Thursday, December 18, 2008

One Ticket For Hell, Please

Last night was Josey's school Christmas concert and while it had a couple of cute moments, it was mostly excruciating. However, it really brought out the Catholic in me, with religious thoughts crossing my mind ever so often like "Dear God, please let the murdering of this song be over", "Jesus Christ this is taking forever", and "Holy crap, there are some ugly people in this town who should probably not have procreated". Looking forward to next year.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Glitter. Almost As Bad As The Mariah Carey Movie.

When we were in Ottawa last week Josey brought along his life savings (a whole $6.11) to go on a shopping spree in the nearby mall. I steered him clear of the huge bin of Hershey's kisses at Bulk Barn, informed him that a Goldendoodle puppy cost slightly more than 6 bucks, and gently nudged him in the direction of the craft section of Scholar's Choice. He was overjoyed at the prospect of POM POMS! PAINT! GOOGLY EYES! I was so overjoyed at the prospect of him being occupied for more than 7.3 seconds that I didn't even consider the consequences of one of his purchases - glitter. At the time I thought it was a pretty benign choice and imagined homemade Christmas cards all a-shimmer in red and green.

Reality: wielding a glue stick and said glitter he created a masterpiece of swirling sparkles all over a huge piece of bristol board, then proceeded to turn it over and do the same on the other side. Every time he lifted it up to examine/admire/display/move/"fix" it, showers of red poured off and caught drafts, landing on every surface and spreading through the entire house.

Remember the Love Shack? "Glitter on the front porch / Glitter on the highway". That's us, except it's more like "Glitter in the hallway / Glitter in the grilled cheese sandwich". Bad, BAD decision.

Monday, November 24, 2008


This morning I'm going to be volunteering at Josey's school. So far he has critically looked me over, announcing that I look "nice", but could he please see what I look like without my glasses on? The contacts went in, but then he asked if I could put some makeup on because my face was red. I'm just waiting for him to sniff me and tell me to put on some deodorant.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Dear Ferber

You suck. However, today, on the fourth day of using your techniques for naptime, Tristan stopped crying and fell asleep approximately 4 seconds after I left his bedroom. Keep in mind that neither Josey nor Roanen could fall asleep without someone touching them until well after their second birthdays. I'm liking you right now, but you still suck.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Sleep

Yes, the sleep is still an issue. One that is slowly getting better, but still an issue. The last I blogged about it, the PLAN was going to be put into effect. The PLAN involved a dream feed to ensure non-hungriness through the night, and the "put-down" technique from the Baby Whisperer ("Yeah, well your momma is so fat..." Oh wait, not that kind of put-down.) It starting working within a few nights. He was definitely sleeping much longer stretches and didn't require much effort to get back to sleep, then he got a stomach bug and started waking up thanks to explosive poos and angry-red sore bum. This went on for TWO FREAKING WEEKS and I ended up nursing him whenever he got up because I was worried about dehydration, not to mention the fact that it's pretty impossible to settle a cranky baby with a burning ring of fire any other way. To top it off, Roanen had diarrhea for a week during this time and required nightly diaper changes, and Josey also got it, but his involved him coming into our room complaining about a stomach ache, then a frantic dash to the toilet where he screamed bloody murder because of the stomach cramps. And repeat. And repeat. Oh, and did I mention that I had it too? Fun!

Anyway, after that nightmare I'm fairly certain I started the training again, but can't seem to remember much about it. It might have been working to a point. It might have involved hours on end of him screaming. I do remember a couple of rough mornings where I finally dragged him downstairs at 6 AM after he screamed his fool head off from 4 AM on. There was also a period where he would fool around at naptime so I would leave the room and he actually settled himself and went to sleep. Then it stopped, but I don't know why. Frankly, the last several years of sleep training/deprivation/hell have all blurred into each other and I can't recall details. I THINK it was sometime around the "settling himself" phase that he started sleeping longer stretches at night. The problem was that the longer stretch usually ended somewhere between 3:30 and 5:00 and he was all AWAKEGETMEOUTOFHERE*SCREAM**SCREAM*ALLDONESLEEPINGNOWNOWNOW*SCREAM* and while I can deal with the waking at night to a point, the early rising just isn't my bag, baby. At some point he would consistently sleep until 5 AM and that was it. He won that round, and I actually dragged myself downstairs with him and discovered that if I nursed him he would play quietly for a bit while I watched reruns of House on Showcase. Those were loooooong mornings, made extra fun by the fact that while he wouldn't go back to bed at 5, he was still exhausted and wanted to pass out by 7:30 so he could have a nice half hour nap. Not even enough time for me to snooze at the same time, even if I wasn't rushing around trying to get Josey ready for the bus.
Fortunately the wake-up call got a little later, and while he still only sleeps right through about a third of the time, he's generally ok to settle down in the night and sleep until a tolerable 6 AM or later. He even slept until 7:40 one morning which pissed me off to no end since I had to get up with the other boys. Naturally during this time Roanen has decided to get up between 1 and 4 times a night so it's not like we're getting any sleep. Heavens, no!

Once nighttime got a little better, bedtime and naptime deteriorated to the point that it was taking me at least 30 minutes to get him to sleep, three times each day. He would lie down and start to go to sleep while I rubbed his back. Then he would suddenly sit up, or start talking to the flowers on the wall, or just generally fool around and I would get pissed off and leave. Then he'd cry. Then I'd listen to the crying. Then I'd go back in and he'd lie down as if he was so very sorry he'd fooled around and he'll go to sleep if I'll just stay with him, then it would start all over again. Meanwhile, Russ could put him in the crib, sit on the couch, and he would be asleep in minutes. Likewise in the middle of the night if he got up - after much crying and flinging himself around the crib, I'd get sick of it and make Russ go in to him. I'd hear the crying, then a loud "SHHH!", then silence, and Russ would be back in bed in 2 minutes. Not. Fair.

On Sunday I decided enough was enough and started Ferberizing him (yes, I said Ferberizing) for naps. Two days later and it's taken him less than 10 minutes to get to sleep on his own for naps. No, I don't wish I'd done it earlier, but *knock on wood* it seems to be working so far. Hopefully it will eliminate night wakings too, but I'm not holding my breath. I am not even that close to being lucky.

As for the boobage, I dropped the daytime feeds about a week ago and he hasn't had a dream feed for 3 nights, so I think the milk bar is closed. Feels weird, but I don't miss it. He does, however, and every once in a while he gets that look in his eyes and starts pawing at my shirt. All the more reason to stop.

So that's about it. Long

Thursday, October 16, 2008

You're Welcome?

This morning in a burst of good-motherness I made crepes for breakfast. Since I had a leftover can of Thanksgiving whipped cream in the fridge I made two eyes and a smile on each of the boys' crepes and presented them with a flourish. Josey's response: "Awww thanks for putting a puking frog on my crepe Mommy!"

Monday, October 06, 2008

Lazy, But Competitive

Every night after bath Josey and Roanen are supposed to clean up the zillions of books that they have spread around their room before coming downstairs for a snack. A few nights ago I walked into their room during this time to check on their progress since it was suspiciously quiet. I found Josey sitting on the floor reading with Roanen holding on to his earlobe and peeking at the book over his shoulder. I asked whether they were planning on finishing the job and Josey got up to grab more books to put away. Roanen jumped to his feet, looked at me with a pained expression, and said, very dramatically, "It's too hard! This book is just too heavy!" He picked up a book and, bending over like it weighed 40 pounds, held it by the fingertips. "See? It's just too too heavy for me!" The book dropped out of his fingertips. "Oh! I just can't hold it because it's TOO TOO HEAVY!" Josey raised his eyebrows, bent over, picked up the book and put it on the bookshelf and Roanen immediately screamed "NO, I WANTED TO PUT THAT BOOK AWAY!", grabbed it off the shelf, then gently put it right back on the bookshelf.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

6 Random Things - No Rules Version

I was tagged for a meme by my brother, only because he only has a couple of blogging friends and I was filler. I'm insulted. Just for that I'll do the meme, but I'm not going to follow the rules, just to show him. Or maybe I won't follow the rules because I actually don't know anyone who blogs so I can't tag them. Whatever. Here are my 6 random things:

1) When I was a senior in high school my best friend and I decided that instead of having our own lockers we would both just use hers because it was in closer proximity to the lockers of cute boys. Somehow we managed to fit in all our textbooks and binders, a flute, a clarinet (oh I was cool), random grooming items, plus we tossed in a toaster, kettle, tea bags, hot chocolate, a couple of mugs, some bowls, and a big box of Life cereal. It was totally pimped out in a wannabe-housewife teenaged girl kind of way. Sadly enough, a few days after we were spotted making use of our small appliances there was an announcement on the PA system that students weren't allowed to use them. Our school sucked.

