Wednesday, July 30, 2014


I know I haven't written about her a whole lot, but today we lost our cat, Mo.

Jen got Mo from the Pittsburgh Humane Society back in 2001, not long after we started dating.  For some reason she went in wanting a white cat.  But, I think it was really how affectionate Mo was that won Jen over.  She went right up to the front of her cage and positioned her head just so so that Jen could scratch her all around her ears.  Their initial meeting was at lunch time... Jen was so worried that she would find another home if she didn't go back and get her right away that she returned after work that same day to adopt her.  

We didn't really realize what a kitten she still was then.  She was very playful, but also very well behaved.  She wouldn't jump up on any of the furniture until Jen encouraged her to do so.  LOL.  She was a people-cat from the get go.  She liked being around, preferably on, whoever was nearby.  

Jen sometimes left Mo in PA when she came up to visit me, but quite often she brought her along.  We both still get a kick out of the time Jen had a baffled border guard ask her, "Do you always bring your cat on vacation with you?"  In more recent years, we've taken her on trips back to PA with us, or asked my cousin to come hang out with her if it's a shorter trip.  She never liked being alone.  

Two years ago, the summer after I had been laid off, while I was pregnant with Sprout and we were on a family vacation, we got a call from our vet.  We had borded her, which we never did, because she hadn't been eating and we thought it was better for her to be with the vet than home with my very attentive cousin visiting, just in case something were seriously wrong.  It was good kitty-parent intuition, I guess, because our vet said that she thought we needed to take her to the emergency vet to get checked out.  We left The Bean with the grandparents (who were vacationing with us) and came back into the city to figure out what was going on with the cat.  

After multiple test and ultrasounds we were advised that she needed surgery, or would likely die.  I would love to say that it was an easy decision to make, but it wasn't totally easy.  We ended up spending the majority of my severance package on Mo's surgery.  A surgery we weren't sure would work.  Fortunately it did work, and though she never quite returned to her pre-sick condition, she survived.   

Though not having a job has been really hard on us, we've often reflected that Mo probably liked me being home.  When the kids went down for naps and I sat down, it never took her long to hop up beside me for some ear scratches.  I'll admit that I often scooted her down to my feet so that I could have my hands free.  I did that as recently as yesterday.  Of course, now I feel endlessly guilty for not giving her the attention she wanted.  But I also am thinking of looking up from playing on the front lawn and seeing her sitting on my desk (a no-no) looking out the window, and smiling even though she really shouldn't have been there.  And of brushing the knots out of her fur in the evening.  And of encouraging The Bean and Sprout to pet her gently.  

Today, like many days, Mo had thrown up.  We cleaned it up and went along with our usual routine.  She was a little more "around" than usual as the kids ate their lunch.  Jumping up and stealing my chair when I went to get The Bean more chocolate milk.  I'm glad I got a new chair, rather than shooing her down.  I took the kids in for stories and then nursed Sprout.  When I came out of the bedroom there were a few more little puddles of spitty throw up around.  I got some paper towel and Lysol and cleaned them up.  Then I came across Mo in the kitchen.  She was lying on her side panting.  She didn't look well.  I went over to give her a pat and talk to her.  Her head was in a puddle of spit.  I grabbed a towel and carefully picked her up and brought her over to the couch.  I called Jen.  Jen called the vet.  I called my cousin to come over and watch the kids.  I called Jen back and told her I thought she should meet me at the vet.  I lifted Mo carefully into a basket, because she doesn't much like her cat carrier and she already seemed pretty freaked out.  I pet her and reassured her until my cousin arrived.  I drover her to the vet.  Jen was there waiting and walked up the block with us.  Our lovely, loving vet came down from her lunch break to see us right away.  They took Mo to the back room and got her set up with some IV fluids and oxygen.  The vet came back and filled us in on what was happening.  They took some x-rays and blood.  No clear answers.  The vet suggested the emergency clinic.  Jen and I talked privately.  We had agreed on no more surgeries after the last one.  We debated the pros and cons of the chest ultrasound and the abdominal ultrasounds they were suggesting.  We thought about how things might play out if she ended up on heart medication.  We hadn't made a final decision, but I don't think either of us were quite ready to give up on Mo completely.  Then the vet came back in and told us the decision might not be ours.  Despite the oxygen, Mo was showing signs of distress again.  We went back into the room and she was panting again.  We both pet her and kissed her and talked to her, and then we gave the vet the go-ahead to give her the medication to put her to sleep.  It was heartbreaking.  

