Tuesday, July 31, 2007

little animal

So big daddy is back.
caught up on some sleep-alleluia.
that 6 a.m. thing every morning for seven days straight was really kicking my ass.
Even if I just get to sleep until 8 once a week it makes all the difference.
Before big daddy left we managed to sneak in a visit to the zoo.
It was so much fun.
Lulu had a blast and so did we watching her react to all the animals.
The Kids Zoo was the highlight, and was perfect for her age group.
There were some great interactive areas which she loved.

The monkeys also made quite an impression on her, and she loves recanting the story about how "the monkey was scratching him bum" to anyone listening.
Admittedly, It was pretty funny.
Good thing he wasn't pulling on his pud- try explaining that to a 2 year old.
Glad we packed a lunch, and enjoyed it under the shade of a tree on a picnic table.
The geese were a tad aggressive so I guess they like tortilla wraps, with hummus, avocado, roasted red pepper & cheese.
We did bring her swimsuit and towel for the water park, but ran out of time (and energy)
next time...
We actually got a yearly family pass, so we will definitely be back soon.
A great day, and I hope we can try to squeeze in a few more excursions before the summer is over.
Don't even want to think about the fact that it is almost August already.
why is it that January & February don't go half as quickly?
It's so much fun with Lulu and all her "firsts".
First pony ride.

First trip to the zoo.

First full blown temper tantrum while trying to leave pottery barn kids yesterday.
No photos.
As I was frantically trying to appear calm and in control of the situation while every parent in the place was staring at me with what I felt at the time was a far from sympathtic look on their faces and more of a-what a horrible parent you must be-look.
Then again, most of them had small babies in strollers napping away peacefully.
Just you wait people. two is coming for you.
Lulu finally calmed down after about 30 minutes of thrashing and screaming.
she fell asleep in her stroller and woke at one point trying to bite the straps on the stroller and then her shoe.
I'd never seen her act this way.
my little animal.
I guess that's what 2 weeks worth of refusing to nap will do to a kid.
who needs to go to the zoo, just spend the day with an over tired two year old..
when she woke she was all bright eyed and bushy tailed.
ahh..my little wild creature.

Friday, July 27, 2007

gone daddy gone

Big daddy occasionally travels for work.
Nothing ever too far or too long.
Usually he goes away anywhere from 2-3 days.
But since last Friday he's been away on a tropical island in the Caribbean "working".
No cell phone reception, just emails.
We did manage to talk once or twice, but I think in the ten years we have been together this is the longest we have be apart.
I'm really happy that he has had the opportunity to work on a fun project, and even happier that he will have enjoyed some much deserved and needed personal time.
In the days leading up to the trip neither one of us was looking forward to him leaving.
But truth be told, it's been such a crazy week that I've barely had time to miss him.
It's also been kind of nice just Lulu and I.
She has been amazing all week and I feel closer and more connected to her than ever.
so sweet and well behaved, that's what happens when she gets mama time 24/7.
At first it felt weird sleeping alone, but again I have to admit..the extra space, pillows and no snoring has been pretty nice.
I feel horrible saying all this, but it's true.
Before big daddy I lived alone- no room mates or pets. just me.
I really enjoy being by myself.
Now having lulu in my life I so rarely get any alone time.
So as much as I missed big daddy, I've discovered that I really love my own space.
I love being in a relationship, and I love that I have an amazing partner, but I have learned alot about myself this week.
Mostly, that I am OKay being on my own.
I can handle it, and deal with Lulu without help.
For a while I had my doubts, it's easy to forget what it's like to be independent when you are in marriage busy looking after a toddler, we work really well as a team, so it can be daunting thinking about parenting alone for a long period of time.
Hats off to any single parents out there, that's for sure.
Not that I'm not realllly excited about him coming home, because I love him even more than I did before he left
(absence really does tend to make the heart grow fonder)
it's also easy to forget what you have until you no longer have it.
But there's nothing wrong with flying solo from time to time.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

