Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Birthday 2 year old!

Happy Birthday to my little Luke today!

I can't believe he's 2!! How does this happen so fast??

I can believe it in some ways, it takes a LOT of work to get a baby to two years old! As usual parenthood makes the seasons and years fly by but are filled with long days and even longer nights. Luke's been a wonderful baby for the most part, he's been at times my best sleeper, the worst listener, the most mischievous and the most adept climber. 

He loves to talk. Loves tractors and cars. He eats anything called a "cookie". Loves to read. He's also just a fun person to be around, which has got to be a major plus in a two year old right? 

God Bless my little lou! 

P.S. I've got 2 two year olds for a month-wish me luck!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff

In the interest of full disclosure I have to admit I was home schooled. And I may or may not have spent whole months studying Ancient Egypt. There is most likely photographic evidence of the giant map of Egypt I made out of some kind of flour mixture. I could go on but is this not proof positive of my crazy nerdiness?

And because of all the nerdiness I grew up with I still can't quite shirk my pesky interest in history in general, thus the reading of crazy biographies. This one however, was a great read even for those who previously have not devoted much of their precious childhoods to creating timelines of various ancient Egyptian dynasties. 

Cleopatra was a pretty fantastic historic character, thats why so many writers and artists have had a field day with her for over two thousand years. But Schiff does an excellent job fleshing out the massive amount of politicking and strategizing it took for Cleopatra to rule a vast and wealthy empire, seduce the two most powerful men of the day, give birth to four children, and function as an important god. Thats a lot of multi-tasking if you ask me. 

Schiff brings the history, as far as we know it, into clear sight with the importance of various decisions Cleopatra made throughout her twenty-two year reign. Her story is probably a little less romantic than Elizabeth Taylor and Shakespeare portray it, but not much. Schiff's writing is eloquent without tending towards the boring, she streamlines very efficiently, and hardly inserts feminist thoughts. 

Any reading of Cleopatra; A Life is not a search for virtue. This was an ancient queen living by very different standards in a pre-Christian pagan environment. But her impact upon much of classical art, poetry, drama, and of course, the Elizabeth Taylor epic, still reverberates today. Its always interesting to know the truth behind the character. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pears and baby issues.


I tackled my 10 pound bag of beautiful Okanagan pears this morning. I tried some new recipes for pear sauce and ginger pear muffins and so far I think they both turned out really well! The rest we ate, and I sliced some up to freeze for when I have some time to make a little pear tart or something. We'll see if that day ever comes!


I endeavored all this pear business while the kids were awake and functioning which means they all were vying to "help" mama. For some reason nothing gets accomplished if I let all three have chairs up to the counter with me so I tried to limit it to one chair this morning and "turns".
One thing about having three kids under the age of 4 is that the concept of "turns" doesn't yet exist. Everybody needs to have a turn at the same time. Two people will always be unhappy and pouting. There isn't too much patience and rationale going on to make the idea of "turns" seem fair or fun.

I'm still not sure if it would have been easier to just have three chairs everywhere and the whole kitchen to be a mess and hardly have gotten anything done. But where would the fun be in that?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Last week of October...already?!

Its the last week of October?? How did this happen so quickly? 

That means its less than two months till Christmas, and most frighteningly less than 12 weeks till I have to give birth! I'm already starting to be increasingly anxious about that fact. 

Our mornings are now brisk and frosty. The grass is still sparkling, but the sunshine is shining in so today has to be a good day!

We had a very busy and productive weekend, my husband went to town on our seriously disorganized basement and now I feel so much better about it! Why is organization so hard to do but feel so good? Its almost like exercising, except the feeling good part.

My new yarn for baby blanket take 4 has arrived so I'm going to crochet up a storm while watching football tonight. My little Lou turns 2 on Halloween so we're going to get some party things done this week...hopefully. I'm sure my list of to-do is longer than that but much more boring!

And have I posted this picture before? Because I'm pregnant. Thats a huge possibility. But I love how fallish it feels. Nice wide farmhouse floors, great white ceramic dishes in the background, completely simple and beautiful. Everything I want to wake up to!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

If you need a good laugh...

I thought I'd write something serious but then I thought, hells no this is too funny to ignore!

I don't know about you, but tumblrs poking fun at celebrities can be funny sometimes, tumblrs written in the voice of Suri Cruise making hilarious observations of her fellow celebrity progeny is beyond hilarious. 

So go laugh at Suri's Burn Book

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Sometimes its so nice to sit down to a good book with a good story. 

Not too sappy, not too "romantic", and at the same time not too heavy.

I just finished Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and I think it lands comfortably in this not-so-easy to describe category. Henry Lee is the main character of the book, who in 1986 has just lost his wife to cancer. He is challenged as to what his life will now be without his wife, and also how to continue his relationship with his only son, which has become strained through the illness of his wife. Against these current events, Henry begins  remembering a part of his childhood.

