Friday, December 22, 2006

To Grandmother's house we go

For the first time in three years, we will be heading to Montreal for Christmas. I'm pretty excited about it.

I'm excited because we'll be spending Christmas with my whole family -- my sister and brother-in-law are flying in from California; my other sister will be in from Waterloo; my parents will be there; my aunt and uncle are flying in from North Carolina; and my one cousin is flying in from Texas. And of course, we'll all converge in my 92-year-old grandmother's top-floor duplex for Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas day brunch. The only people missing will be my other cousin and his girlfriend (who also live in North Carolina) because she's a nurse and has to work on Christmas Day.

Now, this all sounds very complicated -- and it is, sort of. Because if you read that last paragraph correctly, you'll realize that the only person who ACTUALLY LIVES in Montreal is my grandmother. Everyone else is either flying or driving in from somewhere else. That's because Christmas brunch at my grandmother's has been a tradition since before I was born -- and at 92 years of age, my grandmother (whom I love dearly) decides that she does not want to leave her house for Christmas. Translation: she'll travel to Toronto any other time of year (which is also more convienient for my aunt and uncle, because my aunt's family is in the GTA), but Christmas is at her house. So every year, the family, or those who can, travel to her.

Once upon a time, we all lived in Montreal. But starting in 1990, we started to move away. First my family moved to the Toronto-area, then my aunt and uncle's family moved to North Carolina. And then "us kids" grew up (and in my case, started having kids) and, in some cases, moved even further away. So, as much as a little part of me wants to complain about the fact that if I want to spend Christmas with family, I can't spend it in my own house, my grandmother is accomplishing a pretty big feat by her stubborness -- family is flying in from far and wide to spend it together in her home.

A little part of me would rather stay home, spend the morning with Austin and cook up a big feast to feed whomever was willing to come over rather than driving 500 km, spending two nights in a hotel and then driving 500 km back. But I'm happy to be spending Christmas with the people I truly care about -- Ryan, Austin and my family. Who knows how many more years we'll all be able to get together. My grandmother is 92 afterall.

And that, is what makes Christmas truly special.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

I don't bake

For the record, and just so everyone's perfectly clear on this point, I don't bake. To me, baking means opening a cake mix box, pouring it in a bowl, adding whatever it is you're supposed to add, and throwing it in the oven. I do make my icing from scratch though, so that counts for something I guess. But I'll really only make a cake if I have to -- such as on Ryan's birthday, and in the future, on Austin's birthday.

Why don't I bake? Because I don't really enjoy it -- and, when I have tried it, I'm better at burning cookies, than making edible cookies. I'll put the blame on my mother for that one (sorry mom), she taught me to cook, but since baking to her also usually means opening a cake mix box, she wasn't much of a teacher in that department.

That being said, the next time you're eating baked goods in my house, you now know not to assume I made it, but don't assume it's from the grocery store either. Ryan's the baker in our family -- and let me tell you, if you've ever had cheesecake at my house, you'd know why he's the baker and I stay far from the kitchen when he's at work.

All week, Ryan's been baking up a storm for Christmas and the house smells wonderful. You can probably guess that holiday baking has never been a tradition for me -- but I definitely think I could get used to it. Especially if my only part is helping to clean up afterwards.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Stuck in the '90s

One of Austin's favourite games is to pull all the CDs off the shelf in the family room in the basement. They're stacked at a height he can reach, because frankly, we don't care if he pulls them off the shelf. It keeps him entertained, and there's very little harm he can do to them -- at least until he learns how to open the cases.

But the other day, as I was restacking the CDs back on the shelf almost as fast as he was pulling them off, I actually took a good look at the collection. And that's when I realized that our music collection was pretty much stuck in the '90s.

I don't know about Ryan, but I bought my first CDs in 1994, around the time that I bought my first CD player. Over the next five to seven years, I bought a lot of CDs. And then Ryan and I moved into together and put our collections together. Suddenly, we had several hundred CDs displayed on a shelf. But soon after, with Napster and other such programs, we (as did many people I'm sure) almost entirely stopped buying.

So a good look at the CD collection today will find some classics (in my opinion), such as all the U2 albums, some REM, Tragically Hip, Dave Matthews Band and Sarah McLachlan, and some, um, laughable albums, such as Dance Mix '95. I still listen to the classics from time to time and well, the others always makes me shake my head and smile.

