Yay, Frenchy's!

Up until this morning, I was starting to wonder if I would have to pay full price for a few pairs of maternity pants to wear to work. I was having decent luck finding shirts at Frenchy's (and Value Village when I was in Saint John), but suitable pants were scarce. As in non-existent. Until I stopped at Frenchy's on the spur of the moment this morning after dropping Adam off at work, where I found not just these brand new Gap maternity pants in my size exactly, but two other pairs of Old Navy and Gap pants perfect for work. Also a red t-shirt and a really cool red shirt which I will post a picture of post-wash (far too wrinkly at the moment) came home with me. Grand total for the three pair of pants and two shirts? $15.72. Ahhhh. The pants need to be hemmed, of course, but that's certainly nothing new. I'll whip out the sewing machine this weekend.
Is this not the cutest hat EVER? I hope we have a girl, just so I can see this hat on our baby! Predictions are in from most people, and the general consensus is that it is a girl. Nana even said so, and apparently she knows. I found some other cute baby things this morning at the first Frenchy's I went to (where there have been no new maternity clothes put out in the last week and a half) like pale yellow pants with little feet and funny yellow and green striped velour pants which I get a kick out of. And so cheap!


adventures at the pee-in-a-styrofoam-cup prenatal clinic

Appointment #2 at the prenatal clinic was this morning at 10:00. We walked into a pink-floored waiting room full of beautiful big-bellied women (and a couple of very cute children) and read silly magazines. I also peed in a styrofoam cup and wrote my name on it and left it on the counter (you're supposed to) and was weighed and my blood pressure was checked ("Perfect" on both accounts; I've only gained 2.5 pounds since my visit at the beginning of November). We met a very friendly doctor who measured my belly (also "perfect"). But the best and most amazing part of all (even better than writing my name on the styrofoam cup which I was clever enough to do before and not after I peed in it) - we heard the baby's heartbeat! It was amazing. Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh. It was the most beautiful sound I think I've ever heard. It was regular and sounded strong. :))


pink petals

This is really the last one! I ADORE how the petals shimmer.

The last ones, I promise

OK, these are the last cacti photos (except for one more I'm posting separately because it wouldn't fit). We came home today and they were all open and beautiful! I thought the orange one was really neat because it's on a plant where all other blossoms are that pale yellow / pink combination.

We had a lovely holiday, and it's nice to be home. Appointment #2 at the prenatal clinic is tomorrow, and hopefully we'll get to hear the baby's heartbeat! My belly is continuing to get bigger... I think I'll get Adam to start taking pictures soon. Off to unpack!



The same bloom as yesterday, only when we saw it this morning, it was fully open. :) I'll be away for a little while, so there may be limited (or no) posts. Have a wonderful holiday!


On the first day of vacation, my camera said to me...

Further proof that the cacti are alive and well. These fuschia ones still haven't opened, but I'm starting to think that they probably will and I might not jinx them!
A wonderful friend of mine made these kind of creepy ornaments for us for Christmas a few years ago. Yes, they are the remains of decapitated snowmen. There are six of them on the tree, the aftermath of Massacre at Snowman Corner.
My favourite gift wrapping job. Recycled paper from the office, too!
I love these little seals - this one is on a gift for my wonderful husband.
This is the most open of the cacti, and I can't wait for it to open fully. It's already beautiful, and I'm excited to see the inside middle part (can you tell I'm not a botanist?) since I can't remember what colour it is.

Well, it is my first day of Christmas vacation, and may I just say "Holy energy, Batman!" It may be because I slept for about 2 hours yesterday, but this morning I have felt FABULOUS. I dropped Adam off at work, found two Old Navy maternity shirts at Frenchy's, picked up a few groceries, went to the library, came home, fed the birds, took down the 5 trellises (trelli? :)) in the yard and composted the remains of several clematises (clemati?:)) took a bunch of pictures, have laundry going, and ate two oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Phew.

