Tuesday, December 23, 2014

liam in pyjamas

Before Liam was born, I had the best of intentions to document his early years but life seems to have other plans for us! And sometimes I find that sad because honestly, so much is changing in his world, on a daily basis and it's so hard to remember it all because things change so quickly.

Right now Liam loves playing phone and can say eyo (which we think is Hello). He says this on a regular basis and it probably was his first word (though sometimes it's admittedly hard to tell). He points to everything and says it. He also says ight (light) and a myriad of other hard to decode words. Whichever way you look at it, he's communicating more and more with us. From the unclear words, to his head shake and arm waves saying no/all done.

He loves climbing the couch and his rocking sheep. I am getting greyer with each passing day (literally though unfortunately I probably can't blame it all on Liam).

He stacks blocks and builds towers with them. He runs and is mastering his hop/jump. At this point he has actually made it too a tiny little hop, which is a source of great amusement to him (and us too).

He's learning to throw a ball and push cars. He walks on his tip toes all the time and is crazy strong for his age. He loves climbing into our laps to read books. He loves books right now.

He understands words and will run the stairs when we say it's time for bed or to the books when we tell him to get a book. He can eat with his fork and spoon, and when he wants to, not get any of it in his hair. He throws his head back and cackles and gives big open mouth cheek kisses.

He loves his blankie and curls up on pillows when he's tired (but don't even think about sharing one with him, he'll push you off).

I could go on and on.

I think honestly, it's amazing to watch all the little things he learns on a regular basis. It's actually kind of awe inspiring. Last year this time, we were working on rolling over and tummy time. And now... it's insane what he can do, from walking (not crawling) up stairs to moving all the cans out of the cupboard and stacking them on the floor for us (he's very helpful in the kitchen).

At the end of the day, I realize that all of his little joys and discoveries probably aren't as exciting to others, but for me they might just be the best part of parenthood. I think that this might be part of the reason that I don't write about it much because I just think that my excitement over him just isn't the same or interesting to others. I mean, I might find him adorable sleeping, but not so much for others. But then again, that picture of him sleeping represents more than just sleep to me: it represents a shift in our day to day life because he's sleeping better, thus I am sleeping better.

Truth be told though, it's hard to keep track of all these little moments, milestones and transitions, no matter how noble my intentions are, because it just feels like there's less time for it or when there is time, I'm too tired to think of it.

Here's to hoping that in 2015 I'll be better about writing down these little moments more.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

why is there such a lack of diversity in children's literature

I don't know if you've noticed this or not, but a lot of the books out there that we read to our children are pretty problematic in regards to diversity and it's starting to REALLY bother me.

I want Liam to read stories of same-sex families, adopted families, bi-racial families, different cultural identities and practices and well... add a kazillion more isms and ologies and so forth to the list and you'll start to get an idea of all the things I'm looking for in my kid's literature.

Because right now we have 2, yes only 2, books geared towards toddlers (in other words a board book that he can't tear apart) that hint at a reality that is different than an all white majority. One measly Thomas the Train book that has 1 black passenger on the train (one book out of a set of four, with one passenger) and one Polar Bear, Polar Bear, which is mostly animals until the very end when a bunch of kids wearing masks have different skin tones.

Ironically, I think that many authors/illustrators try to get around the diversity question by using animals instead of humans.

And I think that this is pretty damn unacceptable. And that it doesn't reflect the reality he is growing up in at all. On our street alone, he experiences more diversity than what is shown in his children's literature. I can't help but wonder, what is the impact of this? What narrative does it tell him, and other children for that matter, if white stories are the only ones that matter enough to get air time?

In fact, after scrolling through 10 pages of the Amazon site of baby books, board books, etc, I only found 2 stories that had a bi-racial narrative that seemed to be featured in the tale:

What about all the other stories out there? What about the babies of my friends who are not white, blonde and blue-eyed like my son? What does it mean for them that they don't seem themselves reflected back to them in constructive ways? Why does it require a special search query to find alternative (but very modern, every day) narratives for children?

I don't know about you, but this really upsets me. So if you have some great suggestions of publishers or books that will teach my son about different lifestyles, cultures, skin tones, etc, etc, etc, please let me know because I'm now on a mission to diversify my son's library so that we are already starting a dialogue on privilege, reality, and diversity in our home, right from the get go.

