Category Archives: Everyday Life

The first birthday party

Just like that, my little pumpkin head is a whole year old! It’s true that it goes by fast, but I also feel like I had lots of nice moments with him, walks outside, songs at night, and exploring the house, learning to open his fists, trying out different food for the first time, splashing in the bathtub, crawling around, playing.

He’s always surprising us with new things. Like saying “ahhhh!” after taking a nice refreshing drink of water. Or pointing at a picture of Herman when asked. He has a sparkle in his eye and an easy grin. He’s a good-natured, easy-going guy, stopping to sit and focus, then off to the next thing. I see determination in him, and curiosity. I feel proud of him and love his blooming personality.

baby bottle

We had a little party for him on Sunday – just immediate family – which ended up being about 15 people plus us. I had all these big crafty plans, of course, but then Thursday night turned into colds and teething and quite a few sad wake-up calls. I also scrapped a lot of decorating time to spend HOURS putting together our gift to Baby J – his own shiny red kitchen!

I made a bunch of easy food – sandwiches, crackers and cheese, garlic dip and veggies – and people brought all kinds of salads, so we had a nice time eating and watching Baby J open gifts. He got spoiled with toys and lots of nice things, and was very interested in the balloons we’d blown up, carrying them around, kicking them along the floor, staring and smiling up at them.

birthday balloons


After napping through the first hour or so, Baby J was a bit shocked at the full house of his favourite people when he woke up, but he warmed up and wandered around the party guests like a tiny person. He’s a pretty sturdy walker now, can stand up from sitting on the ground without needed to grab onto anything, and crawling is a thing of the past.

bday presents

herm party

One thing I did get around to, was going through countless photos and choosing one from each week, for 52 weeks of the last year, printing them as squares, and taping them up above our couch. Everyone liked looking at them – including the birthday boy who would point and make sounds every time we walked him past. I tried to include milestones if I had them captured – first food, first swim, first Halloween costume. It was a neat way to see how he’s changed over the last year.

52 weeks wall

52 weeks wall

My grandparents were able to make it, so we got a photo of four generations too!

4 generations

Even though he was a little dopey from the cold-teeth combo, he seemed to enjoy his party pretty well and entertained everyone when he got his very own huge hunk of birthday cake (homemade by my mom), squishing and squeezing and gobbling it up. He dug in happily with both hands and really enjoyed himself.

bday cake

cake smash

Happy birthday to my not so little baby!

Thankful: The First Year

I’ve had a busy weekend and didn’t even check my email until now, Sunday night. Unheard of! All three of us are sick, stuffy, and miserable, and one of us also seems to be teething, drooling heavily and complaining loudly at all hours. So, we’ve not had a lot of sleep around here.

But – it was also a major milestone on Friday. My Baby J’s first birthday! One year since he came flying into the world, as anxious to meet us as we were to meet him. Even in his sad state right now, he’s made this last year the best roller coaster of intense love – a wonderfully steep learning curve.

I’m thankful for this, and for so many other things.

The first few days
I’m so glad everything worked out, after bed rest and the threat of prematurity, to a quick labour, and the time we spent at first in the hospital figuring things out. Those first few days knowing that you’re fully responsible for this little, quietly breathing being and life will never be the same no matter what happens.

How far we have come
I realize now I really knew very little about raising an infant. But I was determined to learn and read a lot, tried things, was as relaxed as I could be, and I think we did a good job. We have a happy, pretty healthy baby and I hope it’s a good sign that we will be able to handle the challenges that I’m sure will come up in the years to come.

Someone to sing to
The early days are hazy, all wrapped up in healing and growing to know this little soft lump of sweet smelling skin and floppy limbs. The funny crossed eyes, orange hair sticking out every which way. We spent a lot of time snuggling, sleeping, and singing. I loved rocking and crooning and just marveling over the little miracle we were blessed with.

One of the songs I sing to him quite often is Danny’s song – I know the Anne Murray version – so we recorded it for him on his birthday.

His little arm around my neck.
We filmed the video while Baby J was napping, and then I played it for him once he woke up – his Daddy already gone to an early gig – and as we watched, I felt his arm creep around my neck. I’m thankful he will stop and be affectionate (we watched the video 3 times) even though he’d rather be running around.


Getting some ME time
I took the day off on Friday which ended up being a good move considering we were all sniffling, grumpy zombies all day. On a whim, I booked a haircut and got out for a trim. I felt a twinge of guilt not spending the entire day with Baby J, but it’s this balancing act of making sure I’m happy and fulfilled too so I can be a better mother. I gabbed with my stylist about labor and parenting and was home in less than an hour feeling re-energized.

Fitting him in
A coworker explained to me once that he liked exposing his kids to everything and bringing them along everywhere – he wants them to fit into their life, rather than making a life based on the kids interests and needs (within reason, of course) and this idea appeals to me. We like taking him out for sushi, going to see music, and I’m glad I can work as well as be a mom. I”m sure it’ll be an ongoing struggle but for now, I hope we can keep fitting him into our lives and everyone staying happy.

