Sunday, December 30, 2012

countdown until 2013

Well as 2012 draws to a close, I have to say that I am quite ready to ring a new year.

A few weeks ago I was feeling a bit overly confident when chatting to someone about how I think we have finally turned a corner on the health front this year and that maybe our immune systems are finally getting stronger after three years in the school system.
Should have kept my mouth shut.
Needless to say, the sick fairy dropped by our house on Christmas morning and doesn't know when to take the hint that it's time to leave.

Big daddy has the cold that just won't quit. Two weeks of misery and still hanging on.
I unfortunately got steam rolled by the flu and was in bed for three days. Thankfully am now on the mend.
But my sweet Lulu has been as sick as I've ever seen her.
She was clobbered by the flu then also a very nasty viral infection that won't go away.
She hasn't eaten in a week.
Has zero energy and is coughing so much that I'm feeling the need to take her to the doctor for a second opinion. (unfortunately we were already at the Dr. office on Friday...good times)
Poor Lulu has had the worst Christmas ever.
We cancelled everything we had planned for last week.
Theatre tickets, dinner with friends, skiing up north with friends, enjoying the first snowfall, Christmas dinner!
I think I'm more disappointed than Lulu though.
Yesterday she said to me (in her stuffed up weak little voice) "good thing I didn't get this sick during school mama and on my holiday instead so that I won't miss any school work"
I mean seriously?
Breaks my heart.
To add insult to injury, the fish that she got for Christmas (the only thing she really really wanted and asked for from Santa) died after only 24 hours.
Devastated is an understatement.

Oh and to top things off Chelsea knowing that Lulu isn't feeling well, hasn't really left her side and was snuggled up with her on her bed.
But she accidentally fell off and injured her leg and started limping and shaking.
Not my puppy too...gah...
Add one emergency trip to the vet hospital after hours (cha ching $$) to the list.
Oh and to add a little extra drama it all went down during our first official snow storm.

And there you have it- Worst. Christmas. ever.

So yes. Very much looking forward to the end of 2012- and hopefully with any luck everyone will be happy & healthy once again.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry & Bright

Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas and a Happy & Healthy New Year...

Sunday, December 16, 2012

sad state of events

I'm not really sure how to begin this post.
There are no words really to convey the shock and horror over the tragedy that took place Friday in Newtown Connecticut.
It's beyond comprehension how someone could do what they did.
My heart goes out to all those innocent children and the families whose lives are now completely destroyed over such a senseless act.
The children were mostly the same age as Lulu and all her class mates, and I can only imagine how devastating it would be if had been her school.
I keep thinking of the gifts already wrapped and under the tree that will never be opened...
It's so very sad.

I've been trying to shield Lulu from any of the news about it.
I just don't think I want to jolt her sense of innocence and security when she goes to school each day.
Not sure if they will be discussing it tomorrow or not.
It's really not something I want her to know about really.

I was originally going to rant about the teacher's strike and how infuriating it is that they are walking out on the kids the week before Christmas, but I don't feel it's right to complain given the latest turn of events.
At least she has a class and teacher.

It makes me hug her a few more times each day and tell her how much I love her even more than I did before and really appreciate the moments that we share together like making special decorations for her little tree in her bedroom...

Monday, December 10, 2012

decking the halls

Well I guess we are officially into the holiday season.
I usually don't start to think about Christmas until my birthday is over and done with on December 3rd.
sigh....yes...another year has come and gone...and now unfortunately I can no longer say that I just turned 40.
There's no way around it, I'm full-on in my forties.
42. How the heck did that happen?!
Anyhow, despite my middle age...I feel great. Or at least for the most part.
Trying to ignore the fact that I now have to hold things away from me when reading.
(time for reading glasses I guess..sigh..)
I feel like such a cliche.
Also the perpetual aches & pains that tend to pop up here or there at any given time.
Lately the here or there being my knees.
Should they be making that sound when I bend down?....yikes....
Sadly it maybe time to ease off on the kick boxing classes for a couple of weeks.
But to help remedy all that, I spent my B-day at the new 4 Seasons Spa.
Best. Massage. Ever.
What a treat!
The spa is so lovely and relaxing I honestly didn't want to leave.
Did I mention, Best. Massage. Ever. already?
90 minutes of pure bliss.
I also had a nice dinner with my family and bonus that one of my favourite uncles happened to be in town.
So all in all, it was a fun way to deal with getting yet another year older.
I mean celebrate...

Anyhow as is tradition, as soon as all that nonsense is out of the way I like to get the house all festive and start to decorate.
First things first- send big daddy out to get our Christmas tree aka Hanukkah Bush.
We thought about heading up north to cut our own, but I figured I might have been pushing my luck a bit with Big D.
Seeing as we only started doing a tree in past few years when Lulu could get into it.
Before that, we would just have Christmas at my parents.
But I really do like having a tree, falling needles be damned.
It's so nice.
The smell, the twinkling lights.
It just feels so official.
So now we just need to decorate it.
Planning on making a bunch of homemade decorations with Lulu this year.
She is beside herself with excitement over the prospect of being able to glue, glitter and glamourize the tree with her mamma.
It really is adorable how excited she is.
and I confess...I think I'm even a little excited too.
Having a seven year old is THE best.
Bonus that she can now read the baking instructions until I finally break down and get myself a pair of reading glasses...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankful days

I know it's American thanksgiving this weekend, and we had ours weeks ago, but I'm feeling particularly thankful these past few days.
Every so often I kind of have to remind myself how fortunate I really am.

First of all, the weather for the month of November has been absolutely fantastic.
There's something about blue crisp skies, sunny days and above seasonal normal temperatures that always puts a bit of extra pep in my step.

Speaking of a little extra pep in her step, I'm so incredibly grateful for my beautiful daughter.
I try to be thankful for her everyday, but lately I am just so happy to watch her in action.
She is just so full of joy.
It's contagious..
Always happy and full of energy.
She is excelling in school, has lots of great little friends and has been pretty healthy so far this school year.
Knock wood.
When she is happy- I'm happy.

