Thursday, September 30, 2010

hotel sheets & student lined streets

I needed this.  Three days, two nights...away.  A break from the rut of our daily routine. A vacation.  

"Does the hotel have a pool?"

I figured as much so.  After all we were the tag alongs in a room full of well dressed business men who, just like daddy, were here with work.  But hey who needs a's galore.  Home of North America's largest mall, yes even larger then mall of America, (insert gag sound here), and the more local preferred option...Whyte Ave.

A tree lined street with leaves on the ground.  Where everyone is a singer songwritter one open guitar case away from being rich.  Where antique stores with vinal records and china dishes line street-faced windows.  Vintage clothing boutiques bearing yesterday's treasures ready to be rediscovered, reworked, reworn.  Coffee houses that make even mom and pop look corporate.  Yes, every college town has their "street".  This is Edmonton's, but it could just as easily have been mine...Grand River Ave running alongside Michigan State's campus.

As I strolled with the boys I couldn't help but reminisce about my days as a student. Remembering the struggle to find myself, my identity, my purpose.  Feelings of unnecessary pressure to have all these answers solved before rightfully accepting a diploma.  I was a music major most at home amongst fellow musicians, dancers, and artists.  I'd start my days with coffee and the New York Times.  Offering my opinions on subjects half understood.  We were big dreamers with larger plans.  

I thought of the days before kids, before Brian, and how much my life has changed. Realizing that I could have never imagined as a student walking Grand River Ave just how happy I would be, as a wife and mother.  

"ruck...ruck....momma....ruck ruck"

"That's right's a truck"

Meanwhile here were my boys.  Costello leading the way, Dashen nestled neatly behind, both buckled in the stroller.  We stopped and listened to an unplugged redition of Light My Fire, tossed a few coins in a rusted green fountain, picked up a 70's blue leather, ok...pleather, vest in one of the vintage stores, and called it a day ending at Boston Pizza.

Later, after jumping on hotel beds and ridding the elevators until our hearts were content, I sat by our room's windowsill overlooking Edmonton's downtown, and gave Costello his nightime bottle while rubbing Dashen's tummy.  Recapping aloud all of the things we explored.  Asking the boys if they had a good day, if they enjoyed seeing the students between classes, all the sights of a new city, playing in the park, the peorrini pizza...

"ruck mmmmma....ruck," he said pointing to an idling truck ten floors below with his eye's half shut.  

Yes babe, that's right...that's a truck.  

Until Next Time....ABCD

Monday, September 27, 2010

Saturday into Sunday

"I think we need a date night at home," Brian said while watching Costello run around the playground.

With a weekend full of pushes down the slide, piggy backs around the park, and chases through the leaves, I couldn't agree more.

With both kids down, we turned on our backyard twinkle lights and watched the sky transform.  I reached for my sweater as the evening settled in, promises of Autumn with a chill in the air.

"Can I get you some more wine honey, " asked Brian.

Halfway through our bottle, we dragged our chairs down to the yard, huddled around the fire, and warmed our toes.

"Looking good" he said, "perfect for marshmallows."

"Perfect," I agreed.

And with the baby monitor quietly humming underneath our favourite Andrew Bird album we enjoyed each other's company while the fire flickered the night away.

until next time - ABCD

Thursday, September 23, 2010

the great divide

Fed Ex came to deliver a package today, but in the midst of Costello's excitiment pointing to the big truck and me tucking the sisters away after nursing D I unknowingly went to the door...

1.  wearing only my bra

2.  embarrassed the delivery man to the point where he looked away and asked if he could "return at a better time."

A week prior, I had made plans to meet a friend at my favorite coffee shop.  I should probably note that this friend is single and about as far from child bearing as your overies will allow.  I hadn't seen her since Dashen was born and was looking forward to our catch up.  I tossed up my hair, whipped on some makeup, retired my Old Navy maternity streachy pants, which pretty much have been worn everyday for the last two years, and grabbed my new must have accessorry...the double stroller.

I guess I just assumed she would have figured that meeting up over lunch includes a bit of baby. That I'd bring the boys.  But the look on her face, you know that sort of smile which quivers at the corners and reads "ugh really", convinced me that maybe I should have been a bit more clear on the phone.  That we'd be a party of three accepting her invite.

"Hi" she said as she watched me struggle my big ass double stroller through the petit cafe's doors.  "I didn't realize you'd have the kids."

