Wednesday, January 31, 2007

it's the little things

I often wonder if other parents are as enamoured with their offspring as big daddy and I are.
We could sit for hours and just watch Lulu in action, and she never disappoints.
Always full of love and laughter.
I feel as though I'm completely addicted to her endless hugs and affection and I don't ever want this phase to end.
She is just over-the-top cute these past few days.
Her vocabulary is really evolving and the fact that we can now communicate with words and sentences makes things go much smoother around here.
Not to mention that she now says "Love you mummy", "hug" and gives me tiny soft kisses on my lips while stroking my cheek saying "mommy pretty".
Sure she stays up a bit later that we would like some nights, but as tiring as that can be, I think we both secretly love getting the extra hour or two (or sometimes three) of snuggle time.
There are plenty of things that make me happy.
Big daddy of course.
A nice meal in a good restaurant with friendly service and nice ambience.
sitting by a fire reading a good book.
long walks in the woods.
visiting with friends and family.
sipping coffee in a cafe while reading the paper.
getting a massage.
cocktail parties.
live music.
movies and live theatre.
shopping in food markets early Saturday mornings.
going to art galleries.
checking out antique shops.
riding my bike.
just sitting and doing nothing.
but the thing that makes me most happy is my daughter.
There really are no words to describe how happy and fulfilled she makes me feel.
So often I read or hear about how tiring or difficult being a mother can be.
or how challenging the "terrible two's" are.
I just don't get that.
never have I been so happy and content.
I'm just so grateful for the little things in my life,
especially Lulu.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

tag I'm it

So Sheena has tagged me,
and I am going to comply and share with you six wierd things about myself that you might not know.
At first I had a hard time coming up with six, and then once I started thinking about it, I've come to the conclusion that I'm really weird, because I came up with well over a dozen or so.
But for now here are just six.

1. I once had a human brain in a jar of formaldehyde in the trunk of my car, AND a seven foot scarecrow in a pinstripe suit in the front seat of my car at the same time.
and no, it had nothing to do with trying to scam the car pool lane law.
I am very grateful however, that I never got pulled over by the cops.
I would have had a lot of 'splain'in to do.

2. I am a complete clean freak with O.C.D.and can't leave the house without making my bed or leaving even a single dirty coffee cup in the sink.
I even need the shampoo and conditioner bottles in the shower to be facing forward...what can I say? total freak.

3. I love sneezing.

4. When ever I get a new cook book I have a secret desire to cook everything in the book at least once, and when I do prepare something, I have to make notes beside the recipe. i.e.. good, excellent, would be great for guests or bloody awful.
given my obsession with cook books and cooking magazines I will most likely never eat the same thing twice in my life span.

5. I love all things white and cream.
My house, clothes, dishes, flowers, actually pretty much everything.
My friends all tease me about this obsession and even my dad when visiting tries to play "eye spy something that is white" with Lulu.
But I do draw the line at wine.
it's all about red in that department.

6. I'm a smell-o-holic.
I sniff everything. ( I was born in the year of the Dog, so maybe that has something to with it)
I always smell a glass before pouring anything into it.
There are certain smells that make me gag, like sour towels, cheap perfume, the smell of someone who has been smoking in their car, Chinatown in the summer time..oh the list could go on forever.
But there are many smells that I adore.
brewing coffee in the morning, garlic, baking chocolate and bread, Chinatown on a cold winter day, lulu when she has just had a bath, campfires, candles blown out at the end of the evening.
I even do smell tests when I'm cooking.
When I'm finished preparing dinner, I usually go for a quick walk around the block just so that I can come back in to that "ummm what's for dinner? smell"
That being said, after eating dinner I need to open all the windows and burn some essential oil from Aveda to remove all the food smells before I go to bed, otherwise I can't sleep properly.
I already mentioned that I'm a freak right?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

