September 30, 2011

National Post Apologizes, Good on Them

Earlier today I shared my thoughts on an ad that recently ran in the National Post advocating that LGBT issues should not be taught to young children in school curriculum. This afternoon the National Post issued an apology statement for running the ad.

While the statement certainly doesn`t excuse the ad from having run, it does demonstrate goodwill, and good business, on the part of this national paper. I agree with their statement that free speech should not be limited and opposing views, even these, should not be censored from the debate as only through debate and open discussion can we acheive positive change. However, as noted in the apology, the tone of this ad was not about free speech and debate but about blatantly trying to remove discussions from our schools. That is why the ad bothered me, and apparently many others so much.

I also commend the Post on choosing to donate all proceeds from the ad, which would certainly have had a hefty price tag in such a large scale publication, to an organization that promotes LGBT rights. You see, when you speak up and speak out, good change can happen.

I Hope He Learns Equality

Like any mother, I have many hopes and dreams for my son. One of those is that he learns equality and acceptance. It is something we have always planned to teach any child of ours at home and something I hope he also learns in school. So when I Ad in National Post Like the author of the article, I'm not surprised in the least that this type of ad was created or run publicly. That alone makes me sad. It says we've come to accept that others still fail to grasp the concept of equality. It says we still have a very long way to go in achieving an accepting and tolerant society. I do see a day though when we will get there. It may not be in my time, it may not even be in Hudson's time. But it will come. We just have to keep speaking up about the issue and making a difference.

I do hope that Hudson's school curriculum, when he reaches that age, talks openly about LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered) and other controversial issues. I hope he he learns about difference and likeness. That he learns different is not only ok, but good. Wonderful even. I hope his school teaches him to treat others with respect and dignity regardless of their sexual preference, abilities, race, age, or religion. I know teaching him about LGBT will not make him gay any more than teaching him about racism will change his skin colour or teaching him about disabilities will make him dyslexic. You can be certain I will be one PTA mom standing up for inclusion in curriculum, not exclusion.

Even still, I certainly won't rely on the school system to talk to Hudson about equality, acceptance and tolerance. He will learn about it first at home. We will teach him that it doesn't matter whether you are gay or straight, catholic or muslim, black or white. At the end of the day, he will know we are all just people, who feel, who love and hurt, and who deserve to be treated the same regardless of our differences. That's something he won't be confused about.

I hope this ad and it's supporters doesn't gain traction and that Hudson does learn about LGBT and equality in school and I know it is something he will learn at home.

September 28, 2011

{Almost} Wordless Wednesday

The pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks, a taste of fall. Mmmmmm.

September 27, 2011

Sleep Like a Baby

Sleep like a baby. It is quite possibly one of the most inaccurate similes to grace the English language. It should be 'Sleep like a baby my a$$.' I am convinced, beyond any doubt, that the generation of the idiom came from a sleep-deprived parent uttering the words with excess sarcasm. Unfortunately, the person on the receiving end missed the facetiousness and spread the word to the rest of the world under the guise that it was indeed fact. I am also convinced, beyond any doubt, that person listening was childless.

don't let this sweet face deceive you ...
Now, if you're a parent who has an infant that miraculously slept through the night since like day zero or something crazy like that, you can stop reading here. This is not for you. I'm sure your sweet angel of a child is dozing peacefully in the bassinet nearby and you quite likely have something better to do than read my tale of torture, like knit or tat or whatever. Go enjoy your rested self. Please, don't let me interrupt you.

For the rest of you parents, who's baby doesn't (or didn't) exactly sleep like a baby, you feel my pain. My child seems to think he's going to miss something by going to sleep. It's like he thinks I'm going to break out the disco ball and have this kick-ass party when he's not looking. But I swear, changing out of my PJs into some sweats - or if there's a public outing on the agenda, some jeans - is as exciting as it gets around here. Sure, I'm ready to go back to work just so I can dressed up again. But I digress. Little dude just fights the sleep. Nap time, night time, every time.

