Saturday, January 31, 2009

should do this more often

We had a lovely get together/playdate type thing yesterday with two mums and their two girls from our Wednesday playgroup. They stayed for lunch and lots of playing and chatting. And we had a wonderful surprise... Jen gave us a beautiful little rug that she made herself. I was so excited as it is just perfect. I haven't found a place for it yet but as you can see from the picture above it makes a great little sleeping mat for the wee one. I'm hoping she'll show me how to make these so that I can make one for under the dolls' house. It's a great 'green' project as you can use all your old sheets and left over fabric scraps. yummy!

I've started knitting again after 23 years. I dug out my little knitting bag my Great Gran made for me when she taught me to knit when I was 8 or 9 and found a bunch of needles and the same blue yarn I was using for the only knitting project I ever attempted (a scarf I never even finished) So here's hoping for better success this time round. I'll update later. Anyway, I came in the living room later in the day yesterday and found Brendan building a fence on the sofa with the needles- he was so proud of himself and clapped and cheered when he showed it to me.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Special week

So Brendan's birthday lasted more than a day. It was more like 5 days. We had the party on Sunday, opened a few presents in bed on Tuesday morning (his actual birthday), shared a birthday cake with his playgroup on Wednesday then picked up a package and opened more presents on Thursday. On top of that we have sung happy birthday about, oh, thirty or so times?

Brendan is very picky about which of my attempts at arts and crafts he wants to go along with but this simple sticking stickers on a cut out of the number two went down very well! He used one of the sheets of stickers he got from his Granny and Grandad and very carefully chose each one and stuck it in the exact place he wanted it. Cool to watch him thinking so hard.

We like the word "special" at the moment. Here he is checking out his snack with "special" toast in butterfly and fish shapes and hot chocolate with a marshmallow.

And finally for today... here is the little bag I just finished with my first attempt at needle felting. It's made from an old jumper and I used some of the pretty blue buttons with flowers on that I found in a second hand shop. I think we'll give this to Brendan's friend Mya- I never did finish the christmas present I had intended for her. That can wait till her next birthday :)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Brendan's birthday bash

We celebrated Brendan's 2nd birthday today with friends, food, cake, decorations, a party game and presents. We invited four of the little friends he plays with most often so, with parents and siblings, we had a pleasantly full house for a lunchtime party.

All the kids played well together and especially enjoyed jumping on the bed and playing with the dolls house. Brendan got very excited and screamed quite a lot. As for Tadhg, he slept through it all on the sofa.

Here are the peg dolls I made to give to each child instead of a party bag. They each chose two so we have a few left to play with ourselves.
The picture below shows the bunting I made and am particularly proud of. :) This will hopefully be pulled out for many celebrations to come (that's if we take it down at all- we like the extra colour)
Unfortunately, Brendan wasn't all that interested in opening presents at the exact time we all wanted him to, but he eventually got to them all. Here he is playing his new harmonica and finding it hysterically funny.

We would like to thank everyone for coming. It was a special day made even more special because you were there.

More on Brendan's birthday later as his actual birthday isn't until Tuesday when we'll have a family birthday tea and open his other presents, some of which have arrived from the UK. Happy Birthday Brendan!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

muffin tins and snow

Brendan with his muffin tin lunch. This is the second one we've done and he loves it. Got the idea from a flickr photo.
L-R, back to front: cucumber, red pepper, crackers, raisins, yogurt, spicy humus, ham, homemade apple/oatmeal flapjack, cheese, strawberries, grapes, tangerine.

Had another snowstorm over the last couple of days. Here's the snow on our back deck at sunrise yesterday. With the cold, snowy weather we've been staying in bit more than usual so have needed a couple of things to do. This is one of them. We have a strange space at the bottom of our stairs that isn't really useful for anything... it's too small for furniture, too carpeted for muddy boots and wet clothes and doesn't have a window for doing arts and crafts. So I claimed it a while back as a place to dump all my arts and craft "stuff". I put up a shelf, built that bookcase and put everything in there but have just managed to organise it all. So this is how it looks now and I really like spending time in there.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A day for staying inside

Here's our thermometer at 8am this morning. Fredericton beat a 125 year record by reaching -34.3*C today and there's a weather warning out for wind chills up to -41*C. Ok, so it's not as cold as the prairies where we have a few friends surviving much colder temperatures than here- thinking of you :)
Below is a pic of the ice on the INSIDE of our windows. You can also see Brendan's crayon artwork on the window. I'm not sure if Brendan really understood but as we held our palms on the freezing window I tried to explain why we weren't going out today!

