Saturday, 12 December 2015


(Our first work gift of the year. Loves it:) 

 (Our Christmas tree this year. We like it)

(Cohen and Jon at a Santa breakfast) 

(watching Santa from a distance) 

(hiking in mild weather)

- We have been going for a neighborhood walk every night to see the Christmas lights. Cohen is thrilled every time someone else puts up a Minion decoration on their lawn. We have 4 just on our little street. The holidays with a toddler is the best. 

- We went to the Santa Claus breakfast with friends. The idea is you have breakfast, then you get your picture with Santa. Santa took a quick walk around the restaurant when he first arrived, and as he walked by our table, Cohen yelled "slippers and sunglasses!!" He knew he was supposed to tell Santa what he wants, so I guess he figured he would tell him right away. So cute. Sitting on Santa's lap was so not going to happen. But Cohen admired him from afar. 

- Friends tell us this is the last year we will be able to get away with no actual Christmas tree in our house. We will see. As a family who probably won't spend Christmas day in our own house for many many years to come, I am pretty into Christmas tree alternatives. Maybe next year we will do a big tree painting on kraft paper. 

Saturday, 5 December 2015

The Christmas Parade

We just got back from our local Christmas Parade, and both my boys are napping. We decided to do a float this year, which I thought would be super relaxing and involve sitting on the back of a pickup, waving. But. We handed out over a thousand loot bags to the kiddies, running up and down the street the whole time. It was so much fun, and so tiring! 

(A pic from a stroll the day before. We got a nice bit of snow) 

(En route to the start point. I got lots of compliments on my earrings.) 

 (Ready to go. What a sweet little tooth)

(Saying hello to a pup)

We were in the middle of the parade, and there had to be over 50 floats. It took us 15 minutes to walk to our float. Cohen was such a trooper, and walked a lot. But he ended up spending most of his time in the front seat of the pickup truck. His favorite part of the day was the time before the parade when we could walk around and see the different floats. He loved seeing Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and the motorcycle club. The ambulance was right behind us, and he loved seeing the lights flashing. We had such a good morning. 

Thursday, 3 December 2015

A few pics

(at the Remembrance Day ceremony) 

(reading in Cohen's crib) 

(laughing after supper)

Life has been feeling full and good lately. We have been trying to spend time outside every day even if it's rainy or cold or super windy. Windy is the hardest, but we still try to at least take a 10 minute walk. I've been making apple sauce and muffins and cookies and jam. And we've been reading a ton. And completely addicted to Master of None and also True Detective

We are going all in this holiday season with all the activities we can find. We have the parade and the tree lighting and breakfast with santa and gift exchanges and parties. We are saying yes to all of it this year. 

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Hotel review: Hillview Terrace Suites, St. John's, NL

We stayed two nights at the Hillview Terrace Suites in St. John's this past weekend, and we liked it. 
(king bed with the old-school bedding) 

(living room and kitchen area. decent) 

(small and newly renovated bathroom)

Price: $150 including tax per night. Basically the best deal in St. John's. 
Bathroom: small and builder basic and clean. 
Pool: Nope
Breakfast: Nope. But Tim Horton's is right across the street. And there was a full kitchen
Wifi: Yes, good. 
TV: Good. We watched cartoons. Dude loved it. 
Location: The location is not bad at all if you are driving. In a car, everything is really close, including downtown and the mall. But if you want to be downtown, this hotel is not for you. 
Parking: Good, free. 

- This place was clearly recently renovated with the most builder basic finishes possible. It actually reminded me of our house, which is exactly like every house on my street. Totally fine
- Jon and I have stayed at so many hotels in St. John's, and with a toddler, this hotel is definitely winning. We will be back here for sure. 

Sunday, 22 November 2015

On the weekend (St. John's with our 2.5 year old)

We just spent two amazing nights in town (aka St. John's), and it was the best. We definitely need our little trips once in a while to get away, and traveling just keeps getting easier as the dude gets older. He gets better and better at eating at restaurants, driving a lot, sleeping in strange hotel rooms, and being patient when we are in line at a store. 

(breakfast at the Sheraton hotel. We eat there for the view of the ships) 

(my people) 

(checking out the Geo Centre) 

(a statue near Signal hill)

Some things we did in town that satisfied our 2.5 year old:

