Wednesday, June 27, 2007

sailing away

Having a two year old is in some ways the best of both worlds.
On one hand Lulu is still like a baby.
Tiny (only 23 lbs) sweet, affectionate, loves to be snuggled and rocked to sleep.
Curling up in a tiny ball in my arms each night.
Still cries when she's frustrated or in pain.
she still enjoys the odd jar of pureed food and likes her sippy cup of warm milk at night.
She still looks totally adorable in her white cotton onesies and diapers.
In some ways I wish she would just stay this way forever.
Then again its so nice that she's such a little person now.
Talking, telling stories, dancing, laughing, protesting, exploring, understanding.
She's my little pal, and it's so nice to be able to explain things and rationalize with her.
It's such a wonderful feeling knowing she totally knows what I am trying to explain to her.
Though this mutual understanding and comprehension isn't always effective.
Sometimes (okay a lot of the time) she likes to test the waters (literally and figuratively)
I never thought I would resort to bribery- but it seems to work %99 of the time.
Like for example while out on a boat cruise a couple of weekends ago (yeah the one where that jerk threw his candy wrapper overboard- see previous post)
Lulu was getting a little too close to the edge of the railing.
"if you stay here and don't try to jump overboard or hang on the edge of the boat you can have some chippy's, oh and they're ketchup flavoured...yum yum"
what kid doesn't love anything that involves ketchup?

worked like a charm.
The cold can of Budweiser worked like a charm for mommy too.

I love that I can do fun things with Lulu this summer and am so much more relaxed about things than I was this time last year. It's also pretty nice not to have to haul out the stroller/wagon/diaper bag etc. every time we leave the house.
Lulu loves to walk and check things out, and I am very happy to report that I have returned to the land of purses and not diaper bags.
okay- so there's one more reason to be happy about the fact that Lulu really isn't a baby anymore.

I can't wait to explore all that the city has to offer this summer with lulu.
Whether it's going to the zoo, taking a boat ride, going to the splash pad or wading pool, hanging out under a tree in the shade, eating an ice-cream, watching her first fireworks display this Canada day on a big picnic blanket in a park somewhere or oh heck...checking out all the summer shoe and handbag sales..
oh but we won't be going back here anytime soon.

Monday, June 25, 2007

litter bugs-me.

I'm so glad that someone else feels the same way I do.
Though, unfortunately it looks like a seven year old and not the 40ish year old woman who I saw blowing her nose into a tissue then decided to throw it on the ground afterwards.
Right in front of me.
So I couldn't resist saying, in as sweet a voice as I could muster up "umm excuse dropped something..."
she looked pretty embarrassed, and proceeded to pick up her dirty Kleenex.
"oh , oops.."
yeah right lady.
I saw you blatantly throw it on the ground, only you got busted doing it.
While down on the water last weekend we decided to take a nice hour long boat cruise around Toronto island and the habourfront.
While taking in the beautiful scenery, and feeling really grateful to live in a city that is surrounded by one of the world's largest fresh water lakes some idiot sitting in front of me throws an empty candy wrapper overboard into the water.
this time I didn't say anything, because I just got the feeling it wasn't worth it.
besides, it's not like he could retrieve it at that point.
Though I did get a sudden urge to throw him overboard.
seeing these signs yesterday, gives me hope.
Maybe the next generation with give a crap, and try to keep our world a beautiful place.
Though as valiant a gesture as this is...plastering telephone poles with paper and ads etc. might not be my method of choice for getting the message out there.
But at least the message is a worthwhile one.

Friday, June 22, 2007

the grass really is greener

I believe my last post was how long a week can seem.
Well this one flew by.
Lulu spent the week at her grandparents and fortunately the week was so busy that I didn't get a chance to spend too much time in lulu-withdrawal.
I do miss her when she isn't here, but I must admit it was pretty nice catching up on some sleep and being able to work without worrying about what time I got home at night.
I pulled a couple of 12 hour days, so it's a good thing she was with her grandparents.
Big daddy and I got a chance to go out for dinner a few times and even go out for a nice stroll in the neighbourhood well past the point when we would usually venture out.
It was nice not having to deal with bed time etc.
I'm loving the project I'm working on and really enjoying the people I'm working with.
I have to say that it's been a long time since I've had so much fun on set.
Although the days are long, in some ways it just doesn't feel like "work".
My parents brought Lulu back into town on the train (a first for her) and she loved it.
I'm just sad I didn't get to see her expression when she got on for the first time.
She absolutely loves trains these days.
what is it about trains and kids?
She has been a complete sweet pea all day and although I had a fantastic week I'm really glad she's home.

