27 December 2012

Michigan moving

had two and a half weeks in michigan to accomplish a lot of things. add in X and i getting a large cold and it was a crazy time.

so we had spent friday (dec 7) in a hotel by the halifax airport. we woke up extra early (5a) on saturday and dave drove us to the airport. X and i flew alone to michigan while dave drove the cat and the car to albany (to drop off nutmeg at his sisters) and then drove on to michigan. he did this in two days. once we met up in michigan we unloaded our storage unit (our things we abandoned 4 years ago), sorted through it, sold the furniture, donated many of the things that we didnt want, couldnt keep (electronics that wouldnt make sense to bring), or things that werent worth bringing even though we may have liked them (dont even get me started). it was arduous. the day after storage was unloaded i came down with a large, fatiguing cold. a day or two later, X got the same cold. she became EXTREMELY agitated due to being unable to breathe and she also won a medal in denying herself (and thus us) sleep. im certain it was not pleasant to be around us during this time. all of our patience had long since worn out.

finally, just as packing up the sorted storage items was about to come to a close, our diseases eased up on us. the day the movers came we FINALLY got a good nights sleep (first in a week). round two of the stress was done and the rest of our michigan visit went much more smoothly. thank goodness, but bummer for all those who encountered us before. better luck next time?

*on a positive note, thank you to everyone who made time to see us, and helped us out with X or moving or anything. thank you for being so kind when i was so grouchy. being sick and stressed totally squashed my warm fuzzies for being back in michigan, and for that i do apologize.

a breakdown of our days in michigan:

Dec 8 (Sat): X and i flew from halifax to philadelphia at 7a. after a 2 hour layover we arrived in detroit at 1p. solo air travel with X was pretty good, but i was tired (thankfully i had had a good night rest). mercifully, X put herself to sleep on the first flight and we were able to get lunch during our layover (during which the kid ate 2 hardboiled eggs!). she was decent for the second flight despite being tired. my mom and al helped us get settled at my grandmas (moomoo) house in dearborn afterward. it took X a while to get down for a nap though. afterward my mom and moomoo took her to the playground and gave her a wagon ride around the neighborhood to see the christmas lights. she really enjoyed it, so after dinner we drove around seeing more lights.

(moomoo, mom, X, me)

Dec 9 (Sun): we visited with mom/al and moomoo. X hit the playground again and played in the house. dave arrived in time for dinner (apparently his drive involved: a fast customs crossing in calais, maine, nutmeg peeing on him, a warm welcome from megan and courtney when he arrived in albany, and a relatively easy drive from NY to MI). we did the wayne county lightfest drive after dinner. X went on to have a TERRIBLE night sleep!

(swings and chalk at the playground across from moomoos house; for one time only, my mom got pigtails in to Xs hair. too bad for my mom, apparently non-girliness is genetic)

Dec 10 (Mon): we visited briefly with my friend katie, her daughter izzy, and her new son quinn in the morning. quinn was SO mellow, he let me bounce him to sleep! (give me 4 of those kind of kids!). later we had lunch at moomoos, and then drove to our rented house (from airbnb) in dexter, michigan. mom and al drove X and i out to ann arbor because our car could only fit dave (and all of our halifax junk). the airbnb house was...interesting. it was an older lady living alone after her husband (and one month before him, her daughter) passed away, she seemed to be staving off foreclosure by renting out parts of her house. she was a nice lady with lots of grandkids. her house was filled with train set stuff and X was in HEAVEN! it then took FOREVER to get her to nap. dave went out to plum market when X napped and we had a relaxing night in.

Dec 11-21: visiting/moving/sorting/packing at the airbnb home and in ann arbor.

Dec 11 (Tues): dave, my dad and my brothers went to our storage unit and moved things to the airbnb house. X and i stayed at the house. my brothers were very helpful and it was nice to see them. X did pretty well with them and my dad, considering they are loud dohring males. i had a hard time setting eyes on all of our stuff: the amount of it, the amount of money we spent on it, the time and energy we were going to spend getting rid of it, the irriation at our past selves for owning it.