But what I mean by stuck in the '90s is then there are all the albums by bands that were cool when we were in University. Remember Blink182, or Presidents of the United States of America? Yup, they're on the shelf too. Ask anyone in University today, and they likely will have no idea who you're talking about.

Occassionally, I'll still buy a CD, mainly because I have an old-fashioned idea that I would rather own the CD than own it on my computer. But it has to be a CD of an artist I really like, such as U2, where I know I'll still be listening to it from time to time 10 years from now.

The problem remains is that once Napters and other type free programs disappeared, I almost entirely stopped downloading as well. So my CD collection is stuck somewhere in the 90s and my MP3 collection is stuck somwhere in the middle of 2003.

So, no matter where you look, I'm horribly out of date. At least I'll always have the radio -- although I tend to listen to Jack which is also stuck somewhere, I'm not quite sure where, but it's definitely not 2006. At least my CD collection will soon be updated again -- Sesame Street and Sharon, Lois and Bram never go out of style.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Thank goodness for blogs

'Tis seems to be the season to not see friends. Maybe I have a short memory but it seems that this year, everyone -- including us -- is extra busy.

When our friends are free, we're busy, and when we're free our friends are busy. And when our friends throw a party, we get sick -- which doens't help matters. I don't think we've managed to get together with anyone since early November...where has the time gone!

But on that note, thanks to everyone's blogs, I know what's going on in so many people's lives. Remind me again how we used to keep in touch before blogs?

So I promise to write more often, as long as everyone else does the same too! :)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Oh Christmas Tree

On Sunday, Ryan and I went out and bought our first real Christmas tree. Since we've been together, we've always had a Christmas tree, but it was a little, five-foot tree that we bought at Canadian Tire for something like $20. It was cute -- and I have fond memories of that tree, especially in our apartment where our cat Chloe decided to sleep IN it one year. But it's now rather tired looking. And we figured after two Christmases in the house, it was about time we got a proper tree.

So off we went, all the way across the street, to the guy with the sign that read "Christmas trees for sale". What his sign didn't say was "Overpriced Christmas trees for sale." For a tiny tree, smaller than our fake one, he wanted $30; for a four-to-six-foot tree, he wanted $40 and for a six-to-eight-foot tree, he wanted $50. Now, as we were tree-shopping rookies, we honestly had no idea how much one should cost. But in both our minds, and we didn't need to say it to each other to know the other was thinking it, there was no way we were paying $50 for a decent looking tree to sit in our living room for two and a half weeks!

We left sans tree. And drove over to the Superstore to compare prices. Well low and behold, decent sized six-to-eight foot trees cost $30. Now that was a price we were willing to pay. We choose a nice one, tied it to the roof of the SUV and headed home.

It took until Tuesday night to get around to putting it up (and yes, with two cats and a baby, we've tied it to the ceiling), and last night, I finally strung the lights. Even though it's not decorated yet, it looks awesome in the living room and I love smelling fresh pine throughout the house. It's been years and years since I've had a real Christmas tree and I've forgotten how nice it is.

Tonight we'll put up the decorations. So far, Austin has shown very little interest in it -- which is good because I'm afraid we'll be playing the "Austin don't touch that, Austin don't put that in your mouth" game for the next few weeks. If that turns out to be the case, all the decorations will suddenly have to "disappear" from the bottom -- leaving an oddly decorated tree. I'm sure we won't be the first family to have to leave the bottom foot or two of a tree bare.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Toys, Toys, Toys

Whenever I shop, I'm always in search of a good deal, but now that Christmas shopping means buying toys, toys and more toys, I'm even more driven. Here are two that must be shared -- and sure beats shopping at pricey Toys 'R Us.

1) Fisher Price/Mattel Toy Outlet at 6155 Freemont Blvd in Mississauga (Hurontario and Britannia). There were a fair amount of baby toys (up to 24 months) and lots of other kids toys as well. (Hot Wheels, Barbies etc.) The prices were really good, and if you go on a Friday from 4-7, Saturday from 12-5 or Sunday from 12-4, , everything is an additional 25% off. In the end, everything we bought was approximately 50% off the MRSP (according to our receipt). We got a really cool walker/ride-on hippo toy for Austin for $22 (retail $45.)

The warehouse is open until Sunday, Dec. 17.

2) Samko and Miko toy warehouse. There are two locations, one in Richmond Hill and one downtown. We went to the one in Richmond Hill. This warehouse is huge, and there are toys, books, art supplies, board games and more for all ages. Again, their prices were really good -- everything we bought was 50% or more off the retail price.Here's the website.

