Friday, February 26, 2010


Tomorrow my sister gets married.

I feel emotional and nervous already! (I think I may cry more than I did at my own wedding!)

I wrote my speech up last night and I decided I hate writing speeches. There's always so much more you can say and how do you sum up 26 years of memories into a few minutes?

She has been my best friend, my childhood playmate, my co-conspirer, eater of chocolate and sweets, person I go to to moan about how fat I feel, dance partner, person I indulge in the giddiest of laughter and jokes, the most amazing Auntie and fan of my two boys and someone I know prays for me and desires to become more and more like Jesus in everything she does and in everything she is.

The road to marriage has not necessarily been an easy one for Shereen. She has had her ups and downs (haven't we all?) but I have seen her persevere and fall at the foot of the cross for strength and wisdom.

And then came Sam. Sam did not "fit" into our family's dynamics at first, but he definitely "fit" with Shereen. It was quite clear that Shereen was completely smitten with this motorcycle-riding, basketball-playing, loud-laughing, big-hearted guy. I saw him shower Shereen in gifts and encouraging words. He has challenged her and helped her grow and become the beautiful and godly woman she is today. Sam caused our family to change and grow as well and become a tighter unit that includes him!

I'm so glad Sam and Shereen met and that Sam will be a permanent fixture in our lives.

There are so many details that go into a wedding and having two young boys to think about is causing my mind to whir at 100km/hr. Naps, feedings, travel, bedtimes...there's so much to think about NOW so that tomorrow I can focus on being there for my sister.

It's so worth it and I'm beyond thrilled for what's to come for Sam & Shereen!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In the locker room...

I was at the gym and had just dropped off both boys at the Play Care Center. I was in the change room, getting dressed and ready for a long ride on the bike. Two younger Moms (as in...young 20's, possibly teens?) were also in there, but getting their kids ready - perhaps both kids belonged to one Mom and the other was a friend?
Regardless, one of the kids was about 4 years old and his Mom was fed up with him. She told him he was really pissing her off and that he had to do (whatever it was she wanted him to - I think it was go to the bathroom). She was really getting frustrated with him as he lay on the ground and was starting to become quite agitated.
All of a sudden a voice on the other side of the lockers spoke up and said, "You shouldn't speak to your kids like that. You need to speak properly to him."

The Mom's friend chimed in and said, "She can raise her kids however she wants to!"

The voice responded, "I'm not telling her how to raise her kids, I just think she shouldn't speak to her kids like that. I'm a teacher and I'm the one who deals with the repercussions of hurtful language in the home. It hurts me to hear people talking to kids like that. He'll go to the bathroom when he's ready. You don't have to yell at him."


On the one hand, I felt where this Mom was coming from. To be honest, sometimes I feel "pissed off" with my kids. But they're kids. Sometimes they know better, but sometimes they're just being kids - there's so much that goes on in their minds and bodies every second of every day! A

But on the other hand, I fully agreed with the voice. It's NOT OKAY to talk to your kids like that. And if that's how she speaks to her son in public...I don't's not hard to imagine that it's much worse at home. And it doesn't do anyone any good to speak to kids like that. I think it's fine to express that we're frustrated or angry and to hold our children to a high standard of behaviour.

I know that I wouldn't have said anything even if the voice hadn't said anything. I still feel conflicted about stepping into other people's parenting. I think I fear the Mom's friend's comment "She can raise her kids however she wants to."

Yes. Yes, she can. But it doesn't mean it's right or beneficial for her child.

After the exchange I noticed that the Mom's words and tone were much softer and nurturing towards her son. I was encouraged by this. She obviously recognized truth in what the voice was saying and chose to take the higher road instead of becoming sullen and feisty. She chose to be a good Mom and swallow her pride.

Being a Mom is difficult. There is no doubt about it. I pray that if and when my behaviour ever steps out of line that I will swallow my pride and do what's best for my kids.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Blanket Time Update

Today's blanket time ended up looking a little something like this:

He must have reeeaaached to grab the basket which was off to the side and pulled it onto the blanket and played in it for the remaining time of his blanket time. Until he fell to the side and couldn't get out without getting off the blanket. So he just awkwardly sat in it until he heard the timer "ding".

Blanket time is a good thing. I am looking forward to extending the time - I think Noah will do really well with it (I could have extended it today, but decided to keep with the 15 minutes for the rest of the week).

language skills

*This post was written yesterday*

Noah either cannot or chooses not to say words that start with "sp". He'll say them, but with an "f" sound instead.

