Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday: a good thing

Muffin tin Monday was another HUGE success! I'm loving being creative with food - and lunch on top of it {I usually struggle in the lunch department}.

And Noah is loving it, too! He ate everything plus extra meat {apparently Jamie isn't the only one in this house who loves pepperettes} and a Clementine orange.

Top row: cheerios, banana on a stick {genius idea that I stole from another lunch who stole it from someone else - genius. Pure genius.}, cashews {which he loved and kept saying, "mmm, crunchy."}.
Bottom: yogurt, pumpkin shaped sandwich {cream cheese with banana & strawberry jam - raisins for eyes, small piece of licorice for mouth}, pepperettes.

Also, Noah will eat pretty much anything if it's in a fun shape. It's a mind-blowing discovery and I'm loving it because A) now he'll eat the food I give him - or at worst, at least give it a try and B) I can try out things like liverwurst {that's right. I am giving my kids liverwurst and they are actually liking it! Hey, I survived, so can they.} and he'll eat it right up! Amazing!

So, Muffin Tin Monday will continue to happen for as long as I can remember to do it! It's really a win-win. I get to be creative and Noah actually eats a good lunch!

*scoots off to do a little victory jig*

Monday, September 27, 2010

it's all downhill from here...or something.

This happens at least three times a day:

Out of the blue, with no reason or provocation, Jude will belt out a big, defiant


And without fail, Noah will ALWAYS respond:


And they will go back and forth about ABSOLUTELY.NOTHING.

We've been trying to teach Jude to say "yes" or "yeah" (I'd take slang over defiance any day!). I'm fairly certain Jude just says it to get our reaction and doesn't entirely know what "no" means, but he says it with attitude. Pushing his brother's buttons already. Bring on the sibling rivalry.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Hey Jude...{PS I love you}

Jude, oh my Jude.


I just can't get enough of you.

And sometimes you drive me bonkers.

You are cheeky. Hilarious. Stubborn. Persistent. Smart. Driven. Laid-back. Serious. Funny. Happy. Fussy. Easy. Tricky. Adorable. Surprising.

You make me want to eat your cheeks. Squeeze your thighs. Pinch your double-jointed toes.

Play ball with you. Keep you up late. Give you an early bedtime. Watch you cock your head back all the way so you can get the last little drop of milk out of your sippy. Throw you up in the air. Make you laugh. Cuddle you close. Kiss your forehead. Laugh out loud. Scream out loud. WhisperI love you onto the top of your head. Watch you as you sleep. Pray you sleep in. Hold you close and never let you go.

You are my second born and I love you oh-so-much. You have completed this family {for now} and the joy you bring to my heart and life are such that I could never be able to put them into words.

You have been out of the womb for almost 14 months now and it's like you've always been with us. We don't know life without you anymore.

Your hair. It kills me. It curls and flops and sticks up and out and I really don't want to cut it. So for now, we'll leave it.

I still call you "baby". I'm not sure when I'm supposed to stop. I don't imagine I will any time soon.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The one where I talk about children's books

I love the library. The boys do, too.

We've got a great system here in Guelph and I love that the closest branch to us is less than a 15 minute walk away.

Today we returned our huge stash and took out another huge stash to last us a couple weeks.

Truth be told, I totally take out books that look interesting or fun/funny for me to read {because I know I'm going to be reading them 50 billion times in the next few weeks} as well as the ones Noah picks out. And I'm always surprised at the ones that Noah takes an interest in.
With our last "stash" it was "Don't let the pigeon drive the bus!" which I find absolutely hilarious. Now while he didn't exactly get the humour in it, he certainly managed to memorize most {if not all} of the book. I heard him "reading" the book to himself during his room time this morning. I just think he liked saying "NO!" to the pigeon every time he asks the reader if he can drive the bus. It's a great book. You should take it out of your library. Even if you don't have kids.

This time around he's already taken a liking to "Big Red Lollipop" which is a book about siblings and ... well, a big, red lollipop {and that is the part that draws him in, I'm sure}.

And of course, the Cheerios book.

Because who doesn't like playing with your food?

Yes, he really is eating the Cheerios right off the page.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

This is it.

Today after my run at the gym (yay I actually made it!), I was walking past the playcare center (where the kids are looked after) and I quickly peeked in and saw Jude fussing slightly and then Noah comes over and they both reach out for each other and give each other a hug.


I nearly died.

It is moments like this that assure me over and over and over again, that there is nothing in the world that can take the place of a sibling. Nothing.