They close on Dec. 23.

Happy shopping! :)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

It sucks to be sick

All last week, Austin was sick with a cold. He had a non-stop cough, a runny nose and, for a couple of days, was running a slight fever as well. And he was downright miserable. So, like a good mom, I spent all week taking care of him as he kept looking at me as if saying, "mom, this sucks, make it go away."

By Thursday morning he appeared to be on the mend, and I started to get a sore throat. By Friday morning, he was happier than he had been all week (although still snotty) and Ryan started losing his voice. By Saturday morning, Austin was up and running, and Ryan and I could barely bring ourselves to get out of bed -- except maybe to get a box of Kleenex.

Never before have Ryan and I both been sick at the same time. But never before has their been a third person in the house to share germs with.

Being sick at the same time posed a whole new set of challenges. When Austin was sick he wanted me to hold him and rock him to sleep -- but now that we were sick, he wasn't about to do the same. And he sure as heck wasn't going to stop trying to get into things just because we were complaining we were congested. But somehow, we managed to keep him out of trouble.

Other than a short trip to the Bay right after lunch, we spent the entire day rotating between the couches in the living room and the couches in the family room. And somehow, Austin managed to entertain himself for hours. We lay on the couch and watched him play with his toys, walk along the furniture, bang on the TV, try to figure out how to use the DVD player, empty the bookshelf of books and pull all the CDs off the shelf before repeating the entire process over again. (It's amazing the stuff you let your kid get into when you don't have the energy to get up and say 'no'.) And every now and then, one of us would get ahold of him to wipe his nose.

In all, it didn't turn out as badly as I feared it would. And today was a little better, because although we both still felt crummy, we had a little more energy.

The worst part ended up being because all three of us were tearing through the Kleenex, we decided it would be wise not to go to our friend's annual Carribean Christmas blocko. It's always a really great party and we were looking forward to it. But instead of sipping fruity blender drinks, we stayed home, sipping NeoCitran.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Again, I say...what spare time?

It's been busy around here these last few days, which is odd because my mother-in-law is gone and I should have free time now that I'm no longer driving to Etobicoke every day. But Austin is not a napper, and lately his naptimes have been worse than usual. So I only get about 20-30 minutes to myself, twice a day. By the end of most days, I'm exhausted and I can't say I've accomplished anything.

But here's what I do know:

- A few days ago, Austin took two and a half steps on his own -- from the dresser in our bedroom towards the bed. Unfortunately, he needed three steps (maybe four) to get there, and went head first into the bed post. For awhile his eye was swollen, now he's sporting a shiner -- and a small, but healthy dose of fear, which seems to be keeping him from trying that stunt again, at least for a few days.

- My mother-in-law is moving back in next week and half of the week after for six more treatments. That means six more days of driving to Etobicoke and six more days of hanging around Sherway Gardens. I could try to get all my Christmas shopping done during that time, but after spending so much time there already, I've decided that Sherway Gardens isn't really mind kind of mall. Or, I should say, it really isn't my bank account's kind of mall.

- 24 baby-free hours is exactly what the doctor ordered to get rid of much of my frustration. And the PCL Christmas party was fantastic. But that probably had something to do with the amount of wine consumed over the course of the evening. Thank goodness for the taxi chits that got us home and for grandparents who kept Austin until Excedrin Migraine kicked in.

- We bought a new lamp for our living room and, thanks to a great Toronto Hydro/Home Depot coupon, it only cost $5. The light is brighter and whiter than the old one so now the flaws in the walls and the cheap quality of paint slapped on by the previous owners is obvious. Suddenly, this $5 deal is going to cost a whole heck of a lot of money.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

To follow the trend...

Austin now has his own blog. I figure this way I can share photos, videos and updates about Austin without having to remember to send e-mails (and making sure I don't forget anyone on the to: list). And giving him his own blog means I don't have to share my personal blog with my family and Ryan's family.

I'm sure I'll still write about Austin here, as I am a stay-at-home mom for another three months, so it's not like I have much else in my life to write about!

Here it is, for anyone that's interested. There's a few things on it already.

Happy reading!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

24 baby-free hours!

This coming Saturday afternoon, we will be driving Austin to my parents house in Brampton so that he can have a sleepover at Grandma and Granddad's. More accurately put, so that Ryan and I can go to his company Christmas party.