(artie, dave, X, chip)

Dec 12 (Wed): mom came in the morning to take X to ann arbor hands on museum (al had gotten the flu by this point and we didnt see him again for the rest of their visit). it was nice to give X some fun, one-on-one time with my mom, she'd definitely been in need of an adult with undivided attention. dave and i used the free time to go to the secretary of state (to get a michigan title for our car), to get groceries, to drop a load of stuff at charity, and to grab some btb burritos. we also did a lot of initial sorting and picture taking and craigslisting back at the house that day. it was depressing to see all the expensive crap we were dumping but im glad to be rid of it and know ive learned my lesson for future purchasing. it was fun sorting with dave though, surprisingly there was no arguing about which things needed to be ditched and kept. that always helps. :) X also had some gastro issues today, but wasnt acting bad...but, it meant we didnt get to see my friend lily for a playdate in the afternoon. :(

Dec 13 (Thurs): mom came again to play with X around house and at the nearby metro park. dave and i sorted through the rest of the stuff. today i started to feel like i was coming down with something. :(

Dec 14 (Fri): X and i had a playdate at friend georgettes in the morning. X and georgettes daughter, lily, got along great. georgette kindly made a dairy and soy free banana bread too, so that was a big hit. i was feeling a little off at georgettes, but not sick yet. we also briefly saw my aunt and uncle back at the house later when they stopped in to drop off an early christmas present. i then went to a (college friends) ladies night at the corner brewery. it was a nice night out and i also learned my friend jen is expecting her second kiddo. i was perhaps a little more sick, a sore throat, as i drove home after ladies night (but, the sore throat could also have been due to talking more than i was used to).

Dec 15 (Sat): previous plans (spending the day at my aunts nature center) were canceled due to all the sick people involved. my mom came over to take X around the town of X (to the library, to see live reindeer, to watch dog grooming, to wander around downtown). they had great fun. dave and i started the process of packing. X had a little fever overnight.

Dec 16 (Sun): our friend lily came for a nice breakfast visit (husband ercan and son everett stayed behind to avoid sickness). my mom came over after that. then friends julie and landon come by to take some of our not-coming-to-finland stuff. dave got us jerusalem garden for lunch. we continued packing. X was fever-ish and stuffy for the morning and felt better after a nap. i was still feeling slow and sick.

Dec 17 (Mon): we continued packing. daves parents drove in to town and had dinner at our airbnb house. X was very congested and SERIOUSLY grumpy about it! if you combine moving stress, with toddler-in-a-new-environment-and-adapting-to-changes stress, with sick mom and sick toddler together...that equals one of the inner circles of hell in my book. at least i had gotten just enough sleep to make my sickness fatigue abate and now i was just very congested and had a sore throat.

Dec 18 (Tues): someone was interested in buying our car so we took it to their mechanic to be looked over. i went to ann arbor for a nice lunch at olgas with some old work friends. daves parents came around to play with X while we packed. later, i went to my friend phils for dinner at brio and to pick up all the stuff we had stored at his place.

Dec 19 (Wed): purple heart charity came to pick-up all of the stuff we didnt pack or couldnt sell. daves parents came around to play with X. we sold our car and picked up a rental. we completed the packing!! X slept like absolute crap!

Dec 20 (Thurs): the movers were supposed to come between 10-2p but actually arrived at 4:20p due to the crappy weather. daves parents were around during the movers time but then took dave to visit his grandma in waterford. friends missy and lonnie came by at 6:30p followed by friends sarah and russ at 8p (i had gone to their wedding in june). blissfully, X FINALLY slept tonight. a great visit with friends and X returned to a normal child, no longer possessed by the sickness demon...happy early solstice gift to us!!

Dec 21 (Fri): X and i played in the fresh snow (our first of the season)! we organized and cleaned up around house. then we drove to ann arbor and made a torturously BRIEF stop at lilys house (got a few glimpses at cutie everett and ercan). then we headed off to TK (college friend gang) Christmas. it was nice to see the gang and it worked out well that i had already caught up with the locals (at ladies night the week before) so i could just mingle and then only had to catch up with the out-of-townies. later, dave dropped us at the house and went to his friend pauls birthday party.

(everyone crams in the kitchen, as usual [landon, julie, jody, dave, ben, ntina, sarah, and madelyn]; X watching papa play with lily; julie hangin with ada)
(jo and ben in a classic stance; sir chuck; georgette)

Dec 22 (Sat): in the morning i zipped up to ntinas parents house to pick up some things. we left the airbnb house and drove to moomoos for our first family christmas of the week. it was nice to finally meet my cousin alexs wife, catherine, since we had only met her at their wedding last summer. then we drove across the state to south haven in the afternoon and settled in to the hotel.

