Saturday, 20 October 2012

About a boy

I was trolling blogs late one night recently and came across a post on Cup of Jo about having a baby boy, that totally resonated with me.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I told everyone I just wanted a healthy baby, but secretly I craaaaaavvvvvved a girl. The importance of having a girl had been instilled in me by my Grandmother who would say "a daughter is your daughter for the rest of your life, a son is a son 'till he meets a wife". Who wants to slave over a kid for years only to have them ditch you every Christmas once they're married? Not this cat!

So I got my girl. Once we got past the colic and sleep issues, she was sweet as pie.

So when I got pregnant again, I was pretty agnostic about the gender of the baby. After all, I had my girl so was convinced I wouldn't be abandoned in old age.

And then I had a boy and everything changed. This guy has me wrapped around his chubby little finger. My heart swelllls every time I see him.

Girls are great, but I simply under estimated the bond I'd have with my boy.

What suprised you about motherhood?


I have been away from the blog for a while; not by choice. Life has been so busy that I've hardly had time to scratch my nose. I took my diamond engagement ring off before my trip to Eastern Europe and finally found a moment this week to retreive it from the drawer and put it back on. Work is good, and life is good, but I'm struggling to make them work together!

As has become an annual tradition we spent Thanksgiving at my Uncle's cottage near Perry sound. We cooked, we chatted over glasses of wine and snuggled under big warm blankets with adult contemporary playing in the background. We went for long boat rides along the gorgeous Group of Seven-esqe shore.

But my favourite moment of all was stuffing the turkey with my daughter. It was traditionally done my Grandma, but when she passed away the responsiblity fell to me, and it is one I cherish. As my daughter knelt on the chair next to me getting dressing everywhere except in the bird, I could feel my Grandmother smiling, watching her 3 year old namesake learning her secret recipe. For a few moments time stood still and I forgot about the emails piling up on my blackberry and the exhaustion from nights on end of fitful sleep (courtesy of my son who has decided that night wakings are fun all over again).

What are your favourite traditions?

Wednesday, 3 October 2012


Have you heard of the website 20X200? They are an online store that sells great inexpensive art...what's not to love?

Today I bought this watercolour reproduction of a Toronto map (the same artist has also done London, NY, Amsterdam, Berlin and other cities)...I love it because I can pinpoint where our house and neighborhood are, the ravine I run in, the inner harbour where my husband and I used to sail.....but at the same time it's a watercolour, so it has gentle hues and a fluid feel.

I think it will look great in a simple white Ikea Ribba frame in our upstairs hall.

How much bacon, you ask? The print was $50 for an 11X14 archival pigment print ($85 including shipping). 

Monday, 1 October 2012


This weekend we rented a house with some friends near Midland, on Georgian Bay.

I had never been here before, and here is what 'had me at hello':
- It is shockingly close to Toronto; only about 30 minutes past Barrie
- The beach is not only gorgeous and ocean-like, but it is perfect for kids...a deep length of beach, a very mild incline, and tons of fun 'tide-pool-like-puddles' for kids to play in.
- You feel like you're away, but real grocery shopping and a decent latte is a just a short jaunt by car in Midland.

...driving 3 hours up to Muskoka is looking less glamourous.

Our weekend was fabulous:
- Communal meals
- 7 kids in a bath together
- Bike trips on country roads past idyllic animals at pasture
- Blue sky at the beach
- True small town get free ice cream at the local corner store!

Travelling like I'm 21 all over again

Last week I was in Prague for work. It's a wonderful city, but work left me little time to see much more than my hotel. However, I did tack one extra night onto my trip to visit Krakow, Poland.

I am a frugal traveller through and through, and so I saved on accomodation by taking an overnight train and then spending a night at a hostel. ...many of my friends were a bit dumbfounded by this, with comments like "um, I think you can probably afford a hotel" and "do you need me to lend you a bit of cash?"....all humour aside, I am good at sleeping just about anywhere, and if I'm traveling on my own I don't get a lot of satisfaction from an expensive hotel...I'd rather put the money towards a special meal or some art work.

Krakow is a city full of history. It has the largest main square in all of Europe, a beautiful castle, and is situated on a lovely winding river. The old cobblestone streets are charming, and the city's centre is circumferenced in a beautiful green belt with a well-used walking path dotted with chestnut trees and benches where the locals relax and chat. Much of the city, however, was decimated by the various wars, and is now a mix of terribly depressing communist era architecture and rubble. 

I spent most of my time on my own...apparently the 20-something backpacker set can smell marriage, children, and general un-coolness on me a mile away. Wheelie suitcases don't move as smoothly on cobblestone and I packed inappropriately so was forced to wear my work blazer out at night to keep warm... I felt so old and stodgy!...but nonetheless it was luxurious to travel without goldfish crackers and soothers in my purse!

Nanny art

Part of what eased my transition back to work was our amazing nanny. In addition to being super warm and loving with the kids, she is also creative and thrifty (two of my favourite characteristics!!).

