Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Santa Experience

Yesterday, I took Kate to get photos with Santa. I had two requirements - no malls or stores, and not crowded. I'd heard that there was a santa at the George Washington Carver Museum and that it would satisfy my requirements.

It was a warm, lovely day. We headed over there and it was perfect. Not many people, a lovely space with great Christmas trees and a santa with no line for photos. And, it was free! I pulled Kate's Christmas dress over her clothes and headed for a photo op.

It was a typical toddler Santa experience, as the photo shows:

It's one for the baby book.

I did get a few good photos next to the tree though:

We'll try again next year. And the year after that.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

First Blood

Not even half an hour after the last post, Kate fell off the couch. I had gone into the kitchen not a minute before, and since I was loading the dishwasher, I didn't see what happened. She cried for a long time, and when the snot was wiped away, she had a fat lip to show for the fall.

Regular lip:

Fat lip:

I gave her some tylenol and checked her teeth. Everything looked ok except for the swelling. She was happy in her bath, went to bed easily and will hopefully sleep as normal.

Single parent for a few days

We dropped Graeme off at the airport this afternoon. He has to go to Finland for work related stuff. He'll be back on Monday, so I'm a single parent for a few days. So far, we're all intact and I'm not too grumpy. I have to do bath duty tonight, which I never do. Hopefully it all goes well and no one cries.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Sunday in December (in Austin)

Today was a great day. It was sunny, warm and we kept remarking on the fact that it was December. Days like today make the summer worth it. We started the day by going to Chinatown (not a district, but the name of a restaurant) for dim sum. It was really, really good. Best I've had in Austin and rivalling my favourite place in Ottawa. It was pretty upscale dim sum. For instance we had these, the coffee glazed baby back ribs. They were amazing.

Kate liked them too.

After lunch, we went to a shopping area and wandered around. We got some ice cream, bought a few presents and played in the fountain.

After that, we had to get downtown to the Children's Museum where Graeme had volunteered to help out with a UT Chemistry event. When the museum closed, we wandered down to the path by the river, watched the birds and listened to the bells playing carols.

It was a perfect day. And it was in December. I don't miss winter very much.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A List!

I'm stealing from Karen's post, since I'm feeling lazy.

One hundred things done or undone. Done are in bold.
(I admit the list is American and Euro-centric and clearly not a true life list. Not everyone can adopt or give birth, for instance. But, still fun.)

1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightning at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch ~ knitting
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life (Heimlich manoeuvre)
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person (I do not understand why this is on the list.)
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Ridden an elephant

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Great Nap Battle

It used to be, what seems a long, long time ago, that Kate went down for her nap quite easily. I would nurse her and she fell asleep and easily transferred to her crib. But sometime last week, that changed and now she wakes up during the transfer and cries. And cries. It's been over 30 minutes and she's still crying. Last week there was one day when it was a very short 7 minutes, but generally it goes on and on. I'm still holding out hope that she exhausts herself (it is a very pathetic cry at this point) and sleep for a few hours.

I'm not a fan of this new nap routine.

We're now at the one hour mark, and she's still crying. A bit more worked up now, so I'm about ready to go in. But then she wins. Sigh. Oh, and now she's quiet. This seems unwinnable.

After 75 minutes, the crying escalated so I went in. Dirty diaper, tear streaked face, blubbering. It was very sad and broke my heart a bit (but only a bit. She needs to sleep!). Now, post snack, she is playing happily. We will soon load into the stroller and go for a looooooong walk.

4 pm, finally asleep in crib. This is very much what happened on Friday afternoon as well, and I hate it. I did the same thing (staying in there, kept laying her back down, etc. etc.) when I was getting her to sleep at night. She never resisted for as long though. I need a stiff drink.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008


- Kate's fever seems to be done, but we're still living in phlegm land. Graeme and I are both coming down with it now.
- We saw her eye surgeon this morning and made the decision to do the surgery sooner rather than later. We'll be scheduling it as soon as he can fit us in.
- It's cold here. Cold is relative, of course. But it's going below freezing tonight and we live in a 70+ year old house with single pane windows, no insulation and visible gaps around the front door. At least the furnace is fixed!
- We have a freezer full of chowder and chili, perfectly timed for the cold weather and I don't have to think about dinner. Yay!
- I decided earlier in the week to give up refined sugar until Christmas. Today is day 3. Cravings have yet to cease.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Under this rock

We're going to crawl out from under here at some point. Kate is sick. She's been sick for four? five? days now. Fever, snot, cough, occasional diarrhea and no appetite. Which means no playdates, no kindermusik and lots of time at home.

Please let her be healthy tomorrow. Otherwise, I might go insane.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Phriday Photo

Last week, Clay came over to play one afternoon with Kate. Yesterday, he became a big brother.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Lots to be thankful for

Happy American Thanksgiving! I love celebrating two thanksgivings. And we have a lot to be thankful for this year.

Kate is amazing and healthy and is learning at a crazy rate these days. It's like suddenly she is absorbing things at a whole new pace. She mimics actions and sounds and closely watches everything we do.

Despite the economic downturn, we have our lovely house, Graeme has a secure job and we have everything we need.

