Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Salt Spring Island

My parents took J home to Kelowna with them so that we could celebrate Jason and Maria's wedding day with them. We had a lovely time on Salt Spring Island. Photos, you do the talking!

alexlyonsjewelryThe morning before the wedding we spent some time at the market in Ganges. Alex discovered his "secret" other profession

maria and momMaria arrives with her mom

the kissThe kiss

happy coupleMaria and Jason, happy husband and wife

usLook, it's us! Amazing! I don't know the last time we had a picture taken of just the two of us

with j and mWith Maria and Jason

the view from our roomThe view from our balcony

And it wouldn't be a holiday without lots of yummy things to eat and drink!

ice creamAlex and his ice cream...okay, fine, one is mine!

porterMmmm...afternoon porter by the harbour

halibut burgerHalibut burger

ravioliSpinach ravioli with prawns

iced teaIced tea

pulled porkPulled pork sandwich

pizzaSpicy pizza goodness

We had a great weekend and, as you can see, we ate lots of yummy things!

Introduction and Part 1: Up – A tale of 3 pregnancies and weightloss…err…gain

This post was originally published at Get Fit Chicks. It may refer to posts on Get Fit Chicks that no longer exist. Please email me if you run into any of those and I will break the links. More information about the reposting is available here

One of the things I’m supposed to be blogging about (when I actually remember to blog) is my journey to get fit(ter) again since the birth of my little girl almost two years ago (ACK!).

Anyway being a mom (or a mom-to-be) means you talk about all kinds of crazy things with other moms and moms-to-be. I won’t even start to tell you some of the things we talk about…just know that poop is on the tame side! A friend of mine, Melynda, is pregnant with her third baby and she has been working very hard to minimize her weight gain in this pregnancy. She has chronicled her journey in a four part guest post. She has promised to write an update or two as times allows (she will very soon be the mother of three, all aged three and under!). You can read more about Melynda and her pregnancy and life as a mom at It Doesn’t Fall Off.

- Shannon

Here’s Melynda:

I have been asked to be a guest blogger on this site and to talk about my pregnancies and my weight loss and gains. To do that properly I feel like I need to start from the beginning.

The beginning of my weight journey started the summer before my wedding, June 2005. Having a boyfriend, then fiancé and co-habitator really expanded my waistline. I had always been on the bigger side but I was active and worked in a fairly physical job. At the beginning of 2005 I noticed that my weight had slowly crept up to 200lbs. I was astonished because I felt and thought I looked pretty much the same. I like to think that I am fairly lucky that I gain weight and carry weight well. I didn’t like the 200 number at all and with the thought of my wedding less than a year away. I needed to do something.

My fiancé, now husband, Mike has done several diets and had done Weight Watchers before and liked it. So we joined and I slowly got most of my family to join. It actually was a lot of fun going to meetings together and we would usually celebrate with dinner afterwards…maybe not the smartest choice when on a diet but hey you need to have fun. I lost about 40 lbs and I looked and felt great!

After my wedding in February 2006 we decided to start trying for a baby. I got pregnant in June. (I actually just celebrated my 4 year anniversary of growing children.) I have been pregnant and or nursing for 4 years straight. I was so excited to be pregnant and as soon as I could I dove into the maternity clothes. They are just so comfy! I love being pregnant and with my first pregnancy I enjoyed the cravings and Mike was very indulgent. I was also working at the time and I travelled around the city all day and didn’t really have a lunch break so I ended up eating out a lot. I didn’t worry too much about my weight gain because I figured that I would have lots of time to work out and nursing would help me to lose the weight. And after just losing 40lbs so well I was confident in my ability to diet. My midwives weren’t too concerned but near the end they did caution me. I had no negative side effects from gaining the weight like gestational diabetes. By the end of my pregnancy I had gained about 70 lbs. Amazing!

I quickly realized that a newborn is hard work. I also had significant breast milk supply problems. Ally was born by c-section, but I had hoped she would be born at home. I was okay with the c-section because it was really needed. But the low supply really threw me for a loop and I became a bit obsessed with figuring out why.