This will be Austin's second sleepover without mommy and daddy -- the first one was when he was five months old and we went to a wedding north of Whitby. But this time I'm sure my parents have no idea what they're getting themselves into. Last time, Austin was just learning how to sit on his own; he had a pretty good attention span; and, most importantly, when you put him down, he stayed put. Now, rather than sitting still and paying attention to one thing, Austin prefers to stand up and find a way to walk around and explore. (And I mean "find a way"...lately he's been grabbing on to chairs and pushing them across the room just so he can get to where he wants to go.)

While Austin wanders around their house, Ryan and I will be downtown partying and drinking (it is an open bar after all). And when the party wraps up, we'll find our way home and crash. But the best part of all is...we'll get to sleep in the next morning!

Friday, November 17, 2006

A friend in need

I’m not asking for help or for anything at all. I simply felt compelled to post this here.

My friend Melanie is the strongest person, both mentally and physically, and has the biggest heart, of anyone I know. She's accomplished things, and taken risks, that I'll likely ever only dream of. In the six years I've known her, she's always been there when I've needed to talk or to help out when life has been turned upside down by a new baby. (Here she is when Austin was just a few days old.) And she cooks a mean four-course meal for 14!

She faces two challenges right now, here's her story. As I said, I'm not asking for help, I just wanted to share.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

An ode to idiocy

A two-part story.

About a month ago, I took Austin to the doctor because he seemed to have an eye infection. His eye was always tearing up and filling with gunk and although it didn’t seem to bother him, we thought it should get checked out.

The prescription for drops didn’t seem to help, so the doctor decided it would be best to take him to see an ophthalmologist. A week later, the nurse called with our appointment – it was at a medical centre on St. George, near Bloor, seven days later. On the day of the appointment, Ryan took the morning off work to hear what the doctor had to say. But we took two cars downtown so he could go straight to work following the appointment.

We paid for parking and walked up the street carrying Austin. But, when we got to the medical building, we couldn’t find the doctor listed on board in the lobby. So, I called their number and got a recording that said, at the very end of the message, “please note we are now located at 20 Wynford Drive.”

20 Wynford Drive! That’s five minutes from our house. And here we were, downtown, five minutes before the appointment. I left a message, telling the receptionist we were on our way but that we were outside their old office and it would take awhile to get there. We ended up half an hour late for the appointment.

The kicker, this doctor has been in the ‘new location’ for two years!

After all that, the ophthalmologist said he may have a blocked tear duct but that we should see a pediatric ophthalmologist.

We were pleased, when a day later, the office called telling us our appointment was less than a week away and that it was indeed at 20 Wynford Drive.

Yesterday, the pediatric ophthalmologist called to confirm our appointment for today and then proceeded to say that they are a very busy office and we should expect to wait 1 to 2 hours. And sure enough, we sat in the waiting room, and walked Austin around the halls for 1 hour and 25 minutes before being called in.

Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but I would much prefer to wait three months to get an appointment rather than know that I will have to sit in a waiting room for up to two hours. What’s the point of even having an appointment if your doctor doesn’t even make an attempt to keep it?

And yes, Austin does have a blocked eye duct. If it doesn’t resolve itself by the time he has his first birthday, we will have to make another appointment to sit in a waiting room.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

And I thought we were pack rats

The other day, Ryan and I decided to clean out the furnace room so that we could put it to better use, rather than to just use it as a junk room. Also, we wanted to move the litter box in there and needed to find just the right spot. It seemed like a pretty straight forward thing to do as we’ve never used that room other than occasionally to open the door and throw an empty box in. And, in all honesty, it’s not a very big room – big enough for the furnace, water heater and an old kitchen counter with cabinets pushed up against the wall.

So why spend my time writing about cleaning a few things out of a useless space in the house? Well, when we moved into this house two and a half years ago, we discovered that the previous owners were…for lack of a better word…rather odd. They took being a pack rat to a whole new level. Put it this way, when we viewed, and subsequently purchased, the house, we didn’t even know there was a workshop in the basement. We saw the door in the room that’s our guest room (the previous owner’s office), but there was so much junk in the room that you could only walk from the door to the computer. You could not get to the door – or anything else in the room for that matter. When we asked what was behind door number one, we were told it was a cold cellar. On the day the house became ours; we walked around the now-empty home, and to our surprised, discovered a reasonable-size workshop behind the door.

That was the pleasant surprise. The unpleasant surprise was the mountain of garbage along the side of the house. Everything from old margarine containers to outdated computer programming books were piled high right outside our side door. It took six weeks to dispose of all the garbage. Then there were the two-dozen or so empty wine bottles under the sink in the laundry room and the construction material in the garage.