Feeling needed
I love that he needs me. I know it’ll be my job to teach him how to be a good human being, but for this first year, I’m thankful that my role right now is to just take care of him. Make sure he’s clean and happy and fed, and as the time passes, the rewards come, starting with that first responsive smile to saying “mama.”

His curiosity
I was thinking about the words I’d use to describe my little guy, and curious is one of them. He gets into things but stops to examine and taste and touch and check again. I’m thankful he is eager to explore his world and that I get to see it.

funny baby

Growing up
Helpless, infant days are behind us and while I’ll miss them, this is more what our lives will be like – working and balancing, rather than me being off – and it’s so fun to see him play and pick things up and try to express himself. I love this stage and I hope I’ll love every stage as they come at us.

The last few days
I’ve felt a bit desperate at moments over the last few days – usually in the wee hours when I just don’t know what to do – and it makes me thankful that we had such an easy baby overall. It also makes me glad that we’re a good team and are able to switch off one person getting some extra sleep while the other takes baby duty. And, despite the foggy tiredness, I’m thankful I have a sweet baby to rock and clutch close to my chest, and whisper to. Not everyone gets that chance, and I would never trade what I have for anything.

That’s it for this week! Tomorrow or the next day I’ll have a recap about the big birthday party we had this weekend, but for now, a little Sunday night reflection on the last year feels nice. Thanks to Lizzi and Louise for the inspiration and the others with great lists as well.

Ten Things of Thankful

Ten things of Thankful: upside down

Last week’s thankful post seems easy; this week I have a major case of the blahs. You when you aren’t feeling so great, and every little things gets under your skin that much more?

So just like I try to put on a happy face around here, not letting things that don’t really matter in the long run get to me, I’m going to try to turn all of my silly negatives into positives this week.

1.) Instead of feeling annoyed that some dresses I bought online haven’t arrived yet – it’s been almost 2 weeks, and I was cheap and didn’t pay extra for tracking – I’m thankful that another thing I ordered online arrived the very next day: Baby J’s birthday present! It’s big and requires assembly and I think he’ll love it.

2.) I’ve been grumbling and wrestling with my little dog, trying to brush and trim the mats from his tummy and legs while he tries to get away, all week. It sucks that cheese bribes don’t help him stay still, but, I’m thankful that he is a lot better now, that I haven’t nicked him with the scissors, and that his tummy is silky and soft.

3.) I also realized during these brushing sessions, that I can use the Ipad’s GlobalTV app to log into my Rogers account and unlock the WHOLE current season of the Good Wife. I thought I’d have to wait for ages til it got on Netflix but I can catch up now! Love, love, love that show.

4.) Even though we’re well into March and this winter has been long, drawn-out, and cold, I’m thankful that the large amount of snow we got today made the world feel silent, peaceful and beautiful out the window. I gazed out at our little yard and couldn’t see any dog poop.

5.) Remembering we ran out of coffee yesterday hammered against my brain as we had breakfast and watched the snow come down, coating the streets and the car tracks of those few brave enough to drive. But, I’m glad that it wasn’t too cold, and that we ended up being able to get out a bit later in the day for a coffee, a car wash, and to do groceries.

6.) When I completely forgot to pick up an ingredient for tonight’s dinner (spicy salmon over quinoa pilaf) I subbed in bacon. I’m thankful that bacon makes everything taste good!

7.) I had to work at 3pm today after having a pretty tiring week. I’m thankful that I can sub in shifts though and that other people will cover for me as well so I can take vacation time pretty easily.

8.) I’m so happy and thankful that we are going on vacation soon! We’re heading to sunny Jamaica for a wedding and I just cannot wait to be drenched in sweat, to be feeling the warm wet sand between my toes, and to relax.

9.) Afternoon naps have been a thing of the past for most of the week, so while it’s hard to listen to the little guy try to settle, then fuss, than start crying cause he has a dirty diaper (every time, why??) and then since almost an hour has passed since original nap time, he’s exhausted til bed. I am thankful though that he’s so good-natured and his version of cranky is really not that bad.

10.) Good intentions a couple of weeks ago found myself and a friend going through all of the baby clothes and setting side ones to keep and give away, sorting and folding. But I only did about half, and the bins and clothes and clutter was starting to get to me. I’m thankful I had time to get it into a huge bag this morning and sorted some more stuff, and I’m also glad that we were so lucky to have so many people give us clothes – that we can in turn give to someone who might need them.

That’s it for tonight! Feel free to check out the other bloggers who create their own ten things of thankful – I’m enjoying working on my attitude of gratitude and hope to keep turning less than great things upside down as this week rolls on.

Ten Things of Thankful