For some unknown reason, Phillip had never fingerpainted until today. I know! What a terrible mother I must be. Really, though, he's just not into drawing, painting, or colouring. So I thought that he might enjoy using his hands instead of an implement. I've been perusing The Artful Parent lately (thanks, Kristin!) and decided that even if he wasn't keen on it, we would try the fingerpaints.
His Nanoo (he started calling her Nanoo rather than Nanny when he was just over a year old, at the same time that he decided to call Adam 'Dadoo' rather than Daddy) helped him, while I took some pictures. That's his beret and smock. He was quite proud of them.

The painting lasted for fifteen minutes or so, and then he was done. But he had a good sunny-day start.

Oh - and I bought the fingerpaints last night, and will be refilling the containers once they're used up with this homemade fingerpaint. Fun, fun, fun!


Thanks so much for the sweet comments about T's birth story. I really wrote it out for myself, so that I'll have it when I'm old and want to be nostalgic, so thanks for suffering through all of the details with me! I still get a Blog2Print book printed every so often, so that I have a tangible record of all of these things that happen in my life.

Phillip was playing with this truck for most of the afternoon yesterday. Rolling pieces of gravel through a cardboard tube and into the back of the truck is very, very fun. This truck was played with by both Adam and his brother when they were kids, so it's kind of fun to watch another little boy having a ball. I wonder how many plastic trucks being played with now will still be around in 30 years?
I bought a little treat for myself the other day. At Winners, of course - I couldn't pay full price. It is the cutest butter dish I've ever seen. And much nicer (and probably safer) than the plastic number we've been using. It's one of those little things that will make my life a little bit brighter every time I open the pantry cupboard. I thrive on the little things.

Hope you're having a great weekend!


thomas' birth story

I remember the first contraction on the evening of Friday March 19, while Adam and I were sitting on our spring-loaded futon, watching a show we'd downloaded. I had a few that followed, and was very pleased that something was happening. Because I had a previous cesarean, my hopes for a natural delivery rested on first things first - labour starting on its own. I remember having a sense of very specific radiating warm happiness and contentment, originating in the centre of my giant belly. Nothing much happened on Saturday or through the day on Sunday; my mom and dad took me out for lunch on Sunday to the Austrian Inn buffet, and I ate as much greasy food as I could, in the hopes that it would encourage labour to begin. (Same principle as the castor oil thing, I guess.) It seems to have worked - on Sunday evening, around 9:30, the steady contractions started. I went to bed in the hopes of getting some rest, but the contractions continued on. In the dark, I kept track of them on Adam's iPhone Labor Mate app; dozing off in between and tapping the 'start' button when I felt the initial twinge that warned of an impending contraction. Around 1:30am on Monday, even though I was still dozing off in between, it seemed like I wasn't having much of a break in between contractions. I checked the frequency, and they were about two minutes apart. I snuck downstairs to call the labour and delivery floor at the hospital and ask what I should do, and they advised me to go in right away. I woke Adam up, and called Mom and Dad to come and stay with Phillip. Dad was there in a few minutes, and Adam and I packed up our things and took off into the night. Adam took his usual route, driving much more quickly than his usual, and trying to avoid potholes and sharp turns. We may have seen one other car on the way there. On any regular day, Yarmouth is pretty quiet. But Yarmouth in the middle of the night is a very, very quiet place.

When we arrived, the nurses did a fetal monitoring strip, and everything looked fine. The contractions, though, gradually petered out, until at around 8:10 on Monday morning, they were 40 minutes apart. Dr Wertlen came in after his night shift in the ER. He said that we were weclome to stay or go home, so we opted to go home and get some rest. The contractions continued at ten minute intervals throughout the day and night, occasionally becoming more or less frequent.

Roger and Roxanne (my in-laws) came on Tuesday afternoon; right before they arrived was my longest contraction–free break, for about an hour and a half. I made a ridiculously huge batch of manicotti to freeze. I was going out for walks each day, for at least 15 minutes, as Dr Hafazalla had suggested. At one point, as I walked in the drizzle on Green Street, I thought I might have to sit down on the sidewalk, but then the contraction passed and I continued on. I was listening to “This Too Shall Pass” on my iPod by OKGo, over, and over, and over. The contractions kept waxing and waning through another night. On Wednesday afternoon, although I really, really didn’t want to go anywhere, Roxanne and I went to Frenchy’s, the Bulk Barn, and the Superstore. I would pause when a contraction came, at Frenchy’s holding on to the side of a bin, and gripping the shopping cart handles with puffy, white-knuckled hands at the other stores. I made an amazing batch of granola when we got home. The contractions increased in frequency through the evening, and when they were approximately two to three minutes apart, around 10:30 or so, Adam and I zoomed off in the night again to the caseroom.

