors and finds them highly entertaining.
and in the end, eventually it's all about improving the neighbourhood, and hell upping the value of all the other houses.
Including ours.
Bigger bonus is when the guys working on all the renos are kind of cute and actually look at you when you are walking by with a baby stroller.
It actually makes you feel like you aren't some invisible "mom" and kinda sassy.
I would be lying if I said I didn't suck in my gut a bit every time I walk by the boys with the power tools.
Hmm..Maybe I'll get Big Daddy a tool belt and a new power drill for chrismukah...

Friday, November 24, 2006

gotta get me a crock pot

in the days before lulu, my lunch was often eaten in my car on the go.
Something fast and easy.
Many times it consisted of a Grande latte and and a nature bar at 3 p.m.
On other days I would get to enjoy the odd catered lunch on set, but not so often.
Since Lulu, I usually whip up a quick turkey wrap or heat up some "imagine" soup with a bit of pita and hummus.
On occasion I have been known to finish off Lulu's little bits of finger foods like avocado, ham or mac & cheese.
I draw the line at the jarred baby food, though I have to admit to a baby custard addiction from way back.
I have even resorted to frozen lean cuisine-ish type concoctions.
oh so glamorous.
But yesterday I had lunch with my good friend L and little s.
Everything was delicious.
Such a treat to have
A. lunch with a grown up.
B. an actual meal. tea and cookies and all...mmm...Clafouti rocks..
and although I was jumping up every 2 minutes to make sure Lulu wasn't trashing the place,
it was the most enjoyable lunch I've had in ages.
So thank-you L.
such a fun day.
bonus was shopping in the old 'hood.
I'm just glad there isn't a Polka Dot Kid on my block..
danger. danger.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

girls night

Finally a night out on my own.
As mentioned in previous posts, I love spending time with Big daddy & Lulu.
But every so often every mommy needs a night off.
So My good friend JB and I went out for a few glasses of wine and some dinner then checked out a movie.
It turned out to be just what the doctor ordered (that is if I ever went to the doctor-it's been three years...yikes)
Anyhow it was a toss up between Borat and Babel.
Two completely polar opposite movies.
We ended up deciding on Babel.
Jb is a huge fan of Gael Garcia Bernal -she likes her men a little spicy...
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarrity directed it.
He also directed 21 Grams and Amores Perros two excellent, yet pretty heavy movies.
I have to admit, I was a bit hesitant about the movie, only because I'm a little sick of Brad.
It's not that I don't respect him as an actor, I love most of the films he's been in.
Well, with the exception of The Mexican and Meet Joe Black...
It's just that I just can't get past the fact that he cheated on his wife and the whole world still seems to adore him.
Look at poor Meg Ryan, one small infidelity and her career is over.
What's up with that?
Definitely not an even playing ground for men and women I guess.
But Brad did deliver a very convincing performance
and with the help of a good makeup artist looked pretty crappy,
which made it much easier to sympathize with his character.
The movie was pretty intense to say the least, and at some points a little difficult to watch.
I guess you could say that it was about one small thing that lead to a chain of events.
I'm not entirely sure what the message was behind the film but does get you thinking..

I seriously have to go out on my own more often.
It's was so nice to feel free and myself again.
We are a pretty social family but I don't often do things like go out with a good friend to a movie and dinner.
Quite frankly I need to do that more.
It's good for everyone.
So thanks for the date night jb.
we must do that again soon.
but this time let's go for something a little more...light hearted...;)

Monday, November 20, 2006

sugar & spice

There's just something about stopping what your doing in the middle of the afternoon for a little snack break.
Most often I just grab a handful of almonds or have an sliced apple with a bit of cheese.
But lately I've been wanting something a bit more substantial.
A nice Tall non-fat soy latte..
or a warm homemade oatmeal and apricot cookie (from epi bakery)
or maybe even a little brioche bread pudding.
But I have a confession to make.
Over the past three months I joined Weight-Watchers On line.
for a foodie like me, this seemed unthinkable.
Yes. It's true. the petite-gourmand actually wants to be petite again..
But I was getting really tired of carrying around that last bit of baby fat baggage and I needed to take some drastic measures.
Today I have lost a total of 16 lbs. and am officially 7 lbs. lighter than before I had Lulu.
I would love to lose maybe another 5lbs or so and tone up, but for the most part I'm pretty thrilled.
Frankly it feels really good to be a size 4 again.
Food has always been my weakness.
I eat healthy stuff,
it's just the quantities and the extras like sweets (and bread pudding in the middle of the afternoon) that has been my downfall.
I am not a big proponent of diets.
But Weight-watchers allows me to eat all my own food,
I just have to give my foods a numeric point value and make sure I don't exceed that number each week.
For example a glass of wine is 2.5 points ( I have that one memorized)
For the past several months I have eaten out a fair bit, drank wine with many meals, indulged my sweet tooth and STILL lost weight.
I did pick up a few of the weight-watchers cook books and I was pretty surprised to find them to be really good.
Big daddy has even shed some weight.
Lulu on the other hand is actually underweight,
which I'm not so ecstatic about, she's only 21lbs at almost 19 months.
She has a really good appetite most days but doesn't like to eat a huge amount.
The pediatrician sais she's really healthy but is on the low end of the scale for weight, but on the high end for height.
Oh how I wish I had that problem...
But she's healthy and happy, that's all that really matters to me.
I enjoyed my piece of bread pudding last week,
but today is Monday and I'm back on my healthy wagon.
Because the holidays are just around the corner and I'm sure to be consuming many a glass of 2.5 pointers...

