Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Hello 2014!

In a situation whose irony is not lost on either of us, yesterday we had to rush Cosmo to Bern's emergency animal clinic where he remains under observation. So far the vet seems hopeful he's going to be okay, and I refuse to believe anything else. He must be okay. But dudes, seriously. As Dan called me yesterday with the vet's prognosis, the pragmatic part of me couldn't help but ask with trepidation, "What's the bill going to be?"

"Yeah," Dan replied, "We probably won't be going on that ski holiday we wanted to. But he's family, you know."

"I know," I replied. "He's more than that."

So to close out a year that wasn't great, our poor cat isn't well, and our family morale-building holiday we wanted to take in February likely won't come to fruition as those funds will be channeled elsewhere.

Oh, and did I mention I have such a sore throat that it feels like I have two golf balls in my neck.

Ah, life. To say that Dan and I are happy to be closing the door on this year, would be an understatment. It may seem sort of superstitious but at midnight we plan on opening all our doors and windows to let the new year in, and the old one out. I am also currently, and vigioursly, cleaning my house to rid the nooks and crannies of any 2013 debris.

Tomorrow is a fresh start.

Filled with the endless potential to eat Crayola markers and not be caught.

However, all that said, none of the above is anything to complain about--it's rotten, not disasterous--and I am lucky that I didn't lose anyone near and dear to me this year; that I have a daughter who brings me so much happiness I can't even fathom she wasn't always here; a husband who makes me laugh and whom I love so much; a family who despite being half way around the world, I have such a close bond with that it seems sometimes like they're in my living room.

We have dear friends, we are warm, and we have champagne to pop at midnight.

We are very fortunate, so I suppose the only thing I really hope for in 2014 is just a smidge more day-to-day good luck.

Happy New Year, everyone.

I hope it's a good one, for you.

 

Saturday, 28 December 2013

A Christmas Miracle

Would now be a good time to tell you all that we lost the cat on Christmas eve?

But don't worry, we found him again!

He wasn't 'lost-lost' more like 'temporarily misplaced'. 

So here's how the story unfolds: we got LB the Ikea play kitchen for Christmas (as you see in the previous post), which we were very excited to give to her. At the music classes we go to, there is one of these play kitchens in the waiting area and she's always in there like a dirty shirt, wrestling her way between the big kids so that she too can stand at the sink and bang a pot against it. There's also a Fisher Price play kitchen at our playgroup, which she is equally enamoured with. Me? Not so much. 

Let's be frank: hulking toys of plastic are ugly as fuck and I didn't want that in my house.

I originally had plans to pimp LB's play kitchen by painting it, but in the end it did seem like a suicide mission so close to Christmas. One drawback to living in an apartment is there isn't a garage or basement where you can spread out and do something crafty without running the risk of tiny feet or hands smearing themselves through the fresh paint. 

I will save this project for a future date. I will! This is my solemn vow!

So anyhow, on Christmas Eve we attended a dinner and didn't get home until 11:30. When we first arrived at the dinner the champagne was flowing, I was thirsty, and rather than get some water I instead drank two very full flutes of champers. Oops. LB was sweet as could be, but was so excited to be in a space she'd never been before that she was into everything, and nothing was kid friendly which made it all the more exciting for her. 

Not so much for Dan and I.

Chasing her around was exhausting.

I was starting to come down from my champagne buzz and really just wanted to lie on the couch and fall asleep. So I drank some red wine instead to try and pick back up. Again, why didn't I chug water?! One does not combat alcohol drowsiness with more alcohol.

Essentially by the time we got home I was exhausted, but firmly refused to go to bed. Earlier that week I'd told Dan that it was very, very important to me that we assemble LB's Santa gift so that it was set-up and waiting under the tree for when she woke up. We would not spend Christmas day doing this. Dan agreed, since my foot was firmly down on this matter. These are the moments parenting memories are made of, right?! So we got home, put our sleeping girl into her crib, and Dan went downstairs to our storage locker to get the boxes so we could assemble the kitchen.

I put National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation on the television, and at midnight we started to piece her kitchen together.

All was merry and bright.

Then at 12:30 I was over it and wanted to speed the process up. So as Dan assembled one part of the kitchen, I'd skip ahead in the manual and get the next step ready.

I was being helpful, dammit!