Once again, we arrived, had a monitoring strip done, and, as before, the contractions gradually became less frequent. Because I had an appointment in the caseroom on Thursday morning, to have a monitoring strip done and meet with Dr Hafazalla, we decided to go home and try to get some rest. At this point, I was one centimetre dilated, which was further than I ever was with Phillip during that induced labour. Looking at it that way was encouraging, but looking at three days of labour with only one centimetre progress was really, really discouraging. I had been having contractions for three solid days and nights with almost no break, and I was starting to become a little bit overwhelmed. It didn’t take long to get myself together, but on the way out of the hospital that Wednesday night, the nurses must have thought I was kind of pitiful. I felt kind of pitiful, in fact. When we got home, I had a long soak in the tub to try to relax before another contraction-filled night. The contractions were becoming more intense, and Adam assured me that I could grab his arm, hold his hand, or whatever else I needed to do to get through them. I remember one in particular, when all that I managed to grab was his thumb. I was completely immobilized, directing every particle of tension and discomfort out of my body and directly into his poor thumb. Whatever part of his body happened to be closest was on the receiving end; most often it was his arm, sometimes his hand. What a fantastic husband I have – more than willing to be jarred out of sleep every few minutes for hours on end.

When I woke up on Thursday morning, I decided that regardless of what had happened and what was going to happen, I was going to shower, shave my legs, and put on makeup, dammit. If I was having to do this for another day, I was going to at the very least feel somewhat presentable.

Dr Hafazalla checked me on Thursday morning, and, hallelujah! I was 3-4 cm dilated and 80% effaced. Progress at last! We decided that breaking my water would be the best course of action, so that’s what we did. I had no idea that there was that much fluid around Thomas. Six pounds of it, to be precise. Labour continued on steadily, to the tune of complimentary fresh root beer popsicles without any noticeable major change in the way the contractions felt, until about 1:30 on Thursday afternoon. At that point they became so intense that I couldn't speak or move during them. By this time, my hopes of having a drug-free birth were trumped by my complete fatigue and the prospect that this could go on for much, much longer. I was drained after each contraction. I agreed to have an epidural, in the hopes of getting some rest before the big push.

Contractions were about a minute apart when I was sitting on the table with the anesthetist at my back. It took him twenty minutes to get it in. That’s approximately twenty contractions, during which I was unable to move. Leaning over a giant belly, with my legs going to sleep, and with the doctor hitting the bone several times. Which, in case you’ve never experienced it, is akin to hitting your funny bone on an awl which pierces through your elbow (except in your back) times ten thousand. Holding still through this was the most physically difficult thing I have ever had to do in my life up until this point. Especially when the anesthetist said, "You're giving me a hard time." I nearly lost it. Once he had it in, that was it – my contractions were off the chart (literally) and I didn’t feel a particle of pain. I fell asleep.

I dozed until I had a reaction to the epidural. One minute, I was talking to a nurse, the next, everything closed in around my head, and I just wanted to go to sleep. The equipment started beeping, and people came scurrying in. Dr Hafazalla happened to be right outside of the door, so he scooted in and looked on with concern, the nurses readjusted me on the table, and the anesthetist adjusted my dose. Stephanie, one of the nurses, talked me through everything and told me what was happening, but to be honest, I didn’t care. I knew that I should, but all I wanted to do was give in to the sleepy feeling. My blood pressure dipped down to 60/40, but within a few minutes, I was back up to normal. The other, much less serious reaction I had to the epidural was intense itching on my upper abdomen and chest. That was bizarre. After all of that craziness, I think I dozed off some more. It was such a relief to be able to sleep, even if it was only for a few minutes. Dr Hafazalla said that he would come back and check me around 6:00.

Dr Hafazalla came back as promised, and checked me again. Unfortunately, my contractions had not been producing the desired effect of pushing out a baby, and I was now less dilated than I had been that morning. He also explained that my pelvic arch is 80 degrees, where most women’s is 110 degrees, so if Thomas was to be born vaginally, forceps would definitely have to be used to guide his head down and under. Also, his head had not engaged, so labour was not producing the desired effect of opening the cervix for his great escape. At that point, after discussing everything, we decided that since virtually no progress had been made after four days of labour, Thomas would be born by cesarean.

