Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Glass is More Than Half Full

If you've been following along lately, you've probably noticed that my recent posts have been pretty ooey gooey.  Somebody or something abducted my sarcasm and replaced it with pure cheese.  Maybe it's the small doses of Vitamin D the Vancouver weather has finally been granting us, sending me soaring higher than a kite.  Maybe it's just the phase that Lilah is going through.  Or maybe I've lost just lost my sarcasm mojo due to lack of sleep.  Whatever it is, I'm finding myself melting into puddles of schmaltz at any given moment.  It's a little embarrassing, to be truthful.

Just one adorable moment amongst many.
I've heard other moms declare every age the best age, and vow that things just get better and better with each new phase.  I haven't exactly found that to be the case.  If I'm being totally honest, there are phases that I have enjoyed less than others.  But this age?  This age is phenomenal. She tells me I look pretty, she can sometimes play for a few minutes on her own, and she even peed on the potty once(!) to name but a few of the countless highlights. Don't get me wrong, there are still frequent tantrums, and lately there has been lots of purposeful boundary-pushing and outright defiance.  But at the moment, the insanely adorable, melting-puddle-of-schmaltz moments far outweigh the tough ones.

At the same time, when things are this good, I find myself constantly looking over my shoulder, wondering when it's going to catch up with me.  Can things really be this good?  The glass is more than half fullWatch out, soon it's going to tip over and pour out all over the floor.  But I am doing my best to quiet that voice and just enjoy the beautiful, perfect moments as they come.  Because I know too many people in my real life who are currently dealing with personal tragedies and serious illnesses.  People who are much too young to be facing the issues they are being forced to face.  I have this sense that fully enjoying the amazing little moments life presents me with right now somehow honours these friends of mine.

Happiness is excitement that has found a settling down place. But there is always a little corner that keeps flapping around. ~E.L. Konigsburg

And so I swoon, and wax sentimental, and write corny posts that may cause the more cynical among my readers to vomit in their mouths a little.  It's my prerogative - as a mother, as a blogger, and as a friend to several people who've lately been dealt a crap hand and are still managing to make the most of their cards.  Call it a tribute, call it a reality check, call it not whining because others are dealing with real problems, call it what you will.  I call it sipping from an overflowing glass.

Life is sweet.  Have some more cake.
(Oh, and for those of you who might be concerned that I'm becoming totally spoiled, don't worry.  I wrote most of this post before I came down from the high of another amazing weekend full of birthday parties, unexpected sleep-ins, outdoor activity, and good friends.  And then Monday hit, and I was my usual Monday self - tired, a little stressed out at work, and mildly cranky.  Lilah had a brief tantrum after I picked her up from daycare, and then I arrived home to cat puke in my hallway.  So all in all, a typical Monday, tipping the scales a tiny bit towards the mediocre.)

One joy scatters a thousand griefs~ Chinese proverb

Friday, May 27, 2011

May Two-Four by the Numbers

Like everyone else from Ontario, I grew up calling Victoria Day Weekend "May Two-Four," in reference both to Queen Victoria's birthday, on the twenty-fourth of May, and to the many twenty-four ("two-four") cases of beer consumed over this particular long weekend.  It's the unofficial kick off to the summer season; the weekend when community centres open up their outdoor pools, outdoor venues start hosting concerts, and families dust off the grill and fire up the barbie.

Our May Two-Four this year was spent in Harrison (home of the popular Harrison Hot Springs) with the Hubs' side of the family, and this long weekend was all about the numbers.

Ten adults, five kids, and two dogs sharing one four-bedroom house for three days.

One very tall carpeted staircase, which proved far too tempting for one impish 14-month-old.

One fabulously messy, blueberry-infused pancake breakfast, and three dinners with family members gathered 'round the large harvest table and overflowing onto sofa cushions, with heaping plates of food balanced carefully on their laps.

Four pounds gained from all the unnecessary food consumption.  But it was 100% it was worth it!

One happy little girl, very much in her element and very pleased at finally being capable of really playing with her three older cousins.

Dozens of books read and stories shared.

One air mattress and one forgotten foot pump.  One brother-in-law with 140% of normal lung capacity needing less than 15 minutes to inflate said mattress.  Truly astounding!

One willing and able Grandma who didn't shy away when I passed her my camera - and proved she had some photog skillz of her own!

Thousands of beautiful, perfect moments.  The kind that give you goose bumps, a lump in your throat, and the urge to pinch yourself.  The kind you want to bottle and preserve, to be rationed out in times of need.  The kind you hope the kids look back on with fond memories and lumps in their own throats.

The only thing missing was perfect weather.  But since our control over that is exactly zero, we made the most of it and still had a truly incredible time. 

