Thursday, April 16, 2015

Dear Self: RestFeeding

time is flying.  

i am feeling constantly torn between trying to stop it and throwing my hands up in defeat.  Malcolm's going to be 4 months and i just don't even know how to come to terms with it.  i haven't taken a lot of photos of family life, i haven't really taken a lot of photos in general actually.  i really wish i had someone here to just document a day in the life for me, all the crazy moments and all the tender moments...  i'm exhausted, constantly on my feet jumping from one thing to another with exception for when i'm breastfeeding or as chloe zinged me today RESTfeeding.  touché chloe, glad you got your sense of humour from your mother.  ha.

rest feeding is always a semi-manic process of preparing oneself.  you know it will happen, you have an idea of when it will happen, but you are never fully equipped once nature calls.  well, i guess i'm not fully equipped.  my "breast friend" breastfeeding pillow (or The Breastfeeder as chloe calls it) is always on or standing by the couch along with another pillow for my back for maximum comfort for the 20 minute feeding.  i usually want to have a cup of tea, but of course there is never one ready at the time i am called for duty.  so on my hip Malcolm sits, as i one handedly prepare a cup which is anywhere from 2-5 minutes while he possibly cries or whimpers with hunger.  my carrying arm burns as it struggles to support 16lbs of wiggly potato sack baby.

finally the tea is ready.  if i am lucky, there is hot water leftover from a previous cup of tea.  i also have started resteeping tea 2-3 times intend of making new batches.  sometimes i don't need a full flavoured tea, a light flavoured one is always just as nice, especially since it means i don't have to wash the metal steeper 5 extra times.  TEA IS READY.  my holding arm continues to burn while my other hand tightly grips my mug and my face tightens as i concentrate really hard on keeping the hot tea steady while Malcolm continues to wriggle.  i usually have to push our 10lb log stump table closer to the couch so my tea is within reaching distance, another feat i have mastered.  so baby in one arm, hot tea in the other and now standing on one foot while the other pushes the stump.  sometimes i put the tea down first but it doesn't make too much difference since i can't push the stump with my free hand anyway.  tea goes down and i prop the pillow up for my back, grab the breast feeder and swoop it around my back/stomach and sit down hoping the back-pillow doesn't fall flat.  the breast feeding pillow gets mangled behind my back 50% of the time which makes me want to scream, especially since by this point Malcolm is losing his baby shit.  i'm now ready to prop him on the breastfeeder and scoop out a tit.

DAMMIT.  i forgot my phone and/or the remote (because i'm not going to sit here for 20 minutes without some form of entertainment.)  up again to find one or both.

DAMMIT.  he is probably going to want to nap once he is fed enough and he doesn't nap unless he is swaddled and cozy warm.  i throw the breastfeeder out of the way once again and get up to find a swaddle blanket for Mr CryBaby.  my arm starts burning again while i'm one handedly arranging the swaddling blanket into a diamond shape and tucking the top corner down.  Malcolm cries harder when i lay him down out of my arms, but calms down for 5 seconds while he recognizes the feel of being swaddled.  his cries amp up again as he tells me to HURRY THE EFF UP AND FEED ME.

back pillow is propped up again, i wriggle back into the breastfeeder that is of course not going on properly, i feel my giant tits to see which one is more full and then stuff it in his face.

then comes the attempt to reach over for my hot cup of tea.  another tricky situation where i need to reach over but not too far as to pluck my boob from his mouth so that he fusses and shakes and creates a danger to himself.  then of course, do i bother trying to reach to put it back or keep it with me?  i usually end up drinking half and then putting it back, only to forget about it as i get immersed into my show or scrolling through instagram.  it's ok, i'm long used to drinking cold or lukewarm tea...


yes it is lovely and i love it when he finally falls asleep and i get to prop him up and snuggle his little head and face that has just broken the tiniest sweat from the joint warmth of our body heat.

by now i have watched an episode of old 30Rock and i am feeling so comfortable that the thought of moving  or getting up to clean or get my taxes together or continue working on that client's logo is 100 miles away.  so i watch a second episode first.  thank god for PVR!  also, after that whole ridiculous process, it needs to be worth my time.

nothing special, nothing posed
just me and my little dude in his crazy jambes with two complete mismatched blankets
and our closets still without doors

the way things are


Monday, April 13, 2015

Breakfast Nook

i took things into my own hands yesterday.  i've been wanting to create a little breakfast nook in this little corner of the kitchen since we first bought the house.  over the past 3 months it has served as the "reno materials" table with piles of our recycling on one side on the floor and a pile of giveaways on the other.  over the past month the reno materials were finally removed, the recycling relocated and i shoved the most recent pile of thrift shop drop offs into the trunk.  with only the table left (sporting the same ugly black granite tabletop as the rest of the kitchen) i took it upon myself to move it out of the way and replace it with the arborite table i have been using as a desk in my office.  i am currently typing this entry on the floor as the thrift shop desk that kevin found for me is too heavy for me to manoeuvre and carry on my own.  