We went to our second prenatal class last evening. Most of the information isn't new, but there are a few tidbits here and there which make it worth the effort. In the new year, we're going for a tour of the labour and delivery part of the hospital, which I think will be very helpful. My belly is getting bigger by the second - 2 inches more in a week and a half. The baby is almost 4 inches long. As part of the class last night, Adam and I each had to predict whether the baby is a boy or girl, how much it will weigh at birth, and what it's birthday will be. I predicted a girl, 8 pounds even, and June 15. Adam also predicted a girl, June 9, and I forget what he predicted for the weight. He weighed 10lbs 10oz at birth, so I'm hoping that our little one will be a wee bit smaller. Whoever in the class is closest to the actual information will get some kind of prize at our reunion class, after everyone has their babies. I think that will be really fun - to see all of the little ones in real life without a belly in the way.

Merry Christmas!


The proof is in...

A few better pictures of the Christmas cacti buds... even double ones! And one of the ornaments on the tree.

The fondue was a flaming success, although not as flaming as last year! We had a lovely time together.

Baby keeps on growing, and the way my pants are fitting reflects that! I'm going to need some maternity pants for work very soon. Other than that, not too much is new. I'm really excited for Christmas break, and our first prenatal class is tomorrow evening!


It's beginning to look a lot like...

Christmas! We've had two lovely snowfalls this past week, one blizzardous one which arrived yesterday. It makes it feel a lot more like December than when it's muddy and wet.

Annual Christmas fondue is at our place this evening... I'm in charge of desserts, so I've made lime meltaways, shortbread cookies with almond icing, cranberry shortbread bars, and I'll make some lemon bars this afternoon to go with tea for dessert.

I was sick this week with a flu-like yuckiness (only time I've thrown up since being pregnant, yay!) and am feeling 100% better today. The baby is growing hair this week and can grasp, squint, frown, and grimace! Pretty amazing.


in the spirit...

I realize that the quality of these pictures is most certainly lacking, but I wanted to make it well-known that the flower blossoms on both of my Christmas cactus plants are definitely there! I somehow managed to not fuss over them too much, but I don't dare get too excited lest they sense it and all fall off. Assuming they don't, I will definitely take some better shots when they bloom.
Ah, the Christmas tree! I went with Dad to his woodlot on Saturday, and we picked this fine specimen of a tree while husband was at work. Husband and I set it up yesterday, and I think it looks quite lovely. The lights are kind of odd, though... we had some working strings of regular white lights, but some were flickery. So we bought some 'pure white' LED lights to do the rest of the tree rather than risk some sort of firy incident, and it turns out that they're the ones that look blue. The ones which look like the other ones cost a bunch more. Oh well, there are definitely more important things to think about at Christmas.
My big project after getting the tree and a bunch of branches on Saturday was to make this garland for the staircase. A bit messy, a lot delicious-smelling, and a lovely enough result. Not bad for my first garland-making attempt, if I do say so myself!
Another poor-quality picture, but this sums up the feel of our house this season. (Not the poor quality part, but what's in the picture.) I got some pine branches and put this lovely lantern which a very sweet friend gave to me a long time ago in our dining room window, and I think it looks perfect. I guess it really has to be seen in person for the full effect (same room as the cozy wood stove, you can see the tree through the doorway, etc.) but I'm enjoying it very much.

In other Christmas-y-ness, I'm reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, which I love. I've read it a million times, but I love to read it at Christmas. Maybe it's the pregnancy hormones, but I've already cried about three times, and I'm only on chapter 4. Speaking of crying, husband and I watched Love Actually last night (which I've seen a million times and love more every time I watch it). Other reading that I associate with Christmas and plan to work away at after Little Women is done are The Chronicles of Narnia series, the Harry Potter series and the Anne of Green Gables series. That should take me until the baby is born! I don't feel like I have enough energy to read strenuous stuff. I just finished The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, and that was a very well written and entertaining read. Couldn't put it down - totally absorbing.

In baby news, baby Graham is about the size of a jumbo shrimp! How exciting. I'm feeling pretty good, but even though I'm not as tired as I was, I'm more tired than pre-pregnancy me. Which means that although the tree is up, decoration boxes and miscellany still need to be sorted and put away sometime in the near future. Maybe tonight after a few more chapters are read...