2) The liquor store gives me panic attacks. I could spend hours in there looking at all the stuff, but I have to psych myself up every time I go in because I think the people that work there are looking at me and thinking I'm under 19. Last week when I had to get some wine for cooking I was looking through my purse for my ID and Russ burst my bubble by disdainfully saying "They're not going to ask you - you're, like, 30!" The age thing aside, I figure the employees also look down on me because they somehow know that I know nothing about wine or liquor and that makes me classless. Or something.

3) Sometimes I don't sort my colours and whites when laundering. Martha would definitely not approve, but I don't think Martha has ever had to IMMEDIATELY wash white, pee-soaked sheets when there is nothing else dirty but a couple of beige towels, 3 pastel washcloths and some navy blue baby clothes.

4) A spelling bee in grade 9 affected the entire course of my life. In that spelling bee I won an introductory lesson in karate, where I then met a boyfriend whose sister suggested I apply for a job at the salon she worked at, where I became friends with one of the hairstylists who brought me to a bar in the sticks where Russ was the head doorman. And the rest is history. Also, I will never misspell the word "charlatan" again.

5) When I was around 9 or 10, my brother and I would play a game at the cottage in which we'd go into my bedroom and one of us would put a sleeping bag over our entire body and try to catch the other one. Kind of like Marco Polo, without the Marcos and Polos. I always really liked the dream-like feeling I got from being the one in the sleeping bag, which I now know was most likely lack of oxygen. I often wonder how many brain cells we lost doing that. I could have gone to Yale...

6) I have a problem with the way toilets are designed these days. On the outside under the tank the ceramic (is it ceramic? I don't know.) is molded around the pipes and the look of it repulses me. They might as well have a sign back there on all toilets that says "Look here! This is the exact path your POOP takes!" Frankly, I don't care to think about poop once it's flushed, ok? When we renovated the bathroom in our old house I specifically bought the one toilet with flat sides. We then promptly sold the house and moved into one with decorative poop pipe toilets.

The End. I choose to tag NO ONE.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Mmmmm Tofurkey

After several unsuccessful attempts at veggie dogs the boys unknowingly scarfed down veggie turkey amidst exclamations of "Wow! This turkey tastes just like pepperettes!". Other than the horrible breath it gives them, my only problem is that I'm afraid that the teacher thinks I'm sending really low quality lunch meat sandwiches to school with Josey. I mean, the stuff is gray and smells like someone really tried hard to cover up the smell of chicken lips and arseholes with excessive spices. Last night I told Josey the truth, hoping his big mouth will share it with the class and no one will think I'm feeding my kids nitrate-filled crap. Because I'm sure the teacher who brings Yogos, chocolate cookies and white bread sandwiches to school will be relieved to know.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Things I Learned Yesterday About Chicken Killin'

1) Guys who kill chickens for a living reeeeeally like having to walk up a steep hill to the coop, then stumble down it carrying six flailing chickens at a time.
2) When flailing chickens are caught and carried around by the leg they squawk "OWWWWWWWWWWW!" Yes, exactly like that.
3) Chicken killers smirk when you make comments about the chickens and their "feelings". Then they zap them to death while they're hanging upside down and slit their throats right in front of you. Totally harsh.
4) Chicken killin' has a smell. Kind of a wet cooked feather/entrail/blood, blood and MORE blood smell. A smell that gets stuck in your nose, especially if you've just had to peel bloody water-soaked clothes off of little boys who danced with glee in puddles and revelled in the fun that is zapped, headless, drippy chickens and OH MY GOD GET THE SMELL AWAY.
5) SO not a good idea to come into the house after experiencing chicken killin' to a slow cooker full of chicken stew. Roanen flat out refused to eat it, and I can't really blame him.

On the schedule for today: reaching into freezing cold barrels of chickeny water for chickens that need to be weighed and bagged. In 10 degree weather. Fun!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ummmmm, OK...

Last week we were having dinner and Josey looked up and said "What's that bell?" to which I responded "What bell?". "That one!" he insisted, and immediately our old time-out timer loudly went off in the other room. Freaky.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

He's My Third...

...and that's why I post first birthday pictures two weeks later.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

And So It Begins...

Josey is officially a kindergartener. A lunchbag-toting, backpack-wearing, schoolbus-travelling, Catholic school-going kindergartener. He loves it. And I'm OK.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Evidently I Don't Speak 4 Year Old

From the bathroom: "Mommy, I'm hungry!"
Me: "Jose, did I not just give you an apple?"
"No! I mean, where's the toilet paper!"

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Well Hello!

I've been seriously delinquent in my blogging lately, so much so that I've probably lost my readers, all 2 of you. To make up for it I've glued the older boys to the TV and left Tristan screaming on the floor in order to treat you to "Our Summer...In Photos!":

The summer started off with Roanen's eyes getting more and more wonky, to the point that a lot of the time he would close one eye when looking at something.

This always made me feel guilty. But not guilty enough that I couldn't take pictures.

While we waited for the surgery date, Josey started playing in the local soccer league. He started out very enthusiastic, but chasing after ball-hogging 6 year olds got old after the first few lessons. He finally ended up spending soccer nights picking grass and eating clover flowers when he wasn't rolling into the fetal position in the back of the net. The coach also found soccer a little tiring so he only showed up about 3 times. Way to teach dedication, Coach!

I'll stand here in front of the net, but only because you're giving me a freezie when this is all over.

Roanen got his first real haircut and went from baby to boy. Sob.

Big boys don't smile Mommy.

Fortunately Roanen's surgery was scheduled for early in the summer so we could (hopefully) get his eyes straightened out. He was happy playing with the toys at CHEO until he was made to put on some of the cutest pyjamas imaginable.

Or is it that he's the cutest pyjama-ed child imaginable?

Either way, he was unimpressed with the whole situation and proceeded to lie in the middle of the corridor and refuse to participate in any of the fun waiting room activities. That is, until he got some funky sedative that is evidently equivalent to a few beers.

Hey Mommy. This is waaaaay funny. If only I could sit up without falling over...

Despite being told that Roanen would be perfectly fine after the surgery he was pretty cranky. And also not very pretty to look at.

You'd be cranky too if you had stitches in your eyes.

A week later we had a real emergency.

And the next day we headed down to Niagara Falls. We had a great time on the Maid of the Mist boat.

Picked up some souvenirs...

And went to Marineland, which turned out to be a lot of fun for Josey:

For me too:

Look at the size of that caramel apple! Refrain from looking at my pasty pale legs, my hideous running shoes and the fact that my eyes always look messed up in pictures.

But evidently not so much for Roanen:

Daddy looks impressed too.

Note to people travelling to Niagara Falls with kids - the Imperial Hotel and Suites (I can't seem to find the link right now) is a super inexpensive, super nice place to stay. It's right near the main tourist street and within walking distance to the falls. The suites have separate bedroom and living areas, mini fridges and microwaves so you can bring a lot of your own food if you're like us and don't like torturing restaurants and their employees and customers with your children's presence. And did I mention cheap? Like 80 bucks per night cheap. It rocked. Don't pay any attention to the horrible reviews on the review websites (although do read them because they're hilarious).

Back to us.

Just a couple of weeks after we returned home Grammie and Grampa decided to take the boys on a little vacation. So I invited myself and Tristan along, because I'm like that. We drove down to Toronto to spend the day at Canada's Wonderland. At the hotel Roanen made friends with a very bold dove who invited himself to breakfast.

The bird ate mostly scrambled eggs. How very, very creepy.

Roanen loved Wonderland almost as much as Marineland.

A $5 bag of tiny donuts made it all better though.

Then the holiday fun was all over. But not for long! Russ found an ingenious way to get out of having to work that involved chicken poop, kerosene, and the old oil tank we use as a burn barrel. Sneaky, and oh so graphic.

