Monday, October 31, 2011


It's that time of the year again, when you find yourself sick on couch, having eaten too much of your childrens' candy. I did it last year, and I'll do it again the next. I like tradition.

I tried to take a proper photo of Princess Alyce, but she was too busy screaming with excitement, sprinting from house to house, yelling, and I'm not kidding, "I WANT TO BUY MORE CANDY! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!" She has since collapsed, drunk on chemicals, having cried through the sugar crash around bedtime. Again, tradition.

I hope you were all sufficiently entertained by all the Halloween ghouls and goblins out there tonight! Enjoy the sugar, and I'll see you at the kale salad bar later this week for a good detox.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I resist change

 At the office each day, I have the world’s greatest party trick. All day long, as the hours slowly pass, my boobs just get bigger and bigger. They aren’t small in the morning, and by the end of the day, watch out. Someone might get hurt.

Do you want to know my secret? Breastfeed a baby for almost eighteen months and then leave the house for 10.5 hours a day. Then keep nursing her in the morning and before bed (and all day long on the weekends), and you’ll trick your body into thinking your not weaning, but instead still need to produce lots of milk. Then watch boobs grow. And grow.

To say that I miss The Children isn’t quite right. It’s more like I’m not sure how to understand my day without them, how to step away from their days. Our days. My body (see above, re: boobs) and my heart are resisting the adjustment of it all, and instead seem to be doing everything in their power to keep reminding me to go home. Home! they tell me, you’re needed at home! Plus if you’re at home, you won’t have to enter data!

Shira, in her way, is handling my going to work swimmingly. If I’m home she’ll ask to nurse every other hour, and when I walk through the door at the end of my work day she greets me expectantly, but during the day she’s just fine. In fact, I think she quite enjoys all her time with her Papa. Alyce, on the other hand, deals with life in a different way. She, too, enjoys bossing Papa around, and in many ways she seems to have adjusted to this new normal. In the morning, during the six minutes I spend with her before leaving for 10.5 hours, she’s all business: she doles out hugs, kisses, compliments (on my outfit), suggestions (here, wear this necklace, too), and advice (drive safely). And when I come home each night she’s right there to welcome me back. The resistance comes in her renewed commitment to not listening on the weekends, which we could all do without, but can handle. And I might be imagining this, but I think that Alyce has become an even greater big sister since I’ve started working, looking out for Shira and inviting her to play together a little bit more, thinking of herself as a mama-in-training. Handy, that.

Whose having the hardest time adjusting? Anyone? Me. For example: all this time I’m spending away from The Children makes me want to inhale them when I’m home. If I’m in the room with them, I need to be close by, breathing in their smells (not all of them good, I’m afraid), giving them kisses, and stroking their hair. Alyce, it seems, has had enough. Case in point, a few nights ago she awoke around eleven, as she often does, needing a quick kiss and reminder that we are all in fact still home. The entire process usually takes around 45 seconds. But no, I jumped at this opportunity to slide into bed with her, spoon her, and grin ear-to-ear with the loveliness of spending time with my little girl. After about a minute, Alyce groaned at me to get out of her bed and to let her sleep. Then she pushed me.

So yes, I miss my girls. But my boobs have never looked better.

Do you think the internet will forgive me?

In case you needed some actual proof that things have been busy here. This office job is really getting in the way of my relationship with the internet. 471 unread items. I'm just saying.

We'll return to our regularly scheduled blog posting any minute now.

P.S. Don't hate me, but there's frost outside this morning, and I love it! Yay, winter!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I'm getting tired in my old age

 And it's here, my birthday.

I'm am now, according my annoyingly observant husband, comfortably in my mid-thirties.  Do you remember how, when we were much, much younger, we would talk about birthdays in terms of all the new things we could do having completed another year, like driving, voting, or drinking. Alyce has already begun to see the world this way, telling me on a daily hourly basis that when she's five she'll be able to dye her hair pink and purple, and how when she's seven she'll be able to grow new teeth, or how she'll have to be a grown-up before she can be a princess. She believed me when I told her that last one.

But what can you when you finally turn thirty-four? At first I was at a bit of a loss, but I've come up with a few things that I'd like to do this year:

Find a job that will support our family.
Adjust to the new normal that is the chaotic life of a mother who works outside of the house.
Take a small vacation with Matt.
Have more picnics.
Knit some sweaters.
Kick my sugar addiction.
Publish some writing.

So that's my list.  Thirty-three was filled with so many extremes, between moves, big decisions, new decisions, and a lot, a lot, a lot of uncertainty. Thirty-three sort of kicked my ass.