rated PG

I haven't felt much like blogging lately.
It all started when I uploaded a new version of itunes and that f'ed up my computer.
so I was computer-less for almost a week.
at first it was a drag not being able to check my email etc. but after a few days I realized it maybe wasn't such a bad thing to be "unplugged".
When I finally got my computer back the main thing I missed was my music. (and reading all my daily blogs of course)
I've been downloading a bunch of music, lots of blasts from my past and some new things too.
I'm currently listening to Al Stewart..the year of the cat...la la laaaa.
The Cure
The 5th Dimension
The soundtrack to the movie Once.
Willie Nelson
The Limp twins
Vince Guaraldi Trio
Roisin Murphy
Bebel Gilberto
Patrick Watson
Ryan Adams
The Style Council
Amy Winehouse
The Be Good Tanyas
The The
Beth Orton
Neil Young
Cesaria Evoria
How's that for a mixed bag?
In addition I've been catching up on some reading and a bunch of fantastic movies.
Half Nelson.
Loved it and that Ryan Gosling is oh so yummy.
a helluv an actor as well. can't wait to watch his career grow.
Little Children.
Also loved it.
very relevant and I really enjoyed it.
Can't believe the creepy guy (Jackie Earl Haley) in it is from the Bad News Bears...
Kate Winslet was really excellent and Patrick Wilson isn't to hard on the eyes either.
Stranger Than Fiction.
Loved Loved Loved this one.
Great sound track, very cool graphics, and Will Ferrell and Maggie Gyllenhaal were great together. who knew?
Though I couldn't help but to imagine Will yelling "let's go streaking everybody!!!!" throughout the flick.
Or at least during the "romantic" scenes.
It also had me wanting to open my own bakery- minus the tax situation.
Running With Scissors.
read the book and loved it. The movie was equally great. Great casting & set design.
Annette Benning was spectacular and again awesome soundtrack.
so that's what I've been up to.
Plus working and being a single parent for a while. which is pretty crazy.
will post more on that later.
for now I must run and feed the munchkin.
who is eating so so well these past few weeks. Finally!
3 new teeth...shew. at long last.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

life really is a bowl of cherries

So I finally figured out what to do with all the cherries we picked a few weeks ago (besides just eating them one by one until I felt sick)
I've never been much of a baker.
I mostly prefer cooking.
Much less room for error and more room for experimentation and ad-libbing with ingredients.
I like that when it comes to cooking you don't have to be so exact or precise.
I'm also a pretty impatient person, so having to whisk or beat cream, eggs and sugar until soft peaks are formed for 10 minutes isn't really my thing.
Besides I love going to bakeries and giving them my business.
That is until recently.
Baking that is- not going to bakeries.
Maybe I've really tapped into my inner-domestic-goddess side or something, but lately I love the idea of baking.
Especially with the abundance of all the fresh fruit in the summer.
mmm peach cobblers, berries and ice cream, rhubarb crumble, apple gallettes, or in this case- Fresh Cherry Tart.
Not to toot my own horn here- but this tart was so freakin' awesome.
Big daddy and I polished it off in two days.
Kind of embarrassing..but we couldn't help ourselves.
You can find the recipe here.
It was super easy and in some-ways quite cathartic.
I found myself feeling very relaxed while pitting all the cherries and whipping the cream cheese filling.
I think someone else enjoyed baking as well.
or more like doing a little quality control..

Friday, July 13, 2007

soul food

How does the old saying go?
The way to a man's heart is through his...oh right...his stomach.
This especially applies to big daddy.
Since the poor guy rarely gets any action these days, the least I can do is keep on cooking him some good food.
I love trying out new recipes, especially during the summer barbeque season.
I've actually had a few keeper's over the past couple of weeks, that I thought I might share.
One of big daddy's favourites (and most of north America's for that matter) is a good ol' burger.
I like to add a few twists here and there, and toss it up a bit.
This one is a Feta cheese lamb burger with a side of Greek-style beans and peperoncini peppers.
The burger was pretty good, but the beans were excellent (if I do say so myself)
A nice starter would be some dolmades, roasted red peppers, taziki, and Greek olives.

This one was really great, and super easy to make.
Rosemary & Orange Pork Tenderloin with grilled Broccolini and Goat Cheese Polenta.
It was extra good because I used smoker chips on the bbq, and I marinated the pork for a few hours, which always helps with adding extra flavour.
It would be really nice with a little fennel, orange and black olive salad to start and a nice crisp Italian white wine.

Okay this one is so perfect for a hot summer night.
spicy and super tasty, yet very refreshing.
Home-made Jerk Chicken with a watermelon, cucumber & lime salad.
Once again those smoker chips helped alot with the flavour, not to mention made the entire neighbourhood smell amazing.
This would be great with some cold Red Stripe beer or some ice cold Mojitos.

A couple of nights a week, we try to go vegetarian.
One of my new favourite cheeses is Haloumi, a hard sheeps milk cheese perfect for frying or grilling.
It used to be tricky to find and I would get so frustrated as I kept coming across so many recipes (mostly from Australian mags and cookbooks) that called for it.
But I happened to notice that Loblaws is now carrying it.
Though I think they are calling it Haloom cheese.
Anyhow it's really fantastic, and this salad was perfect with grilled local asparagus, chickpeas, roasted red peppers and a fresh basil dressing.
It might not look pretty, but it was pretty nice to eat.
I think it would be great with a nice dry local Riesling.