solitary butterfly

Because of the fact that I work freelance and am never really certain which days exactly that I'll be working, it makes it a bit difficult to sign Lulu up for specific toddler programs.
My inner mom-guilt has been kicking in lately, and I find myself wondering if I'm providing enough social interaction for her.
We go out for long walks most days.
I usually try to take her to the library at least once a week.
There is usually a play date or so per week, unfortunately, most of my friends with babies are still under a year, so it's not quite as exciting as I think Lulu might like, but hey, at least she's around other children.
Weather permitting we usually head to the park.
We eat out at restaurants a couple of times a week (that's considered social isn't it?)
We occasionally visit big daddy at work, which is a fun and interesting environment.
Shopping and errands count as stimulation for lulu, right?...
This week we went to an indoor play gym drop-in centre.
It was okay.
I thought Lulu would be excited about all the other kids there that were her age, but instead she was more into the different toys and plastic slides and
She wanted to hang out and play with me.
I was game, because truth be told, I really wasn't interested in talking to the various clusters of other moms.
That probably sounds totally anti-social I know, but I just really wasn't in the mood to small talk with a bunch of women that I probably have very little in common with aside from the ups and downs of potty training, sleeplessness, teething, blah blah blah..
I'm sure everyone was really nice, it's just that I actually like being on my own.
I'm very comfortable doing my own thing.
Big daddy is the same.
and now Lulu seems to be following in our foot steps.
Don't get me wrong, I'm actually a pretty social person, but sometimes I find the whole "mom talk thing" kind of boring.
Not all the time, but some days I'm just into mommy chit chat.
I've never really felt like a part of any group or community, I'm not sure why.
Maybe it's the fact that we moved so often while I was growing up.
I'm okay with that.
But I don't ever want Lulu to feel like an "outsider", at the same time, I don't want her to feel like she has to be surrounded by people all the time in order to feel happy.
There's nothing wrong being alone sometimes.
When I ask her what she wants to do each day her answer is always the same.
"home" "jammies" "mommy".
My kind of day (especially when it's minus 20 outside)
but then I say, are you sure, why don't we go and play with some kids, or go to the park?
"nope" "home".
Maybe I'm giving this all too much thought, eventually she'll want to be out all the time and totally bored with hanging out with Big daddy & I.
So in the meantime I guess I'm happy to indulge her home-body tendencies.
Especially during the month of January.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Well at least I'm actually succeeding at ONE of my New Year's resolutions.
More reading and less channel surfing.
I managed to read a few books so far this month, and for me that's quite an accomplishment (at least these days.)
First off, I read "momfidence" by Paula Spencer.
Now normally I'm not really into parenting books at all.
I think the only parenting books I've ever read was The Baby Whisperer (which was actually really helpful despite the cheesy book title) and the Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy. (which ended up just freaking me out and giving me more anxiety before I had Lulu)
But both were hand-me-downs from friends.
I tend to consult the internet, my mom, my mother-in-law and friends for tips and advise.
So when someone sent me a copy of "momfidence" I figured I would get to it eventually, but it wasn't jumping off the bookshelf.
But This book was quite funny and provided down-to-earth accounts of raising confident and healthy children.
And really involves nothing more complicated that trusting your instincts, using common sense, and above all, hanging on to your sense of humour.
A nice light read that had me chuckling out loud.

No "The Memory Keepers Daughter" by Kim Edward's is not another parenting book.
Quite the opposite actually.
It's a story about Dr. David Henry who is married to a woman named Nora, who is pregnant with their first child. Her labour begins on a stormy winter night in 1961. Due to the weather, they could only make it to the clinic where he practised medicine, not the hospital, and only Caroline, the nurse, arrived to help deliver the baby. David delivers his own child, a perfectly healthy son. But when Nora continues her labour, David realizes she is carrying twins;
(in the days before good ol' ultra sound- what a shocker that must have been..) but the second child, a girl, is born with Down syndrome. Wanting to protect his wife from the devastating news, David gives the child to Caroline to take to an institution, asking her never to reveal the secret. Caroline takes the baby and disappears. Unfolding the plot over the course of 25 years, Edwards tells a moving story of two families bound by a secret that both eats away at relationships and eventually helps to create new ones.
A great read for a cold winter night in January (but maybe not if you are pregnant...)