My absolutely favourite word of his right now is "foon". As in, "I need a foon for my soup, Mama!".

Too cute.

Speaking of words - the boy has been making me laugh so hard all day long today!

We were both sitting at the table and I was trying to get one last email sent but he wanted me NOW. So he's sitting there saying, "Mama. Mama. Mama. Mama." and then he realizes the voice he's using sounds like Kermit the Frog because all of a sudden he goes, "Mama. ... Kermit the Frog."
I laughed SO HARD. He just stared at me with a half smile wondering what on earth was so funny!
On our way to pick up Jamie from work Noah saw a "city bus" and so the entire drive there (all of about 7 minutes) he was talking about the city bus and how there's a bus driver and then there were 2 city buses, etc. So I start asking him questions and then I say,
"Where is the bus going?"

"There. To that."

"What is that? What's it called?" (Because I'm not going to turn around and figure out what he's talking about while I'm driving.)

"'s called....The Banana Store."

I laughed so hard when I realized it was No Frills he was talking about that we had just passed. So I congratulated him on explaining what he was talking about to me so that I understood. I went on to talk about the power of words and how it's important that we use our words properly and with respect. He just said, "Yeah."

On our way home from the library Noah said, "I a pirate, Mama. Arrrr."
And he kept saying that he was a pirate so I quickly snuck a look in the rear view mirror and he had pulled one side of his hood over one eye (for a patch!). I laughed again.

There was one more but now I can't remember.

All in all, it's been a funny day. Today Noah is in the Terrific Twos.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Planning is good. It helps me make the best use of my time. Unfortunately planning TAKES time. Sometimes I don't see it as worth it to plan, but it IS worth it.
So I'm really trying to keep up planning my meals for the week.

But I'm also proposing a new "plan" or outline for my week day activities with the boys.
The "plan" is as follows:

Boys wake up (Jamie usually gets Noah, I get Jude).
Breakfast. (Sometimes there is play before and/or after breakfast).

I grab our bags and take the boys and go to the gym.

I get a work out and the boys get to play for 45 mins-1.5 hrs with some really stellar ladies at the PlayCare Center.

We get home, Jude goes down for a nap and Noah has blanket time (we are currently at 15 mins.)

I put away dishes and tidy kitchen while Noah is having blanket time (this may also be a really good time for me to read my Bible as it allows Noah to see Mommy spending time with Jesus AS WELL AS me actually spending time with Jesus).

Noah has a small snack and we play before lunch (work on letters, numbers, read books).

Jude wakes up.


A bit of playtime/clean up.

Nap for Noah and Jude.

Afternoons are here, there and everywhere...not sure what yet to do...or if I should "plan" them per se.
Today we'll be making the trek to the library in all this snow - probably driving, not walking - as I have a book to return.
I am finding it a bit hard as Jude still takes a third nap but it can be on the go so I suppose I'm not entirely tied down to the house.
So we'll see.
I definitely noticed an "antsyness" from Noah last week as he was getting better from his cold but not quite well enough to drop him off at the PlayCare Center - he was dying to get out - kept saying, "I'm ready, Mama. Walk, Mama!" Poor guy.
Spring can't come soon enough!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Blanket Time

Yesterday I re-initiated "blanket time" with Noah. He is so distracted these days and seems unable to focus for long(er) periods of time. So...we started with 7 minutes.
I got out the fun animal quilt (that goes with his bedroom) and placed it on the ground. I told him it was blanket time and that he had to stay on the blanket until the timer went off (I use the one from our toaster oven that makes a loud "ding" when it's done) and if he got off the blanket he would be disciplined.
So yesterday I tidied up in the kitchen and nearing the end of his blanket time he started whining from "blocks, Mama". But I didn't respond and he stayed on the blanket even though he could see the blocks!
So we're trying again for 10 minutes. This time I gave him the blocks. (Oh and he's got several books and a few toys with him on the blanket.)
I think blanket time works much better than "room time" for Noah as he just doesn't like being shut in his room by himself to play. So this works for us.
I hope to increase the time to even 30 minutes - maybe more.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Recently I've discovered a few online addictions.
1. Etsy
2. eBay
3. Kijiji
4. Random online shops

My current wants/loves:

Gorgeous necklace from The Vintage Pearl - among other things on this website.