Friday, August 8, 2014

5 Current Health Goals

So now that I'm back to work and not at home (read constantly surrounded by food temptations), it's time to get by butt in gear and lose some weight.

Food. Exercise. Health. Wellness
Google Images

I know, I know. I've talked about this before. And I'm not going to talk about it at length here except to say that I'm setting the following goals (and declaring them publicly so that I have to hold myself accountable to them):

  1. Get out to yoga at least once a week. I recently made use of this groupon for Moksha Laval. I've gone once this week and am headed back at least 1 to 2 times more, yoga burn permitting. 
  2. Cut my sugar and junk food intake. This killed me while I was at home. Especially while Liam wasn't sleeping. I'm actually doing one of those weight drink thingies to help out with it. I never thought I would but hell, I figure I need all the help I can get these days to curb my sugar addiction!
  3. And because I'm using their product, I'm going to blog about it. Cause that's what I do. Blog a lot and share too much of my life. But it's also a way to share about the weight issue/health goals without overtaking this blog (which is supposed to be mostly about creativity). If you're interested, the info is here: PlexusQuebec.
  4. Get out of the office at lunch and go for walks. Or the gym. This year I'm reclaiming the noon lunch hour so I can partake in work fitness programs. Think I'm going to instagram my walks from time to time (cause you know I'm a little compulsive about the documenting). If you're curious it'll be here: lotustreecrafts
  5. To lose 10% of my weight over the next few months. (Yeah, I'm good with overall fitness too but I need to lose a few lbs, minimally). One of my friends in a mom's group made this her goal and I like the idea of it. I tried to do it with my friend Karen in July, but honestly, Liam's sleep was crap so I totally failed. So I'm back on the wagon. 10% club here I come. 

So yeah. That's that. I'm trying to get healthier. I'm tired of complaining about my health so it's time for a change. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

post maternity leave wardrobe update

I've been looking forwarding to non maternity clothing for a while. You know, tops that aren't stretched or stained from breastfeeding. My longstanding joke is that I'm going to start dressing uber conservative post breastfeeding just because I crave high necklines! I'm quite tired of my breasts hanging out.

Yup, you read that right.

I'm tired of having my boobs hanging out. I long for high necks, long sleeves and full coverage. After a year of feeling like my breasts are always on display, I long for inaccessible, high neckline clothing. I'm ready to reclaim the girls, put them back in their pretty bras, and just start feeling a little like, on some small level, my body is my own again!

If I'm honest, it's part of going to back to work that I'm really looking forward to. It's totally trivial but there you have it.

So I keep eyeing up clothing, looking for items that meet the criteria. But here's the kicker: now, when I don't need it, I feel like everything I see is breastfeeding friendly whereas last year this time I couldn't find tops anywhere. Go figure.


So if you happen to see some really sweet high, funky necked tops at a decent price, let me know. Cause I'm in the market. Just saying...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

reusuable food pouches

A while back, this blogger wrote about the hidden environmental costs of using baby food pouches. She made some great points, from the market creating a need that doesn't really exist, to the fact that all these pouches are a nightmare in terms of waste. She also pointed out some good things, like the organics and food combos to introduce little ones too.

But as a mama who is particularly concerned about the consumption culture that surrounds little ones, I had already made a move towards buying my own reusable, refillable pouches through my local mom's co-op (have I ever told you how much I love my local mom's co-op and how dangerous it is at the same time?!) from Nourish.

I'll admit, for a long time I didn't use these pouches as Liam just didn't seem to get how to use them independently. And since he won't let me feed him anymore, filling them with foods I need to spoon feed him isn't an option.

But frustrated with his resistance to cereals and running low on finger food inspiration, I thought I'd try mixing his cereal/smoothie into the pouches and try again now that he's almost the big ONE.

I won't lie. There were a few mishaps. One that involves a certain mama losing her cool, scooping goo up from everywhere, and the need to pull apart the high chair to throw everything, straps, seat cover and all, in the wash machine since the thorough scrubbing hasn't done the trick...

But guess what?

Yesterday he got it. And he was adorably pleased with himself when he realized that if he sucked on the spout, food came out.

Yum, blueberry, banana, oatmeal, yogurt, chia mix!

Look mama, clean hands (sort of)

I admit, I'm pretty stoked that he's figured it out as it gives me a way to get those veggies back into him. Since moving to finger foods, making sure he's getting enough veggies has been a bit more challenging because it's just easier to hand him raw fruit and I forget to steam veggies in advance. Now I can pull out the kale, peach, yogurt mix to add into his cereal.