Tell me about your long weekend plans, past, present or future!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Lazy Blogger's Party Summary

At the risk of flogging a dead horse, I am going to mention this one last time: I was nominated as one of Vancouver's top 30 mom bloggers by VancouverMom, and it was really cool.  Not only did I get to count myself among these incredible women, I also got to meet them in person!  The party was held at Bopomo Pictures in Kitsilano, and attendees included nominees from this year and last year.  Cram 40 (or so) moms into one space, and you will end up with a wonderfully busy, noisy atmosphere; one that I would make me feel shy under normal circumstances.  Add in the fact that I only knew one person in the room in real life (Harriet of See Theo Run), and you have a truly intimidating situation.

Social anxiety notwithstanding, I did manage to have a great time.  It helped that Harriet was kind enough to pick me up on her way there, introduce me to several people she knew, and make sure that I was never standing alone staring awkwardly at the veggies and dip or something.  Quite appropriate, really, considering that reading Harriet's blog was part of what inspired me to start blogging in the first place.

And here's where my laziness kicks in.  I could give you the whole lowdown on the party and the awesome swag we walked away with, but a few of my fellow nominees have already covered that, so I figure, meh, why re-invent the wheel?

Apparently I wasn't the only one overcome with awkwardness at the thought of attending this party.  I felt a whole lot more normal after reading MonkeeMama Naomi's hilarious and self-deprecating review of the evening.   Jodi of RantsnRascals overcame some real obstacles to attend the party and also came with the one (very brave!) man in tow.  You can read her summary here.  Oh, and let's not forget the swag!  Tanaya of Bubbles Make Him Smile gives the lowdown (and photos!) here.

Well done, ladies, thanks for your thorough and entertaining summaries of a great evening!  (Oh my god, it just hit me, I am totally that kid in school that doesn't lift a finger and then cheats off the other kids' tests!  Gah!)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Now I've Gone and Done it!

Yes, friends, I have gone and jumped on that bandiest of bandwagons and joined Twitter.  Because having an iPhone makes me feel like a modern woman who's down with the latest teck-naw-la-gee.  Or something.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wednesday of Few Words: Gumboots

This seems a little inopportune now that we are (finally) getting some lovely weather in Vancouver, and the overly ambitious crazies optimists among us are already trading their galoshes for sandals.  Nonetheless, I will ask you to indulge me by taking a step back in time and weather to this past weekend when our feet spent most of their time shrouded in rubber:

Puddle-jumping can be great fun, but here's hoping for some fantastic weather for our upcoming long weekend!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Four Questions Answered in Sin City

I mentioned recently that I would soon be going to Las Vegas to attend a wedding.  This was a babyless vacation, as the bride and groom had requested that friends and family leave their littles at home for the three-day party extravaganza.  I will admit, this caused some inner (and outer) turmoil for me.  I felt that I may as well have been asked to chop off my arm and leave it at home while the rest of me went to Vegas. I knew there would come a point when the Hubs and I would choose to take a short trip without Lilah, but I always expected that it would be on our terms.  We would be the ones to decide when we were ready to leave our girl.  And to be honest, I probably would have waited.  I didn't really feel ready.  But then, would I ever?  I'm not sure.

The Hubs had already accepted the honour of acting as Best Man to the groom, who was also Best Man at our wedding.  So it was a no-brainer that he would attend the wedding.  And I would have regretted sending him off to Vegas while staying home myself to play the martyr and tend to the baby.  After all, these are my friends too.  So we came to a conclusion we felt would work for us all: the Hubs would go for the full three days, I would join him on the second day and stay just two nights, and the Hubs' parents would stay at our place, shuttle Lilah to and from daycare, feed her breakfast and dinner, put her to bed, and be there when she woke up in the morning.

All of this navel-gazing raised some questions for me.  Surprisingly, I found the answers to my questions on Monday and Tuesday in Vegas.  In Vegas, of all places, where the vast majority of people go to kill millions of brain cells, I actually did some learning.

1) How much would I miss my sweet baby girl?

The answer: A LOT. (Yeah, that's right.  Bold, italics, and caps.  That's how much.)  Over 48 hours without her, and I felt as though I was missing an appendage.  But I was also conflicted.  I felt oddly hollow, and yet, whenever I saw a parent wrangling an unruly toddler, I breathed a sigh of relief that I hadn't attempted to bring my own toddler to Vegas with me.  It would have been overstimulation city for her, and exhausting for me, since the Hubs was off doing Best Man-ly duties much of the time. 

As it was, I missed her like crazy, but, oh, the reunion!  I could not stop kissing her sweet cheeks, crushing her with bear hugs, and stroking her hair, which I swear is longer than it was when I left her.  I can't say that I'll be going away again anytime soon, but we enjoyed ourselves, and it was a learning and growth experience for us all.
See?  No worse for wear!

2) Would I rock the dress?

