Yo.

Well, hello, there.

I’m back. I think. I just recently caught up on a friend’s blog, and I love the way she writes and captures her everyday family life. It’s those little stories that we’ll all forget in 20 years (or 20 minutes), which got me thinking about returning to the blog to capture those memories of my own. And to write run-on sentences. And incomplete ones, too.

Since I last logged in, a lot has happened.

1. This Girl. We welcomed Margaret Isabel James (Maggie) into our lives:

Maggie

Oh, she makes me so happy. She was born Nov. 8, exactly 23 months after her brother’s arrival. She started smiling at four weeks, and loves to coo, chat and giggle at anyone who crosses her path. Alex was a very chilled out baby, and Maggie’s proving to follow in her brother’s footsteps. We don’t know how we got so lucky with our babies, but we’re grateful each day for them.

2. No sleep. Though she may smile, she does not sleep. Maggie is a busy girl, which means she’s had her share of sleeping struggles. We’re getting there in our attempts to get her to sleep, but it requires swaddling and NOT missing her tired window of opportunity! She is vocal. Kinda like her dad. ūüėČ

3. Breastfeeding. I had my share of struggles with Alex and breastfeeding. I just couldn’t keep up with him. I had an amazing first three months of breastfeeding with Mags, almost doing it exclusively. But at the 3.5-month mark, she keep asking for more food every hour, and she wasn’t sleeping. I pumped to discover I’m not producing as much milk as she needs, so I’ve switched to supplementing and pumping. Following such a tiring and heartbreaking experience with Alex, I’ve been quick to recognize the same trend in Mags and put my ego to the side. The result? A much happier baby and a much more relaxed mama.

4. Alex’s Adjustment. Alex immediately took to Maggie. “My hold her!” is a constant request in our household, and he’s always bringing us her bottle, soother and blanket. And she feels the same way about him. When Alex walks into her view, she immediately lights up and loves to watch him play. It’s endearing and I’ll have to remember those moments for when they’re fighting over toys later in life!

5. The gallbladder. My gallbladder was removed on Dec. 16, five weeks after Maggie’s birth, and the day after we had to bring her to CHEO due to a fever. The surgery went well, but I’d say it was one of the most stressful/exhausting weeks of our lives. I was unable to help out much, Maggie was sick, and Toby was trying to balance it all out. We survived and were happy to see 2015 arrive. I was also happy when the pizza delivery guy arrived at my doorstep. Hello, pizza. I’ve missed you.

This Sunday, Maggie turns four months old. I can’t imagine our lives without her now, and it feels good to write about our family life again.

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Gratitude and Daddy Poo

I got a text from my friend recently¬†who said he is¬†excited for my gallbladder¬†removal so that¬†I’ll be back to my funny self.

When I asked him if I meant I had lost my sense of humour, I could hear the crickets travel through text travel time!

With that, I¬†got to thinking about the struggles of pregnancy, and want to showcase¬†my¬†gratitude for all the things happening in my life. And while I’m in countdown mode for the birth of our second child, I still see a lot of light in the days that pass.

Here are just a few:

This guy:

IMAG0823

Every day, our son makes me laugh. He finds humour in balancing a spoon on his head; on tipping his tractors, just as Mater does in the movie, Cars; and when he spots a boat, car, truck, tractor or any other mode of transportation. His personality is coming out, and it’s so fun to watch his mind grow.

IMAG0860

Here are just some of the things that have come out of his mouth:

“Bum!”

“Daddy poo”

“Why? Why? Why?”‘

“Mine”

“NO!!”

“Baby” (and points to everyone’s belly)

“What ‘dat?”

“Lie down!” (to the dog)

“Silly”

“Wha’ You Doin?”

He gets joy from seeing our reaction to his new words and phrases and we get so much joy from watching his funny antics.

 

#2. This other guy

IMAG0838

This is how Toby dressed Alex for grocery shopping last weekend. Yep. A Basketball jersey mixed with camo shorts. Was I about to make him change the outfit? Not a chance. Toby’s been good to relieve me of household duties as the pregnancy progresses. From dog walks to toddler grocery trips, I’ve been able to rest because he’s helping out. He also rubs my back and reads me twitter posts from the account, “Texts from Last Night”, when we’re in the ER together after a gallbladder attack.