The picture was taken on the day we went to sign the papers. It's of the laundry room, not the furance room, but I think it gives the general idea.

So, with all that in mind, we set about to clean out the furnace room. Here, in no particular order, is a list of what we found:
· Extra floor tiles for the workshop
· The cut-off pieces of floor tiles for the kitchen
· A box of ceiling tiles
· Floor grout or something like that.
· Random plastic baggies of nuts, bolts, screws etc.
· Shelves for the closet organizers in all three upstairs bedrooms
· Shelves for a bookcase, I think.
· A broken covering for the florescent lights in the basement
· A bed headboard, or maybe it’s a footboard
· Some large black tube of sorts that Ryan said is used when installing toilets.
· Random pieces of broken wood.
· One of those workshop screw sorters…you know the boxes with all the tiny little drawers in it.
· A box of florescent light bulbs (at last something useful!)
· Cardboard.

Some of the junk went out in the garbage this week, and other stuff is sitting in the basement while we wonder what the heck to do with it. The answer is likely to kick it to the curb next week.

I’d like to say that we have now finally rid ourselves of the previous owners, but I’m sure six months from now, we’ll find something else in a corner of a cupboard that will leave us wondering why anyone would keep it. And besides, we’re still getting their mail.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Life with our house guest and other news

It often seems as if there are never enough hours in the day, and so, when I have something I want to write about, it often takes me days and days to get to it. This is pretty sad, considering I don’t go to work for 8 to 10 hours a day. But I am home with the child who doesn’t sleep and spends most of his time now days getting into everything he’s not supposed to. The game of “Austin, don’t eat that” is starting to get old. And he hasn’t yet figured out that just because I’m not “looking” at him, doesn’t mean I don’t see what he’s getting into.

But in these next few minutes, while Austin is sleeping (figures because we have to go out in 20 minutes), here, in a post of random points, are the few topics I’ve been wanting to write about for the past few days.

Living with the mother-in-law is going well. In all honestly, she’s a pretty easy house guest to live with. She spends most of her days doing her own thing – which usually involves being on the computer – but is more than willing to offer, without being asked, to look after Austin for a few minutes while I shower or get something else done. I now cook for three every night, instead of two, which isn’t really a big deal. And, in the evenings, she even watches many of the same shows that Ryan and I watch, so there’s no arguing over the remote. And, best of all, she records Dancing with the Stars on her PVR, so thankfully I’m not subjected to it!

The only downside is the driving. Two to three days a week, I drive her to Etobicoke for the treatment, kill an hour and a half at Sherway Gardens, and then drive back. It's always in the afternoon, so we always hit rush hour on the way home. Needless to say, by Friday, after so much running around, and just from having someone at home all the time even is she is easy to live with, I find that I’m exhausted.

There’s only two weeks left though, and I think I’ll miss her when she’s gone. It is really nice to have company during the day.

Next. Austin is officially signed up for daycare starting mid-February. It’s a huge relief to have that said and done, especially since he’s in the centre closest to our house. I can walk him over there in less than five minutes.

The centre is in a high school, which initially caused me some concern because I know there were a few “incidents” there last spring. (Specifically, the cops were called for a stabbing and a gun sighting. Sigh, high school just isn’t the same as it was when I went – I don’t recall there ever being such incidents at my school) But I discussed these issues with the director when I went in for a tour last week and she put my mind at ease by explaining their safety procedures.

It seems like a good place, and the centre seems to be very focused on encouraging child development through activities and play, so I’m happy with it. I put the deposit down this morning.

I guess I have to slowly start thinking about the fact that I’ll be going back to work soon. Where the heck did the last nine months go? Being pregnant for nine months sure took more time than being at home with Austin has.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Halloween dress-up

Last night was Kelly and Steve's Halloween party, and despite my earlier complaints about not wanting to dress up, it was a really good time. (Thanks guys!) In the end, I thought our costumes worked out alright -- although I'll take no credit for any of it. Our 'family' costume theme stemmed from finding a cute cowboy/sheriff costume for Austin at Old Navy. From there, it was Ryan's bright idea for us to go as the convicts. All I did was drag Austin from store to store in search of costumes.

The sheriff was in bed by 9, but here are a few of the shots we snapped before he called it a night.

I'll admit, it was sort of fun to dress up. It had been at least 10 years since I actually put any heart into it. But it was more fun to dress Austin up, and I can't wait until Tuesday when I can put his little Sheriff outfit back on!