Friday, June 15, 2007

it's the little things

some weeks seem to be longer than others.
this week falling under the long category.
Big daddy was working late all week and I was flying solo for the majority of the evenings.
when today rolled around and my parents came in to give me a mini break I couldn't be more in need.
Lulu has been ultra sweet all week, and my heart feels like it could literally burst out of my chest I love her that much.
I actually find that when it's just the two of us, things tend to go pretty smoothly.
She follows me around like a little puppy, and whatever I'm doing, she wants to do it too.
I'm amazed at how well she is talking now, and am constantly being surprised by some new phrase she has picked up.
some of the things she said to me this week were
"I make you proud of me mommy?" when she coloured a picture for me.
"I strong & and have big muscles like you mommy"
"you do yoga and excersise mommy, so you back not hurt"
(my own personal in-home trainer)
"I appreciate you mommy"
"ooohh pretty earings, when I big like you I have earings?"
(yikes already she's asking...)
"I miss daddy, when he come home?"
"me get big girl bed soon mommy, I paint my room?""I like orange."
(oh do I work that into my all white monochromatic non colour scheme?)
"me have sip your wine mummy?" "pleeeeeeease?"
"me have sip your beer daddy?" "pleeeeeeeeease?"
there's plenty more gems, but those are a few that stand out.
I can't believe my little baby is turning (turned) into a little girl. sigh.
I swear, she just lights up my life, and I sometimes feel like I just can't get enough of her....

But then again....we all need a breather from time to time... and as I was saying, my parents were in town for the day and had a few free hours to watch Lulu for me.
Perfect, as it happens to be my good friend JB's birthday today, and I really wanted to take her out for lunch.
happy b-day jb!
So we ended up going to Cava for lunch, which turned out much better than I thought it would.
I've been for dinner, and was pleased, but didn't know if it lunch would measure up.
It did.
You can find out more here.
I also managed to get a bunch of errands done, baby free which was sooooo much more enjoyable.
who ever thought that having 30 minutes at summer-hill LCBO would be considered a luxury?
but it was.
going to the liquor store is considered an official errand, right?
Big daddy also hit the liquor store on his way home and stocked up (great minds think alike) so looks like we might be pretty drunk for the next month or so..
sort of.
but we did pick up a bunch of fantastic wines, which I am really looking forward to enjoying over some good summer grilling.
like the Brunelli-2001 Brunello-Di Montalcino we had tonight with a grilled marinated cumbrea's flank steak, organic baby arugula, crumbled alex chevre cheese and aged 4 year vincotto balsamic vinegar.
really fantastic.
a really great start to the weekend.
Some times it's the little things that make all the difference.

Oh and incase I don't post tomorrow- Happy Father's day big daddy!
Lulu's a lucky lady to have a pops like you.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

stopping to smell the flowers

Another great day at the farmers market on a very hot Tuesday afternoon.
I hooked up with metro mama, big papa, and little miss cakes.
I must admit I'm a bit shy when it comes to meeting up with new people, especially ones who I have met through this blog.
I actually met metro mama last summer and I can't believe an entire year has flown by already.
We had our hands full with our little ladies.
It really is a whole new challenge trying to have an actual conversation when you have not one but two, two years olds on hand.
Lulu had fun and aside from a fashion crisis (her shoe was "itchy" meaning uncomfortable) she loved riverdale farm and meeting a new friend.
Though I feel bad for poor little cakes, as lulu is a bit of a close talker and a little too affectionate sometimes.
If there is such a thing as too affectionate.
she was determined to hold hands with cakes whether she liked it or not.
It's so sweet to watch though.
the highlight for her was all the flowers (and the ice-cream, and chocolate chip cookie, and cakes, the cute little blond not actual cake- as if I would give her cookies, ice-cream AND cake)
she does love her flowers.
I think she took the time to stop and smell every flower there.
I can't blame her, peonies are one of my favourites.
So a great afternoon away from the mess between my house and my neighbours.
And I might add that Big daddy asked them about the mess, and they are tidying things up as I write this.
well that and building something...nothing like the sound of a hammer and chain-saw at 9:30 at night.
good thing lulu is too exhausted to notice and wake up.