it's nothing compared to the beautiful breakfast nooks i've collected on Pinterest comme ça

but i love it anyway.  i love the natural light.  i love the coziness.  

and i am looking forward to having the kitchen painted and hanging a framed piece of art or two on the wall behind chloe

i really love this photo.  
she and i have been obsessively eating toast with avocado, S+P and red pepper flakes as of late

Momo picked some cherry blossoms and put them in this jar with water for the "new" table

there is so much yet to do with the house but i am looking forward to it all and in the meantime i remain as grateful as ever that we are surrounded with so much generosity from both sides of our family.  so grateful for all the contributions that have lightened our financial load and allowed us to even get out of our condo and into a house.  everything from lucky money, to clothes for the kids and groceries, every little bit helps.  this is going to be as hard as it ever will be right now… i hope, anyway.  

i am also feeling so happy to have projects land in my lap here and there to keep me creative and on my toes.  i have a photo session next weekend for a fellow LFA student who just had her baby today and just booked another job to photograph a casual wedding reception at the Yew restaurant in downtown.  just finished an illustration commission with more on the way and a few design projects too! 

life is good.    

Friday, April 10, 2015

Veggie Chili

just thought i would share one of my favourite Meal Planning recipes here with you
another good from (recipe below)

Sweet Potato Vegetarian Chili

i have made this recipe so many times, switching a few ingredients out depending on what i had available in the pantry.  it's really quite a simple and quick recipe that warms you from the inside out on a cold Vancouver day.  the ingredients are simple and if you are like me and love bacon on your veggie burger, you can also add some sinful bacon to this recipe just to be naughty.  I also usually skip the toppings other than avocado and lime.  I have made a few notes on her recipe below.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 dried guajillo chiles, deseeded, stemmed & sliced thin (1 for the chile, 1 for the topping)  OPTIONAL
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 14-oz. cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes UN-FIRE-ROASTED IS FINE
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1.5 cups cubed sweet potatoes
  • 2 cans of beans - black, red, pinto, or a combo PINTO BEANS ARE MY FAVE FÊVES, I usually do Black and Pinto
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • ½ cup corn kernels (frozen is fine)
  • a good squeeze of lime
  • salt, pepper
topping options:
  • chopped scallions
  • tortilla strips - toast 10-15 minutes in the oven
  • toasted chiles - toast 1-2 minutes in a 350 oven (or until they curl up)
  • toasted pumpkin seeds
  • diced avocado w/ a squeeze of lime
  1. Heat oil in a medium-large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, a few pinches of salt and cook until translucent (5 minutes or so).
  2. Add chili powder, ½ the sliced chiles, and stir. Cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds), then add the vinegar, followed by the tomatoes. Stir, then add the broth and the sweet potato cubes and beans.
  3. Simmer on low heat until the sweet potatoes are tender (about 20-30 minutes).
  4. Add the kale and corn and simmer for 5-10 more minutes.
  5. Add a good squeeze of lime. Taste and adjust seasonings - adding more salt and pepper as needed.
  6. Serve topped with scallions, crunchy tortilla strips, toasted chiles, diced avocado and extra lime slices.
If you don't have dried chiles, just add extra spices: ie, more chile powder, cumin and/or coriander... and/or a diced chipotle from a can of chipotles in adobo would be a nice substitution.

I used Muir Glen's fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles, but regular fire roasted tomatoes would be fine. (Diced plain tomatoes, in a pinch, would also work).

This one tastes great (maybe better) the second day - make a big batch and store leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days, and in the freezer beyond that.

Spring is just around the corner, but with probably another month of rain ahead of us, this recipe is sure to come in handy.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

See My Vest

my favourite thing in the world is getting mail addressed to me as The Shitstains

it is even more awesome when it comes from good friends who live
on the other side of the world

when shit like this arrives, it's worthy of gouging my eyeballs out and expediting
them off to the the sender

i couldn't even believe it
a United Colours of Benetton denim toddler vest for Malcolm
fully hardcore customized by the one and only
NééNéé Houston

i'm dying here.  i can not wait for this little dude to strut around in this badass vest!!!!!!

the original badass vest that i so coveted on The Houstons' baby girl Myla!

Beautiful Brown-Eyed Bandana Buddies
I can't wait for you guys to come home so our little ones can run amok together
a trillion kisses to you guys!!!!

rockin' the tummy time in his Space Cowboy ensemble!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Hunting We Will Go...

I am completely Eastered the eff out

the kids have had a total of 5 Easter Egg hunts since Thursday.  Chloe had one with her pre-school on Wednesday, another one with Franc Départ on Thursday, Moses had one on Saturday morning, and today they 3!  The first one of today was an invitation extended to us by one of our neighbours in the cul de sac who just happens to have bought the house that my friend Jess (who is the mom of one of Moses' classmates…) used to live in 13 years ago.  They have been doing this Easter Egg hunt for years now, the only catch being the Dads head out at 5-6am to hide them for their kids who usually start hunting at 7:30am.  I told them we would love to join, but only if we were already awake.  Lucky for the kids, I happened to wake up at 6:50am.  I could have gone back to sleep but I thought this would be a great way to chat with the neighbours as well as let the kids start building some awesome memories of their new home.

the Dads kindly placed two eggs right at our entrance

i went out on my own to snap a few quickies of the eggs before the hunt began

i love how much effort they put into hanging a bunch of them!

off they went...

