Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Cohen's May teaching day

Cohen had his second to last teaching day with his grade three class today. The grade threes were all really shocked by how different he looked today. I think it makes such a difference that he wears jeans and shoes now. One kid said he looked like a rock star.

Today we were talking about the reasons for the names our parents give us. I told the class about how Cohen is names after Leonard Cohen. The teacher said she was sure none of the eight-year-olds had heard of him. But one kid was like, yes, he wrote "Hallelujah." I was impressed.

One kid said he was named after a store in Ontario (Carter's), and he didn't know why his parents had chosen that particular store. Another kid said he was named after his classmate's dad. His classmate is his cousin. Another kid said that her name meant 'hilarious' in German. I thought it was so interesting, and I would have loved to hear every single kid's name story.

The kids loved how Cohen walked around the class (gripping both my hands very tightly), checking each student out. Then the whole class got really quiet for a minute so they could all hear Cohen grinding his little teeth. It is so loud! I know it's normal, but still. The teachers asked me when I am going to cut his hair. Never, maybe? I can't imagine cutting those sweet little wispy hairs. I love them, and so does Jon. What a sweetie.

Monday, 26 May 2014

What to do on a Saturday in Clarenville

Usually after a few weekends refraining from traveling, I get the blues. It's the small town kind of blues, the ones where you realize the highlight of your day is a trip to a home building supply superstore. 

I definitely think that you can make any place a cool place to live, and I think my little town is cool. But. There are a few things I miss. There are lots of really good reasons to live here, but I am more talking about the things-to-do-on-a-Saturday (or lack-thereof).

Some stuff we like to do on weekends:

- Since we live right beside a beautiful harbour, a jog or walk, always. My little 4 km loop that I like to jog is so scenic. I get to run across two bridges and all along the water. And I don't have to drive anywhere. I can leave right from our house.
- Booster Juice. I love being able to go somewhere and order a green juice whenever I want. Sometimes it's nice to leave my juicer under the cupboard.
- Go grocery shopping. We don't have any really great/huge grocery stores, but we have three medium sized ones (no frills, sobeys, coop), and if you really take your time and look carefully, you can find most things you need. We (maybe lamely) make a date out of it and get coffees and stuff.
- OK, so there is usually some type of community event, and we pretty much always go. Most times it is a yard sale at the middle school or lions club. Last weekend it was a rubber duck race in the harbor.
- Movies. There is a movie theatre here, which has two screens. Movies are not something we really do anymore, partly because of Cohen, partly because I like watching movies at home.
- Go out for breakfast/lunch/supper. We do this all the time. There is no high-end restaurant here, but there is a handful of average priced places that serve the usual hamburgers, chicken fingers, pizza. We go to Dustabella's all the time (an average priced restaurant in a hotel).
- Hang out at home. I love this more than ever, which is good since it is something we do a lot of. Lots of people around here have cabins that they spend their weekends at. And lots of people have machines like snowmobiles and 4-wheelers and dirt bikes.
- And there are other things like throw a frisbee at the ball diamond, go to the little library, um, check the mail (even though mail doesn't come on weekends), go furniture shopping (though our house has a limit)

What I wish Clarenville had:

- Coffee Shop! This is huge. I would love to have a place that you can order a coffee or espresso and sit and chat and people-watch.
- Some type of food-selling establishment other than a grocery store, like perhaps a bakery where we could get fresh buns and croissants. Or a market where we could get local produce. Or a butcher that sold local meat. Or an ethnic grocery store.
- Hot yoga. I used to love hot yoga when we lived in Halifax, and then even Gander got a hot yoga studio right before we left. I would settle for normal yoga with hours that catered to people with 9-5 jobs.
- Bikeability. This may not be a word, but what would be cool is if you could bike around Clarenville. You truly can't. I am not just being wimpy about it. It is not possible because the roads are super narrow and hilly and dangerous. However, you can bike up and down the street we live on, which might get old really fast.
- Cool restaurant(s). I would be thrilled with sushi, indian, chinese (not the chicken balls and red sauce kind, which we have in spades), vegetarian, local (like how in St. John's there are all these cool places that serve moose meat and locally grown everything), fancy, deli, sandwich, etc. Most places here are diner-ish, which is cool. But sometimes it's nice to step outside that box.
- Some type of downtown area that you could walk around and see things and people. There is a small (tiny) mall.
- Bookstore. Though we have a little decent library, so beggars can't be choosers.