Friday, November 17, 2006

comfortably numb

Lately I feel as though I'm not exactly present in my own body.
Maybe that sounds weird.
But I guess I feel as if each day I am just going through the motions.
I'm not complaining, nor do I feel unhappy about anything in-particular, in fact on the contrary,
I feel really content and extremely fortunate for the most part.
But it's like there is a piece of me missing.
I go through this every so often, usually when I haven't had any "alone" time.
But the problem is I never really feel like I need alone time.
I love being with Lulu and big daddy all the time.
I know, I know it's important to maintain a sense of independence.
To remember who "I" am.
To take some personal time.
It's easy to forget sometimes.
There are days when I feel like I could just stare at my daughter all day long and never get bored.
Most days I don't really feel like I even think about myself at all.
That's not to say that I leave the house in grey sweatpants stained with baby food, but I just don't think about me anymore.
And the funny thing is that it is actually REALLY refreshing.
For 34 years all I did was think about ME.
It's nice not to feel so self absorbed.
Lulu has given me so much.
But one of the greatest gifts aside from pure joy, is a sense of selflessness.
It feels quite foreign, but at the same time feels really good.
I don't have time to get wrapped up in some sort of personal drama du jour.
I don't really think about stupid material things anymore.
Because on the grand scheme of things, so much of the crap that I used to get in a tizzy about is so totally irrelevant.
This is not to say that it would probably be highly beneficial if I sat in a coffee shop by myself and read the paper-by Myself.
or took an hour and hit the gym for the first time in over a month.
Or maybe even made plans for a movie or drink with a girlfriend some night...
Or maybe even waited until Lulu was in bed,
big daddy was down stairs reading a book,
and I took some time to write a blog...

So I guess you could call this a sort of "personal" time.
sort of.

Totally unrelated, but I'm currently listening to
  • trespasserswilliams
  • .
    I Highly recommend it.
    A little on the melancholy side, but pretty relaxing.
  • pink floyd
  • is always good for a bit of flash back fun.
    Or if you want to put a modern spin on it try-Pink floyd Redux.
    Kinda sexy.
    IIII'm comfortably numb....

    Tuesday, November 14, 2006

    mmmm cookies

    well it's official, Lulu likes chocolate.
    That's my girl.
    Her first taste was a chocolate mint girl guide cookie.
    What was I going to do? say no and slam the door in the little pixies face?
    had to get a box or two...
    Anyhow she washed it down with some nice cold milk.
    I was waiting for some sort of reaction, like a big sugar rush.
    but nothing happened, she just smiled at me and said "coookie.mmm..."
    not much else to say on this subject, other than how fun it is to watch her experience so many "firsts" these days.
    Especially when it comes to tastes and textures.
    Though when we asked her what her favourite food was the other day she said "eas & ahm"
    Peas & Ham.
    I guess Dr. Seuss is paying off afterall.

    Monday, November 13, 2006

    around the world

    well seeing as we didn't win 36 million and that we are not in Italy as previously planned,
    I decided to make the most of things and eat with extra enthusiasm this weekend.
    We went for a delicious Indian meal on Thursday night.
    Friday we had Japanese for lunch.
    At both restaurants the waitresses commented on how well behaved Lulu was.
    we were thrilled, yet also feeling some remorse for doubting her in the first place.
    maybe we should have made the trip to Italy aferall....
    oh well.
    anyhow I went to the market and picked up a bunch of fresh seafood and made a Paella of sorts.
    I used Farro instead of rice and added chopped preserved lemon as a garnish for a little extra zing.
    I even whipped up a almond pine nut cake that was really good (if I do say so myself)
    Saturday big daddy made me breakfast in bed (W.T.F ???)
    first time in forever..
    Home-made oatmeal with fresh berries and oj with my usual- soy latte.
    Just me, my breakie and my Saturday newspaper.
    The guy even booked me in for a mani/pedi appt.
    double heaven.
    we had friends for dinner and made some home-made pizzas,
    Ham, Artichoke, Black Olive and Buffalo Mozzarella &
    Roasted Red Pepper and Gorgonzola.
    a little antipasto platter and a mixed green salad.
    Lulu loved playing with her little friend n. who is a year older than her.
    it was so adorable watching them dance around and then snuggle up on the sofa in their jammies and bottles together.
    Sunday was low key with a long hike in the woods and a roasted chicken dinner (a la dominion rotisserie)
    today I had Vietnamese Pho soup for lunch.
    so I didn't actually win the lottery, but it sure as hell feels like it...
    I must have been reallllly good in a previous life or something.

    Thursday, November 09, 2006

    winning the lottery

    36 million.
    hmmm what would I do with 36 million?
    big daddy and I were discussing this at length this morning while drinking coffee in bed.
    I've never bought a lottery ticket in my life.
    Big daddy spent the majority of his family vacations as a kid in Las Vegas.
    They don't call his mother Bingo Betty for nothing.
    Needless to say Big daddy bought a dozen or so tickets.
    If we won..
    I don't really want some new flashy car or any other sort of bling.
    I don't have a need for Jimmy Choo shoes or Gucci handbags.
    That's just not me.
    I really don't see the point in flaunting what you have.
    Don't get me wrong, I love nice things.
    I have a weakness when it comes to cashmere and well designed good fitting clothing.
    I could go into Lattelier, Angus & Company, Absolutely, Flick and Co. or Teatro Verde and drop a bundle.
    But that has nothing to do with impressing other people, more that i just love good design and good quality.
    Of course we would want to help out our family members and give them all a little something..
    We would throw a big party for our friends and in some cases actually help some of them out.
    Wouldn't that be awesome if we could call up our close friends and let them know that we paid off their mortgage or bought them a new car?
    But if we won the lottery all I would want to do is travel and take lots of beautiful photos.
    Show Lulu the world.
    First stop- New Zealand and Australia.
    A foodies paradise.
    The home of Donna Hay.
    I'm so there.
    Then take some side trips to Asia.
    Then maybe back home for a visit with friends and family.
    B.C. Toronto, California and the East Coast.
    Scoot down to NYC for a little theatre, shopping and great restaurants.
    Then we would go to Iceland, Denmark, France oh heck.. why not spend a year travelling around all of Europe?
    Maybe by then we would figure out where we would want to live.
    Figure out what kind of charity to really focus on.
    have more children most definitely.
    But really, besides travelling, I wouldn't want to change too much.
    I wouldn't hire a nanny because I really love looking after lulu 24/7,
    and besides I'm far too much of a control freak to let someone else watch my kid.
    I wouldn't hire a private chef because well that would just be depressing for me.
    I looove to cook, it's my passion so why hire someone else to do it?
    I wouldn't mind hiring someone to clean up after me in the kitchen though,
    especially after one of the many fabulous dinner parties I would be throwing.
    But I like my life the way it is.
    the nice thing is knowing that really we don't need 36 million dollars to make some of these dreams come true.
    We will get to Australia, Asia and Europe again.
    Just maybe not all at once and for a year at a time in luxury accommodations.
    And if we won 36 million or not I would still want to sip coffee in bed with big daddy and little lulu.
    Because let's face it, that is my all time favourite thing to do each and everyday and it's doesn't cost a thing..
    who needs 36 million anyway?...
    what would you do if you won the big jackpot?