Moses, always sharing and always helpful

i can't tell you how jealous i was that these guys had coffees
i'm too afraid to start having coffee at home because i will be so hardcore addicted

my monkey

of course Moses would do this
his 18 eggs arranged to make the number 18

i don't know who is going to do this next year…
i don't think kevin nor i will be able to be up at the crack off dawn to do this
kevin's eye bags are at a new record weight!

needless to say, being up that early made for a very long day indeed.  kevin made us a delish breakfast of poached eggs, bacon and pancakes.  i had 5 cups of tea before noon.  

i half-ass decorated the kids' bikes and shoved them into the trunk, heading into Ladner for their kiddie bike parade from the Museum to Memorial Park.  i tried to take photos but it was a shitshow, i was wearing Malcolm in the carrier and constantly trying to keep an eye on both kids in the giant crowd of families with kids on bikes.  i lost Chloe for about 15 minutes and had a heart attack.  she appeared out of nowhere, rejoining Emily and Eve…  once at Memorial, the kids went on another Egg Hunt where they were able to find ONE egg and exchange it at a table for a tiny bag of candy eggs.

i didn't stick around to let the kids play.  i was exhausted, having already been up for 6 hours and needed to stuff some lunch and more caffeine into my body.  we left out friends and headed home where i dumped the kids on kevin to quietly make myself a sandwich and eat it in peace before having to make them sandwiches and throw a boob into Malcolm's mouth.

our last Egg Hunt was thankfully just a hunt for a single bag of goodies, just a small handful.  we headed over to my in-laws for Easter dinner and we all searched for our own little bag with our name labeled on the package.  I am so very very grateful that we have one night a week where we don't have to worry about dinner, where the kids can play with their cousins and spend time with their grandparents.  I also left with a bag of new hand-made soaps from my mother-in-law which i am going to photograph tomorrow.  they are so beautiful and the range of scents are amazing, everything from rich chocolatey scents to refreshing mints and deep bergamots.  as if my 10 minute showers to myself aren't already heavenly enough, having these soaps makes that small window of personal time all the more enjoyable.

what a lovely lovely weekend it has been.
so relieved the kids have one more day off tomorrow for recovery.

Happy Easter everyone!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Holy Saturday Batman

you may only get that joke if you are/were of a Christian denomination and you know it is Holy Saturday (or you are well read in religions in general…)

today was such a lovely day.  i do so love the weekends and i am growing to love our new home more and more as Spring continues to bring warmer weather and longer days.  we've been doing a lot of yard work.  so much that i walked into town with the kids yesterday to buy us all a pair of gardening gloves.

kevin and his dad have been chopping away, clearing 20 years of neglected foliage and opening up our shady moss-growing yard.  it looks fantastic from the yard and from the street.  you can actually tell that there is a house on the corner!  the above and below are photos of all the foliage prior to the last month. as you can see, there is zero visibility over the fence.

here is the view now from the outside looking in.  we have at least 10 feet of visibility now which allows tonnes more sunlight into our yard.  i'm hoping this helps to grow grass instead of moss!  and YAY!  we also have two cherry blossoms!!!!  i thought they were dead as we have already had cherry blossoms bursting on streets throughout the mainland for a month now, but turns out our street's trees are just a little behind.

this entire view was covered up until yesterday.  you could hardly see the fence as there were huge bushes that had grown on both sides of it followed by super low bows from the giant trees.  you literally would not know there was a house here with the bushes growing up into the trees.

and from the other side of the fence.  with this whole area opened up, we can see the school and watch the kids play at the playground from our yard!

gotta love having a cul de sac

like i said, Spring is really getting me more excited about living here!
a perfect little street with a cul de sac for the kids to ride their bikes, lined with cherry blossoms!

it's been at least 2 years since i first dyed easter eggs.  
grabbed a cheap dozen of sad eggs from Shopper's to do with the kids today.

i could do these 

i am a nerd.  they are so beautiful.

invited my mom over to join us for dinner.
made a little nest for the eggs and a quick stamped sign for the table.

cherry blossoms!!!!

my mom went on a walk with the kids while kev whipped up dinner and i tidied up the day's mess
now that i have birthed all my children, i can't wait to be a grandma…
i'm going to be THE BEST grandma in the entire world

we will do things like play music really loud
while jumping on the bed singing at the top of our lungs
during sleepovers

coconut curry with mahi mahi
mango, cucumber, red pepper, slaw with lime juice and cilantro

last weekend was such a train wreck 
this weekend so far has been the absolute opposite
i am feeling so happy

Hope you are all enjoying the long weekend!