This morning, my friend Meredith gave birth to a perfect baby girl. Everyone is doing great.

This afternoon we will enjoy turkey with some great friends.

Erika has been here for a few days and we're having a great visit.

I hope everyone who is celebrating today is having a good day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pie-apalooza complete

I have deliveries to make, but they are all baked. Half were delivered yesterday and once Kate naps (if she does) I'll deliver the rest.

I promise, no talk of pie for awhile.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tomorrow, the butter hits the fan

Tomorrow is the start of pie-apalooza 2008. I have to make 7 pies tomorrow, 6 on Wednesday and 3 on Thursday morning. Plus a batch of rolls tomorrow morning. Woohoo. If no one hears from me on Thursday, someone come looking for me.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A big day

Kate took her first unassisted steps today. The first was just one to get to the chair and she didn't even notice what she did. I tried not to react much, although I did run to the phone and call Graeme. Then tonight, Graeme had her walk across the kitchen. It didn't surprise me that her first day walking she went that far - she has been ready for a long time but hasn't wanted to give up the fingers. We'll see how it goes tomorrow, I think within a few days she'll be refusing help altogether. That's our girl - stubborn about one thing and then the exact opposite thing the next day.

Phriday Photo

Thursday, November 20, 2008

That's a whole lot of pastry

I just made three batches of pastry, enough for 18 pies. They are all in individual ziplocs in the freezer awaiting the pie-apalooza. I used more than 5 lbs of flour. This is kind of crazy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Who are you, and what did you do with Kate?

Since waking from her (nearly 3 hour) nap this afternoon, our daughter has been replaced with a better version of herself. Kate is generally happy, but does fuss and gets needy as the day goes on. Not today. We went out for dinner where she was fantastic (ate the unhealthy meal of mac&cheese and some french fries). Then when we got home she played happily for 2.5+ hours with not a single fuss. She did ask to nurse a couple of times, but each time she asked nicely (even signed 'please'). It's like a better version of her. Finally, at 10 pm after no eye rubs, yawns or any sign of tiredness we decided she had to go to bed. And she got ready for bed with no fussing (even to the tooth brushing!) and fell straight to sleep.

I feel like a different person than I do most evenings. And to think she started off the day so poorly. She woke up 1.5 hours early and was fussier than normal.

Please tell me this is a new phase and not just a fluke.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pies, cookies and squares, OH MY!

Riding the wave of motivation and inspiration from my sister, I'm starting a new business, the Austin branch of Sugarplum Fairy Homebaking. (Karen is the founding Ottawa branch)

If you don't like to bake or simply don't have the time, let us do it for you! We love to bake and we're darn good at it. We will deliver your Thanksgiving or Christmas baking (shh, we won't tell that you didn't make it yourself) to your door.

We bake all of the pies, cookies, squares and tarts (or whatever you fancy) ourselves in our own kitchen. We have a huge variety of recipes; something that will suit everyone's tastes.

Specialties include:

- pumpkin, pecan and French Canadian apple pie
- our family's traditional Scottish shortbread (it melts in your mouth)
- a variety of Christmas cookies that could include: sugar cookies, gingersnaps, toffee snowballs, thumbprint cookies, chocolate orange biscotti just to name a few
- a few different types of squares

We can customize to your tastes and needs. Our baking contains no margarine, shortening or corn syrup. Just ingredients that your great-grandmother would have used. Organic goodies are also available.

Please leave a comment on the blog with your email and I'll be happy to get back to you as soon as possible. You can also contact me by phone at 512-769-3391.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I can do it myself

That is Kate's theme these days. She wants to do everything herself, especially feed herself. Here she is very proud of herself and her mac & cheese eating skills.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sorry for radio silence

My computer is awaiting a new hard drive after a fall a few days ago. I have some great video to post once it's back up and running.

Monday, November 10, 2008

What the hell is going on?

Kate was up four times last night. Two of them were very brief - she calmed down as soon as I entered her room. The other two took a lot longer, and finally required the boob. I have no idea what was going on. The temperature in her room was good, She went to bed at her normal time, she ate dinner (as much as usual, anyway). She doesn't seem to be sick at all. The only thing I can think of is that some teeth are on their way, although there isn't much evidence of that either.

I hope tonight is better.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Around and around

She still isn't doing it on her own, but she goes around and around and around:

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


We are soooo excited over here. Obama will be the next president. So excited. So happy to have an intelligent, thoughtful man as president. We can feel proud again. It's been many years of embarrassment.


Go Vote!

It's finally here. I am cautiously optimistic and anxiously awaiting results tonight. I'm going to stay busy today to keep from obsessively watching the news online.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The conclusion

As Karen indicated in comments below, the rat met it's demise last night. I was feeling really stressed about the whole thing, so it's a huge relief to have it gone.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A visitor in the house

Last weekend we went out for a few hours and left the back door open so that Westley could go in and out while we were away. Shortly after we got home, we heard a strange noise from under the stove. It was clear that something had snuck in through the door while we were out. There was no activity for a few nights, but finally there was the evidence of a partially eaten apple. It would be nice to think it's a mouse, but if you have rats, you don't have mice.

