Friday, January 28, 2011

It's been a long week

My mom was admitted to the hospital on Monday. After twenty or so hours in the ER, she finally got a room. The biggest problem seems to be this cloud of confusion that hangs over her, so they've been doing her dialysis for her so she doesn't forget something and leave herself vulnerable to peritonitis – like she did last week when she forgot to close her tube.

It's hard to tell what's been happening or what will happen as she can't remember the details of most of the dieticians and pharmacists and doctors (both the nephrologist and her psychiatrist) who have come to see her. From what I gather, they haven't adjusted any existing meds, just given her IV antibiotics for the urinary tract infection and maybe something to sleep at night.

And it's hard to be there, to get there. Not only have the parking lots been full, every single street parking spot within three or four blocks has been taken. Thankfully the weather has been so nice because I almost collapsed on Monday carrying Finn, a diaper bag and my purse for a few blocks. With the slush, a stroller isn't even an option... And then when we get there, Finn is so busy that he gets grouchy not being able to constantly crawl around or stand or climb or bang on something. Lily has been relatively good, though. If there wasn't a donut shop downstairs, I don't know if that would be the case. And we taught her cat's cradle yesterday; she loves it so much that she wants me to teach Chris so they can play together.

Now it's Friday. They said they might let her out today, under the condition that she stay with us for a while. We'll see if that happens. The dog is so depressed without her and is constantly under my foot like a shadow. I've stepped on her a lot. And she's taken to snipping at Finn and he's actually been really gentle. Oh well. Looks like we all have to learn to adapt to changing situations. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Yayyy for babies!

Lily and Finn have a new second cousin! Hunter Terry Knox Millar was born less than an hour ago to my cousin Trevor and his girlfriend Amber on what would have been my Nana's 81st birthday. He was a whopping 10 lbs., 7 oz. Ouch...

He's named Hunter for Hunter S. Thompson, Terry for his grandpa (and our Uncle Terry) and Knox for my mom's dad, Cecil Knox Millar.

I've been waiting for a couple weeks to hear that this baby had arrived. Hopefully he'll be a little rock star just like his dad because the guitars on the baby items I made for him are just too cute. Errr, I mean cool and manly.

Before Christmas I'd made the bib, burp pad and taggie toy holder. At the beginning of January I made a couple toques; the brown one should fit now (maybe...he's a big kid) and the blue-green one in a month or so.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

9 months old - Officially out as long as in

Ah, you've reached the age of nine months which means you've been out of me for as long as you were in. You notice when I am away from you. You hear my voice and you seek me out. There was a day last week when no one else could hold you. You burst into tears every time I set you down, which is different from the crying every time anyone lays you down. Now, even when we get close to the bedroom at nap time, you cry. Not that napping is bad. You have been really consistent in sleeping at least two hours in the morning, then again in the afternoon. This is wonderful. I hope it never changes...though I realize I won't be so lucky and that you won't stay so little.

The big one this month. You crawl, but like a salamander or lizard. This has opened up a whole bunch of other things – like sitting from laying, pulling up to standing, standing alone, walking along furniture and generally getting into EVERYTHING YOU CAN GET YOUR HANDS ON.

 Oh yes, it was a very busy week when that all happened. From the second you crawled, it was like a flurry of non-stop physical activity. I'd heard that boys were busier; you've now proven that to be so. It is so adorable to put you down on the ground and watch you slither twenty feet to get to me, from the couch to the bathroom. Lily never did that. Just whined until we picked her up or helped her "walk" everywhere. So different you two are.

You share with us. Your food and toys. It is so endearing.

You understand and act upon simple commands such as "kiss" and "bonk" (head bonk) and "take your finger out of your mouth, please" when feeding you. But you don't talk or babble really. It's more a series of yells and screams and wild animal sounds.

You eat. Everything except for salmon...which is funny because even a semi-tart blood orange or a bowl of pure├ęd pineapple don't have you wincing. Quinoa with pumpkin and spinach or quinoa with berries or porridge with pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Lots of porridge with miscellaneous fruit and spices. Pasta and mashed tomatoes. Israeli cous cous simmered in vegetable broth. Blended avocado and mango (which I love because it's so creamy and sweet). We made carrot cake last week that you were quite fond of. Puffed wheat and just this morning, Cheerios. Pancakes, buns and bread are definitely a go-to food for you. I haven't given you a lot of meat because it kinda grosses me out, I suppose I should...but later.