I'm also so incredibly appreciative for my amazing husband.
The past few years have not been without their challenges, but I feel like we weathered the storm and made it out okay.
16 years and still standing side by side.
He is such a hard working guy and I'm so lucky to have him as a partner.
You could not find a better provider or anyone more loyal and caring than Big Daddy.
He does so much for our family so selflessly and I'm just....well.....verklempt....

Anyhow just wanted to put it out there.
It's good to talk stock of all the good things in life when you can.
Because life really is beautiful....

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone south of the border...

Monday, November 12, 2012

last leaf standing

                                                                The one red leaf, the last of it's clan,
                                                                That dances as often a dance it can.
                                                              Hanging so light, and hanging so high,
                                                             On the topmost twig that looks up at the sky.
                                                                      ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge ~

Or in this case..yellow...

Almost all the leaves have fallen from the beautiful old trees surrounding our house.
That is, the ones that are still left standing.
We spent the better part of the day yesterday raking and in big daddy's case- blowing them all away.
The man sure does love his leaf blower...
What an incredible day to be outside, the weather could not have been nicer.
It was like a contrite gift from Mother Nature after the wrath of Sandy last week.

It's sad to say good-bye to yet another autumn.
It always seems so fleeting.
Just when you start to get used to the fall, the local hardware store has the shovels and tobogans displayed front and center.
Let's just hope we have a few more weeks though.
I'm not quite ready to say good-bye to Autumn 2012 just yet...

Oh and one of my favourite children's books, perfect for this time of year is 
Fletcher And The Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson.
Lulu & I just love the story and the sweet illustrations.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

4 more years....please.

Wow time certainly does fly.
I posted this four years ago.
Wonder what will happen tonight.
I so wish I could vote.

Oh and if you haven't read
this, check it out.
So touching. Now that's a great leader.
And for a good chuckle read this while your'e at it.
Or this.
And also this.

Anyhow fingers crossed...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

watch a little girl grow

The past few weeks I've really been reflecting about how quickly life is flying by.
Maybe it's the change of season..or perhaps it's the fact that my little girl is growing up so fast.
It's hard to believe I have a 7 1/2 year old daughter. (as of today- happy 1/2 birthday Lulu!)
I just can't get over how much bigger and more mature she gets every day.
That being said, she is still so small, sweet and innocent to me.

Big daddy & I are also in a bit of mid-life reassessment period at the moment.
Trying to figure out what our new goals and aspirations are for our future together.
Because let's face it, at 40 (well 41 to be more accurate- at least for the next month or so...)
We have accomplished most of the things we wanted to achieve by this point in life.
But both of us are ready for a change and some new challenges.

One of the things that we seem to be endlessly discussing these past few months is our home.
We've been here for eight years now and we either want to renovate or move.
It's really time for a change.
The frustration is that we absolutely love our neighbourhood and have no desire to move from it.
But the house prices are still so ridiculous.
Plus to be honest, we already have a home that really fits all of our needs, so really..why move?
Aside from our egos.
I guess we both thought that we would eventually be in something more like what we both grew up in.
ie. Bigger and nicer.
Then again, neither one of us grew up in the city- especially not in one of the most desirable and expensive neighbourhoods in the city.
And if we are being realistic, we already have a bedroom that we don't even use.
(aside from housing stacks of dusty books and outdated magazines- must deal with that room sooner than later)
So do we really need a bigger house with more rooms?
There are only three of us after all.

I'm pretty sure we have made our decision.
We are meeting with an architect tomorrow so at least the wheels are in motion.
Because let's face it- mama needs a new kitchen..
but note to self- must refrain from checking out MLS listings and going to open houses every weekend.
Once we commit- there's no turning back.
And seeing as time really does fly by so quickly, at least we won't have to downsize when we are empty nesters..right?
So don't even want to think about that yet though.

and speaking of time flying by check this out.
I can't believe Lulu is half way there already....sniff sniff...

Monday, October 15, 2012

west coast whirlwind

I can't believe it's already mid October.
The weeks have just flown by.
Big daddy was away for almost three weeks.
Yes that's him on the red carpet at the Emmys...

Then as soon as he got back we were off to San Francisco for a family wedding.
We had a really nice time despite waking up at 4 am all weekend.
What is it about that 3 hour time difference? it's such a killer.

Anyhow we stayed in Berkeley at this hotel.
It was in a nice location and Lulu got to swim in the pool which was a bonus as usually this time of year can get a bit nippy.
But the weather all weekend couldn't have been more perfect.
I'd never been to Berkeley before and we really enjoyed it.
It's a very laid back town and we really enjoyed exploring the University campus and the cute neighbourhoods surrounding it.
What a fantastic place to go to school.

The first day we decided to go to the Lawrence Science center which was a great way to spend the afternoon with a 7 year old (and a 42 year old)

it was such a treat to have some quality family time with just the three of us, it felt like it had been forever since we'd had that chance.
My favourite part was just sitting at the top of the hill overlooking the entire bay area with my two favourite people.
We also went to a few good local restaurants for lunch and went to the "gourmet getto" on Shattuck.
Our main destination was to see if we could get a table at the famous Chez Panisse one of Alice Water's very well known restaurants.
Unfortunately we did not (maybe next time) but we did stumble upon a fantastic Jewish Deli called Saul's. Best Matzo ball soup- ever.

We also checked out the goods at the Cheese Board. Another local favourite.
The cafes and casual sandwich shops along College St. were also really good.
Our dinners were spent doing family stuff, so no really extraordinary meals out to report about, but it was all good and we still had a fantastic time.

But we did  luck out and found a really cute farmers Market in downtown Oakland.
Lulu loved it, especially the free hula hoop lessons and the wood oven pizza.

