Sunday, October 31, 2010

Project Green: October

Now that the baby gifts have stopped rolling in, I've actually had to start buying clothes and shoes for Lilah.  I indulge my urge to shop without incurring the guilt that goes along with spending good money on brand new clothes by raiding the kids' consignment stores in my neighbourhood - they're within walking distance, so no environmental impact there!  I have found some really great, gently-used, and, most importantly, stylish, clothing for Lilah, in addition to basics such as sleepers and onesies.  They often have new clothes with the tags still attached on offer for less than half the price I would pay in the store they originally came from. And I get to feel smug about all the money I'm saving and about the fact that I'm keeping these items out of the landfill, and avoiding the brand new materials that no doubt used plenty of resources to be made, manufactured, and shipped.  We also get plenty of hand-me-downs and borrowed clothes and toys from Lilah's many older cousins.

A small sampling of the consignment and second-hand items Lilah's been rockin' lately.
For more information on the benefits of buying second hand baby clothes, click here.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Is it Time to Get a Mom Suit?

If you haven't been paying attention* or you're just tuning in, I'm a Mom.  I have found that being a Mom comes with certain fashion restrictions.  When you're nursing, for example, you are limited to tops that provide easy access to your baby's source of nutrition.  Large, shiny earrings are pretty much off-limits for the first few years of your child's life, and heels can get pretty uncomfortable when you're chasing a toddler across the playground. When your baby has a snotty nose, it's best to avoid dark-coloured clothing.  When your baby is pukey, you don't want to wear anything that is not machine-washable.  These are the rules I generally abide by.

But, I will confess, there is one piece of impractical attire I am still clutching on to.  The bikini.  I have not owned a full-piece bathing suit in years.  Lately I have been taking advantage of my Fridays off from work to take Lilah swimming at our local (brand new!) indoor pool.  At eleven a.m. on a weekday, the pool is full of elderly people and moms with babies and kids. It feels very strange to wear my bikini at an indoor pool amidst a veritable sea of full-piece bathing suits.  But I've never been one for swimming laps, which means I haven't spent much time in indoor pools.  I wear my binkinis in the summer and when I go on vacation.  To me, the point of wearing a bikini is to get a tan on my stomach.

Girls in bikinis on vacation, January 2010
So, the question is, do I need to invest in a Mom Bathing Suit (or at least a one-piece number)?  Is wearing a binkini a faux-pas at an indoor pool? What do you think?

* But if you haven't been paying attention, what the hell are you doing reading my blog?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

The Obligatory Pumpkin Patch Edition:

*Pictures of my kid should be enough for you, but just in case you're greedy and need a little something extra to entertain you, check out the gradual disintegration of the apple in Lilah's hand.  She was working on that thing for over an hour - and the repeated mud dunkings apparently just made it that much tastier.  Judge if you will, but you try prying a coveted mud-spattered apple out of a toddler's hand.  I dare you!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

There IS Good in the World!

I work for a non-profit organization.  There have been a couple break-ins over the past couple of years, and it always makes me so mad - who would steal from a charitable organization?  I guess the answer is: people who just don't care, who are under the power of drugs or some other evil influence.  They probably don't even register what kind of building they are robbing.  All they see is dollar signs.  But the truth is, we have very little that would be of any use to anyone other than us.
A couple of weeks ago, our building was broken into again.  They came in through the window of my (shared) office.  They were in and out in under six minutes, and apart from doing some damage here and there when they attempted to get into some other offices, the only thing they were really able to get their hands on was my laptop.  I had absentmindedly left it on my desk, despite the fact that were are supposed to either lock our laptops up in a cupboard or take them home with us at the end of the day.  So you can be sure I felt pretty stupid (as well as angry and violated) that my computer was the one they got.  Our encription and password security is pretty heavy, and we never save anything of a confidential nature to the computer's hard drive, so I was confident they wouldn't get any important client information, but I was still pretty shaken and upset.

Well, apparently on Wednesday, a slightly sketchy-looking dude wandered in and explained that he had done something he wasn't proud of.  Turns out he had bought our laptop on the street for $100 and he'd had a sudden attack of conscience when he figured out where it came from, so he'd come to return it to us!  He explained that he had two children with special needs and they had benefited from services from an agency similar to ours.  I wish I had been there (Lilah's daycare had called me to come pick her up early because of a barfing/scream-crying episode - don't ask).  I would have shaken Sketchy Dude's hand.  He didn't have to bring the computer back to us, and he certainly didn't have to tackle the situation head-on.  He could have left it outside our building for someone to find or even sent it to us by courier.  But he chose to come in and own up to the fact that he'd bought our stolen laptop on the street.