So we stayed in and played all day. We drew, coloured and cut out some big cars for his wall, made a race track out of floor tiles which B has been pushing his buggy with doll around at full speed for what seems like hours, made a bed on the living floor and hung out for a bit, strung some wooden beads on string, read lots of books, mostly about winter, and we all had a bath and a nap. Busy day.
And I took some photos. I love this one below. It's not great quality as I took it myself on the wee camera but I wanted to get a picture of my favourite wrap at the moment. I love it when he's awake and leans back to talk to me. He started smiling at almost 4 weeks old and this week is working on talking- he puts his whole body into making little noises and gets so excited by the "conversation". There's nothing like falling in love with a new baby!
Steve will be home tomorrow- we can't wait!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

what makes a perfect winter's day?

Steve is doing fine in Texas. He called last night from the top of a hill they decided to hike up after work. Lucky him, I'm not jealous, really ;)Brendan and I collaborated on a painting yesterday and this is what we came up with. I painted the canvas green and then gave him a few squidges of paint and a brush. He did the rest except for me pointing out the blank bits "how about more here? and over here?... "
And below is the baobab I did too. I kind of copied the composition from a watercolour I had seen but I'm loving thick paint in bright colours at the moment so it is very different.
Today the weather is almost perfect. About zero degrees, bright blue sky, warm sun and there's a thickish layer of fluffy new snow covering everything. The wind could do with being a little calmer and there you go- a perfect winter's day. I just love the feeling as your spirits lift when you step outside on a day like today. It's really invigorating and you can't help but feel happy, even if your almost two year old has just flooded the bathroom! Hopefully it will just dry up like last time and won't cause any permanent damage.

So we made it to playgroup about an hour late but in time to play a while before treating ourselves and having lunch out. Steve and I have an ongoing problem relating to "crepe confusion" where I just can't get my head around having a pancake as part of a savoury meal. Pumpkin pie causes the same sort of confusion. Anyway, today just confirmed my suspicions that trying this is just plain wrong- I tried a 'ham, brie and apple panini crepe'- all I can say is eucchhh. I ate it all though so it can't have been that bad.

Monday, January 12, 2009

off to a good start

A photo of Tadhg, just because.

Both Steve and I had been a little nervous about him going to Texas this week. My main worry was about those times in the day/week when you are absolutely knackered and that stuff called 'patience' is nowhere to be seen and you normally hand over the baby or toddler or cooking or whatever for a break. Well, that is what happens in our house anyway:). I've discovered I don't have a very high tolerance level when it comes to the sound of a baby crying. Brendan rarely cried and when he did the problem he was yelling about was usually sorted fairly pronto and the crying stopped. But Tadhg... actually he doesn't cry that much, he just has a period in the evenings when he cries on and off and I just feel so bad for him and I get upset and frustrated because I can't always make it better. So Steve and I take turns walking around with him. Anyway, despite that rant, this evening he's been pretty happy so far even though he has a cold and a slight temperature- it must be really annoying to be breathing through a stuffed up nose while trying to eat.
So today we kept busy. We...
- played with the dolls house and opened another room set for it.
- played with a new set of alphabet cards- B can say them all and recognises a few letters and can put abcde in order (I haven't tried to actively teach him this, he just picks it up- amazing to see!)
- made a calendar to cross off the days till Daddy comes home
- did painted footprints of both boys on canvas for a blank bit of wall somewhere
- made a jungle book village with houses made out of toilet roll tubes and cupcake papers, more loo rolls for the fence, a blue scarf for a river, green wooden blocks for trees and some schleich and wooden animals. He wasn't that interested to begin with but a few hours later he went back to it and started playing on his own moving the animals around and naming them all (he loves the films)
- and, of course, played with the train set, did some colouring and watched some of the jungle book and Brendan's favourite bit of Cars which he asks for like this "Mater tow truck tractor cow moooo fall dooowwwwn yep ok hehehehe" That is more or less how he speaks at the moment.

Other sentences of sorts...
"more cookie please tractor cookie?" (our cookie jar is a tractor)
"daddy plane sky airport yep flying wheeeeeee" (with arms flying)
"mummy come back two minutes Brendan bed"
"downstairs TV on, DVD, animals on please yep open gate"
And if he's angry at us about something eg. been told not to hit the baby/climb on the table/ turn on the dishwasher etc he shouts as loud as he can a variation on "TV on, ice cream cone, more cookie, TV on"

Talking of TV, on Friday I flipped out with the whole TV thing and we took the plunge. We now have no TV in the living room and it is MUCH better. Should have done it ages ago. We now have to make an effort to do other things when in here and TV watching happens only in the basement for short times. It's only been three days but we are all much calmer as a result, Brendan actually looks at us when we talk to him rather than staring at the TV (which he was starting to do even if it was off!!) Here's a photo taken before the TV was banished.Enough waffle. I might try to go to bed. I'm anticipating a long sleepless night. I think I'll need to be propped up with Tadhg on my chest if he's going to get any sleep.