Dec 23 (Sun): in the morning we visited with daves great aunt ev and great uncle james (they were like grandparents to him growing up). it was nice to finally introduce X to them. then we drove up to grand rapids to visit daves aunt and grandma (paternal side). his grandma had also not yet met X, so it was really nice for us to have made those visits and to know that they had met each other and enjoyed seeing her. then we settled down for the night at my aunt jean and uncle johns house in grandville and enjoyed a family dinner.

(us with evelyn and james; us with aunt mitzi and grandma betty)

Dec 24 (Mon): spent a calm day around my aunt and uncles. i ran errands with my aunt (nantucket bakery, franks market). later we all went to lunch at downtown beer gem, hopcat (ratebeers #3 place to drink beer in the country). we finished off the day with another nice dinner at their home.

Dec 25 (Tues)
: christmas day fulfilled all of the traditional christmas activities i can remember, thanks to my aunt and uncle. we woke up to a huge breakfast, presents under the tree, and lounging around for the morning, intermittenly helping with food prep. X finally got to meet my cousin kailee who had flown in the night before, and at 2p my dad, grandpa, and brother chip arrived for extended family christmas and food. it was christmas like i remember as a kid (even though we rarely actually had it in grand rapids, it always involved the same people and the same theme of food [polish]). X was manic about unwrapping presents. we let her be the gift deliverer. she didnt quite get it, but seemed to have fun and it was a good way for her to interact with everyone in the room. by the end, she was pretty comfortable with everyone. at bedtime, we loaded up in the car and drove to detroit to stay at a hotel near the airport. our time in michigan was coming to a close.

(X and kailee finally met!; naya and X in their chucks; grandpa and his girls)
(cousins [chip, kailee, linnea, me, X, and dave])

Dec 26 (Wed): we woke up and caught our flight to albany. conveniently missing the snowstorms on the east coast. thank you!

25 December 2012

X files - 2 Years & 8 Months Old - Vortex of change

most of the changes related to X this month happened to her and did not originate from her. i think this royally pissed her off, as she has a right to feel. it wasnt helpful that both dave and i were stressed in our own unique ways and none of us had much extra patience to give to each other to help make transitions go more smoothly. at least for the first part of these past two months she did have plenty of attention (in the form of reading, see the list below!) and hopefully kids are as resilient as they say. im hoping she will be settled from all the upheaval by the time she turns 3.

obsessions: spitting (not on people, just experimenting making and moving spit in and out of her mouth. super fun), lining things up like a train, reading to herself (from memory), dangling from things

good books: come again pelican, a rainbow of my own, big boss, quiet theres a canary in the library, the story snail, silly and sillier, silly lilly and the four seasons, the stranger, the apple pie tree, goldilocks and the three dinosaurs, potty!, somewhere in the world right now, bringing the rain to kapiti plain, how to catch a star, grumpy bird, in november, the storytelling princess, lentil, horse in the house, jesse bear what will you wear?, the house that drac built, a house is a house for me, those darn squirrels, big max and the mystery of the missing giraffe, how do penguins play?, just a snowman, richard scarrys a day at the fire station

X-citing developments:
1. health and well-being.
-the move/changes reaffirmed that she has a hard time with change. travel, in general, with us has usually been manageable, but this was basically a full upheaval of her life as she knew it for close to 2 months straight. cant say i blame the kid but damn was it a challenge. i was having my own stress and couldnt pay as much attention to her as normal, and certainly not as much attention as she NEEDED. that pretty much sucked. im already not the best at handling a move, but making myself feel like im doing a crappy job in another area of my life (parenting) was laying it on much thicker that i was interested in swallowing. poor kid. sorry X.

-worst sickness of her life. still not much to write home about compared to other families, it just came at a bad time. she was highly congested with a cold, and damn if she wasnt the shittiest patient known to man. she would get PISSED that she couldnt breathe out of her nose but wouldnt let me attempt to help with the nose frida. she was up every 30-60 minutes all night long until about 4a for almost a week. i was LOSING my mind. i was sick too and we were both VERY grouchy and grumpy (sorry anyone who encountered us then!!). i finally had to do her naps by holding her in a rocking chair to keep her propped up. she got sleep at least but i was sore and tired.

-at playgroup one day she fell off a little bike toy and slightly chipped a tooth and scraped her face. she was very brave about it, and the worst part was that the scrape didnt start to look nasty until like 30 minutes later. so the whole time she was crying i was trying to figure out why she was wailing so hard. ugh.