Then there's this:

Beautiful necklace from Etsy store Andromedii. LOVE.

Or this beaut:

Hello love.

And then there are the random cloth diapers I drool over on eBay, cloth diaper accessories, make up, jewelery, materialistic side pops up from time to time and it's often when I'm feeling home-bound and unable to get out (read: winter!). So yeah.
Here I am. Materialistic.

Monday, February 15, 2010

in sickness and in health

So it's been a rough couple days.

I don't think I've ever seen Noah so sick. Probably the only other time was last May when he had a really bad stomach flu.
But his temperature kept spiking and he was so sweaty, listless and lethargic.

My Mommy instinct told me I needed to get help, but so far it turns out that I was just 'over reacting'.

I called Telehealth twice and the after-hours number for my doctor's office. Both fixated on the cough and told me exactly the same thing. It was frustrating to get information on how to help loosen up the mucous so he could cough it up when he had a major fever and is not prone to ever getting fevers.
But how do you make a two year old SPIT IT OUT? Seriously.

Anyway, the fever broke and Noah woke up this morning demanding his nose be wiped ("I need a Kleenex, Daddy!") and asking for juice and a muffin.
That was definitely good to hear.

So despite being a tad cranky today, we survived.

But I hope not to have to go through that again.

I also got a reality check this evening while checking some pictures on {Facebook}.

My friend's son (4 months old) has heart issues (since birth) and has been undergoing major heart surgery this past week and to see the pictures of her sweet little boy with tubes and wires and all sorts of things coming out of him absolutely broke my heart. I have no idea how good I have it and all I wanted to do after looking at those pictures was to go upstairs and cuddle with my two boys.
They may have coughs and sniffles, but they are healthy. I have them in their beds at home without tubes or wires or oxygen tanks.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

sick boy

Noah's got a fever for the third day in a row. This is how we are coping:

Friday, February 12, 2010

the haircut

So...I got my hair cut last Saturday.

It was kind of anticlimactic.

I'm not sure if it's the haircut or my hair. The latter having to recover from the mass exodus of hair that left my head postpartum.

Either way, I didn't like how she styled it. It was SUPER sleek and straight and it just made me feel like I had flat hair. I've never felt like that before because I usually have SO MUCH HAIR, but my hair has really thinned - especially in the front and she didn't want to give me side bangs as that would accentuate the thinness. But I think (6 days later) I actually need the side bangs.

Anyway, all that to say, I'm not pleased. I agree with her that it's likely to accentuate my thinness (of my hair - not my waist unfortunately) but I think I need it anyway.

Should I go back?

I don't know what to do.

I'm just not happy with my hair.

And I honestly don't think it's HER fault - or maybe it is? Should a hairdresser be able to work magic, no matter why kind of hair you have? Maybe she did the best with what I gave her and what I wanted...
I don't know.

By the way, I went with the angled bob. My hair's not long enough in the front for it to be dramatic enough and she kept it rather blunt at the back (not high like the picture of Posh spice I posted here.) which I thought I wanted at the time...but maybe not?

So yeah.

What to do?

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I've added a link to my Vimeo account where you can see all (or at least most) of the videos I publish to my blog - if not more. It's on the side bar beneath our pictures.

And for your viewing pleasure, enjoy this one of Noah washing up my dishes.
I swear he initiated this on his own.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Baby Food in pictures

Earlier this week I made my own baby food! I always wanted to with Noah but never got around to it. By the time we were introducing solids to Noah we were in Africa with limited options and being a new Mom I had no idea what I could and couldn't give him. So we did the jarred food thing and then just kept at it once we got home.
But this time I decided I wanted to try my hand at home made baby food - and see if it would save money.
I tried pears, butternut squash and sweet potatoes.
First up were the pears.
I steamed them as they weren't super ripe.

Then I pureed them. I tried the potato ricer but it wasn't doing anything except squeezing out the juice. Then I tried my soup blender.

The chunks were too big and it wasn't working. So I stuck a bunch of slices into the Magic Bullet and voila! Pear puree! I didn't even have to add any liquid.

Next up were the butternut squash. I cut them in half and baked them in the oven for about 45 minutes.

Then I scooped out the flesh and pureed it in the magic bullet as well and ended up with a lot of puree.

Finally were the sweet potatoes. I baked them for over an hour and they easily slipped out of their skins. Pureed them in the magic bullet with a bit of water and got a nice, smooth puree.
I filled several ice cube trays with the puree and froze it all.

