Friday, September 30, 2011

what are you watching?

this was a fantastic week to love tv AND have had a newborn because all the new seasons of our favourite shows started. ALSO, there were tons of new shows and we taped and watched most of them. how did we ever survive without a pvr before? they are a must-have for life with newborn. i wasted some major time that i should have spent cleaning up my house and wrote a little bit about each show that we watched. don't leave me hanging - let me know what you're watching or what you thought of any of these shows.

shows that we already were watching previous seasons (spoiler alert - don't read if you haven't watched these yet):

parenthood: i adore this show so much that my hopes were probably too high for the season opener and therefore, i was a little disappointed. second episode this past week though started getting good. love that adam and crosby are going into business together - that's going to be a good, continuing story line. not sure about this sarah dating the teacher thing but i do love that actor so since his acting gig on "the event" was cancelled, i'm glad he's got a spot on parenthood.

community: not a strong start but last season we stopped watching for awhile and then it got awesome halfway through the season and i was sorry that we'd missed a bunch of episodes. i like the new role of security guard for chang and the fact that pierce looks like he'll be back to normal - those are two characters that i was hating last season.

parks and rec: we love love this show. like the new role for andy as amy poehler's assistant. an okay opening episode.

office: i had low expectations for the season premiere though i was glad to see in the ads that robert california was going to be on the show because i thought he was so funny in the season finale. when i actually watched, i was pumped that andy is actually the manager AND robert cali is going to be on the show. nice little twist. i thought it was a great premiere and was pleasantly surprised. (laughed aloud at the second episode this week)

survivor: if you listen to the open mike from my wedding video, you'll know that i used to be a crazy survivor fan. at about season 10, i took about a 10 season break from the show. but tim and i watched the last two seasons and have really liked the show again so i was happy to discover that this season looks pretty good too. i am weirded out that coach is here again as an all-star when i don't think he was that great at the game the last two times but he seems to have mellowed a bit (or so the editing tells us) making him not as annoying to watch.

new shows that we were looking forward to:

person of interest - benjamin linus from Lost and Jim Caviezel - it looked like a good match to me. i figured this would be a Lost or The Event type replacement but the premise of the show (which you'll have to google because i can't explain it) will make for a new episode every week as opposed to a story that keeps building and building. it got a little more "shoot em up" at the end than i would like to watch but overall, i really liked the show and will definitely be watching this one regularly.

new girl - zooey deschanel's new show. this character was MADE for her and it was actually a great first episode. funny and quirky. can't wait to see more to see if they can keep it that way.

up all night - i was SO looking forward to this show as i love will arnett and christina applegate. the fact that it's about parenthood was total bonus. after having watched two episodes now, i'm a little disappointed that the characters are so...for lack of a better word, dumb. i'm still going to keep watching in hopes of improved character development... ;)

prime suspect - we thought we'd try out a new detective show and i really liked this one. it seemed like a more believable account of being a female cop in a department of men. the main actress is awesome - no annoying chip on her shoulder, not overdone on the attitude, just cool. i'm looking forward to more episodes - this was a good find.

unforgettable - this was a random "we just had a baby and have no where to go and nothing to do" pvr choice. the main detective has some kind of medical, can remember everything, syndrome. it was interesting enough for us to tape the episode the next week.

pan am - i fell asleep with the baby on chest...i don't think it was the show's fault. i was just tired. anyone else watch this one?

terra nova - tim thought this could be our new LOST. i couldn't get through the first hour. i found it hard to connect with the main characters and then when the dinosaurs showed up, i told tim he'd have to watch this show on his own if he wanted to keep watching. haha. i think he's bailed as well.

two and a half men - i hate this show. but ashton kutcher? i had to just watch the first couple episodes and see what his character was going to be like. i kind of liked ashton's character! but i most likely won't be watching.

hmm...maybe i should be embarrassed that i watched this much tv in a week...and then took the time to write about it. but now it's done and even though i'm embarrassed - i'm super interested to hear what you watched.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

mommy amnesia

as it turns out, i've completely forgotten what it's like to have a newborn. i was assaulted by this realization when i met alyssa's son, huxley, a few days before avery was born. i was afraid to move with hux in my arms for fear of breaking him and when he started to cry, i had no idea what to do except hand him back to his mother. i thought to myself, "oh no...what am i going to do when I'M the mother?"

