there'd be no distance that could hold us back

this time of the year often brings with it lots of food, lots of family and lots of photos, which doesn't actually start with f but well...it sounds just the same. this year was no different. when sifting through my photos to come up with some to share here i narrowed it down to a lean thirty, which is about twenty seven more than i may have words for but we'll give it a go.

we had our friends nicole and aaron over on christmas eve to try out the fondue pot i asked for and received as a wedding gift more than two years ago. i am not quite sure what i was waiting for because it was a sizzling good time. much wine was drank and although cohen was too excited to sleep that night i would say it was a success by all accounts. i will definitely do it again sometime.

christmas morning the three of us slept in quite late, almost noon to be exact and then i was up and the turkey was in and then we relaxed some more. family started arriving around three and as per the prescribed christmas tradition the chaos began. i don't do so well with chaos and i had a few moments where i almost ran from the building screaming but eventually dinner was served and gifts were opened and everything turned out better than planned (considering that i am a turkey amateur).

speaking of gifts, we chose not to exchange with everyone this year and instead opted for the drawing of names and the buying of only one gift (except for the kids of course, everyone got to buy for them). i drew my brother aaron and as luck would have it, he drew me as well. his gift to me was a pair of bookends that he crafted out of a light and dark coloured wood that i instantly fell in love with. right now they are holding up all of the great books that cohen got as gifts. as you can see he was more interested in eating them than reading them but i know in time he is going to love to read just as much as his mom and dad did as kids.

in other 'tis the season news worthy of noting, the day before christmas marko came home with one of those silly mugs from the dollar store that has a message on the side. he had bought a coffee at the shop downstairs and filled it almost to the brim before handing it to me. if you had asked me a few years ago i am not certain i would have imagined being so happy to receive such a thing but as i held my "worlds greatest mom" mug i felt somehow completely satisfied. it was the perfect thing. (this picture pretty clearly illustrates the fauxhawk that cohen is naturally sporting these days, without the spike it makes him look like a little greaser).

on boxing day i spent most of the day curled up in the hide-a-bed in the living room watching the entire first season of northern exposure. i love that show and am now convinced that i must purchase the entire series. everyday since i have been having little battles in my head over whether or not it is worth the money. so far i have remained purchase free, we will see if that stays true throughout the week.

the holidays also involved a trip to the aquarium which i foolishly believed wouldn't be too busy. i was grossly incorrect. it was busier than a saturday afternoon in august and as a result we only stayed for a short while. since we were there anyway we decided to take a ride on the bright lights train. cohen was more interested in the one light hanging right in front of him then the thousands scattered throughout the forest but i had a great time experimenting with the lights and long exposures on the camera.

yesterday found us out at my mom's place for a walk on the beach and then a ham dinner. it was the last of our holiday commitments and it was a great way to end the festive season. cohen had some roasted parsnips and squash off of my plate and i think he was quite proud of himself because of it!

so as we end the year i am feeling glad that marko and i both work at the university where you don't have to work over the holidays. it has been really nice having marko home with us this last week. i know that cohen loved having the time to sleep in and relax with his dad. i think in the end, for us, that was the very best gift of all.

throughout the holidays my mission was to get one good shot of the three of us, this little family we created together. it didn't work out as well as planned but here in no particular order is our three best (and not so best) attempts

wishing you all a happy new year, may this next year be even better than the last!


happy holidays from our house to yours!

normally at christmas i get quite crafty and normally it can yield some fairly decent results but this year, much like my baking, the whole thing has been a wash up. save for one or two things i was sort of proud of, my crafty ambitions became a sea of broken dreams. so much so that i am scared to even go look at klay's blog for fear that she has posted all her crafty goodness, i think it would make me cry. rest assured though when i need inspiration to continue fighting the handmade fight i will venture over for some inspiration.

for now i have put away the sewing machine, the glue stick (and glue gun), the stack of papers and yarn. i have dusted and vacuumed and scrubbed. i have wrapped and shopped and prepared and so now, now i will do nothing but sit here with my baileys and make pretend crafts on the computer to validate my existence. care to join me?