What a blessing to have been blessing with (so far) two beautiful, loving, amazing little boys.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Today I woke up and was slammed with mad dizziness.

It sucked.

I called my Mom.

She's awesome and came to help out with the boys so Jamie could go to work and not have to stay home.

I lay in bed for the larger portion of the day. Read. Slept. Ate lying down. (Which is surprisingly difficult to do.)

It was frustrating, really. I wanted to get on my intense running regiment for the last 4 weeks before I run my 10k. And I actually felt fine as long as I was lying down. The minute I sat up, stood up or walked anywhere I felt ridiculously dizzy and then the nausea would start.

So yeah. It sucked.

So I got in to see my doctor this afternoon.

I'm not pregnant (in case you were wondering).

I don't have a virus (apparently).

We don't really know what this is (because this is the third time this has happened to me in the last 6ish months). But I got some wicked drugs to help keep the dizziness at bay so I can at least function should it happen again (I'm at probably 85% right now).

So not much was accomplished - at least tangibly.

But my boys were loved on. We all got to eat and laugh and love.

So...perhaps it was a good day.

(Can I say, "Screw you, vertigo!" ?)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Muffin Tin Mondays: the beginning

I did it! The first of (hopefully) many Muffin Tin Mondays in the Strickland household!

I got the idea from this blog and instantly loved it (in fact, I'd like someone to make ME a muffin tin lunch!). And I had a feeling it would bode well with Noah's eating habits as well.

So today I tried it out and despite Noah being confused about where the actual muffins were, I would say it was a success! He ate everything except the sunflower seeds - granted he tried them, but just didn't finish them.

I'm encouraged and motivated to keep at this! I'm not doing themes like the original idea for muffin tin Monday but maybe sometime along the road I will.

Items: Triscuit triangles and a chunk of old cheddar cheese (so good!), strawberry applesauce, 4 animal cookies, 2 chicken nuggets and ketchup and some sunflower seeds.

Me in Pictures

I've been wanting to blog about this for a little while now but here I sit, finally doing it.

Anyway, it's nothing big...only that, well, lately I've actually liked how I've looked in photographs. Even the candid ones.

This is new. At least since I've had kids {and haven't been pregnant because I always like how I look when I'm pregnant}.

And it's hard to admit that. But it's true. I'm vain. But mostly it's because my self image has gone down the crapper {along with my mental ability to retain knowledge and otherwise IMPORTANT information other than the lyrics to Sharon, Lois & Bram and any sort of stomach muscle tone I ever had}. I haven't even liked how I felt about myself. Because I haven't liked myself. For a long time.

But lately I've been running. And eating yummy food - trying to eat GOOD food, but what with mouth-watering butter-filled recipes like ones from The Pioneer Woman and Bakerella, sometimes I go overboard and it's hard not to eat the last 5 cookies in the container. But I digress...

So I've been running. And while the number that shows up on the scale hasn't exactly gone down dramatically, I feel better about myself. And I'm not sure if it's because I'm learning to accept and love myself or it's because I've actually toned up or lost flab or maybe it's a bit of everything.

But somewhere along the line, I think I've started to figure out this whole thing called balance. And I gotta say that this desire to go for a run is something entirely new to me.

And I love it.

And if nothing else, that is one of the best things to happen to me in a long time.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Conversations with an almost 3 year old

Today at lunch we were sitting and enjoying our BBQ (because who doesn't love a September BBQ?) when I decided to ask Noah what he did in children's church.

Me: What did you learn about today, Noah?

Noah: Um....*pause* Abraham.

Me: *somewhat shocked* Abraham!?! Wow! *pause as I think up a good follow up question* What did Abraham do?

Noah: Um...I don't know. *pause* He did this. *points his finger up*

Me: This? *I point my finger up*

Noah: Yes. At all the stars.

Me: Because God promised to give him as many children as there are stars in the sky?

Noah: Yes. And Sarah was there. And she had a baby.

Me: *continuing to be jaw-droppingly amazed at his retention and ability to communicate the lesson he heard* And what was the baby's name?

Noah: Isaac.

Me: Wow. Baby Isaac.

Me to Jamie and Tim (our friend who was over for the day): This is amazing! I love this age!

We continue our conversation for a few more seconds and then it turns to something else - probably poop or how apple juice has sugar in it.

But for those few minutes there, I was basking.