Except, I wasn't. Because as Dan used a lot of blunt force to screw two screws into a door hinge he kept grunting, "Are you sure these are the right screws?"

"Yes I'm sure! God! You think I can't read something as basic as an Ikea manual?!"

"Well they aren't going in that easily."

"Not my fault they made the holes too small. I CAN READ AN INSTRUCTION MANUAL, DAN."

Nope, I couldn't. Wrong screws.

I was a totally useless cast member in a production that I had spearheaded, so instead I basically lay on the couch and tried to stay awake for moral support, then every so often would get up to toss the cardboard on our deck. 

Finally, at 2 a.m. the kitchen was together and we just had to fill it with the pots and pans and wooden vegetables. It was at this point we realised that Cosmo hadn't once traipsed through Dan's efforts and sent small bits of hardware rolling everywhere.

"He must have got onto the deck when you put the first set of boxes out there," Dan reasoned.

He wasn't.

"He's probably sleeping on the chair in [LB's] room," I reasoned.

He wasn't.

"He's probably stuck in the shoe cupboard again," we both decided.

He wasn't.

"The towel cupboard, again?" 

Nope.

"Stuck in a kitchen cabinet, again?"

Not a single one.

WHERE WAS HE?

I got out the treat bag and gently shook it into every nook and cranny of the apartment, and apart from having a very excited Poppy trailing at my feet, there was no Cosmo. He clearly escaped earlier when Dan came in with the kitchen boxes. So I crept into the hallway of our building and gently rattled the treat bag as I walked up and down the stairs softly calling his name. No Cosmo. By now it was 2:30 in the morning and I was tired and a bit panicked that Cosmo might be lost.

Dan was rejoicing that his wish for Cosmo's permanent freedom might be coming true. A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.

I was not impressed with his lack of concern.

I decided that someone must have let him out of the building, so I bundled up, grabbed the treat bag again, and quietly made my way back to the lobby. As I turned the key to go outside, the flash of the glass door on the light reflected on two eyes that belonged to a feline body that was positively flattened underneath LB's stroller. 

COSMO.

I shut the door and went over to the stroller and moved it, and the poor little guy was hiding under there, trembling, looking as scared as I'd ever seen him. He basically spent nearly three hours in the wilds of our building, and he was clearly scarred from it. I mean, he wouldn't even budge for the rattling of the treat bag. I picked him up and clambered back to our apartment, where Dan seemed less than excited that I'd found him.

I set Cosmo on the ground and he puffed up like a cotton ball, pranced around for a second, before collapsing on his cat bed in sheer gratitude that he was home. We hoped his new found appreciation for the apartment would stay with him, but alas our theory that he has a memory of a goldfish has been confirmed because not less than twelve hours after his ordeal, he was again crying for freedom.

Which Dan really wanted to make happen.

Oh Christmas, you really do bring out the best in us.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

The Eleven Days of Christmas: Not A Creature Was Stirring

Except for us, still awake at 2 am assembling LB's very special Santa gift.



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Her very own play kitchen, complete with wooden fruits, vegetables, and breads that she can 'cut' herself (they are all magnetically pieced together), along with some pots and pans to make a grand noise with.

Merry Christmas everyone, I hope yours is special or you find some way to make it so.


Tuesday, 24 December 2013

The Eleven Days of Christmas: Day Ten

So this is coming a day late, but it was too dark last night to take a picture of...my nails.

Yes, that's right! Day ten is devoted to my fingernails!

Nope, not running out of ideas at all.

Anyhow, last night as I watched a Christmas movie I decided to give myself a Christmas manicure in the obvious colour choice: red.

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Red!

I go through phases of painting my nails, and generally these phases are only in the winter months because I like the dark colours. It actually makes me cringe a little to see someone over the age of ten with turquoise finger nails, and make no mistake: I've definitely tried it, too. I keep thinking that maybe I'll change my mind, but I haven't. 

In keeping with a red theme, we've been trying to read this book to LB but she won't sit still long enough for us to finish it.

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A classic!

We get to the part where the Grinch steals the roast beast and then she's outta there.

I, too, bought a roast beast yesterday and we will be roasting up a turkey for our dinner tomorrow night. I managed to find one that cost an 'acceptable' 50 CHF, but it's still fairly small. My mom told me she spent $80 on a fresh bird that is big enough to feed twenty-five people.