    Thanks for all the great comments yesterday.
    F.Y.I. Big daddy came home from work a new man.
    Rejuvenated and refreshed.
    Maybe it was the post.
    or the fun job he was working on yesterday with nice and interesting people.
    maybe the haircut? (the guy is so neurotic when it comes to his hair.)
    or maybe it was the massage at Hammam Spa he treated himself to.
    but I'd like to think it was because he is the big daddy that we know and love..
    Big Daddy is back.

    Monday, November 06, 2006

    gimme a "c"

    In the early days when I met big daddy he was my number one cheerleader.
    My voice of reason.
    My go to guy.
    My support system.
    He helped me through career changes and some really stressful times.
    There were several years of this.
    Eventually things settled down and I became comfortable and confident working for myself and running my own business.
    But I don't know if I could have done it without his unfaltering support.
    He was amazing.
    Over the past several years I have taken on the roll of cheerleader in our relationship.
    Giving words of encouragement and support as much as I can.
    Helping out with the business as much as possible with an active toddler taking priority in our lives.
    I decided not to go back to work full time and to be a S.A.H.M. (oh how I loath that title)
    I've been taking on part-time freelance gigs here and there and I've been finding it to be a good balance.
    But as a result big daddy has even more responsibility on his shoulders.
    There's not a day that goes by that I'm not aware of that and grateful that we are fortunate enough to be able to make that choice.
    But I can tell that it has been taking a toll on him.
    He is a pretty moody guy at the best of times, but lately he seems down right unhappy.
    He is happy when Lulu gives him kisses and loving'.
    I love watching the stress melt away when he watches her in action.
    But then as suddenly as is disappears the dark cloud reappears out of nowhere and he is feeling blue again,
    and there seems to be nothing I can do to help him out of his funk.
    (well I'm sure there might be a thing or two...but let's face it birthdays only come but once a year...;)
    We work in a very competitive business (who doesn't) and it's really difficult not to take things personally sometimes.
    But I keep reminding him to count his blessings and believe in himself.
    Because Lulu and I certainly do.
    So much emphasis is placed on mothers and how they cope with a new baby.
    Their emotions, how they feel physically, what they have sacrificed.
    But there a lot of dads out there I'm sure that feel like they are on quite a roller-coaster ride.
    It's pretty easy to forget their needs when the focus is on the baby.
    I seriously think guys get P.M.S. as well.
    You should see how much chocolate big daddy can consume if the need arises.
    I just want to see him happy and himself again.
    I miss the real big daddy.
    I also don't want this part of his personality to rub off on Lulu.
    Because life is too short to worry about a bunch of stuff that really and truly doesn't matter on the grand scheme of things.
    Family. Health. Love. Life.
    this is what matters.
    Everything else should take a back-seat.
    But maybe that's easier for me to say when I'm not the one in the driver's seat..

    Sunday, November 05, 2006

    McRoad Trip

    Unfortunately I am not writing this while sipping a glass of Vernaccia di San Gimignano in Castello di Velona in Montepulchiano Italy.
    That is where we were booked to stay from November 2nd until the 17th.
    Big daddy had a bunch of work cancellations during the month of October, which had we known, would have been a better time to go, but he is now booked for work for most of November.
    And when you work for yourself and are freelance you have to take work when you can.
    The problem is just knowing when exactly to book the time off.
    So we decided to cancel the trip for now.
    Italy will have to wait.
    As much as I was looking forward to going (especially during the peak of truffle season)
    I was a bit apprehensive about taking Lulu with us.
    My parents offered to look after her so the two of us could go alone.
    Not an option really.
    I can handle the odd night away from the love of our lives but not 10 + days.
    no. can. do.
    Long flight & jet lag combined with a teething 18 month old seemed daunting to say the least.
    Cobblestone steep hills and a stroller didn't sound like too much fun either.
    Not really being able to go out for leisurely dinners felt like a bit of a waste.
    I mean why go all the way to Tuscany and feel the need to just quickly find a casual place to scarf some pasta down before Lulu decides she has had enough and we have to leave before 7 p.m.?
    Big Daddy felt that going to Italy with Lulu had too much of a PITA factor- Pain. In.The. Ass.
    Not to mention that it would have cost a bundle, and we did just get a new fence and deck and new living room furniture.
    So instead of Italy we went to the States for a little cross border shopping.
    Not exactly the vacation I had envisioned, but we had a fun couple of days away.
    when in Rome.....
    I loaded up at target, J. Crew, crate and barrel and my personal fav. anthropologie.
    Mostly I just bought a bunch of new props for work, but the J. Crew cashmere sweaters were to hard to pass up.
    Staying in a hotel with a nice big King sized bed and amazing sheets is always a bonus.
    Lulu loved the hotel swimming pool and was over the moon when she got to push the button on the elevator everytime we got on it.
    We didn't really have much success in finding any real restaurant gems.
    But we did however find restaurants that were very child friendly, with special kid's menus and crayons.
    Which translates as pretty crappy food but something to keep jr. busy while big daddy and mommy enjoy a glass or two of wine so that we can tolerate the food.
    Or to be more accuate- a bottle or two of michelob (my favorite american beer)
    I so wish we could get that here in canada.
    One thing is for sure, Americans are SO friendly and helpful.
    Everywhere we went, it was all about excellent customer service.
    Us Canadians could learn a thing or two.
    Italy will always be there, and I'm sure we will eventually get there (I'm glad I've at least been there once before)
    But I am glad I was able to spend a couple of days with my two favorite people,
    we could have been anywhere really,as long as we are together.
    Though sitting on a terrace overlooking rolling hills and cyprus trees would have been pretty sweet....