together we can

make our own snowman
make a flake (not what you are thinking although that would also be a pretty good time i think)
and if you are sick of the whole christmas thing then maybe it is time for you to kick santa's ass.

happy holidays everyone! i'll be back next week with some crazy stories (even if i have to make them up!) and of course more photos.


one year ago today

i posted a link to this video.

what's in your cake this time

i can't bake.

i just want to get that out in the open right there in the beginning so that there are no misconceptions. oh sure i like to think i can and so i dabble now and then with the flour/sugar/butter formula, but if i was being honest, and i think it is time i start, then i would have to say that...well, i can't bake. i have known this for years and yet still every christmas i feel this urge. i suspect it is somehow connected to martha stewart and a little of my mother is in there to. whatever it is i go through this year after year. this has got to stop.

now don't get me wrong, i mean i understand the concepts, and i try my best to mix in love and that little something extra that takes baking to another level, but my something extra always ends up being burnt or undercooked or ugly. sometimes all three...wait really? really. that is actually possible.

tonight was the night i got my seasonal urge. i knew better than to attempt the cookie debacle that was last year (think several complicated kinds involving strange and complex preparation procedures all attempted in one go) so tonight i stayed easy and settled on shortbread, everyone's favourite christmas cookie. how hard can it be, i thought. the mixing was long and my arm was tired but i was confident in the outcome.

my first roadblock occurred when i felt compelled to get that star shape that some people's shortbread has, you know where it is all ridged and goes to a peak. i decided that the best way to achieve this was my vintage icing press thingy that my mom gave me in a hope that one day i would figure this whole baking thing out. i had never used it before. again, what could there possibly be to know? put the dough in there and squeeze (or turn as it was) out through the end thingamajig. i got that far but then it didn't look much like a star and the peak was stunted and cut off with no finesse. i looked through the different heads, there were no others that even looked remotely star like. maybe it will get prettier in the cooking? i trudged on. i need not tell you that this assumption was grossly inaccurate. if anything the outcome was grislier than the raw product.

mistake number two came when i decided to cover them in chocolate in a hopes to disguise their ugliness, chocolate makes everything edible, doesn't it? turns out melting chocolate to a consistency that makes dipping/dripping possible is a fine balancing act. i fell off the tightrope fairly quick in. i tried to recover it, there was milk and icing sugar and praying and then finally, just as it was about to burn i quickly reached into the fridge for some creamo only to drop the newly opened one litre container on the way to the stove. with creamo all over the floor, my chocolate burnt and my cookies grotesque i silently hung my head in shame. i didn't cry this year though. that's something.

just as i was cleaning the floor marko came in and asked what was up. i didn't even look up just muttered those words, i can't bake. he didn't say "i know" or "who cares" but he did ask who i was baking for. just for us was my reply, just for me really, to prove that i am the kind of person, no the kind of mother, that can adequately bake cookies for christmas. he paused for a bit, weighing in what my reaction would be to what he said next which was, "honey that is what the store is for, sometimes in life one just needs to buy their cookies". no truer words were ever spoken.

remind me we had this conversation around this time next year, will you?


i've been keeping all the letters that i wrote to you

**this photo has nothing to do with the post and is only here to lure you in

alright so i am once again soliciting you, my loyal (and occasional) readers for some suggestions.

every year i make my family a calendar. the first one was created more than ten years ago now, for only my mom. she loved it, and as a result i created another one the following year at which time it was suggested i make one for everyone. so i did and now some eight years later it is still something i take the time to make every christmas. i suppose that is how tradition starts and this is one of the only traditions our family has or at the very least has maintained through many years (which i suppose is the definition of tradition).

last year i decided to add to the tradition by taking all of the photos from the calendar and some of the ones that didn't make it in and creating a dvd slideshow (won't work for mac users...sorry). in that one i went for the saccharine super cheesy music selections (buble's home and alison kraus when you say nothing at all) and as much as they had a certain groan factor about them they did fit the occasion and it was the best i could come up with in the limited time i allowed myself to create it last year.

this year though, i want something slightly less over the top for the music. sentimental is ok but also maybe fun? maybe slightly hip? vintage, contemporary..anything really. i guess i want it to be fun to watch and not require three boxes of kleenex in the process. so i am soliciting you for suggestions. any you have would be greatly appreciated and all will be considered. now come on...don't be shy.