Today I took out a little ice cube (from my Ikea tray) of sweet potato.

Jude likes it just as much as rice cereal. I think I'll save the pears for a little later as I took a taste of it and it was SWEET!


Today was a good day. Lately there have been more good days than hard days.
Sure, each day has bits of ick, wah, or blech...but the bits are so small that the day seems good overall.

Today was a good day.
Nothing unusual happened. But it was good. I worked out. I got a free cookie while waiting in the Starbucks drive thru. I loved and enjoyed my boys. I visited my friend in the hospital and held her tiny newborn baby girl.

Noah discovered the sink and had a blast "washing" dishes. He is growing up so fast and I am just loving this stage with him.

A friend of mine said that she loves every stage with her kids more than she loved the last one.
Perhaps it's because each stage is more fun, but it's probably because we're continuing to learn, love and get to know our babies - who aren't babies for long.

I love my boys. I can't imagine life without them. I have never known such purpose and joy while doing things that from the outside appear menial and boring.
There's nowhere else I'd rather be.

Monday, February 8, 2010

6 month letter to Jude

Dear Jude,

You are 6 months (1 week and 1 day) old!
Yeah, I'm a bit late. My bad.

But let me just say that you. are. adorable.

Seriously. I think you get cuter every day. Your little face is so cute. Your little ears that poke out a bit, your big eyes that droop slightly at the ends and your tiny mouth just absolutely erupt into a smile that can light up the room when you look at me or your Daddy - and especially your brother. He can always make you smile after a nap when you can sometimes be a bit cranky.

I'm not sure how much you weigh right now as at your 6 month check up I didn't get the stats from the nurse. You also didn't get your vaccinations because of a rash you had on your neck, cheeks, arms and legs. The doctor said it was viral and it would go away on its own. And it has - almost entirely.

You sleep through the night every now and then and it's lovely. Generally you're down by 7pm, have a dream feed at 10:30pm and then sometimes you eat at some point between 3 & 5am. Then you're back down 'til around 8! It's great. I really can't complain.

We introduced solids! You had rice cereal last week and were such a little pro eater - it was really cute. Then last night I made up some homemade pear, squash and sweet potato purees and you had the sweet potato today and didn't have any different reaction to them than you did to the rice cereal, so we'll see how it goes.

I also started putting you in cloth diapers this past week. I know.
But it's going pretty good. If I can stick it out, we'll save tons of money!

You can sit on your own now and you even reach for things while you're sitting and bring them to your mouth (because EVERYTHING goes in your mouth these days).
You easily laugh and smile and that just warms my heart. I love nursing you before I go to bed at night because you just curl right into me and it's so sweet. I don't think you are a very cuddly little guy, but you definitely like to be close to me and I'm liking being close to you too.

You are such a sweet boy and I have loved these last 6 months and can't imagine how much fun the next 6 months are going to be!



Friday, February 5, 2010

Noah & Jamie

Tomorrow I'm going into Toronto with Jude for the day and I'll be leaving Jamie and Noah to themselves.
I fully expect lots of this to occur:

Or this:

Or maybe this:

Ah, good times in the Strickland household.

Cloth Diapering Journey Part One

So I bought 6 prefolds and 4 Bummis Super Whisper Wrap covers from Diaper Days a couple days ago.
Then I started scouring Kijiji and eBay for better deals because I felt like I should be able to find some.
And I did.
Wouldn't ya know in my wonderful wonderful hippie city (of course in the downtown core) I found several ads on Kijiji for cloth diapers. At less than 1/2 the price.
So I went to check one ad out yesterday. 6 barely used Happy Heiny pocket diapers plus 9 inserts, 5 more prefolds and 2 more covers for 2/3 of what I paid for the prefolds and wraps at Diaper Days.

Well, I put Jude in the prefolds yesterday and despite getting peed on because I wasn't ready with the diaper fast enough it went okay. I still used disposables at night because they just hold more than regular cloth diapers. I'll look into getting soaker inserts for nighttimes.

Today I put Noah in a cloth diaper after his nap and he was NOT happy about it. To be fair, the Pampers diapers with Elmo, Cookie Monster and Winnie the Pooh are a lot more exciting to a 2 year old. But I stuck with it, adjusted it because he said it was "hurt my bum" so I figured it maybe was a bit tight and then went on until I smelled poop.
It was a major blowout. From Noah. And surprisingly it all stayed in the diaper! It was disgusting as all get out because it was diarrhea (sorry, TMI) so I couldn't exactly just "dump" it in the toilet, so I had to spray it down in the laundry room first. But...he accepted the second cloth diaper much more willingly.