I put egg cartons in the recycling...she pulls them out and makes catapilars with the kids.

I put massive cardboard boxes in the recycling...she pulls them out and makes life size art of the kids!

Brilliant (and a bit creepy to look at...they EYE me even when they are asleep in bed!)

Corralling crayons

Last year I purchased a few of these plastic containers from Lindsay's shop. They have proved to be the perfect little containers for crayons, as inevitably those cardboard boxes break. The OCD side of me likes the way these ones stack, and how pretty the coloured crayons look through the clear plastic (until my daughtered covered them with Dora stickers!).

I take these containers with us when we travel, but it is also a nice way of giving each kid their own little set of crayons if you have multiple kids coming over (read: battle royale averted!). 

Monday, 17 September 2012

Bye bye

I am travelling for work this week. It is the first time I've spent a night away from my son. These two are so hard to say good bye to; it really hurts my heart to think about being away.

My husband will be single-parenting it, doing all the bedtime and morning work. We spent the weekend getting laundry done and meal planning. But despite all the planning, nothing ever goes quite as planned; my son came down with a cold yesterday and has been teething, so it looks like my husband is going to havea tough week!


I was in Boston for work on Friday. At the end of the day I stood on a downtown street corner for 30 minutes trying to get a taxi...what a difference from Toronto, where there is never a shortage of cabs!

I finally found a taxi, but half way into my trip to the airport the driver mentioned that he didn't take credit cards....and I didn't have cash on me. So he stopped at a bank machine, where I realized that my husband had my debit card (since he had left his wallet at work) so I was TOTALLY screwed!

I explained my situation to the cabbie, as unbelievable as it was, expecting him to leave me high and dry on the side of the street. Instead, he smiled sympathetically, dropped me off at the airport, and left me with his mailing address, asking that I send him the money.

Don't you love moments that remind you that there is still so many good, trusting people in the world? It is so refreshing. Here's hoping my cabbie friend Khalid of Boston gets some good karma in his life. He deserves it.

PS - My return address labels are from the Penny People Paper Co. - last year I gave my mom some for Christmas....and couldn't resist ordering some for myself. I think they'd make a great housewarming gift!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Around the house

Lots of little, but exciting-to-me things have been happening around our house...(appologies for the poor picture quality - I have to take my photos at low-light times of day when I'm home!)

I bought a few more Bum Genius diapers to replace a few of my originals that had failing velcro snaps (the new ones have snaps instead of velcro)

I added to my 'Collingwood pottery' collection with this adorable little Owl - $2 at the Goodwill. The original pitcher and vase came from my Great Aunt Mary and Great Uncle Bert's house. I am not sure why it's called 'Collingwood pottery', but that is what my mom calls it...I'll have to ask her.

I put a new Japanese paper light in our office. It's from Ikea. My husband hates it when I buy Ikea lamps because he finds them very difficult to install...but they pack so much style per dollar. Both my sister and husband feel the light is a bit too retro for the traditional style of the office, so maybe it's a miss...oh well. PS - Excuse the mess in this room! I had purged it, but the clutter is creeping back!

I reorganized my daughter's shoe cupboard and added some Rubbermaid risers to double the storage space. They are brilliant!

I bought my Mom this pea-green Pyrex bowl for $2 at a garage sale yesterday. The seller's big sales proposition was that it's the best bowl you can buy for potato salad because the bowl stays cold. My mom makes a killer potatoe salad, so I guess it was meant to be.

I bought this real wicker basket at the Goodwill, and it fits perfectly on the bottom shelf of my bedside table...perfect for corraling books, jewelry, my iPad, and everything else that collects beside my bed.

I found this wood mirror at the Goodwill too - $10. It is perched on the top of my husband's dresser for now.

Now that I'm back at work, I have less time to braid my daughter's hair. I miss it. Somehow it is theraputic to feel her soft hair weaving around my fingers.

I bought another (it's my third) milk glass planter. I fill them with hot water to warm my 1 year old's bottle.

I recently purchased Bio Life tile cleaner from Shopper's Drug Mart, upon reading a positive reivew on AM Dolce Vita. Michelle was right - it did a perfect job cleaning my tiles and grout. I am a believer!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Sunbrella fabric

I am overdue to post an 'after' picture of our new front porch and exterior painting....I have been holding off because I wanted to add all the finishing touches - urns, runner, landscaping....but it looks like it just isn't in the cards. Being back at work, paired with lots of travel, has left me little time to get anything done!

What I have found is an outdoor fabric that I think will look very smart on our front porch chairs. It is made by Sunbrella, which is supposed to be fade and mould/mildrew resistent. I found it at Designer Fabrics (Queen West...a Sarah Richardson go-to), but I am trying to find it cheaper online and order it to my office in the US (one benefit of being back at work!). I have a very reasonably priced upolsterer that will whip the fabric into fabulous cushions for me.

