Saturday, July 31, 2010

Birthday Jude

1 year ago I was standing in my backyard swaying with each contraction and shortly after my sweet baby Jude made his quiet, laid-back entrance into this world.

Being a Mom to one little boy is fun, but being a Mom to two little boys has changed my life in ways I never could have imagined.

Jude, you make me laugh every day with your hilarious antics and adorable facial expressions. You have been worth every sacrifice I have made and will make for you. I love you more than words.

Happy first birthday my sweet baby Jude!

Birthday pictures and details to come!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

highlight reel

We've been out west now for over a week.

It's been a mixed can of nuts. Mostly good, but definitely a handful of "bad nut" moments thrown in for good measure. Because as much as you want to pick and choose only the cashews {my fave} you inevitably end up with those boring old peanuts.

But I've enjoyed my time out here so far.

Some highlights have been:

hearing Jude say "uh oh" as he drops toys, cups, rocks...pretty much anything. It's so cute and it usually ends up sound like "Uh euh" - almost like the last sound is a French sound. It's cute.

hearing Jude say "mmmmmmm" when I ask him what a cow says.

watching Jude pull himself up to standing on pretty much any and everything.

seeing both my boys absolutely love the childcare here at the two conferences and Noah especially make new friends, both kids and adults.

sitting and chatting with some dear friends both new and old. singles, marrieds and moms. love them all. hearing what's going on in their lives. sharing what's going on in mine.

drinking lots of delicious coffee. Starbucks coffee. {smile}

absolutely KILLING my goal time for the 5k race I ran on Friday (I did it in 27:23 and my goal was 30 minutes or under!).

playing softball. {i have missed softball.} standing in the outfield with Noah waiting to catch a ball. hitting a ball with Noah {his first at bat}. {the freak-outs he threw when he couldn't come up to bat with me on my turns were NOT a favourite of mine...}

Ultimately I have been left with so much to think through like parenting, my walk with Jesus, marriage, friendship, and how God gives hope, redeems the ugly situations, showers us in mercy, grace, forgiveness, how He directs, guides, prepares and heals.

So's been a really, really good experience for all of us. And me. Which is really...nice.

Monday, July 19, 2010

questions from a child

Last night:

After the water was draining from the bathtub

Noah: Where's the water going?

Me: Down the drain.

Noah: Can I go too?

Me: *laughs* no. Do you know why?

Noah: Cuz I'm too big?

Me: Yep.

This morning eating our waffles at the kitchen table

Noah: What are YOU eating, Mama?

Me: Waffles.

Noah: What's on it?

Me: Peanut butter. (Don't hate. Peanut butter and brown sugar was my favourite growing up. I was reliving my childhood.)

Noah: *pause* Is it delicious?

Me: *laughs* Yes. It IS delicious.


Is YOURS delicious?

Noah: Uh huh. (Mouth full of waffle.)

Sunday, July 18, 2010


I haven't blogged a lot lately.

I'm not sure why.

I've been thinking about a lot of things. They just haven't transfered to this blog.

Parenting, Jesus, exercise, eating, family, friends, traveling...

I've been thinking about a lot of things.

On Tuesday we fly out to BC for 10 days with both boys for a work conference. I'm excited. My mind is constantly thinking, thinking, planning, prepping. It'll be the first time we've flown with both boys. And the first time Noah will have his own seat.

When we get home (Friday) the next day Jude turns ONE. But it's too soon for me to throw a party the next day so we'll do it on Monday since my cousin is having a (bridal) shower on the Sunday. In Michigan. 4 hours away.

And of course I got all ambitious this year and decided to do a "themed" birthday party for Jude. Which means a themed cake. Which I had hoped to bake ahead of time and freeze. And I still might do it. But I don't even know how to make this cake (I'm not telling you what it's going to be, but it's going to be CUTE!) so I'm giving myself permission to bail whenever it gets too stressful (ie. not fun).

And on that note, I AM having more fun these days. I am happier. More content. Trying harder to be the "Keeper of My Home". Domestically speaking, that is.
Some days I do AWE.SOME. Some days are a major FAIL.
Every day I try to be PRESENT for my boys and be all there and NOT sucked into this tricky thing called THE INTERNET. Some days I do AWE.SOME. guessed it. FAIL.