Again, the weather was spectacular and it was so great to just wander from stall to stall checking out all the produce. (though I have to say we are pretty spoiled here in Toronto - I dare say our veggies actually look better than in California at the moment...I know....crazy)

But the real highlight was spending time with family and watching Lulu with everyone and seeing her connect with all of her relatives.
The wedding was really fun and Big Daddy's brother has such an eclectic and interesting group of friends who we really enjoyed getting to know.
But the best thing really is his new wife.
She is such a sweet and genuine person.
I'm so thrilled to have her as a sister-in-law.
Not to mention Lulu who is over the moon about having her as an Aunt.
He hit the jackpot, she's definitely a keeper.

So all in all, a lovely long Thanksgiving weekend.
Feeling very thankful indeed.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Puppy Love

We've had Chelsea for over a year now and I can honestly say that she is the best dog I've ever had.
She is so sweet and well behaved that I can't really believe our luck.
I just love having her around and I've become so attached to her.
The feeling is mutual I would say because she pretty much follows me every where I go.
If I run upstairs for something, she runs upstairs.
If I sit (which these days feels like never) she sits.
If I'm in the shower, she waits on the bath mat. Slightly annoying when trying to maneuver around her and not slip and break my neck each morning.
When I eat, she gets her bone and starts chewing. That part is a bit disgusting, a quiet chewer she is not.
And trust me...the nickname Lulu came up with "snorter" isn't for nothing.
But I love her despite all the funny noises she makes.

I really love walking her and taking her to the dog park, especially when the weather is this amazing.
Bonus that I've met some really great people at the dog park. Who knew?
Big daddy has been away now for a little over two LONG weeks, but my little frenchy has really kept me company at night.
She even snores just as loud as big daddy, so it's kind of like he's not even gone..

Speaking of being away...we are going to San Fransisco in a week and my usual dog sitters aka. my parents are not able to take Chelsea for us.
I asked around and unfortunately no one else that I know is able to either.
So I asked my vet and they mentioned a woman who is great with dogs.
So Lulu & I went to interview meet with her to decide if we felt comfortable leaving our precious pup with a stranger.
Well we walked in her house and I did everything in my power from not just turning around and running for the door.
The overwhelming smell of cat pee was disgusting. Do people not notice things like that? crazy..
I guess having 15 cats and 2 chihuahuas might have had something to do with that...ugh...
The dogs kept yapping and growling at Chelsea (and poor Lulu).
So needless to say there is not a chance in hell that I would leave her there. Ever.
I would rather cancel my trip.

Anyhow I did finally find someone. Thankfully someone we know and trust.
She'll be in great hands and I'm so relieved.
I just can't believe how picky I am when it comes to who I'll let look after our pooch.
I'm not sure I was even this fanatical when looking for babysitters for Lulu. ;

But really, having a dog is so great.
No regrets at all.
If you are a dog lover like me you can always pick up a copy of this.
Sounds interesting..

Why do people who have dogs live happier, longer, and more fulfulling lives? Sociologists and veterinarians have spent years investigating the positive effects that dogs have on people's health and happiness yet their findings are inaccessible to ordinary people, hidden in obscure journals to be shared with other experts.
Now the international bestselling author of the 100 Simple Secrets series has collected the most current and significant data from more than a thousand of the best scientific studies on the profound relationship between humans and our canine companions. These findings have been boiled down to the one hundred essential ways dogs positively impact our lives. Each fact is accompanied by a inspiring true story. If you love your dog, and science tells us that you do, this book will inspire and entertain.
  • Communicate Better: It sounds odd to say a creature that communicates with barking and body language can have such a profound effect on human communication. But by providing a common point of reference and concern, dogs help us to feel a connection to other humans. That connection makes us feel more comfortable communicating with each other. When meeting a new person, the presence of a dog reduces the time before people feel comfortable while talking with each other by 45 percent.
  • Live Longer: There is perhaps no better gift that dogs offer us humans than this simple fact. People who care for a dog live longer, healthier lives than those who do not. On average, people who cared for dogs during their lives lived 3 years longer than people who never had a dog.
  • No Monkey Business: Primates are genetically more similar to humans than any other creature. But try to tell a chimpanzee something and you will be hard pressed to get your message across. Dogs are uniquely attuned to the messages we send. Dogs study humans and have evolved to build social skills that help them to function around us. Dogs are 52 percent more likely to follow human cues such as pointing toward a source of food than are primates.
  • Around the Block: Good habits are often misunderstood as difficult or unpleasant chores. But there is tremendous value in the simple act of taking a walk. Walking not only burns calories, it also decreases stress. Having a dog means regularly talking walks – it's something you do for your dog but in truth your dog is doing for you. Dog owners walk 79 percent farther in an average week than non–dog owners.

  • Monday, September 17, 2012

    fall fashion

    This time of year I find it so hard to figure out what to wear.

    It's not cold enough to start wearing earth tones,wool and dark denim.
    Yet it's no longer hot enough for my very tired summer wardrobe.
    A.K.A. white jeans, misc tops and havaianas.
    I am so sick of all my summer clothes and can't wait to wear my favourite cashmere sweaters and fall shoes.
    I love fall fashion.
    But it's still too early to put all the summer things away and I keep jamming new stuff in my closet until I swear the bar is going to break in half.
    Oh how I wish I had a huge walk-in closet with one half dedicated to spring/summer and the other for fall/winter....
    A girl can dream..
    Until then I need to purge.
    Out with the old and in with the new.

    Speaking of new, did a little retail therapy last week and picked up "a few" new shoes.
    So comfy and so cute..
    At least my feet will be happy this fall.

    Tuesday, September 04, 2012

    back to school

    How is it already the first day of school?
    It's crazy how fast the summer went by.
    But I for one couldn't be happier.
    I love the routine and I'm so happy that Lulu loves it as well.
    She thrives when she is learning new things.
    Then again, don't we all?
    We find out in the morning of the first day who her teacher will be and who her classmates are.
    This does cause a wee bit of anxiety. Admittedly more for me than Lulu.
    But I'm so relieved that she really scored in the teacher department this year and as a bonus has a bunch of her favourite friends in her class which she was thrilled about. (me too for that matter..whew..)
    I do have to say that we really have some phenomenal teachers at our school, so either way she would have been in great hands.
    I feel so fortunate that she goes to such a great neighbourhood school with such a committed and enthusiastic faculty.
    Despite the torrential downpours, the first day couldn't have gone better.
    Although she had a super fun summer I think it's so great to be back.