For all that food you eat, you aren't really gaining weight. Now that's exactly like your sister. You trail off around six months and grow into what you've got for another six months. Which isn't bad, just kinda funny that you've gone from the 95th percentile to the 50th. You still have lots of juicy thigh to squeeze, so I'm not complaining. Not about anything about you.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Not good

Nana's not doing so good right now. Chris is at the hospital with her right now after her third 911 call in three days. May be another urinary tract infection that manifests in severe confusion and poor judgment or it may be her bipolar disorder – or both. Hopefully things will turn around soon if we, or perhaps one of her seven doctors, could just figure it out.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Nine years

Yesterday was our ninth wedding anniversary. To celebrate, Lily passed her whale swimming lessons and Finn puked a little and stayed up past his bedtime. We then watched Law & Order: SVU and went to bed around 10 p.m. This is about as romantic as it gets these days, but a nice supper out without the kids will make up for it tomorrow.

Friday, January 14, 2011

This is getting out of hand...

This is in our front yard, right on top of where Lily's garden grows.
The snow. It's everywhere. I blame it for the face-plant Finn did yesterday on the way to school. They snowblow a path (almost daily) through the schoolyard; therefore the other snow gets significantly higher. We couldn't walk the path because the bell had rung and we needed to take the direct route through the playground and hook up with the path right before Lily's door to go in, a somewhat steeper bank than the day before. And then the sled felt really light... Poor little Finn was lying face-down on the path. I felt soooooo terrible and he was not pleased in the least. Lily told me later she was almost in tears when she got into the school, worried about her brother. (The seatbelt doesn't fit around the big coat we keep in the sled – just in case you wanted to chastise me for being totally careless!)

Of course he was all right. A face full of snow isn't pleasant, but it is recoverable. The cold doesn't help either. It was -26˚C with a windchill of -39˚C. Ouch.

Chris is shoveling every day. The kids are indoors for recess and morning arrival more than they're out. Our backyard has almost disappeared.

The bird bath and compost container have almost completely disappeared under the snow.

Makes for some great opportunities to eat bread and soup more often, though. Mmmm, this artisan bread that I first read about here is the cat's meow. No horrible kneading memories from my youth. "Mommmmm. My arms are tired. I can't knead it anymoooooooore." That was me whining because I hate kneading bread. Now I never will again. I'll leave that up to Nana and Lily who do a fine job that way.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A big day for a little guy

Okay, so he doesn't look like such a little guy...
Minutes after Finn and I woke up from our morning nap (no, I don't usually nap but I've been sleeping since Sunday night fighting a particularly bad case of mastitis), I discovered that tooth number five had appeared to the left of the other two in the top of his mouth. (Tooth number four appeared on New Year's Day.) Explains the unusual crying, biting while nursing and difficulty trying to sleep the previous night...

Minutes later, Nana came up to stay with Finn while I dragged my weak body out of bed to shuffle on over to the school to pick Lily up. While putting my coat on, Nana yelled, "He's crawling!" I ran up but of course he'd stopped and there was no time to stay any longer.

Upon getting home with Lily, I got some puffed wheat out to entice him to crawl for the camera. Lily crawled for Cheerios and Finn will eat anything, so I figured it'd be a success. I was right. While he doesn't really pick his body up off the ground, it's his first forward-moving crawling and it was really, really exciting.

Finn crawls! from Hood/Anderson on Vimeo.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Handmade holiday

December was very busy and it really wasn't until the last day before Christmas Eve that I started feeling the stress. Chris, Lily and I decided to make all of our presents this year, so at the beginning of November, we made a list of our skills, the people we would give presents to and things that we thought would be appropriate or appreciated by each of them.

Like I've said before, this time of year is great for looking at what we really need and how we spend our time – and none of us wanted to spend any time fighting the malls.

I started out sewing a set of four cloth napkins and two hot pads for Nigel and Jessica in various green fabrics because we knew their dishes were green (which I somehow neglected to photograph). Next were the set of napkins, two hotpads, four coasters and matching patchwork tea towel for Chris's youngest brother Jared and his girlfriend Andrea as they've recently begun cohabiting.