That's only one leg. The other one, as well as both arms, his fingers, and a bit of his face got it too. He was dead sexy, I tell ya.

I got to take care of the chickens, the kids, and Russ for two weeks which was pretty stressful, but for the following two weeks Russ was up and able to do pretty much anything except go to work so it felt like holidays all over. Unpaid holidays, but holidays nonetheless.

Now that he's back at work, the boys and I are back in our (lack of) routine and trying to enjoy the rest of the summer before September hits and I have to send my baby to school, something that I'm alternately dreading and looking forward to. While I'm not as freaked out as I used to be, it's still going to be traumatic.

In other (pictureless) news, Tristan is crawling! Actually I meant to post that 4 months ago. Nowadays he's taking 6 steps at a time and coming very close to not needing to cling to my legs constantly.

And finally, the reason I haven't been blogging lately is because I felt like my plate just wasn't full enough and signed up for a 2 year distance education program in natural nutrition. So my "not studying" guilt has been stronger than my "not blogging" guilt and I've been hitting the books instead of regaling you with tales of my existence. And right now my "Tristan is yawning and exhausted and the boys are trying to murder each other" guilt is taking over so I'll sign off for the next 2 years or so. But not really so keep checking :P

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Last night as I'm sitting at the table waiting for Roanen to finish his supper Josey runs up to me with his lips pressed tightly together, stares pointedly at me for a second, then walks to the other side of the kitchen. He pulls down his craft box and begins his usual routine of cutting and taping paper. 10 minutes later he walks up to me, lips still pressed together, and begins a game of charades, pointing at his mouth then at the paper, which looks like this:

I start guessing - "Your mouth is taped shut. You're hungry. You want to eat the paper. You want to eat what's ON the paper..." He shakes his head at every guess, then points to his mouth again and opens it just enough that I can see what's in it: a mouthful of murky, chunky puke.
I tell him to go spit it out in the toilet. He comes back and tells me that he puked in his mouth 10 MINUTES AGO and, not knowing what to do (as if it's never happened before), he decided to make a sign to let me know about it.
He then proceeds to make a sign post for it, then tapes it to the wall. In case of a puke emergency he can point to it and I won't be confused...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Why I (Sometimes) Buy Canadian.

Apples'n'Oranges is having a Canada Day contest with some awesome prizes. I personally want to win all the little girl stuff so I can further curse my chances at having a girl next (last) time around.
All you have to do is write a post (or email them at if you don't have a blog) explaining why you buy Canadian.
Here's my reason:

The shipping's usually cheaper.

I KNOW! Awesome reason. I'm so patriotic and supportive of our local economy, etc, etc. But seriously, I know there are good reasons to buy Canadian, I just don't exactly have the time to go online to research them. They are there though, so you should all buy Canadian, particularly from Apples'n'Oranges because Lara just quit her job to run the company full time and she won't be able to feed my nephew if you don't. Do it. And enter the contest while you're at it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

No, I'm Still Not Sleeping.

So much has happened in the saga of sleep since the last time I blogged about Tristan, yet I'm pretty much at the same place I was then, and possibly even more sleep deprived. That being said, it's 10:37 PM and I'm choosing to blog rather than go to bed so YOU HAVEN'T BROKEN ME YET, SLEEPLESS CHILD. Ahem.
I decided to go with the Baby Whisperer once again, but instead of doing the "pick-up/put-down" technique, it was more of a "put-down" because he was at the age where picking him up constantly would distract more than comfort. He got his bedtime feed, then he was cut off from feeding for at least 8 hours. This is where I deviated from the Baby Whisperer because, according to her, at his age he should be able to go 12 hours without a feed. On the first night his growling stomach after 8 hours told me otherwise. Although it was necessary to feed him in the middle of the nights, usually at about 3 AM, I think this is what ended up keeping the plan from being totally effective. He would settle with just being put down when he stood up in anywhere from 8 minutes to two hours, and was sleeping longer stretches overall. He even managed a couple of 7 hour stretches, although they were at the beginning of the night so I didn't get the same 7 hours of sleep unfortunately. The problem ended up being that after I gave him his feed in the middle of the night he would start getting up every hour to eat and/or be very wakeful. A couple of weeks ago a combination of things began to throw us off track even more. First of all, my exhausted body began tricking my mind in the middle of the night into believing that he should most definitely be coming into our bed to be fed at midnight. I distinctly remember feeling that this was a rational act, despite Russ asking me what the hell I thought I was doing. Then teething hit. His four upper front teeth have been sloooooowly and evidently very painfully making their way down for a couple of weeks and he's totally miserable about it. This combined with the crazy heat wave of last week (and therefore his increased thirst and my decreased desire to have a sweaty screaming child hanging off me) had me feeding him every time he woke up crying. And that brings us to now. His teeth still aren't totally out and he's cranky about it off and on. He's gotten used to being fed every time he wakes up, so now he's sleeping about a 3 hour stretch at the beginning of the night, then waking about every hour and a half or two hours thereafter. I usually bring him into our bed after the fourth or so waking. My overall attitude has been ok about it, but I've definitely been super grouchy during the day when I got woken up a lot the previous night or when the boys all decided that 5 AM is a good time to wake up (oh my children, you just wait until you're sleepy teenagers and I decide that 5 AM is a good time for you to wake up).
And now the new plan! (Because I'm so good at being consistent with this sleep training thing) Next week we're going down to Niagara Falls and Marineland for 3 days, so there's no point in starting anything before then. I'll just have to suffer through the next 7 days and make Russ get up with them in the morning so I can sleep in. Right. Once we're settled back at home I'm going to do the regular bedtime routine, then before I go to bed I'll give him a dream feed at 10 or 11. This will top him up so I won't have to feed him in the middle of the night (when he wakes up himself) or feel guilty about starving him. When he's sleeping right through (note my naive optimism) I'll boost his daytime food a little more and start giving him the dream feed earlier each night until it's cut right out.
And this will definitely definitely definitely work and we'll all live happily (not sleepily) ever after.
The End.

"What are you talking about Mommy? I wouldn't keep you from sleeping!"

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Because My Bathroom Doesn't Smell Pissy Enough.

On Saturday evening I went into the downstairs bathroom to get the boys' toothbrushes ready for them. I glanced around while doing so and noticed a puddle in front of the toilet and some droplets between it and the sink, most likely due to Roanen's earlier attempt at getting himself a drink of water with a floppy silicone muffin cup. Then I happened to look down into the garbage can. I wondered what had been put in there that made crumpled up paper towel turn yellow. Then I saw yellow droplets on the side of the bag and it hit me. I stomped into the kitchen where the boys were having their snack and asked Josey "Did you pee in the garbage?" He immediately got a wide-eyed deer in the headlights look on his face and asked innocently "How do you know I peed in the garbage?". Little bum. When he finally confessed (which he only did because I cracked a smile at the absurdity of the act), it came out that he wanted to "make a lake" in the can, evidently after he had already started in the toilet and couldn't stop the stream while he switched receptacles. Naturally I forgot all about it until we got home from Ottawa yesterday and now my bathroom reeks of old pee. I love having boys.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The End Of The Wonkiness...Maybe

On Monday Roanen got his eye surgery. Everyone at CHEO was really great, especially the male nurse who gave him his sedative along with some blowing bubbles, which greatly amused him until he got too buzzed to do anything but flop on Russ, giggle at his stuffed lamb and inform the nurse in a slurred voice that he got a sticker. Other than sleeping for an inordinate amount of time in recovery (we were told 15-20 minutes and he slept almost two hours) everything seems to have gone pretty well. The outside whites of his eyes are bloody red with a couple of stitches each (ew), and now instead of sliding outwards he's a little cross-eyed, which is temporary and apparently desirable according to the doctor. Now we just have to wait and see whether the strabismus was fully corrected. If it's still wonky the surgery will have to be repeated which would really suck because he's been miserable and freaking out, especialy when I have to put ointment on his eyelashes. Awesomely gross "after" pictures to come as soon as I can upload from my camera.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Some Antibiotics Might Clear That Up...

"Mommy, Daddy's penis looks like a turkey."