Random tip (especially if you have a trouble maker like I do): make the mix thicker, not too liquidy, because then they can't just pour it out!

Product Review: I like the pouches. They're relatively easy to use, clean, and fill. Customer service was great. The only thing I would have liked would be for the bags to have a double ziplock for the more precocious child.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Fruit Monster

Since Liam's birthday had a monster theme I decided to make a fruit monster.

Here's how I did it:

Cut off bottom so it sits on the tray...

Cute out mouth and hollow out watermelon

Use creativity to make face and load with fruit

Enjoy the cute treat!

Friday, July 11, 2014

diy microwave popcorn

Who doesn't love popcorn?  I know I do. But I don't love microwave popcorn bags. They're expensive and full of junk. I miss the hot air popcorn maker that we had growing up, but honestly, don't really want to buy yet another kitchen gadget.  So when I came across this tutorial to make your own microwave popcorn, I was sold.

I gathered up the supplies:
  • popcorn
  • brown paper lunch bags
That's it. (Oh, and a microwave).

I poured in my 1/4 cup of popcorn and folded the bag over 2x and put it in the microwave for 2 minutes. (I used my Quick On button, so I imagine that's high power). Paul mocked me saying that he thought that it was going to come out of the bag, but it didn't.

And here are the results:

 Honestly... not a single kernel burned AND most of the kernels popped. I was pretty impressed. This is WAY cheaper and healthier than your store bought bag.

And since I'm looking to make healthy popcorn, I decided to try my own flavourings (I have a coworker who rocks at this, so I knew they could be tasty). I took mine from this blogger.

For the sweet tooth: Mexican Chocolate

Mix of icing sugar, cocoa and cinnamon

For the savoury tooth: Italian and Parmesan

Mix of Parsley, Basil, Garlic, Onion and Parmesan

Best thing about the mixes? I doubled the popcorn for both bowls (1/2 cup total*) and used about 2 tsps of butter, just enough to coat the popcorn and catch the seasoning. So overall, WAY healthier option!

And voila. DIY healthy microwave popcorn!

* I don't recommend trying to pop the 1/2 cup in one bag, all at once. I did it twice, in two 1/4 allotments because the bag really isn't big enough to hold the doubled amount.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

miss Mayla

Mayla is starting to get old. Paul and I have been watching the transition over the past year or so. We've noticed that she struggles more to jump up on the bed or various other physical activities that she used to be quite nimble at.

I was sorting through files a while back and realized that she's actually 16 years old now. I adopted her in 1999 when she was 8 months old and she's been my home and family ever since.

Over the years she's changed and grown with me. But now she's getting to that point of no return. Recent problems have revealed that she has a degenerative kidney problem and that we need to put her on palliative medicine to help her kidneys function properly. It's not a cure, just a fix to help maintain her health/quality of life.

So now we play the wait and see game. Will the meds help? What is her overall health and comfort? When has the illness taken her to a point in time where it's time to let her go so that she's not suffering?

Don't get me wrong, I'm ok with it all, even though I'm sad, because I know she's had a good life; that I rescued her from an overcrowded SPCA in Victoria when she was a sickly little thing that most people would have walked past. But I saw her in that cage, rubbing up against my hand, so very much in need of love and affection and my heart was hers. She has been the being that I have come home to now for 15 years.

I hope that despite the little monster that I have brought into her life, you know, the one who just is so excited about her but doesn't understand the concept of gentle yet and thus drives her crazy, that she will be healthy and happy in these last months/years. That I can ensure that when it's time to let her go, that she'll know that I love her deeply and that she has been my fixed point in the sea of change that has marked my life since leaving home. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

cleaning the chaos and creating space for inspiration

Lately I feel a little like I've been drowning in chaos. My home feels crazy cluttered and I feel totally overwhelmed by the idea of even starting to clean. Of course, it doesn't help that my little monster has his own ideas about cleanliness, including, but not limited to, pulling everything out of the drawers and leaving them on the kitchen floor.

So when I decided to tackle my craft room, I knew that I was just going to have to embrace the chaos that comes with cleaning with Liam under foot:

I knew that I needed to tackle this room though, even with Liam underfoot, because I haven't been doing anything creative and I miss it. I didn't want to step foot in the room because it had become a dumping ground for everything over the past month or so, which means I have not be scrapbooking, art journaling, or pretty much anything in the space. All of which means that Marya was feeling pretty out of sorts not having a creative outlet.