I'm sure there will come a day when I'm trying to haul his pimply teenage butt out of bed at one in the afternoon and I'll look back on this thinking my gosh how he's changed. Right now though I just can't see it ever happening. Right now, this child of mine has to be convinced to sleep. I know right, who has to be convinced that sleep is a wonderful, wonderful thing? My child, that's who. I swear it's some sort of punishment for something I put my mother through, though I'm not sure what as I was a good little sleeper.

My child, not so much. Whether through rocking, walking or driving, the child needs some sort of motion to drift off. And even then, there are no guarantees it'll last. More often than not, once the car stops moving, the eyes open. Once the side of the crib has been breached, the eyes open. And lay him down in the crib to let him fall asleep on his own, bah-ha-ha-ha-has-hah. Now that's joke if I ever heard one. In fact, any attempt to lay him quietly, the eyes open. And we do the rocking, walking or driving all over again.  I think he thinks it's a game. Well, bud, let me tell you, mama's not a gamer.

asleep ... finally... in the car
But I am about to initiate a game of 'let's see who's the sleep boss around here mister'. You see, I recognize that some of his sleeping issues are a result of the habits we've created as parents. He was so fussy with his tummy troubles as an infant that often the only way to settle him was though a gentle rocking or swinging. So he spent a lot of time being held and rocked or in his (glorious) swing. Any naps he did get, came about that way and still do. I also realize we can't really expect him to expect much different now that we started that routine. Unless of course we teach him different.

Well, teacher mom is about to break out her stern look in the nursery. While I really don't mind rocking him to sleep, it's just that he fights sleep so much that the process can be a long one a lot of the time. Like from 2am-4am the other night. Seriously. And then back up at 5am and again at 6:40am. No joke. Again, I digress. As much as I try to enjoy the midnight snuggles knowing they are indeed fleeting moments, I know in my mommy heart of hearts that the excessive rocking and coercing to sleep is not necessary. I know he can learn to fall asleep on his own.

So soon, very soon, we will begin to change the routine. It won't be easy, but it will be worth it. Once he learns to go to sleep on his own, we'll rest a little better around here. Perhaps then we'll all sleep like a baby.

September 26, 2011

hello {Fall}

Oh, why hello {fall}, it is so very nice to see you again.

Friday past marked the official start of fall on the calendar and I couldn't be happier (though I had thought it was two days earlier, jumping the gun I guess!). Tis my favourite season of all. I love summer and her wonderful warmth, I enjoy winter with her holiday spirit and I welcome the new life that spring brings, but fall, oh wonderful fall is the best of them all.

fall pumpkins in massachusetts
Fall brings the perfect balance of warm and cool. The air crisp and refreshing after the summer sun. The colours warm and golden. The mix of green, red, orange and yellow is perhaps nature's most perfect palette. The rich smell of woodsmoke curling from chimneys calms the senses and makes me want to pull on my coziest sweater to curl up next to my fireplace, wine in hand. The slow change from summer to the first frost makes fall my favourite season of all.

fall creeping in around the Harvard campus, so lovely
As much as I loved summer and taking in all she had to offer, I simply can't wait to enjoy fall once again. I have a few things I hope to enjoy over the next couple of months:
  1. Take Hudson to the pumpkin patch. Oh so cliche, but how can I not? He's the cutest pumpkin I know!
  2. Sip many pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks. Mmmm. 
  3. Walk in the park, breathe in that fresh fall air.
  4. Clean out my closet and attic. Some people spring clean, I fall clean.
  5. Enjoy one last fire in the pit, bundled warm.
  6. Enjoy a fire or two in our fireplace, cozied up.
  7. Trick or treating. For the first time in years and years!
  8. Enjoy the glistening of the first real frost.
  9. Take in a fall sunset with my family.
  10. Make a good dent in the holiday shopping. I vow, vow, vow to not leave most of it until December this year. I swear!
  11. Pull out my fall decor. Sooner rather than later. Hmmm, a good way to kick start cleaning the attic.
  12. Run consistently. I need to rebuild my running base after a few months of not running followed by a few more months of sporadic running.
  13. Scrapbook a few layouts of my ever growing list. I'm sure there'll be a cold day or two in there somewhere fit for nothing but a fire, scissors and glue.
That should do it for now. Bring it on fall!

