Sunday, July 31, 2011

Look at Me, I'm on FIRE!

I'm thrilled to report that Sue over at Cookie's Chronicles deemed Lilahbility worthy of the Blog on Fire Award.  Thanks Sue, you're pretty hot yourself!

Along with this great honour comes an invitation to engage in one of my favourite past-times: talking about myself.  I may have used some of my best material back in February when I was given the Stylish Blogger Award, but I will do my best to come up with seven facts about myself that don't bore you to tears.  No falling asleep on my watch, you hear?

1.  I don't like coffee.  Most people look at me like I have three heads when I say that.  I am a parent, I am chronically sleep-deprived, and yet I do not rely on the bitter black stuff to keep me awake.  I got through seven years' worth of university - including the occasional all-nighter - without becoming addicted, so I figure I can live without it.  I do get by with a little help from Mr. Tetley on work days, though.  I am only human, after all.
2.  Guilty pleasures: The Bachelorette, Life & Style Magazine, Twitter, white wine, chips (especially All Dressed flavour), peanut butter and of course, CHOCOLATE.  (That's right, I have both a sweet tooth and a salt tooth.  What?  Why are you looking at me like that?) 

This is me winking.  It's not that bad, is it?
P.S. That's a ponytail on my head, not a rat tail.
Ew. Remind me to get my hair cut.

 3.  I think I can wink my left eye, but the Hubs says I look deranged.  Don't even bother asking me to wink my right eye - even I know I can't do that one!

4. I am a candy cruncher.  I try to be the type of person who daintily savours a mint or hard candy for hours until it is just a tiny speck, but I always end up unconsciously biting into it and before I know it, the darn thing is gone and I am reaching for a new one.  This happens even with throat lozenges.  Must. Learn.Self-restraint.

5. The Hubs calls me Hector the Corrector. It's not my fault.  It comes with the territory of being a speech therapist.  My ear is finely tuned; trained to suss out the slightest speech error and flood my brain with alarm bells and red flags.  I often have to bite my tongue to make sure I don't offend people. And sometimes even then I am unable to stop the correction from tumbling out of my mouth.  With the Hubs, I let it all hang out, which means that he is subjected to far more frequent correction than any human being should ever have to put up with.

6.  I have had several discussions with my neighbours regarding personality type and baking/cooking preferences.  We boiled it down to this: those that like to bake are generally drawn the order and exactness of it.  They like to stick to formulas and ratios and are more concrete thinkers than those that like to cook.  Those that prefer cooking enjoy being more creative in the kitchen; adding a pinch of this and a dash of that and sampling their creation throughout the process until it satisfies their taste buds.  Being the strongly left-brained person that I am, I like to follow recipes to the letter (at least until I am very comfortable with them), so baking is totally my thing.  While trying to get dinner made on a timeline in our tiny kitchen frazzles me, I usually find baking both relaxing and enjoyable.  Luckily for me, the Hubs enjoys cooking and is pretty darn good at it too!

7. I stalk other people's wedding photos on Facebook.  Even people I'm not actually friends with.  I can't help myself.  I just love weddings!  I think this penchant is partly due to a subconscious desire to re-live my own big day.  I'm hoping this semi-normal.  Any other wedding photo stalkers out there?  Don't be shy, I've already paved the way by putting myself out there - so 'fess up!

And now to pass the bloggy award love on, here are a few of my personal faves:

Schwartz Chronicles: Lisa is one of the sweetest, most supportive people you could ever hope to know, and whatever parenting issue you might be going through with your young child(ren), she's probably been through it too, so you can be sure you won't be met with judgement, but rather empathy and some good old-fashioned commiseration!

Bees With Honey:  Another absolute sweetheart, Bruna is the mother of three gorgeous girls, which makes her a seasoned veteran of parenting in my books.  She hosts one of my favourite link-ups, Let's Bee Friends Friday, and introduces her readers to a different fantastic blogger each week.
The Adventures of OBB: My friend Kate is the same age as I am and she also has a young daughter at home.  But she's dealing with far more than dirty diapers and toddler tantrums since her breast cancer diagnosis earlier this year.  Despite the subject matter, her blog is far from depressing.  It is inspiring, heart-wrenching, and beautiful all at the same time.  Highly recommended reading.