Do you have any suggestions for this new year of mine? I'm wide open here. How did you spend thirty-four?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Important JK developments

 Alyce, age three, self-portrait.

Groundbreaking studies abound. 

P.S. I'm really tired. Missing The Children all day long is exhausting.
P.P.S. Tomorrow is my thirty-fourth birthday.
P.P.P.S. I love birthdays.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dear weekend, I love you.

I'm sure I'm the first person in history to make this observation, but aren't weekends just the greatest? I will admit that in thirty-three years I never truly appreciated a weekend. Did you know how magical they are? Why didn't you tell me?  I just want to run through the streets announcing my love, respect, and giddiness over the weekend. I'm not at work! I'm with my family! I'm not entering data! I love everyone!

So, this working in an office forty hours a week, it's an adjustment. First, I'm grateful for the job, even if it is temporary. We need rent money, enough said. But just because I'm happy for the opportunity to work doesn't mean that I'm enjoying myself. There are moments in my (hour each way) commute when I enjoy the quiet of the car, but otherwise I'm spending most of my day wishing I were with my family. Never mind that I've spent most of my working/studying life moving at my own pace, in the comfort of my own house or library of my choosing, but for the last almost four years I have always worked at home with my family. Even when Alyce was in daycare, we always dropped her off late and picked her up early. If I missed her I would just swing over to daycare and pick her up. But mostly we've been around the house together, making up our own fun. No, it was not always easy, and it wasn't always fun, either. I'm not trying to romanticize being a stay-at-home parent, really I'm not. All I'm saying is that returning to work after all this time is an adjustment with a capital ADJUSTMENT. My heart is still at home, and I spend the day wishing that I was there with Matt and The Children.

The changes are harder, I think, because I'm not doing the kind of work I want to do. I'm temping at an office, entering data into a computer all day long. Even my boss calls it boring work. Maybe if I were spending my days doing something that kept my brain a bit busier, or if I had a more developed interest in the job itself, the time spent away from home would be easier to handle. I'll always miss my family, that's just how it is. But when I find a job I love, I'm hoping that my heart won't break all day long. Like it is now. Well, not now, because it's the weekend. The weekend!

I keep reminding myself: this is a process. It's new and scary, but I can handle it.

I can especially handle the weekend!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Things I am feeling right now

  Shira deals with all these transitions.

Things I am feeling right now:

Exhausted from a rotten cold.

Frustrated by my bumpy transition into office/data entry life.

A little beside myself with how much I miss The Children when I'm gone for ten hours every day.

Saddened that I only saw Alyce for 24 minutes today.

Happy that birthday week is coming up.

Full of pizza.

I've got lots to tell you about my first week at my new job, but that will have to wait. For now, I must sleep, and get excited about the weekend coming up! I've never before understood just how vital the weekend is until now. Now, I get it. I'm all over it. Bring on the weekend.

What do you have planned for the weekend? Do you have any suggestions to offer this weekend novice on how to make the most of my two days of freedom?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sometimes we let them eat in public: Eight tips


1. In honour of some shame-free enjoyment of food, let's all go out for dinner, shall we? Burgers at Milestones it is, then.

2. When taking young children to a restaurant, keep in mind that the meal will be eighty-nine percent colouring, six percent bathroom trips, and five percent eating. So don't skimp on the crayons and paper. Usually restaurants will provide the paper and crayons, but always bring your own, just in case. Don't make the same mistake I've made in the past. A crayonless meal never ends well.*

3. If Shira is joining you for dinner, keep in mind that the percentages are a little more fifty/fifty, split between colouring and eating (no bathroom trips for this diaper-wearing girl), so be sure to order enough food. Plus she'll finish Alyce's meal, too. She's good like that.

4. Order food for the little ones as soon as you sit down. Alyce is familiar with this practice and now simply orders pancakes and syrup from the hostess as soon as we walk into a restaurant, even if they don't sell pancakes. But just in case, bring snacks. Lots of them.

5. Here is the ideal restaurant meal schedule: Order food for the kids before taking off your coats, get them colouring right away (no messing around with pleasantries), order your own food when the server brings their food, and then, and this is key, make sure their dessert arrives at the same time as your own meals. My children don't talk or move while consuming ice cream=the perfect time to enjoy five minutes of your meal in peace.

6. That wasn't a typo. If you can get five minutes of quiet, you're winning this game.

7. Don't mess around. Get the bill as soon as you can and get out of there before any meltdowns begin. I repeat: no dawdling. It never ends well.

8. Pat yourself on the back for exposing your children to the world of public eating. And then admit that you think you'll just eat at home from now on.


