Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone!  

Tonight as soon as I got home from work, Jen and I got on some Halloween headwear and got The Bean into his Piglet costume and headed over to say "Trick or Treat" to my aunt, cousins and Nana.  My aunt surprised us with some chocolates and a little pumpkin for The Bean.

We had to take a photo of The Bean with his pumpkin.  He's in his skeleton pajamas, although with the new teeth that have come in, vampire pajamas would have been more appropriate! 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Link Love

Sorry for the lack of posts lately.  This time of year is the most busy for me in terms of extra work commitments.  Last week I had three evenings where I had to attend work events.  I'm feeling pretty burnt-out.  The weekend was good for recharging though.  Still no "real" posts, but I thought I would update with a couple of links I've stumbled across over the past little bit.  Maybe you'll enjoy them too...

Can you believe that these alphabet cards are a free download?! Wouldn't they make a great addition to a baby gift? I plan on printing two sets to give to co-workers who are due in November along with crochet baby hats.

Heavenly Homemakers Haircut Tutorial
The Bean is in need of yet another haircut. I have to admit, I've given him at least one rather severe haircut in the past. I'm hoping that following the guidelines of this tutorial will help with the next one. Now I just need suggestions on how to get him to hold still.

Martha Stewart Felt Hat How-To
Okay! Totally cute! I'm thinking one of my old sweaters may have to turn into one of these.

Prudent Baby Cheater Quilt
Have I talked at all about wanting to learn how to sew? The only thing I've made in recent history is The Bean's envelope pillow cover, but I think this would make an awesome beginner project. Jen and I have been talking about buying a sewing machine. I'm hesitant to make the financial commitment. I love the idea of sewing, but I'd hate to buy a machine only to have it sit unused in the closet. Still, seeing adorable and seemingly do-able projects like these make me think maybe one day soon...

Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend!  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Nine (and a half) Month Stats

We got The Bean to the doctor yesterday for his nine month well-check. No shots at this appointment, so it went pretty quickly. He now weighs 16.1lbs, which is still under the third percentile, but he's continuing on an upward trajectory, so the doctor said it was fine. His height is 27.2 inches which is around the 10th percentile, so he's catching up there. His weight for length is about 6th percentile, so again, catching up. Finally his head circumference is 17.5 inches which is around the 23rd percentile. Big noggin'! We got an update on the pelviectasis. The ultrasound results from August showed that he still has mild (0.6cm) dilation in his left kidney. We plan on keeping an eye on it, likely following up with another ultrasound when he's around a year old, but we aren't overly concerned since he doesn't seem to be displaying any signs of discomfort. We have a healthy baby, so we're happy moms.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Knox Pumpkin Farm

I'm not sure how it got to be Monday evening already... I took today off of work because both The Bean and I had doctor's appointments (his nine month stats are coming tomorrow), but even with the extra day off the weekend seemed to fly by!  Maybe because time flies when you're having fun?  Not that the doctor's appointments were fun, but we did have a great outing on Sunday.

Shannon from Other-Motherhood generously invited us to join her and her family plus some other two-mom families at Knox Pumpkin Farm. 

We left just after The Bean's first nap, which put us there a bit later than the other families, but we knew that would be the case.  We met up with everyone where the kids were playing on a wagon with some hay bales on it.  They were having a blast while the moms chatted and took advantage of the photo op.  We were introduced around.  Neither Jen or I are very outgoing, especially around new people, but everyone was very friendly and made us feel welcome. 

After that it was time for a lunch break.  We had snacked in the car on the drive (about an hour from Toronto), so we weren't hungry, but it gave The Bean a chance to crawl around and watch the other kids.

Something that was immediately obvious about the farm was how much there was to do there.  We were a little nervous when we arrived and there were hundreds of cars parked in a field, but once we entered it didn't feel crowded despite all the people there.  There was a barn, various wagons filled with hay and pumpkins, face painting, pony rides, little gardens, somewhere to eat, a corn maze, tractor rides, a playground and, of course, the pumpkin patch. 

After our lunch break we got on the tractor ride out to the pumpkin patch.  The patch was pretty mucky, so we just stayed on the tractor ride while it looped around back to the starting point. 

Then the older kids went to play on the hay bales and The Bean spent some time crawling around and chewing on hay while we chatted with Shannon. 

