Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Hair: Not the Musical

Immediately after yesterday's post my mom texted me to say that I shouldn't lower my standards just because I'm packing on the pounds.  She ordered me to return those two tops immediately as she had found much better in Phoenix.  Sorry Chez Quinlan commenters - she inadvertantly insulted your sense of style too!
Also, now that the bump is fully visible, the comments from well intentioned onlookers have started.  "Wow you're really popping out!  It must be almost time!" or "Oh you look great, you're due in March, right?"
If I were due in March, that last one would be a really kind comment, but seeing as I have at least 94 days to go (thank you My Pregnancy app) I'm starting to get a little worried.  Not worried enough to stop eating ice cream, but worried all the same.  
Ellen must have seen my post on hair the other day, because she was talking about hairstyles on her show too!  Here's the clip - I love the first guy's hair.  If this baby is a boy, that's the style I'm going for.  Sadly, Ellen didn't have an answer to my long/short dilemma, but the people on Pinterest have spoken!
I pinned this picture awhile ago after my mom told me it should be my new hairstyle (she's relentless, I tell you!).  It's had 183 repins and 24 likes, which is approximately 10 times more repins than anything else I've pinned.
I don't know - my hair isn't that thick, and it's a bit too unkempt looking for my tastes!
  Poor Ginnifer, on the other hand, she only got 1 repin.
Personally, I'm partial to this one, but it hasn't been repinned even once.  
If you're interested, you can see what I'm pinning here.  Just don't judge me when you see my board dedicated to HRH Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Fancy Camera Work

Wow, this is embarrassing.  These may be the worst photos ever taken.  All you young people on Facebook make it look so easy to take pictures of yourself.  Not so.  Clearly, it takes many hours of practice.  But there's no way I'm waiting for Jimmy to get home from work to retake these.  That would mean getting dressed all over again.  I tried to set the self timer on my real camera so I wouldn't be stuck capturing myself in the mirror via camera phone, but these beauts let me down.
Shocking I know, as POWER XT is such a well reputed brand.
Enough small talk.  On to the atrociously bad photos.
Whoops.  And turning flash off.
And looking at your audience this time.
Seated, so you can see the boots, of course.

On to outfit two:
Not quite as bad.
The bed is really sagging under my petite frame.

Trying a new pose.  So non-chalant.

They're so crystal clear that you can really see all of the lovely details I added to style these fabulous new additions to my wardrobe.
Sadly, that is all for today. 

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Sluggish Sunday

Sorry guys, no fashion show today.  I'm feeling too lazy to get dressed and take pictures.  I will do so soon though, for reals.  Just not today.  So, what will I entertain you with instead?  What I'm making for dinner, of course.  I feel obligated to make dinner, and obligated to post, so why not put the two together?  Une solution parfait!
On the menu: Turkey meatball soup.  Jimmy's favourite soup.  This is a recipe adapted from Deceptively Delicious, a cookbook by Jessica Seinfeld geared towards getting children to eat vegetables, combined with my own recipe for tomato soup.  Why do I own a cookbook based on hiding vegetables from children, you ask?  Because my taste in food can be quite child-like, and I hate most cooked vegetables.  This book seemed like the perfect compromise.  The base of Jessica's soup however (just blended tomatoes and carrots?  Where are the herbs??), was too bland for even my tastes, so I had to adapt that part of the recipe. The results can be found below!
Turkey Meatball Soup
Inspired by Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld
Serves 4
For the meatballs:
1 lb ground turkey breast
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 sweet potato pureé
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Inspired photography, I know.

For the soup:
1 can (28 oz.) tomatoes, whole or diced
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Small pasta shapes such as macaroni or shells

1.  Combine all meatball ingredients in a medium bowl.  Mash together with your hands, then roll into bite sized meatballs.  At this point you can either put them in the oven to brown at 425 for 8 minutes, or set aside to be cooked in the soup.  I think it's weird to cook raw meat in soup, so I opt to brown them first.  Jessica throws them straight into the soup, and maybe when I have three kids like she does, I will too.
Pic as promised.
2.  Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion, and carrots, stirring often for 4-5 minutes.  Next add the garlic and herbs, stirring for another 2-3 minutes, or until all vegetables have softened and browned slightly.
3.  Add the tomatoes, stock, and salt and pepper to the pot.  If you do not have child-like taste in food, you can simmer for 20 minutes, adding in the meatballs to be cooked through.  If you do have child-like taste in food, you can pureé all of the ingredients for the soup in a blender before returning them to the pot and adding the meatballs to be cooked through.
4.  Meanwhile, cook your pasta until al denté, about 2 minutes less than the time recommended on the package.  Add pasta to the soup pot for a final 2 minutes of cooking time.  Serve with grated parmesan cheese, if desired.
A perfect wintry dinner for a lazy Sunday!  No pic of the finished product yet, as I must go and make it now, but I'll add one, and you can bet it will be breathtaking.  I just had to get this post published, as I'm sure you've been waiting with bated breath, and I always aim to please.
Also, for your viewing pleasure, the cutest video message sent to Jimmy by some of our nieces and nephew before his team played the Washington Stealth last night:
"I want you to take it to the Stealth! Take it to the stealth!"
There was also a follow up message after a big Rush win (and a goal for Uncle Jimmy), but due to technical difficulties, there is no sound, so I'll sum it up for you.  Says our nephew of five years: 
"Uncle Jimmy, I asked you to take it to the Stealth, and you took it to the Stealth.  So thank you for taking it to the Stealth."
Impossibly cute, no?