 

3. Infinity Jewelry

IMG_20140822_181824

Last week a parcel arrived in the mail for me from a friend. It was an infinity necklace and earrings from Lia Sophia. I had looked at the magazine recently, but didn’t go through with any purchases. My husband surprised me by ordering the two pieces without my knowledge. Now, when I’m annoyed with him, he points to my necklace, smiles, and says, “Forever”.

While I may not entirely be myself these days (you know, as in, Kristen, Tina and Giselle moulded into one person), I try not to lose track of the things that make me smile and grateful.

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What made you smile today?

Trimming the Fat: February Dog Fitness

Is it just me, or did February fly by? Sure, the weather was as welcomed as a hole in my $5 Target cardigan, but it seems like the month whizzed by.

This month, we accomplished a lot in our household. Toby got his wrist cast off, Alex started walking and Tux got his butt kicked.

Tuxedo the dog

Interval Training.

We were told Tux needs to drop some el-bees, and so we went on a mission to trim the fat.

He got two walks a day: 25 minutes in the morning and at least a half hour at night.

He had a one-month follow-up appointment last Thursday and I’m so, so, so proud to say Tux has dropped three lb. He now weighs 84 lb. The vet was impressed with our efforts, and Tux is actually getting a waistline and his face has slimmed down. He is better behaved at home, he’s been wonderful around Alex and overall, he’s just a happier dog.

Our vet said to try for another three- to four-lb. loss this month. After trekking him through the cold weather, it’s tempting to hibernate for ¬†a few more weeks until we hit spring. But we have to stick with our plan.

Turning our dog into artwork: an hommage to Tux

This month we’re focusing on trimming Tux’s waistline. To honour the pooch of the house, I recently took a pinterest idea and actually turned it into reality this month.

I silhouetted him.

Dog art

I did a mini-photo shoot with Tux  in the living room (fancy! Or, ghetto?) and selected the photo that best suited his profile.

So. Awkward.

So. Awkward.

From my insane nesting/nursery design days, I had a leftover canvas I purchased from the local book shop. I printed his photo, cut it out and traced the image onto the canvas. I wanted a bold colour, so I used a blue acrylic paint I had leftover from the previously mentioned insane decorating days.

As you’ll see, it’s hung up in our laundry room beneath a card I once bought for Toby from a local shop.

dog cardWe now always call Tux a, ‘great dog’.

And, yes, this is our new laundry room, thanks for asking! Well it’s obviously still the same laundry room, but it’s no longer sporting bird borders, gold door knobs and wooden pegs.

This was the before:

laundry room before

laundry room before 2

And here it is now.

Laundry room

As my decorating friend said, “It looks like it lost 50 lbs!”

As you can see, I’m too lazy to clean up my laundry room today to provide an updated image with the dog pictures. But you can imagine it, right?¬†Ok, fine. Here it is. And, really, this is what our laundry room looks like 94% of the time.

laundry room after

I think I’m going to line up the photos together.

So, there, Tux. You can no longer say we don’t care about you. You’re in our stinkin’ laundry room.

 

 

“No. Go.”

These two are inseparable.

There's likely applesauce on his face.

There’s likely applesauce on his face.

Our dog, Tux, has always been protective of Alex and will run into his room when he cries out. But his love grew even more for the new addition when Alex started to eat from his high chair.

Alex loves to play a game in which he chucks food on the floor and happily watches Tux chase after it. Alex screams with glee while Tux anxiously eats up the people food.

Although there’s a mealtime rule that Tux has to lie out of the kitchen and can’t approach Alex’s high chair until he’s been taken out of it, I couldn’t even count how many times I’ve scolded Tux for going for the food. “No. Go lie down” is a statement familiar to Tux. And it’s apparently familiar to Alex as well.

This weekend, while sitting like a king in his chair, Alex chucked a piece of toast onto the floor, looked at the dog, and then repeatedly stated in a deep voice, “No. Go.”

What a tease.

Tux update: He’s lost two lbs!

My Selfish Runs: Dealing with Cancer

More than three years ago, I was in Edmonton, Alberta, for a work trip. I was doing a cross-country tour and just arrived in the city on a hot afternoon in June.

Only three months away from my wedding, life was busy. Stressful. So when I kept getting phone messages on my cell phone from my dad while in Edmonton, I didn’t bother returning his calls as I thought they were wedding related.

We be walkin.

We be walkin.

I was just about to go out for a run to discover the city on foot. But I decided to first return his phone call.

My mom was the one who answered the phone. She used words¬†such as “your dad, tumour, doctor appointments, not feeling well”.