Sob.

I am definitely feeling homesick this Christmas Eve.

However, I'll be back later today with Day Eleven! 

Sunday, 22 December 2013

The Eleven Days of Christmas: Day Nine

On Friday it was all about the music and today it's all about the movies.

It's that time of year when I get to pour myself a steaming mug of Moroccan mint tea, get cozy, and watch loads of really bad, made-for-tv, Christmas movies. Oh I love them so!

They are so bad!

The plots stink, the acting is overzealous, Santa is always helping someone in New York or Arizona find their Christmas spirit that was presumably lost under some stray garbage or behind a cactus, and the inevitable romantic warm-and-fuzzy ending always makes me roll my eyes and groan, "Are they kidding me?! I wasn't born yesterday, they have only known each other for five days!"

(I'm not a believer in love at first sight. Too uptight.)

Some of the worst shows I've seen this year have the following plots:

(1) Melissa Joan Hart (WHY DOES SHE USE THIS AS HER STAGE NAME) kidnaps Mario Lopez and spirits him away to her family's cabin where she holds him hostage and makes him pretend to be her boyfriend because she's too embarrassed to be single for yet another Christmas. Yes, she does manage to get him to pretend to be her boyfriend despite the fact he has free will, can tell everyone what she's done, and can get the hell out of there. Then they really fall in love at the end. Who wrote this shit?!

(2) Santa takes time out of his busy schedule because he realises that eighteen years ago, a nine year old wished for true love AND HASN'T FOUND IT YET. Santa decides her current boyfriend is no good, but his best friend is a good fit, and the entire two hour movie revolves around Santa performing feats of magic to make sure this girl and the best friend remain stranded in an idyllic town that Christmas threw-up on, while the boyfriend is a mere hour away up the mountain unable to get to the girlfriend because crazy things like bears standing next to his car and falling snow prevent him from getting to her. However, tricky Santa makes sure his high school girlfriend manages to ring his doorbell. The movie ends with the girlfriend and best friend realising they love each other, the boyfriend and his high school girlfriend realising they still love each other, and all four of them meet up in the town square and look around at each other and giggle foolishly. Hehehe, we all spent the past two days being adulterers. MERRY CHRISTMAS.

(3) A psychiatrist falling in love with A PATIENT who thinks he's Santa, and her nurse friends conspire to get them together. Of course they do get together once he realises he's not Santa. I mean holy shit. Awful.

Every night I torture myself with one of these movies, Dan sort of watches while he's on the iPad, and then at the end we groan about how awful it was. Then we do it all over again the next day.

Of course, I also like to watch the regular Christmas DVD standbys too: Home Alone, Love Actually, While You Were Sleeping, White Christmas, Meet Me In St. Louis, The Family Man, A Christmas Story, and Bridget Jones's Diary. These are my Christmas standbys. I also will watch A Christmas Carol, Miracle on 34th Street, and It's a Wonderful Life if they're on tv.

Also, lately there's been a lot of buzz about You've Got Mail since it's been out for fifteen years, and I didn't realise this but for a lot of people this is one of their go-to Christmas movies. In fact, I really didn't realise this but a lot of people LOVE this movie. Am I all alone in thinking it's total shiz? I mean dudes, HE PUT HER OUT OF BUSINESS. A business that was started by her mother! And then they get together? Say wha? I remember watching that movie in the theatre in high school with a friend, and at the end I harrumphed that I was pissed she got together with him and my friend thought it was lovely. So I was all, "It wasn't just business, it was personal! Only rich dudes try to tell people it's just business.That was her livelihood! She wasn't a millionaire, come on! How was she supposed to support herself? As if I believe she'd become a world famous reviewer of children's literature. It's awful!"

The following Christmas someone gave me the DVD as a gift.

They clearly didn't know me at all.

But, apparently, I'm alone in my disdain of the movie because loads of people are obsessed with it and adore Kathleen Kelly's "La-la-la life's a daisy" approach to the closing of a business started by her deceased mother.

I must be cold-hearted because I really don't get it.

Do you love it? Why? Please shed some light on this for me!

Otherwise, tell me, what's your favourite Christmas movies?