    Wednesday, November 01, 2006

    buck buck

    lulu has been clucking like a chicken for months.
    For some reason whenever she wants a piece of cheese she makes a "buck buck" sound.
    so when I saw this chicken costume I knew it was the perfect choice.
    She didn't disappoint, she was clucking like a chicken all day long.
    I think Halloween is one of my all time favorite days on the calendar.
    It doesn't cost much, you get to eat candy and dress up and have fun.
    The weather yesterday was perfect for trick or treating.
    I love watching all the kids get so excited to get home from school so they can get ready to get dressed up and go door to door.
    I actually found myself getting all misty watching the kids in our neighborhood.
    It seems like yesterday that I was running from house to house with my brother and my dad trailing behind us.
    I remember getting home totally elated and making chocolate bar trades with my bro.
    He liked Oh Henry's I liked Aero and KitKat bars.
    What a coincidence, we have several leftover bags of mini Aero chocolate bars in the cupboard.
    Lulu was pretty excited by the kids coming to the door, but eventually got bored and ended up in her PJ's playing with her toys.
    She did however sample her first chocolate bar, and what do you know she LOVED the mini aero bar.
    That's my little chick-a-dee.
    cluck cluck.

    Saturday, October 28, 2006

    good food & good friends

    I love having people over for dinner.
    Nothing makes me happier than cooking for good friends and sharing good wine and good conversation.
    I remember as a kid my parents entertaining quite a bit, so I guess I come by it naturally.
    Fridays we would do pizza parties with the neighbours, alternating houses from week to week.
    Ahh Mother's (as in the restaurant) pizza and orange pop, those were the days.
    All the kids would get to hang out and the adults would too.
    I remember it being really fun as we would play lots of board games and it was also a big treat to be allowed to have pop and pizza.
    Saturday night my parents would often have dinner parties and we would be ushered upstairs because it was adults only.
    I recall my dad making coquille St. Jacques and thinking it was the most delicious thing I ever tasted.
    He also used to cook Escargot with garlic butter and I thought that was so exotic.
    Hey it was the late seventies early eighties, what can I say?
    I used to lurk in the kitchen watching him prepare everything, eager to sample anything with cream or butter.
    We didn't have family close by so my parents placed a lot of importance on their friendships.
    despite moving frequently to new cities and towns across the country they have maintained those friendships years later.
    I really admire that.
    Big daddy and I have made some really great friends over the years.
    We are thrilled that a few of them are starting to have kids.
    Not to say that we don't adore all of our friends without kids,
    but it's really nice to be able to share in what we feel is one of the greatest experiences in our life so far.
    Lulu is now at an age where she is very content on her own with her toys (and okay I admit DVD's)
    so it makes it much easier to sit down to a civilized meal.
    Last weekend our good friends L & B & little 6 month old S. came over for the afternoon and for an early dinner.
    We went for walk around the neighbourhood, the boy's pushing matching strollers,
    myself and L. chatting away and giggling at our urban guys turned proud papas.
    Little S. was so happy and content and Lulu was enjoying having her own live doll to try to dress up.
    She kept trying to put his hat and mitts on him. I was melting.
    Definitely getting the -should we have a second? twinge.
    We had some mulled cider, and some english pear cider and a delicious Charcouterie plate.
    Smoked duck, quail pistachio pate, venison salami, fois gras, lots of yummy chutneys and pickled beets and some chabichou cheese with baguette and fig crackers.
    I love grazing like that.
    I also made a roasted onion and garlic soup with pressed blue cheese pannini's.
    Unfortunately the soup needed more salt and wasn't as good as the first time I had made it, but it was still tastey,
    especially accompanied by the Rodney Strong merlot that we enjoyed with it.
    we had individual apple crumbles for dessert which turned out okay.
    L & B are the type of friends that we never run out of things to talk about and have so much in common,
    we could seriously go on and on for hours, and now that we are all parents we have even more to gab about.
    L & B if you are reading (and I know you are ;) you guys are the best and we really have such a great time with you both.
    And as you already know, we are all totally smitten by little S.
    A great way to spend a chilly saturday afternoon and evening.
    Last night we had some other good friends over for dinner.
    C & D.
    C is due to have a baby today.
    she is as calm as a cucumber taking everying in stride.
    They live just a few streets away which is great.
    They are such a nice couple. Big daddy and I often feel like we need to do more to be better people after spending time with them.
    They are both very invoved with various charities and have made career choices that are not necessarily financially based but are about something that actually matters.
    They even sing in a choir at church on sundays...
    They never have anything bad to say about anything or anybody.
    These are the kind of friends everyone should have.
    Big daddy and I inevitably feel like materialistic self serving shmucks after they leave but we really love spending time with them.
    I cooked up a little Moroccan dinner for them, not sure if the next real meal they would be eating would be bad hospital cafeteria food.
    We started with some marinated olives, pistachios and mini briks (filo pastry turnovers that originated in Tunisia, but the ones I prepared originated in the president's choice freezer section)
    We opened a bottle of 2003 Chorey-les-Beaune red and I was in love. mmmmm.
    For dinner we had Chicken with almond, apricot & raisin Tagine on a bed of whole wheat coucous, served in individual Tagines.
    Super easy, super delicious and quite an impressive presentation if I do say so myself.
    I had a grilled fig with cinammon scented ricotta dessert in mind,
    but no one had figs available, so it was a last minute trip to the local bakery for some mini apple galettes for dessert.
    We had some morrocan mint tea with pomegranate as well.
    A really great evening.
    To me there is no better way to spend a weekend than sharing good food and good wine with really good friends.
    well that and the Cote de Beaune villages was pretty kick ass too.

    Tuesday, October 24, 2006

    18 months of sweetness

    Today Lulu is officially 18 months old.
    In some ways it seems like time has flown by and in others ways I can barely remember what life was like before Lulu came into our lives.
    For the past while I have been feeling especially sentimental (the past few posts are the sappiest for me to date) and today is no exception.
    Each day when I think that it is near impossible for lulu to be any cuter, she surprises me by becoming even more adorable.
    All moms talk about their kids this way right?
    any-who, lately I wish I could just freeze time so that I could just enjoy her sweetness just a little bit longer.
    damn, she just melts my heart.
    I can barely believe she is already a year and a half.
    It feels like yesterday that she could barely sit up on her own..
    when I heard other mothers say that their kids were 18 months old I thought that sounded so far away...
    so old..
    But as much as Lulu is every bit a toddler and learning new words each day, she still seems like a tiny baby to me.
    I can still hold her for hours rocking her to sleep (or maybe I've just built up some upper arm strength after carrying her around for 18 months..)
    But I guess I have to admit that she isn't so tiny anymore.
    Now we move into the 18-24 month clothing size, so I guess it's official.
    Over night it seems as though she actually out grew all her old things and now actually needs all new clothes.
    anyhow I rambling.
    we spent the day at Springridge Farms-pumpkin patch to celebrate the big 1-8..
    Lulu was feeding the goats and saying "Hiee" to all the bunnies.
    She helped pick out a pumpkin and ran through a corn maze.
    We missed the hay ride (maybe next year..though I don't want to think about next year quite yet)
    There was a couple there with a newborn dressed up in a little pumpkin costume and they put him on a pile of pumpkins to take his picture.
    He wasn't too impressed and started crying in protest, though one day I'm sure he will appreciate the photo.
    I thought to myself..
    yup that was me last year..tiny infant all brand new.
    As I was smiling at them with that goofy
    I felt someone tugging on my pant leg and I looked down and there was lulu handing me a mini orange pumpkin.
    She gave me one of her adorable
    "you-are-the-most-important-person-in-my-life-grins" and hugged my leg.
    Happy 18th month b-day sweet lulu.
    My little pumpkin.