Last but not least the week wouldn't be complete without one of my favourite types of food.
These pork (or chicken) satays are a bit of a combo of Chinese (hoisin sauce), Thai (chilli garlic sauce) and Japanese (rice wine vinegar) they were fantastic with my version of sticky rice & peas, and a spicy cucumber salad.
It would be great with some store bought Kimchee to start and some saki, or even a light red wine like a pinot, or hell even some cold Sopporo beer would be great.
It might also be nice followed by some Lychee or green tea ice cream for dessert.

there you have it, from my barbecue to yours.
happy grilling and happy weekend!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

looking for love

Lately we have been on a bit of a mission.
Not a mission that unlike the one many of my single friends who are looking for companionship are on.
No...not that kind of a mission...tsk tsk..I'm far too conservative for that kind of kinky stuff.
Our sex life may be a tad lack lustre, but I'm not quite that desperate.
I'm talking about finding new "parent friends".
Not really for us, per say.
More for Lulu.
We already have a fairly full social circle,most of whom we really don't get to see enough as it is.
But many of our friends don't have children, and the ones that do, we always seem to have a hard time jiving our schedules or their kids are still a little too young for lulu to really "play" with.
So we have decided to come out from under our anti-social rocks and try to make an effort to make new "parent friends" in the neighbourhood.
But it's proving to be more challenging than I thought.
When it was just the two of us, it could also be a challenge to find like minded, fun couples to hang with where we actually got along well with both people.
Four different personalities can be tricky.
You add a couple of extra pint sized personalities into the mix and it's even more difficult.
We've had a few "dates" with some new families in the past few weeks.
The first family big daddy knew through work, so we invited them over.
They have a daughter around the same age as Lulu and live close by so we had high hopes.
Hmm, we have similar careers, kids the same age, same neighbourhood...things are looking up.
But as nice as this couple was (is) their daughter was far from social to lulu.
Lulu wanted to show and share all her her toys but this little girl kept hoarding them or worse throwing them at her.
Lulu is super affectionate and extremely sweet, loves to play with other children and is very kind and gentle, but this kid could care less.
Eventually Lulu just gave up and kept her distance.
The parents were very apologetic and I think pretty embarrassed.
So the evening turned out to be a bit of a bust.
On a few other occasions we have met up with other couples and same thing, the parents are nice, but the kid is aggressive.
I know I'm probably being overly protective, but how can I not, when my sweet little girl just wants to play nice?
There have been a few exceptions, in one case she gets along really well with a little girl on the street, but unfortunately her parents (mom) really isn't someone I feel comfortable around.
Or there is another little girl who she plays extremely well with, the parents are great, they live close by- but..
They are super strict when it comes to bed/nap time (as in 6:30-7) so bbqs and evening get-togethers are not really an option.
We were starting to get a complex and wonder if maybe we are being too picky.
when finally, a few weeks ago a new family moved in across the street.
and they have a little girl around the same age as lulu.
fingers crossed.
they invited us over for a bbq.
we had a ton in common (crazy stuff, like the fact that my mother-in-law knows their mother and that they are from the same place out west...small world)
The kids had a blast.
so did we.
I never imagined it would be so hard to find other families that you have things in common with.
People who you can hope to be close friends with years from now.
Building relationships takes time so we need to be patient (at least that's what I keep telling my single friends)
I just want Lulu to have some of the same experiences as I did growing up.
Like for example, Pizza night every Friday with the family down the street alternating from house to house each week.
We all still keep in touch 25 years later even though we all live in different parts of the country and have moved many times since.
Or drop-ins on Christmas eve with the neighbours. (or Chanukah in big daddy's case)
Why isn't there an on line "families seeking other families" web site?
oh..yeah..I guess it's called blogging.

Our tag-line might read something like this:
Fun (or at least we like to think so) Family:seeking another fun family to have occasion bbq's, get togethers and play dates with.
Kids must be kind (for the most part), not into hitting, pushing or biting and not into running wild & trashing the place.
Parents must enjoy food & wine, interesting conversation (but nothing too deep- too hard to actually have an uninterrupted conversation with small kids in the vicinity)
and have a good sense of humour (especially in a sarcastic kind of way)
and at the very least be half as picky as we are.

oh and if you are reading this and we know you (L&B, C&D, D& L or Jb., MM & BP , J & hub & J, D &L or any of our awesome childless pals) you know this doesn't apply to you, and we wish we could see you all more often than we do. ;)