PS: Dan and I also like watching The Long Kiss Goodnight at Christmas, too. Geena Davis is bad ass and Samuel L. Jackson is a frigging fortune cookie with his one-liners. You gotta love 80's action movies: they really didn't take themselves too seriously.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

The Eleven Days of Christmas: Day Eight


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(I totally knit this sweater! Hellz yeah!)

She may look angelic here (and let's be honest, she does) but looks can be deceiving. She is developing a very...dramatic personality and we're not going to pretend otherwise: it's straight up exhausting, yo!

Tonight when Dan and I realised it was still twenty minutes to her bedtime the following exchange occurred:

Caitie: 'Twenty minutes?! Do you think we could get away with it?'

Then Dan grinned, 'We totally could.'

'I'll get her toothbrush, you pick the story,' I cried as I raced down the hall.

Then we hurriedly brushed her teeth, gave her the cliff notes version of Oliver Jeffers' 'Stuck', zipped her into her sleep sack, kissed her brow, wished her a good sleep, and freaking hightailed it out of there.

Thought I'd share this since most parenting books fail to mention the 'Bend time in your favour and rush bedtime' days that inevitably happen. 

God help us when she learns to tell time....



Friday, 20 December 2013

The Eleven Days of Christmas: Day Seven

So...we're totally just going to pretend that I blogged on Day Six, right? That I didn't forget, then remember at ten o'clock at night when I was already snuggled up under a blanket with no intention of turning on my computer.

Okay, good.

Glad we're on the same page.

So onto day seven, and today is going to be all about the music.

The music, man. Can you dig it? Can you feel it? Alright.

Since it's Friday, and for many of you it's going to be a night to celebrate since you might now be off work for TWO. WHOLE. WEEKS. I think we can all agree that there's good chance you might be doing a happy dance. In our house, LB and I get our happy dance on everyday. Yep, we have dance parties everyday.

Most days it's just me dancing by myself while LB looks at me like I'm nuts, but I'm okay with that. I love to dance, and there's no harm in her seeing me act like a huge goofball.

I wouldn't say I have particularly inspired taste in music, because generally I just listen to whatever comes on the radio. In fact, I'm not afraid to admit that Dan is downright frightened for our daughter's future musical palate because he's concerned he's not around enough to influence her. When she was first born, he'd race home at night and put on a hour of tunes that he deemed 'good music' to try and erase all that Beyonce she and I listened to for the previous eight hours. But today my friends, we need to have a moment of silence for Dan's efforts because I'm afraid they might have been for nought. You see, lately every time Katy Perry's "Roar" comes on the radio, LB starts dipping her little knees and dancing.

She loves the song.

Loves. It.

I'm certain he shed a tear.

So without further ado, here is a collection of the current songs in heavy rotation for our afternoon dance parties.


It should be noted, whenever we dance to this song I tell her she never has to dance alone.
I'll always dance with her.

Generally I think Lana Del Rey should only sing at funerals, but I'll be damned if this remix isn't catchy.

When we need to slow it down.

Because it's great for stomping your feet!

Straight up obsessed with this one. 
It's great for teaching LB to move to the beat.

\Probably shouldn't let her listen to this one...

And of course:


She really loves this one.


Happy dancing, folks!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The Eleven Days of Christmas: Day Five

 
He's a pain in the ass, but damn can he be cute sometimes.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Are We Being Too Cerebral About Santa?

**I blogged TWICE today**

It's that time of year again when parents (and non-parents alike) start to hotly debate whether or not to introduce the idea of Santa Claus to their children. I never even realised this was a debate until about seven years ago or so, I stumbled across a blog where the writer very seriously stated that she and her husband were very uncomfortable with lying to their son about Santa. They had vowed they would never tell their child a lie, and Santa was a lie, hence their son would be told there is no such thing.

Full disclaimer: I totally rolled my eyes after reading her blog.

Full disclaimer: I still want to roll my eyes every time this conversation comes up.

People: chill out.

It's just fun.

I know it's completely up to the individual family if they do Santa or not and that some families don't introduce him for reasons of religious belief, because he simply doesn't jive with why they celebrate December 25th. I also understand that certain families don't celebrate December 25th at all, in any form, hence Santa is not a story they need to tell. I find these reasons easier to swallow, so it's when people try to reason away why they won't do Santa that I just feel exhausted for them.