What about you, what's on your fall bucket list?

September 23, 2011

So Long Summer, It Was Fun While It Lasted

As fleeting and as wet as she was, summer was still enjoyed at our house. It probably helped that I decided to call it summer right up until the first day of fall, rather than calling it quits after Labour Day like I normally would (sorry Lesley). And we certainly made the most of it, making good on most of my summer to-do list:

1. A few more Saturday mornings at The Rocket with my men. Check, check, check. We did a lot of this, especially earlier in the summer when the weather was fit for nothing other than being inside with warm coffee and sweet treats. There was quiche + croissants, coffee + the Globe. It was delicious + delightful every time.
Hudson is learning to read the G+M at an early age
2. Some hiking with the boy in his new carrier. Check and check. We did a lot of walking with the boy on board, including a couple of great trails. I particularly enjoyed a walk along the Manuels River trail with our own personal guide + friend.

Thanks Geoff + Carm for a great afternoon!
3. A visit to the Ferryland Lighthouse. Check. Well, technically this happened on the first day of fall, but for us it was the last summer hurrah and a belated anniversary celebration. The weather was perfect, the food fantastic and the experience even better than both combined. So nice to continue this annual tradition with our boy.

Heading up the trail, waiting for the picnic basket, and of course the obligatory self-portrait
4. Sitting around the fire in our backyard with wine in hand, at least once (or twice or thrice, now that would be nice!). Check. Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate for the twice or thrice part, but we did squeeze in one lingering evening, Hudson even stayed up a bit late to enjoy his first backyard fire.

5. Our first official road trip with the little guy. Check + Check. We took a few road trips this summer, hitting up Grand Falls, Bonavista and Southern Bay with only one minor incident of note. This of course was in addition to our regular visits to Kingston (NL not ON). While a great little dude in the car, we discovered H is not such a great sleeper out of his own bed. Oh well, the road must go on.

6. A visit to the beach. Check. I had intended this to be a sandy beach, but again the weather didn't exactly oblige. We did get up to Topsail beach for a late summer barbecue with great friends though, so I count that as complete.

7. Introducing Hudson to swimming at the pool. Check. Ah, yes the pool. Hudson was completely non-plussed by it all. Even though he loves, loves, loves the tub, he coulda cared less about the pool. Given the amount of work it takes to get ready to go and re-dressed afterward, I think we'll hold off on this event for a little while longer. Dear pool, we'll be back, just not in a hurry.

8. Completing my first post-baby 10km run. Uhm, yeah, well, see, uh. Ok, so this one was not accomplished. I did do a few 5kms, but that's about it. I could blame it on the weather I suppose, but that really wasn't my excuse. I just never got around to it. On the upside, I've set a new running goal (duh, duh, duh the suspense, it's killing ya isn't it ;)

9. Scrapbooking a few pages about the little man. Check. Mostly completed through our Week in the Life Album, but also with a couple of other layouts (here, here and here). Still many, many more on a growing list though, so more coming your way.

10. Reading. Partial Check. I had planned to read a few books, but only finished The Help and started Room.  I'm also not into Room yet, so thinking about moving on from that soon.

11. An out-of-province excursion, complete with Hudson's first plant ride and catching up with great friends. Big Check. We were a little nervous heading out on this first adventure, unsure of how Hudson would take to traveling, but we made out a-ok. He was still a sleeping disaster on the road, but was awesome on the plane and fairly pleasant during the busy days. Looking forward to more adventures with him as he grows.
Snuggles with Auntie Brooke, checking out the in-flight entertainment, a family photo in Chester + drinks on the deck
sigh, if we could only do it all again next week. Maybe next year!
12. Lots of dining al fresco on the deck with my hubby. Check. Ugh, the weather again a hindrance, though we did manage a few leisurely meals + drinks outside on our deck. D also made good use of his Father's Day prezzie.