"Surprise" I said.  "Don't worry I have snacks"

The next few minutes were full of small talk, coffee orders, and selective table searching.  Looking for a place to sit that's close to the door and accessible without having to ask too many women, who's ovaries were also backpacking across Europe, to move.  She continued to fill me in about her plans, the men in her life, dislikes of new fall trends, work stuff.  And, honestly, I was trying to be a good friend with an occasional nod and a reaffirming "oh, i see".  But to be honest, to say i had retained much more then a "how's your coffee" while anxiously trying to distract my kids with gold fishies and Cheerios would be an overstatement.

"Mommy" Costello interrupted, as he pointed to me with a half devoured gluten free cracker on his finger.  "Yum, thank you honey." Sure a napkin may have come in handy, or even the edge of my plate, but my mouth was my first instinct, and those gluten free crackers are expensive and not half bad.

To me, this act of mommyhood did not seem odd.  We see it all, right?  What's wrong with eating a half eaten cracker?  But clearly, judging by the look of disgust on my coffee partner's face, I had just crossed a line.  A line which I'm guessing divides woman into two groups, those with children, and those without.  A line that finds me chasing naked bums around the house, combing dried bananas out of my hair, and excepting Fed Ex packages in my bra.

I doubt she'll be asking me to coffee again anytime soon.  In the meantime, the great divide continues.  Much like an elementary game of dodge ball where the half the class lines up on one side of the gym and the other on the opposite.  I'll happily join my new team of friends with double strollers and latte's in tow.

until next time - ABCD

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

rain rain go away

I think I have the groundworks in play for a new TLC show which I'm referring to as Hoarders, Burried in Toys.  

We've had lots of rain here.  So much so that our yard is full of mushrooms.  For real, mushrooms. It's the oddest most bizarre thing.  And with the rain means more time cooped in the house with the toys out in full force. They are everywhere.  Scattered in the middle of the living room, the kitchen, the bathroom, our bedroom. But give me toys or TV, I'll gladly take the toys.  What's with all the songs on kids shows these days?  Must they all sing?  In such high voices?  Makes Alvin and his gang of chipmunks seem Grammy worthy.

Yes Dashen is watching TV in this picture, and yes he's only two months, but I'm sure it's educational.

You know what makes my day...finding random lost toys.  There's the forgotten hockey puck under the fridge, or the rubber ducky who wondered so far from the bathtub it'll take a search and rescue team weeks before it lives another day in suds.  I love these findings.  Always popping up when you least expect them, gently reminding me that our house if full of baby.  Which is why I leave them lost.  It's my attempt to keep our home forever child-full.  If the plastic ball, long from the days of being tossed, is still between the fridge and stove twenty years from now I'll be happy.

Lost but not forgotten lil' ducky...
"mommy" as Costello points to the door.  "No buddy it's raining today.  Here, let's play race cars".


Costello plays the principle "hoarder" in our house since he single handedly contributes to most of our clutter.  Brian, my "professional organizer" brought on to hold my hand, (bonus), as we organize our life one Ikea bin at a time. Dashen, the lead supporting male. Supporting in the sense that he's still trapped in the confines of his woobly no-neck newborn body, but full of eagarness to join his brother in destroying our home.

And I'd like to cast Philip Seymour Hoffman, just because he's fascinating and would for sure win tune-in points on primetime.  I mean come on...the man is known across the world by his full name, middle and all.  I would love for him to call one day just so I can say..."hey honey, Philip Seymour Hoffman is on the phone for you, should I take a message...from Philip Seymour Hoffman?"  See, it just doesn't get old.

And all this rain is preventing me from finishing a post I've been working on since June. Brain has such a green thumb, and keeps the gardens looking amazing all summer. Except, we havn't had a summer.  And before posting about the gardens I'm waiting to take a picture of the tomatoes  all red and delicious.  And yes, I know, it's mid September.  And the tomatoes are still green.  And there's a very good chance they will stay green forever, sad.

Since this post is a bit all over the map and long let's recap.  I watch too much TLC, the weather in Calgary sucks, our house is buried with toys, our tomatoes in the garden are forever green, and I like Philip Seymour Hoffman.  No, not like like...

ok, maybe just a little but it's harmless.

until next time - ABCD 

Monday, September 20, 2010

being heard

Monday's are usually tough.  Which to someone who is on maternity leave, one day of the week should not prove more difficult then another.  But for reasons I can't explain this dreaded day of the week, working or not, still pretty much sucks.

However this Monday started with an award presented by Amber from Nater Tot sweet Amber thank you...and who doesn't LOVE awards.

I am pinpointing my way amongst fellow bloggers and an audience of online readers while constantly questioning my identity as a writer.  I may still be finding my voice but receiving an award like this assures me it's being heard.

until next time - ABCD

Friday, September 17, 2010

shot in the arm, and both will cry

We had some crying today.  And rightfully so since Costello had has 18 month shots.  Except he wasn't the one upset.