God it must be dull to be so prosaic all the time.

This year I've spoken to three different moms who won't be telling their kids about Santa, and I find it interesting because all three of them grew up believing in Santa. Their main concern is that they don't want to jeopardise their kids' trust in them when the child grows up to learn that Santa Claus isn't real. I find this to be an interesting concern, because when I asked them if they were traumatised from learning the truth, none of them were.

So if they were unscathed, why do they assume their kids would be any different?

I honestly think those people who were traumatised to learn of Santa's non-existence are the exception to the rule, and as parents you have to suss out what category your kid will fall into. But generally speaking, kids are smart and resilient and at a certain point they figure it out, all on their own. Can you believe it?! It's like they have a brain or something! Zoinks!

Because who doesn't remember asking, "Is Santa really real?"

To me, that's the question where you establish the trust relationship with your kid. If your response is, "Yes! Absolutely! He's totally real, 150%!", then yeah: you lied to your kid. But if you ask them what they think, that's where you get to gage if they want to keep believing for a little longer or if they're over it.

"Do you think Santa's real?"

"No."

Ask them why they don't believe, they will give you the sound reasons behind their decision, then tell them they get to be in the club now about people who know that the nice story of Santa is just a story, but it sure is fun to pretend. Because it is.

If your kid is upset because their friend Lazerbeam just told them Santa wasn't real, then it's a pretty good indication they still want to believe and it's a prime moment to teach them that all over the world lots of people believe lots of different things. Your friend Lazerbeam doesn't believe in Santa, and that's cool. Do you believe? You do. That's cool too.

(Also, don't forget there's the age your kid definitely stops believing--about seven--and the age they tell their parents. Who wants to risk not getting a Santa gift?!)

Childhood is a small window of time in a long life, and in my opinion our kids have years and years ahead of them to be sensible and grown-up and logical. The gift of a little magical anticipation on Christmas Eve isn't going to destroy them in the long run (it isn't! Be serious! Do you hear yourself?!), and in my opinion it's quite sad to be so grown-up that we forget how fun and magical it is to be a kid.

Also, the idea of what Santa Claus is born from (the act of selfless gift giving) is an important one to remember this time of year. It's a hard reality that not every family is so fortunate that they can debate whether or not to tell their kid about Santa Claus. Some families can't afford the tale. So remember to be generous to those in your communities who have less, because it's no secret that even adults need to believe around this time of year, too.

The Eleven Days of Christmas: Day Four

Last week at LB's playgroup, we had a festive little Christmas party complete with snacks, games, and a visit from Santa himself. The only criteria for the Santa gift was that parents were asked to respect a price limit of 20 CHF or less, which is totally appropriate. I distinctly recall going to a Christmas party for either my mom or dad's work, and watching Santa pull from his sack a big-ass remote control car for one kid, while I got a colouring book and crayons.

Why did Santa love me less?!

The only thing about Switzerland is it was honestly hard to find a toy for under 20 CHF that was age appropriate for LB.

I know you don't believe me, but I speak the truth!

She's at this in between stage where she's too old for some of the baby toys (toys like rattles, or those other ones specifically designed for babies to handle and explore all the different crinkly bits) but is still far too young for some other toys like wooden puzzles, or toys with small pieces, or bath crayons for the tub, etc.

In the end I decided to get her a very wee baby-doll that came 3 CHF under the gift limit, and has a head that smells like baby powder.
 
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Meet baby Robin.
 
Baby Robin is not a hit.
 
I had thought LB was ready for her own baby doll because there's a busted up baby doll at playgroup that she is in love with. This poor doll has one eye that doesn't blink anymore, there's a huge bald spot on her head where her artificial auburn hair has been yanked out, and this doll's naked body is totally scribbled on in blue crayon.
 
Also, its head doesn't smell like baby powder at all! It's not nearly as good as Baby Robin, but LB prefers her more.
 
Kids: they're totally confusing and weird.
 
If Santa had really wanted to win LB over that day, he should have just given her a balloon.
  
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This green one she stole off another kid was all she really needed to make merry.

