24 May 2010

The mussels of mahone bay

actually got out for an activity we would have enjoyed in the olden days (pre-X that is).

we saw that mahone bay was having a mussel festival and wanted to partake. of particular interest was an interesting preparation being performed at the adorable biscuit eater cafe, which is a favorite place of ours in mahone bay.

after a morning of preparation and gathering of baby related items, we set out in that direction. we arrived a little before 2p which was when the event was to start. we were happy to see that the place wasnt packed, so we ordered a rhubarb strawberry crisp to eat while we waited (fantastic, as are all of their goodies).

the mussel preparation we were waiting to see preformed was called "l'eclade" and was billed as such: "back by popular demand - the biscuit eater will be demonstrating one of our favorite recipes from 1606 - l’eclade (a mussel recipe used by champlain for the order of good cheer, which involves burying mussels under heaps of dry pine needles & setting the whole thing aflame.). dramatic, tasty, a little dirty…appeals to the pyromaniac in all of us – i have no idea why this isn’t a more common back yard eating tradition! drop by & check it out."

the cafe owner had a square table set up behind the store to demonstrate. it was really rather easy. plus, it looked fun and tasted great. you wet the table and throw some sea salt down. then you set the mussels up on the table with their hinges pointing up so that when they open, ash doesnt fall in (you can squeeze lemons on top of the mussels at this point if you wish). once arranged, you cover them with very, very dry white pine needles (needs to be white pine variety). then you set the needles on fire (the table is wet, so it doesnt burn). the thing smokes and burns down and then you add another batch of pine needles. a total of 10 minutes or so is usually perfect for cooking the mussels the right amount. then you simply dive into the ashy pile and fish out your open mussels (mussels that never open were dead before and shouldnt be eaten). the taste is smokey and earthy. a different and yummy way to enjoy this seafood treat. it was really easy to do and the activity and results were crowd-pleasing. hopefully one day we can perform this in our backyard for a party.

(setting up the mussels; fire!)

after the mussel demonstration, we wandered around town. it was super sunny and hot and the area was packed with tourists. we ended up perusing the amos pewter store and grabbing some delicious wildberry and pear frozen yogurt before heading home.

side note: X needed a diaper change while we were in town. dave and i went into the bathroom at the biscuit eater together to accomplish this task. we had forgotten baby wipes (rookie mistake). how!? we had to use damp paper towel. except they were all out. while i went to ask for some, X peed all over her travel diaper changing pad. poor kid, and with ill-prepared parents to boot. rough day.

19 May 2010

Meet the [grand]parents

daves parents drove out to meet their first grandbaby and we welcomed our first visitors post-X.

lucky X was able to absorb about 6 days with her grandma and grandpa whipp, and we were very thankful that they were able to make the trip. since she was only three weeks old, the visit didnt consist of much activity but we were able to have a nice time and share some of the good food we had found over the winter.

on thursday afternoon they arrived and we took X to their hotel and grandma got to hold her. :) we opened the many baby gifts they had driven out (thanks all!) and we had a carry-out dinner from the persian place, shiraz.

on friday we got lunch from cafe aroma latino and afterward, while X and i napped, dave and his parents went out to lawrencetown beach, fishermens cove, and they rode the ferry from woodside back to halifax. dinner was back in the hotel room with carry-out from caribbean twist. we walked X over in daves sling where she slept for an unprecedented 2.5 hours!

(never seen lawrencetown beach in the sun; the surf shop down the road from the beach)

on saturday, X rode with dave in the sling to the halifax market with the grandparents (i caught some extra zzzs). then we enjoyed a sandwich lunch at the apartment. afterward, we went our separate ways as the grandparents were going to enjoy some dinner theater that night. while they were gone, we experimented with a trial ride in the car with X. oddly enough, she hadnt been in the car since the day we brought her home from the hospital, so we had no idea if she would shriek or sleep. during our short errand-running trip we found that she can indeed sleep in the car and is pretty easy to then transfer into the sling while we are in the store(s).