See Theo Run: Harriet shares her experiences and thoughts on open adoption and life as a mixed-race family, as well as the general ups and downs of parenting one of the cutest, most active little guys on the planet.

Absolutely Narcissism: I hesitated to even put Sandra on this list because she's already so popular, and cool, and hilarious, and pretty, and totally awesome and... no, I'm not a stalker.  (Well, not really.  Much.  But I kinda think she'd be okay with me being one anyway, since she's sort of been down that road recently herself.)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Stall

Well friends, it was always inevitable, but I still can't believe it's happening: my baby is leaving babyhood behind and becoming a real kid.  As if her burgeoning independence and repetitions of the mantras, "I a big girl" and "I do it myself" weren't proof enough, she is becoming more and more proficient at that most ubiquitous of childhood accomplishments, the bedtime stall.  I wouldn't say that she has become "master of the stall"or even reached "expert level" just yet - she still hasn't figured out a few of the more manipulative techniques that I remember employing in my own youth - but she would certainly fall solidly into the "apprentice" category.

One way in which she is able to delay her bedtime by several minutes is to request additional verses of her bedtime song (which we totally stole from Addie and her family, by the way).  Usually we sing it to all the friends she has seen that day, and often her grandparents get a shout-out.  And of course there is the obligatory verse each for Mommy and Daddy.  But lately she has figured out she can sing this song to pretty much any person or object on earth.  When I see her eyes starting to cast around her bedroom looking for items to sing to, I know it's time to pack it in and get the kid into her crib before we name every. single. object. in. the. universe.

Here's a small sampling of the things she deems worthy of their own special verse of the Night-Night Song:

Verse 1: Picures
Verse 2: Shirt
Verse 3: Firetruck

Practicing her latest stall technique in the car.
(Singing by Lilah, video by Mommy, driving by Daddy)

What is your kid's go-to stall technique?  I'd love to hear all about it so I can see it coming and nip it in the bud!

Linking up with:
Let's BEE Friends

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday of Few Words: The Trappings of Summer

While so many parts of North America are dealing with sweltering heat, we still haven't been blessed with many true summer days here in Vancouver.  I crave summer.  I lust after it: summer warmth; summer clothing; summer food; summer loveI've got my hopes pinned on August.  August will be our month, Vancouver!

Still, we have been doing our best to enjoy the few small tastes of summer we've had.  Here are some of my favourite things about summer, and some of the things I am hoping to enjoy a whole lot more of before our "summer" is through.

Cute summer shoes:

Kids enjoying watemelon:
And the resulting watermelon face:

Afternoon sunlight streaming over the top of the building and into our courtyard:

Discovering new parks and playgrounds:
On a playdate with Jack in Steveston

Summer blossoms:

Cold, sweet treats:

Sundresses (hers and mine):

There are many others, but I don't have photos of them yet, because, you know, that whole lack of summer thing.  (Note the long sleeves, sweatshirts, and cardigans in the majority of these photos.)  Maybe we'll leave this one with a "to be continued..."

What are your favourite things about summer?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What I Want Her to Know

I often think about the future and what it will be like when Lilah goes through that phase.  That phase during which she will resent my very existence in the world.  I know this phase is inevitable because I went through it myself.  I always loved my mom, but I didn't begin to realize that she was kind of cool until I entered adulthood, and I had no idea just how incredible she was until I became a parent myself.  As a single mother of three, she did pretty darn good.  Hey, the proof is in the pudding (I'm the pudding, if you hadn't figured that out yet).  But that didn't stop me from being irritated by every single tiny thing about her when I went through that phase.  They way she stood, the way she chewed, the way she said the word "what" (she likes to put the 'h' first, so it's pronounced "hwat"), all came under attack and were deemed The. Most. Annoying. Habits. Ever.  I was irritable and sullen and holier-than-thou, and I treated her more like an obstacle than a person.  I even composed mental lists entitled, "Things I Will Not Do to My Own Teen-aged Daughter." 