2. personality.
-sensitive/hyper-aware. she became very, very aware of things on/in her body this month: tags on clothes, boogers in her nose, textures/lumps in her food, air pressure from planes, her legs falling asleep when she sits in weird positions. these were all things that didnt bother her before...but now they do. or at least she totally fixated on them until perhaps they became more commonplace to her again and she slightly calmed down about them. also she became aware of shapes of light on the wall in her room at night. it took a while to get her to sleep for about a week when she noticed that. fun fun.

-men. its been very challenging for her to get comfortable with men. even if shes had a great time with them in the past. each time she comes in contact with the man, it still takes her a while to want to even be near him. its hard to find the right thing to say to her because she has a right to move away from something or someone that is making her uncomfortable. shes not exactly at a rational age yet so i cant just say "its just [so-n-so], relax". it doesnt work. im sure it will ease up with age.

-groups. if we have a meeting/playgroup with a new group and the group size becomes more than like two people large, X tends to want to go off and be alone. she plays well with kids she either knows or with one or two kids at a time. its good to remind myself of her general nature sometimes, its a lot like mine, but social behavior is so much more pronounced in kids. 

3. reading. she got waaay in to reading again. after reading a story a few times in a row to her, she wants to "read" it to me. she can remember whole passages or pages to many of her favorite books, and remembers the plot well enough from all her stories that she can "read" you the jist of the story as well as, often, key phrases from characters. she reads to her animal "friends" too. several times now people, or pictures, or experiences we have remind her of characters or stories from books and she is excited to find that connection to her day-to-day life.

momma mentionables:
1. physiotherapy. before leaving halifax i wanted to get myself back on track (only to promptly fall off the wagon of course, but at least now i have the tools). my core has been way weak since getting pregnant with X: my back, abs, pelvic floor. with 2 physiotherapy sessions, some physio-pilates and yoga, im feeling much stronger. im told my abs will always be separated, i didnt get stretch marks but i got abs that will no longer fully join. less than two weeks of physio exercises (less than 30 minutes each night) and i feel so powerful in my core, my muscles coordinate their actions now and take care of things with much less pain and effort. i cant believe what a difference its made, and now i feel silly for waiting so long.

2. second kid? around my birthday the idea occurred to me...to ask dave what his thoughts on a second kid were (literally i had asked him nothing about his opinion about it since i was pregnant). by september i had actually asked him, and we had discussed. i am happy to say that the idea of a second kid is no longer a terrifying black hole that i dont want to look in to, let alone get near. that was what irritated me most about the topic...the fact that X had me so scared about the idea, that it had been flung so far off the table...it made me disappointed in myself. this is not to say that we will have a second kid. there are still things to think about and balance and weigh. its just no longer out of the realm of possibility. i like the quote from carl gustav jung someone posted recently "the pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.” thats how im looking at it.

09 December 2012

Halifax roundup

farewell to halifax. thanks for everything. we may see you again this coming summer.

list of the last things we had to do in town:
1. booked the cat on our finland flight.

2. wire transfered money to our new helsinki landlord. there was a crazy amount of info our canadian bank required us to gather to do the transfer, and the fee wasnt so friendly either.

3. orchestrated people coming to take the final things from our apartment.

4. cleaned the apartment. note: oven cleaning is not as bad as i had previously imagined.

5. communicated with government agencies of canada to tell them we were leaving.

6. ordered an apostilled marriage license from the state of michigan. we need this upon entry into finland.

7. spent $155(!) to forward our mail from canada to the u.s. for 6 months. man do i hate the postal service of canada.

8. cleaned and packed all day friday (dec 7). it took two trips from the apartment to the hotel in order to be totally finished, but we did it!!

**X moving note: warning, i am exaggerating only a tad here. she started seeming to be affected by the move in slow increments (ramping up) until the week of the move when she turned into a puddle of shit. i can say this because she was directly feeding off of my energy wave length. so we were both acting like steaming piles while dave was twitching in the corner from work stress. it was, to the fly on the wall, a pretty sight im sure. thank goodness we had organized enough that there werent life or death, do-or-die, last minute things to take care of, but even still, for our first move with a kid, i was not prepared. those times you just want to throw your hands up, take a 90 minute hot shower and eat frosting straight out of the can...you cant! i felt like i was vibrating at the frequency of insane the whole week while behind closed doors, so it was extra hard to put on my "im handling things well" and "yes, finland will be quite an adventure" face for the public. but, moving came and went and while i was VERY sore, we had made it out and were poised for successful travel back to michigan. so we finished off positively.