Because the one thing I have learned since finishing school is that this girl needs projects AND creativity nurtures my soul and makes me a happier person.

Every time I looked at my craft space, I just cringed and thought, no, another day.

But there are several sayings about chaos and desks and possessions and identity that have been rolling around in my head lately as I avoided the task. The first being that a cluttered desk/home can be the sign of a cluttered mind (in my case very true) and having too much stuff prevents us from finding ourselves in lieu of being defined by the stuff.

So I dove in and already I feel lighter and more excited about finding time to do something creative!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

something I wrote, in the wee morning hours, the morning my water broke last year

July 16th, 2013. Written at 3:57am

Ok, I think it's safe to say that it's official: I've hit baby making meltdown point.

I'm sure it's normal and lots of late pregnancies go through this. But this baby needs to get out. He needs to do something because I'm starting to lose my shit for a multitude of reasons.

1. Other than getting fatter and redder when I walk, my body doesn't really seem to be doing anything that marks any progress towards labor. I think that at least if I had some sort of signs that labor was imminent I'd feel calmer. I know, I actually asking for some pain, contractions, sore hips, etc to indicate that he's moving down and getting ready.

2. I've done my entire pregnancy in French, my second language, which means that I don't have the fluidity to express my ideas, feelings, and/or concerns. It makes it harder for me to ask questions or to have the language to realize things in my appointments that I might catch sooner in English. For example, we don't have a follow up appointment booked: do I call you or you call me?

3. My Mom is only here for a limited amount of time and I feel a ton of pressure (self-imposed) to have this baby before she leaves in order for her to be able to meet him.

4. It's so bloody hot and we have no air conditioning in our home. I'm literally melting and feeling beet red on a daily basis at the moment, which as you can imagine, makes me particularly pleasant to be around.

5. I'm just freaking out. Point blank. I know it's hormones and I know that I should appreciate every moment I have before my life changes irrevocably but I'm freaking out over here and feeling like this baby is never going to come and honestly, I don't know whether I am more inclined to wanting to break down into tears or throw a temper tantrum. Yeah, I'm only half joking as I write that which is the scariest part of it all.

6. I want to trust that my body just knows what it's doing because let's face it, it has throughout my entire pregnancy but the raging hormones are starting to make me doubt it. As in, what if my body is one of the few that just doesn't know? What if, gods forbid, it fails me in this final hour, and doesn't do what it should do naturally? What if? What if it fails and I have no follow up appointment, where do I go, what do I do? Do I wait for my Dr to call me or do I call for an appointment? And never mind all the irrational fears I have about said call and the fact that I feel like I'll be left hanging in the Quebec medical system because no one will see the urgency that I am currently feeling?

Oh yes, my hormones are at an all time freak out level. It's a fact. I am currently in the midst of a complete meltdown, don't say I didn't warn you at the beginning of this post!

On the other hand, somewhere deep beneath the hormonal freak out I have enough of a small voice of reason in there to remind me that this too shall pass and that what I'm feeling is probably very normal; to trust that the system won't completely fail me and that I'll go to my ultrasound on Wed, if I don't go into labour first, and there will be a well planned out follow up routine in place that I just don't currently know about and that the medical system, in their blase "been there, done this a million times" overlooked sharing with this first time Mom because they lost sight of the individual over the routine. Yeah. And really, my body has been fine this entire pregnancy so it'll be fine with labour.

Right? Right. Help a hormonal pregnant lady out... remind her that it's going to all work out just the way it needs to and that I just need to relax. The end is only a matter of days away and it's going to be fine.


I can't help but find it sort of ironic/funny that I was melting down so much for something that was only hours away! Literally 47 hrs later I was holding Liam in my arms. Not that I'm going to have another, but I can see how a second pregnancy would just be so different! And how I would cherish those last days so much more than I did the first time around because the newborn stage is infinitely harder than the big, red, bloated stage. Just saying...

Sunday, June 29, 2014

12 things NOT to say to parents with poor sleepers

You know you've hit a new low in the sleep front when your partner is taking your 11 month old child for car rides at 4:30 am, after 2.5 hours of being awake, just because we're that desperate.

Yes, I'm serious.  And yes, thankfully, it's worked, for now.

