Sunday, April 29, 2007

dress up

new season+ new age+ new size= needs new wardrobe.
And I'm not just talking about Lulu, this goes for me as well.
I love all the seasons but really, it's a never ending cycle of having to get new clothes all the time.
It's great to lose all the baby weight, but this means that all the spring clothes from last year are too big on me.
lulu of course has the opposite problem, all her spring/summer things from last year are now too small.
Then there's the needing different clothes for different activities thing.
Playground clothing is much different from working and going out clothing.
I learned that the hard way last year after trashing one too many pairs of cute shoes and dry clean only Capri's at the park with Lulu.
this year I plan on being prepared.
practical easy to wash and wear clothes and shoes.
enter Joe Fresh.
My new favourite place to pick up cheap, relatively stylish, practical clothing.
Bonus is that it's at the grocery store.
One stop shopping at it's best.

soy milk-check
gold fish crackers-check
toilet paper-check
stuff for breakfast, lunch and dinner-check, check, check
$10 cute olive green striped 3/4 sleeve cotton v-neck-check
$29 belted cotton four pocket army jacket-check
$19 silver pointed toe comfortable and not cheap looking ballet flats-check
It's great.
I have no idea how they make money with the prices being so low, but I'm lovin it.
The only bummer is that all the size 4's are the first to go, which means I end up saving even more money because they are usually sold out of things in my size.
Canadians must have the largest wardrobes on the planet.
with four very distinct seasons you need a little bit of everything.
from parkas & ponchos & winter boots, to linen pin tuck blouses, halter dresses & peep toe espadrilles.
I love fashion, but sometimes I find it all a bit exhausting (especially for my visa card)
But Joe fresh has made clothing shopping just a little bit easier, who knew grocery shopping could be so fun?
I just wish they had kids clothing.
I'm sure Lulu does too, the kid sure does love channeling her inner fashionista.

oh and a little shout out to our favourite globe trotting gal JB who is somewhere in Japan at the moment, Lulu loves all your fabulous accessories and cool hats.
see above photo.
can we come over and play dress up again when you get back?
fun fun.

Monday, April 23, 2007

happy birthday Lulu

Dear sweet Lulu,
it goes without saying that this past year has literally flown by.
It's hard to believe this time last year you were still just crawling.
now you are walking, running, dancing, hopping, climbing and even trying to skip.
A year ago you were just saying a few sort of words like mama, dada & birdie.
now you are chatting up a storm.
not only are you forming full sentences but you love telling whole stories and even singing.
Much to our delight.
I love the sound of your tiny voice (and sometimes not so tiny when you are ticked off) and being able to understand and help you, at least for the most part.
You are a great little helper and you love hanging out with big daddy & I.
Especially at home. You absolutely love being at home.
Not that you don't love going out and exploring the great big world around you, but you love the comforts of home.
I can totally relate.
You are extremely affectionate and always smother us with kisses and hugs every day especially first thing in the morning.
It absolutely makes both of our days.
You are really sweet with other children and know how to share and be extra gentle and kind.
You get a little shy when strangers smile at you but I think secretly you love flirting whenever you get the opportunity.
You are very particular about certain things and like being clean.
you don't like getting dirty (the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree in this department) and are so delicate and feminine.
a real girlie girl.
You have an infectious laugh and it brings us so much joy knowing that you are happy and having fun.
Speaking of bringing joy, you have brought so much joy to so many people.
Especially your grandparents.
lucky you have two grandmas and two grandpas.
And even luckier you have a great grandma who loves you very much.
They adore you and look forward to each visit with you.
you have come along way over this past year, going from baby to a little girl.
Though you still refer to yourself as "baby" and even make little baby cries and faces..
you are quite theatrical.
and we love you even more for it.
I will miss Lulu the baby, but I am so looking forward to watching Lulu the little girl grow and change (just not so fast)
So today you are two.
I think we might be in for a bit of an interesting year, with you becoming more and more curious about the world around you.
There may be a few bumps and bruises along the road, but know that I am and will always be here for you.
watching you develop and grow with pride and with more love than you could possibly imagine.
we received THE most precious gift on april 24 2005.
so happy birthday Lulu, I hope your day is filled with fun and laughter.

love mom xo

Sunday, April 22, 2007

april update

I haven't been feeling very blog-ish lately.
Not that I haven't had a million things and ideas swirling around in my head.
I just haven't had the time or the energy to sit down
or more specifically, stand at the kitchen counter where I usually spend most of my time on the computer, and write about anything in particular.
so here are a few random things that have been going on in my life this past week.

