Friday, January 31, 2014

Joys of motherhood: shit they don't tell you beforehand

Sleep aides: a love hate relationship. A true story brought to you by a sleep deprived mama. 

It's 4am as I write this.  I have bounced and rocked, swayed and sang for over an hour.  Currently Liam is in his crib watching his mobile while I recoup for round 2. 

And I'm sort of dreading it.  

You see, we have this exercise ball and it is 98% of the time, the only thing that puts my son to sleep and I'm starting to hate the damn ball.  Correction.  I fucking loath the stupid thing.  I'd like to take my butcher knife and stab it. (The ball not the baby, don't worry).  Yup I hate the ball that much. You would too if you spent as much time bouncing on it as I do. 

I've bounced alone and with friends watching.  I've bounced at sunset and sunrise.  In rain and snow and sunshine.  In front of a fan and in front of a fire.  Awake and half asleep.  

Hell, I bounce so much on it I feel sometimes like my spine is being flattened. When I stand my knees and hips crack.  

Yeah.  Have I mentioned that I hate the bouncy ball? 

Except, the other night when my son was sick and the ball had a hole in it and my husband tried for 3 days to patch it. And there was no damn bouncy ball and Liam was sick and miserable and wouldn't sleep.  

Then I longed for it.  I looked forlornly at the deflated ball, feeling like it was taunting me for all my smack talk.  

Well it showed me. I fought for sleep and the ball won. ..

So until I can teach my son to sleep without bouncing, I will continue to bounce in the wee hours of the morning, loathing but loving the sleep aide that puts my son to sleep.  Let's all just pray that he learns to sleep without it sooner than later because I think I'm starting to get bouncy legs.  

Before you know it, I'll catch myself bouncing in stores instead of swaying like other mothers do. ..

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Copied Blogging Voices

Lately I've been noticing a few crafty blogs that are leaning heavily on the styles of other, more popular crafty blogs and I have to say I'm finding it kind of annoying.

I get that their style has worked and so you want to copy the winning model.  But I guess I'm searching for a little more originality. Those blogs work because they have found their own voice, you know? Their blogs reflect who they are and borrowing their style will only get you so fast. 

But maybe I'm wrong.  I'm not exactly I big draw reader wise and I'm OK with that. .. I find the more I know people are reading the more I filter. ... But maybe I should be copying others.  You know, so that my voice and thoughts mirror someone else's and the Internet becomes a uniformed medium. ..

I'm not going to name names but yeah. ... When your photo style, post titles,  and general content could be on the other person's blog, I'd say you've gone too far and missed the point.  Copying is only flattering to a point. 

Just saying. ...

Friday, January 17, 2014

project life: week one

And so it begins, another year of Project Life scrapbooking:



I am determined to capture more than just our day to day stories in this album. I know, this isn't necessarily the intention behind Project Life, but I feel like it's important. When we look back at our families albums or history in general, it's not just to see what people looked like, it's to catch a glimpse of what life was like then, what people thought about the events happening in the world around them.


I've blurred out a card talking about my brother's life, not because it was super private, but just because I thought that maybe this year I should be a bit better about respecting others' privacy.

All in all this was a quiet week. The calm after the holiday storm. But it was nice to be able to relax and get back into the quieter daily rituals.



Thursday, January 16, 2014

adventures in breadmaking

When I was little, my mom used to make homemade bread. I loved watching knead the dough and was fascinated by the rising process. I'm quite sure this frustrated my mom as she would often have to tell me to stop looking at the dough. I loved (and still do) watching the dough double or triple in size. It's one of life's little pleasures that just fascinate me.


So when my brother and sister in law asked me what we (we!) wanted for Christmas, I immediately thought... I want a book on breadmaking. They humoured my request and sent me a book on breadmaking from England. (I know... a British breadmaking book, fancy)!


 So far I've made 3 breads from the book: a Bloomer loaf, baguettes, and pizza dough. I had a bit of a mishap with the first loaf (Bloomer) because I didn't realize that the baking temperature was in Celsius. Oops.

But the loaf was actually quite forgiving and worked out anyways.


 I've since gone back and made more baguettes. They're quite good and honestly, more fun to knead than the Bloomer loaf. I find there to be something really cathartic and soothing about kneading bread.


In fact, I quite enjoy the entire process of breadmaking, from proofing yeast to watching the bread rise to well, eating it when it's fresh out of the oven! One downfall seems to be that Quebec doesn't actually sell high quality bread flour. In the book I was given, the author mentions that the protein level in the bread needs to be high as the gluten from protein is what gives the bread it's elasticity. In Qc, all flour, even bread flour is listed as having 4gr of protein in it, thus negating the point of actually buying "bread" flour.

I don't know... call it one of Qc's weird quirks.

Anyways. Next up, adding in whole wheats and grains to make my white breads a little more "real" and nutritious.



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

inspired scrapbooking: seasons

I'm taking a year long online scrapbooking course, Inspired Scrapbooking with Stacy Julian. Every month she's giving us a prompt to get us thinking about stories in our lives to scrapbook. The goal is a laid back, but thoughtful approach to storytelling through scrapbooking.