Monday, July 09, 2007

food cures all

nothing like a sensational meal to remind me how fantastic life can be.
find more about it here.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

in the pits

If life is a bowl of cherries, why is it that lately I feel like I'm somewhere in the pits?
Maybe a slightly cheesy exaggeration, but for some reason I've been feeling pretty overwhelmed these past few weeks.
Summer is such a short season, and I really want to make the most of it, but between working (which I'm loving, don't get me wrong) a booked up calendar and trying to convince Lulu that nap time is essential to not only her happiness and well being but mommy's sanity as well; I'm feeling a tad spent.
Thus the reason for not having time to blog all week.
no naps + 2 new teeth + high temperature + weeks of sleepless nights...no make that months= one haggard mama.
I really hate to complain (though this is exactly what I'm doing) because, life is really good.
too good in some ways.
but I feel like I just can't keep up sometimes.
from the minute I get up in the morning (which sadly is waaaaay before I would like to arise from hopefully a peaceful night sleep. not.) it's like I go into auto pilot.
change lulu.
feed lulu while emptying the dishwasher.
1 minute bathroom break-which quite frankly is so not enough time in my opinion, but that's life. Lulu needs out of her high chair at this exact moment.
One more reason to have a high fibre diet.
scarf back a smoothie or a quick bowl of cereal.
wash & dress lulu.
pop her in-front of the t.v. so I can try to grab a shower without her pulling the shower curtain back and getting water everywhere.
get dressed etc.
pack bag with snacks, toys trying not to forget anything essential.
try to get out of the house before 10 a.m. for some kind of morning activity.
get back to house by around noon-ish to feed lulu.
eat a wrap or something quick and easy.
read lulu some stories and try to put her down for a nap.
if that doesn't work, try to go for a long walk in the stroller and fingers crossed that she passes out.
if that doesn't work, jump in the car and hope that by the time we get to our destination she will have fallen asleep.
If that doesn't work consider sneaking a shot of cold Smirnoff vanilla vodka from the freezer. kidding.
if not, more entertaining her. sigh.
get groceries or run errands.
make dinner.
feed lulu.
bath lulu & get her ready for bed.
big daddy gets home. say hi. barely.
how was your day? blah blah blah.
big daddy checks his email or the dreaded facebook. grrrr.
big daddy takes out the recycling and garbage and waters the garden.
big daddy redeems himself.
read lulu three stories. try to coax her into bed somewhere between 8 & 9 p.m.
eat dinner with big daddy. drink wine.
clean up kitchen after dinner.
watch some t.v. or read.
go to bed.
big daddy eventually comes to bed, often waking me or lulu up. grrrr.
lulu usually wakes up crying.
one of us (usually me) goes to comfort her.
if it's me I rock her in her room for 30 min to an hour. stumble back to bed. try to get back to sleep.
if big daddy goes to get her, he immediately brings her into bed with us which means she completely hogs the bed and digs her tiny cute, yet very annoying feet into me all night long.
lulu wakes up somewhere between 5 and 7.
7 being a complete blessing.
start all over again.
after a few rounds of this, you start to feel a bit robotic.
and by rounds, I'm talking two years worth so far.
There are days that I feel like big daddy is more of a room-mate than my husband.
A room-mate who you bicker with 50% of the time and who you feel like some-days you barely even know.
we are both pretty much exhausted, so I'll chalk it up to that, but still.
Lately it does make me wonder if other couples are in the same boat.
But we keep on going, plugging away day after day.
In fact the more tired I am the more productive I am- which probably sounds insane, but it's true.
I become a woman on a mission to not let sleep & sex deprivation from getting her down.
If I'm going to walk around with bags under my eyes and cobwebs...well..err.. anyhow...
I'm going to at least have things in order.
It makes me feel sane and together knowing my house is clean and well organized, even if inside I'm feeling pretty chaotic.
Or that Lulu is getting enough interaction with kids at the park or on play dates, even if I would rather be sitting in the back yard flipping through a magazine and not making small talk with some other mom or nanny running around after a two year old. not every day just some days. depending if it was a 5 or a 7 a.m. start.
Or that our meals are memorable and delicious. usually prepared from scratch. I am a foodie after all. I can't let that slide.
Or that we still book lots of social get together with friends. which I still feel we don't get enough time to do.
I'm starting to blabber on.
but I guess what I'm trying to say is that all is not this perfect bowl of cherries.

But would I trade any of this for anything else?

Not a chance.
I may be exhausted and a little burned out, but I know it's just a phase that will pass.
And ultimately everyday with lulu is precious to me, regardless of how tired I feel.
because really, she is the sweetest little cherry in the orchard.

and hell, big daddy is pretty sweet too...well at least 50% of the time.