Not to go on about the sleep (or lack-there-of) around here, but I can't help myself.
because let's face it, getting a decent nights sleep can make all the difference when it comes to pretty much everything in life.
at least for me.
Anyhow, out of the blue last week my mother-in-law suggested we try something a little different when it comes to Lulu's bed time ritual.
she must have e.s.p. and known that we were feeling completely defeated.
her words "I think little Lulu is working you guys & I think you need to show her who's in charge, because she's a smart little thing and already knows how to get her way with you two"
her suggestion:
Just read her a story, then just simply put her in her crib, say goodnight, see you in the morning and turn off the lights and leave the room. if we haven't tried that.
actually....come to think of it, I don't really think we have tried it.
at least not that easily.
hmmm maybe she's on to something?
so simple.
For months we have been rocking, back rubbing, reading story after requested story, slowly tiptoeing out of the room hoping we don't step on a creaky floorboard and wake her, then she would cry begging us to stay and we would do it all over again.
Total drama.
who indeed is in charge?
well I tried the new "method" if you can call reading ONE story and just simply saying goodnight a "method", and lord have mercy! It worked!!
AND it has continued to work all week long!
bed by 8ish up at 6-7ish.
no wake ups.
no fuss.
in fact last night when I said goodnight, Lulu said "night night, love you mommy."
holy cow, I feel like an idiot.
why didn't we just do this before. so simple, and so effective.
The regular naps at 1:30-3:30 also seem to be helping.
So now I officially think my mother-in-law is a genius.
I love you bingo betty, you are my hero.

so as a result of all this quality sleep both big daddy and I are starting to feel a little more human.
I've managed to go to the gym a few times this week (as a result can barely move my arms or sit down without wincing- my glutes are killing me)
but it is so worth it because I love exercising, it makes me feel so much better about myself.
well that and it helps alleviate some of the guilt associated with my love of food and eating.
we also managed to go out a few times to a few different restaurants this week.
I might be doing a bit of restaurant reviewing over at toronto mommybloggers.
more details to follow.
stay tuned.

Big daddy decided to be a manly man and cancel his weekly mani/pedi appointment
(a slight exaggeration) and spend two full days laying flagstone in our backyard.
each stone is about 80lbs each x 40ish...
he was hot n' sweaty and probably even got a few callouses but the end result looks fantastic and I am quite impressed.
especially because big daddy is more of a "let's just call someone" kinda guy.
he draws the line a gardening though, and we have decided to enlist the help of a professional landscaper to do the garden this year.
Maybe hiring a professional is a better way to go, especially when it comes to keeping the peace in a marriage.
as manly as he was this weekend, I wasn't digging the
"you woman! get me beer..I thirsty" & "you woman! get me food. I hungry." attitude.

Speaking of professionals...
I am definitely more of a behind the scenes kinda gal.
I'm responsible for making things look pretty in various magazines and ads.
that's my job.
I really enjoy it, and although I'm only working part time, I still manage to do a few decent projects that I guess you could say I'm proud of.
Check out this months issue of Today's Parent, I have a few stories that I produced and styled.
But making a kids room or a birthday gift look pretty is one thing, making myself look good is a whole other story.
I have been asked to do a few episodes of a certain show on a certain network.
I've been on tv twice before and it wasn't pretty either time.
the worst part is that both shows are still running and we shot them almost 4 years & tv..hmm..not such a great combo.
at least that's my opinion.
but I'll find out more details next week, and hopefully this time it will be fun.
But this also means many more trips to the gym are required.
that is of course if I can actually walk tomorrow..

and speaking of tomorrow..
I hope tomorrow is a beautiful as it has been for the past several days.
we went from winter straight into summer.
hey what happened to spring?
I watched An Inconvenient Truth last night and let's just say that as much as the weather is much appreciated, it feels a little weird that it is 27 degrees in April.
But it's far too nice out for me to complain about the weather or the weirdness of it.
But I think this movie deserves it's own post and really got me thinking about how I can make a difference.