But I'm receiving Grace. And finally starting to desire HIM and His Word. It's been awhile since I've felt that.

Being a woman/wife/mother/daughter/sister/friend is complicated and multi-faceted. But I like that. It's hard, don't get me wrong, but when I think about how I have the rest of my life to keep growing and's a good feeling.

I think I'd get bored if I could be AWE.SOME at everything.

Off I go to keep thinking and do a bit of packing before bed...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Airplane Ride

On Saturday we went to Festival Italiano! with the boys (in the hopes of delicious pasta and Italian delicacies) and while I personally was a bit disappointed with the lack of Italian "stuff" it was still fun to walk around and see the fair.
Noah has recently shown interest in going on rides and while at first he just wanted to look at the planes, he decided he'd like to go on it after watching for awhile. The cost was $2 and Jamie and I each had ONE loonie so we bought the tickets and then I went in with Noah to get him settled.

He picked the red one.

The ride started. {I was just hoping he wouldn't flip out.}
{His first real ride.}
{By. Himself.}


Despite his barely-there smile I knew he was LOVING it.

And if I hadn't picked up on it then, I did when he threw a FULL ON TANTRUM when the ride stopped and Jamie went to get him.

He did NOT want to get off that red airplane.

Jamie and I talked later and decided that the next time he does a ride, we will be forewarning him that the ride WILL end. And he WILL have to get off.

In hindsight it was a good thing that all we had was TWO dollars as if he had had more, we may have caved to the tantrum and let him ride again.

But nope.

And then we went home.

The End.

{And I didn't get any Italian delicacies unless fries and a Smirnoff count.}

{They don't, just in case you were wondering.}

Monday, July 12, 2010


They're brothers.

It's only going to get better (harder, easier, more fun, more challenging, trickier, sillier, deeper) than this.

Brothers are as close as hands and feet. ~Vietnamese Proverb

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Banana Muffins

I think everyone should have a go-to banana muffin recipe. This is mine. I love it. I got it from a friend and it is a family recipe for which I am very grateful she shared with me. I love, love, love it. Have I mentioned that I love it? It's SO good. And versatile.

I made it with whole wheat flour this time, but you can use all-purpose or whatever. I also threw in a couple teaspoons of ground flax as well. I usually do a double batch and then split it and make half with

chocolate chips and the other half with some sort of berry or fruit. This time it was Craisins and chopped pecans (although I'd never do the Craisins again - fresh/frozen cranberries are far better). Ya just can't go wrong with a chocolate chip banana muffin!


3 bananas

3/4 cup white sugar

1 egg

1tsp soda

1tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups flour

1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted

Chocolate chips (to your liking)

Mash the bananas

Beat egg, add butter

Add dry ingredients

Bake at 375 for 15-18 minutes in greased tins or muffin cups

Friday, July 9, 2010

sleep habits

This is SO what I do. Or sometimes I just leave the covers on my upper body but uncover my legs.
Either's nice to know I'm not the only one who does this.


Yesterday was tiring, but delightful.

It started later than usual because the boys (gloriously) slept in 'til 8:30. We hustled and bustled and got everything together (except Jude's bunny which I forgot - I can't remember EVERYTHING it seems) and piled into the car to go to Gramma & Grandpa's house. Got there in good time and settled the boys and then I left.

By myself.

I got to spend the good part of the rest of the day with 3 beautiful ladies.

Without kids.

It was nice to have that time to just talk interrupted, eat delicious food and mostly I came away feeling refreshed but also hoping I hadn't talked too much (about my boys) or bored Beth, Nadine or Aban.

Oh and...we ate ice cream.




If you are ever in Toronto and you like ice cream (um, how can you NOT?), you should definitely visit Dutch Dreams. Coolest, most eclectic little ice cream house EVER.

Do you see this ice cream?! It's got whipped cream with strawberries, kiwi fruit, pineapple and melon on top! Amazing. (Even Aban is excited in the background and she doesn't even have hers yet!)
They had the most random things hanging from the ceiling! Parachuting Santa's, Flying carpets with a genie, plastic rocking horses, arabic looking tea pots, stiletto wooden clogs, pictures on the walls of Dutch was truly an eclectic collection (the music was quite eclectic as well playing everything from a remix of Single Ladies by Beyonce to French "pick up tunes" to African sounding music. It was awesome).