(No blue balls jokes, please)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Get You A Waxin', Woman

Lately Josey has been watching too much adult television. He especially likes the commercials, because THEY PROMISE that their product is the best and that you DESPERATELY NEED IT. It started off innocently enough with the Food Network airing a Nutri-Slim commercial at least once every ten minutes. Josey was fascinated by the pictures of the food, especially the desserts (whose filming, I might add, required a zoom lens because of the tiny portion sizes) and would ask "Do you want to get that, Mommy?" every time it aired. Next came the Proactive commercials. Despite the fact that I (thankGodthankGodthankGodknockonwood) have had pretty clear skin since I was pregnant with Roanen, Josey feels that I also need that. Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Love Hewitt say so too. Then came Garnier Nutrisse. Both Josey and Sarah Jessica Parker would like me to see a dermatologist AND a nutritionist every day.

Thankfully I've managed to explain the concept of commericials to him so now he forms his own opinions. Opinions like, "You need to lose weight, Mommy" out of the blue. My personal favourite though is "It's just not right!" and "DO something about that hair - raze it or something!", spoken with utter disgust while gagging at the sight of my unmaintained nakedness. We've gotten him away from the tv, now if we could only pry Grampa's old Playboys out of his little hands. In the meantime I will have to aspire to be his ideal Mommy, a wrinkle-free anorexic with a brazilian.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Crying It Out

In the past couple of weeks I've started to compose a blog in my head about crying it out and each time I've gotten so angry and emotional that I had to stop before my head exploded. The catalyst was the visit from our therapist and home worker where we discussed the "treatment" for our "troubled" family.

My biggest worry was for Roanen. The impression I got from previous visits was that we were basically going to lock him in his room and let him cry until he passed out, so I was relieved to hear that we were just to bring him back to his bed as soon as he came into our room. Relieved, that is, and slightly annoyed that Russ eagerly accepted this idea when they presented it, after I had presented it many times as common sense.

The girls then proudly presented their solution for Tristan's sleep issues. They had done a TON of research and talked to many people in their field and found the best way to deal with it. The answers were all in this MAGICAL BOOK written by someone extremely knowledgeable on the subject. The book? A very famous book by a certain doctor with a whole METHOD named after him: Ferber (can you hear the hate and disgust with which I type the name?). Um, apparently someone missed the memo about how I had a little problem with the cry-it-out method? Or else they sat around bored one day and said "You know what would be funny? Let's tell Lindsay that she has to let her kids scream for hours without comforting them. Let's take bets on whether she'll cry!" And you know what? I did. Or at least I visibly teared up, then I composed myself because the last thing I needed was for them to see me fall apart when they already think I'm guilt-ridden and ruining my kids with coddling. I went temporarily insane and agreed that it had to be done. We made up a plan in which we were to go to him when he cried, comfort for less than a minute without touching (?!..?!!?), then leave. We could go back at 5 minute intervals and he would eventually cry himself to sleep. He would be sleeping through the night within a week and a half. Yes it would be hard, but worth it in the end.

Once they left, reality set in. I looked through the photocopied pages they gave me that coldly stated that I was doing him an injustice by letting him use me as a comfort tool, and that it made children feel anxious and worried, not comforted, to co-sleep. I looked through The No-Cry Sleep Solution and reread the part that describes in heart-wrenching detail how a baby must feel when it's left to cry Then I looked at him and realized that as tired as I constantly am, as frustrated as I get when I have to nurse him for the sixth time in one night, and as angry as he makes me when he screams for hours at a time while alternately reaching for me and pushing me away, I couldn't do it. I couldn't listen to him get as hysterical as I know he would get and not comfort him, not even touch him. And despite being assured that doing this wouldn't cause any permanent emotional damage, how exactly do they know? When a baby begins sleeping through the night after crying it out is it really because they've learned to self-soothe, or is it because they've resigned themself to the fact that they're not deserving of comfort at night by the people who are supposed to love them unconditionally? As far as I was concerned, the end just wouldn't justify the means. I called the home worker the next day and told her I wasn't going to go through with it.

Since then, Tristan's sleeping habits have once again deteriorated. His longest stretch at night is 2-1/2 hours, but it's not uncommon for him to wake up 40 minutes after I finish nursing him. The past few nights I've brought him into our bed the fifth or sixth time he's woken up and when that happens he pretty much wants to nurse constantly. That being said, I still don't regret my decision. One of the things that I've gained with having another baby with sleep issues is perspective. I know that while things suck pretty badly right now I won't be having to nurse him 8 times a night a year from now, let alone for the rest of my life. Both the home worker and Russ gave me the look that says "isn't that nice that you're fooling yourself" along with a mental pat on the head when I told them that, but I'm not going to do something I'm completely against to please them when I'm the one who has to deal with feeling bad about it afterwards.
For now I don't really have a plan. The boys and I have been really sick for the past week so I'm too desperate for any kind of sleep to even think of a plan, much less act on one. My one extreme is to just deal with it until he's old enough to be sleep-trained like his brothers were. My other extreme, and the closest to crying it out I would ever do, is to stand by his crib and lie him down every time he stands up, comforting him with touch and my voice. And even that scares me a little bit. We'll see how much more of this I can take.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Our Budding Photographer

This past Christmas Josey received his own digital camera. He had been taking some fabulous pictures with my camera, so we had high expectations of him. We weren't disappointed.

This one is my favourite. It definitely looks like it could be in a gallery or on a CD cover. Who needs eyes in a picture when the goatee expresses so much emotion on its own:

Have I mentioned that I look very much like my father? This is me in 25 or so years. I fear for my future (note: limited edition picture - my mom is going to make me remove this):

"Separated at Birth?"

"Self-Portrait - Sadness" Ok, so he didn't take this, but it still counts:

This kid is so quick and adept, he can even catch those rare moments when his brother is missing a nose. Watch out, Loch Ness Monster:

Missing from this show, "Fat Cat In Motion", a series of 50 pictures documenting Annabelle's every move while walking across the kitchen. Also, "500 Photos of Mom Making The Same Stupid Face", which was lost in an unfortunate deleting accident. See photo #2 above. They pretty much look like that, but with glasses and messy hair. Groan.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Let's See How Many Times I Can Use The Word "Suck" In One Form Or Another

Today I feel...wait for it...good! Pretty amazing considering how hellish the last few weeks have been. Obviously I haven't been blogging much lately and it's mostly because sleep training sucks and preschoolers suck and I don't want to relive my sucky days by writing about them at night when the suckage temporarily stops. Today, however, hasn't sucked too much so far so I'm taking a little bit of time to blog. Lucky you.
Last night was a not-so-bad night for me. Russ and I switched roles and he put Tristan to sleep while I put the boys down, something that usually ends with bad results. Luckily Tristan went down no problem (ok, so putting him to sleep hasn't been much of a problem lately) and even the boys didn't give me any grief other than Roanen crying about wanting "MY songs" but not telling me what they were. I was even able to leave the room before he was totally asleep, something that we've been working on and that I've never been able to accomplish before. In the past couple of days Tristan has been settling himself occasionally when he wakes up and he did so a couple of times before we went to bed. Naturally as soon as I got into bed he really woke up and started crying. I've been really torn about what to do when he wakes up at night. According to the Baby Whisperer I'm supposed to do pick up/put down until he goes back to sleep and he's not to be fed between 7 PM and 7 AM if he's getting enough food during the day (which I finally think he is since he's taken so well to solids). The problem is that once he gets really crying he gets so worked up that he won't settle without nursing. I'm talking hysterical crying for hours and if he DOES finally settle, it doesn't last. I haven't yet managed to go an entire night without feeding him and he calms right down and generally sleeps for a chunk after he nurses. The verdict is that I'm going to combine a couple of sleep training techniques: the Baby Whisperer stuff for when he's first going down at night or for a nap, as well as when he wakes up at night and settles back down easily with shushing, and the No-Cry Sleep Solution techniques for the middle of the night when he won't settle back down easily. Basically that means nursing him when he wakes up, but not for longer than it takes for his sucking to slow down. I have a bad habit of falling asleep on the couch in his room while I'm nursing him and it tends to make him sleep really restlessly. As well, our bed is off limits. Since I've started the sleep training he has been intolerable in our bed, fussing and wanting to nurse constantly and I can't deal with it. It's actually easier to be awake and dealing with him in his room than half-ass sleeping and dealing with him in ours.
So back to last night, I nursed Tristan right at my bedtime, then once at about 2 and once at about 5. He slept in until 7, which I was able to do as well since Russ was home until then to entertain the boys before he had to leave for work. Of course just before the 2 AM feed Roanen came into our room and climbed into bed on my side because he knew Russ would get mad at him if he went to him. I put him back in his room after the 5 AM feed, then nearly got to sleep when Josey started calling for me. When I went in to check on him he was standing in the middle of the room and he said "Mommy! What did the Backyardigans have for snack?" as which point I tossed him into his bed and went back to mine.
I realize that I probably shouldn't be thrilled about a night like that, but I feel pretty energetic and well rested today so I'll take it. The best part was to come this morning though. Around 9:15 I took Tristan upstairs for his nap, sang him a couple of songs and put him down in his crib. He wasn't overtired so he just smiled and talked to me, which I took as a sign to leave. He fussed a little bit, but 5 minutes later HE WAS ASLEEP. ASLEEP. ON HIS OWN. I REPEAT, ON HIS OWN. WITHOUT ANYONE IN THE ROOM. I mean, Roanen still has a hard time with that and Josey didn't do it until he was 2 1/2. I'm ecstatic. I'm not assuming that this will happen every time, but it's definitely a step in the right direction. Yay.