We took some photos and then decided we should be getting on our way.  The Bean was getting tired, and we figured it would be best to avoid a meltdown.  He got a bottle and then got strapped into his carseat.  It only took him about two minutes to fall asleep once we got going.  (It only took me about five. ;)  )

It was a perfect way to spend a gorgeous fall day and so nice to meet some other local two-mom families!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Puck's Farm

This weekend Jen's parents came to visit.  Although I know they'd be happy just to hang out at the apartment all day playing with The Bean in the living room, we thought it'd be nice to do a special outing with them.  

We'd been talking about going to a farm and found Puck's Farm recommended in an email list we're on.  We went today to check it out.  

We took a couple of wrong turns, so it took a while to get there.  The Bean hadn't had a good nap that morning and he wouldn't sleep in the car so I was concerned at how well he'd hold up, but once we arrived he was busy looking around and really wasn't too fussy. 

We were greeted by this handsome fellow:

The first thing we did when we got there was walk through the stables.  There were quite a few animals -sheep, goats, pigs, cows, horses, a baby donkey (so cute!), a llama, bunnies, ducks, etc.  The Bean seemed to enjoy looking at all the animals.  Well, all except the horse, which kinda' freaked him out. 

Next we went on a wagon ride.  The Bean had fun chewing on the hay we were sitting on. 

After the wagon ride we got a bite to eat.  There was a booth with fries and burgers and whatnot.  The Bean played on the grass while we waited for our order.  Then we went into a little cabin-y thing to eat.  It was freezing so it was nice to be inside and have a chance to warm up a bit. 


When we arrived, we were told that the pumpkin patch had been picked clear, so we didn't even bother going over to it.  There were a few big boxes of pumpkins for sale though.  We thought it made a good photo op. 


There were some scary-looking fair rides and a "haunted farm" to go through, but it was starting to drizzle a bit and we were all about ready to head home, so we decided to save those things for a future visit.

All in all it was a nice way to spend a fall Sunday.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Getting Ready for Halloween

With just over two weeks to go, I feel like it's an okay time to start thinking about Halloween.  I often feel like holidays are prepared for WAY too far in advance and that the wait feels like forever.  Now that Thanksgiving is over and the weather is cooling it does feel like it's time to start thinking about Halloween though.

Jen bought a little pumpkin and some gourds at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago.  We've had them out on the ottoman and The Bean loves grabbing them, shaking them, and rolling them around.  When he's napping we can arrange them nicely and they make a pretty fall decoration.  

We've broken out his "mummy loves me" shirt and put some Halloween-y books on The Bean's spice rack bookshelves.   A couple of the books are ones I picked up from Scholastic last year, one was a hand-me-down and then there are a two new ones that Grandma and Grandpa brought up as a little gift this weekend.  I think it's funny that you're supposed to put a photo of your baby's face in two of them (we haven't). 

I was heart-set on making The Bean a garden gnome costume, but my my cousin loaned us a Piglet costume and we tried it on The Bean the other week and it actually fit.  Not only that, it was adorable.  Now I think we might just go with the Piglet costume.  I guess we'll see how much free time I have between now and Halloween to pull together the garden gnome thing.  He won't be trick-or-treating this year, so he doesn't even really need a costume, but they're kind of too cute to pass up.  Maybe we'll take him over to my Nana's or my aunts just to show him off.  And of course I'll probably have to take at least a zillion photos. 

What have you been doing to prepare for Halloween.  Do you have costumes (for your kids and/or yourself) yet?  What are you going to be? 

Friday, October 14, 2011

{this moment} Fall Tree

A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.


Inspired by SouleMama.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Adult-Friendly Kids' Music

Although not particularly musical, Jen and I are very into music.  If you've read our "About Us" you'll know we met at a concert.  Attending live shows is a favourite past time of ours. 

Of  course, music was important before we met, I have fond memories of dancing around the sunroom of my childhood home with my dad to Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al."  Toronto had an all-Beatles radio station in the 80s that was on at our neighbour's house every time we went over.  I still can sing along to almost any Beatles song I hear.

When The Bean was days old we played him Death Cab For Cutie while he slept.  Now that he's older we've been looking into finding music for him that we also enjoy listening to.  I know a ton of kids who love The Wiggles, but I don't know how much "Big Red Car" -or whatever it's called- we could take.

At the beginning of the summer we read a bunch of reviews and ended up ordering a handful of CDs meant specifically for The Bean, but also for us, 'cuz you know, we've got to listen to them too.

Mind of My Own by Frances England has been a favourite.  I'll fully admit that I've found myself turning up the radio in the car when playing it, even when The Bean is home with Jen.  The lyrics are lively and positive and are on topics which are revelant to children.  Her voice is lovely and the musical accompaniment is fantastic. 