She ended it with: “He has colon cancer.”

I was stunned. I felt like I was hit by a truck and couldn’t respond. I got off the phone quickly. I cried, ignored my sisters’ caring follow-up phone calls, and tried to imagine life without my dad. I then did what I knew how to do best: I went for a run.

I ran hard. I ran fast. I ran with a lump in my throat.

In true symbolic form, I ended the run struggling up a big hill.

Running was my selfish indulgence to deal with my father’s cancer.¬†Whenever I needed to deal with my sadness, I laced up my runners. It gave me time to reflect ¬†and blow off steam.

One morning, following his first surgery in my hometown nearly three years ago, I was taking part in a boot camp session. The instructor led us to the little hill right beside the hospital. Inside, my dad was lying in bed, recovering from a long, tough surgery. Outside, I ran my heart out, often looking over at the hospital and thinking about how I’d be going inside later that day for a visit. I felt grateful for my own health and sad for my father’s.

Five surgeries later, my dad is cancer free and he’s back to enjoying the things he loves to do most: spending time with family, golfing, socializing with friends and writing. He’s also walking a lot these days, and has a pedometer strapped to his waist to witness how many steps he takes each day.

This Sunday, he’ll put that pedometer to good use. Our family will take part in the local Terry Fox Run. We are going to walk the 5-km route with my dad and then my sister and I are going to run the same 5-km route together.

I feel like Terry Fox did what he knew best and put it to good use. He ran his big heart out until he couldn’t run anymore. He proceeded to raise millions of dollars for cancer research, which has since turned into an annual fundraising tradition.

This Sunday I will run for my dad. For Terry Fox. And selfishly, for me.

If you’d like to donate to my walk, please visit the fundraising page at¬†http://my.e2rm.com/personalPage.aspx?registrationID=2082794&langPref=en-CA

 

A Good Story.

It’s difficult to find the positive in each day. I wish I was an eternal optimist, but like everyone, I struggle to find that ‘cup-half-full’ approach.

And then I heard this story. It’s one of those pieces that makes your heart melt. And smile.

I had already decided to run the Terry Fox Run this year, thanks to the urging of my sister. We’re going to run the 5 – no – 10-km route in honour of loved ones who have been hit with the C Word, including our father.

My dad loves a GOOD story. I know he’ll love this story.

We be walkin.

We be walkin.

For that, we run – or walk or rollerblade – for those good stories.

Here it is:

“A fortunate find combined with a stroke of luck led to a considerate donation to next weekend‚Äôs Terry Fox Run here in Perth.

Two weeks ago, Mariposa Design owner Susan Storie happened upon a hearing aid. Her friend found it located outside her shop on Foster Street. Not knowing the rightful owner, the friend brought it into Storie‚Äôs store. Storie then began her quest. She called Town Hall and OPP, verifying whether someone had reported a lost hearing aid. With no luck, she kept it in her shop and hoped its owner would return to Foster Street. Sure enough, he did. A 90-year-old man walked into Mariposa and explained how he lost his hearing aid. She smiled at him and replied, ‚ÄúI have it here.‚ÄĚ Wanting to thank her, the man started to pull out his wallet, but Storie immediately denied any monetary reward.

As an alternative, the man suggested giving a donation to a charity of her choice. Storie selected the local Terry Fox Run.

The man gladly provided a donation as he explained to Storie that Fox ran by his house on Highway 2 in 1980 when he tried to write a cheque to hand to Terry, but couldn‚Äôt do it quick enough. He has now made his donation to the Marathon of Hope.”

____

Want to sponsor my run? Please do so at¬†Cathy’s Terry Fox Run Page

 

Yogurt and Spoons

Conversation last night between Toby and Cathy:

(Toby in kitchen, Cathy on couch)

Cathy: Hey, are you getting a yogurt?

Toby: I am.

Cathy: Can you get me one? Please?

Toby: Did you want a spoon as well, Cathy?

Cathy: That would be helpful.

Toby: Do you think you’ll ever be grateful for the times I ensure you try to think about everything you need in a situation?

Cathy: Yes. When we’re sitting across from one another at the lawyer’s.

*

Update: The yogurt was delicious. Thankfully, I had a spoon.

Seven months and 14 days: Remembering the things I love

I just read a friend’s blog who cited some of her conversations with her children. It reminded me that I shouldn’t wait for landmark days to pen milestones and funny happenings with Alex. So here are the things I love about Alex, who is seven months and 14 days old:

-I love when we place him on his back in the bathtub,  he kicks so much he splashes water in his face. He laughs, screams and kicks some more. When I take him out, he cries.