Mmmm, Corona + quesadillas, the BBQ Master with his new toy, yes ice cream counts as a meal, just soaking up the sun
 And of course, we had plenty of fun doing things not on our list as well, including spending time celebrating Canada Day, hanging at Chapters/Starbucks, enjoying birthdays and lounging deck side.

Dear summer, thanks for the good times. It was fun while it lasted. Until next year, I bid you adieu.


September 21, 2011

September 20, 2011

Happy Anniversary

Your heart stops for a moment.

Your breath catches in your chest.

Your stomach is aflutter with butterflies.

They say you know when it's 'the one'.

They were right.

Happy 3rd Anniversary to my one, my only.

*all photos taken by Nate Gates, who captures the moment like no other.

Love you more everyday. XO.

September 19, 2011

entitled or enriched?

We recently returned from a short holiday in Nova Scotia. Our first real trip as a family. Hudson's first foray into travel. When I boarded the plane with Hudson for that first time, it was with the assumption that this would be the first of many trips in his future. However, shortly upon our return, I read a blog post by a friend that made me pause and think about Hudson's future as a world traveller.

The post, mostly written as a conclusion to the Pecore family's three week adventure in Peru, raised the question of whether taking kids on such trips leaves them more entitled than enriched. Despite the almost obvious nature of the question, it's not something I had considered. Not at all. In fact, I had always just thought about how fortunate Hudson will be to globe trot with his mama and daddy.

You see, Des and I are very much travellers. We've already been to London, France, Italy, British Columbia (Kelowna + Vancouver), Ontario (Niagara-on-the-Lake + Toronto), Nova Scotia, New York, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Hershey (yes where the chocolate is made) and Washington, DC. And that's just together. Individually we've also toured San Diego, Los Angeles, Africa, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ireland, Scotland and an assortment of other Canadian cities. And there's still a long list of places we want to see. Even before Hudson was here, it was just a given any baby of ours would travel too. We would show him the world.

1/ Cheesy Tour Bus Photo in Washington, DC    2/ Times Square NYC    3/ Atop Gros Morne, NL   
4/Sipping a Sam Adams in Boston, MA    5/ On Safari in Zambia, Africa   
6/  In the Bean in Chicago, IL    7/ Savoring the moment outside Momocho in Cleveland, OH   
8/ Wine Tasting in Kelowna, BC     9/ By the vines at Stratus in Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON
But is showing him the world the same as giving him the world? I hadn't for a moment thought about it from that view, though I can see how it could be. I can see how whisking him off to foreign countries on every other family vacation could spoil him. Yes, he could come to assume he will forever travel the world on our dime, that travel means five star hotels and fancy restaurants, that the world is his own precious oyster. But having him see the world from that lens was never our intention. That's just not how we roll.

Nope. We don't work the five-star hotel circuit (except for our time in Rome and ahhh, was that ever niiiiice). Our criteria for accommodations are clean, decent location and have our own washroom. And that last one can go if absolutely necessary. So it's often a standard hotel or good B&B for us.We figure we just need somewhere to lay our heads, we don't spend our days there (except for that time in Rome, but that wasn't nice at all). And so far, aside from one incident with a cockroach that I'll spare you the details on for now, we've had great luck with our budget accommodations.
We also don't eat at fancy restaurants every night. Sure, when we were just two on the trot, there was always a good splurge or two on any trip - such as Bar Amercain in NYC - but more often than not it's a diner, drive-in or dive that has come highly recommended or a spot that seems to be crowded with locals. And not surprisingly, it's usually in these places that we have the best meal. To wit, Momocho in Cleveland where we enjoyed the best Mexican ever, equivalent service and just lingered the evening away over margaritas and wine. Or that Cuban diner in SoHo that I can't remember the name of that served up the best breakfast with a Cuban bevvy on the side - a mojito for breakfast? Yes please! Or Thaipoon in Washington, which was so packed with locals when we walked by earlier in the evening, we knew it would be great Vietnamese and we were not disappointed. Or perhaps best of all, the peaceful afternoon picnic by the Seine in Paris. You see, for us, it's as much the experience as the food and it doesn't have to be high falutin to be great.