Saturday, 28 January 2012


I just wanted you to know that I totally kicked butt at pre-natal fitness this morning.  I think it may have been the extra long soak I enjoyed in the tub last night, not to mention an excellent sleep on a certain memory foam mattress.  Back pain, be gone!
I then promptly proceeded to sabotage all of that hard work by inhaling some banana loaf and two cookies for lunch, winning myself a nomination for worst pre-natal nutrition ever.  Fret not, I'm rectifying the situation by eating some nutrient rich cucumber right now.  
In other news, buying maternity clothes in Edmonton has just become even more nightmarish than (I presume) it was before.  How can this be, you ask?  Well, it turns out Mexx will no longer be carrying their maternity line.  That means the only chains that carry maternity are Old Navy, Thyme Maternity, and Motherhood Maternity.  I went into all three of these establishments today hoping to find something to swath over the girth that has become my middle and had to leave, horrified.  
I could not, would not go for the stripes.
Nor was I feeling the cropped housecoat. 
And apparently, this is the type of shirt I can look forward to wearing as I nurse my new bundle of joy.
People are always saying that maternity clothes are so cute these days, but I'd like to respectfully disagree.  Sure, there are the boutique maternity stores in and around the city, but I haven't ventured in yet because I'm afraid the prices will send me running right back out the door, not to mention how it will affect Jimmy's blood pressure.  
I did find one okay pair of jeans, but I just couldn't stomach spending $50 on them. Maybe I'll get desperate as time goes on, and I bet by then the one pair I liked will be gone.  I did end up buying two non-maternity tops at Old Navy and two maternity tanks to keep the tum decent underneath.  One is a cardigan, so it will easily go the distance for the 97 odd days of gestation that remain.
The other, I'm not so sure.  The pintucks at the bottom may start to balloon out at odd angles as I continue to expand.  Time will tell.  
Maybe tomorrow I'll set up a de-luxe fashion shoot to show you how I've professionally styled these items, if you can wait that long.
Have a super fun Saturday night!

Friday, 27 January 2012


My sister-in-law Shannon asked the other day if I've bought much for the baby yet. I called some of the things I've purchased to mind.  This really cute elephant bank, a onesie that says "Tougher than I look", and some grey and yellow fabrics for the baby's curtains - you know - all of the essentials.  Shannon, mother of three, listened to my acquisitions then said, "Oh, actually I was thinking of things like a good thermometer or a humidifier."  R-i-g-h-t. 
Cute and practical.  What?  It teaches the value of a dollar!

She also had a hot tip as to how to keep the healthcare and vaccination cards organized.  Each child has their cards in a ziploc bag in the same drawer (for her it's the change table drawer) so that if a child needs to be rushed off to the medi-centre or hospital in the night, their info is all together.  The fact that they're in a ziploc means that you don't even have to take them out of the bag to show them to the nurse or doctor, meaning less chance of misplacing them.  This is great advice given my recent tendency to lose everything I touch.
Not only that, but when I was visiting a friend and her six month old the other day, topics such as the schedule for routine doctor's check ups and vaccinations, the introduction of cereals and fruits, and milestones like rolling over and crawling were of course discussed.  And at some point during this discussion I started to panic.  
Ohmygosh I am so unprepared!  And clearly not as obsessively organized as I thought!  The birth?  No problem!  I've been reading everything and anything on the topic and have been attending classes and practicing the breathing techniques and visualizations at home.  But how on God's green earth am I supposed to know all of the other stuff?  There's a lot of focus on preparing for the birth, but let's get real! Labour will be one day, or two if I'm cursed like my mom.  But I'm going to be responsible for a tiny person everyday for the next 18 years.  Where are the Parenting 101 classes?  
I suppose I'll do what I always do when faced with a problem to solve - research. Reading up on the topic will at least give me a false confidence not to be shattered until the baby arrives and all of the things I read about work 25% of the time or less.
Amazon.com and library website, here I come.  If you've got any good recommendations or useful tips, I'd love to hear them!