Monday, June 11, 2007

hey neighbour

Ahh...summer...and finally the garden is finished.
I planted the last of the helleborous and fountain grasses yesterday and sat back to enjoy the fruits of our labours.
The only thing standing in the way of pure satisfaction and a sense of real house pride is our neighbours.
Or more specifically the disaster on the property beside us.
Let me start by saying that they are a nice couple who moved in a year ago.
They got married, had a baby and bought their first house all within the year.
The house was in pretty bad shape when they moved in and have been "fixing" it up ever since.
I totally understand as we have also been doing the same thing for the past few years.
But the difference is that we try to be really conscientious when we are working on projects around the house.
Namely we clean up between the houses and keep things tidy.
Not only because we are neat freaks and it's the main access to our back yard, but also because it is called common courtesy.
We have spent a lot of time, energy and money trying to make things look nice around here and quite frankly all the garbage and crap between the house is starting to drive me a bit insane.
Plus lulu has tripped over all the pieces of wood and nails and it's actually starting to become in my opinion - dangerous.
We have really been trying to cut them some slack, seeing as it's been a pretty busy year for them- but enough is enough.
We also share the spot between the houses with them for parking, which technically we don't legally have to do, but we felt bad for them as they don't have legal parking on their property and we do.
But they never leave enough room for the stroller/wagon etc. to get through and it's really becoming super annoying.
I mean we don't even have to let them park there in the first place.
Did I mention that we replaced and paid for all the new fencing?
which we didn't even ask them to contribute to because we felt bad that they just got married, had a newborn and bought their first house, so we just did it ourselves.
but that didn't prevent them from making us move the existing fence posts that had been there for over 20 years 5 cm more to our property line as they had a survey done.
which meant that we lost some really beautiful, mature scrubs and the most beautiful dogwood...all for 5 cm.
Oh and since I'm on a rant, they have the loudest air conditioner ever.
It actually wakes up lulu when it comes on and off.
They never open the windows even on the most beautifully breezy days and keep all the blinds closed, and lights on.
what's up with that?
we have an air conditioner too, but it's elevated as to not impede the space between the houses and also so that it is quiet and efficient.
I'm so annoyed.
Anyhow, maybe I'm over reacting.
It could be worse they could be a-holes or total freaks.
which they are not.
Like I said, they are really quite nice.
They also have a 1 year old daughter who will eventually want to play with lulu as they get older.
It's just that they are so clueless.
I'm sure the best thing is to just talk to them about these "concerns", but for some reason when it comes to neighbours, I never want to rock the boat.
I become such a wimp and get so nervous bringing anything up that could potentially make things awkward or uncomfortable.
Big daddy is equally annoyed and is planning on talking to them.
Well that and he has taken upon himself to cleaning up their mess a bunch of times already.
rant rant rant...
Anyone else have issues with their neighbours?
How does the old saying go?
good fences make good neighbours..
even if we were the ones who paid for it.

oh and speaking of disappointing was that finale to the Sopranos last night?
talk about not cleaning up after themselves.
could the writers not have come up with anything better than that?
All I can say to that one is...stugots.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

pancakes shmancakes

I thought I would put my personal spin on the typical Sunday pancake.
Low in fat, high in fibre and big on taste.
Corn cakes with Smoked Salmon & Creme Fraiche
(or low fat sour cream if you don't feel like being fancy)
I actually did a couple of batches, one with grated manchego cheese and one without.
these also would be great with a bit of diced jalapeno and grilled chorizo sausage and a tomato salad on the side.
Or some smokey bacon and a poached egg with some spicy salsa.
Lots of options with this one.
But I kept it light and healthy today, sticking to a couple of slices of smoked salmon and a dollop of low fat sour cream
I didn't have and chives on hand, but they would have been a nice garnish.
3/4 c cornmeal
3/4 c flour
1 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 pepper
2 eggs
1 1/3 buttermilk
7 oz corn
1/3 c chopped red pepper
2 green onions chopped
non fat sour cream
mix dried ingredients then wet.
mix together
each pancake is 1/4 c.
cook 2-4 minutes per side.
It was fast and easy, and a great way to start the day.
Well that and the mimosa didn't hurt either...