The nurse popped him twice in the arm to whcih he gave her the how-do-you-sleep-with-yourself stare of death and shed a few tears.  And completely unrelated Dashen decided to scratch has face.  Those damn nails.  Just as soon as the nurse could reach and ring the "distraction" bell, our room went from calm to chaotic.  Ah,'s like white noise on heroin.

There were hugs, and kisses, and "what a big boy" comments on hand to cheer Costello.  All of which he ignored.  But this nurse was equipped with a "Thomas the Train" sticker and "ooohhhh shinny" worked just fine.  Proving that a grudge agaisnt a sworn lifelong enemy in the eyes of an 18-month old lasts....oh....sixty seconds. And there was Dashen, with no stickers, equipped with a pacifier which I attempted to jam in his mouth while "sh-shhh-shhhing" away.  If only just for a few minutes so we could leave the office in a calm and orderly state and I wouldn't have to feel like that frantic mom with the two crying screaming kids.

Then, I remembered the 15 minute window you have to wait out to insure your child isn't wildly reacting to the recent dose of foreign antibodies.


So out we went to the waiting room.  And all the parents, who likely had been staring at our closed door asking themselves, "just how many shots are they giving that child", now ooed and gooed at Dashen.  Assuring him that it'll be alright.  That the sting will go away in notime.  And I didn't have the heart to tell them that this drama queen, although a cuttie pie, did not have any shots today.  That the cookie eating, juice sipping, sticker wearing, kid at the toy wall was actually the patient.

Nope I just kept my lips sealed and said...

"I know, I know....that's ok Dashen, the sting goes away in no time."

What are your thoughts out there on immunizations.  Do you opt out?  Space them apart?  Schedule as recommended?  Let me hear your thoughts on this one.  Costello is now up to date until 4 years old and as far as I can tell, he didn't have much of a problem with it.  Dashen, we are considering separating the shots out a bit longer since he seems to be more sensitive in general.  What do you do?

until next time - ABCD

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

take me out in style

Nothing says a lifetime Tiger fan like my Grandma
with her Detroit ballcap, jersey, and...


Love you grandma!

until next time - ABCD

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

all good things are worth waiting for

I came across this video today while reading an often frequented blog, Making it Lovely, and it brought me to tears. Maybe it's the never ending grey skies as of late in Calgary which have me all emotional and touchy feely, as clearly the whole "it's my hormones" ship has sailed. The love these two Brooklynites have for each other is special and reassuring to find in a world full of lackluster relationships.

Four years ago this April Brian on one knee in a lake front room twenty-one floors high in Chicago's W asked me to marry him.

This was the day I had dreamed of for so many years. Reenacting the scene time and time again with Ken and Barbie in my treasured pink Malibu Dream Motel. Two adults with one untold future together. A man in some ways I was just getting to know, and yet in other ways, I had known all my life.

Our dating years were as exciting as challenging. 1500 miles apart separated by two countries. So many late night calls going into the early hours of the morning. Catching up on everything from the tiny details of our days to larger thoughts and questions of our lives together. Where would we live, how are we going to do this, what about my job? For every reassurance we were to be together stood a hundred roadblocks in our way.

But we continued to face our challenges driven by our love on autopilot.  Taunting the world as if to say "bring can't brake us."  Continued through tear filled airport goodbyes, holidays apart, lonely fall walks with a dream to return together hand-in-hand.  We continued through cold winter nights desperate for the warmth of each other close. Days turned to weeks, weeks to months, months to years.

Yet, on a rainy April night in Chicago...Brian placed a ring on my finger and I muffled, barely audible, an emotional filled "yes". We started our new journey. Our days apart behind us. We didn't know just how it was all going to come together. We didn't care.  We had faced our distance filled relationship without armor and came out triumphant, stronger then before.

Every great love story has it's beginning.  Our's is simple. A told B...yes.

until next time - ABCD

Thursday, September 9, 2010

1 smile is worth 1000 cries

Dashen is our sensitive dramatic one. I've come to an early conclusion that there is an artist in him with profound thoughts and creative ambitions. And between profound and ambition there's a considerable amount of pooping, farting, peeing, crying, waking between the hours of 4-6, refluxing, and now...making it all worth the sleepless nights...smiling!

hurry Mum and Dad, grab the camera...I'm smiling. 