Basking in the absolute pleasure and joy and amazement of hearing and seeing my son learn about something amazing and be able to tell me all about it.

Parenting. There is literally NOTHING like it.

I love my job.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I love the way he says "lollipop".

Also an added bonus, my singing.


I totally blogged too soon.

No joke, that night Noah called out for me a 1/2 hour after I put him down saying he was "scared" but then didn't know what he was scared of. So I sat in the room with him until he fell asleep (about 35 minutes - or at least he was quiet when I left the room).
The next night he screamed. And screamed. And screamed some more so I had to take Jude out of the room (as he was now awake and crying) and put him in the office in the pack 'n play.
Noah proceeded to scream and cry and call out for just over 2 hours when he finally fell asleep.
Naps have also been accompanied with screaming and crying and calling out.
Tonight Jamie is putting him to bed and he is now testing Jamie's endurance by actually getting OUT of bed and screaming. (Stay with it, Jame! You can do it!) So Jamie is not talking to or looking at Noah as he continues to put him back in his bed.

Interesting because a friend of mine also started "the sleep rules" with her daughter around the same time we did with Noah and she totally went through the relapse a couple days ago. So we are pushing through this and hopefully we will come out on the other side with some firmly established, healthy sleep habits.

If there's one thing I've learned with kids...they like to change it up and keep things real.
(And also, we are more persistent than they are.)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Noah's sleep update

Just an update on Noah's sleep issues:

Ever since we put in place Noah's sleep rules and his sleep chart, he has been doing amazing!

Every single night he's gone to bed with no fuss and quietly slept until the morning. The stickers and the "treats" are a huge incentive and although he still gets confused about when he gets his treat, I think it's really working.

He's got two more rows of stickers to fill up and then I think we'll use the chart for something else.

Also, every nap and bedtime I ask him what his sleep rules and he says:

Stay in my bed.
Close my eyes.
Be quiet. Sh Sh Sh.

It's really sweet and cute the way he says it. Maybe some day I'll catch it on video.

I'm really proud of him and so happy for how this has really worked for all of us!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Responsibility of a 3 year old

Maybe I should call this the Noah brag blog...but he's changing so much and doing so much these days that I just want to remember it all (so I won't be offended if you don't really read these entries - they're more for me anyway - well, future me. Because present me cannot remember if I changed my undies this morning let alone a cute thing my son did yesterday).

Today before nap I told him to come upstairs with me and we'd read some stories after I put Jude down for his nap and then it would be his (Noah's) nap time.

He was laying down playing with his cars when he sat up and said,

"I just have to clean up my cars, Mommy."


I love this kid. Often he fights clean up...but today...all the work and effort we put into teaching him responsibility for his own things, and after learning the consequences of NOT cleaning up, he surprises me with owning the responsibility of cleaning up his own toys.

I'll say it again; I love this kid.

My kid.

Noah's funnies

Jamie: Noah, why do we have bums?

Noah: I don't know. *pause* Um, I think because we need them.


Jamie: Why do we need bums?

Noah: For our own glory.

Catechism FAIL.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Carrot Muffins

I made carrot muffins for the first time. Sure I've eaten lots of carrot muffins but I've never actually made them before. So I scrounged around for a recipe online and ended up adapting one from Epicurious. {Partially because I didn't have all the ingredients and partially because I liked my ideas better.} And they turned out amazing! I think these will become a new muffin staple in the Strickland household. And doubling the recipe made SO MANY MUFFINS! I froze at least half of them so we'll be able to enjoy them (or I can give them away) sometime down the road.

2 ½ cup flour

½ cup whole wheat flour

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

3 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

3 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon allspice (if you have it – I didn’t)

4 cups finely grated carrots (or just regular grated)

1/2 cup walnuts (I wish I had had these, but I didn’t.)

1 cup coconut

1 apple, peeled, cored, and grated

3 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup applesauce

3 tsp vanilla

Put all ingredients in large mixing bowl, mix well. Grease muffin tins or use muffin papers.

Preheat oven to 350. Fill tins ¾ full. Makes at least 24. Bake for 25 minutes (about 20-22 mins for mini muffins).

{This recipe has been doubled from the original recipe I got it from. But I forgot to double the eggs. It still tasted delish. Also, instead of doubling the oil, I just put in 1 cup oil and 1 cup applesauce.}

More funnies from Noah

Today at lunch:

Jamie: Hey baloney?

Noah: Yes, Jamie?

I cracked up. I couldn't help it. And then I wrote that exchange down. Jamie's met his match, I think.