famous last words taken all wrong

this afternoon as i sat down to eat some chicken strips i noticed that there were two men climbing on to the roof which is just below our building. both of the men were wearing black and from my distance looked vaguely greek or italian. they got to the highest point on the roof and then started looking in a skylight, rotating around the window to get different views. it took me only a moment of fantasy to convince myself that they were hit men casing the place out so that later they could come back and do the job. was it because they were wearing black? looked italian? or simply just that i have watched way to many movies that somehow the occurrence of hit men on the roof actually seemed plausible.

as i contemplated all of this two things happened.

1. i realized that they were in fact repair men and that the skylight had a leak they were there to repair which is in no way as exciting as the reality i created and so this knowledge brought with it great disappointment.

2. i stopped paying attention to the hastily made chicken strips i was eating thereby completely missing that they were in fact not cooked. i promptly spat out the contents of my mouth but it was too late, several bites had been consumed.

it has been eight hours now and i am still not sick but i am not sure that means anything. hopefully by tomorrow i won't be tasting the bitter taste of irony.


stumble where the syllables combine

today is going to be the lazy picture post. these things happen.

last week my work had a potluck on campus for my department and a few others to get together with co-workers and their families. it was a pretty good time and of course cohen was a bit of a charmer. so here he is with some of my co-workers/friends for your viewing pleasure.

with his dancing/party partner paul

& his source for all things show-tune, christine

with nancy, he is warming her up for her grandma years!

did somebody say something about goats?? i hope they aren't here!
with christine and brenda

with mary-jane his partner in crime (one day...think bonnie and clyde)

and with donna his favourite story teller of the bunch.

oh and one last thing, for those that are interested the sweater photos are up (the sweater that baka made me, that is, and the hat and scarf too).


six months

you are six months old today. i can’t believe how fast the time has gone. at this rate you will be eighteen in the blink of an eye. i have had moments in my life where I wished the time would go slower, on vacations, or summer evenings when there seems to be magic in the air, but nothing like this. every night when i go to bed i am aware that another day has passed. in the beginning when you were little and i was fraught with worry i would say “we made it through another day” and i would be relieved, and in the morning when you would wake i would feel the same. now i feel regret, regret that we didn’t do more in the day or that i didn’t remember to enjoy every minute.

it seems like only yesterday i rejoiced as you moved your hand with intention towards an object, exerting your will. today that is old news. today you are on the verge of crawling, and constantly babbling and eating, always eating. you laugh all the time and love to grab hair, especially mine and you are strong, so incredibly strong. i see more and more of your personality everyday. the way you throw a fit when the banana is all gone or the grin you give when you manage to pull off your diaper and flip onto your stomach in defiance, tells me that i may have a very strong willed boy on my hands. you have learned that whining gets you things (although we are working on that one!) and that no matter what you will always have the love of your family.

you continue to love the bath, only now it is all about splashing. thank goodness we have a slate bathroom so that when you manage to empty the entire contents of the tub onto the floor it isn’t too big of a deal. heck, it is almost like cleaning. speaking of cleaning, every time you eat now you try and trick me into letting you put your fingers in the bowl of food, especially blueberries, because they are the messiest. you will look away with intent causing me look in the same direction and lose my focus for only a moment and then your hand plunges in, laughter informing me of my defeat. i don’t mind though, eating is supposed to be messy and i want you to have fun. soon you will be able to hold a piece of banana yourself and i look forward to seeing you try and figure that out! you have no teeth yet but that doesn’t stop you from eating all kinds of things including, for the first time this week, some chicken and rice. of course your chicken and rice gets ground up to a mushy globby ball of goodness, but it is what’s in it that counts…right? it may be too early to tell but i would say you like bird, as well as pears and bananas and squash and green beans and…ok what am I saying, you like everything. just give me food please, you say, and now!