that's all for now, I've burned through my naptime/blogging time.
fingers crossed that things continue in this positive direction.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


my thoughts go out to all the families that suffered such a terrible tragedy in Virginia.
such senseless violence.
so very sad.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

saturday night fever

well, my last post was a rant about my feelings of melancholy combined with burn-out, caused by lack of sleep mixed with the lack of sunshine.
But it's the weekend and hey looky looky the sun finally decided to make an appearance!
and I actually managed to get more than three hours of sleep last night.
our bed was awash in golden sunlight first thing this morning and instead of slowly waking up and snuggling with big daddy on a Saturday morning, I had a little someone pulling my eyelashes open with her tiny fingers (after she finished peeing in our bed)
Not exactly the Saturday morning I had been hoping for.
I was sleeping so deeply last night that I barely remember big daddy bringing lulu into our room at around 1 a.m.
she totally has him wrapped around her finger.
well that and the endless blood curdling screaming kinda worked.
anyhow I snoozed, despite our uninvited sleeping companion and actually managed to get some much needed zzz's.
Regardless of the premature wake-up call, I felt rested and ready to do a bit of baking.

So I whipped up a walnut buttermilk coffee cake for some friends that were coming over in the afternoon.
I also put together some roasted red pepper, pesto & walnut chicken salad sandwiches.

It's really much more fun cooking for four than it is for two.
So mr & mrs dustbunny and their ubber cute little boy Sammy came over for some lunch and some laughs.
The peroni beer didn't hurt.
funny how the lack of regular sleep and crazy pace of being a parent makes you a total lightweight.
Oh so nice to catch a wee bit of a buzz on just one beer in the middle of the afternoon.
So lulu is totally smitten by little sammy and totally loves him.
Who could blame her though? Little s is really such a sweet little guy.
those dimples, those eyes, that smile...
hell I'm smitten.

But the lack of sleep the previous night for lulu and lack of nap was starting to show toward the end of the day.
she was getting a bit on the diva side.
but we figured, oh well no nap today, that means she will probably go down early tonight and sleep straight through the night.
ah, no.
there was plenty of screaming and crying tonight.
In fact I think she has been screaming for approx. 4 hours now.
big daddy and I keep taking turns sitting with her and rocking her.
the second we put her in the crib-
Are we horrible parents?
should we have forced her to nap today even though she didn't want to because we had friends over and was excited?
I know, kids need their sleep, and I really don't think Lulu is getting enough of it, but should we put our entire life on hold?
I was trying to be patient, rocking, singing, kissing..
but I actually got to a point tonight where I raised my voice and got really pissed at her.
I mean really pissed.
I know big daddy was feeling the same.
now I feel really guilty.
She's still so tiny, and was just totally over tired.
oh the guilt.
were we really angry because she totally ruined a perfectly good porcini crusted tenderloin with a Cab Merlot reduction with a side of roasted asparagus?
or that as a couple it is next to impossible to have an uninterrupted conversation?
or that it feels as though we have next to no quiet down time?
or for that matter...if I'm going to be
I love lulu more than life, but sometimes enough is enough.
If she ever complains about being an only child, she really only has herself to blame.
kidding..well sort of.
oh lord, one more week and it will be official.
the terrible two's.
despite all of this she is still over the top adorable and the love of our lives (what's left of them) and I wouldn't trade any of this for anything.
well, maybe just a, make that 24 hours..of just being me.
or even better getting the chance to be a couple.
because as much as I miss being me, I miss making out.
holding hands.
having a deep uninterrupted conversation.
you catch my drift.
whew, she finally fell asleep and it's still only 10 o'clock..
the sad part is that now we are both too tired to even brush our teeth never mind...
you catch my drift.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I can't get no sleep