Thursday, 26 January 2012


If you are reading from some place else that isn't Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, prepare to be made incredibly jeal by this post.  Oh, what's that?  You were already jealous when you read about the minus 42 temperatures of the week past?  Well, this week it's spring again, so let your green eyed monster get some much needed rest.  
My research expedition has turned up some real pearls right here in Edmonton. There are several blogs that showcase the goings on in Edmonton.  The really interesting, stuff you don't hear about all the time, goings on.  City and Dale is a blog dedicated to sharing the hidden gems in Edmonton, from fashion and events, to great eats and entertainment.  They've just posted their weekend guide today, with at least two events that will get you out to enjoy the balmy temperatures.  First, Sunday Swing 'n' Skate, where live jazz and swing bands will charm you as you skate at City Hall, and the Mill Creek Adventure Walk, another free event for the whole family. 
A sister blog, City and Baby highlights the same facets of Edmonton life, but with a focus on places and events for parents with kids under six.  One of my friends has me living in constant paranoia that now that my uterus has been taken over by a new tenant I will become a mom whose whole life will be ruled by everything baby. And so I hesitated in putting this site up, because it very clearly relates to everything baby.  But then I reconsidered.  This site is great because it focuses on how you can get out and still do adult things with your cute (and very needy) little roommate. 
For example, the post today focused on a new local eatery called Café Tiramisu. This place sounds incredible!  Not only is it a coffee shop, they serve light Italian fare and are licensed.  You could go out on a Friday evening for a family dinner, then listen to live music and have a glass of wine while your kids play in the gorgeous play area, complete with four iPads!  Besides that, they have a community room where very reasonably priced fitness classes for the whole family are offered.  Run by two moms who missed getting out, this sounds like an incredible concept.
After filling you in on the greatness happening in my hometown, I've realized I do miss talking about myself just a little bit.  So a quick update that will lead into a gem from James before I sign off.  I have become unbelievably forgetful and clumsy as a professional child incubator.  The other night I was 45 minutes late for our pre-natal class because I couldn't remember what time it started (even though it was the third week of the class), nor could I find my phone in order to take Jimmy's call notifying me that I was late.  Jimmy was in a state of total shock because I am the planner and organizer in our house, and I am never that late to any event.  
Then, yesterday I somehow lost my Costco card inside the Costco and was almost unable to buy my 10 quarts of chocolate ice cream, which would have spelled disaster for everyone involved.  Not only that, but I am a criminal and use my mom's card because I don't have one, so when they offered to look up my card, I had to make up some lame excuse about why they couldn't find me in the system.  Luckily they took pity on my bloated self and let me pay for my ice cream and scuttle out the door.  
Thankfully, Jimmy's very understanding about these bizarre symptoms I've been experiencing.  Why just the other night as I was telling him a really interesting story, in a show of sympathy and solidarity for my condition he asked, "So is repeating yourself constantly a symptom of pregnancy?"  Who cares if I'd already told him that story?  It was really interesting.  I just can't remember what it was.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Hair: The Long and Short of it

I have had both very long hair and very short hair, and everything in between.  And while I usually lean towards the shorter side of the spectrum, it doesn't seem like many others in my life feel the same way.  
As a teacher, returning to school the day after having your hair cut can be intense. True, there are those students who don't notice, but more often than not there are many comments, often when you're trying to lecture, or administer a test or at a zillion other inopportune times that the munchables will make their feelings known.
I can remember one student who said, upon seeing my freshly coiffed locks, "Don't worry, Mrs. Quinlan. It will grow back."  Or another who waited until several months later when the hair had in fact grown back, then said, "Remember that time you had a bowl cut?  I'm glad you grew it out."  And inevitably, the girls in my class would swoon over the wedding photo on my desk, and say things like: "Oh, you had such long hair!  You were so pretty then.  Why did you cut it all off?"  From the mouths of babes . . . ?  Even my brother in law joined in with his very forward thinking perspective when I cut my hair shortly after my wedding saying, "Well, you're married, you've cut off your hair, now all you need to do is gain 15 pounds to complete the trifecta."  Ahem.  

But here's the thing.  My hair is not particularly thick, and so when it's long, it has a tendency to look like someone attached seven strands of golden yarn to my head.  Yes, long hair is more versatile, but also more work.  Short hair seems edgier and more stylish, but you have to cut it constantly to keep it's shape, and sometimes it can cross into soccer mom territory. Currently my hair is in a mid length bob, because I didn't want to have a pixie cut paired with a potentially bloated pregnant face, but I'm sure after the bébé arrives the temptation to reach for the scissors will arrive with a vengeance.  My only fear is that I won't be able to make a sound decision with the monumental hormone shifts and lack of sleep that are  awaiting me.  What to do?  Turn to the internet for advice!  What do you think?  Long or short?  
 While I await your shrewd advice, I'm off to research some ideas for future posts. Talking about myself constantly has become dreary.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The Beginning Part 2

Hello again, dear readers.  Thanks for coming back to read more of this harrowing love story.  We left off with Jimmy not speaking to me after I started dating another guy.  Can you blame him?  In my defense, though it had been a couple of months of pleasant phone conversations but no progress in the date department.  I thought it was the old "He's just not that into you" philosophy, but Jimmy later explained this slow start was because he didn't have his license and was embarrassed to ask his friends to take him to pick up his date.  Jimmy's mom actually confirmed this years later, telling me that all of sudden Jimmy was really anxious to get his license the winter of that grade 12 year and she couldn't figure out why, as he had been perfectly happy to have his friends and siblings chauffeur him around up to that point.
Regardless, let's get back to this exciting tale.  You've waited long enough.  So, it looked like things were doomed.  I was dating another guy and Jimmy was mad. Sadly, my relationship with this other guy didn't last long, as he soon came to realize I had entered into the whole affair more because I didn't want to say no than because I couldn't live without him.  So after about two weeks, that fizzled too, and now I had two guys mad at me.  