i am nervous about you moving and tell myself everyday that i am going to get on childproofing the house, bolting down furniture, covering the couch, shaving the cat, sanitizing anything that could cross your path, but i haven’t yet and this morning you back crawled into a huge dust bunny and then grabbed it tightly in your hand and swooped it towards your mouth. thankfully i made it in time to save my stomach and yours and then I started a list, the first item was to vacuum more.

i am excited and nervous and sad about seeing you grow into the person you are meant to be. i realize now as you sit and watch me with wonder that there is a whole world out there that you are anxious to uncover and that i am going to be your guide on that journey. i feel humbled by that and uncertain of my abilities to take on the task. how is it that parents are given such an enormous responsibility without any training? i promise that i will do my best to create a map worthy of your perfection cohen, if you promise to always hold my hand in the dark.


procrastinating with youtube

want to join me. i warn you, once you get started you may never stop. today was all about the eighties and television. i am trying my best to avoid the movies, there may just be no stopping me otherwise.

this is guaranteed to make you laugh and be glad that the eighties are over, and who knew that the facts of life had such racey themes. (and yeah that is helen hunt, how about that?). is it just me or does blare remind you of faith hill?

now how about theme songs from my favourite shows? ready to take a jaunt down memory lane?

mine were:
i get by with a little help from my friends.
together we're gonna find our way...that one always reminds me of aaron, ahhh memories.
nothing's gonna stop me now.
just try and get this one out of your head!

there were others of course but i should actually go be productive for ten minutes. so tell me what were your favourites?


i've got my love to keep me warm

before baka left she told me that she wanted to knit me another sweater (i haven't shown pictures of the first one she knit me yet but trust me it is great) but i wasn't sure i needed another one, i loved the first one so much. so i asked her is she would knit one more thing for cohen, a jumpsuit to keep him warm in the stroller on our winter walks. she thought it was a great idea and so the night before she left we took measurements and she said she would produce it in nyc (where she is currently visiting marko's brother milan) and send it along. well she did and this morning i got it. if it didn't keep him too warm inside i would be tempted to make him wear it all the time, it is just that cute! it has four pieces, the suit, the toque, the gloves and socks.

thanks baka! cohen will be nice and warm because of you...again!

to see some more wonderful snowsuit photos go here


never never stopping, till they pop, till they pop

so cohen had his six month immunizations today. he didn't seem to mind much, sure his eyes went all wide and his eyebrows raised ever so slightly to let me know that he was aware that something was pricking him where it shouldn't be but that was it. i am starting to think that he is both a tough guy and a daredevil, not my favourite combination, but we will get to more of that in a minute. so his weight came in at 17 pounds 13 ounces which is really not all that bad for a six month old but for cohen it isn't great. in fact in the words of the nurse "it is cause for some slight concern". you see at two months cohen was in the 95% for weight and then at four months he was in the 75%, the nurse told me then that some babies, particularly those born large, will plateau out for a bit to settle in to the weight intended for them, but here we are at six months and he is in the 50%. I realize that 50% is still average, it is still perfectly fine and he is happy and content and thriving. there is no cause for worry. but then i am me and i am a mom and there is always going to be something to worry about. a continual decline is not a good thing. so i have been instructed to feed him solids at dinner until he indicates he is full (as until now i have only been giving him a fixed amount) and to give him some cereal midday (which i was already doing on some days) and to come back in a month to have him weighed again. "they can be very active at this age" she said, which of course is true and would account for his calorie burning. still, i would have preferred for him to settle around the 75% and keep the worry at bay. as for his height? he was 28 inches which still has him in the 95%. tall and skinny he is, just like his uncle elton.

as for the keeping active, there was a bit of an accident last night. i was waiting for it to happen and had all but convinced myself that it wouldn't, that i was too careful for that, but i wasn't. yesterday i had food poisoning. it started sometime in the early morning hours of monday and had me quite sick and exhausted, so much that marko had to come home from work to help with cohen. i guess that is the background excuse for what comes next, not that there really is an excuse, but there it is. so cohen and i were napping last night and he was fast asleep beside me in our bed when i got up to go to the washroom. after retrieving some water in the kitchen i began to talk with marko, our conversation was soon interrupted by cohen's screams though. i of course had a panic attack on account of the fact that he almost never screams. when i got in the room i realized the scream was coming from the floor. i swear my heart actually stopped. of course cohen being cohen, stopped crying the moment i picked him up and then he proceeded to laugh, i swear it is true, laugh. he almost had a look like he wanted to do it again. unbelievable. from the look of the bedsheets and the lack of bruises or bumps i would say he clung to the sheet as he dropped so it was more of a slide than a fall but regardless i learned my lesson. no more monkeys on the bed. or at least not alone. and so the move towards mobility begins. gulp.

