list of good things

out for a hike

watching dexter late at night with marko. we used to love to watch tv on dvd's, constantly searching for new shows to devour. it has been a long time since we have made the time for it. i am not sure what i think about dexter, but i think that is it's appeal, the uncertainty. i do know that i think about it during the day when i am not watching it, and that i can't wait for the kids to go bed so that i can watch another. i guess that means i like it, and yet at the same time i am pretty sure that i don't. we have only watched six episodes, maybe it is too soon to tell.

cbc radio 2 drive. i know, i know, it wasn't too long ago that i said i didn't like the cbc. turns out i just wasn't listening to it at the right time. i fell in love with the drive and rich terfry's voice a few weeks ago now, and then a few days ago i saw an ad for it on tv, you can imagine my delight when i realized that he looks like this. i also didn't realize that he was buck 65, which goes to show you how out of touch i am with canadian music these days.

marko's home made porter, which i have been drinking at least a bottle a day of for the last two weeks. it is easily as good as store bought. soon it will be gone and that will be sad. i hope the next batch, this time a traditional ale, is just as good. it should be ready any day.

the return of sunny, albeit still chilly, days. this morning i asked cohen if he wanted to go for a walk, he promptly replied "yes!", a revelation within itself as lately he wants nothing to do with leaving the house, and then he said "beach!", despite the distance i promptly took him up on his suggestion. it was great to be out in the salty air.

ada falling into slumber with ease and grace every night the last couple of weeks. this is in sharp contrast with her napping which has been grueling at best. some days she won't nap at all, not 5 minutes, a protest for being left out of something fun i am sure. we have resorted to much crying as it was starting to seem inhumane to keep her awake all day. i am hoping she tires of the fight and lays her head easier in the coming weeks, but at night she couldn't be different. i lay her in the crib at the designated time and she rolls onto her tummy, closes her eyes, and sleeps. it's that easy. sometimes she even sleeps all night, something i really didn't think was possible. i always assumed those people who claimed it to be true were just liars trying to show off. if she does wake up it is just once and then right back after some milk. it's important to acknowledge the good with the bad, so ada's sleeping at night, it's good.

our new fridge. the old one was from the early 80's i'm sure. it was rusted and leaked, not to mention the fact that it froze almost all of the food within it. it needed to go. after much bartering back and forth with the owner of the house it was settled and i went to home depot to pick a new one out. i have had it three weeks now and it is still as exciting as the day i got it. i threw out all the old bottles and jars that had been opened 5 years ago. it was time to make a fresh start. we'll see how long that lasts.

this vintage coat i bought at an antique market with silvija for $10. it is made in england and is 100% wool. it might be the cutest girls jacket i have ever seen. i can't believe it was so inexpensive.

the song kids by mgmt. i heard it on the drive and i couldn't get it out of my head. i downloaded it when i got home and i now listen to it 3 times a day. cohen likes to shake his bum bum (his words, not mine) to it and ada bops up and down. sometimes we watch the video on youtube as well. cohen tries to imitate the dancing. good times.

the tenth and final good thing is that it only took me 5 minutes to think of 10 good things in my life. i think i should do this more often.


watch your back, it's wet out there

baths! together!

ok, after this i swear i will cool it with the poladroid, for at least a week anyway. i have to ask though, why is nostalgia so damn appealing?

i took this one tonight. the kids often have baths together now. more nostalgia i suppose. there were many reasons why i knew i wanted more than one child. i think the biggest one was cohen's social tendencies, his need for companionship. there is no question that ada's arrival was one of the greatest things in his life so far. quick to hug and kiss and slow to scorn, they have become fast friends. i laugh at how grown up she seems at this age compared to him. constantly mimicking her older brothers actions, she eats more food from the table and seems to understand so much more around her then i thought was possible.

in the afternoons when we get up from naps we have a cuddle puddle, an awful term to be sure, but i said it once and it has stuck. we all lie in one big pile and cuddle, our eyes half open, still mostly asleep. cohen often lets out big sighs of contentment while ada squeals with delight. it truly is something to behold, and makes up ten fold for the four o'clock crying festival which often proceeds the dinner time all hell breaking loose. the money is in the cuddle puddle, that and the night time bath.

i remember having baths with my brother. it isn't just from photos i remember either, i remember from actual recollection. i loved having a brother, no, i love having a brother. i love everything about it, even the really awful stuff. i love knowing that there is someone else out there who understands, who was there. family vacations, tree fort expeditions, lemonade stands and road trips to relatives for christmas. they were there. my brothers. that is the other reason i had more than one. i just couldn't imagine it any other way.

i hope that ada and cohen grow up close, that i am able to nurture that and see it grow. i know it will have it's challenges as they get older, more stubborn in their ways, but if i do it right it will work and then they will have what i have, the warm blanket of always knowing that no matter they will always have a best friend.