The book begins telling the story of Henry's youth during World War II while growing up in Seattle. He is the only Chinese boy at an all-white school until Keiko, a Japanese girl begins attending. The two strike up a strong friendship, both having to struggle being the only two people different from the whole school, and of course, battling the prejudice of being Asian while America was at war with Japan. The story quickly develops into a dramatic tale of Keiko and her family being forced to evacuate to internment camps with the rest of the Japanese population until the wars end. Henry, however, does not forget Keiko and their strong friendship and burgeoning young love.

I won't give anymore away, because the story is bittersweet and best enjoyed once the mood of wartime Seattle is established. The writing is well done, and the time period and topic so interesting. This book is a good one if you're in the mood for a good story!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Seven Quick Takes vol 9.

I'm a linkin' up with Jen at Conversion Diary yet again! Hurray!


My go-to meal when my husband's late or I just don't want to make anything that requires brain activity is omelettes. Its been that way for a couple years now. I just throw in whatever is left in the fridge and call it an omelette. I'm making one right now, I know, poor deprived husband.


Holy crap look who tried to be crafty again!?
This was my humble attempt at a cute yarn wreath. It was ridiculously easy, frankly that's the only kind of craft I do, and it took me about two weeks. Not because it takes crazy amounts of time but I could only work on it in my spare time, so that means not very often. Actually thats kinda a scary fact, thats all my spare time in two weeks?!? 
Maybe I should reevaluate the need for clean clothes and dishes.


I have yet to buy any maternity clothing yet for this pregnancy. I've yet to wear any specific maternity clothing at all this pregnancy. And not because I'm not round, but because I loathe maternity clothes on principle. I just can't take the lycra. Or the empire waists. Or the heinous patterns. Maybe its because maternity stores in Canada leave a lot to be desired and that I'm not willing to fork out a ton of money on the super cute maternity clothes. I'll most likely break down and buy some maternity jeans but hopefully I'll make it through buying longer tops, that I don't care too much about stretching out, and cardigans. Oh, and belly bands. I have bought some belly bands-which make your own pants wearable for so much longer they're a fantastic invention!


To prove my point check this out:

A top from Thyme maternity here in Canada. Terrible.

Top from Asos Maternity. Super fun!


Correct me if you think this is crazy but I also think the reason that there is such little selection in the affordable maternity department, especially here in Canada, is of course that fewer and fewer women are having babies. On top of the much fewer women having babies thing, the women who are having babies are much older than previous generations. I feel as if when I walk into maternity stores that the styles are just so far from styles I'm used to shopping because of the age gap thats happening. Theres a whole lot of theory behind this very important shopping complaint as you can see.


I've really been loving The Nester's series of 31 Days of Lovely Limitations. Its always encouraging to read about other people who do such creative things to make their homes beautiful. And beauty is much different than perfect! The Happiest Mom also had a great post about finding contentment in your home. I don't think I know a single person who's house is perfect to them, but its really amazing how much better you feel about your home when you do even a few little things to make it feel beautiful.


I could murder a pint right now! Well, any alcohol really. We're going to an Oilers game tomorrow night and it may be a little sadder without some watered down beer. Hope everyone has a lovely weekend-have a drink for me!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Middlemarch by George Eliot

I just finished re-reading Middlemarch. I think this must have been my third reading of the book, not including the innumerable times I've watched the entirety of the BBC mini-series production. But as is true with any classic, with our years of maturity we are better equipped to absorb the intricate layers of beauty a great book has to offer. When speaking about Middlemarch to a casual or first time reader the usual comment is that the book tends towards the preachy, or drags on about a character's intentions and motivations for too long. But the genius of George Eliot's masterpiece is her impeccable ability to capture so much of the human experience of the inner life. The moral issues, dilemmas, and personal goals of the characters of Middlemarch are the goals of people today. The problems which our frail societies inflict upon our good intentions were the same in rural nineteenth century England as contemporary society.  

Eliot works wonders describing the beautiful and gripping thoughts of Dorothea Brooke. She is the central heroine who has a strong passion to live her life for the sake of helping others. Dorothea's lofty ambitions seem stifled while living with her upper class uncle and she believes she has found a man both inspiring and with the same selfless goals. But Mr. Causabon turns out to be the anti Mr Darcy if you will. His age has made him inflexible to any life of love and mutual affection, Dorothea tries to give her bursting energies in helping him with his life work which she had earlier believed to be an important and worthwhile history, but the work turns out to be inconsequential and unending. Once again her good intentions are stifled. When Mr Causabon falls ill and eventually dies, his wealth and estate continue to hold Dorothea back. Her strong intentions to do good repeatedly come up against life situations that make it anything but easy to put into practice, but it also makes for a relatable character especially in regards to plugging away at the spiritual life. Dorothea gradually learns that it is the small daily efforts worked within her community that can make the greatest difference in others lives. 