Anyway, I guess my point is that sometimes I feel a little down about our little town. But this is our first full summer here, so maybe a month from now I will be loving this place, and feeling like there is tons of stuff to do. In the meantime, our pantry and fridge is jam-packed from all the grocery shopping we do. And we have had numerous Tim Horton's and Mcdonald's dates. We might start hanging out at the seasonal craft/overpriced candle store that just opened last weekend. We have options.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Cohen's flat bear

We only got Cohen a few things for Christmas last year, because he was only 5 months old, and he was really more interested in the wrapping paper. One of the few things we got him, though, was his flat bear

I ordered one for Cohen, and one for his future cousin (my sister's sweet little girl, Grayce, who was born in March). They were kind of expensive for stuffed animals, but they just looked so soft and well-made.

Once we started sleep training, our sleep book recommended a transitional object. The idea is that the object reminds baby of his momma (and dad), so it calms him down when he is left alone to sleep. We started out with the flat bear in bed with the three of us while we were cosleeping so that the bear would smell like us. Then when we transitioned Cohen into his own room, we would cuddle him up to the bear in his crib. It worked. It probably helps that the flat-out bears are super soft and cuddly, but Cohen is completely attached to his bear. Every night when we put him into his crib (awake), he excitedly grabs his bear and cuddles in. We leave the bear in the crib so that he will associate it with sleep time. When we get him up in the morning, he is still holding tight to his bear. I think it is the cutest thing.

Grayce is only a few months old, and she is already sleeping with her flat bear. I am so curious if she is going to love hers as much as Cohen loves his.

PS: A post about loveys that I liked. And another one.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

On the long weekend

(Coco and Nan at Two Whales coffeehouse

(checking out the sweets) 

(bedtime stories with Nan) 

 (he loves chocolate chip cookies)

(playing on the back deck) 

(practicing his walking)

My parents came for a 40-hour visit this long weekend. We loved it. First of all, they brought a whole extra huge suitcase with treats for us. Cohen must have eight new outfits, a bunch of new toys, and a few other things that I had requested on his behalf (a big bib for my messy eater, a container for cereal for long drives into town, some tupperware to make travel with homemade baby food easier). 

Cohen warmed up to my parents a lot faster than I thought he would. Within an hour, he was cool with them holding him, feeding him, reading to him, the works. I think maybe it helps that he sees them on FaceTime a few times a week. I loved seeing Cohen rest his sweet little head on his Nan and Gramps while reading or watching a youtube video. 

Another thing in the extra suitcase was a new set of nightstands for J and I. If you want to see our new nightstands, keep reading.

Monday, 19 May 2014

10 months old!

(baby yoga. it looks crazy, but he loved it)

(grocery shopping)

Dude is 10 months old (yesterday)! Lately...

- He just (yesterday) got his fourth tooth. Now he has two on top and two on the bottom.

- He eats a lot! Typical day: breakfast of applesauce with berries and yogurt, lunch of meat and potatoes, and supper of veggies and mango sauce. And we give him little bits of whatever we are eating, like cheese, crackers, bread, pasta, whatever. Favourite food thus far: blueberries.

- He is nursing four times a day now. He sleeps from around 7:30 PM to 6:30 AM straight through usually. Then he naps twice a day. I am loving our schedule. Jon and I love that extra half hour with him in the evenings.

- Favourite things to do: stand at the living room window and watch cars go by, rip toilet paper into tiny bits, sit at the kitchen cupboard and pull every single thing out from the bottom shelf.