Hey! The rain just turned to snow! Merry Christmas!


beach baby

On Saturday, Adam and I went out to Sandford and had a lovely walk on the beach on a very mild day for November. I've spent a lot of time on this beach in my life (especially when I was a kid) and there's always something new or different I notice about it. I loved how the red rock jumped right out from the surrounding rocks. I love how the cliffs (are they big enough to be called cliffs? How tall does a wall of earth have to be in order to be properly called a cliff?) slope down toward the water. And I love how things which have washed up change over time, like this whale bone (is it a head?) which is now bleached by the sun (but still smelly), very much unlike when we first saw it.

In other news, baby is about 1.5 inches long, and has wiggly fingers and toes. Very hard to imagine. It's the strangest thing to think that I'm carrying around a baby with me everywhere I go. I went for some standard blood work this morning, and the woman who drew my blood did a beautiful job - I didn't feel a thing. I've felt pretty good yesterday and today, so I hope the nausea and exhaustion are gone by the wayside. It will be 12 weeks on Saturday, which is the end of the first trimester (yay!) and generally when women start feeling better. Evidence I'm feeling better - the day we first knew I was pregnant (in September), I hosted a Home and Gift party. I got a bunch of lovely cooking and kitchen goodies and gadgets, and I hadn't made cookies or any kind of treat until tonight! Très unlike me. I used my lovely new baking stone, cookie spatula, and cooling racks in the process of making oatmeal raisin cookies. Mmmm. It's good to feel more like myself again!


And now for the real story...

Well, folks, I must be honest and admit the real reason why posts have been so infrequent of late. I'm pregnant, yipeeee! That also means that I've been exhausted and nauseous, so posting has taken a backseat to things like naps and ginger ale. I seem to be on the upswing now, so hopefully I'll be as good as new in a couple more weeks. The first appointment at the prenatal clinic was this morning, and everything was fine, so we're telling people right and left. :) Baby is about 1.2 inches long now!


Christmas is coming...

A photo I took back in October on a beautiful morning at Ellenwood Park. Just wanted to add some visual interest to the day.

I know, I know, it's not even Remembrance Day yet. But I am still excited for Christmas. Music in particular. Which I admit I retrieved from storage this morning, although I haven't listened to any yet. I'm travelling to Halifax tomorrow with a co-worker - I wonder what kind of looks she'll give me when I ask if she minds listening to Christmas music on the way!

In garden news, I planted some daffodils yesterday morning in the sun, and by the time I was finishing up it was snowing! Slight flurries, but snow. Kind of exciting. There have been more flurries this morning. Adam and I went for a walk and did some yard work; I cut some yew branches and put them in planters at the front and back doors to replace the summer ones, and pulled up some more annuals which have 'had the biscuit', as my mother would say. Things are settling down for a warm winter's nap.


Happy November

A quick post to let you all know that no, I haven't been eaten by Halloween ghouls or goblins, blown away in the insane wind last weekend or driven to the madhouse by my students. Things have simply been very busy.

A few garden notes which may interest you - geraniums, snapdragons, dahlias, and a few other flowers are still blooming! In November. Wild. We have a lot of yard work to do before winter, to get a couple beds ready for planting in the Spring, and to get the raspberry patch tidied up and a bit more manageable. I'm also planning on planting garlic and daffodil bulbs today after work, and pulling up some spent marigolds. I'm already excited for next season!


Mavilette Beach

On a very, very windy day, Adam, a friend and I went to Mavilette Beach to see the sights. We also went out for lunch at the retaurant there, which was yummy. It was incredibly windy and chilly, but also lovely (as I hope you can tell from the pics.)


another day, another outing

Adam and I went on another little expedition this morning, this time sans cameras. We looked up hiking trails in NS and saw that there's a trail in Pubnico. So off we went to find it.

I wouldn't exactly call it a trail, more like a section of rocky beach (mostly, the rocks were just that awful size that makes walking very difficult and ankles sore) and then a bunch of road. We walked the beach and back, and didn't do the road part. It was a sunny and windy morning, and we had a good time, despite the sore ankles. You can see the Pubnico Wind Farm from the beach, which always makes me glad, since it's that much power not being produced by coal.