Eliot's other main character, Dr. Lydgate, aspires to become a leading and forward thinking medical man through research and the introduction of innovative ideas within his practice in the town of Middlemarch. However, his hard work begins to suffer after his marriage. His marriage pulls him into significant debt and as the community is weary of his new techniques his practice has not thrived. He becomes miserable as he comes to grips that he too is not compatible to his wife and may only make her unhappy in their marriage, and also through the loss of his dream to improve the science of medicine. It is through the kindness of Dorothea that he is given another chance to succeed, although not to the heights which he anticipated. The characters of Dorothea and Lydgate run parallel to each other, both make impetuous decisions in their marriages only to have their goals thwarted. Dorothea however, takes a humble approach to her situation while Lydgate continues to make choices out of pride that drive him in to more hopeless straits only to be finally saved through Dorothea.

Eliot weaves together the theme of the importance of marriage its effect on one's personal goals and passions. She also shows a whole community surrounding these two main characters and the choices and mistakes they make in their own life paths as well. Its interesting to see Eliot bring together this important sense of vocation within the context of Middlemarch the town. Every life is effected by others, and each individual's choice effects the greater community in part. Eliot thus brings about in a real way a strong sense of the Church. We are all members, yet our good or not so good actions impact the whole, also if the Church had more people willing to help those around us everyone would benefit. 

George Eliot was not a Catholic, but was heavily influenced in the evangelical movement in Britain at the time. Her novels however, have a sophisticated view towards vocation, marriage, and the Church that can only be seen as very catholic. It makes me curious to hear what her personal views may have been on religion which clearly evolved over her lifetime. The preface to Middlemarch is a beautiful description of St Teresa of Avila's intense passion to change the world and how this passion isn't only present in people once every couple hundred years but in many at every time. The desire to become a saint is universal.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A saintly Etsy find

Aren't these the most adorable little saint softies? I can't believe its taken me this long to find this sweet store. Saintly Silver has over 100 saint softies and they're all equally adorable! I think they'd make such a sweet little gift for little kids. They've even got St. Gemma, St. Dominic, and St. Luke! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

toddler trouble

how could faces like these not do hilarious things?

Just when I think that it's safe to let the kids play downstairs by themselves for more than 5 minutes, I'm really really wrong. 

The other day I was enjoying, or wasting, a couple silent minutes on the ol' Facebook while the babes were downstairs and suspiciously quiet. Soon Gemma calls upstairs saying "Mama come look we decorated!" Which can mean only messy things!

I was actually pretty thankful when I saw that it looked as if 3 small humans, or very large kittens, had unfurled a huge forgotten ball of yarn everywhere. But it was so sweet how excited they were that they had "decorated". And it only took me about 20 minutes to wind up. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving Canada!
I'm thankful for a low-key weekend which seemed to fill up quite quickly. 
I had a minor cheesecake flop, which never happens to me. So far I'm blaming pregnancy but Martha Stewart may be a close second. Other than that I've eaten so much but can't wait for leftovers today!
Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

St Francis a day late

G.K. Chesterton on St. Francis of Assisi:

"He plunged after poverty as men have dug madly for gold."

I got to Mass last night on the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. By myself no less!
It. Was. Awesome.

I am able to get to daily Mass so rarely that its a huge deal now. Add in the fact that there were no kids around and it was heavenly. Well, even more heavenly feeling than usual! I really wish I could get to daily Mass by myself even once every week or two because it really does give so much consolation and comfort. It gives good solitude and prayer time which I've been sorely lacking lately. Its amazing how much you appreciate a Mass with no toddlers!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

There's no such thing as a perfect pregnancy


Lately I've been ruminating on the fact that there is no such thing as a perfect pregnancy. And by lately I mean the last six months.

It has taken me six months for the fourth time to figure this out. 

But just as our society has made it strange and abhorrent to be open to more than two kids, let alone want more than two kids, the opposite effect of the having the perfect time to conceive and be pregnant as the ultimate familial goal also seemed to permeate the culture, and especially among women. The ideal pregnancy comes when all of our goals have been accomplished, we have more money than we know what to do with, and are eagerly excited to plan our own baby showers and pick out nursery colors. And because the pregnancy happens at the perfectly appointed time each blissful prenatal day is spent happily dreaming and "glowing".

Maybe I'm combining some girlish naivete along with the growing contraceptive-culture ideal that puts your once -in-a-lifetime pregnancy on a very tall pedestal, but in reality no pregnancy is perfect. There will always be emotional, financial, spiritual, or just plain ol' life problems and issues we have to deal with while being pregnant. 

Sometimes (read always) I wish pregnancy would happen in a bubble. A big bubble where all my feelings would be perfectly attuned, the timing would be perfect for me and my husband, that we'd have a bigger house and income, that no physical pain and/or changes would occur, etc. etc. However, if things did happen this way in reality most of the perseverance, patience, faith and other virtues God tries to bestow upon us in the process would never be needed let alone have a chance to flourish. 

As a young mom I wish there was more openness in talking about and accepting the difficulties and various struggles which come along with the great generosity of being open to life, pregnancies, and babies. It's not to say that such discussions should been seen as dwelling upon the terrible, or that having these conversations at all  overrides the joy of welcoming another child into the world, but only to say that challenges don't disappear, nor should they not be present just because you've become, or plan to become, pregnant!


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