in other less scary news cohen and atticus graduated from sign language class this week. i am not sure if i ever talked about that here? we all took an eight week sign language class together. it was a pretty good time, although i think everyone was longing for thursday afternoons back by week eight. we learned lots, or at least marita and i did. cohen may have only learned that he likes peek-a-blocks and textured balls..oh and bubbles, great big bubbles going up (it was a song we sang that included the creation of soap bubbles which both boys seemed to really like, oh yes there was songs, so many many songs...i am surprised it isn't called sign language singing...wait, does that make sense?!?).

now i will leave you with some photos from the past week to oogle and ahhh...since i know that is the real reason you all keep coming back...

perhaps the cutest picture i have taken of atticus, this was denny's where we were all having a late lunch last week. while marita and i enjoyed our food atticus took the opportunity to revisit the fuzzy duckling. like mommy like son i say.

because it had been awhile since we had any after bath pictures and i can't be the only one who thinks that a naked baby is about the cutest thing ever...of course this is a bit of an accident waiting to happen.

this one was taken today. cohen and i had his cousins kyla and reidun come for a visit. i managed to talk reidun in to allowing me to take her photograph but coordinating three kids with smiling and sitting still proved to be a next to impossible task. this was the best i got. maybe next time.


i'm trying not to wonder where you are

i am starting to think that the better things are going in my life the more i blog. it is when life is organized, the house resembles something close to clean and my pajama's are fresh that i am most likely to curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and write a post. lately the house has been a shamble, christmas cards and letters and crafts strewn from wall to wall, and the laundry, the bedroom and bathroom have been left undone. so at night instead of sitting here writing this i have gone to bed or watched tv (just started brothers and sisters and find myself wondering why i need another show that makes me cry every episode...still i watch with glee) and neglected the blog. oh well.

so marko is done his course now. i don't think i talked about that here, did i? he is taking a course to become certified in project management. it comes in three installments with this last one being the first. the next two are done online though so those will be an easier cross to bear. this time found him in class three nights a week and on saturdays. plus, the nights he didn't work there was homework and studying looming over his head. now he is mine again and it is wonderful.

saturday morning we all slept in together and then upon waking decided to play with the camera a little. it was a lot of fun and i know that cohen loved having both his parents hanging out with him at the same time. we went out for a late breakfast and then for a walk and a coffee. it had been too long.

this week's photo class was the best so far. she went through a lot of interesting photoshop stuff that i didn't know and i felt as though i learned some very usable knowledge. our assignment that we were asked to bring in was a joiner. i had never heard of one before but it is sort of like cubism for photographers. the guys who is most closely associated with it is david hockney. well i had grand ideas. first it was a scrabble board, a clever play on words was the plan. but that didn't work out. then it was cohen, maybe i could show his many sides, but the end result there didn't make my heart sing so in to the trash it went. come saturday night i realized that i needed a simpler subject. this was my first attempt and first attempts are rarely the best place for ambition. so i took a picture of pears, or many pears i suppose and put them together. it actually turned out alright i thought and seemed to garner much approval in class (but of course everyone noticed the chunk of food on the front of the cutting board...how did i not see it? as you can see i have still been too lazy to remove it, let there be chunks god damn it). in any case it was fun to play around a little. i still want to do one with the scrabble board, if for no other reason than to prove it didn't beat me.

i have been listening to the weakerthans tonight and it has been a little like running in to an old friend, one that you couldn't get enough of at one time, in the grocery store and not having it be awkward at all. in fact it is like taking that old friend out for drinks and laughing the whole night. why did i stop listening to them? left and leaving is such a great song, well so says me...and i am pretty much the leading authority on all things music. ok, maybe not.