*In cases of emergency, little creamers can be used as blocks with which to build towers.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Back to work

This is what happens when I leave the three of them at home while I go out and work. I kid you not, The Children were stained blue and green for days. This is not, I repeat, not body paint. This photo was sent to my phone midway through the day, taunting me to come home and join them.

Today I'm starting a new job. It's not the job, but a temp job that will get me started for the time being. I will be working in my first real office job. My friend Kaylie tells me that the reason I've never liked The Office, in spite of loving Steve Carrell, is that I have no experience dealing with the personalities of an actual office. Most of my working life has been spent in a classroom or library. Maybe there's hope for me yet.

I have actually been working for two weeks at another job, but I didn't dare mention it here for fear that I wouldn't be able to restrain myself from complaining about it on the internet and maybe jeopardizing my position. I was working at a very large bookstore chain because it was the only call I received in four months and over fifty applications. We needed the income and I hoped that finding a job might be easier if I already had one (as the saying goes), and it turns out that I was right. So I'm trading my career as a bookseller for an office chair. We do what we need to.

I'll share some details later, but right now I need to shower, get dressed, cry over leaving my babies, and then get to work for my first day.

P.S. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the supportive comments on my post yesterday. I felt a bit naked sharing all that, but I know it was worth it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

On shame

October Unprocessed update: Meh. Last week we had successes (yogurt, eggs, homemade turkey soup-thanks, mum) and a few un-successes (ordering pizza the other night upon the surprise arrival of much loved dinner guests, ice cream), but progress has been made. I’ve turned down some very appealing processed food, and I had a bit of a moment while at the grocery store last night, coming to realize that so much in the store had been manhandled in some way. I’m inspired to create some delicious food that has only been womanhandled by yours truly. (Or, if you want to make some food and send it my way, I’ll gratefully accept your handling. We’re friends.)


Whenever I start focusing on what I eat, I inevitably think about shame. Truthfully, I don’t think about shame so much as I feel it. Sometimes deeply. Caring so much about the food I put in my body comes from many places--health, respect for my body (if it can grow such perfect babies I ought to treat it right), wanting to reduce my carbon footprint--but it also just has to do with weight. And as soon as it has to do with weight, the shame creeps in and starts messing with my head. I’m even ashamed to be writing this. Enough already.

But what I need to say, because then maybe I can get over myself, is that I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t feel ashamed of my body in some way. This isn’t to say that I’ve hidden myself away and not enjoyed all the wonderful things a body has to offer, such as the ability to dance long hours into the night, or say, make those babies I’m always talking about. I have a deep respect for my body, but like so many things, it’s a terribly complicated relationship. I’ve never felt that my body was just ok, but instead that it owes the world some explanation. I’ve never been terribly obese, and for most of my childhood I think I was pretty normal, but I’ve always felt as though just that little extra weight, those few additional curves, or that extra fifteen twenty pounds of baby weight (ahem) put me in this category of “People Who Should Apologize for Their Size Fourteenness and Not Have That Extra Piece of Cake.”

So I’m a bit all over the place on my opinion on this body of mine. I spent years training in classical ballet and I loved how that made me feel. I was strong, I could pirouette for days, and overall I was pretty good. I loved dancing so much I think I actually vibrated in class. But it was also in ballet class that I began to doubt my body, with thanks to puberty. It was clear to the world that I was going to do puberty right. I got the hips, the boobs, but didn’t grow a single inch to compensate for all that extra me. And when it was that time to begin training for my professional ballet exams, my teacher sat me down and warned me that I’d probably fail because of my body. Not for what it might do, like miss a step, but for its very size.

I passed by the way.

It wasn’t just coming from my ballet teacher. My uncle once asked my mum (when I was in the room), if I wasn’t too fat to be a ballerina. I had just bought my first pair of point shoes, so that was soul-crushing. My grandfather routinely commented on my size, sometimes even helpfully suggesting that I not have the dessert that everyone else in the room was having. My family doctor once asked me why I ate so much. But a lot of the time the shame wasn’t coming from anyone else but myself. I dreaded gym class because I imagined that my friends were laughing at my attempts to run track, that if I didn’t do it as well as they did that they’d assume it was because I wasn’t as skinny. When my friends would tell me all the time how beautiful my mum was (and she still is one gorgeous woman), I imagined them wondering what happened to me. And when someone told me that I was pretty, I just felt even more embarrassed, because in my head I could hear them say, if only you weren’t so fat. When I have lost weight at different times in my life, I’ve often been mortified when people comment on how I look. They tell me that I look great, but all I hear is how bad they thought I looked before.