Photo credit to Beth.

(Psst...I got Coconut Dream & Banana Wave flavours. So.Good.)

Photo credit to Beth.
It was a good day.
Oh and then Jamie took me out for a surprise dinner date to The Keg.

I think I should have gone to the Y last night after all. I ate a lot of really good food and spent time with a lot of wonderful people (and got to meet Nadine for the first time in person. She is just as lovely in person as she seems on her blog and hopefully she'll forgive me for not taking any pictures of her beautiful face as she is the only one missing from these pictures!).
It's not often I get days like yesterday. But perhaps that is what makes them so much more delightful?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Jude's 11 month letter

Dear Spunky, Sweet Jude,

You, my little man, are 11 months old!

Wow. The things you've started doing this month!

Let's start with the most recent: signing! You've recently started signing "all done" and "more" and while they aren't exactly the right sign, it's enough that I know what you're telling me! It was really cute the first time you did it and even now I know you know what I'm asking from you ("Show Mama "more", Jude.) and sometimes you just refuse to sign. Oh you're so cheeky and you can be quite stubborn when you want to!

You had a month (or more) of amazing naps - long nap in the morning and/or afternoon! But recently you've been having shorter naps and just taking longer to settle down which I think may be due to teething or a cold that Noah passed on to you.

You are crawling like crazy and you are SUPER fast. Today Daddy opened the door into the garage and you crawled so fast and then actually took the dive down the single step. You were fine after a small cry, but we all learned to keep you away from stairs because you are FAST!

But you have no desire to walk. Even if I hold your fingers and pull you to a standing position you just whine and refuse to step forward. I'm not sure if this is cause for concern but for now I'm thinking it's NOT and that you'll take an interest on your own accord.
To be honest, I'm not sad you're not interested in cruising or walking because that's a whole other level of Jude-proofing we'll have to do. Because you are MISCHIEVOUS!

You are constantly going back to DVD player like a moth to a flame. You cannot resist the buttons and the little VCR flap. Oh my boy. Even when I say "No." firmly to you, you'll look up at me and then crack into a huge smile and go right back for it until I physically remove you from temptation.

You and your brother are still happily sharing a room and it's going well. You've both adjusted to each others' noises and sounds and usually sleep through any wake-ups that happen throughout the night.

You are eating pretty much everything we eat and are now drinking 2 sippy cups a day with half formula, half milk. I nurse you in the morning and before bed although this morning you refused the boob! Not sure what was up with that because you happily nursed after your morning nap but even though I know it wasn't anything personal it was hard not to take it personally. I know you are moving every day toward independence and this is a good thing...I guess sometimes when it's such a visible move, it's a bit shocking.

Oh and speaking of eating, you would eat dirt all day long if I let you. You are constantly shoving handfuls of sand, dirt, rocks, grass or any other piece of nature that you can cram into your mouth. And while I'm not opposed to a bit of dirt here and there, it's literally HANDFULS of dirt/sand. Handfuls! I think while we were at the beach you probably ate about 1/2 cup of sand. Yeah, we paid for that the next day.

You are smiley, friendly and make the most adorable facial expressions as you charm everyone who crosses your path. Your older brother is quite protective of you when strangers are talking to you and often says "NO!" or puts his arm in front of you or pulls the stroller umbrella down over your face. It's very cute and as a friend said tonight, "It's good to have a protective older brother."

I love you, my baby. While I'm amazed at how fast these last 11 months have gone by, I'm not sad. I love every day with you more and more and I look forward to the next 11 months, 11 years and beyond!


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sesame Chicken Pasta Salad

I love summer salads. This one is a keeper. {and there's leftovers for tomorrow's lunch. my lunch. booyah.}

I used whole wheat pasta which I'm not really a fan of, but it was the only kind of bow tie pasta the store had. But it was actually

pretty good and added a bit of a nutty taste.

This is my new summer salad and now I know what I'll be bringing to any picnic or summer get together! (And so do you!)