Monday, 16 December 2013

The Eleven Days of Christmas: Day Three

This Christmas season I have been celebrating advent by baking a new cookie every week. We started the first Sunday of advent with some of my pillow-soft gingersnaps, which leads me to believe I need to rename the cookie because they definitely don't 'snap'. Maybe I will call them "Ginger Pillows" or "Those Soft Cookies That Taste Like Ginger". At any rate, they are supposed to 'snap' but I take them out of the oven before they can get too hard, because nothing kills my buzz faster than a crunchy cookie.

Blech.

Next up was my lemon poppy seed cookies, which are also soft. I am quite proud of these cookies because I think (in my not-so-humble-opinion) I have made them BETTER than the original recipe. Essentially, they are supposed to be drizzled with a lemon glaze once they are completely cooled but I thought that if I drizzled them with the glaze when they first came out of the oven, the hot cookie would absorb the tarty drizzle which would keep them even softer. I was right, and these beauties are decadent. They're almost like little cakes, rather than cookies.

Full disclosure: I made three batches of these in one week, because we loved them so much. Also one batch is quite small, so really it's almost like it was one regular sized batch.

Yes....

The other cookie we've made are some classic sugar cookies, which we decorated yesterday. In keeping with my abhorrence of hard cookies, I cut these on the thicker side and bake them for the minimum time called for.

 
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My favourite shapes!
 
Decorating cookies is a pain in the ass. It really is. Sure it's sort of fun, for maybe two cookies, then I find it boring and tedious. Dan is the opposite of me, and he likes the careful attention to detail so we found a good balance for our decorating day: Dan carefully piped designs onto his cookies, and I went to town with sprinkles for mine.
 
However, I'd like to add that my application of sprinkles could absolutely be classified as post-modern in the baking world. I'm sure of it. I even know a professional baker who'd bake (wink, wink) me up on this. So you shouldn't assume I was utterly lazy. No, I prefer to think that my sprinkle cookies are the Pollocks of the cookie world.
  
 
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A sampling of Dan's beautifully piped cookies.
 
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My sprinkly-sprinkle cookies!
(the bear with the covered rump is my favourite)
 
I think, though, that baking these cookies for advent was really just a good excuse for me to use my new timer. It's shaped like a cupcake and I bought it at a fancy store for 50% off. Clearly it had to come home with me.
 
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Also, LB wasn't that into decorating these cookies. She was interested in squashing her hand into the sprinkles, and trying to convince Cosmo she's the boss.
 
She also tries to convince me of this, too.
 
It's the cutest when kids think they're right.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Eleven Days of Christmas: Day Two

Today was a magical day in Bern: it was one of only two Sundays A YEAR when all stores other than those in the Bahnhof are open for shopping. Yes, I know I've covered this before, but it's worth repeating that on Sundays the city of Bern is a spendthrift's worst nightmare: nothing is open. Oh sure you can go to the cafes and drink your European sized cup of java, but aside from that there's not much to do other than walk up and down deserted sidewalks, stare at fountains, or maybe sit in a park somewhere with a picnic basket full of olives, salami, crusty bread, cheese, wine, and enjoy time with family and friends.

How dreadful.

I'm used to it now, and now find it more than appalling that back home stores not only don't close for Sundays but are insisting on staying open on holidays. Blasphemy!

Today we didn't go to Bern for shopping Sunday; I probably will go next week though, in a mad sprint to try and buy Dan's Christmas gifts without having a sixteen month old cramping my shopping style, which includes examining everything for a ridiculously long time. Who wouldn't want to shop with someone like me? I'M DECISIVE. In opposite land.

Instead we went for a long walk.

I repeat: a LLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGG walk. And I should clarify the length wasn't due to ground covered, but rather because of the time spent waiting on tiny little legs belonging to a small lady who, at every rock, discarded tissue, trotting pup, or grazing horse, stopped, pointed, and loudly asked: "WHAT'S THAT?!"

"It's garbage, darling. No, don't pick it up. Don't pick...AHH."

"What's that?! MOOOOO."

"That's a dog, chickpea. Dog's say 'woof'."

"MOOOO."

So even though we were only ten minutes away from our apartment, it took us nearly two hours to make the round trip.

 
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I can't even handle how cute they look.
 
Specifically we went up the road to visit the horses. This is a very regular visit that LB and I make, and there's two different places we can go to check out the horses. Lately we've been preferring to visit this farm, because the horses are right on the side of the walking trail, whereas the other place they are farther away in the field.
 