Thomas was born at 7:15 pm on Thursday, March 25. Surpassing all estimates, he weighed 9 pounds, 9 ounces, and was 21 inches long. His head circumference was just over the 99th percentile. Adam held him between us and next to me while I was put back together, and we talked to him, looked him over, and introduced ourselves while he sucked like mad on his lip. As soon as we were in the recovery room he took to feeding right away. I could not have been happier.


two months

Thomas had his two-month check-up yesterday. He now weighs 14 pounds, 13 ounces. He's no slouch! And he also has bypassed a huge pile of baby clothes that will never fit him. This morning, he woke up (after a perfect night; he was awake for about 15 minutes to eat and wasn't up for the day until 6:30) happy and smiling. So I thought I would share the wonderfulness.

Edited to add: sorry it's horizontal; by the time I clued in, he was in distress over a wet diaper, so the magic had ended. And don't mind my stuffy-sounding babbling. Just focus on the cute.


more cherry

We've been doing all sorts of things around here lately; it just seems as though I haven't been taking pictures of them or finding the time to blog about them. We went bowling yesterday afternoon, which was a lot of fun, and we've been enjoying lots of gorgeous weather by being outside. I made more yogourt (I'm going to tweak it some more and let you know when I've got it down pat) and I have lots of pretty things in magazines to share. But not today - today's all about the cherry tree, again.
Except for one small unrelated detail that changes everything - nap times for P have gone the way of the Dodo bird. Sigh. Which is one of the reasons for less time to do things, but more time to have fun with him. Have a great Victoria Day!

P just said, "Could you write about me?"
I said, "What would you like me to write about you?"
"Phillip is a great boy and he knows how to poop on the toilet. And he's a wonderful boy. That's it."


chairs under cherry

There are only a few blossoms left to open on the cherry tree, and we're supposed to have winds gusting to 80 km/hr this afternoon, along with thundershowers. So I thought that I should take a picture this morning, before most of the petals blow away.



We've been doing this a lot lately.

In case you know me in person and you've heard as I've been lamenting his terrible behaviour at naptime and bedtime, I'd like for you to know that P laid down and stayed in bed for his entire naptime this afternoon. He is a wonderful guy all of the time; he's just much easier to get along with when he cooperates.

Our peas and lettuce have sprouted in the garden, so that's very exciting.

Thomas weighs 14 pounds - what a big little guy! We were saying the other night that it's a wonder we remember he's even here. He is a gem. He will never throw tantrums when he's Phillip's age. Nope, not him.

It's been sunny and gorgeous in the weather department, but we're in for some rain over the next couple of days. I'll have to come up with some fun indoor activities for an almost-three-year-old to do! Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!


charlotte lane anniversary lunch

There's a fantastic place to eat in Shelburne called Charlotte Lane, which I've mentioned before. For an anniversary gift, my mom gave us some cash and watched Phillip for most of the day, and we took Thomas and headed there for an amazing lunch. It was Adam's first time, and I think he now likes it as much as I do. (First and last pictures are his; the rest are mine.)
This was my lunch - a pasta dish with roasted red peppers, chipotle, pork tenderloin, parmesan, and tarragon. I wish I could begin to express how delicious it was. Seriously, it was one of the best meals I've even eaten. Perhaps the best. "I feel seriously sad for people eating fast food today," popped into my head as I was finishing it up.
Adam had a chicken caesar salad, and Thomas looked on enviously. What's that? You'd like a clearer picture of the chubby-double-chinniest little seven week old you've ever seen? Okay.
Panna cotta has come up everywhere in my life lately, but I had never tried it until yesterday. On the radio, in cookbooks - at least four or five times in the past three weeks. So when I saw lemon vanilla panna cotta with raspberry sauce on the dessert menu, of course that's what I ordered. And of course, it was fantastic.
So, next time you're here visiting me, we will hit the road for Shelburne. You won't be disappointed!

Hope you're having a great weekend.


sunny days

Our yard is a riot of colour right now. We've had an oriole hanging out in the quince tree, which is lovely - I had never seen one before. He seems to be drinking the nectar, which I don't think I've seen birds do before, other than hummingbirds. Fun!

Phillip and I hung out for a long time in the yard yesterday - couldn't ask for a nicer guy to hang out with.



I've been married to the kindest, gentlest, most loving husband for eight years today. It's been more fantastic than I ever could have imagined. And he makes great babies, too.


honey and almond

I love this teeny-tiny little jar.

I'm heading to a baby group tomorrow morning with T, and I'm looking forward to it.

The garden is amazing, and the two-headed tulips are now open and gorgeous. We had a lot of rain on Saturday, and the leaves on every chestnut tree in town popped open yesterday. Any day now, our cherry tree will be in bloom.

I spotted two new-to-me magnolias this week, too. (Magnolia-spotting is a pursuit of ours every Spring. They're favourites of Adam's, and we don't have our own. How geeky are we?)