What, did you expect a picture of a sleeping baby?
In this household, sleep is the beast that we try not to fixate on but often fail at. Sleep is a source of contention and bitterness. It is the subject of many WHY questions. Why can't he self soothe? Why can't we teach him sleep? Why won't you stay asleep? Why won't you sleep when you're so obviously tired.

And with all of our whys come the speculations and advice from well meaning family and friends, all of which feel like salt in an open wound at this point. So, without further ado, here is my list of things to stop saying to parents who have babies who don't sleep:
  1. That's crazy/weird, my baby slept through the night at 6 weeks. Saying this just makes sleep deprived parents want to smack you. Or scratch your eyes out. Or leave their child with you for a week because you either clearly know something they don't, or comeuppance is a bitch they'd like to deliver in the form of shut your mouth and listen to him scream for a week.
  2. Maybe you should try letting him cry it out (Ferber method). For the record, some people are advocates and some aren't of this school of thought. Offering it as advice, particularly after parents have passed the newborn, doe eyed stage, isn't helpful because guess what, they know about it already because it's been mentioned like a kazillion times already. And yes, for the record, we've even tried that (to a limited degree) out of sheer desperation even though I don't believe in it.
  3. You should top him up before he goes to bed/You should put him to bed on an emptier stomach. Clearly the messages are mixed here and no one really knows whether a full belly or a lighter belly leads to better sleep.
  4. Try formula. Because apparently breast milk, which nature intended, isn't doing the trick so instead we should feed our children artificial food to promote sleep. I'm not quite sure what is more disturbing, the fact that we think this is a good solution or the fact that fake foods drug us into sleep. Definitely food for thought! (By the way, if you are using formula that's your call and I'm not judging, just bitching about it being offered as a solution to sleep issues). Or worse, apparently not only am I failing at teaching my child to sleep, my body is clearly not producing the good, magical milk that induces sleep in normal babies. Yes, I realize that I'm being melodramatic and over-reacting but guess what, I'm tired and emotional enough to justify not being able to see things clearly or react appropriately. You try going a week on crap sleep and get back to me about how well you dealt with life during that time.
  5. I read this book [insert sleep title here] and it really helped us. Clearly infant sleep is an issue judging by the plethora of books on the subject. And yet, they're still being written on a regular basis and new ideas are being offered in each. This leads me to question how effective all these sleep aide intervention/solutions really are at the end of the day if the market needs that many options.
  6. It'll get better by [insert age]. No. Just no people. Because inevitably that age passes and it's still bad and the parents just feel like the false hope makes it worse. Because it just will get better when it gets better. Not when yours got better. Not by some magical age.
  7. Maybe you should try [insert suggestion]. Back, swaddle, belly. Sleep sacks. Lavender. Sleeping with an object then putting it in the crib. And the list goes on. Yeah, no. Or worse: stop drinking coffee. Shut your face. Coffee is the only thing that is getting me through this. No, that is not an option. And no, for the record, it didn't make a difference in any way other than meaning that my day suddenly got harder.
  8. You need to teach self soothing. Try [insert suggestion: lovey, laying in bed with him, rocking, singing, night lights, patting his back, music boxes, etc, etc]. I don't know about you, but after 11 months of poor sleeping, we've done it all. I repeat: WE'VE DONE AND TRIED IT ALL. And none of it works consistently. We might have success one or two days, but then we go back to where we before. 
  9. He's probably just teething or going through a developmental milestone. Maybe your baby sleeps less during these times, but for the poor sleeper, these times only means that the degree of sleeplessness increases, not that it'll pass once the milestone/tooth is passed. In other words,  teething may have caused your good sleeper to have a couple nights of bad sleep, but teething means that my poor sleeper just didn't sleep (nor did we).
  10. You should stop feeding the baby at night. Just tough it out for a few days and eventually the baby will learn and sleep through the night. Seriously? Seriously? That's what you've got for me? When the only thing that gets my child back to sleep is stuffing his face full of boob, you want me to take away the one thing that works and tough it out? You know, given that sleep is already crap and we've been toughing it out for about a year already. That's GREAT advice. You should win a Nobel prize for that one. Thanks. [In case you didn't get the sarcasm there, let me a bitch slap into the mix to make it clearer for you].
  11. How did your precious little one sleep last night? Or insert other cutesy lovey dovey name for a baby. Yeah, the answer is like every other night. Like crap. And don't get all cutesy on me cause clearly you don't know the level of ire I'm feeling at the moment. I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that loving endearments are the by-products of people who have either: never had children, have forgotten what sleep deprivation looks like, have children who sleep, or said because people worry that your cranky sleep face wants to devour your baby and they're trying to remind you that babies are cute and good and loveable. But for the love of all things sacred, please stop asking this question. Honestly. Let parents tell you about the good nights when they happen. Because sometimes they just want to talk about the good stuff instead of fixating on the poor norm. Or, let them bring it up if they need to talk, vent, rage, cry about it. But don't bring it up EVERY, SINGLE morning. 
  12. I get it, my little one woke up at 6am today. SHUT YOUR FACE. That is all. 
One of the best things that a fellow mom of a poor sleeper read was this: You can try all the solutions/suggestions that you want. If you have a poor sleeper, you just have a poor sleeper.