I like to think I did.  Unfortunately, since being a total control freak means that I'm the always the one behind the camera, I didn't manage to get a full-length photo of me rocking it, so you'll just have to take my word for it.  But here's one of the me and the Hubs just to give you a little feel for it:

I relinquished the camera for 2.5 seconds.  Baby steps.
I could not, however, have outshone the bride, as a previous commenter suggested I might.  She was absolutely stunning, so that would have been entirely impossible.  (And who would want to anyway?)  But I managed to collect a number of compliments on the dress and (bonus!) the raspberry colour in my dress perfectly matched the bridesmaids' dresses and some of the decor.  It was meant to be!

3)  How awesome are my in-laws?

Pretty frickin' awesome.  They were fantastic with Lilah, followed our instructions to the best of their abilities, and they had dinner on the table for us when we got back from the airport.  They also put up with my obsessive phone calls without making me feel silly and... well, obsessive.  In addition, I'm pretty certain my mother-in-law cleaned our floors shortly before we got home.  We couldn't have asked for anything more.  But this raises a new question: what to do for them to show our appreciation for all their help?

4)  How hot is my husband?

Brad Pitt has nothing on this guy:

Am I wrong, ladies?

Have you gone on a childless vacation?  How old was/were your child(ren)?  If not, will you try it at some point?  At what point do you think you'll feel comfortable taking a vacation without your child(ren)?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!  (Also, if you'd rather talk about how hot my husband is, I'm okay with that.)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: L'Artiste

The artist's materials.

The artist at work.  Apparently kneeling is part of the creative process.

Creating pieces of this calibre requires great focus and incredible attention to detail.
I wanted to post a picture of the finished product, but L'Artiste has asked me to refrain.  She wasn't 100% satisfied with the results, and putting it all out there made her feel too raw and vulnerable.  I was lucky to simply be allowed to document her creative process through photographs.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

And The Winner Is...

The title of Favourite Fabulous Vancouver Mom Blogger goes to Karen Brackett of Adventures of the Sunshine Brigade!  Congrats to Karen and all of my fellow nominees.  I can't wait to meet them all at the party.  (Oh, wait, did I forget to tell you the best part of all of this?  On May 19th, Vancouvermom.ca is hosting a party in our honour!  Woot, woot!)

Happy Mother's Day!

Me and my Mama, August 2007.  Photo by Elizabeth Soergel

Me as a Mama, May 2011.  Photo by The Hubs.

Friday, May 6, 2011

More Lilahisms

  • "Beak up" - wake up (as in, "Sit up, Mommy, quit lazing around, I want you to play with me!")
  • "Bap" - lap (as in, "I want to sit on your")
  • "Nahnaht Mommy, I seena mohning" - Night-night Mommy, I'll see you in the morning (from the goodnight song we sing every night before bed)
  • "Shawsh" - wash (as in, "I want to play with the soap, splash around in the sink, spray water everywhere, and then you can clean up my mess for me.")
  • "Beego" - mango (as in, I want to eat some)
  • "Lilah okay!" - I'm okay (as in, I just tripped over my own feet and smacked my face on the cement, but I'm okay)
  • "No chay buhbum" - No change bum-bum (as in, under NO circumstances are you to tear me away from my ever-so-enthralling play for something as mundane as a diaper change.  Puh-lease!)
  • "Lilah ayee toe" - Lilah owie toe (as in, I cut my toe two weeks ao and I'm still talking about it. In fact, it's my current favourite topic of conversation)
  • "Fofie" - Sophie (as in, one of our cats)
  • "See-see" - Cereal (as in, Raisin Bran, the only cereal she will eat)
  • "No my, know my ADD, no my, know my ADD" - Now I know my ABCs, Next time won't you sing with me (As in the alphabet song, with a few creative amendments)
Lilah sings her ABCs

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wednesday of Few Words: Quoth I

"It is not joy that makes us grateful.  It is gratitude that makes us joyful."
-David Steindl-Rast

And I am feeling so very grateful for this:
Pure joy.

(Psssst... did you hear I somehow made vancouvermom.ca's  top 30 list of Fabulous Vancouver Mom Bloggers?  I'm just tickled pink to be lumped in with the pretty and popular kids, so humour me - if you enjoy my blog, show my some love by clicking here before May 6th.  And don't forget to check out the other fabulous mom bloggers on the list! )

Monday, May 2, 2011

Monthly Recap: What I Learned in April 2011

This is part of Amber Strocel's monthly link-up.

1. It is, in fact, possible for carrots to explode in the microwave.

2. On the occasion of a friend's bachelorette party, I discovered that I am old.  The club scene just doesn't hold the same allure that it did when I was in my twenties.  I do like to dance, but I can do without the smoke machines, the expensive, watered-down beverages, and the young people acting ridiculous.  I know, I'm a real fuddy-duddy.  Imagine what I'll be like when I'm 90!