Friday, June 08, 2007

take out

There are those times when I so don't feel like cooking dinner.
Usually it's when Lulu has been waking me up at 2:45 am several nights in a row.
Only to decide to get up at 5:45 a.m. in the morning.
what's with the :45 thing anyway?
Oh how I long for just one night of 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep...
anyhow my point is sometimes when I'm feeling exhausted, instead of eating something healthy and nutritious that would actually improve my mood and energy levels I end up reaching for my big pile of take out menus.
One of my favourite take out places is here.
The way this week has been going I could end up having take out every night.
But today is a new day, and despite being woken up at 2 then again at 3:30 then again at 5 am I'm really going to try to not let the sleep deprivation get to me this weekend.
This morning I started my day out with a bowl of Nature's Path multigrain oatbran flakes with fresh kiwi, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and low fat soy milk.
Going to try to have a nice light salad for lunch and not reach for the carbs since I'll most likely be dragging my ass by lunch time and craving carbs to keep me going.
And no take out for dinner.
that's the plan anyhow.
we'll see what happens when six o'clock rolls around and I'm lying in the middle of the kitchen floor with a two year old jumping all over me yelling "wake up Mommy, wake up!!"

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

pushing my buggy

There was once a time that I really enjoyed grocery shopping.
In fact I guess you could say that I even looked forward to it.
I'm usually pretty good about putting together a list and sticking to it.
Though there are times when I end up with a bunch of stuff that I originally hadn't planned on picking up.
There are so many fantastic and yummy things to buy these days.
If I even venture into Whole Foods without a list or am hungry I'm totally screwed.
I always end up spending far too much time in the snack section.
Beet root chips and organic root beer have to be good for you right?
Then there's the awesome selection of organic chocolate bars.
I can never leave there without at least five different kinds.
mmm lavender chocolate and chai spice dark chocolate....
And how could I not spend some quality time checking out all the fantastic olive oils and amazing cheese selections?
Though I do tend to buy my cheese from smaller independent shops, it is fun trying out some of the samples.
That is where I can always find big daddy if I've lost him.
Circling the free samples like James Gandolfini at an all-you-can-eat pasta bar.
Hon, I think they know you've "sampled" that applewood smoked cheddar like 20 times already...
I'm also lucky to live near so many smaller speciality food shops, which I try to support whenever I can.
Good ol' Loblaws is always great for all my cleaning supplies, baby stuff and now sadly my clothing and underwear.
I love the president's choice artichoke and asiago tapenade.
It's really great and tastes even better than the one I make from scratch.
Today I was near Dominion which is open 24 hours, which I love.
There have been times when we decided to grab a few things late at night to beat the crowds, especially during the holidays and the long weekends.
I love the staff at the location closest to us as well, they always seem to remember us, and today one of the bakers came over with a warm tray of chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven and gave one to both Lulu & I.
Now that's what I call service and "fresh is best".
They might want to try to deter their staff from smoking right at the entrance though.
Having to walk though a giant cloud of smoke isn't really that appealing.
Not exactly the fresh obsessed image I'm sure they want to convey.
Then there's Pusateris.
I have a love hate thing with this place.
The product is excellent, and you can always get the best of everything.
But the people can be ultra annoying and often really pushy, and that's just in the parking lot.
Once you are finally in the store be prepared to sharpen your elbows.
I have to really be feeling Zen before I even contemplate shopping there.
Then again, with the fantastic selection of fresh fish, amazing butcher, ultra fresh produce and incredible cakes and desserts, it's really worth the hassle.
Last but not least is the St. Lawrence market, Kensington market and all the fantastic farmer's markets around town.
There is no better way to buy your food than from the people who grow (or raise) it.
I try to buy local whenever possible.

But sadly it's not as much fun shopping as it used to be.
Lulu is now getting pretty nutty and has started to "demand" certain things and is always trying to pull stuff off of the shelves.
Yes, we are one of "those" people.
She has decided she no longer wants to ride in the cart and if she does, certainly not in the part that she should be buckled safely into.
I can barely get in and out of a store now without some sort of mini melt down.
Maybe it's time to divide and conquer and do one big shop once a week on my own?
But to me this is so far from how I like to eat, shop and live.
What if i feel like fresh seared tuna tomorrow and orzo with smoked chicken, corn and basil the next day?
You never know what you might feel like from day to day, or what looks fresh.
Plus like I've said before, just because I'm not lucky enough to live in Europe, doesn't mean I can't try to pretend to..
All I need is my bike, straw basket, my warm baguette and some fresh cut flowers wrapped in brown craft paper....
Where was I?
Oh right..Lulu and Loblaws.
I try to include her and make it fun to go grocery shopping, but there are times (like on Sunday) when I actually got really frazzled and had to leave the store with a crying kid in my arms and everyone staring at me.
Maybe my timing is all wrong.
Too close to nap time.
Or too hungry?
and that's just me I'm talking about.
But it's true, if there is a problem, I'm sure I'm the one causing it.
So what's a grocery shop-o-holic to do?
any tips or advice?
anyone else's kids turn whacky at the grocery store?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