And this Halloween taught me something about dressng up. For the next 'whatever number of years' that I'm going to have to help with Austin's costumes, I don't have to be creative...I just have to know where to shop.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Cruisin’ right along

A little over a week ago, I wrote about how I didn’t think Austin would ever crawl. Now I’m pretty sure of it. The other day, he figured out how to pull himself up to a standing position using something other than my hands. And now, he’s just cruisin’ right along.

At eight months and three days old, he easily makes his way from one side of the couch to the other. And when he gets to the end, he grabs onto the next available thing and keeps going. (Sometimes it's his infant swing -- in which case, he tends to fall over because it's not exactly something solid to hold on to.) Most of the time, he’d rather walk (holding my hands of course) somewhere than ‘crawl’ there. And some days he’d even rather stand to drink his bottle than sit.

It’s pretty cool to watch him progress, considering he just learned this new skill a few days ago.

But, on the same note, I must mention an off-the-cuff remark my mom made when Austin was newborn. She said, and I quote, “I feel sorry for parents whose kids walk at nine months because they’re fearless and are trouble.”

I wish I had made a just-for-fun bet with my mom, because it’s looking like I could have made some money. Who knows, maybe he’ll even walk before he turns nine months.

And mom, maybe you should take your foot out of your mouth. (just kidding).

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Early bedtimes, birthday parties and kidney beans

My 21-year-old sister came to visit from Waterloo this weekend.

As a 21-year-old, and living on your own at University, many weekends are spent partying and drinking. At least I hope hers are, because I know mine were.

Now here’s a summary of how our weekend went:

- Friday night conversations started to trail off by the time CSI: Miami ended at 11 p.m. And instead of ‘drinking through it’ as my friend Rob would say, we called it a night.

- Saturday night was spent watching a movie after hitting several different grocery stores in search of kidney beans for the chilli Ryan wanted to cook up on Sunday. Yes, the first three stores were actually out of kidney beans!

- Sunday brunch was spent at Rob and Vone’s for Lilo’s first birthday party.

Not exactly the typical university weekend. I’d say it was closer to a weekend visiting the parents than visiting the big sister. But I guess that’s what happens when your big sister is a parent too. But she said she had fun, and I had a lot of fun with her. I don’t get to see her as often as I'd like so it was nice spending some time together and catching up.

And she did happen to mention that she needed to recharge and relax for next weekend since she’s going to be hitting ‘several’ Halloween parties. So I’m sure my parents will be proud to know that me, the big sister, was able to give my little sister a ‘G’ rated weekend.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Austin's version of crawling

I have a feeling Austin will never 'actually' crawl. At almost eight months, he has figured out a way to get around that gets him to where he wants to go. He gets up on his fingers and toes, and moves like a soldier slithering into enemy territory. He's gotten good and moving quickly, and getting into places he shouldn't be in! So, I guess in his mind, he figures why should he learn to get up on his hands and knees. This video was taken about three weeks ago, and the only thing that's changed is he now moves even faster.

In fact, he's been doing this kind of move for well over a month and is moving on to the next stage. He will easily pull himself up by holding on to my hands or legs and once he's up, he'll put one foot in front of the other if there's something motivating him. He'll even try to let go of my hands while 'walking', not realizing that when he does so, he will fall. He's fearless I tell you.

As a parent, I almost, not quite, but almost feel cheated that he will likely not crawl. I mean what he does is very cute, but crawling seems like such a milestone -- one that he has found a way to skip.

That's alright though -- he'll be running around before I know it, and then I'll long for the days where I could put him down and he'd stay put. So for now, if you ever need to get under a barb-wire fence...Austin's your man!

(P.S. If the video doesn't appear, and you want to see it, go here:

Saturday, October 14, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

What happened to Halloween? Correct me if I'm wrong, but Halloween is still on October 31, and today is only October 14, right? By my math, that means Halloween is still more than half a month away. And by extension then, Christmas is more than two and a half months away.

If there's two and a half months to go until Christmas, then why are stores stringing up decorations and hawking everything from wrapping paper to snow globes at us? This mentality of sell, sell, sell is going just a little bit too far. It may have snowed on Thursday in some parts of the province, but that does not mean I, or anyone else I know, want to be making a list and checking it twice quite yet. But there I was in Sears this afternoon walking through displays of Christmas decorations, crates of wrapping paper and shelves of wind-up snow globes playing Silver Bells.