We stayed a few minutes longer.  We said goodbye.  And then we went home.  Sprout was awake, but too young to understand.  We told The Bean that Mo was sick, so we took her to the vet but she died.  Only seems to half-understand.  He asked a few times how our days were and then if we were sad.  I was lying down outside when he was bike riding and he came over and said, "Oh, I thought you were dead."  He said he wants a new cat.  He asked when Mo was coming back.  

I keep looking around wondering where she is.  She'd typically be lying on the couch beside me right now.  I have a feeling it's going to be a little while before I stop looking.

I miss her.  

Moses Washington Jones
March, 2001- July 30, 2014
May she rest in peace.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Not-As-Big Project 52 Catch Up

A portrait of my children, every week for a year.


The Bean: "I love snails!  They're full of surprises!"
Sprout: Skipping stones. 


The Bean: Totally hyped to see one of his favourite bands play.
Sprout: Also diggin' the show.  

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sprout is Nineteen Months Old!

Today Sprout is nineteen months old!

Maybe I say this every month, but this past month has really flown by.  After the last update I thought it would be a good idea to write some of the changes in Sprout's development down as I noticed them.  I was a bit neglectful... six bullet points is as far as I got.  Of course, there have been many other changes.  I will do my best to remember and make note of them here...

-Perhaps one of the biggest changes is that Sprout is now spending (most of) her nights in a crib in the kids' room.  This feels life-changing.  And while I miss having my baby right beside me during the nights, the truth is that I think we are both/all sleeping better now.  I felt like I was never falling into a proper sleep, always listening to her toss and turn and wondering if she was going to wake up and want to nurse, or be held, or whatever.  After spending a few days away in a hotel, we were able to test out how the kids did sharing a room.  Sprout's nighttime cries didn't seem to wake up her brother, so rather spontaneously (if you can call something you've waited over a year to do spontaneous) we decided to put her in the crib in the kids room at home.  She was really tired the first night, so it went really well... she didn't wake up until 5:30am, at which point I brought her into our room and I nursed and cuddled her until a more reasonable wake-up time.  Since then she's been waking once or twice before we go to bed, but settling back down fairly easily, and then waking up any time after 4am to join me in our room.  She still naps in our room because she's a frequent nap waker and I really, really don't want her disturbing her brother's naps.  That time is too precious to me.

-As I mentioned, we went away for a few nights.  Jen's parents treated us to a stay at an indoor water park out their way.  It was very fun and solidified Sprout's love of the water.  She may have said "splash" more than she said "mama" while we were there, and that is a lot.  ;) 

-She's continued to add new words and sounds into her vocabulary.  Ball, man man (for Spiderman), hop, and cluck come to mind.  She's also started putting two words together, sometimes three even.  No examples are jumping to mind immediately, but things like "more milk" and "hot blow" (the food is hot, blow on it) and "baby in" (put the doll in the stroller) come to mind. 

-She definitely knows her own mind.  She often requests "help" or "hand" when she wants you to do something.  As I think I mentioned last month, "no" is another big word.  "Mm Hm" is her usual affirmative response.  And when you ask her a question, she will adorably tap her chin and say "Hmmm."  I have no idea where she picked it up, but I love it. 