The rest of the school year passed with very little interaction between James and I.  There was one run in at a party during which I initiated an awkward conversation centered around chap stick that went nowhere fast. But once summer hit, I was feeling crazy again and worked up the courage to call Jimmy to invite him to my 16th birthday party (which my parents had foolishly agreed to host - they really didn't realize that word would spread and they'd have 100 or so high schoolers in their back yard, many of whom I didn't know).  Jimmy was surprisingly receptive, however he didn't know if he could make it because he had a lacrosse game in a city about three hours away, but said he'd try to make it back for the party.  He did not, however make it to the party.  He also did not call me for the rest of the summer.  His friends did make it to the party though, and I think it was a key factor in their forgiving me for having betrayed their friend.  Phewf, weight lifted!
After a couple of weeks of brooding over the fact that Jimmy had not come to the party, nor had he called to explain why, or if he ever wanted to speak to me again, I gave up.  By the end of the summer I had a new suitor, another guy that I thought just wanted to be friends. I had learned my lesson and was making it clear I didn't want to move beyond friend territory, but this guy was persistent.  He kept up his pursuit into the fall, and I was actually on the phone with him one night when the other line rang.  I put him on hold and answered the other line only to hear Jimmy's by now unfamiliar voice.  It turns out the two guys were out at the same place at the same time, and Jimmy had caught wind of this other guy's interest in me.  You see, it is just like a romantic comedy - jealousy works it's magic again!  I went back to the guy on hold and told him I had to go, and he finally realized I was serious about the just friends thing.  I didn't hear from him anymore.
Meanwhile, Jimmy and I were talking on the phone regularly once again.  This time though, the offer to go on a date came after only about a week!  Jimmy had finally earned his license and was going to pick me up for a real date!  I spent a looong time getting ready for the date, and then I waited.  And waited.  And then the phone rang.  It was Jimmy, telling me he had to cancel because his mom had to stay late at work and he couldn't use the car.  I later learned this was a total lie.  He confessed at a much later date that he was actually playing an intense series of NHL on the Play Station with his brother.  I brought this fact up during my speech at our wedding, hoping to inspire some shame, but no.  This was the reaction between the two brothers, caught on film to be remembered forever.
At the time, I took what I thought was a legitimate excuse at face value, and tried to be understanding.  We did end up having our first date within another week, after some fishing on my part.  We were talking on the phone (always on the phone!) and I kept saying that I could really go for an ice cream.  After I subtly dropped the ice cream hint 10 times or more, Jimmy picked up on it and said he could come pick me up and take me out for the ice cream I so desperately needed.  So mere minutes later he was at my door and we were on our way for ice cream.  It was a little awkward, as once we got to Dairy Queen, I suggested we go through the drive through rather than sit inside, and then Jimmy didn't even order anything!  So, there we were in the car, me with my ice cream, he with nothing, and no real way to continue the date.  Somehow we came up with the idea to drive around while I ate my ice cream, which led to another awkward situation in which Jimmy had to stop fast for a light and threw his arm up across my chest to help "hold me back" in my seat.  So overall, a total success.  
After several more awkward dates, including one where Jimmy accidentally ran a red light and received a hefty ticket, and another where he brought me home late for curfew because I had neglected to tell him what my curfew was until about ten minutes before said curfew, he made it official and asked me to be his girlfriend.  Ta da!  We enjoyed five months with less and less awkward dates, and then Jimmy announced his plans to move to Vancouver for five months to play lacrosse.  Ugh! But we made it through, long distance style, as we did every spring and summer after that for the next five years.  Thankfully, Jimmy can stay home and play lacrosse now, but that was the slow and difficult start to our relationship that has helped make it the solid institution it is today.  If you were able to read this far, you deserve an award, but I don't have one for you.  Sorry!  You could go and have a glass of wine knowing that I can't but really wish I could.  Then we'll be even Steven.