I made this for supper tonight. Yum. (Do you call it 'dinner'?)

What are you up to?


flower that starts with p

I can't remember the name of this flower. It was a long night last night. I'm pretty sure that it starts with p. Either way, they were one of Adam's picks for the garden, and I think they're lovely. See the pink blush in the background? That's the quince tree, through the dining room window, and the picnic table is next to it. We had our first picnics of the season last week, and I'm looking forward to many more.

The veggie beds are all planted, yay! Phillip helped yesterday. Carrots, beets, lots of peas (my fave!), onions, lettuce, a few beans, squash, and a couple of watermelon seeds to humour P. I hope that all of the seeds that P and I used are still viable. Some were leftovers, so I'm not sure about them. We'll see, and I'll post pictures after they sprout! Sunflowers and a tomato plant or two will be fit in, too. My favourite time of year.


another dream kitchen

Along with this kitchen, and this one, I am completely in love with this kitchen. Aren't the lights and stools great? And I do believe that's a fireplace peeking in on the left. Sigh!

From Elle Decor May 2010, via The City Sage.


'yarden' goodies and two-headed tulips

Phillip sometimes calls our yard / garden the 'yarden'. I think that is a perfect name. Things are still a bit wild out there, but beautiful.
Okay, has anyone ever seen this before? Two headed tulips! Last fall, P and I bought some bulbs at the grocery store, and there was one box of double tulips. Maybe somewhere in the process of getting double the petals, some ended up with double the blooms? From 5 bulbs, I am going to have 11 blooms - some of the bulbs shot up two entire stems, while others just branch off at the top, like this one. For $1.50 - a steal of a deal.
From the same discount bulb day, the muscari that P chose. They smell fantastic, which I didn't know until Adam brought some inside.
And daffodils that have been hanging on forever! They are so sweet and cheery.
And guess what? I made soap on the weekend! It's unscented baby soap, for us to use and to give away as gifts. I'm pondering some changes to how I do the soap thing when I get back into the groove, which is fun to think about. But for right now, my specialty is making milk and growing a fat baby. He's so very, very sweet.

I hope that you're having a lovely week!


tasty toes, yogourt, and granola recipe

Is is just me, or are baby toes meant to be nibbled? I can't believe that these little feet are over 5 weeks old already. Wild! Check out the little sausage chubs. Mmmmmm.
Speaking of 'Mmmmm', my yogourt turned out perfectly!
I more or less followed the instructions over at J Casa Handmade, (one of my favourite blogs for awhile now, incidentally) with a few minor changes. I highly recommend reading the comments on that post - there are some helpful suggestions. I used an instant read thermometer and brought the temperature down to about 108 before adding the yogourt starter. I accidentally boiled the milk (funnily enough, it was because I was updating my facebook status to say that I was making yogourt, and by the time I got back to the kitchen, it was boiling. Oops! It didn't seem to make any difference.) I popped it into my enameled cast iron lidded pot, and tucked it into the oven overnight with the light on to keep it toasty, and in the morning, it was beautifully yogourty. I strained it in cheesecloth to get it nice and thick, and it was only after I had dumped a bunch of whey down the sink that I read that it was whey, and it's apparently great to use in place of water in bread or other dough. Who knew? That's totally what I'm going to do with it next time. Also, next time I won't strain it for quite as long, and might add a bit of honey before the bacteria growth part takes place. And there will definitely be a next time - it is delicious.
Maple syrup, homemade granola, and homemade yogourt? I don't think you can top that. Speaking of homemade granola, I've accidentally created the most delicious granola, ever. Here's the very vague 'recipe':

Nutty Granola (you know, because I'm nutty)

a bunch of old fashioned oats
a bunch of raw almonds
a bunch of pecan pieces
brown rice syrup
cooking oil of your choice (I used sunflower because Adam can eat it)
sweetened dried cranberries

Try to make sure that you have a nice balance of nuts to oats - I like mine really nutty. Which is bizarre, because in just about any other context, I will definitely choose the non-nut option. I think it's the fattiness of the pecans that make this combo so incredible. The only brown rice syrup I've been able to find around here is organic Knudsen's, at our health food store. It makes the granola clump together well, and of course, adds sweetness.

Mix together oats, almonds, and pecans. Add enough oil so that you don't see the oat powder. Add in a good gob of brown rice syrup, and mix really well. Bake on cookie sheets at 325 for 30-45 minutes or so, depending on how much is on your pan, stirring every now and then, until it's done. After it's cooled, add in a hefty helping of cranberries, and mix well. Store in an airtight container and enjoy!

I hope that you're having a perfect weekend.