-I said about her knowing her own mind --two notes in that regard
1) She really wants to figure out this potty thing.  Often when I take off her diaper she will go sit on the potty.  She likes to stay naked on the bottom and run back and forth to it, sitting for a few minutes, then getting up to play.  She gets quite upset when I try to put a diaper on her in this situation.  However, she has yet to have a "successful" potty trip and really is not aware that she has to pee until it is happening /has happened.
2) She is determined to dress herself.  This can be such a battle when I am trying to get us out somewhere, but mostly I am trying to just let her figure it out or help her to the degree which she deems acceptable.  The result is often waist in the leg hole of her shorts, things on backwards, etc.  but she's one and a half and we're at home, so what does it matter?  Right?

-Like her brother, she's been getting really into dancing to music.  It's pretty adorable as she tries to copy many of his "moves."  We took her to a couple of live shows this past week and she had such a good time running around and dancing. 

-She can jump!  She actually gets airborne for a half a second.  She loves it.  She's also taken to leaping onto the couch from our ottoman.  I'm just waiting for a crash.  Hopefully we can avoid any ER visits.  

-She is still totally obsessed with her babies.  

-She also LOVES airplanes.  She'll point and bounce and call out "pane! pane! up! fi!" when she sees one.  Which is often.  We live relatively close to an airport.

-Her favourite books are Welcome Summer and other touch and feels, Zoe's Snowy/Windy/Sunny/Rainy Day, The Carrot Seed, and Hop on Pop which she calls Hop Pop.  She listens to a lot of The Bean's longer books since I read to both of them together before naps, but she seems to prefer the books meant for younger ones.  Which makes sense, but I still find notable.

-She is both a shy, snugglebug and an outgoing silly billy.  I had to use the above photo for this month's update because it shows what a goofball she can be.  She has the best, best smiles, but mostly saves them for those she's the most comfortable with.  She's also a big joker.  We get a kick out of her.

-I know many of you don't know her name, or her many nicknames, but she will point to herself and say her name, and she will also call herself "B", which is a part of one her nick names... the one The Bean most often calls her.  I think it's adorable.  (Of course, I think about 95% of what she does is adorable, so maybe I'm not the best person to comment on this!)

-She is still a frequent nurser.  It's been a while now that she just nurses before going to sleep or when she wakes up, but she sometimes asks in between those times.  Often I distract her, occasionally I nurse her.  I'm so, so happy to have this relationship with her.  It's exhausting, but it is also so nice to be able to hold her and stare at her and feel her little body relax as her breath changes and she calms down and falls to sleep.  It's a privilege.  Though I sometimes think that it would be nice for my body to be my own again, and to get a full night's sleep would be oh so amazing, I am not wishing away these moments. 

-Food is about the same.  Sometimes she's a bit finicky.  I think she gets pretty significant pain with teething, and although I haven't noticed any new teeth trying to push their way through, I wouldn't be surprised if sometimes when she doesn't want to eat if it's because she's in pain.  Again, knowing that she'll nurse and get the nutrients and calories she needs makes me much less concerned about missed meals.

I think that's pretty good for now.  Hopefully I keep up on all the progress over this current month a little better than I have been.  Mostly she continues to be a loving, silly, joyful little bug.  It's so wonderful to be her family.

Friday, July 18, 2014

{this moment} sibling storytime

A Friday ritual. A single photo  - no words - 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, July 17, 2014

Nap Time

This summer has been so busy.  Good, but busy.  

Most days we find ourselves going on an outing in the morning, then coming home for lunch and naps, and doing something closer to home in the afternoons.  

I usually spend nap time doing dishes, cleaning up the dining room, throwing in a load of laundry, straightening up toys, messing around online, etc.  When the kids wake up I'm exhausted.  So, today, rather than trying to fit it all in, I decided to take a little break.  Once all the lunch stuff was cleaned up I put on the kettle and took out my book.  And for 25 glorious minutes I snuggled in on the couch with a cup of my favourite tea, some almonds and cranberries to snack on, and I read.  A book written for adults.  

I even almost made it through a whole chapter.