Then we had to learn to stencil with freezer paper (and find out where the heck you can get freezer paper). So easy and so satisfying. We started off with Finn's gift from us. (Actually our very first one was a total fail. I used spray fabric paint and it totally bled. I suppose it's more for free-style or graffiti-esque painting on clothing.) I drew the image in Adobe Illustrator in Japanese kawaii-style, printed it out, put it under the freezer paper and using an Exact-o knife, I cut it out. I placed the eyes and mouth on and ironed them onto the onesie – one that we had around since Lily was a wee one. Finn didn't care; actually he didn't even know!

Next we took what we learned from that and applied it to some Scrabble-inspired pillows for Leslie and Ryan. I used the pillow tutorial from here, cut out and sewed the back panels of the cotton twill with a similar colouring to the wood colour of Scrabble tiles. We then stenciled the letters on that we traced (in Illustrator again) from images of actual Scrabble tiles. Then I sewed all the pieces together, inserted the pillow forms and voila!

Meanwhile, Chris and I both went through our photos of the kids to make photobooks for their grandparents. That was a many-night affair choosing, and rearranging photos and layouts. Just used iPhoto on our Mac to do everything and then simply placed the order. Nice. Everything is easier on a Mac!

Then I tackled Lily's gift from us, a housecoat. She'd been pretending that a long button-up shirt of hers is a robe, so I thought she'd appreciate it. Actually, I stacked the odds a little by taking her to the fabric store and letting her pick the fabric. She was so excited trying to guess what it could be. I've never sewn from a pattern before and it wasn't something I'll do again soon – too many words and instructions that I don't have context for. But it turned out really good. That took three long nights and a couple mornings while Lily was at school.

Next it was time to make Lily's gift for Finn. We went through his clothes and found a nice blue striped onesie, seam-ripped off the little label that was on the chest and after I typeset it, cut the stencil and ironed it on, Lily sponged on some blue sparkly fabric paint. Nice. He looks pretty funky when he wears it.

For my friends this year, I didn't do as much as I usually do. Since I ran out of Christmas cards after the mass mailout and wasn't wanting to buy more, I just repurposed some Federico Fellini cards I've had for almost ten years and included the "happy holidays family photocard" that we also somehow squeezed in time to take, design and have printed. (Meanwhile, Lily was working on the cards for her friends that accompanied those deliciously decorated gingerbread cookies.)

And then it was crunch time, maybe four days before xmas when I got to Jessica's gift, a card holder with linocut-printed cards and envelopes. When I look at it now, it doesn't look as involved as it was. First I had to come up with a 4 x 6 design that I was happy with and that had simple enough lines and angles that I could carve it out of a lino block in a night or so. I transferred it to the block, then was the carving, then setting up a printmaking area in the dining room, doing test prints, doing more carving out of trouble spots, and trying to get an edition of five decent ones (I got four). The sewing was the easy part, but I also failed there. I had put a loop on, but apparently didn't sew in place strong enough and it slipped out so it doesn't actually close. Oh well, it was all fairly cute.

It wasn't until fake Christmas morning (fake xmas is when we celebrate a mock xmas with my side of the family) that we actually executed Nigel's gifts. The night before, hours after getting back from Christmas with Chris's side of the family, Chris cut out the stencils for a couple t-shirts. The next morning, Lily sponge painted them. She was especially proud of the playful use of inks in the ART one.

This design was based on an after-shave powder called Stag from the mid 1940s. Found it in a retro packaging book and Chris and I really liked the uniqueness of the "a" and the "g".

So that was our handmade holiday. It was exhausting just writing about it! But like I said to Chris, can you sit back and feel truly satisfied and proud when you look at a big pile of stuff you bought? This was a very satisfying experiment.

And then on the 28th of December, I picked up a new hobby...

Saturday, January 08, 2011

A very fairy visitor

Oh yes, the tooth fairy came to visit! When you woke up on Wednesday morning, we found a very loose tooth in your mouth. We made a few movies of how wiggly it was because I thought it could come out at any second – or at least by the end of the day – and we didn't want Dad to miss it.

Turns out it hung on until you were in swimming lessons at 5 p.m. You excitedly ran over to me and dropped this tiny little tooth into my hand. It had just fell out onto your tongue. I was SO happy, I couldn't stop smiling; I just held this baby tooth in my hand before tucking it securely in my pocket for the journey home. Nana, Dad and Finn were there and you delivered the news by holding out your hand with the big reveal.

That night the tooth fairy must have come because when you awoke, under your pillow in the bag you left your tooth in was a twoonie! And that hole in your teeth was just perfect to go back to school with that day.

You'll be a wealthy girl if all those teeth keep falling out...