Kinda restores your faith in people just the tiniest bit, doesn't it?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

I must have blinked, because all of a sudden my itty bitty baby is a little lady!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sleeping Through the Night!!!

My dear friends, today marks a very momentous day in the Lilahbility household.  For the past couple nights, I have slept soundly through the night - no multiple wakings, no potty breaks, no maniacally meowing cats at 4am, just pure, uninterrupted sleep.  Bliss!

Of course this comes a full six months after the Lilahbility hit this milestone herself.  What can I say, I'm a late bloomer!

So I've done it two nights in a row - is it safe to say that I am now sleeping through the night?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

This Thanksgiving, I am especially thankful for:

The food on our table (mmmm, chocolate cake)...
And in our bellies!

The feeling that comes from curling up with a good book,

The beauty of Vancouver in the fall,

And of course, the two loves of my life!
 Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

On Running for the Cure

Last Sunday I participated in the CIBC Run for the Cure to raise money for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.  You may recall my post about why this cause is important to me.

As I joined the throngs walking towards the starting point of the run, I felt that familiar lump in my throat that I got the last time I did the run, years ago.  You know, that feeling of being part of something so much bigger than your everyday worries; something important yet bittersweet.  Standing in a crowd of thousands of people, it would be easy to feel anonymous, but this crowd felt like a community.  We were all there for the same purpose.  I was reminded of that each time I read the "I'm running for..." badge on a fellow runner's shirt, or spotted the pink t-shirt of a survivor.

Thanks to my running buddies, I managed to run the full 5km without wimping out partway through.  But I'm not going to lie, I really wanted to.  It was a case of mind over matter.  However, I think I've figured out why none of my pants fit.  I'm really not in very good shape.  Yes, I managed not to quit, but man were my legs sore for the next two to three days!  I guess the elliptical machine doesn't simulate running as closely as its proponents would have me believe!

Anyway, back to the important, higher-porpose-type stuff.  I am thrilled to report that the $1000 I was able to raise (thanks to my wonderful friends and family) was just a tiny drop in the bucket of the $33 million that was raised across Canada!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Please Don't Talk about My Vagina at the Dinner Table

We all know that having a child makes you far more open about feminine matters than you ever thought you'd be.  In fact, many women report a strange compulsion to tell and re-tell their labour and delivery stories in sickening detail, ad nauseum.  Well, the same can be said of me.  Over the past 15 months, I have embarassed many a dinner guest with tales of Lilah's entry into the world, whether they wanted to hear about it or not.

However, what I didn't foresee is the change that has taken place in the Hubs.  It used to be that even a passing mention of the word "cycle" or "tampon" would ellicit an annoyingly juvenile outburst of "ew," accompanied by much cringing and nose-wrinkling.  He was much happier remaining ignorant of any of the inner workings of my body.  But all that has changed. 

I have always teased the Hubs about his very large head, and in turn, he used to tease me about my freakishly small teeth and almost non-existent baby toe nails.  Now, even a passing mention of the size of his head somehow ends up leading back to a discussion of my lady bits.  (His thought process is this:  Lilah has inherited a large head from him, so my nether regions paid the price.  Follow?)  This very exchange happened just recently when we were over at our new friends' place for dinner, just as the main course was hitting the table and everyone was about to dig in.  Luckily, the Hubs had read the situation correctly, and these friends didn't seem the slightest bit embarassed or even surprised by the sudden turn the conversation had taken.  But, with different friends, this could have made dinner rather awkward.

I'm pretty sure it's karmic justice that, after years of teasing the Hubs about his giant head, I had to birth a baby carrying half his genetic code (and apparently dominant large head gene).  But don't you think I've paid my dues?  Don't I deserve a few free head shots without my vagina becoming dinner table discussion fodder?

What do you think?  Does it serve me right? Do I need to find something new to tease the Hubs about?  Any suggestions?

Okay, just in case you're thinking about never visiting my blog again, here's something pretty to erase the disturbing image that has most likely been invading your brain since paragraph one of this post:

Just don't think about the size of her head.

Oh, and for the record, the Hubs thought this post should be entitled: "Vagina Monologues?  Vagina YOURalogues!"

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Saturday, October 2, 2010

September 2010 Recap

Amber Strocel does a monthly recap and has invited others to play along and link up. So here's what I learned in September:

1.  I finally realized it's best to avoid wearing dark colours when your wee one has a cold.  Otherwise, you will end up with very obvious snotty smears on shoulders and knee areas of your shirts and pants.