Over about 6 months I saw and did everything to ‘fix’ my problem. I was on domperidone, and several weird diets to help with supply. One diet had me eating full fat everything and the other was no white flour or red meat.

I dabbled in going to Weight Watchers again but then something would set us back and I would quit dieting for my milk supply. In January 2008 I also did Body For Life and lost about 10lbs. I somehow managed to get down to 200lbs before thinking about getting pregnant again.

Saying Goodbye

To this (J's bathroom):

j's bathroom
j's bathroom
And this (J's bedroom):

j's bedroom

j's bedroom
j's bedroom
j's bedroom
And hello to this:

Let the work begin!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Squirt's Birthday Party

r and jWhat are Rebecca and J up to?

j and p opening giftsPippa helping J open her gifts

open cards firstJ knew (without any prompting) that cards get opened first

play silksJ got these awesome play silks from Fiona and Jessica. They were a big hit with both little girls!

what's in hereWhat's in here?

little girlsTwo little girls sharing Dora candies

owl cakeAuntie Rebecca made J's cake

making her waitSomeone doesn't look thrilled to be waiting for her cake!

oooh...cakeBut as soon as she sees the cake, all that changes!

oooh lookOooh....cake...ooooh...

yummyOwl cake is yummy

blowing out the candleBlowing out the candle

pippa do it this wayJ says: "Pippa, don't do it like that..."

like this"...do it like this"

We had a great day - J had a very fun party and loved hanging out with her cousin Pippa and playing with her new toys and books. The adults, well, she was happy to share her cake with them, but since they're not two like her, Pippa was definitely her favourite person!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday morning just for me

Here I am, sitting on a little deck, looking out over the harbour with my coffee (eep, no milk, but it will do), a hunk of homemade banana bread, and a fresh Okanagan peach. Alex is inside dozing. It’s warm enough for no coat, cool enough for long pants and a sweater. Fall is here.

J is with her grandparents and I’m torn. Part of me is enjoying this quiet, relaxing morning before Alex gets up and we play tourist for the morning and then do the wedding thing this afternoon and evening. It’s so peaceful and it’s time for just me.

But a little tiny piece of me thinks, wouldn’t it be great if J were here. We could share some banana bread. We could talk about the BOATS! in the harbour. We could snuggle up a chat and giggle the way you can only do with a two year old and you can only do first thing in the morning before the busy child sets in. We could visit the park and play when we go down to the market later. We could take a little walk around the hotel and run on the big lawns.

But...she’s with her grandparents. She has probably had peaches and maybe even some of Bop’s pancakes for breakfast. She’s probably already gone down the slide and mowed the lawn and talked about airplanes and run a few laps of the back yard and brought at least a few books to Bop or Lallie, likely when they had their hands full, and implored “Read?”

I miss my little lady, but since I don’t get mornings like this very often, I think maybe I’ll just take the time to enjoy my book, some coffee, the view, and maybe write a little bit of something. And do it all without the help of a two year old who is clearly having the time of her life somewhere else!

Friday, August 27, 2010

USA - Pennsylvania - Pittsburgh


Postcard from Pittsburgh from PostMuse

Description: While suburban locals refer to thier homes as resting on "grades" rather than hills, Pittsburgh's South Side community offers a quaint contract to the metropolitan skyline behind it. Loaded with small shops and restaurants and located just a mile east of Station Square, the South Side is easily accessible to most of the Pittsburgh area.

Finland - The Beach

Postcard from Finland from tuulis

Description: Sulho Sipilä, The Beach

Russia - St. Petersburg

Postcard from Russia from Tatulika

Description: The Cathedrals of St. Petersburg. The Smoly Cathedral. 1748-1769. Bartolomeo France Rastrelli.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Miss her already

J has only been gone a few hours, but I miss her already. I've gone into her room to check on her twice already.

The lucky girl is having some quality time with her grandparents who very kindly came and got her and will be delivering her back next week.