- We went straight to Avalon mall where they have this creepy Christmas tree that talks to the kids. He says the kid's name and everything. Dude liked it for half a second. Lots of other Christmas decorations and a santa sighting made him pretty happy. Free. 
- As usual, we spent a nice bit of time at the Chapters with the train set that the kids can all play with. And Starbucks for Jon and I. $10 for coffee and an embarrassing amount on books. J and I are bad for buying tons of books. 
- The YMCA pool is so good. The kiddy pool is pretty warm, and Cohen can walk around with his head above water. Also, there is a family change room, which is so great. And the pool has lots of toy boats and buckets and stuff. $15 well spent. 
- The Geo Centre!! I had the lowest expectations. I had no idea. We were there for 2.5 hours, and Cohen was so entertained the whole time. We definitely could have spent longer there. The exhibits are all touchable and interactive, even for a toddler. And they have a little play area for little kids that has lego and a slide and toys. And there is a 3-D theatre inside that is included in your admission. They were showing Despicable Me when we were there, but we didn't take advantage. Worth every penny of $24. In the future we would plan to spend the whole afternoon there, watch a movie, and bring our own snacks.
- We ate at Eastside Mario's, mostly due to proximity to our hotel, but I was so impressed with their gluten-free options. They are all over gluten-free in a way that NO restaurants are in our area. Dude was able to have a choice of a bunch of meals, which never ever happens. We usually have to order him multiple hamburger patties (it sounds sad, but he loves it) plus or minus fries (because they are sometimes coated in flour). But at Eastside's, he could have pizza, pasta, chicken, whatever. He even had dessert. 
- We also ate at Cora's, as usual, because they also have tons of options for Cohen since they have so much fruit on their menu. 
- We had breakfast at the Sheraton hotel even though we didn't stay there, because of the sweet views, and also because there is a little waterfall off the lobby and elevators. Cohen gets a big thrill from any body of water he can throw coins into, and elevators, of course. 

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

A few recent pics

(he got to pick out his own snow boots this year. loves them) 

(graduated to the big swing) 

(he asked me to take a picture of him and his christmas cactus)

Friday, 6 November 2015

I am a dentist and I am a girl

So the other day a patient who I had never seen came in because a bridge that a dentist had placed years ago was getting loose. Before I got in to see him, he asked my assistant if I was male or female. When she said I was female, he said he was told he was going to be seeing a man, and he would prefer that. My assistant said, "Dr. Jess knows what she's at, don't worry." And the man said that he just wanted someone with more experience. My assistant informed him that Dr. Jess and Dr. Jon graduated at the same time so have the exact same amount of experience. So he said he just though a man would know more about bridges is all.

I didn't hear this conversation, and when I came in, the patient explained to me that he had a loose bridge, that his previous dentist was the best, and asked me if I thought I could fix it. Ummm, yeah, I guess I can fix your old beat up bridge. He proceeded to tell me how to do my job. He said I should make sure things were dry. That is the key. And then the second thing is to make sure that the bite is right. You really need to be able to bite right, and then the bridge will be good, he said. That is seriously like telling a cook that the key to cooking a good chicken is to turn the oven on.

Days later, I go in with a patient who had severe dental anxiety when she first started seeing me 6 months ago. She heard about me from a friend, started seeing me for minor fillings, and has now had lots of dental work by me. This particular day we were doing an extraction. The tooth was totally bombed and was definitely going to be tough to get out. Anyway, she asked me if I was up for this extraction. I was like, yes, of course. She was like, it just doesn't seem like you are strong enough to take this tooth out. I laugh. Haha. She asked if there was someone who I could go get if I need backup. I laugh again. Hahahaha. She was like, no seriously, I just don't really want you to have to put your knee on my chest to get this tooth out because you aren't strong enough. Oh my.

I have written about this before. I am really not upset about this kind of thing. But I think it's worth sharing experiences and maybe, maybe, these two particular patients will feel more confident that a woman can be a dentist.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Pics from the weekend

(our little superman with some Halloween gifts from his babysitter) 

(ice cream after allergy testing) 

(helping his dad at the gym) 

(handing out sugar free lollipops and toothbrushes at the mall)

At 2.5 years old, Cohen was really excited about the whole trick-or-treating thing this Halloween. He knocked on a few doors and got a few treats. I'm sure I'll change my mind next year, but this year, I was feeling very strongly that I did not want to buy a junky Walmart costume for Cohen that would just end up in the garbage. So he wore his superman pajamas that were hand-me-downs, and I made a cape from one of his old t-shirts. He seemed pretty happy. 

Monday, 2 November 2015

An allergy update

We went for Cohen's third allergy test the other day. Our allergy doctor recommends we go every year, and we were keen to do it before the holidays/bad weather since we have to drive a few hours to the specialist. 

This test was way harder this time in that Cohen definitely knew what was going on, and was fighting me and crying the whole time they were doing the testing. Jon and I had to restrain his arms so he wouldn't move and mess up the test and at the same time try to distract him with videos from my phone. I think Jon and I are really used to dealing with upset kids at work, so it really didn't bother us, but still, we were all exhausted after.  The nurse was awesome and gave him lots of bandaids after, which he loves.

His little back after the test. There were four major positive spots, though the doctor pointed out that he does just have really sensitive skin, because pretty much every single dot was red after.