And here's the thing, inevitably the suggestions and advice are all speculative based on things read, heard, or experienced in other babies. What works for one won't necessarily work for another. And after months of being offered helpful advice, sometimes it starts to feel like judgement or insult. Or just completely useless words that people say because they feel like they need to make it better or placate you.  You can't make it better. Nothing you say will likely make it better. If they want advice, they'll ask. If they need to talk about it, they will.

They've done the work. Read all the theories, schools of thought, and suggestions. They've tried it all.

All they want to hear at this point is: That sucks. I'm sorry.

They know it's not your fault. They know that some people are lucky and blessed with sleeping babies. They don't hate you for it. They may wonder why their own little one won't sleep and why you lucked out and they didn't. But they don't begrudge you your sleeping baby. Not really. Not most days. Not even when when they're struggling with the green eyed jealousy monster.

Monday, June 16, 2014

our first father's day

Father's day just passed and being a new mom, I was eager to create something fun (but easy) to celebrate it for Paul. Thanks to inspiration from a couple of moms in my various mom communities, here's what I came up with:

A scrapbook dedicated to housing all of Liam's Father's Day creations/cards, etc:

The scrapbook is from Staples (or Bureau en Gros). I kept the plastic cover to protect the picture. The image on the cover was made from product backing (something with chalkboard speech bubbles I bought a while back), a photo of the 2 of them, and alpha stickers from my stash. 

Since Liam can't make his own card this year, I made the first one in the album for him:

Took a photo of Liam against the wall, cropped out the extra bits I didn't want in the photo, then added the text in PSE. The font is Return to Sender, which I downloaded earlier for the chalkboard poster project. I actually took the "quote" from an ad campaign because I thought it was sweet and fitting for the beginning of an album celebrating their relationship over the years.

Speaking of which, the rest of the album will be made up of Liam's creations for Paul (maybe with a bit of Mama's help from time to time), which is why I wanted to use the 8.5 x 11 format (perfect for sheets of paper featuring his artwork). So that's it, easy peasy Father's Day gift full of sentimental value as a keepsake for Dad.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Chalkboard Posters

So Liam's birthday is around the corner and I'm all excited about the crafty possibilities. Yeah, I'm totally loving the idea of being that mom when it comes to birthdays. I want to do the big to do. I want to make it super special. I've been looking forward to it since I started imagining life as a mother.

Here's the first of my creative endeavours for his big day (to be updated with info closer to the big day... cause you know, he'll probably grow and gain weight between now and then):

The plan is to do a monster themed party, hence the monsters in the poster! It was time consuming to make, but fun. I'm actually pretty pleased with it. I've been tweaking it as a project and might offer it up as an item in my shop, but it would look more like this:

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wanted: Mothering/Work Exchange

Looking for willing working schmuck to stay home with my 10month old sick infant.

Must be willing to rock and bounce baby to sleep. Warning, this takes a while, especially when he's congested, but it's great cardio so you won't need to go to the gym for a few days.

Feeding. I don't expect you to breastfeed but you'll need to be comfortable with a bottle. And not an alcohol bottle. A baby bottle, with my breast milk in it. I'll prep them (yes, them, as in 1 every few hours) but be forewarned, they are full of my breast milk.