    Friday, October 20, 2006

    little miss manners

    warning: parental pride and gushing that is irrelevant to anyone else but us and could make for a very boring read ahead.

    Lulu's vocabulary is expanding everyday.
    To us it's simply amazing each time she utters a new word.
    Oh my god she just said "booott" and "sue" while pointing at her feet!
    She managed to get her hands on some diaper cream and generously applied it to her entire face the other day.
    When she walked into my room looking like a mini mime,
    big daddy and I started laughing hysterically,
    then she pointed to her little bum and said
    the kid doesn't miss a trick.
    she loooves saying mammee and daddee and babee over and over again.
    But I never get tired of hearing her call my name with her little voice.
    I could be hearing things but I could swear she has a New York accent when she sais mammee.
    some of her other words so far are:
    ca ca = car
    brrm brrm (kinda like that really annoying car commercial)= broom
    dow= down
    noooo=self explanatory
    herro (sais into the phone)=hello
    oh oh
    yoi yoi= yoghurt
    buck buck=chicken or cheese (at least she knows where her food comes from)
    bah bah=grandma
    bamp bah=grandpa
    boo!=peek a boo
    boo=blues clues
    dou dou=favourite bunny also means wants to go to bed or got hurt and points to the spot on the bunny
    licks lips and points to her mouth=bottle (hmm I wonder where she got that from....only my bottle usual comes with a cork)
    uice=sippy cup
    dis & dat= this & that
    sssh=mouse or baby sleeping
    jews =juice (no not referring to her dads side of the family)
    buddy= friend
    at (while tapping her head frantically)=hat
    burdie=bird-first word ever spoken
    each day there's something new and I'm probably forgetting a few but her most recent phrase is
    sash-you and pease.
    I seriously melt every time she sais that.

    Wednesday, October 18, 2006

    good choices

    there once was a time that I didn't want children.
    In fact for a very long time I thought having a child would just complicate my life.
    I thought I might be a terrible mother.
    I thought why bring another child into this screwed up world?
    I couldn't imagine how I would find a balance between maintaining a successful career and starting a family.
    I was pretty content with the way my life was, why make such a huge change?
    Not to sound totally shallow but the thought of getting "fat" and physically giving birth terrified me.
    I worked with many people who have opted not to have kids or who probably never will.
    The few friends I had with kids made it sound like hell.
    One "friend" used to say to me "say good-bye to your life if you have a kid."
    or "sleep? what's that?"
    or "we are so only having one because ours is sooooo high maintenance" while the poor little thing was within ear shot.
    Every time I saw people with kids at restaurants they seemed so frantic, scarfing down their food seeming totally frazzled and unhappy.
    Having a child just seemed so daunting..
    Then one day I just woke up and thought.."I think I'm ready."
    Despite my trepidation, I wanted to be a mother.
    I agonized for 34 years...but I felt ready.
    I'm not sure what specifically triggered it (perhaps the very loud ticking of my biological clock)
    But has there ever been a life decision that I've been happier about?
    not really.
    Having a child has truly been the single best decision I have ever made.
    That's not to say I am not happy with other choices I've made in my life.
    Like agreeing to go out with a really funny guy that has now been in my life for almost a decade.
    yes, that's you big daddy.
    But I never could have guessed that being a mother would be so rewarding and dare I say-fun?
    I think back to all the negative comments I had heard about having kids and I scratch my head trying to relate to those statements.
    I just can't.
    My life has improved more than I could even begin to describe.
    never mind saying good-bye to it, it's more like-
    "hello life. Now I see what you are all about."
    All the things I worried about just sort of worked themselves out.
    With the exception of getting fat and feeling pretty crappy about it, that really wasn't too fun, but well worth the outcome.
    Sleep. well when Lulu was an infant and yes sleep was a bit of a distant memory, I didn't mind so much.
    I used to lay awake just staring at her well after she would fall back asleep.
    I could stay away for 24 hours straight staring at her perfect little face.
    But all you ever hear about is people complaining about lack of sleep.
    It's so worth it, and it's really only for a few short months.
    Though I guess that's easy for me to say now that lulu usually sleeps from 8p.m to 8a.m...
    As far as thinking I only want one..because it's a lot of work.
    well I'm slowly imagining another little person in our lives.
    The love you feel for a child is like a drug and I think I might want more.
    To be able to create a life is the best gift of all.
    Not to candy coat being a parent, but it truly is the absolute best feeling ever.
    The love is truly indescribable.
    My heart often feels like it could explode with the love I feel for my daughter.
    Having Lulu has made my relationship with my husband even stronger.
    we often marvel at her both saying almost in unison "we made her".
    More often than not I hear women complaining about the trials and tribulations of motherhood.
    People like to complain I guess.
    It definitely has it's challenging moments.
    But it's so much better than I could have ever guessed.
    I am so glad I ignored all the negative comments and followed my gut.
    Because it lead me straight to my heart.


