Thursday, 30 July 2009

July: A Summery Summary

We had a pretty busy July! With Canada Day and Uncle Ryan's visit behind us, we thought we could maybe relax for a bit. Boy, were we wrong!

We signed up for swimming lessons for the two middle weeks, and I've gotta say, Vaughn is part fish. He's a happy little water baby, and seems totally mellow with the whole experience... as long as he doesn't put his face in the water and breathe in. He doesn't like that too much. After the first week, though, he figured out the blowing bubbles bit, and kicks like a little frog! I love it!

Ash and Jeff visited for two nights on their Long Way Across tour, and were fantastic houseguests and enthusiastic adventurers (not to mention provided half of these photos)! They partook in the Medicine Hat Stampede, attended the parade (wow. Words cannot describe the parade, sorry), and were good sports to play both Killer Bunnies and Cranium Pop 5 with us.

Hey, do you know the entire theme from Laverne and Shirley? These three do.

Seems that I somehow gave away a clue by saying that I wasn't old enough to know anything about it, and right after Ash guessed it (in 3.2 seconds), the peanut gallery burst into song. I still cling to my claims of youth, but had to Google it. Voila.

Vaughn's eating three squares a day with us now, and seems to love everything we give him (although I have cut beef out of his diet for my own sake - yick)... he's an "advanced" eater, in that he can feed himself - if you wait too long to put the spoon in his mouth, he takes matters into his own hands. And all over his face.

The end of July also saw us take a road trip up to Edmonton (with a stop for lunch with Grandma and Gramps in Red Deer). It was a nice long weekend -- the V-man hung out with his doggie cousins, Odin and Teddy, and Aunt Lynda, Uncle Rob, Uncle Ryan, and of course, Grandma!

Unfortunately, Chris came down with the flu, so Vaughn was left to the tender care of Odin a lot. Nobody was eaten, so it was a successful trip.

Finally, Vaughn has grown out of his baby tub (snif), and had his first big boy bath in the bathtub. He's growing so fast!!!

Anyhoo, here's hoping that August is nice and quiet...

Friday, 10 July 2009

Six Months Later

Well, it's been half a year now since Vaughn showed up. I know I've been focusing on him for most of my posts (because, really, what else have I been doing with my time?), but here's an update on "everything else" - which, sadly, isn't much.

Fitness: I'm still volunteering at the Y on Wednesday mornings, teaching my step-and-sculpt class to a pretty large group most days. I'm managing to get in 2, 5k runs (and sometimes 3), as well as 2-3 days of weight training, too. I've decided that I'm able to be consistent enough that I can switch my whole-body routine into an upper/lower split, so I'm having fun adding in more variety, supersets, and of course, plyometrics! I'm definitely feeling like myself again, bodywise. It's about time!

Food: The Domestic Goddess shows up at our house quite frequently now. Since we finally got cable in September, I've been (over)exposed to the Food Network, and Husband Supremo gets subjected to my creativity pretty often! I make a nice dinner at least 5 nights a week, with one night of leftovers and one night off for good behaviour.

Chris had some issues with the health factor of my early attempts (mmm....butter), so I've switched it up to very healthy meals again - it's challenging to keep variety and flavour, but I sit down every Saturday night and plan the menu for the week.

Laurel (aka Test Pig #2) lent me a copy of her Clean Eating magazine, and we've tried a few of those recipes out. At right, you see a blend of agave nectar, chia seeds, mint and lime. The seeds form their own "gel", and sort of have the same consistency as papaya... all in all, not bad, but could use more rum.

At left, a delicious "cookies and cream" sammich, made with Very Healthy Cookies (flax meal, oats, whole wheat flour, that agave nectar again...) and strained frozen yogurt (low-fat yogurt, vanilla, agave nectar...sense a theme?). Not TOO labour-intensive, and hey, I can't believe you can lose weight eating all the sammiches you can swallow! So far, I haven't lost any. Maybe I need to eat more sammiches.