On other fronts, we have our Nanny 911-esque sessions with a home worker starting in a couple of weeks. All the assessments are done and the worker will be helping us out with sleeping (which I actually hope to resolve before she gets here), self-soothing for Roanen and Tristan and discipline. We really haven't had many problems with Roanen lately, even though he was the main reason we originally called for help. That being said, he's been standing at the glass door in the playroom for the last 20 minutes in hysterics because I *gasp* locked them in there to play with their zillions of toys so they wouldn't wake Tristan up. I'm mostly excited about the discipline part. We've been having a ton of problems with Josey lately. He refuses to listen to anything from "Please turn off the tv and get your boots on" to "Get out of Tristan's face, he's scared of you" to "Don't run into the busy road or you'll get run over". He gets physically aggressive with the younger boys and myself and is getting time-outs at preschool because of bad behaviour. Time-outs are hard because I end up having to chase him around the house when he gets one and drag him into his time-out spot. Overall sucky behaviour which will (hopefully) get resolved sometime before he's bigger than me. Too bad I can't take the car keys away.

And finally, a conversation between Josey and Roanen:

Josey: "I'm all done my granola bar, Roanen. Can I please have some of yours?"
Roanen: "Ok, Josey. Here you go"
Josey: "Thanks Roanen"
Roanen: "You're welcome Josey"

And I didn't even imagine it.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

An Easter (Quasi-) Miracle

After months of 10+ wakeups per night, 10+ mini nursing sessions per night, much fussing, a seriously sore back (and boobs for that matter), and a bed that was no longer parents-only, I decided that I needed to seriously buckle down and attempt to sleep train Tristan. This past long weekend seemed perfect. I had four nights that were followed by days that either my parents or Russ were around to support me if I needed to pass out from exhaustion so I mentally and emotionally prepared myself for the torture ahead.
I chose to follow the Baby Whisperer's "Pick Up / Put Down" method, with a few adjustments. I really don't think Tristan is getting enough calories during the day to sustain him through a long period at night so I figured I'd feed him if I felt it had been long enough (and/or I was so freaking tired that I didn't have the energy to listen to him scream). I really wasn't expecting him to start sleeping through the night within a couple of days; my main goals were to get him to sleep without nursing, rocking or bouncing him, have him go a decent amount of time between nursing sessions, and keep him out of our bed. So far I'm fairly happy about our progress. Although I don't have set times for naps and bedtimes yet, I'm trying to put him down for his nap 2 hours after he wakes up from his previous wakeup time and he's been taking 5 or 20 minutes (yes, one or the other for some reason) to fall asleep. We sing a couple of songs, then I lay him down on his tummy (because I've always been an evil parent who puts children to sleep the wrong way). Usually he starts crying within a couple of minutes at which point I pick him up and hold him until he quiets down, starts pushing me away, or a couple of minutes of crying passes. Then I put him down and start all over. Three days ago he started rolling over in protest which annoyed the hell out of me and made me have to hold him straight, but thankfully he isn't doing it as much anymore. Now he likes me to shush really loud while holding my hand on his back. Whatever works.
He seems to be getting used to going to sleep this way, which is good because I used to hate taking forever to get him to sleep. He hasn't slept in our bed since last Thursday night and he usually goes 2 to 4 hours between wakeups during the night. I've been giving him a "dream feed" at 10 PM where I basically pull him out of the crib and feed him while he's still asleep. When it goes as planned, he sleeps 2-3 hours before the dream feed, goes down without a problem afterwards, then sleeps another 4 hours afterwards. I usually feed him at this point, but when he doesn't go a full 4 hours I'm in for a screaming fight to get him back to sleep. Now I know that I shouldn't be excited about getting 4 hours of sleep but after what I've been through it's freaking awesome. Hopefully things will continue to improve. If he starts to regress I may have to be a little stricter with making sure he eats enough during the day and not feeding him at night, but for now I'm pretty happy with how things are going. Just don't ask me about it after a night of him screaming angrily in my face for an hour.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


A couple of things I forgot when writing about Roanen...

-Lately he has been paying more attention to Tristan, and will regress into baby talk, but only so Tristan can understand the conversation too. He loves making him laugh and always imitates him through dinner which works well to keep him from screaming bloody murder.

-Whenever I'm knitting he'll come up to me and say "That a screwdriver?", referring to my knitting needles. When I say no, he always slyly says "It BE like a screwdriver" and tries to take it away. Not only is he good with regular english, he's evidently mastering ebonics as well.

-When I started putting him on the potty to pee he would always get up after an unsuccessful attempt and say "It's not working", referring to his penis. Now everytime he actually pees he yells "It works!"

Monday, March 17, 2008

In Honor of St. Patty's Day I Give You O'Roanen, Our Irish Child

(you know, as in the frustrated exclamation of "Oh, Roanen!" that is so often heard around here)

I will now curse us by announcing that Roanen has actually slept through the night IN HIS OWN BED WITHOUT WAKING UP for 12 out of the last 13 nights. It will now never happen again. Actually it was 11 of 13 nights, but one of the wakeups didn't count because Tristan was screaming so loud at midnight that he woke him up. Anyway, this started one night after we finally had the area's version of "Nanny 9-1-1", the Phoenix Centre (for "troubled" children and families) pay us a visit at Russ' request. Basically we're getting an assessment done by a therapist and we'll have an in-home worker help us out with Roanen's freakout issues. The main problem we were going to address was his fighting bedtime and the nightly trip into our bed (because those are the issues Russ has with him - I don't particularly enjoy his fits but they don't make my life miserable either) and now Roanen decided to partly fix that on his own. The problem now is that when the in-home worker comes to help us she's planning on basically using the Ferber method to get him to fall asleep on his own (much to my anti-crying-it-out dismay) and I'm worried that if he gets upset at bedtime he'll regress in the middle of the night. I was ok with the idea when it was first presented, but the more I think about it the more sick I feel about it. Since it will be a while before the worker is able to come in the evening, I'm hoping to try some gentler methods in the meantime to get him to sleep without someone being with him, kind of like we did with Josey. I'm desperate to avoid the crying, especially since the reason we originally asked for help was because we knew if we tried something like that he wouldn't stop crying. I would honestly take having to sit with him for a while at bedtime over hearing him get upset at being left alone in his bedroom. Ugh. I'm depressed thinking about it.

Also filed under "happy" - he has peed on the potty several times, mostly in the morning. I'm not full-out training him because that would be ridiculous at this point between Josey's preschool and Tristan being Tristan, but we've taken the potty out and every once and a while I ask him if he wants to sit on the potty and get a jellybean. Unlike Josey, he doesn't seem to pee much at night so if I catch him first thing in the morning he'll usually have a mega-pee that somehow manages to flood the floor around the potty. Whatever. So what if I have to soak up a huge puddle (one-handed, of course, due to Tristan freaking if I put him down) every morning. He's peeing. I'm happy.