- Another thing he loves to do lately is walk (toddle?) around with us holding his hands. He seems so proud of himself. I am betting that he will be walking in another month, though J thinks it will take maybe another 2 or 3 months.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Hotel Review: Irving West Hotel, Gander, NL

We stayed two nights at the Irving West in Gander on the weekend. They recently converted the hotel rooms into long-term stay suites with full kitchens. 

(baby on the stylish sofa)

(new kitchen)

(this photo could have been taken 10 years ago)

price: around $150 per night
bathroom: pretty '80's. pink dirty-looking tiles, tiny, dark.
pool: nope.
breakfast: no, but a full kitchen means you could technically make your own
wifi: yes, pretty strong and free
tv: good cable. we watched lots of 'til debt do us part'. addictive
location: pretty good. there is a Mary Brown's around the back, and the only bar in the town is attached to this hotel, which would be convenient if you were not parents to a 10 month old
parking: free

- the kitchen is pretty sweet, with a full fridge, and all the cutlery and stuff that you would need to make a meal. i am thinking we were the first ones to ever stay in this particular room since it was renovated, because a cupboard door came off in jon's hand when he went to open it :)
- stuff that is still old and dirty-looking: carpet, sofa, bathroom, bedding. 
- we loved having a separate bedroom and living room. it meant we could put cohen to bed, and still hang out and chat after.
- we would definitely stay here again next time we are in Gander. so much better than a single hotel room for us. 

Monday, 12 May 2014

Pictures from the weekend

(happy little dude practicing standing)

(J and I accidentally both wore our identical dark gray v-necks and similar cardigans)

(layered cupcakes in mason jars)

(confetti system wannabe banner)

(my boys at Mother's Day brunch)

(Coconut eating some eggs)

Notes (about Cohen, naturally):

- Cohen has three teeth (two bottom, one top), and the fourth is just about through. We have started brushing his little teeth with plain water, though he mostly just likes to chew on all toothbrushes

- I left Cohen and Jon for maybe 5 hours on Saturday for a baby shower I was helping with, and when Jon and Cohen joined me at the end, Jon showed me a video of Cohen crawling for the first time ever!! It is more of an army crawl, but still very impressive. He absolutely refuses to do it for me. He would rather I just pick him up. 

Sunday, 11 May 2014

My first Mother's Day!

Even though I have always celebrated my own mother on this day, it is so completely different now that I am a momma too. I think about how mom was a mother of three by the time she was my age, and she was doing it on her own lots of the time since my dad was always gone for work. Throughout my life, dad was always gone for long stretches. Same with the dads of many of my friends. And now, we live somewhere that the men all go to work away, either on the ships, the oil rigs, or good old "out west." So it really seems normal to me that moms do it all on their own. But now that I am a momma, I can't imagine doing it alone. Jon has spent two night away from us for work since Cohen was born, and even that was a little bit tough. And with three kids!! I never felt even a tiny bit like it was a challenge for mom. She was such a natural momma. I can only hope to be like my mom.

Today was so good. Jon brought me coffee and warm scones from Jumping Bean first thing in the morning. I was treated to a few of my favorite things (magazines and chocolate, of course), then we went for brunch (french toast made with cornflakes!). Cohen made me a card (maybe his dad helped a bit) based on his favorite book. And I went for my first outdoor run of the year.

Happy Mothers Day to all the mommas.

Friday, 9 May 2014

It's friday!

(I order these in bulk) 

(the view from my work chair on Tuesday) 

(tissue paper decorations) 

(spoiled for my 30th)

I had such a good week that started with turning 30. For me, that meant a few family dates, some Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and a few packages in the mail. Oh, I love packages. And on Tuesday it snowed and snowed all day, which was beautiful, but, um, it's May (though this happened last May). 

Today we are heading out for a road trip to our old town to celebrate the upcoming birth of our close friends' first little babe. I am looking forward to seeing old coworkers and friends, and eating some good food. 