in case the photo wasn't enough, here is some video.


like looking through a fogged mirror

in years gone by baka has indulged me and spent most of her evenings knitting various things for the kids. the first year, when cohen was but a babe, it was fairly ridiculous. last year it was more reasonable, but still, i took full advantage of her incredible talent. lately though her hands have been having trouble and knitting isn't as fun as it used to be, so this year she made me the cowl and a sweater/hat for ada, and then she asked if i would like her to sew something instead. it didn't surprise me to learn that she could sew as well as she knit, old world ways i guess. when she was a young women she went to special classes to learn these things, darning socks, hemming skirts, mending towels with blanket stitches, all things she has done here at my house for us, things that make me shake my head and ask, why not just buy new socks? lazy in my new world ways i guess. i have come to appreciate it all the same though, especially when i find an old sweater, the one i loved but had long since relegated to the top of the closet because of the unsightly hole in the sleeve, as good as new and neatly folded on the bed. i wish i had more "everything old is new again" and less "out with the old and in with the new". i suspect there is some philosophy in there somewhere.

so she asked and i happily accepted the offer of some sewing for ada. we bought tracing paper and i pulled out and washed up fabric, we talked pleats, debated over button vs zipper, and then baka fell ill. the last week she was here she was quite sick, lying in bed moaning sick. everyone but me got it, but baka got it worst. so it didn't look like it was going to happen, the sewing, but in true form she pulled out the machine on her last full day here and set to work (don't worry, she was finally on the mend). the idea was that i would watch closely, learn. i have been talking about making ada clothes since the day she was born. a girl! alright, i can make a dress! it has never happened though and to be honest i am pretty sure my sewing isn't up to speed for it, i probably could have used some of those eastern european home maker classes.

the problem was that trying to watch your mother in law design/cut/pin/baste, and sew a dress while watching out for two small children, one of whom is snotty and grouchy and insists on being carried and talked to, is akin to swimming with cement shoes, it is possible but only with the most determined perseverance and even then it is only for a short while. i did manage to pop in and see the things i was the most troubled about, the hem around the neck and arms, the pleat and the general assembly prior to basting. i think i learned enough to at least attempt a go on my own, and i got a pretty cute dress out of it in the end as well. i could tell that silvija was pleased with the result, she couldn't stop smiling, and immediately asked me to take a picture of ada in it so that she could remember. i wish i had a perfect shot of ada standing up straight in it so that you could get the whole picture, but i don't. it is grey wool, a fabric that i bought two years ago now because i fell in love with it and i knew that some day i would find something to make with it. i am so glad i did. when she was finished and saw ada in it she laughed and said that next year she will do much sewing. i can't wait.


with my own two hands

baka went home this afternoon. every year when she goes i feel this strange mix of emotions, sad at the emptiness she leaves behind and relieved to have the space back, the routine. i have more to say about her visit, about the wonderful things she made, adventures we had, but i am thinking i should go to bed early tonight as i am back to 6 am starts (if i'm lucky) tomorrow and it is already past 10.

the photo up above features the toque my friend nicole made and a cowl made by silvija. nicole had made herself a toque i fell in love with, so with some cajoling she agreed to make me one (i really have to learn to knit). not knowing how much wool to buy i overdid it, and found myself with an extra ball in the end. when i showed baka some photos of cowls i was coveting on etsy she insisted on making me one to match the toque, complete with the enormous wooden buttons i had lying around waiting for a use. i think that silvija and i make a great team when it comes to hand made treasures, me full of ideas, her great at the execution. there is nothing like hand made things for kids (or me for that matter!).

i also thought it was about time for some new video, this one is of ada engaging in her favourite past time right now. she went on for another five minutes after the tape stopped rolling, i think she may turn out to be a bit of a talker.


hitting the snooze button and making it stick

i only have a handful of blogs that i follow on a consistent basis. they are mainly comprised of people i know outside of the computer, and people who found me here and commented at one time or another. it would seem that i am a rather poor citizen of the blogging community. i don't really have a good excuse for it either, other than the fact that i spend most of my aimless internet surfing time gawking at random photos of complete strangers on facebook. don't lie, you totally do it to. so why do i mention it now?

well i mention it because it seems that everywhere i look this week the blogs are talking about sleep. needing it, missing it, loving it, overdoing it, and all this sleep talk has me feeling a little sheepish. a little too happy at my good fortune. i hesitate to put it out there for fear of retribution, but what the hell, nothing wrong with a little gratitude, right?

you see, marko's mom is here again this month. she makes the pilgrimage from croatia once a year and stays for an extended visit. one year it was for one month, and then last year for two. two years ago i was on maternity with cohen and it was nice to have the company, we took turns cooking and together we went for many walks and drank many cappuccinos (well, actually, make mine a latte). a month was too short. then last year i was back at work and we didn't have that time. she was generous and would always cook dinner before we returned from work, helpful to be sure, but i missed cooking. i also missed having that one on one time with cohen at night, i was at work all day, i needed him as much as she did. two months was too much. this year we have found the balance again.