    I hope your first day back at school went as well as ours..

    Wednesday, August 29, 2012

    long time no see

    It seems as though the friends we have the most fun with are the friends that we see the least.
    A year or more will go by and there will be people we haven't been able to get together with because life just gets in the way.
    Well that, and for some reason all of our favourite friends live on the other end of the city.
    I know..Toronto isn't that big, but still, proximity often becomes one more obstacle to overcome.

    Then again, we have friends two streets away and we still haven't seen them in ages. (yes you henny ;)
    But the nice thing is that when we finally do see one another, it's as though it was yesterday and we all just ease into fun conversation and plenty of laughs.
    It's always so easy and effortless.

    There are a few different couples (now families) that big daddy & I have been friends with for years and this always seems to be the case.
    It's so hard to get everyone together, but when we finally do, I always say- we really have to hang out with you guys more often. It's been far too long!

    Then another year or more will fly by...

    It's difficult to find families where everyone gets along and that you feel a genuine kinship with.
    So when you do, you appreciate it all the more.
    Speaking of which, we had dinner at some friends last weekend and had such a lovely time.
    The kids had a blast, the food was so delicious and the company was mentioned above...easy and effortless.
    My kind of night.
    Life does get busy but it should never be too busy to get together with the ones who make you feel the most like yourself.

    Thanks again for a great night Leila. so much fun..xo

    Lisa & Janet hope to see you lovely ladies soon too.
    we miss you guys!

    Thursday, August 23, 2012

    current events

    I'm not sure exactly when it happened, but I feel like I'm completely out of touch with the latest news and current events.
    I have no idea what's happening in the world and to be completely honest, lately, I'm not even sure I want to know.
    I stopped watching the news on a regular basis when Lulu was a baby and I still try to avoid it whenever possible- save for the weather or entertainment stories.

    The top headliners are always so depressing.
    With the exception of Prince Harry naked in Vegas- giddy-up...
    But in all seriousness, I know it's important to stay informed, but things like scattered body parts found across the city, movie theatre massacres, busy shopping mall shootings, world financial crisis and horrific car crashes just scare the crap out of me.
    I really don't want to know about that stuff.
    It's all so alarming.
    Being a mom is scary enough at the best of times.
    Things like West Nile, H1N1, creepy child predators...there's just too many things to worry about already.
    Not to mention all the regular day to day things to fret over, like is she getting enough fruits and veg in a day, is she reading and writing at the appropriate level, making friends and navigating social situations properly.
    Is she happy and content?
    Hell, am I happy and content?

    Anyhow what I'm trying to say, is that I do enjoy reading the paper and catching up on things, but in small doses.
    And to be completely honest I usually go straight for the Arts & Life section if I actually have the luxury to sit down to read the weekend paper.
    So many things to read so little time..damn blogosphere...

    That's not to say that I am completely living in a bubble, I do try to check in on line in the morning for a few minutes just so that I can be somewhat in the loop, but I confess to skimming over anything too political or controversial.
    I just can't be bothered.
    Sometimes no news is good news.
    And sometimes ignorance is bliss.

    How about you, do you read the paper cover to cover or better yet what's your favourite section?

    Friday, August 17, 2012

    thinking inside of the box

    One of the best things about summer is all of the fresh local fruit available.
    I just love all the fuzzy Niagara peaches, juicy nectarines and sweet cherries.
    But there's just something about fresh, crisp, cold watermelon.
    I just can't get enough of it.
    I know, you can pretty much get it all year long, but there's just something about eating it during the summer months.
    The other day I came across this though and it really got me thinking.

    When you really put your mind to something anything is possible...
    Sometimes a watermelon isn't just a watermelon.
    Or maybe it is?
    Anyhow it is quite interesting what can happen when you get a bit creative and think a little outside of the box.
    Or in this case, inside the box.

    I Wonder if I have to go all the way to Japan to get some of those square watermelons though?

    Friday, August 10, 2012

    Hello..I said cheese already

    I read this and had a really good chuckle because I can certainly relate.
    The main difference being that big daddy doesn't fish or hang with the By's- said with my really lame Newfoundland accent.
    Though I really wouldn't have a problem if he did.
    In fact I would LOve it if he went out with the guys and did "guy stuff".
    But that's not really his thing.
    And in all fairness he's always so busy working that he rarely gets the chance.
    So no photos of cans of beer or his daily catch on his iphone. (only super models, killer location shoots and fabulous catered meals.)
    Oh the poor guy..
    But what I could relate to, was the lack of images of me kicking around.
    He never thinks to grab a shot when the light is right, or when I might look half decent.
    Unless I tell ask him to.
    Not that I'm an easy person to shoot, always wanting to delete 95% of the photos of myself.
    I'm pretty sure I was an editor in a former life.
    That, and I'm super self critical and am not the easiest person to photograph.
    But heck, I'm not getting any younger and it really is pretty much downhill from here in the bags-under- the-eyes department so I really think he should step it up a bit.
    When I'm eighty I would like to look back at my forty year old self and say- "damn I looked pretty good for a middle aged mom."
    So it's now or never.
    The worst thing is that he is a super talented professional photographer and we have zero portraits of our whole family. Nada.
    Nothing of just Lulu & I or maybe even the three of us. Zero.
    And no, as cool as they are, magazine spreads don't really count.
    I'm this close to heading over to Sears for a family portrait session.

    If I wasn't always so snap happy, we would probably have next to no personal pictures.
    I hope some day Lulu doesn't think she was only raised by her dad, as I am almost always the one behind the lens.
    But I get it, he is shooting 8+ hours a day 5 days a week (at least lately- halleluja)
    so maybe by the time he gets home the last thing he wants to do is pick up a camera.
    I will definitely cut him some slack here.
    But the clock is ticking and eye cream can only do so much.
    Then again, I suppose it's a bit of a bonus that he hires some of the best photo retouchers in the city,
    so maybe there's still some hope.