10 days later, i've remembered how to hold newborns and am slowly remembering what to do when she's crying. but i'm constantly trying to think back to when ben was a newborn and cannot for the life of me remember what he was like.

after the first few nights of avery screaming her tiny lungs out for a couple hours at a time, tim was like, "something is wrong with this baby - we should put her in her bed to let her cry it out." i'm shaking my head, "i don't think you do that with newborns..." we remember ben being a "good sleeper" but i think that was a little while into his life - not in the first week, right? and when i saw my friend, rachel, the other day, she asked, "does avery grunt in her sleep like ben did?" i was like, "did ben grunt in his sleep?" she replied, "yeah - you couldn't sleep in the same room as him because he made so much noise." huh. yeah, she does make a lot of noise in her sleep. i guess that's the same.

i started reading back through old blog posts from june and july of 2009 and found some helpful stories about ben being fussy in the evenings which really encouraged me that there's nothing wrong with this girlie. also, many posts about being so "busy" with my one infant - now with the 2 year old in tow, those stories make me smile.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

avery joy - the birth story

after i had ben, i never wrote down "the birth story" because i figured, how could i possibly forget any of this. this time, i'm writing it here. it's long - i understand if you would rather just jump ahead to the photos.

last wednesday (about a week before my due date) at my doctor's appointment, my doctor was surprised that the baby was sitting SO low and he gave me the impression that she could come any day now. trying not to get my hopes up, i responded, "ben sat really low for like over a month though..." and dr. said, "first babies can sit low for a long time but it's rare for a second baby to be low for very long because your body knows what it's doing now and it will trigger labour."

for the next 4 days, i wondered, "maybe this is it!" at every pain. by saturday, i was so annoyed at myself for having switched my mindset from "she'll be late" to "maybe this is it" that i told myself i needed to go back to NOT expecting the baby. it's a much easier state of mind.

sunday morning, we headed to church. i was having some pains but nothing unlike the ones i'd been having all week. i chatted with people about my due date and joked about hopefully having a baby for next sunday. after church, we headed to white rock as usual. i was having these cramps still and i laid on the couch for a bit after lunch but then thought of a couple things i needed at walmart so my mom, ben, and i went over there. i had a couple pains that i had to stop walking and wait them out but overall, not too bad being out and about. by late afternoon, i was moaning and groaning but kept thinking, "i'm probably just being a big baby - these probably aren't anything." we ate dinner at about 6pm and i wasn't feeling like eating so i mostly had salad. at this point, i had to leave the room for each contraction. i was starting to think that this could be labour. halfway through dinner, the contractions were hurting enough that i needed to lean over a chair or table and have tim press on my back to help the pain. at 7pm, my mom put ben to bed and i went in to sing a song and pray with him before he went to sleep. we started timing the contractions and they seemed about 8 - 10 minutes apart. and then the next one was closer and the next was closer - but i couldn't quite tell when they were ending so i thought my timing must be off. at 7:30, my mom found the langley hospital phone number and called. they said that i could come and get checked and if i wasn't dilated, they would just send me home. i figured it couldn't hurt to get checked and know what was happening.