Lately I feel as though I'm totally dragging my ass.
going through each day as though I'm in auto pilot, but without much extra energy to spare.
the truth of the matter is that the lack of uninterrupted sleep is really getting to me.
yeah me and every other parent out there.
But the frustrating thing is that Lulu used to be a pretty decent little sleeper.
we had her on a fairly good schedule from about 3 months up until somewhere around 16 months.
she would usually go down around 8p.m. and sleep straight through until 8a.m.
when I would hear people complain about sleep deprivation, I just didn't get it.
but now I certainly do.
Since around November, bedtime has been all over the map.
sometimes it goes okay, but the majority of the time getting lulu down is usually an entire hour+ of reading, singing, back rubbing etc.
then just when we think she is down for the night, she starts screaming.
a few times we just let her cry-thinking "who is in control here?"
but 99.9% of the time we end up going to get her.
having to go through the entire bedtime ritual over again.
by the time we get her down some nights it's almost 10p.m.!!
which leaves next to no quiet adult time for big daddy and I.
So we end up staying up too late, catching up on emails, blogging, reading and watching all our favourite t.v. shows.
When we finally decide to go to bed (that is if we haven't fallen asleep on the sofa)
Lulu usually wakes up.
this isn't every single night, but 4 or maybe 5 nights a week.
When it's my turn to go to her I usually rock her back to sleep and put her back in her crib.
Then do it all over again when she wakes up again at 3 a.m.
Big daddy usually caves and brings her in bed with us.
which means NO sleep for big daddy or I, as sleeping with Lulu is like sleeping with a wild animal.
plus she's a total bed hog, most often deciding to sleep horizontal on our queen sized bed.
then around 6 a.m. or sometimes 5- it's "wake up mommy!!!" while she is bouncing up and down on the bed.
then out of the blue she will start sleeping normally again.
down at 7:30-8 until 7a.m.
those nights are far and few between, and also bitter sweet as we are becoming so conditioned to being woken up that I usually wake up automatically.
anyhow all this babbling about Lulu's sleep schedule or lack there of is really about how burned out I've been feeling lately.
I seriously don't know how full time working mothers do it.
I'm assuming it's a stage and that eventually she will out grow this.
and that it's probably because she is having a hard time cutting all her teeth.
But it doesn't make it easier.
I was never a huge coffee drinker, but now I NEED coffee to get through each day.
and by coffee I mean double (sometimes triple) espressos.

even her naps seem to be sporadic.
some-days she snoozes without a fuss, others she can't be bothered.
She's got places to go & people to see.
I know a few people that are really strict about schedules, and therefor have really good sleepers.
It's probably my fault as our weeks are never the same.
Being freelance, I don't work 9 to 5- five days a week and often bring her with me when I'm working on a job.
She makes a great little assistant.
But as a result her schedule is a bit relaxed.
Perhaps a bit TOO relaxed.
Of course some days are worse than others, yesterday not so good.
today so far so good.
Or maybe this lack of energy is not sleep deprivation but sunlight deprivation.
what's up with this weather?
Is the sun ever going to shine?
am I going to have to get myself one of those artificial sunlight boxes that you wear on your head?
okay I'll stop my whining.
Yeah, yeah..April showers bring May flowers.
But what the hell does April snow bring?
Is anyone else feeling the post winter/not quite spring blues??
or is it just me?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

cutting corners

After feasting on traditional Easter Ham, Friday, Saturday, Sunday AND Monday, I was ready for something with a bit more spice.
Nothing against a 9 hour slow roasted organic clove infused ham with a vodka & brown sugar glaze, but I'm done with ham for a while.
I've been craving Indian for ages, in fact I walk by a really good Indian restaurant daily and the incredible aromas that come from the place make me want curry all the time.
We often do Indian take-away, seeing as it's close by, fairly cheap and fast.
But I also love to make my own curry sauces when I get a chance.
I'm not really one for pre-made jarred sauces, only because I really like being able to control exactly what I'm eating, and I guess I'm a bit of a food snob, and really like to do things from scratch.
But as life gets busier, I'm learning that buying pre-made isn't the end of the world.
So this morning before heading out for the day, I threw some skinless chicken thighs and a jar of Tikka Masala sauce in the slow cooker, set the timer on low for 7 hours and walked away.
when I got home the house smelled amazing and dinner was pretty much ready.
with the exception of some basmati rice that I whipped up.
The word "basmati" literally means something fragrant, and it certainly was.
1 chopped onion
2 grated carrots
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbs grated ginger
cook on med for 15 min.
add 1 cup of basmati rice
stir to coat
1 3/4 (+ extra if too dry) cup water
generous pinch of salt
cover, cook on low for 16-20 min.

so the meal wasn't completely instant, but super easy and really tasty.
Lulu really enjoyed the rice, which is always a bonus.
I also grabbed a jar of mixed hot Indian style pickle to serve on the side.
we washed it down with a couple of cold Kingfishers.