    But in all seriousness I would love to get more images of Lulu & I together before she gets older.
    I still can't get over how much bigger she looks these days.
    It is going by far too quickly.

    How about you, who takes the pictures in your house?

    oh  and for the record big daddy's brother took the above image.
    Clearly we need to hang out with him a little more often.

    Thursday, August 02, 2012

    zombie mama

    I'm not sure if I need to up my caffeine intake or it's the hot weather catching up with me, but I have been so groggy lately.
    It seems to take me forever to wake up and I have been having the deepest sleeps ever.
    I manage to get eight hours + of sleep each night, yet I don't really wake up feeling refreshed.
    I feel as though I'm in a perpetual haze all day long.
    I've actually started drinking espresso in the afternoon just so I am able to function.

    But if memory serves me correct, I get this way at this time every year.

    I like summer and all, but with it comes feeling a bit lazy, which in turn makes me feel antsy.
    I'm not great when I'm not kicking it into high gear.
    I like to be on the go and when things chill out, I have a really hard time embracing it.
    It's not like I haven't had to do anything though.
    I'm still taking Lulu to camp each day and doing all the regular "fun" domestic stuff.
    I guess I'm just caught up in that same old "I should be doing this" or "I could be doing that" state of mind. When all I really want to do is well...nothing.
    Oh the guilt.

    But it's mid summer and I know I should just take full advantage and try to relax while I can and stop "shoulding" on myself.
    It's O-kay to feel lethargic from time to time.
    That's what summer is all about.

    Anyhow not I'm complaining, because I know just around the corner things won't feel so carefree.

    Wednesday, July 25, 2012

    viva las vegas

    I love the sound of fresh lake water softly slapping against the side of a canoe, the distant call of a loon, or maybe the buzz of a cicada high on a tree top.
    And is there anything nicer than the sound of leaves gently rustling in the wind?
    Or maybe the sounds of splashing and laughing children echoing across a lake....
    Ahh the sounds of summer.

    Well not my summer per say.
    My summer vacation sounded more like constant ringing of slot machines.
     And **bleep**what the **bleep** I should have doubled down g-d damn it!!!
    And the wonderfully intelligent sounds of drunk people.
    And the constant dinging of an elevator with Cher cranked inside. Then again I suppose it could have been worse.
    I also heard plenty of this which was o-kay, only I could had done without having to hear it 18 times over the course of the weekend.
    And the ever present "Dude, tonight's going to be *beeping* awesome dude, let's get liquored up pronto *bleep*" 
    Clearly the movie The Hangover was inspired here.
    or last but certainly not least "where can I find "premium" Russian prostitute around here?"
    Said with heavy eastern European accent.
    All heard whilst breathing in lovely clouds of fluffy white marlboro cigarette smoke.
    ah...the sounds and smells of my summer....

    Okay maybe a slight exaggeration.
    But if you are looking for a relaxing summer getaway, Vegas is NOT the place to go.
    So no great surprise here.
    However if you are looking for a place to wear some trashy high heeled hooker shoes, short skirts, and I mean short, tight tank tops, a bucket load of perfume, love 50 degree heat, crowds and plenty of loud music everywhere, and mostly you feel like you wanna just
    Par-tay and stuff yourself to the point of sheer gluttony, this is the place to go.

    Then again, that's not why we decided to visit Sin City mid July.
    I know, hard to believe I didn't want to strut my stuff in 7 inch stillettos...
    Though admittedly I do wish I had packed some elastic waisted pants when I bellied up to the all-you- can-eat dessert buffet.
    I'm pretty sure that my sweat currently smells like cheesecake..

    It was actually Big Daddy's parents 50th anniversary and all the family met up in Vegas.
    Definitely not my first choice, but hey might as well go with the flow and everyone is from the west coast so it kind of made sense.
    The weekend flew by and despite my complete lack of love for Las Vegas we had a fun time.
    Lulu met her new adorable cousin and got to see her grandparents for the first time in over two years.
    It is grandma's happy place after all.
    We also got to know our future sister in law, who couldn't be nicer.
    Yay finally someone I can relate to in the family!
    Bonus that it was all very short and sweet.
    In on Thursday, home by Sunday.

    Anyhow it's good to be home.
    Bonus that we are up $100 from when we left.
    Maybe we can put that towards a weekend up north before the summer is over...

    Thursday, July 19, 2012

    too hot to eat

    The last few weeks have been hotter than Hades here in Toronto.
    We have broken all kinds of records.
    Fortunately we have air conditioning and haven't had to be outside for the worst of the heat wave.
    So glad Lulu was in the shade for most of last week at the Brickworks camp.

    I'm okay with hot weather, but it does tend to make me lose my appetite.
    And that is not an easy thing to do..
    Not always a bad thing once and a while I suppose.
    I just don't feel like cooking or even eating when it's 35+ degrees outside (45 with humidity)
    Aside from chips and cold beer of course.
    I haven't felt like eating out either.
    Extreme heat always freaks me out when it comes to food safety in restaurant kitchens.
    Besides so few restaurants have seasonal menus that appeal to me in the summer months.
    That is aside from side from Vietnamese food.
    Vietnamese food is perfect on a hot day.
    Maybe not the Pho soup per say, but Bun is the ticket.
    Delicious cold noodles, shredded fresh veg, grilled BBQ pork and shrimp on sugar cane.
    Even better with an iced Vietnamese coffee.
    so so good.

    What's your favourite food to eat when it's too hot to cook?

    Friday, July 06, 2012

    camp grandma & grandpa

    Lulu has been at camp "Gran & Grandpa" all week and I can't believe how fast it has flown by!
    It's the one time all year that I can just completely relax and not have to worry about her.
    Well I suppose I always "worry" that she is okay, but I feel at ease knowing that she is having fun and is completely fine.
    Though when I dropped her off and said good-bye her tears unhinged me a bit, but I knew that after a few minutes she would be completely okay.
    Besides she is lucky that it wasn't at a camp up north like some of her friends are starting to do.
    I can't even begin to imagine how dramatic our good byes will be when she starts doing that.
    If she ever agrees to do that.
    Until then it's Niagara-On-the-Lake for a couple of weeks each summer.
    Oh the poor little thing...