Or maybe I need to just drink the agave nectar plain... or in its distilled form... TEQUILA!

The house is trying not to look like Baby Central, and is maintaining a balance between toys and order. V and I try to spend as much time outside as possible, with daily checks on the "gardens" for watering, etc. I had planted two planters and 2 window boxes on the two-four weekend, and decided on Tuesday that they needed reworking, and not ONLY because some of the plants were dead (apparently, 10 days in Ottawa without watering the plants left in the desert climate will cause some casualties. Who knew?). I would see other peoples gardens and pots and notice that theirs all had style and texture - different heights of plants, etc. - and that mine were sadly lacking.

Below, the first garden.
This sad bunch of pansies (and assorted dead things behind the pansies) greeted us at our front door.

With a simple reshuffling of the lavendar from the window boxes out back, and a few tall purple thingies that were on sale, there's a lot more character and presence, I think. :)

The back gardens were rearranged, too - I don't have any before pictures, but trust me, the afters look better.

My herb garden. If you squint, you might be able to see the Last Basil Standing. I'm still sort of hopeful for its survival, but chances are, it won't make it. The parsley and oregano are still going strong, though. And another tall purple thingie really adds to it. I'm pretty sure it's non toxic...

So there you are - my life in a nutshell! Add in some strollercise and Baby Time here and there, a few tea dates with other moms, my awesome, sanity-saving SATC nights with Laurel, and very, very few minutes away from the little pooper (but I've got the babysitter coming over this afternoon so that I can run some stairs with Laura (I'm doing WHAT in my moment of freedom?) then get a haircut (first one in oh, six months), and voila!

Uh oh - duty (and probably doody) calls...

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

A House Full of Huffs

Uncle Ryan came to visit us last weekend!

Usually, any gathering of Chris' brothers involves very good wine and very, very bad hangovers, but this time was actually quite civilized (well, except for the Star Wars Monopoly night, after watching the Return of the Jedi... I gave away my property and my last $63 at 1 am). Sure, there was wine, rum, cognac, scotch, bourbon and amarula, but it was quite tame, over all. I guess times really have changed. Or maybe it was just that I knew I'd be getting up at 6:30 no matter what...

Ryan was a great houseguest - appreciative of our culinary efforts (Five-Spice Roast on the bbq and apple crisp on Saturday; buttermilk pancakes for breakfast and steak and molten lava cakes on Sunday; lasagna and apple-walnut-blue cheese salad on Monday), and always willing to lend a hand to entertain the V-man... who LOVES his Uncle Ryan!

Here, Three Handsome Huffs hang out in my kitchen. Yes, I'm a lucky girl.

And here, the V-man shows off his latest trick: sitting! I don't know how to describe the look on his face; suggestions for captions would be welcome!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

A long way from the Hill

Happy Canada Day!

Wow, how times have changed.

I seem to recall a certain blog posting from a few years ago, defending my right to celebrate July 1st from Parliament Hill forever!

Let's just say that the Hat doesn't have a Hill.

Kin Coulee (right by the giant tepee), is the place to be here. There's lots of things for kids, like face painting and balloons and clowns. A few bouncy castles and slides. A food-court-esque section with smokies, burgers, and korean stirfry (oddly enough). And most of the community, it seems, turns out to check it out.

Which is fine. No, ok, it's nice. Very low-key, very good-clean-fun.


We rounded out the day with a trip to the dentist (wheee!) and a barbecue at a friend's house, which, again, was very nice and civilized. We were home by 7:30.

At about 11 pm, long after the V-man was down for the night (and me too!), Chris got me out of bed. We crept out of the house in our housecoats, and tiptoed, barefoot, across the dark and empty street. There's a little path between the houses that let us see the fireworks display clearly against the giant prairie sky. They were gorgeous and impressive, and the night was warm with a nice breeze. We held hands and I leaned against him, and it was almost like being home*.

Can you believe that these pants stayed white for an entire day???

* well, minus about 400,000 drunken fools. Man, I miss the Hill!