shake your booty

Is it me or do the weekends seems to go much faster in the summer?
It's amazing how much we can cram into just two days.
One of the things we did on Saturday was to check out the jazz festival at the distillery district.
Lulu was on stage with all the kids, at first a bit shy then once she got into a groove didn't want to leave.
Some young boy around 5-ish took a liking to lulu and wouldn't let her dance with anyone else.

I got a mini glimpse into the future and got shivers just thinking about it.
Big daddy jokes that we should install the barbed wire fences and hidden cameras surrounding the house now.
I often wonder if she will be a boy crazy as I was.
Oh lord help us if she is..
But I guess as long as she has fun and is smart about things, I guess that's all I can hope for.
Still I can't bear the thought.
Then again she is still just two, so I shouldn't even be thinking about that stuff quite yet.
Anyone else get ahead of themselves and think about these things?
There was a little cluster of girls around the age of 7-10ish and they were so sweet, dancing around holding hands and having such a great time.
They also had their eyes on a certain handsome boy (the older brother of Lulu's pursuer) who they all seemed to want to dance with, but whenever he came close to them they all scattered in fits of laughter.
It was so funny to watch.
So innocent, yet strange to imagine that in only a few short years Lulu too will know all about the great art of flirting.
In fact I'm convinced she already knows a trick or two.
That child has already mastered the batting of the eye lashes like I have never seen before..
Even now she already talks about her "boyfriend" Jamie.
A friends little three year old who apparently has made quite an impression on her.
He is quite the catch, so at least she has great taste in her little guy-friends.
In the mean time we had fun watching her dance and shake her cute little booty, well that and watching her run away from this little guy.
At least my girl knows how to play hard to get..

But as an extra precaution, big daddy has left a pair of size 13 cowboy boots at the front door along with a bright orange Beware of Ferocious Rabid Dog sign in the window.
just incase.

Friday, June 01, 2007

book worm

Sometimes I really love rainy stay at home days.
I actually didn't leave the house yesterday.
Not once.
I did however shower and put on make-up for what reason I'm not sure.
then again you never know when the gas man might pop by for a meter reading..
That was a first home day in a very long time.
Lulu was pretty tired after spending the week with her grandparents,
I'm sure it was stimulation overdrive, but she had fun.
I was a bit knackered as well.
I needed to catch up on a bunch of paper work and home stuff and being the home body that I am I really enjoyed the break from running around the city for a change.
In addition to cleaning the house top to bottom and catching up on the endless amounts of laundry around here,
I actually snuck in a bit of reading during Lulu's nap.
Because my computer was f'd up, I was actually forced to pick up my book and not dick around on the internet for once.
No blogging, no emailing, no music shopping on line, no utube-ing, nada.
Aside from missing my itunes it was actually a healthy break from my computer.
Though I didn't think that at the time while I was swearing under my breath trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with it.
(or more accurately waited until big daddy got home so he could figure what the hell was wrong with it)
Thanks big daddy..You are my computer geek hero.
I love when I am lost in a good book, it can really be so gratifying.
I'm currently reading The Secret Book of Grazia dei Rossi and really enjoying it.
Though I have to admit I wish I spoke Italian so I could properly pronounce all the Italian names and places- at least in my head.
God only knows how badly I am bastardizing these exotic names.
Like for example Lodovico Sforza or Chiesa Orsanmichele or say Count Pico of Mirandola five times fast..
Regardless, it's a great book so far and it is nice to be transported back to sixteenth-century Italy on a rainy day.
Lulu has also turned into a little book worm and it is so nice to see.
I was worried for a while when she would make tv requests instead of books.
But these days she is not into the tube at all (aside from one episode of little bear after her bath at night)
Kinda like mommy and So You Think You Can Dance..I love that show.
Instead she quietly "reads" book after book and I couldn't be more thrilled.
One day at home is fine but two is closing in on a bit of cabin fever.
Even though I am really at a juicy part in the novel, we must get our asses in gear and get out there and seize the day.
There are slides to slide down, sand to play with, errands to run and groceries to pick up.
and heck maybe I can squeeze in a chapter or two if I'm really lucky.