Because I myself was such a haughty little thing during this phase, I absolutely dread the day when Lilah begins to adopt a similar attitude.  I know it is a long way down the road, since she's only just two, but I keep wishing there was a way to bypass this stage altogether.  Since that is most likely completely impossible, I will settle for  writing down some things I want her to know about me as she becomes a young woman.  My hope is that knowing these things might narrow the gap between us:

  • No matter what you do, or who you choose to be, I will always love you.
  • I am a person with feelings, and being pleasant will get you a whole lot further than being a jerk.
  • I was considered cool, hip, and semi-fashionable at one time in my life.
  • I want to be your friend, but my job is to be your mother.  You will understand this when you become a mother yourself.
  • Because I pushed your enormous head out of my lady business, my hips will never be as narrow as they once were.  I sacrificed more than one pair of pants for you, young lady!
  • I will flounder, and I will make mistakes.  I will try to admit when I am wrong and apologize for my mistakes.  (But do know that you don't need to point out every little error...)
  • I'm actually a ninja.  Do not attempt to break the rules I set out for you.
  • There was a time when your world revolved around me; when there was no one cooler than me; when you were hurt or upset and only Mama would do; when you thought I was all-powerful, all-knowing.
  • In being born, you gave me the greatest gift I could ever receive.  You made me a mother.  Words simply cannot express how grateful I am that the stars aligned  the way they did; that you were the tiny soul chosen to join our family.  It simply couldn't have happened any other way.

    Back to the present, when something as simple as a wagon ride makes me her supermom.

Let's BEE Friends

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wednesday of Few Words: Perspective

Apparently one side of this slide was really scary.

Like roller coaster calibre scary.

And the other side was the equivalent of a walk in the park.

Or maybe tea with the queen.

I guess it's true what they say, it's all about perspective.


I know everyone thinks their kid is the cutest, funniest, smartest little being there ever was...

But that doesn't stop me from finding everything (okay, scratch that - most things) Lilah does hilarious and unbelievably adorable.  Two is such a funny age.  Even the tantrums are comical.


Here are just a few of the  irresistibly amusing things Lilah has been doing lately:

"Making a house." Apparently this involves sequestering herself in the remotest little nook she can find in our tiny condo and surrounding herself with toys or other random junk.  Perhaps this is how they keep the kids entertained at daycare?  I'm not sure, but this has been an obsession of hers for quite some time now.

Lilah "in the house," caring for her naked baby.
 If this is what her house looks like, then I really am concerned about her future as a hoarder.  This is "Buried Alive" material, people!

Developing a strange fascination with balloons.  She is half terrified, half mesmerized.  The terror part wins out when it comes to touching balloons or having them anywhere near her person. We're still hearing about the Elmo balloons from her birthday, but God forbid anyone should try to actually give her a balloon or even touch one in front of her - that sends her shrieking and running in sheer horror.  I kid you not.  I know I shouldn't be amused by my child's phobias, but I have to bite my lip to keep from laughing when I see the look on her face.

Singing "Happy Birpay To You Lilah." At the most random times.  And at top volume.

Answering questions in a very confusing manner.  This is a sample from a conversation we had recently:

Me: "Lilah, do you want to go outside?"
Lilah: "No."
Me: "You don't want to go outside?"
Lilah: "Yes."
Me: "You do want to go outside?"
Lilah: "No."
Me: "You don't want to go outside?"
Lilah: "Yeah."
(And so on and so forth, until I finally figure out what she means.)

Claiming everything as her own.  I realize this is not particularly unique, given that she is a toddler.  But Lilah being Lilah, she takes her possession obsession to a whole new level.  It's not just "My turn" and "No, my do it," which are entirely de rigeur with the two-year-old set.  It has escalated to possession of people ("No, my Uncle Jon!") and even snippets of conversation.  Yesterday, as we were driving in the car, the Hubs and I were talking in the front seat and I trailed off a sentence with, "...when we go in August."  A small voiced piped up from the backseat, "No, my go in August!"