I'm not trying to be scrooge. I love Christmas. And my love for it drives Ryan crazy every year when I start playing Christmas music and putting up decorations around December 1. But October 14! I think I'll worry about getting a Halloween costume before I think about Christmas.

Friday, October 13, 2006

I am slowly going crazy

I have two cats. One is three years old and a little bit crazy. She tends to zip in and out of rooms at high speed and when she does stop to take a breath, it’s often because we’ve accidentally locked her in a closet or something. The other is seven years old and is now pretty laid back thanks to the Prozac he gets once a day. Although he still gets pretty territorial when he sees another cat on his property.

In the past, the two got along most of the time – and I’d often find them cuddled up together, sound asleep on the couch or bed. Chloe, being the younger and more hyper one, often wanted to play with Ollie. If he was in the mood, he’d put up with her for a bit, if not, he’d give her a swat and she’d bolt out of the room.

But lately, it seems that those days are over. For more than a week now, all these two do is fight. If one is eating in the kitchen and the other walks in, all I hear are hisses from one and a growls from the other. They’ll keep at that for a bit before one will walk away. This scene is repeated morning, noon and night – it doesn’t matter if they’re in the kitchen, the basement or in our bedroom while we’re trying to sleep.

I don’t know what started it all, and I don’t know how to end it, but quite frankly, it’s starting to drive me crazy. Any ideas on how to get them to cut it out -- other than letting them run out the door and locking it behind them?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

My new house guest

Starting this Sunday, my mother-in-law is 'temporarily' moving in. She'll be living with us from Sundays through Thursdays for the next five weeks while she undergoes treatment for her back at a special clinic in Etobicoke.

I mentioned this to a few people over the last few weeks and each time, I've received the same reaction – an eyes bugging out expression followed by an 'oh my God'. The weird thing is, is right from the minute this decision was made, I've never looked at it in an 'Oh My God' kind of way.

Don't get me wrong, having someone move into my basement, even temporarily, isn’t high on my list of things to do but honestly, I’m not looking at this as a bad thing. Here’s why:

· She’ll get to spend lots of time with Austin.

· I’ll have adult company every day for the next five weeks – which will be nice, especially on Austin’s fussy days.

· There’s someone else around to watch Austin. I don’t expect her to babysit while I go out (especially since she can’t lift him because of her back) but it means I can leave him in the living room with her for a few minutes and take a shower or put on a load of laundry. I don’t have to wait until he falls asleep to do all that.

· Spending all day, every day, together will give us an opportunity to get to know each other better.

· She doesn’t expect me to entertain her, and that takes a lot of pressure off. This means, I’ll still be going out and meeting friends like usual.

· She understands that this isn’t an ideal situation. In fact, she asked me if I was sure about this by saying “I wouldn’t have wanted my mother-in-law to move in with me for five weeks.”

· Having someone move into the guest room and, by extension, our basement, has given us a reason, and the motivation, to furnish those rooms. There will now be a proper bed in the guest room (no more futon) and a couch and love seat in the adjoining family room. A few pictures on the wall, and a DVD player to go with the TV, and the place will be all done up.

So there you have it. It will likely feel kind of busy and crazy around here at times but I think it’s going to work out just fine.

But, I draw the line at having to watch Dancing with the Stars!

Friday, October 06, 2006

How do commuters do it?

Today, I went to visit a friend and her kids in Brampton. We had lunch, we played with the kids and we chatted. And then around 2:30, Austin wanted a nap. So, I put him down in her son’s crib – figuring he’d sleep for 45 minutes or so and then we’d go. But no. Austin decided today was the day for another marathon nap.

At 3:45, I thought about waking him. But as you know, Austin is not much of a napper – so waking him seemed horrible when half the time I complain that he doesn’t nap enough. So I let him sleep and he woke on his own at 4:15 – just in time for a snack.

By the time he had his snack, and we packed up, it was 4:45 – just in time for rush hour. I dreaded the drive, but figured it couldn’t be THAT bad. Ryan drives from roughly the same place I was at every day and it takes him about an hour.

I cruised down Highway 410 at 110 km/h and merged onto Highway 401 thinking maybe this won’t be so bad. Almost as soon as I got on the 401, I came to a dead stop. And I continued to creep along for the next hour.

I hit the Keele Street exit at 6 p.m., and with Ryan’s advice (who was calling to say he was leaving work), I decided to get off and take Wilson across (which turns into York Mills once you hit Yonge Street.) I’ll never know if the decision helped or not, but I was spending more time idling on the 401 than actually driving, so I figured what the hell.