on sunday, we all drove out to trellis cafe and ate lunch. this was our biggest excursion since Xs arrival and she was great. she was lulled to sleep on the ride over and then slept the whole time we were at the restaurant in my arms (big sigh of relief). dinner that night was low-key and made at our apartment by dave.

now, this was supposed to be the end of the visit, but the whipps car had other ideas. on monday they set out to head back and broke down about an hour from halifax. the transmission needed a part that would take a couple of days to get. this unpleasant situation turned into two more days with grandma and grandpa for X, so she didnt suffer from the breakdown. :) for more pictures and stories about the visit you can also view mary anns blog.

(in their room at the waverley inn)

side note: her three week growth spurt started on day two of the visit. this included maniacal feedings of a very hungry baby which were usually the most demanding in the late evening into the night. kinda hard to entertain while you are a zombie, so luckily i was able to skip some things and grab naps.

14 May 2010

I can put a ring on it

our 5 year wedding anniversary.

i'll make this short. due to X and a visit from the grandparents, we didnt get out to celebrate our anniversary this year...which i was totally prepared for. we get to spend much more time together than the average couple though (willingly, and we enjoy it) so i cant complain. my triumph related to this topic was that my wedding ring was finally able to be jammed back on my hand. after sitting sad and lonely on the nightstand for a few months (cant remember when it had to come off during pregnancy) i was able to coax it past my ring finger knuckle. and now it sits...stuck on. which is a good place for it to be. :) happy 5 years dave and MANY, MANY more.

as for the gift...this anniversary is the wood anniversary. and in my traditional method of stretching the boundaries of the idea of the stupid things on those anniversary gift lists, i offer up the belief that our gift to each other this year was the expansion of our family tree (trees being made of wood...). it took a long time for the gift to arrive, and its going to take even longer for the tree to bear harvestable fruit, but its also billed as the type of gift that keeps on giving...right?

(wow. look at us wearing fancy clothes and exhibiting proper hygiene. groomed hair, fresh looking faces, do i see nail polish on me?, and i dont see an ounce of baby spit-up)

10 May 2010

Mothers day premiere

if at first you dont succeed, try, try again. and i hope next mothers day we can do just that.

starting my mothers day off with a bang, X spent the hours of midnight-3a fussing and crying and refusing to sleep. we were all barely able to recover before she began another 3 hour stint from about 10a-1p. we were exhausted, grumpy, frustrated and looking for answers.

at christmas time, when we were home visiting, a friend handed off a book of hers she had been given when her baby was little. its called "secrets of the baby whisperer: how to calm, connect, and communicate with your baby" by tracy hogg. i had tried to leaf through it while pregnant, but its really not useful to do until your particular baby arrives. and now was the time we needed it, a jumping off point to seeking help to make things better/easier. we needed sleep to provide safe and reliable care to X.

basically, we found a few tips and ideas that were helpful. we had been, unknowingly, doing "kangaroo care" parenting and it was just a bit too demanding for us. we needed a little bit of a break, some alone time, and some free hands! of course, not everything in the book is something i will ascribe to, but those pieces of advice that were more intuitive were the easy ones to get on board with. so we tried a few things...and got an afternoon and evening of near deafening quiet. in other words, i received the gift of rest and partial sanity restoration for mothers day. which i guess is a pretty decent thing to have gotten.

i also couldnt stand my long hair anymore (it was always dangling in Xs face. plus it took extra time to shampoo and rinse and dry), so i gave myself a chop job. thinking back, it was probably brought on by a moment of britney spears-like insanity (minus the buzz cut). but i wanted the hair gone and i dont see a successful trip to the hair salon occurring anytime soon. and truthfully, my hair doesnt look too bad, if i do say so myself.

so, we didnt end up going anywhere or doing anything for mothers day, but we were able to get ourselves on a better path, which was much more important in the long run. i'll lobby for a brunch and matching mother/daughter outfits next year...

(i leave you with a pic of diane keaton with daughter dexter, 13)