Noah in the car: Hop on the bus, Gus!
Me: Where did you learn that, Noah?
Noah: Grandma.

After dinner:

Noah: My tummy is SO FULL. (then proceeds to lift up his shirt to show us his large tummy.)

Noah wandering around the living room: Hey anybody seen my Hummer?

And pretty much at least once a day he says this:

My teeth are dirty!


Apple juice has sugar in it, Mommy.

Keep 'em coming, Noah. I love your hilarious sayings!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

notes to myself so I don't ever forget

Things I don't want to forget about my boys:

Noah, sitting and eating an afternoon snack: It's 29 bucks.
Me: What's 29 bucks?
Noah: Um, my toes.

Jude crawling/climbing. Seriously. The kid will climb up and down anything he can. Today it was up onto a kid chair and then up onto a rubbermaid container (I'm dragging out the fall gear) and then back onto the chair and then back up onto the container. Easily over 20 times.

Jude getting into EVERYTHING. Yesterday alone I caught him with a black white board marker in his hand almost sucking on it with a black streak across his cheek and black-streaked hands, also probably mildly electrocuting himself by sucking on a computer charge-cord that was plugged into the wall but not into my computer and of course getting up to the fourth stair but not knowing how to crawl back down and then just generally crawling away from me as fast as he can while giggling maniacally the entire time. I am SO in trouble with this one.

Noah: This dinner is delicious, Mommy.
He was picking through his curry and eating all of the chickpeas.
I like the chickpeas.

Jude starts crying.
Me: Oh no. What happened?
Noah: I kicked him.
Me: Noah. You KNOW that in our family we don't kick. What do you need to say to Jude?
Noah: I'm sorry Jude for kicking you. I forgive you.
Me: No, you say, "Will you forgive me?"
Noah: Will you forgive me, Jude?

So sweet.

While most times Jude just crawls into Noah's carefully lined up cars and demolishes any semblance of order Noah had created and Noah usually screeches with displeasure at this "giant baby" invading his car-land, sometimes he is gentle and understanding and shares willingly and makes Jude laugh.

Like yesterday when we were jamming to some Sharon, Lois & Bram (or SLB as Jamie likes to refer to them as) and Noah started imitating some of the sounds and words that were being sung and Jude just giggled away. So Noah kept doing them and they were laughing together and being silly. And my heart just gushed.


This was what my heart longed for.

Honestly? It's these moments that make everything else so worth it.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Manchester Recap

So...my time in Manchester.

It was amazing.

I loved it. Yes. It was hard to be away from my kids and the hubs. BUT...it was so so so good to be on my own.

Manchester. Not exactly a pretty city, but it definitely has aspects of the prettiness of the UK with old buildings and great architecture. It truly is an industrial city, but I definitely enjoyed my time in the city. The uncharacteristically fantastic weather was a huge bonus.

Of course I had to do the whole high tea thing as well.
Scones, clotted cream and jam with the most amazing tea at a 5 star restaurant. It really doesn't get any classier (or tastier) than this.

And the hotel I stayed in (which was also where the wedding and reception were) was stunning. It was the classic English garden I pictured in my mind with brick buildings and hideaway courtyards with little fountains and beautiful cobblestone pathways.

The day of the wedding we were lucky enough to have more beautiful weather as we rushed around to get ready - hair, make up and then getting dressed consumed hours of our morning. Thank goodness for a 3:30pm wedding!

Seriously INCREDIBLE dress.

Tam looked gorgeous and stunning but completely herself. Oh and did you see her ring?

I know, right?

Oh and I was there too. Here's proof:

So because I was actually IN the wedding I didn't get any shots of the ceremony even though us bridesmaids were sitting (I couldn't quite figure out how to get my camera in ahead of time and then not lug it around afterward...the downside to having a really big, nice camera) I didn't get any ceremony shots. But it was sweet even though we all walked down the aisle to the wrong song, it somehow fit perfectly.

The reception was lovely. With stunning flowers and little touches here and there, and of course the stunning setting, it was one of the most beautiful weddings I've ever been to.

They cut the cake (which was so amazing),

and they danced their first dance...

and it was a perfect evening. I wish I could have stayed for longer (and I wish I could go to GREECE with them on their honeymoon - is that weird? Let's face it, Greece?!? That'd be awesome with anyone!) and I miss my lovely friend Tam, but I'm so glad and honoured I was there on her big, beautiful day to see her joy and love for James and I wish them all the best and I can't wait until the summer when we get to hang out again!