Elizabeth Mitchell's, You Are My Sunshine is another album we picked up at the beginning of the summer.  It's got a calm folk vibe and makes for nice quiet music.  I believe some of the songs are original, while others are traditional folk songs.

The Nields' Rock All Day, Rock All Night is a CD set Jen really wanted to get.  She's been a fan of The Nields since before I met her.  They used to play in Pittsburgh often and she would go see them play live.  A few years ago we went to The Clearwater Folk Festival and they were playing on the family stage.  We went over and watched their set.  It was fun!  In the years between then and now we've often joked to each other about "The Enemy Called Pants" (one of the songs they had played)... now that we have an eight month old, we know what they were singing about!  "Organic Farm" is our most recent favourite off this album.  The Nields have a distinctive sound, so I'd suggest listening to a song or two before committing to this album, just in case they aren't your thing.     

Jack Johnson's Sing-a-longs and Lullabies for the  film Curious George is an album I've had for a while.  A parent of a student gave me a copy a few years ago because we do a unit on recycling and it has a song on it called "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle".  We bought another copy for us.  We're Jack Johnson fans, so this album has been great to have. 

Recently we've been thinking about adding a few additional selections to our collection.  Maybe another Frances England CD.  I've also heard good things about They Might Be Giants.  Then there are the traditional folksters like Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie (although I don't know that I could handle a song like "Swimmy Swim Swim" any better than I could handle "Big Red Car".)  Any suggestions from other parents out there?  What do your kids like listening to?  How about recommendations for kid-friendly adult music?  Feist's 1,2,3,4?   Tegan and Sara's Alligator?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Nine Months Old!

Today The Bean is nine months old!

-I feel like The Bean's growth has slowed down a little bit, but just the other week Jen noticed that he's taller than his best friend who's always been bigger than him, so who knows!  We'll be taking him in for his nine month well-check soon, so I'll post updated weight and length and whatnot then.

-As predicted, his second tooth popped up shortly after his first one.  We now believe that he'll soon be getting a third tooth on the bottom right.  His teeth are a little crooked and mighty sharp!  He's broken the skin on my finger and Jen's boob.  The words, "No biting!" are often heard when Jen is nursing and Sophie the giraffe is kept nearby for him to chop on between suckling. (Note from Jen: Any advice for preventing the biting is encouraged!)

-Starting two days ago The Bean began drinking both water and formula from a bottle.  This is a serious breakthrough and does a lot to ease my stress about sending him to daycare in a few months.  I hope he continues to take bottles.

-He continues to be an excellent eater.  He has preferences, but we can usually blend things together and get him to eat stuff he may not eat if it weren't mixed.  New foods include kamut, banana, cheeses, olives, pumpkin, yogurt, oats, raisins, cranberries and probably others that I'm forgetting.  He's eating more finger foods and uses his little teeth to bite into things, chewing them up with his gums.

-He's exclusively in 6-12 month clothes now.  Some things are still huge on him, but we've come to discover that such is baby sizing.  (Not unlike women's sizing.)

-We were having some difficulty with night-waking for a while.  Many nights The Bean was getting up and nursing about three times.  It was getting pretty rough on Jen especially, but then, just this past week he slept 11+ hours two nights in a row.  We're hoping this trend continues.  Most nights he goes down around 6pm and stays in bed until about 7am. 

-Crawling is still The Bean's main mode of transportation, but he is also getting really good at pulling himself up on things and has started taking just a few steps along an object or from one object to another.

-His favourite toys these days are ones that light up and/or make noise.  He has a hand-me-down tractor with animals that he loves (especially the horse) and his v-tech car toy from his cousins is another favourite.

-He loves the sheepskin rug in his nursery.  After bath time in the evening we let him crawl around in his room and if it's not out already, he'll pull it out from under his crib and roll around on it.  He'll actually throw himself forward onto it, lie there for a second, and then roll back and forth.  He LOVES it when we wrap it all the way around him and will giggle.  It is adorable.  

-Jen and The Bean continue to go to swim class once a week.  He loves the water and has been praised by the swim teacher for his ability to "swim" underwater.

-He continues to do really well around people.  I was surprised this past weekend when we went to my brother's place for Thanksgiving. There were a ton of new people around and he smiled and was quite happy to let them hold him. 

-He is getting more and more expressive and interactive.  He gives the biggest smile when we go to get him up from his naps.  He crawls over to me as quick as he can and throws himself at us when he wants a cuddle or when we're "wrestling."  He is also quite vocal when he wants to be and is making a variety of sounds. 