I think I'm going to have to do it again.  Soon.  Maybe even tomorrow.  The laundry can wait.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Another Project 52 Catch Up

Well, the good news is that I am taking the photos, the bad news is that I don't seem to be able to ever get them up in a timely fashion.

I made a mistake with The Bean's 23/52 photo, so I'll start with the correction there...


The Bean: Balancing.
Sprout: Spent the better part of four days in this puddle. (repost)


The Bean: Proud of the ant he found and caught. (repost)
The Bean: Doing his jungle gym tricks.
Sprout: Enjoying a quintessential summer experience.


The Bean: Hard at work.
Sprout: Cheeky smile.


The Bean: Rolling in the clover.
Sprout: Running through the sprinkler.


The Bean: Playing with his food.
Sprout: Proud of her pizza.


The Bean: Wanted to go for a walk in the rain.
Sprout: Enjoying the puddles.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Bean at Three and a Half Years Old

Somehow our little Bean isn't quite so little of a bean anymore.  As much as we still think of him as our baby, he is no longer a baby and not even really a toddler anymore.  He's a real and true kid.  A big kid, if you ask him.  (Though he really isn't that big.)

Size wise I'd guess that he's a bit over 30lbs and three feet and a few inches tall.   Clothes are anywhere from 24m-3T on top and 18m-2T on the bottom.  I'm glad it's summer and the clothes he's wearing are short sleeved and legged.  It makes dressing him easier.  Maybe by the fall he'll have filled out a bit and the sizes that are long enough also fit around his middle. Shoes are size 7ish.

What he lacks in size he makes up for in personality.  I never would have expected a child of ours to be so outgoing, but he is.  He has his moments of shyness, especially when around people he hasn't seen for a while, but he warms up quickly.  Then, well, he'll chat your ear off and isn't shy about telling you what he would like you to do with him.  He waves to people from the shopping cart in the grocery store, asking them about what they're buying, or (more likely) telling them about his day.  He says hello to pretty much every person we pass when we're out for walks and always seems a little heartbroken if they don't say hello back.

His vocabulary is impressive.  He also has a way of saying things that seems precocious for a child his age.  We often get comments about his language skills.  We know he's advanced in this regard, but it's hard for us to recognize.  Even with having taught kids this age, I can't really remember well enough to compare.  Sometimes when he's upset he has a hard time getting started saying something and will stutter over the first syllable, but usually the words flow pretty easily.

Yes, he's a chatty little "people person."  We've also noticed how much he wants to engage with us.  Though he'll have periods of content solo play, he definitely prefers Jen or I playing with him.  He can be pretty demanding about it, which is hard, because we cannot play with him all the time but we do not enjoy being yelled at.  We've been working a lot on "asking nicely" and "tone of voice."  Sometimes the reminders help, other times not so much.  (They usually seem to help more when he is getting what he wants, and not work so well when he is not.)  Alternately, he can also be incredibly sweet: cuddling, stroking our faces and giving compliments.

He is a pretty great big brother, we have, however, started to see some signs of jealousy.  He used to say that he was going to pretend to be "Baby Blah" but now he'll just say that he's Sprout outright.  He wants to be babied too.  (Not that we really baby Sprout, but you know.)  I think being home with me and Sprout full time has made this more of an issue, but he LOVES being home overall.

He usually wakes up with ideas about where he wants to go or what he wants to do that day.  We typically do an outing in the morning --the zoo, the farm, The Science Centre, an indoor playground, a park, etc.  In the afternoon we tend to stick closer to home, often playing in the yard or at a nearby park, though there were a few weeks when we were checking out splash pads on a regular basis.

So, yes, he is now home with me full time.  I'm not sure how much I have said here already, but after our daycare provider went through radiation she came to us and asked how we felt about her taking the rest of the summer off.  It was something we had discussed doing even if she had been feeling better, so we readily agreed.  With nothing yet lined up for the fall, we've decided that he'll stay home with me and Sprout for the rest of the year unless I happen to get a full time job, in which case we'll place them both in daycare.  (Hopefully the one he's been in, but we'll see if there are spaces available when/if that happens.)