    She's so incredibly lucky to have such amazing grandparents.
    Her week will be filled with swimming, art camp, play dates, tea parties, treats and more kisses and hugs than I'm sure I could possibly ever shower on her in an entire year.
    My parents are so enamoured with Lulu.
    I wish I had that type of special bond with my grandparents when I was a child.
    Unfortunately distance made that difficult, not to mention I had so many cousins that I was never numero uno the way Lulu is for my parents.
    She's also lucky that they're still so young and energetic that they have no problem keeping up with her.
    In fact, I have a hard time keeping up with them!
    When you look up The Perfect Grandparent in the dictionary, I'd be surprised if there wasn't a picture of my folks in there.
    They really are fantastic.
    Such a lucky girl.

    Anyhow with all this freedom we've been trying to take full advantage of our temporary empty nest.
    We went out for dinner a couple of times and took the pooch for walks after dark.
    Who knew that it would be such a small luxury to go for a walk in the neighbourhood together after 9 pm?
    But truth be told, we've both so tired lately that all we really want to do is just enjoy the quietness of the house and relax in the backyard.
    G-d we're getting old..
    Big Daddy has especially been working like crazy and really could really use the down time.
    Bonus that our neighbours and their *daycare* I mean kids, are away at the cottage, so it's super quiet and a nice break to not hear crying, screaming or fighting for a change.
    We want to try enjoy all the peace & tranquility while we can.

    But once again, as nice as it is to have a breather from being a parent, it goes without saying that we both miss Lulu and look forward to having her back home.
    Because as nice and mellow as it is, it always feels like something is missing when she's not around.

    Until then, I'll be sitting under the tree in the back yard reading my book, not thinking about anything or anyone for the next 24 hours enjoying the sound of the birds, cicadas, and Chelsea snoring at my feet.
    Ah the sounds of summer...

    Wednesday, July 04, 2012

    happy belated

    Had a very low key Canada day long weekend.
    We enjoyed the back yard for the first time all season and came to the conclusion that it might actually be quieter in the city than in Cottage country on a long weekend.
    The neighbours were away and there were no trades making any noise.
    Holy construction on our street...
    We didn't hear any jet skis, power boats or people across the lake "given' r" all night long.
    All we could hear were the birds and the crickets.
    It seems as though our entire neighbourhood has made the annual pilgrimage up north for the summer.
    Fine by me.
    There are times when I miss our family cottage and wish my parents hadn't sold it.
    And occasionally I'll even miss the boat.
    Just a little bit.
    But after being able to just chill out and do very little this weekend- especially not having to pack, prep, slather on the bug repellent and be stuck in traffic, I realized that it's really not so bad to be city bound in the summer.

    Then again, big daddy was on MLS all weekend "checking things out".
    So who knows what next summer may bring?
    Until then, just enjoying keeping things simple.

    Happy Birthday Canada.
    Glad that you are my home & native land..

    Saturday, June 30, 2012

    happy pride weekend

                                                      this about sums it all up.....

    Thursday, June 28, 2012

    farewell grade one

    It's difficult to believe another school year has come to an end.
    Any anxiety I may have had a year ago about how Lulu would do in grade one is long gone.
    We were very fortunate to have had an excellent teacher this year.
    I say we, because it makes all the difference as a parent when you have an open and easy to talk to teacher who you really feel is the perfect fit for your child.
    Not to mention that Lulu absolutely Loved her.
    Such a huge relief.
    I only hope Lulu has many more teachers in her academic future as caring and patient as her first grade teacher.
    Now if I could only stop her tears now that won't see her all summer.
    Last night was rough to put it mildly.
    Poor thing.

    She also lucked out and had an excellent group of classmates.
    No bullies or real serious trouble makers.
    The girls in the class all seemed to get along pretty well and there wasn't too much drama throughout the year. year down only 11 more to go... lord help me.

    Fortunately Lulu really connected with one little girl in particular who I just adore and hope that they continue being "B.F.F's" as the years go on.
    I am relieved because there were very few girls that Lulu really fully clicked with %100.
    Sure she gets along with almost everyone but it's hard to find your girlfriend soul mate in grade one.
    Not to mention when you are 41..
    Then again, I have made some really great connections this year myself.
    So good things often take time and patience.
    At least that's what I kept telling Lulu all year long.

    I actually try to discourage her from worrying so much about finding a "best friend" and encourage her to think of everyone as her good friend and not to get so caught up in all that.
    But I have to admit, that whenever I see these two together my heart just melts.
    I really like the way they seem to bring out the best in each other and are both polite and still really sweet and play so well together.
    Fingers crossed that this also continues.

    Aside from the social aspects of school Lulu did extremely well and I couldn't be more proud of her.
    Haven't seen her report card yet, but something tells me that it will exceed my expectations for her.

    Like I mentioned, I met some really great women through out the year and had the opportunity to get a little more involved in the school aside from just being a class parent like the last few years.
    It feels good to be a part of a community and to try to make a difference to our school.
    Though I'm not entirely sure if I want to continue on this particular path next year, still trying to figure out a politically correct exit strategy.
    It's a bit like the mafia...once your'e in....
    Not that I don't want to help out, but time is valuable and I really want to focus on other things next year.
    like * cough cough* my career...or lack thereof.
    Time for a change.
    Big time.
    Oh how I miss my old life sometimes.
    And the last thing I want to become is some angry PTA mom.
    Still want to help, only in maybe a different way.
    I've got the next two months to figure that one out though.

    That being said I love to volunteer in the class whenever possible and want to try to still be available to do that next year in addition to finding myself and what I really want to do for the rest of my working days.
    I am really looking forward to a break from all the school politics.
    I'm also really looking forward to spending time with Lulu and not running around on such fixed scheduels for a while.
    Not only do I need that, I think she needs it as well.