A "My do it!" moment
  Stripping down to her birthday suit at every opportunity. She'll say, "Get naked?" and start clawing at her clothes until we help her take them off. Once the clothes are off, she figures the diaper is fair game, and she can get that one off by herself, so we need to have the potty nearby at all times. Of course, another one of her "quirks" seems to be sitting on the potty for half an hour only to pee on the floor the moment she stands up! She prefers her dollies naked too (see photo above).

Running around the house topless making strange noises while holding my bra, which she must have fished out of a nearby laundry basket:

(Okay, so it was really just the one time, but still.  Quirky.)

But then again, maybe I'm being too hard on the poor kid.  It's really not her fault she's so weird.  I mean, look where she came from:

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Lilah Got Da Blues

On Wednesday I showed you sickeningly cute photos of Lilah's 2nd birthday.  And now I'm going to up the ante on this whole Mommy blogging thing and subject you to a video of her first music recital:

The audience participation element really enhances the performance, don't you think? 

(Sidenote: if a two-year-old ever offers you a turn on her harmonica, you may want to accept the offer only if you are directly related to said two-year-old.  And then prepare for a saliva bath.  Consider yourself warned.)

Special thanks to Theo (and his parents) for this totally inspired birthday gift!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wednesday of Few Words: Two

On Sunday my sweet little girl turned two.  I will spare you the "where has my baby gone?" laments (which, trust me, means I am doing you a huge favour, because there has been a whole lotta navel-gazing* around here lately).  Instead I will subject you to an equally self-indulgent display and make you look at photos of my child's second birthday party.  Because I'm a mom, and that's just what we do.

*I'm almost certain I have started using the term "navel-gazing" as a direct result of reading Amber Strocel's blog.  So you have her to thank for that.

Because Lilah is obsessed with Elmo and has been for quite some time, it wasn't hard to come up with a theme.  We held the party at a nearby park that is home to some fantastic picnic areas, its own lake with a beach, and a great playground.  The weather was a bit dodgy at first, but in the end the sun graced us with its presence and I breathed a sigh of relief. 

So without further ado, I give you Lilah's second birthday party:

At two, Lilah finally has enough hair to rock the pigtails!  I have been dreaming of this day for a very long time.  (I won't blame you if you start gagging on the cuteness of it all.)

Lilah discovered ketchup-flavoured chips for the first time.  I have absolutely no idea why it came as a surprise to me that she loved them.  This is a girl whose only use for french fries is as a delivery method to her mouth.

 Kids were mingling.  Or drawing at twenty paces.  Hard to tell.

Lilah's cousin Max did his very best to make this pinwheel spin:

There was even live entertainment!  We tried to get Elmo himself, but his agent never got back to us and all we could get on short notice was this dragon dance:

Lilah's friend Addie went head-to-head with the dragon and I'm pretty certain she won the dance-off.  Lilah was equally enthralled, but as is her nature, she was content to watch from a safer distance on Daddy's lap. 

After the live entertainment, it was cupcake time!

Yes, I made these. Thank you, thank you.

This year I remembered to remove the hot candle immediately after it was blown out, thus preventing a repeat of last year's debacle.  Turns out I have actually learned a thing or two during my two years as a parent!

Photo by Lilah's uncle Andrew.
I think it's safe to say the cupcakes were a hit.

So tell me, are the twos really all that terrible?  Because from where I'm sitting, they look pretty sweet.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Monthly Recap: What I learned in June 2011

This is part of Amber Strocel's monthly "What I learned" link-up.  Go check it out!

1. The first thing a child says upon waking up in the morning can be very telling as to their thoughts, fears, worries, and priorities.

2.  Just because it's June, doesn't mean you can just expect summer to appear.  In fact, doing so will set you up for bitter disappointment.  I think this is a lesson I have to re-learn every year in Vancouver.