The Bean is incredibly active.  Jen and I joke that he doesn't know how to walk, that he can only run.  He loves to play "sports", jump, climb, swing, slide, bike, scooter, swim, etc.  We've been spending a lot of time outside lately, which he loves.  Just in the past month or so he has taken to swimming with water wings or a life jacket on and riding both a tricycle and bike with training wheels.  He's also figured out how to do the fireman pole at the park and will climb and do "tricks" on most of the playground equipment.  I think we will sign him up for a gymnastics class this fall.

He loves princesses.  He also loves Spiderman.  His favourite colours are pink, brown and black.  He likes to play with balls, Hot Wheels cars, blocks, his doctor's kit, picnic basket, and Play-Doh.  His fine motor skills are improving.  He can write his name so that it's legible for someone who knows what they are looking at, he can also draw figures!  People with huge heads, arms, legs and faces!  So cute.

He loves being read to and has started asking us to teach him how to read.  His favourite books right now are series --Bearenstain Bears, Charlie and Lola, Curious George, and Little Critter.  He also likes fairy tales.  He'll "read" books to himself, and has quite good letter recognition and letter/sound association, but cannot actually connect the sounds read.  I have my doubts on whether he is actually ready, but we may pick up a few early phonics readers and I plan on scouring Pinterest for some fun sight word activities.

I've taken to letting the kids watch a show on my computer while I prepare their lunch.  SuperWhy and Octonauts are The Bean's favourites.  Paw Patrol is in there too but it's next to impossible to find on YouTube so he really only sees it when we're at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  He's watched the movie Frozen (and loved it) and also Finding Nemo and The Lorax (which he also loved).

He sometimes gets "tablet time" in the mornings or on long car rides.  He really enjoys many of the educational (and not-so-educational) apps we have downloaded for him.  We usually set a timer that automatically turns it off so that he doesn't get upset with us for telling him it's time to stop.

He loves music.  He'll often request certain songs to dance/ sing/ play instruments to.  Luke Doucet's Long Haul Driver is still a favourite song.  He knows most T&S songs off their most recent album and some of their older songs too (he's going to LOVE when we take him to their shows later this month).  He's also a big Beatles fan, which I love.  Yellow Submarine and I Want to Hold Your Hand are his favourite Beatles tunes.  He, of course, likes the songs from Frozen and many of the celebrity songs from Sesame Street (thanks YouTube).  He continues to make up his own songs, which I find adorable.  I mean, who doesn't love a three year old singing "It's a hot dog day!  It's a bun and ketchup day!" on the walk over to a barbeque at his cousins' house?

His memory and his attention to detail are incredible.  He will bring up things that happened a year ago as if they were yesterday.  I don't think he remembers much before the age of two, based solely on the fact that I ask him if he remembers before we had Sprout and he indicates that he doesn't.  (He says he remembers her being in my tummy, but I'm doubtful.)  He'll also talk about details of what someone said or did that I am often surprised he picked up on.  Very observant.

A related quirk of his that we've noticed is that when we are driving he will bring up topics of conversation that we've discussed on previous trips by the places we're passing.  For a while he always asked me to tell him the story of when I crashed my bicycle when we drove past a landmark on the way to Jen's office.  He'll also confirm that he knows what places are as we pass them --the cemetery where my grandparents are buried, where he used to take swimming lessons, the railway tracks, etc.

Food continues to be a challenge.  He is still quite picky but we've instituted a "you must try a bite of what we're having" rule at dinnertime which is helping ever so slightly.  We've eliminated all animal dairy from his diet, including foods that contain dairy.  He was having some pretty severe stomach/bowel issues of which dairy seems to have been the root, though we're not convinced that there isn't also another food sensitivity which we have yet to discover.  It's tough.  He's very good about asking if food has "cow milk" in it, but we know it slips in here and there and he pays the consequences.

