Dec. 31, 2011

Resolutions


In 2012, I'm going to:
  • throw my husband a glamorous birthday party and my son a picnic-themed birthday party
  • watch the first three seasons of Big Love
  • continue to share music with my son
  • host a few fun baby play dates in our new playroom
  • become more comfortable leaving T with a sitter so we can enjoy romantic evenings out
  • prepare delicious, interesting, nutritious and toddler-friendly meals so we can instill positive eating habits in our son from the start
Image via This is Glamorous.

Ulysses




We have a new friend in our house - Ulysses. Thomas practices dropping him and then crying, until we pick the doll up, over and over and over. It's so amazing to see our little guy develop these preferences. Long gone are the days when he cried only because he was hungry. Images via Blabla and All This Happiness.

Related to this, my mom, T and I had lunch at The Rooms on Thursday. While there the waitress asked T the name of his doll. When Mom said "Ulysses", the woman was shocked. I'm sure she was expecting "Bob" or "Mr. Horse" or something like that.

Dec. 30, 2011

Tall


Thomas is officially above the 95th percentile for height. Not bad for a 5'6 mum and a 5'11 dad.

Dec. 28, 2011

What We're Reading: Alligator Pie






In grade three, my teacher set up a bulletin board to post poetry written by the students. Each week she'd ask if anyone had a poem that they wanted to share, and more often than not I'd offer to display my musings (others seemed less keen to compose or promote, it seemed). I've long loved poetry (including many painful adolescent attempts). As Tom's attention span decreases (increasing physical curiosity and teething being the reason), poetry is just the solution to inject a little literary time into our days. I want to support Canadian poetry and prose, so reaching for Alligator Pie as a jumping off point was a natural inclination.

Bed


One of the main things I love about our Stokke Tripp Trapp is that it can serve as an adult chair long after its uses as a high chair and booster seat are needed. I'm always searching for baby furniture and gear that can do double duty.

Since being born, Thomas has spent time sleeping in a bassinet, (briefly) in a crib and now in our bed (co-sleeping has saved my life... but more about that in another post). I don't worry about him getting too used to sleeping with us, because he's outgrown being nursed to sleep and napping in my arms without any prodding or efforts from me, so I'm sure when he's ready he'll show us, in his own way, that he's ready to sleep solo in his crib or a toddler bed. In preparation for those cues, I've been searching for a toddler bed (we seem to be one of the few couples we know that didn't go for a crib that converts into a toddler bed and then double bed). My find? The P'Kolino bed that converts into a stylish chair when no longer needed as a bed. Genius! We'll definitely be ordering one of these.

How to: Make the Most Delicious Brownies


This holiday season I picked up two surefire tricks to make any brownie recipe more delicious.

1. Mix whole milk chocolate chips into the batter before baking.

2. Top with cocoa cream cheese frosting (see frosting under frosted brownie recipe).

Thanks Hummingbird Bakery! I made these for our Christmas Eve dessert party, and I think they were a hit. xo Image via Good to Know Recipes.

Dec. 24, 2011

Happy Christmas


Happy Christmas to all from our frosty corner of the world! xoxo

Pictures of Christmastime in St. John's from Derek, Stephen, Andreas and Zach.

What We're Reading: The Night Before Christmas





Tonight, before tucking Thomas in for a deep winter's nap, I'll be reading him The Night Before Christmas.

Dec. 22, 2011

What We're Reading: Grumpy Bird






What we're reading is what everyone is reading -- Grumpy Bird. This book cracks our whole family up. I'm just walking, ok? This is the book that we couldn't wait to read before Thomas was born. This just might be the most popular kids book right now, so sharing it with Tom is like preparing him for future chats with his friends where they recount common books, characters and shows of their youth.

Ploc



As a child, I had subscriptions to Highlights, chickaDEE and Owl. I'd like to get Tom a subscription to Ploc when he's older.

Planeta Tangerina




These books make adding 'learn to speak Portuguese' to my 'to do' list, a must do!

Dec. 21, 2011

Camera

Greg's long been a hobby photographer, so I splurged on a DSLR for him as a wedding present (that my brother forgot to give to him in advance of the wedding ceremony, so I gave it to him later that night at our hotel). Before meeting Greg, I NEVER liked a photo that someone took of me (and now I love them... maybe that's vain?). I'd like to encourage Thomas to share in this hobby with his dad. This camera seems like just the seed to plant! Via Annasusanna, Peter und Hanna.

Braids


With a baby in tow, it's often challenging to keep my tresses tangle free (hello little grasping hands!). I love ponytails (particularly smooth ones with lots of mascara and flushed cheeks), but feel like I need more options in my hair style arsenal. Enter braids. I wore plaits as a teen, but now that I'm more mature, these options from Refinery 29 hit the spot! I particularly love the fishtail bun (above). How will you be wearing your hair this holiday season? xoxo

P.S. Joanna also has a great round up of hairstyles profiled this week!