1/4 cup sesame seeds

1 (16 ounce) package bow tie pasta

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup light soy sauce

1/3 cup rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

3 tablespoons white sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast meat

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/3 cup chopped green onion

any veggies you want to throw in (I threw in julienned carrots, frozen corn, diced red peppers)

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add sesame seeds, and cook stirring frequently until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, and set aside.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain pasta, and rinse under cold water until cool. Transfer to a large bowl.

In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine vegetable oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, sesame seeds, ginger, and pepper. Shake well.

Pour sesame dressing over pasta, and toss to coat evenly. Gently mix in chicken, cilantro, and green onions.

the one where I give a rave review

When I find something that I love, that works amazingly and that I can stand by I tell everyone about it.
I'm not a salesperson by nature, but when I'm passionate, when I really believe in something...well, I kinda don't shut up about it.

(So here goes...)

When Noah was first born we swaddled him. At first we did it because that's what we thought we were supposed to do. But he soon proved to be Houdini Jr. The kid could get out of ANYTHING. He would wriggle his hands out and then slap himself in the face. And then wake himself up. Which would wake me up. And then we'd all be cranky. So we continued to swaddle, but I obviously needed something that would keep him swaddled throughout the entire night.

So when in my desperation for more sleep I went looking online for something to help and I stumbled upon the Miracle Blanket.
Really? MIRACLE??? Isn't that a bit much?

But I decided to go ahead and buy it.

And I didn't regret it. It actually kept Noah swaddled! Which helped him to sleep longer! It was a miracle!
I'm pretty sure I talked about it a lot to every other new parent at the time. And then he got too big for it and he eventually learned to stop slapping his face (this was probably around 4.5 months I think).

Then came Jude. He was much more laid-back than Noah (less face-slappy) but we continued to swaddle until my long guy outgrew the Miracle Blanket and kicked his legs free.

I like the Miracle Blanket because it's soft, it's one piece of material and there aren't any buttons, zippers, velcro or any other potentially dangerous materials that could hurt or irritate a newborn's skin. And it keeps babies swaddled, which is proven to help babies sleep better (think about it, they were all cozy and tight in your belly for 9 months and they did just fine in there!).

If you're a new Mom, I would HIGHLY recommend you check their website with all the details and even a little video of how the blanket works. (And then go buy it. Because seriously? It WORKS.) And right now they even have a 10% off summer sale and if you buy 2 or more, it's 15% off!

*Disclosure: While I was sent a free Miracle Blanket, money or giveaways cannot buy my opinions. I love the Miracle Blanket and would still rave about it had I not received anything. (Psst, my lovely friend and new Mommy, Ashley was the lucky recipient of a beige Miracle Blanket.)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Canada Day at Riverside Park

On Canada Day we went to Riverside Park here in Guelph to partake in some festivities. Noah really wanted to go in the bouncy castle (shaped like a giraffe) and the bouncy slide. He's shown interest before, but never followed through. So when he willingly (and zestfully) climbed up the slide and said READY, SET, GO! at the top, I felt like we had turned a corner. My little boy is growing up and taking risks. He even went in the bouncy castle on his own.

Now for some people that's not a big deal. Either you don't have kids and you don't get it, or you have kids but they're rambunctious or very outgoing and just dive right into situations - even those that they've never been in before. But Noah is a watcher. He observes from the sidelines. It's not wrong. It's just how he learns and warms up to things. He shies away from people, places or things that are new and unknown to him. So it was really a joy to watch him bound across (okay, so he walked) the bouncy castle and laugh with delight as another kid jumped and landed right at his feet in a pile. I said to Jamie,

I feel as if we've turned a corner with Noah.

And it's not like he's changed. He still shied away from a "high five" from a co-worker who stopped by today. But

he's growing.

The rest of our day was spent at the petting zoo, and wandering around in the beautiful sun, eating delicious Thai food, laughing and running around with "Gramma and Grandpa", "Auntie Bean and Uncle Sam", watching a dog show and dancing to music.

Jude made friends with a couple on a blanket near us as he crawled back and forth between me and close-to-them, smiling and waving and flirting away.