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Sorry mom, I'm trying to figure out my shadow right now.
 
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The view behind her.
 
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Us.
 
(NB: I will make a comment here that this is the first time in over a year I have been able to crouch. Let's all raise our glass of eggnog and say three cheers to specialists who actually seem to specialise! And who obviously didn't graduate at the bottom of their medical class! Pip, pip!)
 
And don't worry, Internet, it's not like we made her walk the whole way:  we also made her run through the mud while we jogged beside her blowing a military whistle in her ear.
 
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But generally speaking we just carried her when she got tired.
 
She liked the view.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

The Eleven Days of Christmas! (Part 1)

Hey, remember that catchy song 'The Eleven Days of Christmas'?!  Okay, I don't either. But I didn't have my act together yesterday, so you guys are going to get The Eleven Days of Christmas.

For the next eleven days I am going to blog every. single. day.

Sometimes, maybe even TWICE A DAY.

And just so we're clear, Instagram pictures count as blogging.

Also, if it was a boring day I reserve the right to throw up anything even if it's not in chronological order.

Alright, let's do this!

***

(ahhheeemm...hack..cough...clearing out the pipes...trying to get the pitch...)

On the eleventh day of Christmas our family,
decorated the Christmas tree.
 

photo photo (2) photo (1)
 
Poppy was quiet and Cosmo nearly broke a glass,
he continues to be a pain in the ass.
 
 
 
LB was really delighted with the tree,
And only one ornament was broken at the hands of our little banshee.
 
In order to distract her from the Douglas Fir,
We thought it best to allow her to stir.
 
(the cookie dough)
 
The Eleven Days of Christmas
 
 
 And finally, as today Jack Frost had his major break through,
we rounded out the night with delicious fondue.
 
 
photo (4)
 
 
***
 
P.S. Also reserve the right to not rhyme every post.
 
I'm out of practice...that shit is hard.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Lost In Thought

Do you guys ever visit the website Humans of New York? It's a website devoted to, uh, the...humans of New York. I log on about once a month to check out what poignant images and captions Brandon has discovered on his travels through the streets of New York, and I am consistently blown away by how freaking deep some people are.

From what I understand, Brandon approaches random strangers asks them a couple of questions and takes their picture. Then on the website he juxtaposes the image with their stories. I say I'm blown away by this because these people are going about their day when *bam* they're approached by a dude who asks a rather innocent question that has the potential for a reply loaded with meaning.

My latest favourite is this conversation exchange, juxtaposed with a guy looking sideways at the camera:

"I've been examining my values lately, and determining whether or not I like the feelings that result from those values."
"What's an example of one of your values?"
"I'm very competitive."
"And what's a feeling that results from being competitive?"
"Jealousy."
"How does competitiveness result in jealousy?"
"When you have a competitive mindset, you tend to view the world in terms of winners and losers. So you resent other people getting recognition, because you somehow believe that less recognitions is available to you. I'm learning that this is a false mindset. There's not a fixed amount of success and recognition in the world. So another person's accomplishments don't diminish the accomplishments available to you."

***

Umm...excuse me while I pick my jaw off the ground. Dude was just casually THINKING THAT? Like, mulling it over the same way I mull over what scent I'm putting in my bath that night?

Lavender or honey?

Long bath or short?

Hot or warm?

Dry myself off totally or just throw on my jammies while I'm still sort of damp?

I mean Internet, that conversation is the sort of brilliance littered throughout the pages of HONY and it's why I love it so much and I'm so in awe of the people who are featured: they are funny, deep, sad, elated, and candid.

Last night after doing my monthly perusal, I tested myself to see what I would say if a random person approached me and asked what advice I'd have for a large group of people. The first thing that popped into my head was this:

"If you've never tried it you must take a slice of cheddar cheese, spread it with mustard, and lay a pickle slice on top. It's the best."

Yeah....I might not be the deepest person you'll ever meet.

(P.S. You seriously should try that combo. My babysitter introduced it to my when I was five years old and it's been my go-to snack every since.)

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Remember When I Used To Blog? Me Neither.

Oh blogging.