Monday, 23 January 2012

The Beginning

I was inspired to write today's post after one of my friends commented that Jimmy was starting to look like a certain biblical figure with his shaggy beard.  
"If only he had long hair!" She lamented.
Well guess what?  He did have long hair at one point.  Really long hair. Unfortunately, the long hair and beard have never coincided.  Or maybe that's a fortunate thing.  Of course I'm going to post the photographical evidence for your viewing pleasure, but I thought I'd mix the pictures in with the story that began 13 years ago with the blossoming of our relationship.
I remember seeing Jimmy on my first day of grade 10 in the cafeteria and thinking he was cute.  Jimmy will correct me because he says that he wasn't at school on that day, his first day of grade 12.  Where was he?  Off somewhere playing lacrosse, of course.  Regardless, it was near the beginning of the school year. Being that he was in grade 12 though, I brushed off any thoughts of anything coming of it.  
So imagine my surprise when one afternoon in January my friends and I were accosted in the common room by Jimmy and his friends.  Their calls of "Hey you!" just couldn't be ignored.  Once we realized they were talking to us, the serious conversation began.
One of Jimmy's friends broke the ice in telling me that Jimmy liked me.  Jimmy immediately turned red and ran from the common room, giving solid credit to his friend's claim.  With Jimmy out of ear shot, his friend could begin his interrogation in earnest.  He asked questions that I'm sure are used today by dating services the world over.  
Rocking the his and hers G Shock watches.
Things like: "Do you like guys who play hockey?  Well Jimmy plays hockey."
Or: "Do you like who play rugby? Cuz Jimmy plays rugby."
And my favourite: "Do you like guys who chew tobacco?"  The answer to this one was a definite no, and Jimmy's friend, clearly wanting to preserve Jimmy's dignity, responded, "Well that's okay, Jimmy only tried it once, and he threw up afterwards." Dreamy!
Displaying a level of class I haven't seen since, Jimmy's friend reached into the nearby garbage can, pulled out a slip of paper, wrote Jimmy's phone number down, and collected my number to pass on to Jimmy.  And then . . . nothing.  Well, that's not true.  I did notice Jimmy taking the long way to his afternoon classes, going through the grade 10 hallway to pass by my locker, but he never said anything or acknowledged me in any way.  So after a couple of weeks, I very uncharacteristically decided to take matters into my own hands and phone him.
Remember those days when no one had their own cell phone and you had to phone their home number, all the while fretting that their mom or dad would answer and wonder who this girl was phoning their son?  Definitely sweat inducing.  
So Jimmy and I would talk on the phone most everyday, and every time the weekend drew near I would hope he would ask me to go out somewhere with him. And every weekend he would tell me that his friends were coming to pick him up and he'd call me before he left. And he would call me before he left, and then go out.  With his friends.  And without me. 
Finally he did extend an invitation to his hockey game, which I demurely accepted. However I made a serious error.  I secured a ride from a guy friend.  And my arrival at the arena with said guy friend was not taken well by Jimmy.  What can I say, I was naive!  So, while Jimmy spent the next few weeks giving me the cold shoulder, this guy friend was beginning to show signs that he wanted to be more than friends, and I panicked, because my one and only weakness is that I can't bear to make people angry or hurt their feelings.  
I couldn't see any way out of this one - one of these guys was going to be angry and have hurt feelings.  So, how did I solve this dilemma?  By chickening out and agreeing to date the guy who asked first, and as in any romantic comedy, it was not Jimmy who asked first, or at all, for that matter.  You may have guessed that Jimmy stopped speaking to me at this point, and his loyal friends weren't very friendly in the halls at school.  So how did we end up the blissfully married couple we are today?  Seeing as this is already incredibly long winded, I'll fill you in on the rest tomorrow.  Hopefully the pictures of Jimmy's luscious locks will hold you over till then.

Sunday, 22 January 2012


No, I'm not talking about the book by Judy Blume (that one is spelled Deenie, BTW), but rather my father, Dean.  Deanie has always been my mom's nickname for him, until someone else jumped on board in using this name in recent years.  
You see, I have a sister who, if we looked at genetics is really my mom's niece, but she grew up with us and has been a part of our immediate family for years.  So when this sister of mine had her first child, Bex, almost five years ago, Grandma and Grandpa and Nana and Papa had all been taken by other grand-parental figures.  Ergo we had to come up with something new that Bex could use for my parents.  
Vogue worthy Bex.

My mom fairly quickly became JG.  It started out as a joke (it stands for Jacq the Great) but stuck hard and fast.  It was much more taxing to find something that would work for my dad.  He put forward the idea of Boss.  Yes, he wanted his grandchildren to call him Boss.  But as Bex got older, she refused to actually use it.  Now that we've got another grandchild joining the family, the discussion has come up again because we want all the kids to use the same names for their grandparents.  We're a type A family that way.
Call me crazy, but I have a Grandma and a Nana, and they were my Grandma and my Nana for years.  Then all of a sudden some younger cousins were born, and now we've thrown Oma and Grandma into the mix.  I'm sorry, but you can't call my Grandma, Oma.  Who is Oma?  And now all of a sudden Nana is Grandma?  I found it all very unsettling.  So you can see why the push is on to settle on a name for the kids to use for my dad. This is important stuff discussed over Sunday dinners, right after we finish with the state of the European economy.
Bex and Deanie.
Anyway, Bex has a mind of her own, and once she decides on something it can be hard to sway her.  Cue the stage where she repeats most things the adults around her say.  Things like: "Mom, I look like a monster!  Help me get dressed before anyone sees me!".  That one was from JG.  Or, "Ugh, I have to do my hair, it is a disaster!".  Also from JG.  
So what else did she start repeating?  JG's use of Deanie to address my dad.  Yes, this is the tough guy who wanted to be called Boss, instead being called Deanie by his tiny, blonde, four year old granddaughter.  What makes it even better?  Bex's brother, Cole, who is two, has started using it as well.  As in "Deanie play 'ockey?" (we're working on "h" sounds).
Deanie may not like it, but hey, Bex and Coley were here first, and I'm not about to bring a new name to the party when our baby is added to the mix.  Sorry, Deanie! 
My sister, making me jealous long distance.
Have a fabulous day,

