Thursday, November 30, 2006
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,
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
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
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 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.
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
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..
Thursday, November 23, 2006
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
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
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.
Totally unrelated, but I'm currently listening to
I Highly recommend it.
A little on the melancholy side, but pretty relaxing.
Or if you want to put a modern spin on it try-Pink floyd Redux.
IIII'm comfortably numb....
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
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
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....
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.
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
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
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
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
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.