Taking after his father, Roanen has earned the new nickname of "Chatterbox". He pretty much constantly has a monologue going, usually consisting of things like "That's a-MAZING!", "Wook at that! Oooooh, that's WEEWY WEEWY PWETTY!" and "That's a taw biwding. What a bootiful biwding!" Almost as cute as Josey's exclamations of "Wow Mommy, that's weewy wuvwy!" My boys appreciate beauty. That's why they like staring at themselves in the mirror :)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Stories, by Josey

(as "written" on a scrap of paper and read aloud)

"There was a boy who didn't have eyes and he was on a dragon's back and he killed the dragon with his sword. The dragon couldn't eat him because the boy cut off his head. Then the boy took the dragon's head and put it in a big big big big big big big big garbage can. WE END."

(When asked, I was informed that the boy didn't have eyes because he was an alien. And how could he see where the dragon's head was so he could cut it off? "He just REMEMBERED where it was!")

"Once there were two boys who lived in a house all by themselves and they could play when they wanted and eat what they wanted and they even made supper by themselves. And then they decided to go to Grammie's house and on the way they saw another Grammie so they went there instead. WE END."

Not sure about the "WE END" part. Possibly a misinterpretation of me saying "the end" at the end of every story. He's still a genius though.

The Trisser-Wisser

Yes, we do call him that. And no, when we decided to name him Tristan we did not think "Hey, Trisser Wisser would be a great nickname". His buddies in high school are going to love it. But I digress.

Tristan is 6 months old as of yesterday and I finally feel like time is really speeding up. I think it has to do somewhat with the fact that he's so much smaller than the other boys were at 6 months. Whereas Tristan weighs 15 lbs 1 oz, Roanen at this age was 17 lbs 1 oz. and Josey was 17 lbs. 5 oz. He looks so tiny in comparison and it's hard to believe I can give him solid food now. We started off today with some organic whole grain oatmeal cereal and he ate about 1-1/2 tablespoons without a problem. I didn't expect there to be any issues with eating though seeing as how I give birth to children with sleep problems, not food problems. While his daytime sleep has improved from a zillion 10-30 minute naps in the swing or in my arms to a couple of 30-60 minute naps and one 2-3 hour nap in his crib, his nighttime sleep has deteriorated from a 6 hour stretch at the beginning of the night to a 1-1/2 to 3 hour stretch. This is followed by a refusal to fall back to sleep in his own crib. When I bring him into bed with us lately he wakes up every half hour or so and needs to be not only nursed back to sleep, but switched to the other side every time. I tried the "pick-up/put-down" technique last weekend to get him down for his nap and he screamed for an hour before I gave up and nursed him to sleep. Even Roanen only took 45 minutes the first time I tried that. The annoying part is that when I hold him until he's asleep then put him down he often opens his eyes and looks around, then settles down and goes to sleep, which means that he's obviously comfortable in his crib and can put himself to sleep. That's evidently a key to getting babies to sleep through the night, so why are we having problems? I'm still stupidly hoping that he'll just start sleeping longer on his own. Ha!

Aside from the sleep issues, he's super happy most of the time. He's always smiling at everyone (although he's shy and gets upset if a stranger holds him) and everyone comments that he's so bright and alert. He still has his screamy moments, usually between dinner and bath, but he can be distracted fairly easily and he's also been fantastic in the van. I honestly don't remember the last time he cried in his car seat and it's such a treat after the way Roanen freaked in vehicles. Definitely much easier on the nerves. He's really grabby and leans waaaaay out of his bumbo when he's trying to reach for things so we have to watch him really closely because he's fallen out a couple of times. He vocalizes a lot and yesterday he started making "ba" sounds. Oh, and he's really ticklish, especially on his inner thighs and armpits. I can even make him laugh in the middle of a screaming fit by tickling his armpits. Because I like screwing with his emotions like that.

Happy 6 months Trisser!

Look, Ma! I found the best parts!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


In order for me to actually blog I've taken to writing a little bit at a time elsewhere so I can copy, paste, and post it when it's done that way I don't feel pressured to write something amazing and cool while frantically trying to stay within my dialup limits. Not that this is amazing and cool. Anyway, this is the latest on Josey:

Josey is two weeks away from starting his 7 week, thrice-weekly, 3-1/2 hr a day preschool class. This has turned from a super exciting thing to a minor annoyance thanks to the gas prices, which so far are turning "free" playgroup into a ten-bucks-a- day deal, and will add an extra $30 a week to preschool. Dropping him off and driving home again is now completely out of the question so I'm going to have to find something to do in town after playgroup and on the days when there is no playgroup. Hopefully the weather will improve to the point where I can go for walks with the other two boys, but I think that's going to get old after a while. That being said, I still think Josey is really going to benefit from some structure and social interaction without me around. His behaviour lately (ok, not just lately) is pretty bad and he wanders around the house like he's bored. Good thing he got a gazillion dollars worth of toys for Christmas. The past week or so he's been colouring and making crafts a lot more and that seems to occupy him for longer periods. He's figured out that he can draw things other than people (although people are still his favourite thing to draw) and he's been drawing a lot of pictures of dragons with lots of fire and people with swords "killing" the dragon. He also likes copying pictures from books, like cars and random things like fruit and houses. He likes asking me how to write words and will copy things like "TO GRAMMIE" onto pictures. He also loves doing pre-K activity books and can now recognize letters of the alphabet in both uppercase and lowercase, as well as tell me the sounds of quite a few letters. He doesn't really like being taught these things as such, but he will listen to me a little then pretty much figure it out on his own time. I keep getting surprised when he all of a sudden easily knows something that he struggled with a couple of days earlier, like identifying and writing numbers. It's hard to believe that just over a month ago I overheard Josey "reading" to Tristan like this:
"TRISTAN! We're going to read this book. It's about FOOD. Now THIS is an APPLE. M-L-H-P. That's how it's spelled. Apples are CRUNCHY and JUICY. And THIS is a BANANA. Um...Y-O-S-G-A. Banana's have peels and they're yummy. This is an ORANGE. O-S-B-B-A. Oranges have lots of JUICE in them and sometimes it's yech but they're very JUICY."
And so on...

Anyway, we went to the preschool meeting last week and the teachers were telling us that they hoped to teach the kids to recognize their names and write the first letter. Meanwhile, Josey was at the blackboard writing all the numbers from one to ten, drawing a picture of himself and signing his name. Genius.

Once again we're having pee issues. I can't even believe I'm having to say that about my 4 YEAR OLD. When he started his mini preschool programs he immediately stopped having accidents and I figured we were finally done with pee pants. That lasted for quite a while, but in the last couple of weeks he's been "forgetting" again when he's outside playing or busy doing something. The punishment this time around is losing his Vtech video game for 2 days every time he's wet. It sucks that this is happening. Seriously. He's not even remotely close to staying dry at night either, but that's really the least of my concerns right now. They make pull-ups for kids that weigh over 100 lbs so we're still safe at least for a couple more years.

The End.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Miss Me?

Yes I'm still around here somewhere. You see, I have these three little distractions that don't allow for frivolous blogging. I actually do have lots to blog about, but I don't want to frantically write something random down and forget a bunch of stuff so I'm waiting until I have time to get it all out (ha). So I'll be back sometime. Maybe.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Welcome To The Best Day EVER!

While going through my must-read blogs today I found a link to the coolest site, where you input your birthdate and get a personal biorhythm reading. This is a measure of something to do with your intellectual, physical and emotional somethings that is much better explained here. Anyway, today and for the next day or so I am at negative 100% on all of the above. So basically I'm a lazy dumbass who doesn't give a rat's ass about anything. I'm so excited that I have an excuse for it now.
I checked Josey's biorythm too and yesterday he was at -100% for intellectual and emotional and +100% for physical, which explains why he was acting like an inconsiderate caveman on crack. As in "TRISTAN AND I ARE HAVING A PILLOW FIGHT!!" *thwack*

Sunday, February 03, 2008

NOMEATPO WEEK - The Verdict!