We are going to a wedding. Then I'm coming home to organize, paint and do some work from home/run into work for an hour or two once or twice. Hopefully by the time she comes back next Saturday I will have three rooms painted. More would be nice. Less would suck. And maybe I'll be organized, just in time for our lives to change in September!

Oh back to school.

Goodnight...it's time for me to go to bed and not be woken up by calls of "Mommy, Mommy!" (Although I miss her enough that I'd be happy to hear that. Thank goodness for two modern wonders: the telephone and Skype!)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Insane website traffic!!!

Okay, so for the past I don't know how many months I've been reading the Pioneer Woman blog. It's amazing. Pretty pictures, good stories (check out Black Heels to Tractor Wheels), and tasty food abound. This crazy, wonderful woman is a ranch wife and still manages to post two or three or sometimes four posts a day - complete with pictures and actual cooking and baking.

I am amazed. And I love reading her. She's great!

Anyway, today she had a giveaway for a DSLR camera. There are 20,382 comments already. And the contest is open until noon tomorrow. HOLY COW! She has an insane following - I thought Dooce got a lot of comments, but this is nuts!

Anyway, if you haven't heard of her - I hadn't until I stumbled upon one of her recipes on some other blog that I'd accidentally found (click click click, how did I get here?) - you should go check her out.

Oh, and I wish I had a kitchen like hers. Either of hers. Big. Space. Open. Nice.



We love cashew chicken at our house, but we don't order Chines food very often. When we do, this is one of the standard dishes. I was excited to try this cashew chicken recipe - it looked easy and tasty (and was cheaper than take-out!). It was on last week's menu, but it didn't happen because someone I somehow made all of last week's menu either beans, chicken or chicken and beans and by the end of the week, we were all done with chicken and beans. Part of the reason I plan our meals for the week is to avoid boring repetition...obviously I didn't check for variety when I did that plan!


onions and garlic
I was disappointed in this garlic. Garlic has not been a nice item to purchase lately. See those two large cloves back there, yeah, they were really bunches of 5-6 little tiny cloves. My plan to actually mince the garlic was tossed aside and I pulled out the garlic press. (Shhhhh, don't tell, but I plan on buying Alex a bottle of chopped garlic to start his foray into cooking. He is a huge perfectionist and if we let him chop garlic I'm afraid that will take longer than cooking the entire dish that he's making. Besides, we are going to be short on time come September, so any little short cut that isn't horrible is okay by me). Oh, and scallions vs green onions - anyone want to wade into that debate? Are they the same things and Martha is just trying to use big words or are scallions similar but larger?

ready set cook
Raw chicken makes me slightly sick to my stomach, so maybe I'll avoid shots like this in the future! I used my electric frying pan (because I have not yet purchased a decent sized frying pan) so I cooked everything at once - first the chicken and then added the onions and garlic.

chicken cooking
Looking good...almost ready!

dinner time
YUMMY! The one we get from our local take out place has celery in it, so I'll probably try that the next time. I actually served it on white rice because I was a bit behind and needed rice in 15 minutes, not in forever. Normally I'd use brown rice (although this was a nice special treat!). And yes, we do eat other vegetables and not just broccoli and cauliflower. But right now J is guaranteed to eat those two vegetables, so we eat a lot of them.

Definitely making this again - it's one of Martha Stewart's 30 minute meals and it really is almost that quick (probably would be that quick if there was no toddler wrangling happening concurrently!)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A conversation with Shannon

Shannon, why are you still up and not sleeping? It's past your bedtime and you're exhausted.

Because I need to update my blog. I have lots of pictures of J's birthday party to post.

Ummmm...I don't see your blog updated.

Well, that's because I updated the other one first and now I need to do this one and the photo blog and....

Did that really take an hour? Just one post on one blog?

Noooo...I had to check Facebook and read my RSS feed and make some comments on other blogs and just basically waste time....

So, go to bed!



Okay. Good night. I'll try to update tomorrow night. Really. Eeep. I need a timer like my kid and I need to be banned from RSS feed reading except for certain windows of time...

Darn. I procrastinate too well for my own good. And why do I have to channel my mother to do what my body's been telling me to do for hours?!?!! WHY?!?!