Now where is the nearest restaurant that does high tea?....to The Boathouse I go!

Wind your toy

Last night we all went to the Guelph Pep Rally at the university.
Every year all the first year students gather in the bleachers in the football stadium and get some speeches delivered to them, but then they get a chance to perform their choreographed boogies. They get into their respective dorms and then try and "out boogie" each other.

And every year people from the hill across from the bleachers attempt to join in and blend in with the boogie-ers. I had my year. But Jamie likes to join in every year. This year he took Noah for the last boogie we stayed for.

Noah LOVED it. And EVERYONE on the hill was watching him and laughing at all his cute antics.
When Jamie and Noah came back off the field, Jamie lifted Noah high into the air and ran across the bottom of the hill. Everyone erupted into a loud cheer! Noah was a star!
He didn't quite get that they were cheering for him, but when I told him, a small smile spread across his face.
It was adorable.

Noah busts out his own dance moves.

Jamie shows Noah how to "wind his toy".

Look! He's actually winding his toy!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

wedding seating

During the reception I was seated beside a pregnant lady. I thought we'd have tons to talk about. Here's how the conversation went down:

after some random chit chat about each other and her being pregnant...

Me: So I hear midwives are more popular here in the UK?

PL: Midwives are b*tches.

Me: (extremely shocked look on my face, uncertain as to where this conversation is headed although I should have known from that comment.) Oh. Really? Um...

PL: Well, most are. They're all so into the whole natural birth thing and so opposed to doctors and drugs and really just think we're all intervening in the natural process and they're so against epidurals and sections.

Me: Oh. So you're a doctor?

PL: Yes. I'm an anaesthetist.

(I should have known.)

Me. Oh.

PL: And then they're all in their home births and I just don't get that. I mean, why would you do that when you can be in the hospital just minutes away from an OR if you need one instead of having to travel 30 minutes when an operation needs to be done in less than 15?

Me: (at this point I am quiet...debating whether to bring up the fact that I've had two seamless home births, and was myself born at home. I opt not to unless she asks me as I'm not particularly in the mood to pick a fight. I let her rant.) Yes, well...

PL: I'm all for sections! In fact, I can't think of a better way to go than a elective section.

Me: (I'm just smiling at her. Not noding in agreement, but smiling. The conversation turns to other things or the music is too loud or speeches start or something and I am grateful but somewhat saddened that she has such a negative view of what are some fabulous women who specialize in "catching babies".)

I think we did talk later about breastfeeding (she also views it negatively because of midwives who push it on them - or perhaps it's their general health care system?) and how no one gives formula information just assuming you'll be able to breastfeed. While I'm all for letting people know your options, it seems to me that formula feeding is fairly straight forward. Follow the directions on the can, figure out which bottle your baby will take and go at it. Wash, rinse, repeat. Breastfeeding on the other hand can be very tricky and requires much persistence for some woman. It would seem to me that informing women and teaching them about breastfeeding is more beneficial than formula feeding, but to present both things objectively and without guilt.

We talked about skin-to-skin contact and she asked me if I did it and I told her I didn't really, but not because I was against it...I just hadn't thought about it and I don't recall anyone bringing it up to me at all. I was wearing a top when I delivered both boys (don't laugh - many women aren't and I was determined not to be one of them. :P) so when I took both of them up onto my chest after they were born, it wasn't right onto my skin and then I just changed shirts and the babies were cleaned up.

I do believe I did mention at one point that birthing Jude was quite easy, but that Noah's was very different and much more intense and painful. I didn't mention being drug-free or anything, but then again, she didn't ask too much about the experience.

I guess I just thought it both ironic and assumptive on my part. Ironic because who would have thought to put an anaesthetist and a home birther beside each other at a wedding. Assumptive because I just assumed that because she was pregnant we would have so much to talk about. Turns out we did, but we were on such different pages it would have been more disagreeable to "go there".

Saturday, September 4, 2010

It was good.

Um, more to come I promise, but I had a freaking awesome time this past week in Manchester.

And I am over the moon for my bestie, Tam and her new hubby and so thrilled that I was able to be there for their beautiful wedding.

Also, I was ON MY OWN - as in, no kids or hubs. It felt VERY different, but it was good for my soul. I am glad to be back with my babies and my man, but it was kind of like I remembered a part of who I am apart from everyone else. And THAT was a good thing to remember.

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