We are so lucky that The Bean has such a happy baby.  He brings joy to our days! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving.  Because of the holiday, I had a half day on Friday and have today off.  The break came right at a time when I have been feeling like I really need it.  My students this year have been really good so far, but as I've mentioned before, it's still been a somewhat hard transition.  It has been so nice to have some time to rest and the weather has been absolutely gorgeous all  weekend with temperatures in the 20s (high 70s/ low 80s).

Friday afternoon a co-worker/friend came over with her toddler daughter for a little visit.  We've been wanting to get together since The Bean was born but haven't been able to coordinate things until now.  It was a nice visit.  We spent a little bit of time inside and then took the kids to the park across from us to play.  Our friend's daughter is a year older that The Bean and it's amazing to see the difference that year makes.  I love the stage he's in now, but it also made me anticipate how much fun it will be when he is able to walk around and tell us what he is thinking.  

On Saturday I woke up early and FINALLY made some pumpkin bread.  There are no pictures because we started eating it right away!  After The Bean's nap we drove out to my mom's for an early dinner with her, my sister and her husband.  Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday food-wise and the meal was delicious.  The turkey was done PERFECTLY.  The Bean enjoyed sharing off my plate.  The highlight of the visit was being there when my mom found out that my sister and her husband are expecting.  (My sister made the announcement when we were all sharing what we are thankful for.)

Yesterday we went over to my brother and his girlfriend's new apartment.  They were hosting another dinner for both families.  We didn't stay for dinner because we had to get The Bean home to bed, but we had a nice time chatting with people and eating appetizers.  They put on quite the spread!

Today we are laying low.  We caught up on laundry this morning and I'll do some school work later.  Hopefully we'll get out for a walk along the trail nearby.  Maybe we'll see if my Nana if she wants to join us.  We plan on trying to relax and enjoy the extra day together.  Sometimes it's nice not to have much of a plan.  

Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend.

Friday, October 7, 2011

{this moment} Praying Mantis

A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Found on our front lawn.  I didn't even know Praying Mantises lived in Canada.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Soapboxing About Gay YA

Since Allison has gone back to school I’ve been listening to the CBC a lot at home while hanging out with The Bean.  It’s Canada’s version of NPR.  

I do it for a few different reasons -- staying up on the news, company, background noise.  I must admit that I enjoy listening to it more than I thought it would and this story is a great example of why.  

Last week a show called Q featured an interview with two authors who were trying to sell a Young Adult novel that contained a gay character.  They were told by a big-deal agent to either “straighten-up” the character or cut him and she’d take the book.  This, along with other rejections they suspected to be linked to the character, prompted them to write an open letter calling the issue to light.  You can read their letter here.

I live in a country that respects my right to marry another woman.  Toronto is major metropolitan city where our lifestyle is not unusual. I work in a company that has embraced my sexuality -- my office threw a wonderful baby shower for Allison and me.  Not much happens in my daily life to remind me that tolerance is not so widespread.  

This story served as a reminder that such tolerance is not necessarily the norm.

It is is even more poignant given the rash of suicides last year that prompted the It Gets Better campaign. 

The need for an inclusive depiction of gay people in culture still exists.  For many teens, seeing people like themselves is important in helping them understand where they fit in. 

The Bean may or may not be gay.  Allison and I don’t care.  But, looking forward, I don’t want him to grow up thinking that our family is wrong or bad because we don’t look like the characters sees portrayed in books or on television.  I want him to see the same diversity he is surrounded with in his life to be reflected in the stories that he reads. 

Please take a few minutes to read the letter and pass it along to a friend.

Please try to embrace and encourage diversity in culture.

The life you save may be your kid's.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Exciting News!

My twin sister is pregnant!  She just told me and Jen today.  I am so excited!  We're going to be aunts (again) and The Bean is going to have a little cousin! Yay!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

::right now::

 Right now I am...

::feeling a little sleepy and slow.  
::listening to the wind blowing outside.
::anticipating the changing colours of leaves on the trees.
::remembering preparing for my sister's wedding this time last year.
::enjoying Jen's birthday flowers.  Still looking lovely after over a week.
::planning on making some pumpkin bread later this afternoon.
::admiring my long overdue new haircut.

::longing to start some fall crocheting.  Two co-workers have babies due next month.  Maybe some tiny hats...
::loving having a day to slow down and spend time with my two favourite people and my favourite cat.
::hoping that you're enjoying your Saturday as well!

Inspired by SouleMama