When I was 16 years old my best friend made an awesome pasta dish for me. Since I loved cooking and baking, I decided to recreate this dish for my family one night at dinner. I slowly soaked sundried tomatoes, lovingly roasted sweet red peppers, delicately chiffonaded (??) fresh green basil, simmered a homemade tomato sauce and cooked pasta to perfection. I proudly set the beautiful plates in front of my family to enjoy, imagining the praise that was to come at the deliciousness that was our meal.
My father, hunter to the core, immediately asked "Is there meat in this?", to which I responded in the negative, confused as to why that should be an issue. He then stood up and rustled around in the refrigerator until he found what he was looking for: a container of leftover venison which he promptly nuked and tossed into my creation. To him, a meatless meal means the family was not provided for adequately enough - the word "vegetarian" is a Native American word for "bad hunter". When my husband jokingly complained that I wasn't feeding him any meat this week my father, startled, asked if we were out of venison and offered us the contents of his freezer.
Although my husband is also a hunter, thankfully he tolerates my attempts at a healthier diet, as do my children who aren't old enough to know better. The five days of vegetarianism have turned out as well as they could have under the circumstances, which proved to be less that perfect.
Dinners were a non-issue. I always plan the week's meals in advance so I had five recipes - some old, some new - ready for the making. Our breakfast are also generally meatless, usually consisting of cereal, eggs or pancakes so that wasn't a problem either. However, when it came to lunch we hit our first speedbump. I had very little time, a fridge void of meatless leftovers, and a cupboard full of tuna and canned chicken and beef soups. My first thought was pasta, but we were having pasta for dinner and I'm anal about not having the same thing twice in a day, even if it's in different forms. Yes, I'm a OC weirdo. That first day we ended up having cereal for lunch, not that the boys minded in the least. (As a sidenote, children in diapers DO NOT need All-Bran, no matter what they say.)
Our second problem appeared when we were stranded in Ottawa for a couple of days due to a huge snowstorm. When you're a houseguest you can't exactly dictate what's on the menu so we ended up having chicken at dinner. But I closed my eyes and pretended really hard that it was tofu. Really. We also had to share meat-filled ravioli for lunch the next day, but I was trying to be good so instead of making the second can of ravioli I opened a can of meatless baked beans instead. *silence while I await my pat on the back*
Overall I think the week went well. We managed to stay meatless otherwise, even when my husband made breakfast and proudly announced that he COULD HAVE made bacon, but didn't. The meals that were made were very tasty, and we didn't even miss the meat. I even tried some new foods, like veggie ground (a soy product that is supposed to taste like ground in my vegetarian chili. One thing I did find was that there tends to be more preparation when it comes to decent vegetarian meals and that's not necessarily a good thing when you're in a hurry to get dinner on the table.
I'll definitely try to add an extra vegetarian meal into our weekly meal plans, and ultimately I'd like to be having at least three meatless nights a week. This week showed that, with a little thought and preparation, it is possible.

Our Vegetarian Dinners:

Spicy Sesame Noodles

1 lb spaghetti, cooked (we used brown rice spaghetti)
1 cup peanut butter (preferably oil, salt, and sugar free)
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1/4 cup 7 Pepper Vinegar (this is an Epicure Selections product - not sure where else you'd find it)
1 tsp garlic powder
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
salt, to taste
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 medium cucumber, sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro (optional)

Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
In a large bowl, whisk together sesame oil, vegetable oil, soy sauce, peanut butter, vinegar, garlic and crushed pepper flakes. Season to taste with salt.
Add cooked spaghetti and toss well with green onions and cilantro. Top with cucumber.

Vegetarian Pad Thai

1 package rice sticks
1/4 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp each soy sauce, lime juice and brown sugar
1 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp crushed red red pepper flakes
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup diced red onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup grated carrots
1/4 cup each chopped green onions and chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1/2 package extra-firm tofu

Cook rice sticks according to package directions (for stir-frys)
Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again, and set aside.
Combine ketchup, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Cube tofu and add to sauce. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet or wok over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook and stir until onions are tender, about 3 minutes. Add sauce and tofu and bring to a boil. Add cooked noodles, sprouts, carrots, green onions and cilantro. Heat through, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with peanuts.

Vegetarian Chili

1-1/4 cups chopped onions
1 cup each chopped green and red pepper
3/4 cup each chopped celery and carrots
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp chili powder
1-1/2 cups quartered mushrooms
1 cup cubed zucchini
1 can (28 oz) chopped tomatoes, undrained
1 can tomato paste
1 can (19 oz) each black beans and chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can (12 oz) kernel corn, undrained
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1-1/2 tsp each dried oregano and dried basil
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or more if you like it hotter)
1 package veggie ground
1 large handful (or more) baby spinach leaves
Salt, to taste

Spray a large saucepan with nonstick spray. Add onions, peppers, celery, carrots, garlic and chili powder. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until veggies are softened.
Add mushrooms and zucchini, cook and stir for 4 more minutes. Add rest of ingredients, except veggie ground, spinach and salt. Stir well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add veggie ground and spinach and stir well until heated through. Salt to taste.
Top with shredded cheddar cheese.

Cumin Carrot Tofu Patties

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup grated carrot
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp ground cumin
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 package (350 g) extra firm tofu
1/3 cup tahini
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
1 cup pasta sauce
1 tsp grated lemon rind
Pinch cinnamon

In nonstick skillet, heat 2 tsp oil over medium heat. Cook onion, carrot, garlic, pinch of cumin, and cayenne, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
In food processor, blend tofu with tahini. Add onion mixture, half of the parsley, bread crumbs, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pulse to combine. Form into eight 1/2 inch patties.
Heat remaining oil in clean skillet over medium heat. Cook patties in batches until golden about 4 minutes per side.
Meanwhile, in saucepan, combine pasta sauce, lemon rind, cinnamon, and remaining cumin and parsley; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Serve over patties.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Wonky Eye

I searched through my previous posts and only found one little mention in passing of Roanen's "lazy eye", around his first birthday. The doctor had checked out the alignment of his eyes and found them to be good, but I still noticed his right eye sliding outward every once and a while when he was tired or when he looked into the distance. It was hardly noticeable - even my mother who saw him all the time had never seen it happen - but it bothered me enough to take him to the opthamologist about 9 months ago just to get things checked out. It took the opthamologist about 2 seconds to shine a light in his eye and diagnose him with exotropia , a form of strabismus in which his eye slides outward. He assured me that it was purely cosmetic and that it wasn't affecting his eyesight. The only way to fix it was with surgery, which wasn't necessarily successful, and could only be redone 2 or 3 times before they had used up all the space to try to fix it. The surgery could be done anytime, but people who do get it usually wait until the early teens, when having "one eye chasing bees" (as Russ calls it) affects them socially. Being painfully aware of how cruel kids can be I didn't really want to wait that long, so at his follow-up appointment 3 months ago I asked for more information about the surgery. We were referred to a pediatric opthamologist in Ottawa and drove in yesterday to find out more.
As it turns out, he actually has a severe form of strabismus in BOTH eyes. In the link it's the rarer form called "alternating exotropia" although his eyes don't go quite as wonky as the kid in the picture. The doctor had him looking across the room, and as he covered one eye at a time the uncovered eye would "jump", then slide outward. It was kind of disturbing and cool at the same time to see it just happen at will when you would just see it by chance before. When the eye slides out he gets double vision, and it will affect his depth perception if it's left untreated.
We also found out that it's always genetic, so somewhere in the family someone else must have it. Our other kids are also at risk, although Josey seems to have avoided it since it usually appears before they're 2 or 3.
So the only treatment is surgery, and he's already booked for June 16th at CHEO. The muscles holding his eye have to be loosened under general anesthesia, and although it sounds complicated it's day surgery and the only care afterwards is a little cream over his eyelid. No patch, no temporary loss of vision thank goodness. There's a chance that since the strabismus is on the severe side, we might have to repeat the surgery within a year to further correct it.
The only thing I'm annoyed at is the fact that the original opthamologist was wrong about it affecting his vision. If we had decided to wait until he was a teenager to get the "cosmetic" surgery he may have had problems with things like coordination that I don't think I would have associated with his vision (since the doctor seemed so sure). See, there is an upside to being shallow :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wait! Come Back! I Can Be Cooler!