So when I start thinking about how I’d like to eat, or about weight I’d like to lose, it’s hard to feel positive. Instead I feel like I need to apologize for how I look now, for what I’ve eaten, for what I’d like to eat. And then mix-up all those guilty, shameful feelings with how much joy I get from cooking and baking my own food, for myself and for others, and things just start getting messy. And then I get messy.

Why am I telling you this? Because for the love of all things, this has got to stop. I have these two stunningly perfect little girls, and when I hear myself talking to Matt about how I don’t like my body or how I shouldn’t eat something, I also hear alarm bells going off. If Alyce or Shira were to begin feeling this way, and then have their feelings confirmed by my own actions? No way. Not going to happen. Instead I want them to know this:

1. Bodies are awesome.

2. Differently shaped bodies are awesome.

3. Food is delicious. Eat lots of good food.

4. Sharing food with family and friends, or even people you just met, is a wonderful way to live. Don’t let anything stand in the way of enjoying a good meal.

5. Don’t even hide because you think your body isn’t good enough. If there is something you want to do or wear or make, there is nothing stopping you. Your body’s got your back.

I am trying very hard to believe these things for myself.

And now, that’s enough talk about shame for one day.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Have I told you about the pigtails yet? It's official, Shira's hair is now (sort of) long enough for me to dress it up in ridiculous pseudo-pigtails. Just another way for her to gain control over my emotions, because don't you just melt at the sight of a wee one in pigtails? Even though I see her all the time, it still works on me like a charm.

It's been a busy couple of days around here, but I wanted to wish a Chag Sameach to all of you celebrating Sukkhot!

P.S. Alyce brought home her first kindergarten school photos! Now I can hassle people with even more photos of my child!

P.S.S. She also brought home her first Scholastic book order form. I expect that one day I'll begin to resent her school's constant requests for money, but seeing the familiar Scholastic order form in her backpack made me all nostalgic and slightly weepy over my Babysitter's Club addiction, enabled by my monthly Scholastic book order. I wanted to be equal parts Stacey and Claudia. You?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Most of October Unprocessed

You know how when you’re trying to lose weight, it is often recommended that you keep a food journal so that you get an accurate understanding of what and how much you’re actually eating? Maybe you don’t, and that’s ok, I still like you. But for those of us who enjoying eating just that little bit extra, it’s good to keep track of all the delicious things you eat. My list is usually a long one.

So I should have known better than to jump right into October Unprocessed without first coming to terms with just how much processed food we eat in our house. But me, I just assumed that it couldn’t be very much, because I cook almost everything from scratch! I bake all the time! I even sometimes bake my own bread! Aren’t I fabulous?

But it turns out that we consume way more processed food than I realized. While I do cook most things from scratch, I also love frozen pizza (I just do), scones from Starbucks, deli sandwiches, and milk chocolate. Among other things. While the definitions of unprocessed as many (and often competing), a lot of the time it’s a no-brainer. The founder of October Unprocessed, Andrew Wilder over at Eating Rules, defines unprocessed food as "any food that could be made by a person with reasonable skill in a home kitchen with readily available, whole-food ingredients." Ok, I can work with that, or so I thought.

But as much as I like to think myself an unprocessed-girl, the first morning of October (the first day of the challenge) found me facing a delicious piece of pizza and some chocolate cake at a birthday party for Alyce’s friend, Ruby. The food was neither unprocessed nor particularly healthy. But I was hungry, I didn’t have any good snacks with me, and I am the world’s biggest sucker for pizza. That whole first week I kept finding myself faced with unprocessed food on the go (one of my many weaknesses) and I was weak, I tell you. A hungry belly + any food, and I can’t just can’t be helped. Lesson learned: never, ever leave my house with snacks from home. Ever.

I really want to be up to this challenge. For many reasons (and I’ll get to those later this week), I want to eat more and more unprocessed food. So while the first ten days of October were not so unprocessed, I have big hopes and expectations for the rest of the month. I’m putting myself out there for you to encourage (please only encourage, or at least mock kindly). There will be a few exceptions (it is birthday month, after all), but from now on the rest of the month will be known as Most of October Unprocessed.

Let the eating begin.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


It's Canadian Thanksgiving, and so I offer you another list. Here are a few things I'm thankful for right now:

1. Shira's little face.

2. Alyce's not as little face.

3. That my friend, Gemma, gave birth to another healthy boy yesterday!

4. The pies I made made for Thanksgiving dinner today at my mum's house. I am just getting comfortable making pie crust from scratch, but they turned out beautifully. There was one apple, two pumpkin, and no photographic evidence. We were too busy eating.