January's prompt was Seasons. She gave us several ways to think about it, I took it and wrote about seasonal produce in the grocery store and how that concept has changed so much in my lifetime:


From there I went on to think about how this is a concept that will likely be foreign to my son. And with that thought I realized that I am already telling stories of a "back in my day" nature because I'm 37 with an infant and that my grandma was only about 9 years older than I am now when I was born.

How crazy is that?

Stacy had prompted us to think about seasons, as in seasons of our lives, or literally seasons but continuity through seasons, (etc), and it struck me how different "seasons" are for my generation. We tend to have children so much later in life (not as late as I did per se, but still), and our world has changed so much in the last 40 years.

The irony of it is that while I remember eating fruit seasonally, which isn't really the norm these days, we might turn around and go back to seasonal produce because it's more sustainable and there's a whole "real food" movement that is swinging the pendulum away from the processed foods that have become the norm. Though, maybe not...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

homemade dijon mustard

One of my goals these days is to eat more real food and less processed food, in other words, spend some time making homemade versions of foods that are laden with chemicals and unnecessary preservatives.

So I tried my hand at making homemade dijon mustard. It's pretty easy.



Here's what I used:

2 cups white wine
1 onion
2 huge cloves of garlic (4 normal cloves)

1 cup mustard powder
2 tbsp honey

I mixed the first 3 ingredients and let them simmer in a pot for about 10 mins. Then I strained the wine through a thin colander to remove the solids. Next, I mixed the powder and honey into the wine mixture.

That's it.  I'm not quite sure what it is in the mix but it's got quite the kick to it!

Monday, January 13, 2014

project life 2014

So we're back on track for another year of Project Life scrapbooking.

Here's our cover page:


I combined two Project Life kits (Midnight and Seafoam) but printed the Seafoam pages in black and white in order to create a monochromatic look. Except for Liam, who pops. The drawback to having cut up the photo is that it gives us all weird faces, but whatever.

I'm exciting for the fresh start!



Monday, January 6, 2014

project life 2013

Aside from a couple photos I need to steal off of others, this year's album is done.



Honestly, there were moments when I didn't think it would happen. I fell behind. Like way behind. And it's not easy to catch up on when you fall behind. I could have left the gaps, but since it's a record of Liam's first year, I wanted to capture as much as I could recall.

I'm not going to share every page made for the past few months I caught up on, but here are some highlights:


Holiday beginnings, baby play dates, and morning cuddles in bed on the weekend. I think my favourite bit is the morning cuddles. I see this becoming a bit of a routine over the next years and I love it. Honestly, I think it represents everything I ever dreamed about when it came to motherhood on some level. Love, love, love it.


We went to the Slovenian St Nicholas lunch, the first of a annual tradition I'm sure. Liam was a star and of course, being a true Casar boy, proceeded to pull off (almost) St Nick's beard!


Just random holiday, every day details. Selfies and shopping, brunch. Every day life at the moment.
 

And of course, a few Christmas photos. I just love how Liam's Oca (grandpa) plays with him. And I think Liam does too!

One of the things that I wanted to add into the album but wasn't consistent with, was world events. Instead, I opted to create this page to document some of the biggest stories of the year:


I broke the stories down into regional, national, and worldwide. I'm sure I missed a ton of stories, but these were the big ones that caught my attention. Moving forward I think I might try to do this more often in my 2014 album (not sure if I want to try for weekly or monthly or ...). Because let's face it, as much as I love my kid, my husband and my cat.... I want future albums to contain more.

And yes, there will be another album. I discussed it with Paul because this year's album became quite a "chore" to catch up on. But we both feel like the scrapbook archive is important because it records his life and we're not doing baby albums. That said, I want to be doing the project a bit differently this year as I want it to include more of what is going on in the world too. This will make it more challenging but I think it's a good thing. I'm starting to feel baby brain rot setting it a bit so this will force me to pay more attention to world events again.

So here's to 2013. You were a busy crazy year! I'm looking forward to what scrapbooking 2014 will bring!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

finished photo collage: our ying/yang marriage

I just love it when Paul's and my personalities combine to do good work.

What am I rambling on about you ask?

Well I've (we've) had this project in mind for our house for over a year now: hanging family photos in our staircase. We've finally completed said project (with a few changes). It only took about a year and a half to get done, but it's done!


What makes this project (oh yeah, it's in our dining room not our staircase... I said there were some changes)... anyways, what makes this project the perfect blend of our best (or most anal) selves is this: I went through the pictures in great detail, looking for symmetry in stories and styles while Paul took the time to measure everything and make sure that all the pictures were equi-distance from one another, aligned at the top and the bottom.

If he'd done the photos, they would have been a hodge podge collection. If I'd hung them, they'd have eyeballed and hung with thumbtacks.

Together, they have theme and balance. I think this is pretty representative of our lives together as a whole. Paul takes care of the details that I just wing, and I'm all about the communicating story and meaning that he's happy to just play by ear. Sometimes we switch roles, but as a rule, it's pretty spot on.

Well done us. We're so ying/yang!

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