I am way behind on my blogging....lots has happened around the house that is in deserate need of documentation! ...maybe tomorrow during naps!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

The Kate Middleton

Now that I am back at work, I am slowly getting used to the idea of wearing formal clothing again (as opposed to my mat leave uniform of Lululemons...I was like Matlock - same outfit every day!)

Lately I have been sporting my "Kate Middletons" a lot lately....a nude patent leather slingback (she is partial to the traditional pump). I think it is one of her secret style weapons - the nude colour blends with your flesh and makes the leg looks like it goes on forever - no end point until the eye hits the floor.

A brilliant revelation for folks like me with Ewok-length appendages (no joke - I have remarkably short legs and arms!)

What are your style secrets?
Kate Middleton in her nude pumps

My version of the shoe

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Fatty got skinny

Fatty Get Skinny celebration dinner

As I blogged about here, my husband and I have been on an extreme health challenge/competition for the last 2 months. It finally finished on Friday, and results were quite amazing - across 10 people (5 couples) we lost a total of 130 lbs, 30 of which were lost by my husband and I.

The plan itself felt quite sustainable...we were not hungry (except late at night, since we weren't allowed to eat after dinner) and the cravings for sugar and refined carbs subsided fairly quickly.

What wasn't sustainable was the level of exercise we were doing. Everyone became insanely competitive, and it wasn't uncommon for me to be riding my bike for an hour and then running for an hour or more every day. And would you believe we came in measly third place?

We are now trying to figure out how to sustain the results. ...we are thinking of just aiming for 4 points a put this in persepctive, this would mean that if you had 2 food infractions (click back to the original link here to see what this means) you would have to run for an hour 3 times a week (or equivilant)...this seems reasonable/sustainable to me. ...I may feel differently in the dead of winter!

With so many long runs under my belt, I've had a lot of time to reflect on this competition, and what parts of it I value. I've realized that I don't really care about the weight loss. I certainly want to be at a healthy weight and feel good in my clothes, but beyond that I really don't want to focus on my weight. We've been really careful to call it a health challenge because I never want my daughter to think that I'm on a diet or that I'm unhappy with my body. I just want her to think I'm strong, fit, active, and healthy...and that I am at peace with my body. It has successfully birthed two healthy children; I think it deserves a little respect!

Any reactions?

PS: Obviously the name of our plan - "Fatty Get Skinny" - is in jest :)....I realize it's a bit at odds with the musings in this post!

Street sale! Selling....and buying!

This weekend was our annual street sale.

I've been purging stuff from around the house and saving it for about 4 months. My prices were low - everything was $3 or less; most items $1 or less (except for the Wii, which was $30).

My actual sale prices were much lower thanks to the aggressive negotiators that yard sales attract! Items that I priced at $1 (like a $50 never used BBQ tool set) were counter-offered at 25 cents!!! In some cases I caved, but if the buyer irritated me I refused to budge. As a result I'm left with a lot of stuff, but I'd rather give it to the Goodwill then feel like I got schooled by a savvy yard saler.

The most fun was the shopping that Mr. Miles and I did after I closed up shop: I found lots of great Gap Kids clothing, a vintage FP airport, and a treasure chest of gimp and beads for my daughter.


PS: I apologize if you see something you've given me in my sale photo!! I promise I loved the gift at the time!...but I have too much stuff in my house and just hadddd  to purge!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012


Today I arrived home from work (yes, I am back at work, but that's another post...) and my body immediately relaxed when I saw the house. I really love the shade of gray we picked. It suits the brick perfectly. I don't regret any of my annoying humming and was worth it.

The deck and door still need to be painted, but it is great to see progress being made. I am very happy with my painter. carpenter, on the other hand, still hasn't come back to put the toppers on the posts, even though I held back a portion of the money. For 3 days in a row now he has said he is going to come...and then doesn't. I have decided that if he doesn't come tomorrow I am going to Central Fairbanks Lumber, buying some toppers myself, and keeping the money.


New deck railing (toppers on posts yet to come)
The new railing is almost complete, and I love the look. It is much more classic compared to what was there before and consistent with the style of the home. I also think that the addition of the second railing along the stairs gives the home a more formal look, and draws attention to the door.

The painter started yesterday, and we are hoping that the bulk of the job is done by end of week.

PS - Thanks for all the comments on paint colours. I ended up going with a dark door. I was actually leaning towards a light door, but my husband wanted it to be dark. He gets so little say on design choices that I thought he should get his preference on this one....and I can hold it over his head forever if I don't like it!!

Handmade laundry bags

Since my son is in cloth diapers (as was my daughter), we do a LOT of laundry. I like to keep all the parts (shells, inserts, etc) of the diapers sorted, so I wash them in those laundry bags made for delicates....but they keep wearing out, and frankly aren't really big enough for my diapers. So my amazing mother made me 4 of these bags. The fabric is the same netting used on the drawstring bags used for soccer balls (yes, she's a soccer mama!!) so they are super durable. The string is a nylon which won't easily succumb to knots.....and the rainbow of colours just makes me smile.

Thanks Mom!