In other miscellany, the neighbours have decked out their house and yard for Halloween, and it's quite a sight. There are ghosts, ghouls, and goblins of every shape and size, giant scary-ish things, and a graveyard. And it's all lit up. What strikes me as funny is that each grave marker has RIP and birth / death dates on it. I don't think they were too well thought out. One says 1500-1831. The rest are equally implausible. But they definitely get the award for Halloween spirit.


I've attained!

Inchy McIncherson is on Cute Overload at this very minute in time! Be sure to check it out. Thanks for all of the compliments, and I'm always glad to share the cuteness. :)

explosive excitement

I just received what might prove to be the most exciting e-mail I will ever or can hope to ever receive. In July, Adam and I went camping, and I took some pictures of an inchworm who landed on my book as I was reading in the hammock. I sent them to Cute Overload, and just got word that they will be posted there tomorrow! Stay tuned...


can't get enough of autumn

A couple more pictures from Ellenwood Lake on Thanksgiving morning. Leaves in the bottom of the lake, and trees reflected in it.

Thanksgiving morning

Adam and I went for a beautiful walk at Ellenwood Park this morning, to collect leaves and get some fresh air and beauty in our systems. It was the perfect way to spend a fall morning!


happy first day of autumn

I had a lovely time yesterday morning at Dayton Fruit and Vegetable. The air was crisp and fall-ish and I had all the time in the world. A local farmer was there, delivering a truckload of squash and corn stalks, and the place is all decked out for fall with bales of hay, lovely mums, and pumpkins everywhere! I bought some ornamental corn, pumpkins, and gourds. From a stand on the side of the road, I bought carrots, cranberries, and another little sugar pumpkin. And (I'm saving this picture for later) I found a beautiful antique wooden rocking chair by the side of the road! It will be perfect in front of our lovely new wood stove. I'll post before and after pictures after I replace the seat and back cushions. All told, it was the perfect fall morning!



The lanterns are lit! They're the most vibrant orange imaginable, definitely my favourite fall plants in the yard. Now if we could only get around to weeding around them...


In Praise of Slow

Tonight I started reading "In Praise of Slow: How a worldwide movement is challenging the cult of speed" by Carl Honore (there's supposed to be an accent on the last e, but I forget how to do it on the laptop). Anyway, I read the first chapter this evening (slowly, by the fire while Adam perused an amazing Andy Goldsworthy book) and thought that it would probably be beneficial to jot some notes as I go along, to better synthesize the ideas. Firstly, I just finished reading "A New Kind of Christian" by Brian McLaren (which, incidentally, is a very poorly written book with some amazing insights and commentary on the modern christian church). Worth reading, despite the contrived structure and very dated references. Point being: one of the things that seems to be wrong with 'modern' christians (you really need to read the book to get the full understanding of 'modern' in this very specific context) is the lack of real and meaningful connection between people. Maybe he really focuses on it less than I read into it, since that's one of my pet issues. Anyway, "In Praise of Slow" comments on the problem of this culture of hurried-ness - it leads to superficial existence, superficial relationships, etc. The same idea in two very different contexts really caught my attention.

Being Slow isn't just being slow. He explains the idea of the Slow movement in a bit more detail: "Now is the moment to define our terms. Fast and Slow do more than just describe a rate of change. They are shorthand for ways of being, or philosophies of life. Fast is busy, controlling, agressive, hurried, analytical, stressed, superficial, impatient, active, quantity-over-quality. Slow is the opposite: calm, careful, receptive, still, intuitive, unhurried, patient, reflective, quality-over-quantity. It is about making real and meaningful connections - with people, culture, work, food, everything." (pp14-15) Two small instances come to mind immediately of when I have been struck with Slowness amidst the hurry of everyday life. Instance #1: In Saint John, driving somewhere with my in-laws, my mother-in-law took out her lip gloss-y glaze-y stuff and put it on. Unlike me, putting it on as quickly and efficiently as possible and tossing it back into my bag to be forgotten until required, she took her time. Not even so much in the putting it on, but closing the tube and screwing on the top. I thought "I can't imagine myself doing that so slowly." And not at all in a negative way - I was just realizing the importance of savouring moments and how good it can be to take one's time. The other instance, relating more to the quality-over-quantity issue, instance #2: a friend of ours is staying with some other friends, and as I was washing my hands in their bathroom, I noticed the most beautiful carved wooden box on the shelf. It was slightly ajar, and I saw that it contained mascara and other makeup. It was the most beautiful receptacle for the most mundane items, and it struck me that I was surprised not to see the stuff encased in a cheap-o plastic zip-up case. It was pleasing to see.