I have to say it was better than take-away.
way cheaper, much healthier (less oil etc.) and much tastier.
who knew jarred sauces could be so good?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

do blonds really have more fun?

There are days when I wish I had the guts to chop off all my hair.
Hair is work.
I've had many a style over the years and many colours.
I started off in life as a red head.
I had light red hair when I was a baby, then as I got older it became darker, more of a deep auburn than red.
not sure where that came from as my mom is a brunette and my dad is blond.
When I was a kid my mom pretty much kept it long and in ponytails, braids, hair bands and barrettes.
A la Laura Ingalls.
When I was around 12 or 13 I discovered sun in and my girlfriends and I all sported that horrible shade of orangish-blond with the lovely skunk line down our middle part once the highlights grew out after the summer ended.
I remember using my curling iron religiously to get the perfect "sausage rolls" or "feathered look".
we looked ridiculous.
High school my hair wasn't too bad, despite the big puffy bangs at one point.
Oh and a semester or two spent using a crimping iron.
Oh and now that I think about it, a perm may have taken place.
Hey it was all about Madonna, Duran Duran, Pretty in Pink & Dynasty back in those days.
But at least I kept my colour it's natural shade of blondish brown and the style was relatively flattering being long and straight (after the perm finally grew out)
It always smelled like Agree shampoo.
Good smelling hair was super important back in those days.
Hell it's still important, but these days I'm more of an Aveda shampure kinda gal.
In my twenties I had various lengths of bobs usually somewhere around my jaw line.
The colour looked fantastic (I briefly dated my colourist) but once I stopped seeing him I had to change salons and had a bunch of unfortunate salon experiences after that.
The moral to that story is don't ever date your hair stylist.
Now that I'm in my thirties I've switched hair salons a bunch of times but have managed to narrow it down to two different places.
The one I can get into at the last minute and I can walk there in 2 minutes.
And the one I go to when I realize that my cut and colour looks bad and needs rescuing.
But for that I need to plan ahead- several weeks as my stylist is in high demand, and I need a sitter to watch Lulu.
But either place, I usually opt for basically the same colour and style.
I guess I know what works for me and my life style.
When I'm inspired I use the flattening iron, but 99% of the time I tend to wear it in a ponytail.
I wash and blow dry it pretty much every day, which has dried the crap out of it, but if I don't, I feel like a grease ball.
But it hardly matters as it looks pretty much the same even if I don't do anything.
I must confess I'm getting tired of highlighting every 10-12 weeks or so.
It can't be healthy.
Not to mention the crazy amount of money spent in the name of vanity.
The mortgage could be paid off by now if it wasn't for my damn hair.
I'd love to go dark, but I've been a blond for so long that I'm not sure that I would like it.
But if blonds have more fun, I'm not sure that I want to be having less fun than I am these days..
I also like the fact that I have the same colour hair as Lulu.
Only hers is beautifully natural.
The point of all this, is that I guess I wish I didn't care.
I wish I could just say screw it and get it all cut off and not care what it looks like.
Why is our hair so important to us (well some of us) and why do we spend so much time and energy (and money) on it?
Why do we feel so obligated to conseal any signs of getting older by colouring it so often? just look at all the shelves of colour at the drugstore- who knew there could be so many shades of blond, brown & red?
"we" meaning most people I know.
well with the exception of a friend of mine who moved to rural B.C. and practically lives on a commune now and cut off all her hair, but even still occasionally uses henna.
Even people who claim not to care, obviously care.
dread locks are really more work than you would think.
so who knows, maybe it's time to let nature run it's course.
Set the dark roots free.

who am I kidding?
I'd better call salon #2, with any luck she might be able to see me sometime in June..