-I love when he hears someone’s voice on the speaker phone, his eyes light up and he smiles. Then kicks. Especially if it’s Toby or my mom on the line.

– I love how if there was a rugby game going on in our living room, it wouldn’t matter to Alex if he spotted our dog, Tux, walk into the room. He is obsessed and talks at Tux when he sees him.

'Hey! Dog! Over here!'

‘Hey! Dog! Over here!’

-I love how every so often, I let him play with his food. It’s worked against me as he now always wants the bowl. But who cares?

Finger foods

Finger foods

-I love how he loves to swim.

-I love how he can look so different with every photo.

Alex bed

'Got any Yellow Sun?'

‘Got any Yellow Sun?’

-I love how he is now trying to make US laugh. Whenever we ask him a question, he’ll shake his head furiously with a smile. Then he gets a bit dizzy. Or when I try to get him to say “MaMa”, he smiles and replies with “DaDa”.

– I love how whenever I pull out a book, he smiles and kicks his legs.

Alex book

– I love how singing Row, Row, Row Your Boat soothes him every time he fusses on the change table.

– I love how his bottom lip pops out when he gets scared and bursts into tears. It melts my heart.

-I love that he already has a sense of humour (or so I think).

Alex funny man

 

(Sidenote: He rolls to the curtains each day to play peak-a-boo with them. While kicking his feet. I'm not a bad mom. Promise.)

(Sidenote: He rolls to the curtains each day to play peak-a-boo with them. While kicking his feet. I’m not a bad mom. Promise.)

– I love putting him to bed each night.

– I love that I miss him and can’t wait to see him again in the morning.

Curtains, dog, no tv: updates

Doesn’t life sound thrilling when I’m excited to provide an update on the curtains in our home, the dog’s weight and how we’re surviving without any television?

I agree.

It’s like life on a roller coaster (side note: I ALWAYS get clich√©s and one-liners incorrect. It drives Toby nuts. Yesterday morning I said, “it came in at the ninth hour”. I think he had a mild stroke.).

First: The Curtains

Whenever the weekend is approaching, Toby is smart to outline our expectations for the next two days. Why? Because I usually have a lot of them that I don’t always communicate in a clear and concise manner. Or at all. So every Thursday evening or Friday morning, I get the, “okay, so what did you have planned for this weekend?” question.

He was made well aware that I wanted the nursery and office curtains to go up this past weekend.

And that they did.

nursery curtains

 

On bad days, I stare a hole through that poster. While breathing into a paper bag.

On bad days, I stare a hole through that poster. While breathing into a paper bag.

No more tablecloths!

 

B: The Dog

A month ago I swore we would work on chopping down our dog’s weight. He had gained five pounds since our baby was born. So we set out on a Tux boot camp and getting him out for walks twice a day. On top of that, our neighbhour hasn’t been around so the dog has also lost the two daily treats that could have also contributed to his weight gain.

We returned to the vet on Friday afternoon. I was anxious, yet excited, to see just how far he’s come.

One month ago he weighed 79 lb.

On Friday? 81.

Fiddlesticks.

Our vet encouraged us to continue our boot camp quest and to change his food, which has a high calorie count. If nothing changes and he continues to gain weight, he’ll get his thyroid checked. I don’t know how and when we’ll break the news to Alex that we spent his education savings on doggy blood work.

 

Last, but not least: the television

A week ago we pulled the plug on our Bell Satellite Service. We haven’t been watching much television and it was costing us $87/month.

So how are we doing? Well, Toby and I talk to each other a lot more, that’s for sure. Even about our feelings. And curtains.

Plus, we’re getting a lot more done around the house. On Sunday afternoon, Toby was out mowing the lawn while Alex was napping. I had already cleaned the house and put away the laundry on Saturday night (sexy, right?). With little else to do, I stretched. I took a half hour and worked on my hamstrings, hips and calves. I even foam rolled. It seemed a lot more productive than finding out why Scott cheated on Kourtney again or how Bruce got his ears pierced.

I know, know, know we will embrace television again come winter. But for now, we’re enjoying one less thing making noise in our house.

We’ll burn that bridge when we cross it.

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Does your dog have a thyroid problem?

Do you have any money left for your child’s education?

Do you think Bruce is dead inside?