We were not surprised to see that he is still severely allergic to wheat and peanuts. And we knew avoid all nuts, so almonds are no biggie for us. But the coconut. That one really surprised me. I use a ton of coconut. I let Cohen eat coconut oil straight out of the jar. I probably go through a big jar of coconut oil every other week. We also use a ton of coconut cream and milk in our cooking, and our smoothies, baking, etc. And we eat coconut chips. And drink coconut water. Not to mention coconut butter that I smother Cohen's gluten-free toast with lots of mornings.

The doctor was like, one of you guys must also be allergic to something. And Jon and I both are sure we are not allergic to anything. The doctor said that still he would like to test us sometime because allergies are almost always genetic. He also said again that Cohen's red cheeks are definitely allergies. We are curious what eliminating coconut will do for the cheeks.

Also, the doctor surprised us by saying that when Cohen is older (maybe eight years old or so), we will be able to totally get rid of his allergies permanently. It will be costly and take time, but I guess they have these new therapies that eradicate allergies. That seems so far away. We are just happy to know what his allergies are right now.

PS: The beginning of our allergy saga here. Our second trip to the ER here. His first allergy test here. His second allergy test here. And more about it all here.

Also, I read all about some other toddler's allergies here. Interesting only to parents of allergic toddlers.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Pictures of Cohen

("shopping" at the Christmas store) 

(he insisted on this photo op) 

(hanging at the local library) 

(oh you know, just eating coconut oil straight up with rubber boots on) 

(he has mastered the spiral slide) 

(carving pumpkins) 

(reading a story to Mickey Mouse)


- We got snow today. Like, a blanket of snow that stuck around all morning. Winter is here in Newfoundland for sure. I am in the market for a super warm winter jacket (that has no feathers due to Cohen's allergy). 
- Cohen is thrilled to be going trick or treating this weekend. Though he thinks that he will be getting apples since that's what the kids get in the books we have been reading. I am thinking apples are not a thing for trick or treating anymore. 
- Cohen's sweet little cheeks have been flared up for the past month or so. I am thinking it's the cold weather. Or allergies. Or the indoor heating. I actually have no idea. We are going for more allergy testing on Friday. 
- Christmas is only two months away. So excited. No shame. 

Monday, 19 October 2015

Library list

I have been reading a lot before bed lately, as usual. I have no picture because I have been sending my books to friends as soon as I finish them lately, thanks to this book. I have such a huge list of books I want to read right now. I need a better library, for sure.

The Circle by Dave Eggers. I read You shall know our velocity years ago and thought it was good. This one was interesting, and made me feel a little freaked out by what we are sharing of ourselves on the internet.

Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang by Chelsea Handler. I think I like her, and I want to read more. I was laughing so hard I cried a few times, which is nice.

What I talk about when I talk about running by Haruki Marakami. Oh man. This one was good. I sort of feel thrilled when I read about how someone was just sitting with a beer at a baseball game and suddenly felt that he was absolutely going to be a novelist. Out of the blue. I like those moments in life when you just have to do something. Also, the running is cool. I like to run 3 km at a time, and he runs more like 100 km at a time. He is intense. Now I have to read the rest of his work.

Why not me? by Mindy Kaling. I liked this, but it wasn't so much funny like her first book. This one was more about her getting her very own show, which is really cool, but serious. BUT she talked a lot about women and loving ourselves and I loved all that. And I loved seeing what a day in her life is= insane, 14 hours of work, crazy.

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. Do I ever love this woman. I love her blog. I love her last book so much. I love how mental illness is getting so much play lately, and people are so much more open about it. I am just so sold on everything this writer represents. I am not usually a pre-order kinda girl, but I had this thing preordered the minute I could. I am a huge fan. The book was awesome, but for some reason I never seem to like second books as much as first. I would recommend anyone to read the first book for sure. But if you are struggling with depression or anxiety, get this book asap.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Hotel review: JAG hotel, St. John's, NL

We stayed at JAG hotel for a night this weekend when we were in town to pick up my mother-in-law for Thanksgiving. I have been wanting to stay here ever since it opened, and I really loved it. 

(Sunday morning cartoons and newspaper. Love these two so much)

(comfy but smallish bed) 

(nice modern bathroom) 

(the room)

Price: Around $150 plus tax per night. Not bad for downtown St. John's.
Bathroom: Really nice. The shower had a rain head and the soap was really nice and looked locally made. All good.
Pool: Nope. Why!??
Breakfast: Not included, but we did go down for breakfast. It was around $45 for the three of us, and super cute and fancy. Everything came on either pieces of slate or in copper pots. Jon and I both agreed it was the best breakfast we have had in years. The presentation alone was killer.
Wifi: Good.
TV: Very good. This is important to me. We watched House Hunters:Off the grid. And debated moving to Hawaii. The television was the type that pulls out from the wall so you can really get comfortable watching it in bed.
Location: Pretty good. It is right next to the Delta. Perfect if you want to go to an event at the Mile One Centre. Not as perfect as some other downtown hotels for shopping and eating, but good.
Parking: They have either valet parking or you have to just park on the street. In downtown St. John's, that is not ideal. We took the valet parking for $20, and it was kinda worth it.