Finally, I just finished The Glass Castle a memoir by Jeanette Walls on the weekend and I still find myself thinking about it.
Once again this is NOT a parenting-how-to kind of book.
Far from it.
well sort of.

Jeannette Walls grew up with very eccentric parents Rex and Rose Mary Walls. They had four children. In the beginning, they lived like gypsies, moving from town to desert town and camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an "excitement addict." Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.
When the money ran out, the Walls retreated to a West Virginia mining townwhere Rex was originally from. When they moved there Rex Walls drank, he stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents' betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.
What is so amazing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.
I loved this book and could barely put it down.
As I soaked in a hot bubble bath while reading it, I felt eternally grateful to my parents for everything they had provided me with over the years...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

baby it's cold outside

well it finally arrived.
Snow..err well sort of.
More like freezing rain and sleet with a few snow flakes thrown in for good measure.
As much as I was really enjoying extending my fall fashions well into mid January, I'm kind of glad it's cold outside.
It's the way it should be. It's Canada after-all.
So big daddy is away for a few days and it's just Lulu and I.
Ever since we picked her up from my parents on Saturday she keeps saying "miss you mommy, miss you" while hugging my leg.
I could melt.
I wonder though if she isn't just refering to my physical absence last week, but the fact that I've been a bit emotionally tuned out over the past few weeks as well.
But the past few days it's just been my little girl and I and we are having so much fun together.
She wants to do everything I do.
When I put on my make-up she wants to pretend to as well.
When I brush my teeth, she wants to brush hers.
When I'm cooking in the kitchen, she pulls up a chair to help out.
Who knew 20 month olds could efficiently peel garlic? Awesome.
She is extremely affectionate at the best of times but lately she is just plain scrumptious.
"snuggle mommy" "lub you" and even "hug hug".
I must have been really good in another life to have such a sweet and loving little person as my daughter.
Anyhow today we christened her first toboggan and it was the one time when I was glad no one had shovelled the sidewalk as we went sledding all through the neighbourhood.
So much fun.
we eventually made our way to the library and scored the cozy reading chair in the children's section and read a dozen or so books together. (all the while Lulu was snuggled into me with her tiny hand in mine)
She was even more adorable because of her rosy cheeks from the cold and her messy staticy hat head.
We came home to delicious smelling stew that had been cooking all day in the crock-pot (my newest favourite kitchen gadget)
I had a glass of wine, Lulu had some apple juice.
We said "cheers" and clicked my Riedel glass with her plastic sippy cup.
I lit some candles and we had a nice relaxing dinner.
Just us two gals.
A perfect cold wintery day.