The following night I set some traps but had no luck. But there was evidence that the visitor had been in Kate's room. I wasn't ok with having a rat around before that, but when I knew it was going in Kate's room, it was really, really not ok.

Last night we blocked the space under Kate's door so that it couldn't get in there, and instead I was woken up many times by the awful creature making noises in our room or the kitchen. Kate slept really well, but the rat kept me up instead. Tonight, there is no food out at all (last night it destroyed a cantaloupe I forgot to put away) but reset traps with some new bait. Ad we'll be blocking our door as well. If this doesn't work, we're going to have to think of something else. I don't want to resort to poison, but I also don't want a rat in our house.


The house is sealed against pests. This one only got in because we left the door open. Which means it also can't get out. This isn't going to end well for the rat.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Hallowe'en party

Yesterday was our mama's group Hallowe'en party. It was amazing fun and total chaos. I didn't get good pictures of each kid, unfortunately, but here are the best of them.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Just go vote already

I'm sooooo tired of the US election. It's been two years, and I'm so done. I have this low grade anxiety about the whole thing, and I can hardly wait until Tuesday night when it's finally over.

I'm contemplating not reading the news for the next week, but I'm so addicted and anxious, I'm not sure I can go cold turkey. Maybe I'll have to restrict myself just to one news website, or just The Daily Show. I've got to do something or I won't make it until Tuesday

Not chicken pox!

The rash wasn't any worse this morning, which pretty much ruled out the pox, but we went to the doctor anyway. He agreed, not the pox. And he said, looking at our file "Did she get the vaccine?". Nope, we decided to wait on that one in the hope that she just gets them some time and has a mild case. If she doesn't get them by the time she goes to school, we'll reconsider. But for now, we're clear. Which means we don't have to skip our awesome mama's brunch tomorrow. Yes, this was entirely selfish.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hoping for a run of the mill rash

Kate has some spots. I saw a couple yesterday but they looked like mosquito bites (which wouldn't be surprising. There are a lot of them around and Kate has been playing outside a lot.) but there are a bunch more of them today and they don't look like bites. It might just be a random rash, which isn't unusual for kids. But we're a bit worried it might be chicken pox. We'll know in the morning.

Please, let it be a random rash.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Birthday, Aunt Erika!

Happy 30th Birthday, Auntie Erika! 30!!!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Kate has been saying our names (dada, mama, baboo) for awhile now, but this week she's added a few new ones. Diaper (only one syllable, like diup) and quack.

Yay for words!

Monday, October 20, 2008

14 months

Kate turned 14 months old today. I often look at her, still, amazed at what an amazing little person she is and that we made her. WE MADE HER! It is still amazing to me.

She is definitely her own person though and will clearly communicate what she wants whether it be a snack, to walk the circuit or to play with something you have. In the last week, her favourite thing is to walk around and around the loop in the house (living room, Graeme's office, hallway) holding onto someone's fingers. She runs and can do it again and again. She is so interested in walking, although not in letting go. I'm guessing another week or so and she'll be taking a step or two on her own.

She really is amazing.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Weekend recap

We have had a good weekend. It was a good mix of relaxing and fun activities. On Saturday after a lazy morning, we went to the zoo. The Austin Zoo is populated by rescued animals, so it's an unusual mix of animals that are often acquired, inappropriately, as pets. Some big cats, lots of monkeys, a bear, tortoises, and then the usual petting zoo collection of goats, sheep and pigs. Kate loves it.

We also played around the house a lot, including in Kate's new sandbox.

Today was the big event of the weekend. We went to the Maker Faire. It is described: "Maker Faire is a two-day, family-friendly event that celebrates the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset. It's for creative, resourceful people of all ages and backgrounds who like to tinker and love to make things." That is a good description. It was full of creative people and lots of fun stuff going on. Here is one of my favourite things:

That is the best use of those horrible singing fish that I've ever seen.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Happy Election Day!

There is another election going on, although if you only watch or listen to american news, you wouldn't know it. Canadians are voting in a federal election today. I wish I had been organized enough to vote when I was in Ottawa. It was advance voting when I was there, but I never managed to make it to a polling place when they were open. (I was there about 2 hours early.)

Go vote!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

It's been very busy around here since we got back from Ottawa on Thursday afternoon. I'm only just now downloading our photos. We spent Friday getting the house cleaned up and getting unpacked. We hosted t-giving dinner on Saturday night, so I also had to prep and then cook that, so that is my excuse for being delinquent about posting.

Some highlights of the past few days:
- Our pre-school co-op started on Friday and Kate had a great time. I also had a great time grocery shopping by myself. It's two hours on Friday mornings and I have to do a shift every three weeks. Not bad. Cheap, too. And Kate barely cried. Yay.
- This morning I had a sitter for Kate and I took Westley for a trail run. Again, Kate did great. No crying, lots of playing. Yay again.
- I am very good at cooking turkey. And pies. Yum.
- Jannie arrives tomorrow for a ten day visit. Yay a third time.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ottawa photos

Karen posted last night about our last few days. I'm just going to put up a bunch of photos.