- At around 6 pm, they came around with chocolates from Newfoundland Chocolate Company to our room. Those kind of little details really sell me. Also, there was fancy water in the lobby. I like that.
- Overall, I would totally stay there again. I would more than recommend it to people with no kids. It's really close to George Street, and there is a nice lounge off the lobby that felt like a cool place to go for a drink.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Things to do in Clarenville: Skating at the rink

I may have mentioned this a million times before, but we live in a really small town where sometimes we struggle to find things to do. So we were happy to find one more thing last weekend, which is ice skating at the rink. They have a family skate a few times a week, and we took advantage. 


They had these things that the little kids could sit in while you push them around. They were awesome for us since Cohen was unwilling to actually let his skates touch the ice.

We went to the Canadian Tire to buy skates for Cohen, which was so exciting for him. Then we went to the rink, where we were the only family wearing bicycle helmets instead of hockey helmets. Also, all the other kids were wearing full hockey pads and gear. Cohen, not so much. I can barely skate in a straight line. All this to say that we definitely did not fit in. Cohen loved it, and insisted on wearing his helmet for the rest of the day.

I took him again this morning while Jon was at work. He was reluctant to put on the skates, but I did eventually get him on the ice for 20 minutes. Another mom told me she started her boys skating at one years old and she started by letting them lay on the ice. I might skip that step? Not sure.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Luck, and finding a "decent" guy

When I was getting my nails done beside the other bridesmaids for the wedding last weekend, my manicurist started talking about her love life. She has the worst luck. She has never ever dated a decent guy. So she just keeps dating losers and spends her money partying in Las Vegas and Miami with her girlfriends who are slowly getting married. She asked me about my situation. I told her about Jon, how he is definitely the most attractive guy I know, and super fun, sensitive, the works. And I'm married to him. "Lucky!", she said. Then I was reading this article about being lucky. 

And I was quick to tell her, nope. Not luck. First of all, the odds of meeting a "quality guy" (her words, not mine) in Vegas or Miami at a nightclub are maybe a lot lower than in an education program with an acceptance rate of 1:100 (or whatever). So for me to even have met Jon involved me working my ass off for 5 years after high school to get into grad school. And it involved me dating lots of not-as-great guys, and spending a long lonely year with no romantic interests at all. All the stuff I went through before meeting Jon kinda primed me to meet Jon and fall in love with him and ultimately marry him. No luck. Though I do feel lucky.

When  think about my closest friends, it's a similar story. Very few of my friends had an amazing guy fall into their laps in their early twenties. Instead, it seems like my friends have focused hard on careers and education, and ended up meeting the good guys in doing that. For my friend the nail tech, I'm thinking that all her traveling and enjoying life will slowly lead her to the right guy for her. Maybe that's called luck, or maybe not.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Wedding hair drama

So the bride gifted us all with updos for the wedding, which was so fun and awesome. When mine was done and I walked back to join the other girls, they all started laughing. It was bad. I asked if they could fix it because those curls were falling out super fast, but the girl had gone home, so whatever.

(an hour after getting my hair done) 

(after one of the other bridesmaids fixing it up for me)

So I sent a pic to my sister, who promptly told me I needed bobby pins so I could put that mess up into a side bun. So we did that, and it was all good. Crisis averted. Really, it was no big deal, and no one cared how my hair looked, especially me, but I did love having my sister able to diagnose the problem via texting. I've only had my hair professionally done a couple times, and never experienced the style falling out so fast. I dunno. In the future I will definitely ask the stylist for a handful of bobby pics for emergencies later in the night.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Our wedding weekend in Halifax

(ice cream time on the boardwalk) 

(in the back of the bride's ride on the wedding day) 

(shellac nails. lasted about 3 hours on me.) 

(we had fancy snacks at the salon/spa on the wedding day) 

(maid of honor hair) 

(this was the bride's trunk on the wedding day. the flowers were insane) 

(feet. four of us have semi-matching heart tattoos) 

(at the wedding venue) 

(on the bus to the airport)

We arrived in Halifax on Thursday night, and Jon and I went right to our favorite sushi place after making sure the little guy was happy with the Grandparents. Friday was the wedding shower and the rehearsal dinner. Saturday was salon and spa time, then pics, then wedding. Sunday was hangover time. And we left early Monday morning. The whole weekend was awesome. Cohen spent tons of time with his grandparents, and I got to spent lots of time with my best friends. We love Halifax. And weddings. 
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