2. Wild sockeye salmon is yummy.  But it's even yummier when it comes from a Community Supported Fishery where it is caught in a sustainable manner and comes to our table straight from Skipper Otto himself.

3. Toddlers are like sponges.  They will absorb and regurgitate everything you do - and so the time has come to start being careful about what we do and say.

4. On a Saturday afternoon trip to the Vancouver Aquarium, I learned that Lilah's favourite is the sea otter exhibit.  Mainly because it is cute and furry and reminds her of our cats.  Well, at least, that's what I gathered from her enthusiastic pointing, head-nodding, giggling, and exclamation of "kitty!" every time the otter swam by us.

By the otter tank - unfortunately, the otter was even more camera shy than Lilah.
5. Carpooling is where it's at.  (Don't forget Ride-Share Week in BC coming up October 4-8!)

6. It is going to take me a while to adjust to being back at work.  I've been extremely scattered and absent-minded; losing my phone, forgetting my wallet, misplacing my keys - in short, I feel like I'm losing my mind.  And I've been rather hard on myself about it, because I'm usually relatively together and mentally (if not physically) organized.  But then I started reallly thinking about it, and the truth is that it took me a good six months to adjust to being home every day with Lilah, so it is probably going to take me about the same amount of time to adjust to going to work four days a week.

7. My daughter does an excellent impression of Sue Sylvester, my favourite character on one of my favourite shows of all time.  The Hubs makes fun of me, but I can't help myself, I've always been a sucker for a good song and dance number.

Is it Lilah, or Sue?
8.  I am SO not ready to even think about having a second child, though I originally had expected to be ready by this point.
9.  Disco may be poised for a comeback, and Lilah and So You Think You Can Dance Canada appear to be at the forefront of this renaissance.

Disco Lilah
10.  First words are truly a thrilling milestone.  Especially for a speechie mommy like myself.  They're like the gift that keeps on giving - every time Lilah says a new word, I just about burst with pride and excitement.  Her vocabulary now includes the words "kitty" (see overgeneralization of, in number 4 above), "mama," "daddy," "bird," "quack quack," "more," "tickle, tickle," "cracker," "bubbles," "no," and "flower."

Friday, October 1, 2010

Project Green: September

We're going green, but change takes time!  The Hubs and I are challenging ourselves to make our household and lifestyle more environmentally friendly by taking on one green project each month.  In June, I made my own laundry detergent, in July, we started a worm composter, in August we reaped the benefits of our membership in a Community Supported Fishery.  Here's what I did in September:

Much like the school system calendar, September marks the beginning of my work year. (Unfortunately for me, we don't get summers off!)  Because of this, it's a bit of a fresh start for everyone.  We do catch a little of that "back to school" fever - pencils to be sharpened, binders to be filled, and all that jazz.  Usually about half my caseload goes on to Kindergarten in September, so I open a whole bunch of new files and start seeing a load of new tinies with speech and language needs.

Of course, with the "new year" comes a clean slate on vacation and flex time - no one has accrued any, so most everyone is working a regular schedule.  Which makes it the perfect time to set up a carpooling system!  My commute to work is roughly 30 km, so at four days a week, that would be 240km a week. But a few of my coworkers have the same commute, so some of us have been able to get together at least a couple of times a week to carpool. 

There are many bonuses to carpooling, in addition to cutting down on our emissions.  For one, the ride seems to go a whole lot more quickly when I have someone to chat with, and discussing our plans for the weekend is much more entertaining than flicking between radio stations and trying to find one that doesn't annoy me! 

Another perk is that it actually is quicker than driving solo, because my route includes a "High Occupancy Vehicle" (HOV) lane.  We zip by all the poor shlubs who have to slow down every time someone ahead of them wants to change lanes or gets a little heavy on the brake.  (As a side note, I find it a bit sad that a vehicle with only two people in it is considered "high occupancy," but that speaks to the state of the roads these days.) 

And thirdly, as you all know, I'm a cheapskate, so I cannot ignore the fact that carpooling saves me quite a bit of dough.  I'll spare you my "the price of gas these days" tirade.  Let's just acknowledge that it's ridiculous and move on.

My hope is that my workmates and I can continue to ride-share at least two days a week, cutting our emissions and gas bills down significantly.  And on that note, did you know next week (October 4-8) is Ride-Share Week in BC?  So go make some friends and start sharing!


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