I briefly clicked on my blog entry today to see if anyone (i.e. my convalescing mother, the only person who regularly reads my loser blog and comments) had commented. Much to my surprise someone I didn't know actually commented. And not like the time Kristen commented - because I commented on her blog so she graced me with her presence here Chez Les Kiddos - but an evidently very popular blogger with an evidently very popular blog of her own. Exciting, eh? Especially when you REALLY think about it and figure out that she probably hit that "A Random Blog" button and came up with little old random me. Then she commented in hopes that I would check out her already popular blog which I obviously did.
Here's where it gets complicated. I SHOULD feel a little used and mildly insulted that someone pretended to care about whether or not I eat meat this week simply to get me to her blog so I can love it and link repeatedly to it. Sure, that's the way things work here in the blogosphere but I don't have to agree with it. Instead, I feel a mild panic at the thought that she read my lame post, snickered and/or yawned, commented vaguely, then returned home with nary a second thought about me. Granted, I haven't exactly put a lot of imagination into my posts lately, but I do have some good stuff around here, don't I? Stuff about boobs, downward-facing dogs and the like? I was cool once, and I'll bet we could have hung out then. But no more. Sob.


Check out the piggie in my sidebar! There's a challenge going on over at League of Maternal Justice to try to eat vegetarian for 5 days. Now it's supposed to be from the 28th of January to the 1st of February, but since I found out too late and ate meat yesterday and took out meat for dinner tonight I'm going to start tomorrow instead. I'll go a full 5 days anyway, even though I have to post my summary by Sunday night. There are a bunch of cool prizes and I'm looking forward to finding some new recipes to keep in my file for my weekly vegetarian meal that I've resolved to have.
I'll try to post every day, but we'll see how that goes... Considering I haven't even blogged about the kids in almost 2 weeks I won't count on succeeding at that.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

January 17


I was 12 days away from my due date for our first baby, 80% effaced, 1.5 cm dilated, and completely sick of being pregnant. I had just eaten half a bunch of celery and chugged about 2 litres of raspberry tea in hopes of bringing on labour. I was also unknowingly 12 hours from my water breaking and 24 hours away from delivery.


It was 2 days away from Josey's first birthday and we couldn't believe it. We talked about how he would be the perfect child if only he would sleep through the night...


I was 12 days away from my due date for our second baby, 50% effaced, 0 cm dilated, and completely sick of being pregnant. Again. Josey and I were at my parents' place in Ottawa for the night. I had a crazy craving for a Quizno's sub, but didn't get one. There was no way I would go into labour tonight. Not being an hour away from the hospital, with severe freezing rain warnings...


We were in complete shock. Russ picked up a pregnancy test on the way home from work and I quickly took it, just to be completely sure that the first one 2 weeks ago hadn't been a false negative. It just wouldn't be a good time for another baby; not for another year at least...



But he's darn cute.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


This one's going to be all over the place. I'm frantically trying to blog while Tristan naps and the boys aren't too needy, so I apologize in advance for a confusing read.

Josey is going through another "angry" phase, where he constantly gets upset at us and says such lovely things as "MOMMY I DON'T LOVE YOU!" and "BAD DADDY!" for any number of reasons, usually when we make him do something after asking 600 times. He definitely needs more social interaction, but I sometimes resist going to playgroups because it's such a huge ordeal when we have to leave and I often end up dragging him into the van kicking, hitting and screaming without his coat and boots on. He's been good for his preschool group though and the teachers have both told me separately that he's very smart. So far he listens well during the sessions, and hopefully that won't change when he gets to know the teachers better.
He can write his name, and can identify quite a few letters and numbers. He still insists that he's going to be a "tractor painter" when he grows up, so he really won't need any of them writin' or readin' skills though. Good thing he knows his colours.

With the exception of two nights last week, Roanen has been getting up every single night and coming into our bed. If it wasn't for Tristan I'd probably be more insistant that he stay in his bed, but Russ is the one who has to deal with him screaming for hours on end, then get up for work at 5 AM so I don't blame him for just letting him sleep with us. After he screamed for hours the other night at my parents' place I went out and bought a couple of herbal remedies, one that is supposed to calm him at night and help him sleep in general and another that is to be sprayed in his mouth if he's having a screaming fit. I don't have much hope for either of them since I think it's just in his nature to be like this, but it won't hurt to try. Russ is actually calling around, trying to find a child psychologist to help us out. While I think this is a bit extreme, I'd appreciate any suggestions on how to deal with him when he gets psycho. Supernanny? Nanny 911? Please?
On the upside, he's getting even more independent and is very comfortable going off on his own at playgroup, and even joining in a group of kids singing or listening to stories without Josey or me around.

Tristan has been totally weaned of his medication for about a week now and seems to be a lot better. He's doesn't cry nearly as much as he used to, particularly since I've figured out that he can only handle about an hour and a half of awake time before needing another of his 30 minute naps. His night sleeping, which used to consist of a 5 or 6 hour stretch, followed by a 2-3 hour stretch before he insisted on coming into our bed, has deteriorated badly in the last couple of weeks. Last night he was up every hour and a half, and wanted to be nursing constantly once I brought him into bed with us. I'm pretty sure this is because he's not eating much during the day (he's happy with 8 minutes of nursing every 3 or so hours) and needs to get more calories at night. I just don't know how I can extend his day feeds without starving him and listening to him scream at night.
Otherwise he's super smiley and pretty happy. Everyone comments on how alert he is and although he's small (12 lbs 11 oz today, less than both the other boys were at HALF his age) he's really strong and can hold his head right up and stand up straight. He also crawls to the head of his crib when he wakes up. He's just starting to grab at things and everything goes into his mouth, where he gums things really hard, including fingers.

Now it's my turn! ME! Now ME!

I tossed out the old goals that I made before Christmas and made up a new set of health resolutions at New Years. Here they are:

1) Drink 8 cups of water each day
I've been pretty good at this one, mostly due to the fact that I reward every 2 cups of water with either a white chocolate peppermint Hershey's Kiss, or a Riesen caramel. I'll get a craving, then chug water just so I can have my reward. Whatever works, right?
2) Eat raw vegetables every day
This one is hit and miss. I usually get in a couple of carrot sticks or some red pepper because they're easy, but actually breaking down and washing broccoli or cauliflower is a little too much like work for me.
3) Have at least one meatless meal a week.
The first week I started off just making pasta with tomato sauce, but this week I made vegetarian enchiladas and tofu pad thai, both out of the Looneyspoons and Crazy Plates cookbooks. They both turned out really yummy.
4) Each week have at least one serving of the following: spinach or kale, sweet potatoes, legumes, broccoli, cauliflower, red pepper, nuts and olives.
I've been really good at this one, even doubling or tripling my servings of some of these during the week. It really helps to plan my meals well in advance, and I use Recipezaar to find really good recipes if I don't know what to do with something.
5) Eat fish or seafood at least once a week.
We pretty much did this before anyway, but I threw it in there to look special.
6) Find a good Greens supplement and take it.
I don't like Greens+ or anything like it so I've been lazy on this one, with the excuse that I can't make it to any stores that carry it with the kids. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I stopped buying ice cream too, and if I want something like it I have frozen yogurt. Just like I thought I would, as soon as I bought new pants I lost a pound and evidently several inches off my waist and hips. Now I have two brand new pairs of pants that I can pull off and on without undoing the button. Grrr. I'm guessing that I was dehydrated before and retaining water because of it. Once I started drinking enough water my body didn't have to store it anymore and I lost water weight. Grrr again. I haven't been exercising at all, other than lugging Tristan around half the day. We're trying to get Tristan to take a bottle, and if we succeed at that and Russ is compliant I'd like to start taking a yoga or pilates class in town. I was also planning on starting to jog in the spring, but I think it would be a little too hard on my joints so I'm going to try (gulp) biking instead. I've ridden a bike once in the last 10+ years and I just about killed myself, so I'm not looking forward to it, although I'd like to be able to get into good enough biking shape to stick a couple of the kids in the bike stroller and go for rides.

I know I have way more to blog about, but my mind has gone blank for now. I'm off to drink water so I can eat chocolate. Sorry so boring :)

Friday, January 04, 2008

Well, Since You Asked So Nicely...

...I suppose I COULD pose for a picture with your monkeys - I mean, charming children...

...although I do find them raaaaaawther uncivilized...

...and my delicate nature can only tolerate such antics for so long.

Whoa! Nooooo touchy!

What's that? You mean I have to...stay in this family?

You've gotta be kidding me.