5. Being close to mum after years of living all over the place.

6. The new season of Dexter.

7. For those of you who are always cheering me up when I'm feeling discouraged.

8. I'm grateful for how delicious my coffee tastes each morning.

9.That Matt and I can rely on each other, and most importantly, stay married, during these very uncertain months. I consider myself very lucky.

10. For my blog. I can't explain just how much joy it brings me to connect with so many different people, especially when there have been so many times in the past few years when I've felt awfully alone. Also, I love having a place to smother in photos of my two favourite faces (see: #1 and #2).

Happy Thanksgiving! May you eat lots of delicious food and then find a couch upon which to collapse, happily.

P.S. I cannot find any figs. Not a single one. Maybe I'll have to order some fig jam, to give me just a taste until next fig season?

P.P.S. I'm going apple-picking again tomorrow, but this time for red delicious apples, Matt's favourite. I still have a large batch of apple sauce to make from the last round, but I'm up for the challenge.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Ten quick things

1. At Starbucks this morning, they gave me a free Americano (double, lots of room. milk), for no reason. An auspicious start to my day.

2. I'm currently watching game five of the ALDS with my husband. I'm going for the Yankees, but only because I have a crush on NYC.

3. I voted in the Ontario provincial election today.

4. Hille (the cat) is snoring loudly. May his dreams be filled with giant bowls of cereal milk and potato chips, his two favourite things.

5. I'm thinking about the pies I need to make for Thanksgiving dinner this weekend. Apple and pumpkin.

6. Did I tell you that my good friend in Seattle broke her ankle last week in a daring act of heroism? Well, she did. And she has two little ones the same age as Alyce and Shira. And it's her driving foot. I really wish we lived closer so that I could help her, as I'm sure she's already over the deep end. Also, it wasn't so much an act of heroism as it was a misstep on the stairs, but still. It's broken.

7. Chocolate chips cookies are so delicious. Especially these ones. They are all gone, sorry.

8. I'm hoping the weather cools down a bit because October is supposed to be Fall. With a chill in the air, not a blazing sun in the air.

9. I picked up a Stephen King book from the library this week, because October is also supposed to be just a little bit scary.

10. Tomorrow I will buy a fig and I will try that fig. I'll report back.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Needed: Inspiration

Maybe it's the changing of the seasons, but we've been exhausted. Of course it has absolutely nothing to do with the seasons, and everything to do with Shira waking up around 4:00 am and not going back to sleep. I'm feeling a bit like a zombie again. Oh, babies, when will you learn that sleep is the most glorious of pastimes? When I ask Shira that question she points to her bright red teething cheeks and tells me to blame the molars. Or at least she would like to tell me that, but her teeth hurt too much to speak. Plus, she's really tired, so could I stop bugging her?

So we're tired, but that nothing new, really. Mostly I think I'm just in need of a little inspiration. I'm feeling a bit discouraged on the job front (and I can't seem to stop talking about it) and some days it just really gets to me. I've had a few opportunities waved in front of me lately, and when they don't follow through with anything it can be hard not to feel very disappointed. One piece of good news is that Matt's immigration application is now "under review" instead of "received," according to the online status tracker, and that seems like progress, right?

I'm not sure what form my inspiration will take. I've been working a lot with my hands this week, trying desperately to finish the blanket for Shira (this time I mean it when I say it's almost done) and I painted the table in our living room that I've been meaning to do for eight weeks a little while now. I'm naturally feeling a bit restless and for me that translates to wanting everything around me to be as organized as possible (inner-chaos helped by less outer-chaos). For example, I can't seem to get the kitchen right since we moved in. I haven't found the right place for everything that conforms to the competing needs of space/convenience/where Shira's tiny hands can't reach it. Between all the time I spend cooking and baking, and the fact that the kitchen is the place where all naturally congregate, an organized kitchen makes a big difference. At least to me, it does.

So this week is about finding some inspiration. Maybe we can all pass some along to one another. Here are a few things that have gotten me thinking over the past week, poking me in the brain to get thinking about new things instead of only complaining about my lack of career. Enjoy!

I've been taunted all week by these excellent guides to New York City over at Cup of Jo. Man, I need to spend more time in that city.

I have no business taking on another project right now, but you can't blame me for wanting to make this tent for The Children.

In other news, I'd like to make this salad. I've never even eaten a tortilla salad, but it looks delicious. Speaking of things I've never tried, M. Bloom has me wanting figs in a serious way, over at We Bloom Here.

Let the inspiration flow!