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Parents in a Dangerous Time

There's been much made of the cynical view taken of parenthood as portrayed in the media today.  Think Modern Family or the bestselling book, Go the F**k to Sleep (careful, this link contains adult content), not to mention the innumerable blogs dedicated to the gruelling task of rearing the leaders of tomorrow.  But are contemporary depictions of parenting gratuitously negative or simply more realistic than those of the Leave it to Beaver era?
I break out in a sweat just thinking about the tribulations caused by grandma's brood that she would have had to gloss over when all of the other neighbourhood moms came for coffee.  Little Lonnie quit kindergarten?  No, he just wasn't ready this year.  Donnie wrecked his sister's car, again?  The roads were icy (It's May, grandma).  Bonnie got pregnant out of wed-lock?  No, the baby was just premature.
It seems like there was so much pressure to keep up with the Joneses that any imperfections, big or small, had to be kept under lock and key.  Did my grandma have even one close friend she could confide in or seek advice from?  I hope so, but I'm not so sure.  And I bet you even if I tried to ask her today, she'd still say "What would I have needed to confide?  It was never that bad."  This kind of hear no, see no, speak no evil attitude is definitely a foreign concept in a world where one's every thought or action can be broadcast to the world through any number of social networking sites at a moment's notice.  Not to  mention that these thoughts and actions will be judged and commented upon just as quickly as they are posted.  
So which is better?  A world in which the trials and tribulations of life as a parent are never discussed, or a world in which nothing is off limits?  I guess the answer to this question should really be looked at in terms of what will make parents better able to raise their children.  Can a parent who suffers in silence be as effective as a parent who is open about their problems?  
In my opinion (which must be good, because you came here to read it) the parent who openly discusses their problems will only be more effective than the parent who is tight lipped if they are entering into the discussion with two purposes:
The first purpose being just to get it off of their chest, which can keep a person sane enough to do it all again tomorrow.  
The second purpose being to seek support and find alternative solutions for the problems they are facing.  
The trouble with this in today's Facebook world?  When someone posts a parenting issue in their status, most of the "advice" that Facebook friends offer isn't all that helpful, and sometimes doesn't even make sense.  I had a friend who posted a status about a difference of opinion she and her partner were having when it came to their one year old, and more than one commenter suggested she just leave him. How is that helpful?  It's a pretty hefty piece of advice to give, considering all that the commenter knows about the situation is wrapped up in two sentences or less. But everyone's an expert these days (me too, that's why I'm blathering on and on about this).
One thing's for sure though, the examples in the media today make it easier to feel like we're all in the same boat and definitely allow us to take ourselves less seriously.  The post that got me thinking about all of this in the first place is a perfect example.  Writer Drew Magary recently attended a class called "Why don't my Kids Listen to Me?" in an attempt to learn "how not to be a terrible father", and these are a sampling of the nine things he learned while in attendance:

Number One: Never repeat yourself.
The second you repeat yourself, you're dead. The kid will just be like, "Hey, I can just sit here and dad will say the same shit over and over again. COOL." Kids think this way because they're evil. Say it once. If the kids don't act, take them by the hand and guide them to their task. 
Number Four: Accept that your children are going to do annoying shit.
We were told there was a list out there that detailed typical behaviors for children based upon their age. Two-year-olds will throw things. Five-year-olds will break things. There are certain annoying facets of children that are simply the cost of doing business, and accepting that makes it a little bit easier to tolerate it when your kid is spitting in your goddamn ear.
Number Seven: Never get locked into a power struggle.

If you say to your kid, "Hey, eat your dinner," and the kid is like , "No," and you're like, "You're grounded if you don't," and the kid still says no, you've basically signed yourself up for a full night of SUCK. Because now you're in a power struggle with a kid, and you won't want to lose because you won't want them thinking you're a pussy, and they won't want to lose because, hey, what's an hour wasted to them? NOTHING. Kids were born to waste time. They have nothing better to do. May as well ruin your life while they're waiting to become drinking age. If the kid doesn't eat dinner, the kid doesn't eat.
The full post is worth a read, and definitely gave me some food for thought.  For now though, I'm just an ignorant parent-to-be pretending to know what I'm talking about on the inter-web.  And the nice thing is that I'm definitely not alone!  I'd love to hear what you think . . . comment away.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Belly Bloat

You don't think that this:
Or this:
Has anything to do with this:
25 week old gas bubble.
Or this:

Do you?
If you know where I could get my hands on maternity snow pants, let me know.  I could have really used them in the minus 42 degree weather we had this week.
In other news, baby Q has been kicking more and more lately.  The other night I was feeling all kinds of movement, so I decided to do as my prenatal teacher instructed and poke back to "play" with the baby.  I was beyond surprised when the baby poked back!  I had to get Jimmy in on this as I've tried to get him to feel the baby moving a couple of times before, and he just looked at me doubtfully and said "Are you sure that's not gas?"  But this time, success!  Jimmy felt the baby move, and since it was in response to his poking and prodding, I think he's finally convinced that I am incubating a human and not just a large gas bubble.