We travel easy and relatively inexpensively. We save our pennies and plan our trip in advance. We spend those pennies and our limited time wisely. Our goal is to see the world, experience the culture, meet the people and leave every place just as we found it, taking little other than our memories with us when we go. And this of course is how we plan to teach Hudson to experience the world.

Like Gina, I believe that taking Hudson with us when we travel will ultimately strengthen his character. If we take care to show him how to respect the place and the people, to involve him in the travel decisions both before we go and once we're there, to let him see there is more to this world than his backyard, he will end up more enriched than entitled. Yes, Hudson will be a world traveller and it will be our job to show him that the world is not his oyster, rather that he is but one small fish in a big, big beautiful sea.

September 16, 2011

In A Hurricane

A hurricane may bring gale force winds, heavy rains and make it near about impossible to get out and about, but it also makes for a very cozy indoor day. With my boys {big and little} napping, I'm enjoying the quiet of Hurricane Maria with a cup of coffee and pinterest. I must admit, these hurricanes are much more pleasing to the eye than the one outside my window:

Lovely layered room, lovely large hurricane vase, as seen here

I can just see a bride walking down this aisle, martha really does have great ideas

hmmm, the wine show is coming up and I'm sure to have empty bottles I could use, more fun ideas here

There's something so serene about this cluster of outdoor hurricanes (seen here), a contrast to my outdoors right now!
And who could resist this Halloween hurricane display?

And just in case you need a smile today, a little hurricane humour for you courtesy of

September 15, 2011

Thankful Thursday Trio

Hope you're all enjoying the week so far, especially knowing the weekend is just around the corner! Today, I'm feeling thankful for:

...Lingering summer weather, better late than never
...Feeling fall creeping in, slow and steady
...Visiting with far away friends, knowing distance changes nothing

What are you thankful for this Thursday?

September 13, 2011

Italian Night - A Do-Over

Des and I get together once a month with four other couples for a supper club we call International Night (written about before here). We put the whole gig on hold over the summer and resume in the fall. With the next one coming up in just over a week, I realized I never shared the recipe from our last one in June.

Des and I hosted the June supper, which meant we picked the theme, coordinated the details and had everyone over to our place. We decided to do Italian - A Do-Over. See, we did Italian around the same time we started the supper club (which I think was four years ago - wow!). However, one of the guys in the group is allergic to tomatoes and unbeknownst to one another, everyone was considerate of his food allergy and brought a dish that didn't contain any tomatoes. Yes, we had an entire Italian dinner without a stain of tomato in sight. Crazy right? Better yet, the guy who had the allergy ended up having to cancel! So in the end we all enjoyed our tomato-less Italian feast without the guy who was the catalyst for our collective consideration. 

After many recountings of the tomato-less Italian meal, Des and I decided enough was enough. We were due for an Italian Do-Over dinner with tomatoes. (Now, not to fret, we did still consider the needs of our fellow diner and made tomato-less versions for him where appropriate). For our dish, we went with this Penne with Braised Short Ribs recipe. I'd made it before and thoroughly enjoyed it. The repeat attempt did not disappoint. (For our friend. I simply separated out a few short ribs before braising and made a pesto-based variation for him that turned out equally as delicious.)