3.  Toddlers can catch on to the point of an egg hunt pretty darn quickly when there's chocolate involved.

4. Hindsight is 20/20.  For Lilah, a period of major crankiness often precedes a massive language explosion.

5. People like positivity.  Here I was, trying to be all witty and ironic and stuff, and it turns out that the post that got the most positive feedback, pretty much ever, was What's Good?, a post about finding the good in situations, a message I picked up at a professional conference I had attended.  Who knew being earnest and gooey would be so popular?

It official, spring is good.
 6.  Like her mama, my little Lilahbility tends to be slow to warm up.  Gymnastics class, swim class, a trip to the farm, and pretty much any new experience will see her acting extremely shy and clinging to Mummy or Daddy - until we are about ready to pack it in.  And that is the precise moment at which she will decide she wants to participate.

7. Toddlers can talk about a particular subject of interest, like an owie or poo-poo all day, everyday, for weeks on end, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

8. My love/hate relationship with Vancouver's cherry blossoms was rekindled.  Love the pretty, hate the allergies.

9. Lilah looks a lot more like me than people give me credit for on first glance.

Me as a toddler.
10.  If you are going to set up an email address specifically for the purpose of your blog, you should a) remember that this email account exists, and b) check it regularly.  Turns out I missed months' worth of email and several recent messages from Vancouver Mom alerting me that I had made the 2011 30 Fabulous Vancouver Mom Bloggers list and asking me to send in a bio and a photo for their feature.   I have no idea how I got nominated for this list, but I am over the moon to even have been considered for it.  And I feel like a complete tool for being such a delinquent.

By absolutely no means do I consider myself a real contender for this title, but I am absolutely thrilled to be lumped in with the pretty and popular kids, so don't burst my bubble, mmmkay?  Throw a few votes my way by clicking here. And don't forget to check out the other fabulous mom bloggers on the list!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

So I'm going to this wedding in Vegas in just over a week, and I decided to forgo the dresses currently hanging in my closet in favour of something new and different.  I headed to an uuber-trendy store.  This is the kind of store that draws the hipsters in my neighbourhood; the kind of store that I enter sheepishly and with great intimidation, feeling that I am too old/frumpy/mommyish/plain/uncool to shop there.  This store has tons of cute and trendy dresses, and I promised myself that I would try something different for a change, and at least consider dresses that I would normally dismiss as Too Hip, Too Out There, or Not Really Me.  This is a wedding in Vegas, after all, and it seems like the perfect excuse to push my personal style boundaries and bend my rules a bit.

The first thing I noticed is that most of the dresses at this store were very young and flirty, which is kind of what I was going for, but for some reason they also all seemed really short.  These days, it's pretty rare for me to wear dresses that fall much above the knee - I'm not really down with exposing my behind when I bend over.

I pulled several dresses off the rack to try on.  Some were a little outside of my usual style box, and some were typical colours and/or styles for me.  There was one dress, though, that I kept coming back to.  On the hanger, it seemed too much for my simple tastes, and I almost didn't try it on, feeling a bit silly even taking it into the change room with me.  But then I reminded myself that the point of this exercise was to push myself.  One after another, I quickly eliminated all the other dresses - too tight, too loose, not dressy enough, totally unflattering, oh, and of course, too short.

Finally, there was just one dress left.  Yep, you guessed it; the almost-didn't-try-it-on-because-it's-really-not-me multi-coloured frilly dress.  So I slipped it on, and lo and behold, I actually quite liked it.  Well, I thought I liked it.  But I still wasn't sure if it screamed "fun, flirty party girl" or "I'm a pinata, go ahead and whack me with a stick until I bust open and spew my candy-coated innards everywhere."  So I hemmed and hawed, trying to make a decision, wishing that I had a girlfriend with me to offer an honest opinion.  I thought maybe I would buy it, bring it home and get the Hubs' opinion, and then return it if he thought it was too much, but then I noticed a sign inside the door of the change room that read, "Choose wisely, all sales final." Ummm... pressure much?

Initially, I walked away, thinking I would show pictures taken on my iPhone to a girlfriend and the Hubs for a second and third opinion, but I couldn't stop thinking about that dress, and less than half an hour later I was back at the same store, trying it on again.  I started asking random shoppers for their opinions - I was desperate!   A few kind ladies who happened to be there when I came out of the change room wearing the dress convinced me that it was really cute and I should get it.  So I did.

What do you think?  I can't return it, but I do have a backup, so please be honest.

Also, accessories.  At the very least, I'll need shoes and a handbag, and I'm a bit stumped as to what colours be pairing with this dress.  Oh, and would a fascinator would be over the top?  (I'm kidding.  I think.)  If you consider yourself a fashionista with impeccable taste, please leave me a comment here.  I need your help!!!


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