tim and i got into the truck at 7:55pm - i was having such painful contractions that i couldn't get into the truck. tim's saying to me, "as soon as this one ends, you have to get in quick - we need to get to the hospital." i got in and we started our half hour drive to langley. (we have our doctor in langley which is why we thankfully were not driving to abbotsford) of course, there were many a slow driver in front of us and at one point, we almost hit a deer that jumped across the road! every contraction, i'd start to scream a little but then would tell myself that screaming doesn't help. i'd start trying to breathe and tim said i talked to myself the entire way to the hospital. i remember saying things like, "i can do this. i've done this before. i'm going to have a baby at the end of this. i can do this." etc etc. we pulled into the parking lot at 8:25pm and i had three contractions from the truck to the front desk. there, they got me a wheelchair and tim zoomed me away. hospital hallways are confusing and nurses who are exiting an elevator but don't hold the door for the obviously pregnant woman in the wheelchair are frustrating but when we got to the third floor, all the nurses jumped up and got us straight into a room. it was 8:30pm.

now, flashback to being at this hospital for ben's birth. when i got to the hospital that time, they put me in the triage room, hooked me up to monitor and left me for two hours, writhing in pain in a terrible position. i would tell tim to go find a nurse and tim would come back saying, "there's no one out there," because 4 other women were in labour that night.

THIS time, as they wheeled me straight into a room, i was thinking, "oh no. aren't they going to check me before they give me a room? what if i'm not even dilated yet and these contractions are actually not that bad? i'll look like such a wussie." i got on the bed and found out i was already 7cm dilated. phew. not a wussie.

i had 4 or 5 contraction with laughing gas which was more helpful this time than last time and it also muffled my screaming which i'm sure everyone appreciated. because of the gas, i couldn't barely open my eyes so people were talking to me but i don't think i was responding. definitely still self-talking though. my water broke during one of the contractions and one of the nurses said to me, "if you need to start pushing, that's okay. we've delivered babies before." then my doctor walked in. phew. he didn't have time to get a gown on so he's in his shorts and t-shirt and saying to me, "don't push yet, rebecca. i just need to get my gloves on." 9 minutes and some wild screaming later, avery was born at 9:02pm. wow. my doctor declared that it was definitely a girl and i was so thankful.

tim cut the cord and they put the baby on me right away which was something that i didn't get to experience with ben because he wasn't breathing when he was born. it was an amazing feeling to get to watch this purple baby turn pink and start crying right before my eyes. a few minutes later, i sent tim to go get our bags which had the camera in it. i joked with the doctor what a great patient i am to have my baby on a sunday night - not messing up anyone's appointments during the day or waking him up in the middle of the night. he said, "yeah, i got the call at 8:32 and you had this baby at 9:02 - if i go home, my wife won't even believe that i delivered a baby that fast!"

my mom came out that night. we spent a couple hours reliving our experience, marveling at avery's dark hair, tiny hands and feet, and long fingers. tim and i stayed overnight obviously but had a terrible sleep. i seem to have pulled some muscles in my legs because i could barely walk or even roll or in bed. just when i'd get to sleep, a nurse would come in or avery would make some noise. i couldn't remember how to swaddle tight enough and she didn't seem too happy about that. at about 6am, we gave up trying to sleep and tim and i just sat there looking at each other for awhile. he went to get coffee eventually and breakfast was delivered. our doctor arrived at 8:30am and asked when we wanted to go home - we said, "right now". so he said he'd come back at noon to discharge us. tim and i wondered what the heck we were going to do until noon but thankfully tim's parents showed up and stayed for a long time and then my brother and sister in law came (with frap in hand). when ben finally came with my parents, all his favourite people were already there.

ben walked into the room very tenatively as i'm sure he was expecting the doctor to be there. (he's quite scared of the doctor despite me having the friendliest, nicest doctor ever) i wasn't holding the baby so i was able to have him come over to the bed (which is scary looking in itself) and hoisted him up to sit on my lap. he looked at each person in the room and i told him that baby avery was here. we'd been calling her baby avery for about a couple weeks so e knew who i was talking about. my brother brought her over and he checked her out. he seemed happy about meeting her. i told him that we had a present for him and he sat on my lap and opened up a set of Thomas trains that i'd bought him. he was pretty happy about that and quickly got of the bed to play with them. the apprehension was gone and he was more at ease being at the hospital.