No big update on the potty front.  We had started putting him in a Pull-Up overnight, then stopped because they were mostly dry, then started again because he was wetting the bed.  Most days he wakes up dry, but we're still putting him in the Pull-Ups.  I guess we'll decide whether to continue once this bag runs out.  (He mostly seems to wet the bed on nights when he is very tired.)

He's a pretty good sleeper.  Ideally bedtime is 7:30pm, but realistically he's usually not asleep until 8:00 or 8:30pm.  He typically wakes up around 6am, but surprises us by sleeping in until 7am on occasion.  Every once in a while he'll fight and/or skip his nap (which he still very much needs), but usually goes down for about 2-3 hours in the afternoon.  In fact, we often need to wake him up.

He's got a good group of people who love him and who he loves in return.  Family, including extended family --grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and others.  Friends --many of ours, but a few of his own from daycare or the neighbourhood, or children of our friends.

Smart, active, expressive and loving.  This kid keeps us busy, but of course, we wouldn't have it any other way.  It's amazing quickly three and a half years have gone by, and at the same time how we cannot imagine our lives without him.  We are so lucky to be his moms.  So much love for our little guy.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


This past week and a bit WorldPride celebrations have been going on in Toronto.

With bedtime and babysitters, it's not nearly as easy as it once was for us to go out, as I'm sure some of you can relate.  And honestly, Jen and I aren't big partiers, but we did want to take part in at least some of the festivities.  

We found out that one of our favourite bands was playing in the headlining spot the closing night of the event.  The show was advertised as starting at 7pm.  A bit of a stretch for the little ones, but surely doable to take them along.  The Bean was pretty excited about it.  

A few weeks ago a friend, who is a designer, posted that her company was designing all the official merch for the event and she was looking for people to march with her contingent in the parade.  Now, as I said before, I'm not really super into Pride, but this was WorldPride and we had the opportunity to march in it.  I mean, that's pretty frickin' cool.  I shot her a message to figure out details.  Unfortunately, the parade fell dead in the middle of nap time the same day as the concert. Jen and I agreed that trying to do both was probably pushing it.

So we made plans to go to Family Pride on Saturday morning and closing concert on Sunday evening.  Then we found out that the headliners for the closing concert weren't scheduled to take the stage until close to 10pm.  Change of plans.  Our go-to babysitters actually asked us to see if we wanted them to watch the kids so we could go to the concert when we told them.  Sounded good to us.  I got back in touch with our friend and asked if it'd be too late to join the parade.  She said that it wasn't and that she'd be happy to have us.  

Saturday morning we headed down to the family event.  The kids had a good time running around participating in a lot of what they had to offer --train rides, bouncy castles, games, etc.  (I remembered my camera, but forgot the SD card, so we have no photos.)  We also ran into Ashleigh and Teagan from 2moms2dogs2babies, Jessica and Sadie from MommaOak, and Alex from Half a Dozen of the Other.

Sunday after lunch we loaded the kids into their strollers and headed downtown.  We made it right at the scheduled time, then we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Sprout eventually fell asleep for a much-needed nap while The Bean made friends with the other people in our group.  Sprout woke up and The Bean started losing it just as we were ready to start the parade (many hours behind schedule).  

Though again things hadn't really gone as planned, both kids did remarkably well once we started walking.  They waved to people and blew kisses (adorable!) and seemed to enjoy watching the people in both the parade and the crowd.  

We finished marching and treated both kids to a huge popsicle before heading on the subway back home.  We were all exhausted.  Jen and I decided to forego the concert and instead finished up the second season of OITNB.  I sort of regret this decision (favourite band, WorldPride, a big rainbow over the whole event after a crazy cloudburst -seriously!) but I also know that we would have barely been able to function if we had gone.  

Nothing quite as planned, but a once in a lifetime opportunity and a fun celebration of Pride with the whole family.