Jude's experience today was also filled with poop. But his didn't stay in the diaper. Not a lot got out, but still, if he had been wearing a disposable it wouldn't have leaked. So that was frustrating. he's on his third (fourth?) outfit today. Oh laundry.

As for fit - well, cloth diapers are WAY more bulky than disposables, but it's bearable.

I also went out and bought three garbage bins. 1 for Noah's room (because the one in there is cracked and broken), 1 for Jude's room and 1 for the downstairs bathroom (because I don't want to have to traipse upstairs with a dirty diaper every time I change one downstairs). So we'll see how it goes. Not sure of the best cleaning method for the bins yet...probably a wash out and then a wipe out with disinfecting wipe or something?

It seems like a lot and there's definitely a learning curve, but I do want to stick with it because I KNOW it will save us money down the road so I think that in and of itself is worth it.

Let's see...current $ spent on cloth diapering: ~$200
How quickly would I spend $200 on disposables with two in diapers? I'm guessing around 3 or 4 months.
More to come on my cloth diapering journey I'm sure...

Suit up!

Suit up!

cloth head

My silly boy:

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Jude & Food

Jude & Food from Vanessa Strickland on Vimeo.

Well, it's safe to say that Jude definitely likes rice cereal. He's really taken to it and it's so cute to see him open his mouth and lean forward in anticipation of the next bite!
How much fun is introducing solids! (So fun!)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Today Jude is 6 months and 2 days old and he had his first taste of solid food.

Rice cereal.

I scooped about a tbsp of rice cereal into a small bowl and then hand expressed some breast milk into the bowl - it wasn't coming fast enough so I added a little bit of water.
And he ate the whole thing! It was quite cute. I didn't take any pictures or video, but I'm sure there will be plenty of opportunities in the future for those.

I also pulled out the Potato Ricer my Mom gave me for Christmas that I'll be able to puree foods with. I'm excited to experiment and try giving Jude different foods that I didn't even think of with Noah.

And so begins Jude's introduction to the world of FOOD!


So I think I'm turning into that crazy home birth hippie I was so proud (why? Not sure. I just like bucking the trend I guess) not to be!
I'm thinking about switching to...

cloth diapers.

That's right. CLOTH.

Who am I? For reals.

Anyway, so my reasons are singular really.


I guess it's nice what they do for the environment, but really...I guess I'm just not that environmentally friendly. It's certainly not my motivating factor, that's for sure.

But all that to say, I am looking into and researching cloth diapers.

Um, slightly overwhelming!

Seriously. There's prefolds, pocket diapers, AIO (All In Ones - don't get me started on the acronyms!), liners, cotton, bamboo, wet bags, and oh my goodness it keeps ON GOING!

But I decided to do a tester. I was browsing around on eBay and found some AIOs and decided to purchase 2. They go from 16-35lbs so likely will fit both boys. They were only $7.50 each and there were no shipping costs (I'm all about free shipping when buying things on eBay).

Anyway, so we'll see. I should get the diapers next week sometime so I'll definitely update. Oh and they're called EcoBumz - a Canadian company makes them in Alberta. So we'll see.

I'm leaning towards prefolds for a more economical choice, but we'll see. I'm going to talk to the ladies at Diaper Daze here in Guelph (a baby boutique that sells cloth diapers) and see what info I can glean from them.

So...we'll see. I think especially with two in diapers it's worth the investment. And since we'll likely have more kids I think it would be wise to think about doing cloth.

Oh and I'm planning on making my own baby food too.

(Who AM I?)

just another morning

Just a video I took of our morning quiet time together.
It's almost 7 minutes long and will likely be boring to you, but if you want, here's a sample of all the words Noah is using these days.

Monday, February 1, 2010

beautiful (for the eyes and the ears)

I love this video.
I believe I first saw this through my friend Beth (you should check her out!) but more recently found it again on Facebook (oh Facebook. I both love and hate you.)


Valentine's Day

Now that I'm a Mom, I'm totally getting into all those Hallmark holidays. It's fun! I get to do all the kiddie stuff that I didn't before!
So now I want to share a fun site with you for free (adorable) Valentine's Day cards that you can customize and print off!

I'm all over this!

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