    So all in all Grade one was a very successful year.
    We both learned a lot.
    I think I did almost as much as Lulu.

    Monday, June 25, 2012

    friday night delight

    I forgot how much I love Terroni.
    Or should I say "we" love Terroni.
    It's definitely a family favourite.
    It's always so consistent and each time we go there we are almost never disappointed.

    When they closed for renovations last winter (Yonge & St. Clair location) we missed it and didn't really find a decent neighbourhood replacement.
    Enter the months of frozen pizza on friday nights.
    The only good thing is that we probably saved a ton of money.
    there's something to be said about staying in and cracking your own good bottle of wine.
    Terroni is good, but inexpensive it is not.
    I still can't believe we spend close to $20 on Lulu's pizza or Gnocchi.
    But it is so worth it. yum..
    When we really needed a fix though, we would head a few more blocks south to the Adelaide location.
    Big daddy also orders lunch from the Queen st. location at least once a week as well.
    Lucky him.
    We are fans, what can I say?
    But now that the new Summerhill location is almost finished (aside from the new patio) we are so happy.
    It's our Friday night no-brainer.
    Though I have to also give a shout out to the new Pizza Libretto location on the Danforth.
    Also excellent.

    Haven't taken Lulu there yet, but I'm sure she will approve.
    Oh and for the record, the "sunglasses" she has on in the photo above, are actually the 3D glasses she got at the movie before dinner.
    The girl is stylin' but not that affected.
    yet. gulp.

    How about you, what's your favourite go to family restaurant?

    Monday, June 18, 2012

    Thursday, June 07, 2012

    june express

    It's funny how when you have small children you think "when they get a bit older I'll have so much more free time."
    But you don't.
    Or at least I don't.
    The days or should I say months are just flying by.
    The last month of school is always a bit of a scramble.
    All in a good way, but it seems like so much happens in the last month of the school year.

    But at least I can take a big sigh breath of relief that some of Lulu's after school activities are coming to a close.
    No more rushing after school to dance classes and piano for a while.
    For now she can just enjoy playing with friends and practicing her "cross overs" on the monkey bars and working on her cart wheels.
    No rushing, no more "hurry up we're going to be late!"
    That goes for me as well.
    Well the playing with my friends part and not rushing so much.
    and no I haven't perfected my cartwheel yet either..

    There are so many social things happening over the next few weeks.
    I'm trying to pace myself and take each day at a time.
    Canadians really do try to make the most out of summer and it's seems like we have things booked already all the way to September.
    How did that happen?
    As long as there is still some down time and a chance to read, relax, stay healthy and catch up with friends I'm happy.

    We've been debating starting a major reno for quite some time now and I can't even imagine starting a huge project at the moment.
    We keep bumping it from the priority list even though we would love to fine tune some of the things we wished we had done when we first moved in almost 8 years ago.
    I already mentioned the time flying part right?
    Anyhow I guess there is no perfect time to staring ripping out floors and doing a kitchen renovation but I know that it definitely isn't June.

    Anyhow bit of a boring post, but that's all I've got for now.
    Like I said, very glad that the school year is winding down.
    Though the thought of Lulu moving forward into grade TWO blows my mind..

    Wednesday, May 23, 2012

    paris part deux

    So we are back from Paris and I finally have a few minutes to sit down and reminisce about our trip.

    When big daddy and I were in France last year, the whole time we kept thinking that we would love to have Lulu with us.
    Well maybe not the entire time...that was a nice break.
    But after a few days we really started missing her.
    While touring around and seeing little french children playing in the beautiful pristine parks, we always felt like there was a piece of our family puzzle missing.
    So we vowed that one day we would return with our little lady.

    Fast forward one year.

    We only had one week, so we didn't feel that was enough time to head to the south so we opted to just focus on Paris and take our time in the city instead.
    We also decided to rent an apartment instead of staying in a hotel.
    Best. Decision. Ever.

    (the view from our front door)

    I love to eat out at restaurants, but not 3 meals a day for 7 days straight.
    Especially when kids are involved.
    Not to say that Lulu isn't a seasoned restaurant goer and behaves amazingly when we are out, it's just that food wise it gets a bit tiresome.
    So our apartment was in the perfect location.
    In the 6th arrondissement St. Germain close to everything.

    Lulu had her own bedroom and bathroom which was fantastic.

    I swear we didn't have the computer on the entire time...

    I loved having a  kitchen and laundry.
    Bonus-I came home with a suitcase full of clean clothes.
    I really enjoyed going to Rue Buci to get fresh fruit and veggies and also learning to navigate the marcher.
    You have to weigh fruit and veg yourself and put the price stickers on them before heading to the cash.
    Learned that the hard way when I was at the check-out and a big line of annoyed locals were waiting for me to hurry up and go weigh all of our produce.
    But it was kind of a fun way to teach Lulu how to say all the names of the fruit and veg in french as I made her help me put the stickers on each day.
    Big daddy went across the street each morning for fresh baguette and croissant at Paul or Eric Kayser.
    While in Rome...or in this case Paris.
    It goes without saying that the patisseries are so amazing.
    How the French manage to eat all those carbs and still stay so thin is a mystery to me.

    It was also fantastic being able to relax in our big living room at the end of a full day and people watch from our big windows facing the lively street below.

    Speaking of people watching..
    The fashions, oh the fashions. Oh la la.
    I couldn't get enough of all the beautiful clothing.
    Everyone dresses so well in Paris.
    Men especially are dressed to the nines. Not trendy, just so classic.
    Very few big beards or tattoos to be found.
    (Not that I have anything against either, just an observation)
    They are all so handsome and chic.
    Women as well are so natural and in my humble opinion-beautiful.
    I spotted very few fake blondes in Paris.
    Women don't seem to get highlights, wear lots of make up or get their nails done.
    Not sure why I noticed the nail thing, but so many North American women seem to wear nail-polish and plenty of it.
    (I for one just had a manicure yesterday and am sporting opi- step right up)
    But I don't think I saw one nail salon while we were there.
    Like I said, everyone is very Au Natural.
    And they smell amazing too. (aside from the clouds of cigarette smoke surrounding them)
    Not like strong sickly sweet perfume, but a subtle and kind of musky sexy.
    The women of Paris really know how to wear fragrance.
    Not too strong- just right.
    Women of all ages just look so great.
    I don't think the term cougar exists in paris.
    I also don't think I spotted one person wearing yoga pants in public, never mind some sort of tacky slogan written across their derriere- like for example"Juicy".
    Not really sure why I packed my lululemons..what a waste of suitcase real estate..