at about 1pm, we were discharged and off we went home. i rode in the backseat with avery - i couldn't help myself. once at home, we had this feeling of, "wait a do you look after a newborn again?" we're slowly re-learning the art of baby calming and straining to remember if ben was like this in his first week. but mostly, we are excited to have our family of four home.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

BC's Top Baby Names

you know how you read those lists of the top baby names of the year but they're for all of the US or all of Canada? (or is it just me reading lists of baby names? ha) well, a friend of mine recently told me that BC (and probably other provinces too) posts ALL the names of babies every year and the NUMBER of each name! how great is that? a much more accurate reading on whether your kid will have to go by their last initial in their kindergarten class or not. :) it looks like ben will - apparently, there were 195 Benjamins in BC in 2009 and 210 Benjamins in 2010! but it's a pretty interesting list to go through. click here to check it out.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

great days

yesterday was one of those days that ben is in a good mood all day. he played and had fun with friends at a playdate so i could mostly sit and chat with my friends. he was happy to eat grilled cheese with me for lunch. he woke up happy from his nap and helped me make muffins and burritos before we headed outside to play in the sandbox. these days are the greatest. i'm trying to relish the one-child days that i have left and this was a good one.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tupperware commercial!

speaking of freezing food...all Tupperware's Freezer Mates went on sale this month! how great is that? here are the deals:

everyone's FAVOURITE freezermate size: the large 2. you can RARELY buy these separately (like i've only seen them on sale once in the last 2 years) and now you can get TWO for $38.50! that's less than $20 each and they are PERFECT for baking -they hold a dozen muffins/cupcakes or i always fill mine with the costco bags of berries and peas so they won't get freezer burned. Or as you can see, they fit big batches of soup or i just used mine yesterday to hold 8 pre-made burritos. these are the BEST!
here's what i call the "go big or go home" set if you really want to get that freezer organized - 24 pieces for $132. this many would normally be $214! you're saving a TON of money and they have a lifetime guarantee. where else can you get that? or SPLIT this set with someone and just pay $66 for half - that's such a good deal to get your freezer started looking awesome.
look how much nicer the one side of my freezer is with these! they are lego for the freezer - make them fit perfectly depending on the sizes of things you're putting in there.
read about my idea for hosting a Freezer Meal Tupperware Party here - everyone preorders their Freezer Mates and then I'll send you a list of potential recipes, you choose a handful, we set a date for all your mom friends to come over and we PREP! Everyone will go home with their containers full of meals all ready to go!

if you're not ready to commit to 24 containers, there are a couple other sets for you but they are "purchase with purchase" sets. let me explain...

if you are buying $120 worth of Tupperware, THEN you can get this set for just $23.50: the Family Set of 4. these are my most used sizes. because the medium 1s are so thin, they thaw quicker - in fact, i have a pound of prebrowned hamburger in a medium 1 sitting in my sink thawing right now. getting ready to make burritos for dinner. other ideas?

or if you are spending $85, you can get the Starter Set for $15.50. these look ridiculously small in real life but you want to freeze food with the least amount of air possible and small containers is one way to do that.

the small 1s hold 2 chicken breasts and the small 2s hold a pound of ground beef (among many other things as well).

want to order some Freezer Mates or book your party? email

pinterest recipes

click on the links to find the recipe!

Best Ever Zucchini Bread - this is a great recipe especially because it makes so much. i'd bought a couple zucchinis at the farmer's market which makes me want to grow my own next year. i made one large loaf and two small loaves with one recipe which was great. we immediately ate a small loaf and were able to throw the other ones in the freezer for another day. i substituted 1/2cup applesauce for 1/2 cup of oil which worked great - i'd like to try to substitute the whole cup of oil for a whole cup of applesauce but have yet to try that out.

ben eating his cake on the deck

Easy Blueberry Cake - i tried this out because i had bisquick in the house and i thought it sounded easy. what i discovered was that i don't mind taking an extra few minutes to throw a couple extra dry ingredients in instead of using bisquick! but it was pretty good cake nonetheless. best warm.