Friday, January 12, 2007

new eats

The past couple of weeks have been pretty hectic.
Between being mommy & working on a fairly involved freelance job, there really hasn't been too much down time.
Enter totally awesome grandparents.
My parents are looking after Lulu for most of this week so I could really focus on the job I was working on.
Well that and I was really in need of some grown-up time with big daddy.
(still working on that New year's resolution)
The shoot went really well yesterday, and though I'm glad it's finished it was really fun to work on a big project again.
I do love my job.
It feels so good to feel creative again as well.
It also felt good to be able to go out for dinner all week past 8 p.m.
by the time I was finished working it was too late to cook..
so we decided to hit a few new spots.
Wednesday we went to Seoul City on Queen st. west.
Not as authentic as some of our favorite Korean restaurants in little Korea (ie. Il Bunji) but more hip and stylish.
We started with a couple of OB's-rice beer from Korea.
then we had a little chef's sampling plate with Korean Fried Dumplings
Hand-made dumplings stuffed with pork, kimchi and watercress, with ginger soy dipping sauce.
Kimchi Crab Cakes
Pan-fried panko crusted crab cakes with Seoul City aioli.
and the Korean Pancakes with Cured Salmon with wasabi creme fraiche and cured salmon, topped with tobiko.
for our Entrees I had the Black Cod $17
Broiled black cod with miso glaze complemented by daikon, red onions,
cucumber slaw and steamed rice.
and Big daddy had the Kalbi $16
Succulent marinated beef short ribs grilled to perfection, and plated with
seasonal vegetables and steamed rice.
Everything was really good and the place itself is quite nice, good music, good service & good food.
We will definitely go back again.
Then Last night we went to Coca on queen St. west.
Just a few doors down from Seoul City in fact.
The place was packed and for good reason.
It's run by the same owners as Czehoski's.
Narrow & dimly lit, the Spanish-influenced tapas and wine bar is cozy and inviting.
Once again we scored the table in the front window which is always perfect for people watching, my second favourite pastime next to eating & drinking.
They have a fantastic wine list and I wish I could remember the name of the red that I had last night, but I do remember that it was excellent and I ended up having three glasses of it.
damn shoulda just ordered a bottle. oh well.
we started with the cured meats.
Serrano ham, clove spiced smoke duck and spicy chorizo.
(thankfully they we sold out of the cured horse meat..not sure I could have gone down that road or not)
we also had some Catalan flat-bread with Mahon cheese served with a fig chutney. And house cured white anchovies and eggplant.
We also had some of the pickled heirloom beets.
The cod cakes were okay.
We also shared the grilled steak and a couple of the best chicken wings ever.
Not your typical bar grub, and so delicious.
Rounding out our meal we shared the rice pudding and sipped some Madeira.
Our waitress was excellent.
Very passionate about food and wine and really took the time to describe everything to us even though every table was full.
I highly recommend Coca, but don't wear anything that you can't throw in the wash when you get home, because the only draw back was that we smelled like fried cod cakes when we left the place.
not so sexy.
But having to shower before bed...kinda sexy.
so tonight we are going out again.
But I must say that I am feeling guilty for all the extra calories I'm consuming..
But not THAT guilty.

As an aside, all this rich food and wine has had an intestesting influence on my sleeping.
I've had such weird and intense dreams these past couple of nights.
Plus not having to get up at 3 a.m. with a teething toddler has done wonders for my REM.
Last night I dreamt I was making out with the guy from The Office.
No, not Dwight Schrute- that would have been really weird,
but Jim Halper.
O.M.G..I think I have a crush on Jim from the Office.
well at least I wasn't necking with Steve Carell..that would be cause for concern.
I could understand having a sexy dream about Benicio Del Toro, Javier Bardem or maybe Gael Garcia Bernal or hell even Penelope Cruz (having just had spanish food)
or maybe Yul Kwon from survivor or Daniel Dae Kim-Jin Kwon from Lost (Korean food)
but Jim from the Office??
What's up with that?

Monday, January 08, 2007

who ya gonna call??