    And I can't forget the petite enfants.
    OMG the cutest kids on the planet.
    The little outfits are adorable and so stylish.
    There wasn't a Gap or Hannah Montana tee shirt to be found.
    These kids dress so sharp- I saw a ton of children in little blazers and scarves.
    And the shoes, oh the many to choose from, so little time ( and euros...)

    So from a fashion standpoint, Paris once again never fails to disappoint.

    But the real reason for visiting Paris wasn't to be a fashion critic, but we wanted to show Lulu all the beautiful buildings, museums, parks and mainly the history of such a world renowned city.
    We were about a 10 minute walk to Notre Dame.

    and also St. Sulpice, one of my favourite churches in Paris.

    We also arranged a private tour of the Louvre for Lulu.

    I can't recommend this enough.
    What an amazing decision. (thanks Big Daddy & Ciao Bambino)
    It was so fantastic to have our own private tour and also a scavenger hunt all through the museum.
    Lulu learned so much and was so into it. (not to mention me)
    Our guide Colleen was so informative and excellent with kids. She knew how to keep her audience captivated, yet still manage to answer all kinds of questions along the way.
    I wish I could have hung out with her for the entire day!

    The tour is specific to your child's age and Lulu was absolutely riveted.
    What a fantastic experience.

    So great to watch Lulu see all these amazing works of art for the first time.

    The best thing is that I learned a ton of things as well.
    also a bonus was that our guide knew what areas to avoid (re crowds) and how to help us navigate the busiest areas.

    LOVEd this day so much. Definitely  one of the highlights of our trip.

    After our morning at the Louvre we of course worked up quite an appetite.
    we were going to venture out for lunch but instead decided to eat lunch at Cafe Marly.
    Close and convenient.
    We had dinner there 12 years before.

    Although it wasn't quite as romantic this time around, it was still fabulous.
    Maybe even better than I remembered.

    En route to the Louvre we walked across Pont des Arts and put a couple of love locks on the bridge.

    One for us and one for Chelsea. (it was her first birthday) we all really missed her.

    xoxoxoxoxox  Happy 1st birthday Chelsea.

    Then we spent the rest of the afternoon in the Tuileries next to the Louvre.
    Lulu was in Heaven.


    We tried to spend as much time as possible in all the beautiful city gardens.
    Lulu rode a few different Carousels and I couldn't help to think that before long she will no longer want to do that because it's for "little kids".
    Sniff sniff...
    But in the mean time...

    The Parks in Paris are so great.

    Someone is really into perfecting the cartwheel at the moment.
    (one of the few spots that we were actually allowed on the grass)
    Luxemburg Gardens.

    Lulu got to ride go carts

    Or in this case a horse.

    She is currently really into horses and galloped like one all through the streets of Paris.

    Lulu also managed to do a bit of painting in the park.

    Poor thing was worried about getting paint on her new Bonpoint blouse though.
    Still she created quite the masterpiece.
    Tres Bon!

    There wasn't a ton of relaxation time or time for reflection, but that's what beach vacations are for and also that's life with a seven year old I suppose.
    We were really on the go and wanted to see and do as much as possible while we were there.

    I loved walking around the city with Lulu we had so much fun navigating the streets.

    But we always stopped to smell the roses...

    or petunias...

    We also made sure to enjoy all the cafes and Lulu especially loved her first french Chocolate Chaud.
    I may never be able to give her Nesquick again...

    One of the days it was really hot so we decided to go to the Jardin Des Plants-Museum Natural History on the Batobus.
    Ah air conditioning....

    Also a highlight.
    So much fun.

    Whenever we would spot a car like this we would get a photo of Lulu in front of it.

    I think we have about a dozen or so.
    I'm hoping on doing a bit of a photo project with all the images.
    stay tuned for that.

    It came as no surprise that Lulu loved all the food.

    But she wasn't a big fan all the sauce and mayo on everything.
    I could relate. Aside from that, she loved everything else.
    Especially the jambon & fromage crepes. yum.
    Bonus there was a crepe cart right outside our front door.

    Oh and her first Chocolate Eclair.

    In addition to the Louvre and the Museum of Natural History we also went to Musee d'Orsay.

    Lulu's favourite artist is Claude Monet so it was another amazing experience.

    She is also really into Degas and couldn't wait to see the actual "little dancer" in person.

    Also Renoir..

    Vincent VanGogh was also a favourite.
    But unfortunately no photos because we got busted by security.

    I've been reading Lulu a series of books by Laurence Anholt that have been amazing for teaching her about all the great artists.
    Unfortunately the Picasso Museum is closed for renovation so we were unable to check it out.
    But as luck should have it there is a big exhibit happening right here in Toronto.
    Will most definitely have to check it out before July 25th.

    Mother's day was spent relaxing in the apartment and taking it easy in the morning since it was our last day in Paris.
    We took one last stroll around "our" neighbourhood and lucky for me (and my MasterCard) everything was closed on Sundays.
    So we just walked hand in hand looking at all the buildings and enjoying the much less crowded streets.

    I'm so happy that we were able to share one of our favourite cities with Lulu.
    I hope that one day she will look back and really appreciate her first time there.
    Hopefully not her last.
    I loved looking at the city though her eyes (or at least trying to) and although we came back pretty tired (and unfortunately sick- yup again....) it was one of the best experiences ever.

    Most definitely one of the most memorable mother's day yet.

    A big Thank-you to big daddy for making it all possible.
    Merci mon amour...xoxo