Wilson was moving well until I hit Bathurst. Now, I must add, that until this point, Austin was being pretty good. He played with his toys, looked out the window and sucked on his soother every time I shoved it in his mouth to keep him quiet. But by this point he had had enough. Now he wanted out – or, if nothing else, he wanted to be entertained. So, what do you do when you’re alone in the car, stuck in bumper to bumper traffic (again) and have a screaming baby in the car? Start singing nursery rhymes of course!

After several verses of ‘Row your boat’, ‘When you're happy and you know it’, ‘Skinamarink’ and others like it, he was happier and I was going crazier. But by Yonge Street, he had had enough of that too, so I moved to nice calming lullabies. Unfortunately, I only know two and I’ll be hearing them over and over and over in my sleep tonight.

At Bayview, my gas light went on. I had spent so much time idling in the SUV that I went through almost a quarter tank of gas.

Finally, after 2 hours and 8 minutes, I pulled up to my house. I drove a total of 52 km.

Oh, and to make matters worse, Ryan, who left work (at the 401 and the 403) at 6 p.m. took Highway 407 on my advice, and got home before I did.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Who says babies sleep a lot?

Yesterday, no matter what I tried, I couldn't get Austin to nap. He slept for 20 minutes in the morning and another 20 minutes or so when I plopped in the car -- and my main reason for driving somewhere, anywhere (I ended up in the Beaches -- which was actually really nice for being out walking) was to get him to take some sort of nap, because he was driving me crazy. Now whoever said babies are supposed to sleep a lot has never met my son! Normally, he's not that bad of a napper, but he certainly gets nowhere near the 3-4 hours of nap time per day that the 'experts' say children his age should be getting.

Today, we're having the exact opposite kind of day. Austin's on his third nap of the day, and this one is proving to be a marathon one. (By his standards anyway, since he's been down for a little over an hour.) Which is great for him, but has left me wondering what the heck to do with my time now. I'm so used to him only sleeping for short periods of time, that I don't know what to do with my time when he sleeps for a long time.

Imagine how much I could get done in a day if he actually slept 3-4 hours a day...every day! Oh well, he is an unpredictable one, that's for sure.

Friday, September 29, 2006

When did I get so old?

Here it is, 10 p.m. on a Friday night and I'm ready to crash. I feel like I can barely keep my eyes open anymore. And I can't even blame it on the fact that I'm up in the middle of the night, because Austin has slept through until 5:30ish the last two nights in a row. So I'm getting more sleep now than I have in about 8 or 9 months (adding in the last few months when I was pregnant and couldn't get comfortable enough to sleep well.)

I guess I just have to face it....I'm old. Pretty sad, I know.

So, g'night.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

My little secret

I have a secret to share, which, I'm sure, will cause many people to gasp in horror, shake their heads and/or laugh. I don't like Halloween. There I said it.

I like it a little more now that we live in our own house and I can give out candy to all the kids in the neighbourhood. That I like. And decorating the front deck is kind of fun too now that we have this wicked fog machine that Ryan puts under the deck. Pair that with the scary sounds CD we have and it's pretty spooky.

But what I don't like about Halloween is what's supposed to be the best part -- I don't like dressing up. Mainly, because I'm as creative as a doorknob when it comes to costumes. And I always feel like there's so much pressure to come up with a good costume. In fact, the last time that I really dressed up for Halloween I was in University.

But now I have to come up with a good costume (this year, and for many years to come) because Austin can't get by with the same apathetic attitude towards Halloween that I have. He needs a costume. And he needs to look good. So here's how I'm going to solve my creativity problem -- anyone know which stores sell good kids costumes?

And as for my costume this year, well I'll probably do what I do on most years that I need a costume -- throw something together at the last minute.


P.S. On a completely unrelated topic, today is the first day in a long, long time that I remember feeling truly rested. And that's because Austin finally slept through the night last night! He was up at just before 6 to eat and then went back to sleep until 8. Here's hoping that there's more nights like this to come.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Just a thought

My friend Sara (no h) suggested to me on numerous occassions that I start blogging. I'm not quite sure just how much spare time she thinks I have, but I figured, what the hell, it's worth a try.

Although, I must admit, I haven't yet figured out whether I will use my spare time to write about randomness around me or whether I will use it to update friends and family about Austin.

I guess I'll just wait and see where it takes me.