pass the matzo

We celebrated passover with a record breakingly fast Seder this year.
Lulu has skipped her naps for two days in a row, so when dinner time rolled around, needless to say, we had a small window of time before the matzo hit the fan.
But quick as it was, it was nice to keep up with traditions as abbreviated as they might be.
I make a pretty mean Seder dinner (if I do say so myself) at least as good as a Goyisha can make.
Brisket of beef, Tzimmes, matzo ball soup, gefilite fish with fresh beet horseradish and Charoset.
Big daddy was loving having all his favourite foods from childhood.
Lulu, not so much.
I thought she might like a bit of our dinner, but no.
She did however love dipping the "bitter herb" into the salt water and licking it.
oh well, at least it's a start.
I make more of a big deal about the major Jewish holidays than big daddy does, but I think it's because I find them so interesting and want to learn more about them.
Well that and I find it sexy when I get to hear big daddy speaking hebrew..
I also want lulu to know about both sides of her family and to understand why traditions are so important.
Unfortunately it was just the three of us this year (as usual) as big daddy's family doesn't live close by.
I managed to send a bunch of photos to big daddy's parents who also spent passover alone.
Thank-god for digital photos and email.
I'm envious of big family gatherings, they just seem so much more fun.
Even for Easter this weekend it will just be the three of us.
At least we will be spending good Friday with my parents.
but that's just the way it is when you have a small family that is scattered across the globe.
Although we weren't all together we were thinking of them all.
happy Passover & Easter..

on another note:
finally it seems as though lulu is starting to sleep through the night again.
usually in bed by 7:30-8 without a fuss, and sleeps until 6-7ish.
the only problem is that now I am completely screwed up and can't fall asleep because I was getting so used to functioning on next to no sleep or interupted sleep.
nothing like writing a post at 1 a.m.
or maybe it was the chocolate bar that I ate at 10 p.m....hmmm.

Monday, April 02, 2007

restaurant mojo

Another weekend has come and gone.
it was cool and rainy, and in some ways, my favourite kind of weekend.
there's no rushing to get out of the house, it's more mellow and relaxed when the weather is dreary.
it was nice to be able to sleep in (8:30 is now considered sleeping in...)
slowly sip coffee in bed with lulu and big daddy and catch up on a bit of reading.
We watched movies and cooked a few great meals.
I was on a bit of a Leo kick and so we rented The Departed and also Blood Diamond.
I now officially have a crush on Leonardo DiCaprio.
Dare I say he has become quite hunky and much more manly in his past few roles.
I thought he was excellent in both movies and I think his South African accent was not only believable, it was super sexy.
I especially loved Blood Diamond-it was a very powerful film and I'm really surprised Leo didn't get an Oscar for his performance.
I did feel slightly guilty putting on my wedding ring afterwards though.
Big daddy assures me it was from an extremely reputable place, and that the diamonds are "clean".
One would only hope.
Any-who, despite feeling lazy we still managed to get a bunch of stuff done and go out for a delicious dinner on Saturday night.
We ended up going to a regular spot that we always seem to enjoy.
Lulu put in a request for hummus and pita, so it was a natural choice.
The service and food are excellent, and it's something different if you are craving a good tabbouleh, fattoush or baba ghanouj.
I love Mediterranean food, not only is it full of flavour but it's super healthy.
We usually just order a bunch of appetizers and while you are waiting for your food they bring a little plate with good olives, lightly pickled pink daikon, hot peppers and small dills.
Two of my favourite dishes are the fried cauliflower with tahini sauce, and the chicken livers.
strangely addictive.
who knew chicken livers could be so appealing?
The rice with lentils, browned onions and spicy tomatoes and cucumbers are also good.
The kubbe, which is ground meat rolled round a heart of onions and pine nuts, wrapped in cracked wheat and deep-fried is also delicious.
For dessert we shared the kunaffa, angel hair phyllo layered with light custard and Lebanese coffee.
Sunday after stocking up at Whole Foods I made a colon cleansing Bulgar pilaf with raisins, cinnamon, cumin, carrots and organic chicken breast.
But despite the nice healthy dinner, enjoyed one too many glasses of red wine (and chocolate macaroons for dessert)
I believe I've had wine every night for four days straight.
can we say "water retention?"
It's so hard not to want to enjoy good wine with good food.
but that's what life is all about isn't it?