Around here we're getting ready for the big home opening game where James will make his debut as captain.  He's been busy on the phone for radio interviews, and running around to the local television stations, not to mention the late night and early morning practices, so he's tired, but excited.  I am very proud, as I've said before, and yesterday I came across an article that was so well written and so complimentary, that I just have to share it here.  It can be easy to forget all those years of hard work that he (I like to think I helped - the teary phone calls from your long distance girl friend can only make you a better player, right?) has put in to get where he is.  Good luck tonight, captain, my captain!

Thursday, 19 January 2012


Being on hiatus from teaching has given me plenty of time to reflect on my six year slog through the trenches.  Teaching certainly has its low points.  Like when an angry high schooler calls you a bitch in front of a class of 31 other students, most of whom are thinking the same thing.  Or when the student you know is capable of so much more than they (or most others) give themselves credit for makes the wrong choice again.  Or when your contract isn't being renewed because of budget cuts, or low enrollment, or both, and you have to move schools for the third time in four years.  
But teaching also has incredible high points.  Like when a student finds you on Facebook just to tell you their year with you was the best in their 12 years of school.  Or when one of the lovelies gives you a Justin Bieber Valentine with a hand written note complimenting your outfits.  Or when a student stays after class just to chat and tell you what's going on in their lives and seek your advice.  Or when after a no good, terrible day that brought sad, sad news, a student gives you a hug.  An unexpected, but sorely needed, hug.  And those are just the little, day to day things.  So many of my students have gone on to achieve so many feats that have made me so proud to know them, but the best part is that they thought enough of me to tell me of their accomplishments.  From those who have had their writing published in the paper, to those who've been awarded for their endeavors in sport or song, to those who are working hard at post secondary, to those who are just lovely human beings, I'm so proud.  
So thank you to all of my students for all of the experience you've given me.  I've learned so much from you.  I don't know if I'll end up back in the classroom after my mat leave ends or not, but I do know that this hiatus has given me the distance I need to make the best choice possible.
Mrs. Q  
PS.  Tomorrow we'll be back to our regularly scheduled fluff and nonsense.  This post full of seriousness brought to you by fluctuating hormones.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012


I have a cousin named Wyatt.  He's 17 and an unusually cool guy, which is surprising if you had known him as a bug-eyed, ankle biting toddler.  Or if you had known him during the hot sauce phase.  See, as he got older, Wyatt sometimes made inappropriate word choices, and hot sauce was the consequence.  I believe the pinnacle of this phase was an incident at his elementary school running club where someone encouraged his teammates by shouting "Run, you bastards!"
But now, he's just about the most well-rounded, friendly teenager you could meet (besides his sister Sydney, of course).  There was the time he helped me put together a Justin Bieber costume for Halloween  using his prized American Apparel hoodie.
Biebs!  In my bedroom!
Or the adoration he (and his sister both) inspire in my niece and nephew's eyes every single time they visit (which is way more often than I think most high school kids visit their 2 and 4 year old second cousins).  In fact, they just spent the whole weekend with my sister and her family, visiting and baby sitting and basically preserving my sister's sanity.
Not only that, but Wyatt is musically talented.  He plays the harmonica and ukulele. You might be thinking, those are unusual instruments, and they are.  But even more unusual are the songs he can play on these instruments.  Songs like "OB-LA-DI, OB-LA-DA", and "Mr. Jones", and even Mariah Carey's "All I want for Christmas is You".  He treated us to some of his playing and singing this Christmas, and I took some less than stellar video of his performance.  Enjoy!  

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Found on the Inter-web

If you are looking for writing that is not related to pregnancy, babies, or baby stuff, you should look elsewhere today.  You have been forewarned.
As a full time child incubator, I fill my time looking up all things baby online.  I've come across many great mommy blogs (like this one, or this one), and blogs whose authors' just happen to be mommies (like this one, or this one).  But I've also found some neat-o sites that aren't blogs at all.  They're websites!  Who would've guessed?
Anyways, the first site I found that is beyond noteworthy is called Baby List. Through this site, you can make a baby registry stocked with items from just about any and every store (as long as they have a website).  This means you can put items from Etsy on your registry!  Be still my beating heart!  Your registry can be accessed by anyone with a computer and your customized registry link.  They can click on an item, order it through the retailer's website, and have the gift sent straight to your door.  Three cheers for technology!  Hip-hip . . . 
And moving right along to the second site of note: Your Baby Booty.  Being a first time mom to-be, I have been overwhelmed with the sheer number of products a baby needs.  Do they actually need all of them?  And which brand is best?  This site breaks it down.  You can enter details about your lifestyle (active, minimalist, on a budget, etc.) and the site will give you a list of the best "mom-tested" products to buy.  The site also points out which products to skip at the store and search out as hand me downs.  Sanity restored to my registry making experience!
I'm sure you're exhausted after reading all of this highly stimulating info, so I'll sign off after another Gem from James.  While pampering his pregnant wife with a well-deserved foot/leg rub, he muttered to himself:
"Still shaving her legs.  Glad to see we're keeping up our appearances for each other."
Ahem.  If that is true, James, I'd like to ask you about the muskrat that has taken up residence on your face.