    If ever there was the perfect day to be stuck at home with a bad cold, yesterday was it.
    Cold, wet and dreary.
    So I guess it wasn't just a two day hangover that had me dragging my ass.
    I've got a cold.
    I knew it would only be a matter of time.
    It seems as though everyone I know has got something.
    But so far lulu is feeling fine.
    Knock on wood.
    Not sure how long that will last for.
    I was trying my best not to breathe on her, and I washed my hands a bout a million times.
    Yesterday she was sooo sweet. It's like she knew that I was feeling crappy.
    She was nice and mellow, snuggling with me on the sofa and a couple of times actually covered me with her blankie.
    How adorable.
    Just watching her quietly play with her books, stuffed animals, stickers and puzzles made me feel better.
    By around 5 p.m. I could tell she was getting a little bit of cabin fever but other than colouring on my keyboard with washable crayons she was a complete angel all day.
    This morning big daddy doesn't have to work until noon, so he has taken Lulu to her music class.
    What a guy.
    I didn't want to spread my sick germs to all the kids, but I didn't want Lulu to miss out on some fun,
    because I'm sure today will be another day spent down in "the cave" watching treehouse.
    But I have to admit I am really relieved not to have to go to music class.
    The teacher is kind of a freak.
    I know that sounds horrible, but it's true.
    She doesn't really sing, more like yells and makes a bunch of weird animal noises.
    and I know this probably sounds petty, but she has reallllly dirty bare feet.
    Which realllllly grosses me out.
    The first time we took a music class the teacher was amazing.
    She sang beautiful children's songs and lulu really got into things.
    This time around I can tell she's not into it (same with most of the other kids)
    This woman is down right scary.
    But I dished out $175. for 8 weeks of classes so I feel kind of obligated to go.
    It amazes me how children as young as 17 months old can pick up on a vibe.
    Lulu knew I was under the weather yesterday and totally was sensitive to that.
    She gets the vibe that this music teacher (and I use that term loosely) is strange so she stays by my side or runs for the door.
    I guess you can't underestimate a child's intuition.
    Especially Lulu. She is one tuned in toddler.
    I hope she gets the vibe that I still feel like crap today and is as sweet as she was yesterday.

    Sunday, October 15, 2006

    friday the 13th

    I am definitely getting older.
    It has actually taken me two full days to recuperate from Friday night.
    I have really become a light weight.
    perhaps I should back up a bit.
    Friday I went to my friend M's surprise birthday party.
    There was about 30 or so people at the restaurant.
    She had no idea we were all there.
    Everyone wore something red and there were gorgeous red roses on the tables, as it's M's favourite colour.
    Fun, I love themes (and cool coincidence that Bono and Oprah launched the Inspi-RED campaign the same day)
    Anyhow I was flying solo as Big daddy was babysitting (second time in three days..what-a-guy)
    I had some champers, then some "red" wine. Had to keep with the theme.
    The dinner was excellent,
    Langoustine soup, Quebec farm duck foie gras, baked Sable fish, a delicious cheese plate and a chocolate mousse.
    The waiter kept filling my glass.
    I'm really not entirely sure how many glasses I ended up having,
    but let's just say that more than just my necklace and handbag were red..
    I actually had a puff of a cigarette! First time in over two years...what was I thinking?
    anyhow many a topic was covered at our table, sex, politics, religion. You name it. nothing seemed to be off limits.
    Fortunately everyone at the party was very fun and very cool so I had a blast.
    Also I saw a bunch of people I haven't seen in ages which is always nice.
    I was hugging everyone and feelin' the love...I get very touchy huggy when I'm pissed.
    Big daddy has nothing to worry about because the entire party was comprised of gay men (with maybe one or two exceptions) and a few straight women.
    No wonder I was having so much fun!
    I got home late, I think it was almost 2 a.m. and of course woke up the baby.
    But in my drunken stupor I still managed to change her and get her back to sleep.
    Big daddy was all excited because he figured a night out on the town would most definitely lead up to a little late night nookie.
    But the second my head hit the pillow, it was game over for me.
    poor guy.
    But the thing is, that when you have a 17 month old being hung-over is irrelevant.
    They don't understand that mommy's head feels like it's wedged between a vice grip.
    They want to play!
    Lulu decided to play with her recorder AND tambourine AND xylophone first thing in the morning.
    Hurray! let's party! That will teach me..bad mommy to drink too much.
    Anyhow Saturday I spent the day underground.
    literally. In the basement.
    But I did manage to get about six loads of laundry done, so the day wasn't a complete write off.
    I had to ease my guilty conscience somehow.
    I really love wine.
    It's just that after a couple of glasses I forget to stop drinking it.
    When big daddy is with me he tends to stick a glass of water in my hand in between glasses of wine.
    It keeps me in line (and hydrated)
    But when I'm on my own I really forget to edit myself and cut myself off.
    Big daddy is always looking out for me (that and he finds me really annoying when I'm hung over)
    But it was worth it because it was a lovely evening.
    Great food, fun people, beautiful decor and delicious wine (though a bit too much of it)
    All in all, a very lucky Friday the 13th.
    unfortunately a bit of an unlucky Saturday the 14th (and okay the first half of Sunday the 15th)