Friday, January 9, 2009

footballing donkey

Here's a wee felt ball and a glove donkey I made while Caitlin and Paddy were here.

Paddy gave me a book on making soft toys out of gloves for christmas- they are very cute and will make nice little presents but this first one has already been given to Brendan who seems to like him. I have a second one started.
Do you think Brendan is close enough to the TV? DVD watching is becoming something of a problem. Well not in itself but the amount of it we allow and the frequency and manner in which Brendan asks for it. We're going to have to adopt drastic measures to sort it out (but not till Steve gets back from his week long trip :))

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Caitlin left today so now I'm feeling the need to get back to some sort of normality after the long holiday period. So I thought I'd write down some of our plans and New Years resolutions. It's really a great big to do list in my head. So where to start?

-Get the house back together and tidied up a bit.
-Start to think about making the spare room into Brendan's special room (in the hope it will encourage him to sleep in his own bed)
-Finish a couple of craft projects and start new ones.
-Get back to some semblance of a routine (as much as we can handle anyway, which isn't very much)
-Write letters and start replying to emails immediately.
-Decide on and stick to a mid-week laundry day.
-Improve our rates of cloth nappy usage (we have been a bit lazy on this recently, although we haven't been using wipes at all which is good)
-Devise a(nother!) budget and try some drastic measures in order to stick to it.

And in the shorter term...
-Steve is away in Texas all of next week so we plan to cook and freeze some meals for those times when cooking and cleaning pots is the last thing I want to do.
-Blog about the things I've made recently.
-Scrub the sofa where Brendan spilt milk earlier today, before it begins to stink.
-Run a bath for Brendan as our afternoon activity (We're all just recovering from a nasty tummy bug so I'm a bit lacking in inspiration and energy today.)

And that's about it. Other hopes and plans for this year include watching Tadhg grow and change, doing lots of new things with Brendan as he becomes interested in them, visiting family in Montreal, enjoying our house and making more of our veggie garden and hopefully going on a trip somewhere if the budget allows.

Wishing everyone else a happy and healthy 2009!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

from the inside looking out

Well this morning I became one of those mothers from hell that you sometimes see when out and about in the shops or a restaurant or somewhere. You know, the ones who are at their wits end, yelling at their children and manhandling them to make them do what they've been told to do?! And using that ubiquitous threat "We'll go home if you don't... bla bla". We went to playgroup and for the first time in my (almost) 2 years of motherhood I broke my own rules. I heard myself saying "right, we're going home" about 4 times and then decided to actually follow through. I picked Brendan up by the arm and carried him up the stairs and out of the building. Not my finest hour of mothering I admit. Basically, we arrived, he did everything he was not supposed to do, he did his usual change of mind thing every 3 seconds, he lay on the floor in a tantrum, he disrupted the other kids trying to listen to the story, he repeatedly slammed the door, he left the room and disappeared a few times... I just need to learn from it- due to poor planning I was trying to feed Tadhg while all this was going on! I tried every tactic I could think of to get Brendan to 'play ball' but had very limited success. Eventually after 20 minutes I gave up and left, a child in each arm. Room for improvement I think. We'll try again next week and be a bit better prepared.

Later in the day...
The lighting outside was beautiful so I snapped a few pics from the window. Let's have a look...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Disco dancing

With Christmas well behind us and hogmanay approaching, news of a 70s disco party really sounded great. Excited about the upcoming event, we decided that we had to put a good effort into finding some fancy dress outfits.
Here we are in our finest 70s outfits with items gathered from second hand shops or sewn up in a hurry on Saturday afternoon (and Paddy's lycra suit was actually found in Steve's drawers- his old speed skating suit). Caroline and Ian did a great job doing up their basement as a 70s disco. The usual newcomers club people were there as well as a few others. Brendan wandered around for a while before going to sleep in their spare room while I carried Tadhg all night- except when handing him over for others to fuss over- it was nice to show him off!
Here are a few more photos of the evening. We left at about 2.45am and managed to get stuck half way up the driveway- wheels spinning on the ice (and Paddy sliding all over the place in his flat slippy shoes). They guys from the party came out to push and we were eventually towed out by someone's all wheel drive car.