Homemade Vanilla Creamer - this turned out to be pretty great. i used to use the vanilla creamer that you buy in the store which doesn't go bad for like, 6 months, and you wonder what the heck is in it. if you use that everyday, this homemade version probably won't cut it. HOWEVER, after having not bought that other creamer for SO long, this ended up being a great substitute. (i keep it in a Tupperware Mod. Mate with a dripless pour spout which has turned out to be fantastic and seriously dripless.) tim says it's too sweet for him but i use it as both my creamer and sugar. no extra sugar needed.

ben grabbing for his smoothie

Green Smoothie - i didn't follow this recipe really but what i took from it was that you can throw whatever you have in the fridge into your smoothie. if you add juice, it takes some of the vegetable flavour away. ben's a big smoothie fan so i started adding spinach ice cubes (just blended spinach saved in ice cube trays) or fresh if i had it, cucumber, whatever fruit i had on hand or in the freezer and then a little juice and sometimes a little water to make it thinner (so it can go up a straw). these are so great! AND practically ben's daily intake of fruits and veggies! i pour them into an opaque cup so that he doesn't notice on the days that the smoothie is a little greener than usual.

Friday, September 09, 2011

one shirt

last pregnancy, i got down to really only having one shirt that fit over my stomach. i resisted buying anything new for the entire last month of pregnancy because i was only going to be pregnant for so much longer. after i had ben, i realized that you still need some of your maternity stuff for awhile as your tummy slowly deflates. i thought to myself, "next pregnancy, i'm not holding back if i need something new."

but here we are...i have only one shirt that fits over my stomach (that i'll wear in public - i have two tank tops that i wear around the house). i've been in this situation for probably at least 2 - 3 weeks already and despite doing my best to shop for a couple new shirts, nothing in STORES fit will over my belly! (without being way too huge on top) and so, we have yet another one-shirt-wonder that i will want to burn post-pregnancy but will have to continue to wear for another 4 months while i attempt to slim down. at least this one is a step up from a blue t-shirt.
the problem with having this one shirt is that you're constantly washing it. and that might be three (maybe 4?) wears then wash in my (not-so-clean) world BUT as a pregnant person, i am CONSTANTLY spilling things on myself. i don't know if spill this often when i'm not pregnant and it just doesn't hit my stomach because it's usually not this large but i've had to start washing this dumb shirt daily (at night when i'm sleeping)!

the other day, i put it on to wear to my doctor's appointment and i was kicking myself for not having washed it the previous night because i had a faint little blackberry spot on the white collar. but did i have a choice? no. i had to wear it. oh well. at the office, i walked into the fully mirrored elevator and saw that the tiny spot on my collar was the least of my worries because at the bottom of the shirt (where i cannot see) was a HUGE blackberry stain. and i thought all my stains were top of the belly stains! shoot.

so we're 10 days away from the due date (20 days away from my personally predicted date) and i guess i'm just glad that i have ONE shirt that fits because having NO shirts would be a REAL problem. :)

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

first day of school

well...not for us. but when ben got up, his first priority was to find his backpack and fill it with stuff from around the house. seems appropriate for the day after labour day, hey?

everyone needs markers and a small ladder, right? (there's a tape measure in there too)

he LOVES to wear his backpack - blurry but too cute not to post.

shoot - the drill is too big...

ready for school...hmm...maybe he needs pants and couple more years.
we baked blackberry muffins instead of going to school today.