It's been a different experience to have a smiley, friendly baby this second time around. A baby who willingly waves hello and good bye. Who smiles at strangers and can easily be dropped off at the church nursery. I don't doubt his attachment to me, I just know that he has a more easy-going nature and outgoing personality than Noah. Not better, just different. Perhaps it's because I'm more easy going the second time around. I wouldn't doubt it has played a role, but it's so very clear that he just enjoys other people - even those he doesn't know so well.

He is getting to the stage where he recognizes that someone is unknown or less known to him and much prefers those he DOES know and maybe a smile is slower to cross his face, but ...

he still smiles.

I love my boys. I am so thankful and blessed to have them. I wouldn't trade them for anything and I wouldn't trade places with anyone. I am a blessed Mother and Wife and I am (re)learning to bask in the blessings on a daily basis.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

sleep routines and fireworks

When Noah was little, I was pretty rigid with his schedule. This was for all our benefit. At about 2 months he started fighting naps and sleep and we were spending hours trying to get him to sleep. When he wouldn't nap, he'd be cranky and miserable (which would make ME miserable). So we did sleep training and then we stuck to the sleep schedule as if our lives depended on it (because, at the time, it seemed like they did). He always went to bed on time (if we could help it) and I rarely kept him up late.

When we went to Africa (Noah was 6 months old) I still managed to keep to his schedule, but started to loosen up a bit. And then when we went to Ireland (on our way home from Africa - Noah was 7.5 months) the schedule went out the window. We had 4 days to see and do all we wanted to so Noah went to bed later and napped on the go. Those 4 days taught me so much and proved that all our hard work was not in vain as Noah was now a much better sleeper, and easily fell back into a good sleep routine when we got home. He adjusted amazingly to time differences and traveled fantastically.

All that to say, we have come a long way in the whole sleep routine department. I know the value in having a routine, but I'm not as strict and from time to time, we'll keep the boys up for something worthwhile (but I still highly value our routine as I know it's best for the boys and ME who has to deal with the consequences of grumpy, sleepy boys the next day, sometimes even 2 days later!).

June 30th we were invited to watch fireworks with some friends from church who live in our neighbourhood. They weren't supposed to happen until dusk so I actually put the boys to bed at their normal times and then woke them up just after 9pm (although that was a hard task as they were both out cold!). Jude woke up and was peppy and perky as if he had napped a full 8 hr sleep. Noah was quiet and a bit dopey.

We got to the park where the fireworks were going to happen and it was so much fun! Free chips and juice and tons of kids running around. It was some kind of bizarro world where kids play in the park at nighttime!

Neither of the boys had experienced fireworks before and so we waited to see what their reactions would be.

The first firework went off.

Bang! Pop!

They both started crying.

I knew they would.

Jude started to calm down a bit, but Noah's cries were fearful and slightly screamy. So Jamie took Noah into the house and watched from there while Jude and I sat with our friends. It was adorable to watch Jude's squinty eyes taking it all in. When the flashing lights and loud pops got too much for him, he'd look away. And then he'd look back.

Noah still talks about the fireworks and says that he didn't like them because they were "too loud". Poor fella. But he sure had fun afterward as he played with his friend William at William's house.

It was fun and I'm glad we did it!

Sugar-Crusted Salmon

Guys, this is GOOD. I love the sugar, the heat (from the chili powder) and the soft texture of the fish. It's good. Both boys rejected it the other day, which meant more for me and Jamie, but maybe it was a No-Fish Day and I just didn't get the memo as both boys have eaten salmon before and loved it.

Love this recipe. This was the second time I've made it, and it was just as delicious as I remembered.

2 Tablespoons sugar

1 Tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon black pepper

½ Tablespoon ground cumin

½ Tablespoon paprika

½ Tablespoon Salt

¼ teaspoon dry mustard

dash of cinnamon

4 to 6 salmon fillets

2 Tablespoons canola oil

Mix all rub ingredients together in a medium bowl.

When ready to cook the salmon, generously coat one side of the salmon fillet (usually the non-skin side, for presentation) with the rub.

Heat oil in a large heavy pan over medium-high heat. Carefully place salmon fillets in pan, seasoned side down.

Cook about 2 minutes to sear; turn fillets over. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking 6 to 8 minutes.

Cook just until fish is opaque throughout.

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