The full assortment of ingredients

There's a funny story behind these beautiful short ribs:
I sent my hubby to the butcher near his work to get them, but realized I had forgotten to convey the amount needed. I sent a follow-up email with the quantity, yet when he came through the door that evening he had nearly $45 in ribs in hand! I asked what in the world he was doing with more than double the amount of ribs needed. Seemed he didn't get my email until after his trip to the meat man and he best-guessed it. Oh well - the rest were saved and enjoyed on the grill later in the summer ;)

Anywhoo.... the ribs are seasoned with salt and pepper before heading to the pan

And there are the beauties, all browned up to add that extra richness to the dish

diced onion and garlic... makes everything good! Saute lightly in the big dutch oven for about 2 mins

add in tomatoes, dijon mustard and and a cup of red, wine ... you can see where this is going now hey!

All the goodness (sans ribs) coming to a boil on the stove top, becoming friendly

Some beef broth joins the party

and the ribs are invited back in with that broth.
The cover goes on now and this pot of goodness goes in the oven for 2.5 hours at 350 degrees,
basically cooked until meat falls away from the bone

near the end of the cooking time, get your shred and chop on with the herbs and parmesan
You'd also cook up your penne as you take the meat out of the oven. While the pasta is a-boilin' to al dente,
you remove the ribs from the pot along with any excess fat from the top of  liquid. Then process the remaining liquid until it becomes a smooth sauce. Remove the meat from the bones and shred with two forks and add shredded meat back to the warm sauce. 

We served it up family style, topped with the cheese and parsley:
It is rich and delish.  In fact, it's a perfect fall dish. Hmmm....

September 12, 2011

Birthday Card

Hope everyone enjoyed the weekend. It's a quick post today, sharing the birthday card I made for our niece Emily who turned 19 on Friday.
The pretty button held the tri fold card closed. And I just love those fabric letter stickers on the front!

The first fold open ...

And both folds open to reveal even more personalization with the age stamped in.
Once again, Happy Birthday Miss Emily :)

The card folding was inspired by this card from the ever amazing Kristina Werner.

September 9, 2011

Happy Birthday Emily!

Des has 12 nieces and nephews on his side of the family. When I first met them seven years ago, most of them were just little people. At the time, the youngest was only six with the rest ranging from six to fourteen, excluding the oldest who was in his mid-twenties at the time. In just seven short, fast years, these little people have started to grow into amazing young women and men that I'm blessed to call my family.

One of those lovely young women is Miss Emily, also Des' goddaughter, who today turns 19. When I met her she was just 12, not yet even a teenager. Here she is today entering the last year of her teens. All grown up, becoming legal, in university and well on her way to becoming a world traveller. She's smart, funny and witty. Independent, determined and strong. Sophisticated, stylish and savvy. She's everything a girl her age should be and more.

Today and everyday, we cherish her and love her.
Emily holding a still tiny Hudson - the most recent pic I have of her as she spent the summer in New York State.

Happy Birthday Emily! 

September 8, 2011

Happy 50th Birthday Cards

Over the long weekend, we celebrated two 50th birthdays of two wonderful ladies in our family. Before heading out of town, I made two cards for them. As you can see I kept them similar, but still made them special for the recipient:

the same, but different

On this one, the circle cut out revealed the 50 from the inside of the card...

This one kept everything outside

Another birthday card coming your way tomorrow!

September 7, 2011

Labour Day Re-Cap

Hard to believe the Labour Day weekend has come and gone for another year. Sure it seems like we just celebrated Canada Day! We spent our extra-long weekend with family and friends from Southern Bay to Northern Bay (no joke, Des grew up in Southern Bay and my family comes from Northern Bay!) and we enjoyed it thoroughly. Here's a look through our weekend lens:

Hudson P's first visit to Dad's home in Southern Bay
Hanging out on the bed in Daddy's old room
(at some terribly early hour after a very sleepless night!)
There`s was plenty of attention from the older cousins
Espresso found here :)
Plenty of food & drink consumed
a scenic drive through Trinity to encourage much-needed sleep for the boy

some lawn-mowing followed by riding just for fun!

trying out of old furniture ... showing off that chubby belly :)
fresh blueberries and homemade muffins
folding some laundry for Nanny Pat
All wrapped up with some time at Chapters. The scene from down below...
and the scene from up above.

Hope your weekend was as delightful!