    Friday, October 13, 2006

    Runaway burger

    I have to admit, I am not a fast food kinda gal.
    Never have been.
    Never will be.
    But I remember as a kid getting my first Happy Meal at Mcdonalds very clearly,
    because it wasn't everyday that we got to eat at Rotten Ronnie's.
    I was around 9 or 10 and I was running away from home.
    Yes, I was a bit of a drama queen even back then.
    I packed up my cabbage patch doll, a P.B & J sandwich and I hopped on my banana seat red bike and I was outta there!
    I made it all the way to the local playground.
    Two whole streets away.
    I remember my friends gathering around to help me plan my survival in the great outdoors.
    Isabelle was going to bring me her flashlight and a sleeping bag.
    Jane offered up a tuna casserole her mom had made the night before.
    Camillo was gonna bring me an extra blanket and some more P.B & J sandwiches.
    You can never have enough peanut butter & jam.
    I was set.
    I could live in the woods.
    Live off the land. (and my friends mom's leftovers)
    My mom would be sorry for getting mad at me for eating candy on the brand new sofa and getting it everywhere...
    Anyhow, I was straddling a chain-link fence while planning my great escape into mother nature.
    When I went to get down, let's just say a large piece of chain-link wasn't linked.
    So I got a huge nine inch gash down my inner thigh.
    It wasn't pretty.
    So my friend Jane ran home to get her dad.
    He called my parents and I went to the hospital to receive a bunch of stitches. Around 18 or so.
    My mom and dad felt so bad.
    My runaway plan lasted all of 2 hours.
    no search party had been deployed.
    My parents didn't even really know I had run away yet.
    But as my mom sat with me holding my hand as I felt each suture, I'm the one who felt bad.
    Not just because of some huge gash in my leg and the excruciating pain from each tiny needle,
    but for making my mom so upset.
    I seriously still feel guilty about that 25 years later.
    note to self. talk to therapist about 25 year old guilt issues...
    So what the hell does all of this have to do with burgers and fast food?
    well on the way home from the hospital we made a pit stop at McDonalds.
    My very first Happy Meal.
    It did the trick because it certainly did make me happy.
    I think they even got me a "Me I'm The One" orange knapsack.
    Anyone remember that campaign?
    Any-who, McDonalds isn't really a place you would find me these days.
    In fact I can't remember the last time I was there.
    Maybe 15 years or so.
    But I still get the odd craving for a burger.
    And I have found what I think is a pretty kick ass burger place.
    It's kind of a cross between Harvey's & Licks- you get to choose your own toppings and the pickles are in abundance.
    But fortunately there's not some pimply teenager singing out my order.
    I would hate to be an employee at Licks let me tell you.
    It's like pure torture watching those kids burger on the fly....
    It's hip like Hero Burger but without the attitude and unlike Hero Burger this place has fresh lettuce and tomato.
    Hero Burger gives you a tsk tsk if you even ask for it. what's up with that?
    Anyhow it's owned by NewYork Fries so yes, it's one of the big boys.
    But it's good. Very good.
    The name of this Burger joint.
    Oh yes.
    South St. Burger.
    Another good find.
    F.Y.I. the burger in this shot is actually the kiddie burger.
    They don't mess around.
    It's the real deal.
    Let's just hope Lulu doesn't get any ideas when she's around nine years old and wants to teach me a lesson or two...

    Monday, October 09, 2006


    It's a good thing that there is a specific day on the calendar to remind me to take a step back and figure out exactly what I have to be thankful for.
    It's pretty easy to get caught up in all the things you WANT out of life, instead of just being grateful for all the things you already HAVE.
    Over the past few years I have plenty to be thankful for, and I am feeling especially grateful this year in particular.
    so here are a few of the things that I am pretty thankful for in my life.

    I can't really put into words how grateful I am to have such a beautiful daughter & loving husband.
    These two people are the reason I smile every single day and they give me more happiness than I could ever imagine.
    well at least the majority of the time....
    I am also fortunate to have such supportive and loving parents that are a very big part of my life.
    I couldn't imagine not being able to chat on the phone or seeing them on such a regular basis.
    All the extended family, brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles and my Nan.
    A very quirky, but very close group of people, that I am very proud to call my family.
    and yes this even includes Big daddy's side of the family...those crazy in-laws...but you gotta love'em.
    Family is really the most important thing to me.

    in addition to having such a great family I am really thankful to have so many good people in our life.
    Having such an ecclectic group of friends, is something I am really grateful for.
    I just wish I was able to see them more often.
    it's amazing how busy life can be.
    But whether I get the chance to visit in person or just have the occasional phone call or email,
    I'm glad to have each one of them in my life.

    It's a shame that most of us don't really appreciate our good health until it's too late and we get sick.
    I have watched a few people in my life deal with poor health, and it's really unfortunate and frustrating.
    I'm feeling especially lucky these days to be feeling probably the healthiest I've ever been.
    I guess I can attribute that to excercise, a healthy diet and lower stress levels.
    Damn, I hope I didn't just jinx myself...I'm going to take a multi vitamin...

    I really love my country. city. neighbourhood. street.
    "oh canada, our home and native....blah blah blah"
    hi my name is corn ball and I AM CanadIAN!
    but seriously,
    It's pretty easy to look at other houses in better neighbourhoods and think, I want that.
    But today I'm really trying to think, this is MY street, and how lucky am I to live here?
    Okay okay, if I could really have it my way I would be saying....this is MY vineyard....
    while sitting on my verandah of my chateau, in Chalon Sur-Saone in the heart of Burgundy france.
    or err...geez I'm gratefull for my 1920's style semi in mid town toronto.....
    uh yeah, I am thankful for that.

    It's so great to be able to do what you love.
    and both big daddy and I do just that.
    It's pretty great being able to go to work and (for the most part) enjoy the projects you get to work on.
    I'm also EXTREMELY grateful that we are in a pretty unique position that allows me the opportunity to continue working
    part-time/free-lance and raise our daughter full time.
    I am reallllly grateful that I have that option, when I know so many women who are not as fortunate.
    I am very very thankful for that.
    though I have to admit, lately I have been really missing being able to work more and take on more jobs.
    But more on that in another post.
    Today I am just thankful for where I'm at.

    I am so glad to live in a climate that has four distinct seasons.
    Especially autumn.
    The colour of the the leaves these days leaves me speechless.
    We spent the weekend taking long walks looking at all the georgous colours.
    It's natures way of reminding us to pay attention....

    There's so many other things that I'm thankful for, even the small stuff...
    Like for example,
    the roasted maple pecan nuts and aged Alex Farm Cheddar we had yesterday.
    Or the bottle of 2000 Stratus White we enjoyed with our Organic free range Cumbrae's turkey breast with an orange, wiskey glaze...
    or the tarragon mashed potatoes...
    or the carmelized shallot green beans...
    or the roasted acorn squash...
    or the individual homemade pumpkin flans....
    But best of all, I grateful for the leftovers....mmm.
    happy thanksgiving!
    what are you thankful for?