Sigh. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Friday, August 20, 2010

Tweet Tweet cupcakes here I come...

The other day I mentioned that Maggie was doing a give-away of super cute cupcake kits.

They were both adorable, but I really liked the Tweet Tweet kit. I entered her giveaway, which I sometimes do when I see something that I really like and I really think I'll use and that maybe I wouldn't (or couldn't) get for myself. But I don't win. Ever. And that's okay. I also never win the lottery.

Until today.

tweet tweet
These are coming my way! How exciting...I'm not sure what occasion I'll use them for or what kind of cupcakes I'll make, but I'm excited.

USA - Hershey's Miniatures Chocolates

Postcard from the USA from Kdawg

Description: On September 1, 1939, Hershey Foods Corporation began marketing HERSHEY'S Miniatures chocolates. The miniature bars, still produced today, are a favorite of chocolate lovers of all ages.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Jocie Lola Tinkybell deet birfday twoooooooo

seconds old
Yup...two years ago I was lying in a hospital bed with a tiny little bundle snuggled up to me wondering what had just happened in the past 48 hours. It all seemed surreal! Two days before it had just been me and Alex. And a few hours before that all changed when that little voice (loudly) announced her arrival.

four days old
And sometimes it still seems surreal, but it's not. It's very, very real. That little bundle was very real!

She changed our lives completely. When we do things, what we do, and how we do them are all influenced by her. And she's worth it!

The last two years have been wonderful, educational and full of awe-inspiring, love-filled, crazy times. We've laughed, cried, and pulled our hair out.

We've lamented the lack of sleep and how quickly she grows and changes.

first birthday
We've changed how we relate to each other, to our families, to our friends, to our jobs, and to the world.

But we love it. And undeniably we love her. Change is good. Jocie is good.

The first year was crazy - we were all learning. Some of us needed to learn how to adjust to less sleep, to low energy levels, to meals that should take 30 minutes to prepare taking 3 hours to prepare. Some of us needed to learn the difference between night and day and how to properly suck in order to get enough to eat. Those days are a blur. A happy blur for the most part with little reminders in photos and videos and even the occasional real memories!

The second year was crazy for a whole other set of reasons - some of us needed to learn how to spend the whole day without mom and dad and needed to teach our immune systems to be strong. Some of us went back to work part-time then full-time and needed to figure out how to have a (kind of) tidy home and get dinner on the table in 3.2 seconds flat.

But we did it...and now we're into year three and in two weeks or so (again with the start of the new school year) we will be making all kinds of changes...and there will be more learning. But maybe it won't be as hard this year because we already worked out some of the kinks (like getting dinner on the table in 3.2 seconds...most nights).

But here is our little lovely Jocie just a few days ago, fresh out of bed, with crazy hair.

jocie deet two
  • She has more than one verb (deet)
  • She makes simple sentences - she really, truly said "I have a fishy cracker" just like that and with words that even a stranger would recognize two nights ago. If you don't have kids, you won't necessarily realize what a huge milestone that is!
  • She can identify most colours...including strange ones like grey
  • She can spell her name (I know, right?) and she knows most of the letters in the alphabet...walking through a parking lot takes FOREVER!
  • She sleeps through the night most nights! YAY! (Now Mommy just needs to start going to be a bit earlier and maybe the two years of sleep deprivation will start to dissolve and become a distant memory)
  • She wants to help everyone get better and kiss all their owies away for them
  • She loves books and colouring and slides and puppies

My baby is a big girl now!

Martha leftovers...

It's been hot.

I don't want to cook.

Martha doesn't include what do with leftovers.

I made these (again!) on Monday - we had them for lunch for two days. And then no one wanted them anymore. But I still had a bunch of chicken.

chopped goodness
What to do...well...I still had all the extras except the avocado/guacamole plus we had some cheese, so...


Yes, they do involve the stove, but thankfully not for long. And they were yummy. And they used up almost all of the chicken. The rest I froze to go with the broth I made so that we can have chicken soup some cool fall or cold winter night.