You'll also have to feed him solids. He likes to feed himself but you have to stay there and watch over him because he tends to put too much food in his mouth. So you're on choking duty. Keep in mind that he's sick, so he might want to be fed softer purees instead. This means that while you can eat when he does, you'll find that you might not finish your meal. Don't worry, I'm sure you'll either learn to eat at the speed of light or go without. Did I mention clean up duty? Yeah. That's fun. Between what lands on him and the floor, either way, it's a bit of a warzone to clean. Especially when he lets out bloodcurdling screams when you approach his face with a cloth, no matter what song and dance you perform.

Also be aware, participant needs to hold baby all day (he's 23lbs so hopefully you have good stamina. Either way, consider it weight lifting and a good core workout.


Sleep when baby sleeps. Keep in mind, this is a bit of a romanticism. Babies, especially mine, sleep less than you think. Usually just as you're starting to nod off, baby starts waking, which can actually make you feel more tired. So nap at your own peril.

Stay home in your pjs all day if you so desire. After all, he's congested and using you as a kleenex anyways. Why ruin your good clothes.

He's cute. You know, when you subtract the snotty, whiny bit out of the equation. And he has a pretty sweet smile and laugh so there will be some good moments in the day, despite the hunger, mess, diapers (did I mention those?) and crankiness. Probably.

Will you think it's worth it by the end of the day? It's hard to tell. But I guarantee you that you'll be happy to see me when I walk in the door!

In exchange:

I will go to your place of employment and work my ass off, regardless of the task you set before me. I will be the bestest, most productive employee you've ever been. Seriously. I can get amazing amounts of work done in 45 mins when I put my mind to it. Hell, even in 20 minutes. I will dress fancy, have adult conversations, and enjoy your lunch break with your colleagues. 

Any takers?

Monday, May 5, 2014

diy stationery set - take 1

Wanting to try something new with my stamping and stationery, I thought I'd give trying to make a stationery folder set a go.

Here's what I used:

1 sheet 12x12 kraft paper

10  8.5x 5.5 paper
5 A2 envelopes
Stampin Up Blender Pen
Real Red Stampin Up ink
Glue Stick

I cut my 12x12 cardstock into 9x12 and folded the 12 inch side in half (6) then I cut the remaining 3 inch strip into 2 long strips, one 2x12 and the other 1x12 inches.

As you can see I used the wider strip on the right with the stationery and the narrower strip for the envelopes on the left.

Basically I wrapped the strips somewhat snugly (a little wiggle room to slide paper and envelopes out) around the paper goods. The letter paper was leftover from a custom order trial using lined and an embossed paisley floral stamp. I opted to stamp the envelopes to coordinate with the paper.

I wanted the wrap to have a little something so I also stamped the wider strip and coloured it in using my red ink and a blender pen. I thought the red would look nice as it tends to pop against kraft paper. Ironically I think it looks better in the photo than it does in real life.

I kept the cover simple for now, using a plain, unlined sheet of stationery in the same set.

If you look at the right bottom corner, you'll notice I originally stamped onto the kraft cardstock but didn't like it so decided to cover it. I wasn't aiming for perfection as this was meant as a mock up to see how it would work.

What I would keep and change:

  • I would keep the overall structure. It's simple but effective.
  • I'd probably layer the front differently: kraft, white, then another patterned layer of some sort to make it pretty and interested.
  • I think I'd either using washi or cardstock to line the wraps (obviously coordinating with the outer patterned layer for a unified look). 
  • I'd work in the stamp from the stationery set into the overall design to pull it all together.
Overall I like it though and think I'll try another shot at it to see what a more polished product would look like.

Monday, April 28, 2014

girly yet neutral baptism card

Anyone who really knows me, knows that I'm not Christian. Thus, when I am invited to Christian baptism (or host my own), it is really important to me to strike the right blend of sacred and respectful and yet, neutral. In this day and age, you never really know how religious a couple is when they are doing something through the lens of the Church (face it, we baptised and I'm not Christian), nor do I particularly want to convey on overly Christian tone and misrepresent myself.

It's a tricky line but I think I managed to get it in this particular card:

The pattern paper is Bazzil and the plain, American Crafts. I used ribbon from the Dollar Store. The edges were done with an EK punch and the flower is Stampin' Up stamp/ink.

It's for the baptism of Paul's cousin's daughter so I went girly. I figure since I won't be having any girls in my home aside from myself and the cat, I need to embrace the girly when I can!