    Wednesday, October 04, 2006

    true love

    I've been to a fair amount of weddings in my 35 years.
    I've been a flower girl, and also a bride.
    Thankfully never a bride's maid...I look horrible in lavender.
    One summer I actually went to seven weddings.
    Four out of those seven are no longer married.
    I've been to huge weddings with dry ice and 12 course meals.
    I've also been to small intimate ceremonies.
    I've been to a same sex marriage at city hall when it first became legal in Canada.
    I've been to interesting mixed cultural and religious ceremonies.
    One wedding was half Jamaican and half Scottish, think bagpipes & kilts mixed with steel drums.
    tons of fun at that one!
    I myself only had five people at my "wedding" not including the J.P. myself and big daddy.
    There have been times when I watched a couple say "I do" and I just had this feeling that "they won't".
    It's a shame really, but marriage is not always forever for some people.
    But Saturday we were at a wedding where I saw first hand what true love looked like.
    The wedding was simple and beautiful.
    The bride was absolutely gorgeous in her stunning vintage gown.
    she looked totally amazing.
    The reception was at a fabulous restaurant called George downtown.
    excellent food and really nice atmosphere.
    But the speech given by the groom was really what made it memorable.
    In fact all the guys at our table were getting kicked or nudged under the table...
    "you never said anything quite like that honey!!"
    These are two people that you could just feel are complete soul mates.
    I'm grateful to have been invited to share the day with them.
    It did get me thinking about my soul mate.
    Big daddy.
    We haven't been as focused on each other as we used to be pre-lulu.
    I always said "oh when we have a child our relationship won't change"
    yeah right.
    I also said I would never let a child of mine watch t.v.
    All I can say to that idiotic pre-baby statement is
    "thank god for Tree House!"
    But our relationship has changed.
    not necessarily for the worse.
    It's just different.
    In some ways we are probably more connected than before.
    How can we not be, when we are reminded of our love every day that we get to watch Lulu grow and develop as a person?
    But it certainly is easy to take that love for granted.
    Days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months and you realize you can't remember the last time you actually said..
    I love you.
    So big daddy if you are reading (and I know you are) I just wanted to tell you that I love you.
    And though I may seem distracted and not tuned into our love, it's still there.
    and always will be...

    Tuesday, October 03, 2006

    new kid in town

    the other day I was at our local Starbucks and couldn't help but notice the strong smell of sour milk combined with dirty mop.
    mmmm....makes me want to spend five bucks on a coffee..
    But it's familiar, and after several years I've finally figured out how to order my Latte in "starbucks speak" without feeling like an idiot.
    In a pinch you can always depend on a change table (though the cleanliness of the bathrooms is also pretty lacking)
    and their nature bars are also pretty handy when you realize it's 3 p.m. and you haven't eaten all day.
    But if I'm in a neighbourhood that has a cute independent coffee shop I will usually try to give them my business.
    Jet Fuel, Moon Bean, that really good Brazilian place on the corner in Kensington Market, I think it's called Casa Acoreana,
    The Montreal Bagel Company in Yorkville, Patachou, Clafouti...
    But child friendly they are not.
    So nine times out of ten we end up at the 'Bucks.
    But yesterday while walking down bloor St. I noticed that something had moved onto the corner across from the Windsor Arms Hotel.
    Is It a Spa?
    A new clothing store?
    A restaurant?
    we went to investigate.
    A coffee shop!
    Three levels of beautifully designed interior.
    Big bright windows with lots of great seating over-looking Bloor St.
    Interesting wall paper with bright turquoise accents.
    Linen pillows from Fluff on Queen st.
    Very cool music playing.
    Delicious Chai tea (the real stuff not that syrupy stuff like across the street) and they only use Fair Trade Coffee.
    Beautiful packaging and funky coffee cups.
    They even had a mini kids section with books and crayons!
    But the best was the washroom.
    By far the cleanest I've been to in a while, and BOTH the men's and women's had stainless change tables!
    It just opened last week, and I'm sure it will eventually be next to impossible to get a table there when people figure out what it is exactly.
    But in the mean time if you are on Bloor st. Check it out.
    Far Coast
    95 bloor st.
    You won't be disappointed.

    Saturday, September 30, 2006

    eye of the tiger

    argh, two weekends in a row without our little buddy.
    We have a wedding to go to tonight (and another party afterwards) so my parents came into town yesterday and took Lulu to Niagara with them until Sunday.
    She always has a blast with them, and my parents are really over the moon when they get to have her all to themselves.
    I guess I'm okay with that.
    I know I know, how lucky am I to have family close by to help out?
    I am grateful.
    But it is kind of strange to not have her around.
    Like this morning for example.
    I found myself creeping down the hallway trying not to step on the creakier parts of our old wood floors in front of lulu's bedroom.
    Oh...that's right...she's not cuddled up in her crib surrounded by Mr.Lambie and Dou Dou her favourite bunny...
    But I'm sure she is livin the good life with her grandparents as I type this.
    The bonus is that big daddy and I get to go out and play and stay out as late as we want.
    Or at least as late as we are physically able to keep our eyes open for.
    So last night we bundled up lulu and put her in baba and babaa's car (grandma & grandpa) and we went our separate ways.
    we decided to go to Czehoski on Queen.
    we had a few glasses of wine upstairs at the bar.
    It was my first time upstairs and not my last.
    They have a cozy fireplace, nice big windows over looking Queen St. and comfy booths.
    The music was pure eighties.
    which was kind of cool, because it was making me flash back and feel young again and really made it feel like we were on a bonafide date.
    Big daddy and I were chatting up a storm.
    which was really nice.
    Especially since the conversation was not just me asking about his day or me talking about what lulu did at the park that day.
    It was a real conversation about our goals & interesting creative projects we want to work on together.
    That to me, is about as sexy as it gets.
    speaking of sexy...
    there were two guys sitting next to us, one I recognized.
    There was a reality T.V. show called the Lofters (a Canadian version of Big Brother) from a few years ago that eventually got cancelled.
    Mostly because of the lame-o's living in the loft and a lack of interested viewers.
    with the exception of Donny.
    A very handsome devil from the east-coast.
    specifically Newfoundland, and although I'm biased, how can you not love a Newf.?
    anyhow we ended up chatting with him.
    me pretending I had no idea who he was, and had never seen him on a live feed in his boxer shorts at 3 a.m.
    sure enough, he is a really sweet guy and not too hard on the eyes either.
    Why he was out with some loud guy and not some gorgeous babe is beyond me...that boy is a real catch.
    we eventually went down stairs to the dining room for a late dinner.
    I had a porcini consomme and truffled perogies (comfort food at it's finest)
    big daddy had the cumbraes's steak special which was yummy.
    The food was okay but really it's all about the vibe at Czehoski.
    The wait-staff and hostess were super friendly and fun.
    people were having a good time and there was no pretension to be found.
    I mean how much more down to earth can you get when Steely Dan's "are you reelin in the years" is cranked?
    You can't help but to flash back to sitting in front of a camp fire with bad hair, frosty pink lipstick, drinking Black Label beer...
    Though we did decide to get the check when "Eye of the Tiger" by a band called Survivor started playing.
    Think Rocky IV.
    Some things from the eighties should stay in the eighties.