Back to non-baby related posting tomorrow.  Probably.  Maybe.  Not.

Monday, 16 January 2012


It's blue Monday.  But here in Edmonton, I'll refer to it as ice-blue Monday because with the windchill the temperature is -36 degrees.  The news caster keeps telling me your skin can freeze in 10 minutes or less.  Comforting, seeing as Jimmy insisted on riding his bike to work, as per usual.  Don't worry your pretty little head - I made sure he was properly dressed.  Please note the lacrosse sick strapped to his back and bright orange bella clava.  I bet those morning commuters were thinking it'd be just another boring drive to work.  WRONG!  Not with my James astride his two wheeler.
I don't know that I've ever been happier to be staying home and cleaning the house.
He has texted me to say that he made it to school and is just defrosting his toes in a lukewarm bath while the kiddies figure out the circumference of their pencil top erasers.  Ahh, mind at ease, and moving on to other, more important things.  
Being that it is so cold, today is the perfect day to stay in and make a savoury and delicious pasta dish that "is simplicity itself" (can you tell that I've been reading this? It's about a blogger.  Shocking, I know).
Be warned that simple doesn't necessarily translate to easy, but it does translate to delicious, and besides, it's minus a bajillion degrees outside, remember?  What else are you going to do?  I found this recipe on one of my favourite foodie blogs, and it did not disappoint.  Time consuming?  Yes, but worth it!  As Jimmy pointed out: "This is one of the recipes you've made that actually looks like the picture!"  While that sounds suspiciously like a back handed compliment, he's right, it looked so . . . restauranty.
 And the taste - ah-may-zing - likely due to the generous pads of butter added just before serving.  While the original recipe is linked above, here is my, slightly altered, version:
Appropriately Modest Tomato Sauce
Inspired by Smitten Kitchen's Naked Tomato Sauce
Makes enough sauce for four pasta portions, but if you're going to the trouble, double the recipe and freeze the leftovers for the next time you need comfort on an icy-blue day.
3 pounds (about 10) Roma tomatoes
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 large clove garlic, crushed
Pinch red pepper flakes
3-5 whole basil leaves, plus 2-3 slivered for garnish
3 tablespoons olive oil
500 gram/1 pound box of spaghetti
1 tablespoon butter, more if you're pregnant

Smitten Kitchen recommends blanching, peeling, and seeding your tomatoes.  This is what makes the sauce time consuming.  But it may also be what makes it so delicious.  Apparently the skins and seeds can make the sauce more acidic.  I did as I was told, and like I said, the sauce was de-lish.  That being said, I make another sauce that uses Roma tomatoes, skin and seeds intact, and I don't find it acidic, so I think you could skip the blanching, peeling, and seeding, instead coarsely chopping your tomatoes, throwing them into the sauce pan to simmer, and moving on.
If you want to blanch, it's actually easy.  
1.  Cut a small "X" at the bottom of each tomato.  Blanch tomatoes in a large pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds, rinsing under cold water when done.  Peel your tomatoes using the easy peel tabs created by your "X".  Discard skins.
2.  Cut each tomato in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds using a spoon and a small strainer set over a bowl to collect the extra juices.  Discard the seeds, and keep the juices.  My tomatoes didn't yield much extra juice, but maybe they just weren't very juicy.  You may have better luck than I.
If you don't want to blanch, pick it up here:
3.  Add tomatoes and salt to a medium saucepan and simmer over medium-high heat.  As the tomatoes simmer, break them up with a wooden spoon, or as Smitten Kitchen suggests, a potato masher.
4.  Once the sauce has begun to boil, turn heat down to medium-low, and continue to simmer gently for 35-45 minutes, breaking tomatoes up more, depending on how chunky you like your sauce.  If the sauce begins to look dry, add your reserved juices.
5.  While the sauce cooks, combine garlic, your whole basil leaves, red pepper flakes, and olive oil to a small frying pan.  Heat slowly, on the lowest heat so it takes a long time to come to a simmer.  Once it's simmering, remove from heat and strain the oil into a small bowl.  This flavour infused oil is another reason the sauce is sooo simple (no onion? no carrots? no nothing?) but sooo delicious.
6.  When your sauce has been simmering for about 25 minutes, cook your spaghetti according to the directions on the box, minus about 1 minute cooking time so pasta is a little more al dente than usual.
7.  Just before pasta is finished cooking, add the reserved olive oil to your sauce, stirring.  When pasta is done, drain, reserving about a 1/2 cup of pasta water.  Put pasta back into the pot, adding the tomato sauce and about a 1/4 cup of your reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce (I was nervous about the water, but it did not make it watery like I feared), adding more to achieve desired consistency.  Cook spaghetti mixture, stirring, for another minute or two, adding your butter and sprinkling with slivered basil just before serving.
Smitten Kitchen says the sauce is rich enough to serve without cheese, but I added cheese anyways.  Nothing is too rich for me these days.  Blisssss!
Stay warm,