Inside I wrote:

May strong arms hold you
Caring hearts tend you
and may love await
you at every step
~ Irish Proverb

I think it conveys the right sentiment, can be understood as God, but also neutral enough to mean the parents or godparents or extended family and friends if you prefer.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Liam @ 9months

I think that when I thought about having a baby, this is the age that I imagined. He's just so exactly at that stage of babyhood that I anticipated and I love it.

half scrunched stink face
He's just amazing, sleep issues aside, at this age. He's so inquisitive and despite that meaning that he's into everything, it's just awesome to watch him learn his world. Every little thing fascinates him now. From the texture of his food to the staircase bannister.

He's starting to express his distaste, displeasure and downright anger at things. He pulls this scrunched up stink face that is actually pretty cute. He has a fake cry when he wants attention and a giggle when he is totally amused by something. He makes this noise that sounds like he's saying "heeeyyyy" and it's the funniest thing.

playing on his own
He started swimming and seems to like the water, particularly splashing Mama. He's super strong and if he wants to go somewhere it's hard to pull him away. He loves cords and opening the cupboards. He chatters as he goes up the stairs. He plays with his feet while breastfeeding and reaches up to be picked up.

If you look at him and smile (and he knows you), he smiles back. He snuggles and lays his head down when he's tired.

All the things that seemed like big milestones a month ago are old hat now (rolling over, sitting upright, going from sitting to the floor/crawl, etc). And he's just growing/developing in leaps and bounds now. It's crazy. And fascinating/amazing.

A month ago Paul and I watched him take his first crawling steps. The other day I saw his first butt wiggle dance move. It was awesome. I love seeing how his personality is unfolding.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


So I've decided to give selling my stationery on consignment in Ottawa a go. This means that I'm currently working, very slowly, on revamping my site, etsy shop, and packaging in order to create something that has a loosely branded look to it.

Up first, business cards. I designed these with a template on vistaprints:

They're simple, cost effective, and for now, easy!  And because the back needed a little something, something:

Now that those are done, I'm going to change a few of the colours on the blog to match up with the cards, you know, for uniformity and all that.

Monday, April 7, 2014

consignment stationery anyone?

Random update. I was contacted via my etsy shop about selling my stationery on a consignment basis in an Ottawa based shop.

It was nice to be approached with the offer, now I need to decide whether or not I want to give it a go. I would make less money selling them in the shop than I do online, but then again, it means that I might get more sales in my online shop and wouldn't have to ship individually. While I love making stationery for others, I'm not crazy about the shipping aspect of it. Though Etsy has made it easier by creating a built in shipping app, which rocks cause now I can print labels from home and drop the parcel in the mail box.

The deal with the shop would be a trial period of 60 days so it's not a huge commitment and if the items don't sell, they ship them back to me and I could just sell them in the online shop. I think that I'm leaning towards a yes as I think it might be a fun venture!

Friday, April 4, 2014

a few videos

Liam is crawling and pulling up on things these days:

Which basically means that he's constantly on the move. He can crawl  up the entire staircase, with Mama hovering behind him of course, much to Mayla the cat's chagrin! And he's getting fast!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

a little irony to go with that campaign slogan?

So I was driving home and saw an ad like this one:

Image Source

Plus accueillant.

Yeah, I don't think that I've ever seen something so ironic!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Liam's life, lately

A little of what life is looking like these days over here:

Liam is pretty much into everything these days. Life as we know it has changed. We watched him take his first crawling steps and within 24 hours he was proving me wrong in the assumption that our house was pretty baby friendly.

He is starting to participate in story time. Usually that means trying to eat or smack the book, but sometimes he digs the pictures.

Or his mama:

Or the textures in his book

We went out, sans baby, to see Sugar Sammy.  Fun!

Meanwhile, back at home our babysitters were trying to teach our son to walk. Gah,what's wrong with them? Don't they know how much trouble walking is going to create? Nope, they don't have kids of their own. Just wait... karma is a bitch!

Did I mention that Liam is crawling, which means he's now pulling up on everything! Crawling is just the gateway to walking, then talking, then fully expressed attitude.

He's pretty into his cousins these days. For the first time he's actually starting to watch them and interact with them. It's sweet.

He also cuddles now. It's totally awesome. And he loves slippers. Like crazy loves them. You want him to crawl for you? Throw a slipper in his line of vision.

 Other fun facts:

He now wakes up and immediately pulls himself up in the crib. It's cute in the morning. It's not so cute at 4am.

Ordered these leggings through my mom's co-op and seriously, could their butts be any cuter?


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