Monday, September 05, 2011

beginning the freezer meals

messing about with raw meat makes me SO paranoid. on saturday, i finally got started on my freezer meals that i've been talking about making for so long. i had bought 16lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and was ready to make about 10 meals (that serve 4-6 each) from my cookbook The Big Cook. i started cutting up the chicken into chunks and separating it into bags (my T.ware freezermates are all already full of other things like berries, veggies, and mashed bananas!) and i started feeling a little panicky that i'd waited too long after buying the chicken (two days) and that it was getting warm sitting there while i cut. what if i am making meal after meal of contaminated meat that will make us sick when we eat it? so i'd cut up one package of chicken into bags then put the bags in the fridge and get the next package out of the fridge and repeat. it took awhile but i'd had enough sense to do all this chopping while sitting down.

then it was time to make the different marinades. the idea is that it takes the same amount of time to make one meal as it does to make 4 or 8. i did two recipes for 4 meals. i hadn't exactly thought about how MUCH of each ingredient i'd need for such large quantities - i'd just bought the ingredients. when you multiply everything by 4, it meant that i had barely enough honey, not enough soy sauce, i used our entire bottle of ketchup, and ran out of lemon juice. woah. i ended up not being able to make the two recipes i'd originally intended and had to switch to one that i had different ingredients. oh brother. but anyways, i got 4 meals of Cantonese Chicken, 4 meals of Maple Chicken, and 2 meals of Pasta Chicken Casserole (in which you add pasta later).

so i have other chicken frozen meals that i wanted to make but will wait a bit. i should get some beef and maybe some pork chop meals prepped first so that we don't get super sick of chicken. i browned a bunch of beef the other day as well and tonight i made one lasagna to freeze but think i might as well make the rest of the beef into lasagnas as well since i've had a bit of an aversion to red meat lately and lasagna is one of the few red meat meals i still like. oh - but i could make burritos maybe...hmm...

now if only my feet didn't hurt so much - it would make all the kitchen work so much easier.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

one of the great things about being a mom is that even if you've had a frustrating day with your two year old, you go to bed at night and think of how great your kid is. it's been hours since he's been in bed and all the memories of whining, tantrums, or both that happened that day have been replaced by thoughts of his happy little face when you cheered him on in his bike riding efforts or the feeling of his little hand patting your hair as he laid his head on your shoulder. these thoughts remind you to try to play more and have patience again the next day.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

back berries

ben's LOVES blackberries. i'm not sure if it's the berries themselves or if it's more the fact that you can pick them from bushes in so many places. this past weekend while we were on the sunshine coast, the short road to the beach was lined with blackberry bushes. we couldn't walk to the beach without ben scarfing berries as fast as he could pick them. his little mantra was "geen? no. wed? no." (aka. don't pick the green or red ones).

personally, i like blackberries well enough but when i pass a blackberry bush, it's rare that i stop to pick some to eat. blackberries seem so dirty. they have those little brown bits on them and the white core that you see in the middle once you've picked one kind of looks like a bug. and chances that you're going to have bugs ON them are high. i cringed at ben's picking/eating, thinking of all the weird bugs he could possibly be eating because he doesn't analyse each berry for a couple minutes like i do. ha.

the other night, tim and i went for a walk with ben on his little glider bike. we walked to a path that goes along a ravine and we discovered tons of blackberry bushes. ben started chowing down and tim was like, "we should get a pail and pick a bunch of these." last night we went for the same walk and this time took a bowl with us to put our berries in. there aren't too many low berries on these bushes so ben had to mostly rely on us to hand him berries. we sstarted by letting him hold the bowl. then we realized that he could eat much faster than we could pick - we took the bowl back. i didn't eat too many (due to the unwashed nature of the berries...) and despite the berry monster being with us, we managed to bring home at least a couple cups of blackberries.

after ben went to bed, i filled the bowl up with water to wash them and then pulled them out a handful at a time, rinsed, and put on a cookie sheet so that i could freeze them. as i was imagining the recipes i could make and thinking that we should go back and pick more, i pulled out a handful that had a huge worm on it! AUGH! i screamed, threw the handful back in, and had multiple shivering fits. i said to tim, "how did this worm get in here? were you looking carefully at the berries you were picking?" he responds, "yeah. it was probably inside a berry." INSIDE? like my kid probably ATE a bunch of worms and now he has worms? (is that how that works? ;) i finished washing the berries and stuck them in the freezer.

i think my blackberry picking day(s) are over.