I remember you well. I used to have things to say. I observed shit, you know. Nothing escaped me. NOTHING. But now...oh, but now. These days a thought will cross my mind and I'll think, "Hey I should blog about that!" Then I stare at my computer, contemplate devoting precious free-time (courtesy of nap-time) to formulating coherent sentences, then think screw it and lie on the couch and read.

So why am blogging now? I have nothing to say at the moment. Seriously, nothing. However, I have a burst of energy and plenty of free-time because it's 12:30 a.m. and I made a very poor decision at 9:30 p.m. involving my advent tea calendar, a strong cup of Darjeeling tea, and a decadent spoonful of Nutella. What the fuck was I thinking? Not about the spoonful of Nutella--naturally--but rather that cup of Darjeeling tea. I couldn't resist it, though. My advent tea calendar is the best thing ever, and so far I've enjoyed three wonderful days of different surprise teas. However, they are admittedly supposed to be enjoyed in the morning...not a half hour before bedtime.

Le sigh.

So I'm rattling about the house like a ghost of Christmas past, irritated that I can't fall asleep, but enjoying the warm glow of the twinkle lights that hang in our windows and fill the living room with a soft amber radiance. In case you can't tell, that means we have decorated the apartment for Christmas.

We did this on Sunday, which upon reflection was a jam-packed day. In the morning we bundled up our LB in all her winter gear and braved the frigid cold (it was -1...I realise...I'm the wimpiest) and went up to our village's Christmas market. We looked at the craft booths, chugged some mulled wine that was extra warm--read, naughty--courtesy of that shot of schnapps, ate some churros, and bought LB a massive helium balloon that was shaped like a horse. She loved it.

Remember when life was so simple that an inflated piece of plastic was the stuff dreams were made of?

After LB napped we busted out our two bins of Christmas decorations and set about making our place feel cheery while we sipped hot chocolate that was spiked with Bailey's. 'Tis the season!

(To find any way to put booze in anything.)

LB wasn't that into the Christmas decorating, and instead every time we set something out she went and grabbed it and tried to put it back in the bin. Toddlers, man: they are hardwired for organisation.

"I will take it out, then put it back in again. Out, but then back in. Out...BUT THEN BACK IN SERIOUSLY DON'T EVEN TRY TO STOP ME THIS MUST GO BACK IN THE BOX."

Dan is hoping that she continues to feel this keenly about putting things away for years to come. He insists it's her Swiss genes shining through. He's blaming the screaming on her Canadian genes, though. Because oh yeah...she is still a screamer.

This is not looking like a phase, but rather....I THINK THIS IS HOW SHE IS.

Hold me.

On Monday we went to Ikea with a friend, and LB was babbling away in her highchair while she ate her tomato pasta and some of my Swedish meatballs. However, I was chatting with my friend and LB decided she wasn't getting the attention that was required for this fascinating tale she was telling me about Babble-on (GET IT) so she just let one rip. One loud, ear shattering, piercing, PAY ATTENTION TO ME RIGHT NOW DAMN YOU ALL, scream. My friend (who has a two year old) stopped mid-sentence, looked at me, and said, "You're screwed. That's a big personality in a little body." Then she laughed and laughed in a "glad it's you and not me" kind of way.

We know.

Oh, we know.

Yet, and pardon me while I get quite mother-ish and cliché, she's a wonder. I know I probably should be trying to figure out how to curb the screaming, but it's just fascinating for me to watch her turning into a little person and realise that right now, this day, today, if she screams everyone will stop and pay attention to her. Which is all she wants.

Also, and this has nothing to do with anything, she calls me Mimi and it's the cutest. She is of course saying 'Mommy' but she draws it out like, "Mmii-mmii." She also says: Daddy, What's that?, Uppy (when she wants up), and she can moo like a cow and do the "EE-I-EE-I-O" course to Old MacDonald Had A Farm.

Yes, it's fair to say we are quite smitten and firmly believe she is the most amazing baby on the planet, ever, in the history of babies.

Which is just as it should be.

However, all that said, she is also the most exhausting person around, which is why I'm so annoyed (yet also amazed) at the power of that cup of Darjeeling, because most days I feel like you could drip caffeine through a central line and I wouldn't be 100% awake.

Yet here I am...AT 12:46 A.M. WIDE AWAKE.

Take note, anyone who needs to be awake: Darjeeling tea will get the job done.

Effectively.