Punch

I love to serve a big punch at our gatherings. It simplifies bar-tending duties, and always seems to be appreciated (are my guests just being too kind?). Our family always serves a grape wine punch at our parties. If you'd like to make one too, try mixing -- 1 large bottle of grape juice, 2L of ginger ale, 1 bottle of chardonnay, and 1 container of frozen orange juice. Sure it's super basic and certainly not fancy, but it is also super delicious and easy to boot!

What We're Reading: The Story of Holly and Ivy





As a child, The Story of Holly and Ivy seemed too long to read in one sitting, and I can attest that Tom's far too active today to get through this book in one sitting. However, this book makes the perfect selection to read while nursing or to enjoy in increments over a day or series of days. It's a beautiful story about wishing for family and a Christmas doll.

Dec. 19, 2011

How To: Babysit My Child


To date (four months and counting), Greg and I have only stolen a few hours away from Thomas -- largely to get groceries, run errands or grab a quick bite to eat together. When Greg's mom was staying with us, she watched Thomas while we bought diapers and sipped juice on our front steps in the sunshine. I remember it felt like our first date! Now my mom usually babysits Thomas for a few hours one suppertime a week so that we can do one of the three activities cited above (normally grocery shopping - how glam!). I admit that our hesitancy to go out is partially our own nerves. However, in thinking about the world of babysitters, here's a checklist to help convey vital information to your caregiver before enjoying a night on the town. I plan to print a few of these checklists to pin on our fridge.

Thomas Clarke: An Owner's Manuel

For any service inquiries, please call: _______________ (your cell number, restaurant number or number of your friend's house where you'll be spending the evening)

Emergencies

In the event that emergency reinforcements are required, please call:
  • Fire Hall: _______________
  • Police: _________________
  • Doctor:_________________
  • Hospital:________________
In the unlikely event of an emergency, you can exit the property via:
  • Doors: ________________________________________ (describe locations such as front porch, basement walkout, patio doors off kitchen)
  • Windows: ______________________________________(indicate whether all windows open or not)
You can also find our fire extinguisher in ________________, first aid kit in ___________, circuit breaker in _________________, main water shut off in ____________________, and a flashlight in _________________.

Medical Details:
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
(You can use this section to list any medical conditions or medications your child might be taking. This is also a good place to let the sitter know if baby is teething, uses gripe water, needs a humidifier for bedtime, tends to spit up food, has diaper rash etc.).

Food and Drink:

__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
(You can use this section to detail when baby is expected to be given a bottle or eat, including proper handling instructions for heating and storing breast milk, if your sitter might be unfamiliar, and what foods should be given. It is also a good place to cite any known allergies and common allergens such as strawberries and nuts, and common choking hazards (popcorn, marshmallows etc.).

Please fill out the following:

Meal: ________________
Time Consumed:________________
What He Ate:_________________________________________________
How He Ate (circle one): well fair not so great

Diaper Changes:

Diaper supplies can be found in ____________________________________________
(list locations such as changing table and playroom). We normally change our baby's diaper every ______ hours and _________ after a heavy soiling. When changing a diaper we use ______
___________________________ (list items such as Vaseline, wet wipes, Penaten etc.)

Please fill out:

Time Checked Wet Dry
_________ ___ ___
_________ ___ ___
_________ ___ ___
_________ ___ ___
_________ ___ ___
_________ ___ ___

Sleeping and Naps:
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
(You can use this section to detail sleeping and napping habits such as typical or set bed and nap times, and routines preceding bed time and nap time.)

Please fill out:

Went to sleep at: Woke up at:
_________ _________
_________ _________
_________ _________

Activities:
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
(You can use this section to detail any planned activities for the time you'll be away as well as appropriate and enjoyed activities such as tummy time and reading.)

Dec. 17, 2011

What We're Reading: ABC is for Christmas


Speaking of ABC books, today we're relishing the season and enjoying a classic book from 1974 - ABC is For Christmas. I love Little Golden Books - they remind me of playing library in my grandma's dining room as a child. The illustrations are a step back in time to be sure - aren't they beautiful? This is another of the Christmas books that I've loaned from my mom to share with Thomas.

Home Alone

Home Alone is the only movie I've ever seen in theatres twice. I absolutely love it and watching it always reminds me (as I am sure it does many) of the Christmases of my childhood. If you love that movie as much as I do and have $2.4 million USD, you can live on the set of the movie (circa 2011-style) permanently.

The house is for sale in a suburb just outside Chicago! Via Cup of Jo. Photos of the movie set and how those same rooms look now via AOL.