Have an awesome weekend!

Monday, 5 May 2014


I am 30 today! These pictures have nothing to do with turning thirty. They are just the most recent pictures I have on my computer (from a week and a half ago). And I probably wouldn't use a picture of me in a bikini if I wasn't happy with my body. But I am happy with my body, even though it is very different from the body I had at 27. 

I mainly want to record what is going on with me as I turn thirty:

- I am a new mom. Everything in my life pretty much revolves around that. I have been a mom for 9.5 months, and I love it, obviously. I love how lately he tries to feed me. Whatever he is eating, he tries to put it in my mouth. It's just the cutest, and even though I know he's just copying our actions, it still feels like he is trying to care for his momma. 

- I am still pretty much a newlywed. We haven't been married two years yet. We both have a lot of our attention turned to our little guy these days, which is the way we want it. We still spend a lot of time focused on each other, though. Most nights we sit and play cards and have tea. Most mornings we have coffee together. We go on family dates every weekend. And we are learning French together, which I find surprisingly rewarding. Plus we work together, so we get more time together than any other couple I know, and we love it.  

- I installed a new pendant light in our kitchen this weekend. I watched a youtube video, bought the light I liked, and got the tool kit from the basement. It took two tries, and some encouragement from Jon, but I did it! 

- I am unofficially the family travel planner. We are pretty much always booking a trip. Jon usually suggests a trip, then I start researching. Right now in the books: a road trip to Gander, a work trip to Ontario, a couples camping trip in NB, and a family vacation in Cavendish. I spend part of every day looking at flights, hotels, etc, just for fun. One of my favorite things to do. 

- For the coming year of my life, I want more of the same. I want to keep spending lots of time with my little family, and I want to make sure we never get too busy. I want to keep working and traveling. I want to work on relaxing a bit more, and living in the moment. 

PS: It is raining here today! 

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Back to work after baby: 6 months

(trying his first watermelon and whipped cream at a restaurant in St. John's)

Now that it has been 6 months since I returned to work, I wanted to write a little about what it's been like. I also wrote about my first week back and my first full month back, and my thoughts on pumping and working. Some things about the work/momma balance these days:

- Once I am at work in the morning, I think about Cohen all the time, but I never wish I was at home with him. Maybe that sounds cold. But it also goes the other way. On the days I am home with Cohen, I don't want to be at work.

- The other day, Cohen wasn't feeling too great (he just cut another tooth), and Paula texted me a picture of this little rash that he had developed on his back. Sometimes it seems like he really needs me when he is not feeling well. He wraps his little arms around my neck and puts his little face against mine. So I did wish I could race home to be with him when I found out about his little rash. But instead, I had Paula take his temperature, and update me in half an hour. He was fine, and so was I.

- I love walking in the front door to a smiling baby who is so happy to see me. There is nothing better than taking him in my arms after a long day. The stresses of the day completely disappear.

- I am so over pumping. I really want to nurse Cohen until he is one, so we can skip the formula altogether, and move on to whole milk. I pretty much have to pump in order to keep my supply and make that happen. But when I am done with that in 2.5 months, I will be pretty happy. No more carrying around my pump (or my "breastfeeding book bag", as one of the assistants calls it), no more stopping whatever I am doing midmorning to search for a good spot to pump.

- I really don't like the term "part-time". When I think of someone who works part-time, I picture a teenager who works a few evenings and weekends. I work full-time. I am a full-time stay-at-home mom 2-3 days a week, and I am a full-time dentist 2-3 days a week. That being said, I am not sure if I ever want to go back to being a full-time dentist 5 days a week. My life feels more balanced now than it ever did before baby.

- A successful work/momma balance is all about the sitter. I could never be happy to be at work if I didn't completely trust our sitter. When she leaves in the evening, Cohen sometimes grabs her face in his little hands and smiles at her. I can just see how comfortable and happy he is with her. I wouldn't be surprised if he says "Paula" before he says mama.
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