I've never really considered myself to be a huge believer in the paranormal.
Sure I think there are certain energies you pick up from time to time and place to place.
I'm relatively tapped into my inner spiritual side.
But believing in ghosts isn't really something I take too seriously.
That is until this weekend.
que-spooky music..
Big daddy was getting Lulu dressed in her pyjamas after her bath last night and she pointed at the window of her room and said
Big daddy asked her some questions, like, is the girl nice?
Lulu replied "nope."
then Big Daddy asked if the girl was mean?
Lulu replies "mean!"
Big daddy calls me upstairs.
I make my way down the creaky old floors..(added for effect)
Lulu goes through the entire shpeil again.
"eyes, mouth, girl, Judy!"
All the while looking wide eyed at the wall behind her bed and at the dark window beside it.
By this point big daddy and I are trying to remain calm and rational, laughing nervously.
Umm, I don't think we don't know any Judy's.
I'm pretty sure we haven't come across any in the playground either.
Megan's, Zoe's, Taylor's, Riley's etc. yes. but no Judy's that I can recall.
We keep probing Lulu with questions about this mystery girl.
I'm trying to rack my brain to remember episodes of Little Bear, Max & Ruby, and Dora.
Nope, no Judy's in any episodes that I can remember.
Books..yes maybe Judy is a mean girl in one of her story books.
I flip through them all.
Peter rabbit, hungry caterpillars, cats in hats, three seeing impaired mice, puppies, kittens, princesses..hmmm..
nope, still no sign of a mean girl named Judy.
okay I'm starting to get pretty freaked out.
to make matters worse, big daddy is also freaked out.
Shouldn't he be the voice of reason around here?
Anyhow, when we put Lulu to bed she totally started screaming.
Not just the usual half assed whining/crying thing she does for about 5 minutes or so before she finally gives up and decides to enter the Land of Nod.
But, full on screaming accompanied by frantic shaking of the crib.
We eventually gave in and brought her into bed with us.
But now I have to admit I'm totally spooked by this experience.
I haven't felt like this since I was a kid and afraid to go to the basement by myself, humming loudly each time I went down just to make myself feel safer.
Then dashing up the stairs as fast as I could trying to avoid the hands that might grab my feet through the stairs..
okay so I had an active imagination.
That and one too many betamax rentals of Friday the Thirteenth and Nightmare on Elm Street.
So I'm not sure if we have a ghost named Judy living with us or not,
but in the mean time Big Daddy is going to the health food store and picking up a smudge stick just for good measure.
Or I wonder if Bill Murray still does house calls?..

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

happy new year

New year's resolution #1. Be more punctual.
umm okay, so it's January 3rd. so sue me.
Another one of my New Year's resolutions was to try to waste less time blogging.
So I took a mini blogging break over the holidays.
Not that blogging is a waste, but I do spend a bit too much time reading what often feels like too many blogs each day.
Before I know it hours have gone by.
So I'm going to try to keep it to just my favourites and I will be lurking a bit more and commenting a bit less.
maybe. we'll see.
Anyhow, I also want to read more novels this year and less time reading "how to be fabulous- glossy magazines."
I want to drink less coffee (just finished a tall latte 5 minutes ago, while reading a glossy magazine)
However, "glossy magazine" was a health, body and soul-ish type mag, so it's not thaaat bad.
Oh and the Latte was a soy latte.
Exercise more. what else is new? story of my life.
Did hit the gym this morning so that's a plus.
But I want to not just go to the gym and do cardio and weights, I really want to try to start doing Yoga again.
Must get centred. ommmm...
Watch less television.
Hmm, we'll see how that goes once new episodes of Prison Break start up again...
I really want to take Guitar lessons this year.
I have the guitar, but pretending to be Charo from the Love Boat after drinking one too many glasses of red wine doesn't really count. Must find professional to help me with my strumming'.
Spend more time with girlfriends, and not just the ones with kids, I love doing girlie things with my pals, and I miss it.
so JB if you are reading this, and I know you are, let's plan another girls only night sometime soon, 10 spot for some pampering and chit chat??
Be a better time manager.
I love to shop daily for my groceries and pretend like I'm actually living in Europe and not North America-home of The Super Centre and Value packs of thirty frozen chicken breasts.
But to tell the truth, it gets pretty tiring trying to whip up some culinary magic most nights of the week.
I'm a foodie yes, but a little frozen President's Choice from time to time never killed anybody.
At least not yet.
Spend more time naked. (and not just in the closet while slipping on my pj's, yes I've become one of "those" people)
I need to get ummm.."reacquainted" with myself.
Less mommy, more hot mama.
Which leads me to my biggest and best New Year's resolution...
Well all I will say is that it is a resolution that Big Daddy is sure to be supportive of.
and let's just leave it at that.
So Happy New Year.
Got any interesting resolutions you wanna share?