It's June and we're wearing sweaters and jeans.  What's wrong with this picture?
3.  Everything is a phase. Have I mentioned this one before? I learn it and re-learn it continuously. Lilah is gradually growing out of her fear of dogs and other animals and is getting more comfortable patting, approaching, and/or feeding them. But now she's in this hoarding phase...
4.  Stride bikes are a brilliant invention!

4. Toddlers are unpredictable and lack tact.  Don't be surprised if yours feels the need to comment on your nasal hygiene by pointing at your nostril and yelling, "Ew, booger!" when you are smack dab in the middle of a heartfelt rendition of your favourite bedtime lullaby.
5.  Ninjahood and motherhood actually have a whole lot in common, and the skills learned in one realm easily translate to the other.

6. Two-year molars are not fun.  That is all.

7.  I have incredible neighbours.  From using their washing machine because ours broke down and needed replacing, to swapping clothes, to borrowing ingredients, to enlisting free babysitting for a date night out on the town, our neighbours are so there for us, and we for them, I hope.  We arrived home on Father's Day evening to find a token of appreciation, along with a card for the Hubs from one set of neighbours thanking him for being a positive male role model to their son, since he is growing up with two moms.  To say we were touched would be the understatement of the year!  My words simply cannot do justice to the friendships we have built and the sense of community we have found in the past couple of years.

8. Toddlerhood is all about discovery.

9.  Seeing your parent and your child hitting it off... well, heartwarming doesn't even begin to cover it.

My dad (who we only see a few times a year) and Lilah pause for a snack in front of the dolphin tank at the aquarium.
Photo by  Jon Currie.
10.  Though I am not a native Vancouverite, I have a lot of pride in this great city.  And watching young men and women tear apart the my city - the city in which I have chosen to make my home and raise my child - after the Canucks lost the Stanely Cup finals (fair and square, mind you!) to the Boston Bruins made me feel so many things: disbelief, shame, sadness, horror, disgust, outrage, and fear - for the Hubs, who was there in the arena watching the game.  I am not going to lie, I bawled, both that night and the next day.  This riot was a huge blow to our city, and I took it personally.  I know I am not alone in this sentiment.  It also made me wonder how raise my child to be kind of young person (of which there were many) who would get the hell out of there as soon as things starting going south, or the kind of person (and here, again, there were many) who would show up downtown the next morning to clean up the debris without being asked.  I am fairly confident that I can help shape my child into the kind of person who wouldn't be a leader in all of this, but how do you teach your child not to be the kind of person who gets caught up in the mob mentality and does stupid things just because everyone else is and it seems like fun?  So many lessons, so much food for thought here.  I'm still digesting it all.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Colour Me Canadian

Yes, that's right, I spell colour with a 'u.' I have experimented with omitting it to try to fit in with my online  friends South of the border, but it just felt like a betrayal to this great country in which I live.  I am a proud Canadian, and I cannot hide my love of a good, extraneous 'u.'  Also, why write a check when you can write a cheque?  Words are more fun when you add q's and u's, I always say.

But back to colour.  Specifically, the colours red and white.  Today, we flew these colours with an extra large dose of pride, for today is Canada's 144th birthday.

Lilah gets her patriot on.

Lilah and Addie dance to the music at the Granville Island Canada Day party.
For us, Canada Day is synonymous with family.  Every year without fail (with the exception of two years ago when I was in labour with Lilah), we pack up our car and drive out to the 'burbs to spend the afternoon and evening celebrating with the Hubs' large extended family.  There is a slight irony to this fact since a good portion of his family members are of British origin.  But perhaps that is precisely why we celebrate Canada with such fierce pride on this day.  We all - recent immigrants, first generation Canadians, and too-many-generations-to-count Canadians like myself - recognize, revere, and celebrate the things that make Canada so special.  Or maybe I'm overthinking it.  Maybe it's just a good day to get everyone together because it's a statutory holiday.  But with each passing year, I get more and more sentimental, both about being Canadian and about family.

Cousins and grandparents.  Really, is there anything better than family?

And of course, no family gathering would be complete without ridiculous amounts of decadent food.

Just one of the many desserts I indulged in today.
Happy birthday to a very special little (big!) country.  And here's to many more!


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