Dashen's reflux has made for challenging days with lots of crying. And of course one baby crying is never enough. With Costello's meltdowns added to the equation our home on any given day sounds a bit like American Idol before the bad ones who actually can't sing are voted off, on full volume...played backwards.  Which by the way, I'm so behind on pop culture...who's replacing Simon?  I swear I was last to know he was leaving the show, which I'm guessing is like way old news.  

Costello smiled earlier then his brother. But he also didn't have "the reflux".  And, yes, I intended to write the word "the" in front of "refulx"...because for all the grief it's causing him it needs more of a presence on this blog.  We have good days and bad days.  From our research and advise of friends who too have babies with "the reflux" this appears to be quite normal and generally runs it's course in six months. Ugh, months, not weeks.  Did I mention he smiles?

First smiles, Costello at 7 weeks.

But it could be worse. 19 kids and counting much? Unlike that crazy lady, we only have two.  And they are really good boys. They sleep.  They give out kisses on demand.  And now they both smile.

until next time - ABCD

Friday, September 3, 2010

11:32 Thursday

Just in case you were wondering...

It is possible to fall asleep with a graham cracker in your mouth. 

Until next time - ABCD

Thursday, September 2, 2010

little green monster makes a difference

What do you get when you mix very cool parents with a room full of talented emerging artists all coming together to raise awareness for a rare genetic disorder called Smith Magenis Syndrome?

One cool album on itunes and a boat load of money and awareness dedicated to fostering more research and ultimately providing more hope and answers to parents like Ryan and Cole from Pacing the Panic Room, who's "littlest buddy", or LB as they refer to him, is living with this condition everyday.

And if your asking yourself, what's this post all about?...what is Smith Magenis Syndrome?'re not alone.  The condition is rare and the need for more research is prominent.  A distinct pattern of physical and behavioral characteristics tend to be present in people with SMS caused by a missing piece of genetic material from chromosome 17.  This forever lost piece of the puzzle can really muck things up posing challenges and difficulties to those who have this.

You don't need to fully understand what SMS is or it's effects and symptoms to support the cause.  Any parent would agree that raising a child with a "diagnosis" poses challenges and at times can seem overwhelming.  But as Ryan and Cole will likely tell you, along with the lows come great highs as their child grows strong with an overabundance of love and support from family and friends of all kinds.  

So I urge you...have a listen to the above album on itunes.  You'll find with music performed by the likes of Robbit, Astronautilus, Cracker Jackson, and others, it's pretty awesome.  This is music you'll actually ask your children to bring along on those long car rides versus the dreaded umpteenth playback of Barney's top 100.  Even better:  the money raised all goes to PRISMS, a group dedicated to researching and developing awareness of SMS.  The record went live Auguest 30th, so go and get one already!  

Until Next Time - ABCD 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The C word

I sometimes struggle with my first and only language, English.  I commonly mispronounce or misuse simple words daily in my vocab.   So you can understand the confused, maybe even slightly disturbed, look I have received from people when I blurt out, " circumcision is healing nicely!"  Increasing awkwardness by further explaining my scar, although a bit larger then I had hoped, is ok because nobody will see it "down there".

No, I am not a surgically enhanced transvestite mother of two.

But I am recovering from a Cesarian.

I left the hospital eight weeks ago with a suitcase full of sanitary pads fit for an elephant in heat, disposable panties which should be illegal, some drugs, and sweet cheeks baby Dashen.

I miss my womb....

The main no-no they tell you is to avoid is lifting anything heavier then your newborn for 6 weeks, along with vacuuming.  Which to me is odd.  Of all the things to single out.  Vacuuming? Really?  Who vacuums right after childbirth?

YAY,  mommy can lift me...wahoo!

When the unprepared plan turned Cesarian I feared not being able to lift our toddler.  But, much to my surprise, after just a few days of having to painfully ignore Costello's pleas to be picked up...he seemed to get over it and did not lapse into a state of depression from mommy not being able to piggy back away.  We decided to make a game of it called "let's play gentle with mom."  And, the secret to our  Grandparents movin in, husband working from home, lots of sister visits with Starbucks, support.

- and daily meals on the kitchen floor.

- In a paper bowl.

- Which he loved.

Circling around the living room only to swing by the kitchen for a bite of food like I'm all of a sudden some sort of McDonald's Drive In.  He'd run on by order up whatever it was I was serving and toss his arms in the air, laughing as he ran away, returning for another bite until it was all gone.

And as always daddy came through like a rock star with his superman hands-on support. This along with my folks who uprooted themselves for three weeks to join us in our lil' abode helped the past eight weeks feel pretty damn near painless.

I was spoiled. Costello was spoiled.  Dashen... well he's a newborn.  He continues to be, and rightfully so, spoiled.

Until Next Time - ABCD
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