In trying to decide how to best live our lives, I've determined that we want quality over quantity, and enjoyment rather than money or transient things. Which is why we don't buy many processed foods, use environmentally friendly products, I've started making household cleaners rather than buying them, and I don't stress out over not having a perfect new house. Of course, there's always room for more Slowness. Life feels good this way.


Wallace Brothers Farm

We spent a little while today picking apples and pears at Wallace Brothers Farm, and it was magical! I wish it were possible to post apple samples - they are heavenly. I'm planning on making pies, crisp, sauce, and trying my hand at jelly. The trees were laden with fruit - what a beautiful sight as you're driving down the driveway - it was a perfect thing to do on a September afternoon.

beach bocce

We just got back from a lovely time with friends at Sandhills Beach near Barrington, where we played bocce. We were promised all week that the weather today would be sunny and 25 degrees. You can see from the picture that it was in fact foggy, and I was comfortable in a wool sweater. Anyway, here's the story about the bocce set: we found it at Frenchy's for 18.99 and bought it, although it was missing the little white ball. So we went to the company website and ordered a replacement. There was no place on the form to enter payment info, so we assumed they would contact us. Nope, they sent it for free! I thought that was fabulous and pleasantly surprising.


kitty kitty fat cat

"Kitty kitty fat cat" is a nickname I have for this beast, our very mild-mannered feline companion. I picked up this basket at a yard sale, and Virgil has been sleeping in it regularly for the past few days (since it's been near the wood stove). Not usually in this position, but doesn't he fill it out nicely?


simple greener cleaners

Once again, I am somewhat famous. I was on Maritime Noon's call in this afternoon, as the subject was green living and I wanted to contribute. This is probably the 4th time I've called in (on different subjects) and in some ways I feel silly, but not really. Anyway, one of the things I shared today is a recipe for:

Natural Spray Disinfectant
2 cups water
2 tbsp dish soap (natural is best - Down East, Nature Clean, etc.)
a few drops tea tree oil

Pour into spray bottle and use on countertops, kid's toys, etc. Tea tree oil is a natural disinfectant, also useful on skin blemishes!

Also, using a shaker bottle with baking soda and a spray bottle of vinegar is the best way I've found to clean sinks and the bathtub. Vinegar is also a wonderful natural cleaner, and it can be used with water to clean floors, full strength on mirrors or bathtub grime, as a laundry additive in the rinse cycle (especially great for new towels.) Happy (and safe!) cleaning!



The Anne Isabella, my Dad's lobster boat, as reflected in the waters of the 'boat hole'.The Sandford drawbridge, the world's smallest! Rope in the water.

More whale-y goodness (or gross-ness)

Adam and I were watching 'Junebug' last night while eating supper (we still haven't finished it for reasons to be explained, but it's really good so far) when the phone rang. It was my Dad, telling us that another whale was in Sandford, this time floating in the water just off of the shore. He offered to take us out in his boat to go see it, which we gladly did. This thing is HUGE! It's longer than the Anne Isabella (Dad's boat) which is 45 feet long. We estimated it to be about 50. We think it's a fin whale... it looks sort of like a humpback, but the distinctive fins of the humpback were certainly not the fins on this one. It was floating upside down and was kind of bloat-y, so it was hard to tell. But it was the most beautiful evening imaginable to be on the water. There is nothing at all like that feeling of looking back at land from an entirely different vantage point. I imagine it's similar to flying.