silvija, or baka as she is known around here, is an early riser, usually sometime between 6:30 and 7. she just can't sleep past that time, it isn't part of her wiring. as it turns out ada also has this wiring, wiring that would have me pulling out my hair were it not for baka. our routine, the one i am so grateful for these days, has me waking for the day with ada sometime around 6, feeding her and then letting her poke my eyes or pull my hair until baka wakes up and comes to get her. then i tuck myself in and go back to sleep. i know, i am a bastard. to be fair though, things have been rough with the toddler the last couple of weeks. the last 3 nights he has woken up 3 times during the night. last night we even caved in and squeezed all four of us into our queen size bed, our necks and legs cramped by morning. so it hasn't been a total picnic, but close.

she takes ada and feeds her breakfast, and when cohen wakes up around 8, she feeds him too. i usually sleep soundly until 9, a couple of times even 10. i don't wake to anyone needing me, or screaming, just a couple of kids playing and a pot of coffee. who needs mexico when you have a baka around?

her and ada have become fast friends, and so she puts ada down for all her naps and at night too. she feeds her and changes her, and kisses her little cheeks plenty as well. i am already scheming on how i can make her stay longer, and dreading the 22nd when she goes home. it hasn't been long enough. not by a long shot. i don't know how i am going to cope when it goes back to just being me. i am trying not to think about it and instead just enjoying these last two weeks of sleep, and calm (sort of).

so there, that's my post about sleep. come back in a month, i am sure i will be singing a different tune.


problems with easy solutions

i am trying to write this and watch northern exposure in a minimized window at the same time. it is proving to be a little like doing your taxes while riding a bike. i love that show, always have, and it is hard to not focus on the tv screen. i have paused it for now, we'll see who wins this battle.

so, it's the start of another new year. how about that. i managed to stay up until midnight for the big night this year. we had people over which i think was the main contributing factor to that, although who am i kidding, i stay up until midnight almost every night, it is 11:30 right now. still, a new year. with a little luck it won't end up being the year vancouver lay dormant under snow drifts larger than houses for the first six months. not that i am complaining, oh no, not me. we did borrow a sled from a neighbour for some alley walking, that was fun, and there was a snowman, but still, really? is all this necessary? i am starting to feel like i haven't left the house in weeks, and the garbage/recycling that is piling up under the deck and now, due to a serious lack of space, on top of the deck, is a little much. we did barbeque tonight though, snow be damned, and we all have the proper gear should the next ice age hit, so a little good, a little bad. nothing new there.

cohen seems to have found his voice in the last month or so and more and more he is not afraid to use it. "come on, quick, hurray, trains!" as he motions for you (or anyone else in ear shot) to follow him down the hall to his room. if you don't come right away he will return minutes later with, "uh, oh, i bumped the track, help?". the first 70 times i went and fixed the track, then i learned my lesson and since then he has been on his own, "oh wow, that's too bad, maybe next time you will think twice before you tear the track apart, huh?". this of course spawned the newest conversation which has him explaining to me that it wasn't him that "bumped the track" it was bob the builder and much to the contradiction of his reputation he can't in fact "fix it", as both him and bob seemed to need me on the job. he has also decided that he no longer wishes to use the word eight, so he says nine twice to fill the gap and keep accurate count. i wonder what it was that got between him and eight anyway?

we have forged into the world of playdough. so far so good. this morning it kept him occupied for nearly 40 minutes, which meant 40 precious minutes of not being asked to follow him to his tracks. phew. i also had him help me bake the other day. by bake i of course mean lick the beaters on the mixer (which i call a mix master, but apparently no one else does?). he almost fell off his chair with glee when he realized that those things came out and looked like a lollipop. i can lick one? really?

ada has been taking advantage of the home time to work on her walking. i have a walker for her but it is at a friend's right now and the snow has prevented me from getting it (well that and the fact that she was in ontario over christmas). never one to be deterred though she has been pushing an empty diaper box up and down the hall, stopping to bang her palm on the top and rock her knees to the beat. the girl has rhythm, no question about it. a couple of weeks ago when asked when i thought she might walk i said a couple more months, her knees still shakey, her stance much too vulnerable to actually step alone. this morning she was looking like it might be any day. that would be crazy though, right?

my camera died on new years eve. there was a brief period of gasping for air, teasing us with power and a will to survive, but then nothing. just a cold hard shell sitting on the table. now i am left with the crappy point and shoot i bought as a lark so that i would have a small camera in my bag, should i go out for drinks with friends and want to take arty shots of dumpsters on my way home. we'll buy a new one soon, i promise, but in the meantime things are going to be a little less sharp around here, although you never know, there might be some cool dumpster shots to look forward to.