things i will miss about nova scotia:
-the lovely fall weather
-the beautiful countryside, opens spaces, and outdoor/nature offerings in rural nova scotia (of which we did not take NEAR full advantage of)
-the friendly moms i met and their nice kiddos
-the friendly faces at the library, the museums, and the local food vendors who know us well and offer kind smiles and adore X (i actually no longer think the quote, "i have always depended on the kindness of strangers", from the movie "sunset boulevard" is depressing).
-the talented and crafty moms here who have tons of extra skills on the side (sewing, baking, photography, soapmaking, gardening, etc).

things i will NOT miss about nova scotia:
-the absurd roads, drivers and pedestrians
-the lack of restaurant food variety
-the HIGH food and gas prices (and the taxes, 15%!)
-the low supply of in-city activities (that are non-touristy)
-the near total shut down of little towns during the off-season
-hearing parents say "ta ta" to their kids to mean "no no" (i asked, and i guess its a british-ism thing. thats fine, but for some reason the sound is like a rasp in my ear)
-lack of a good train system or cheap airport to get OUT of town!

30 November 2012

November move out check list

all the big things we had to take care of in november for the move:

1. found an apartment/house to rent near ann arbor. 15 minutes north actually, but affordable and the lady is perfectly fine with us packing, sorting, and moving things into and out of her garage.

2. acquired Xs long form birth certificate (this is now her 7th piece of documentation that she is alive). the birth certificate then needed to be sent to the finnish embassy in ottawa to be authenticated and legalized. a process that needed to occur before we enter finland. since canada didnt sign some treaty several decades ago, the process is a little more involved than what we have to do for our marriage certificate in the states.

3. i contacted some university of helsinki public health people for work. no jobs, but i got a helpful response and an offer to meet in person with someone when i arrive.

4. i found a helsinki apartment for us. i posted on a helsinki expat parents board on facebook and we ended up finding a furnished apartment in the neighborhood of viikki. the previous renters came for a post-doc in geology actually, so it was quite humorous. they are americans and are leaving us some fun toys and other apartment essentials so we will be mostly ready to go as soon as we arrive from the airport. the apartment owners also allowed our cat. so that was a major weight off our shoulders.

5. my u.s. airways flight back to michigan with X got changed. we were no longer going through DC for the layover (now through philly), which was a big bummer because we were going to use the long layover to see good friends ntina and ben. oh well. :(

6. we found subleters for our halifax apartment. they even wanted us to leave a few of our things behind. so that was helpful.

7. made preparations for nutmeg to come with us to finland. she needed a trip to the vet where she got microchiped and a rabies shot. we also got her vet records and a statement that she was in good health. daves sister also VERY kindly agreed to have nutmeg stay with her from the time dave drops her off (dec 8) until we leave with nutmeg from her house on dec 29. what a HUGE relief! i then made additional vet appointments in albany for nutmeg to get her pet export paperwork done (this requires two separate appointments and certifications).

8. took care of the car so dave would be safe roadtripping with it. it got an oil change and we were also told we needed the wheel barings replaced. fun times. had to make a separate appointment for that.

9. i had my last official day of work (nov 30), complete with cake and a lunch with my bosses. the cake was done near the admin office. it was weird saying goodbye to lots of faces i had never seen (since i worked mostly from home). but everyone was very nice.

10. dave had his goodbye work party too. dude scored 6 bottles of a new brunswick apple liquor he likes. his boss is a very generous, amiable guy. dave was very lucky.

** major moving realization: poor people cant move. this information was not new to me i suppose, but it really hit home. we are bleeding so much money in this move, its not even funny. we will be reimbursed for some of it, but some of it is just inevitable crap that you have to suck up and deal with. not just the stress and time and energy but a move requires MONEY and aid from willing people and the ability to know who to contact and how to get things taken care of. immigrants, refugees, and "regular" poor people must have it so much more unimaginably harder than we do during a move that i shudder even thinking about it.

12 November 2012

Forest vs the trees

big picture vs details. ideas vs action.

so, when dave got back from finland and we fell back in to our regular ways, i realized maybe the reason the solo week went so well was that i was totally in control of the schedule, the food, the pace, the choices given to X, etc. i think im a control freak. lol. i knew this before of course, but its been masked for quite a while because i have had no control over so many things for so long that i forgot the feeling. well, with the solo experience, i had something recent to compare and contrast. initially, our first day back together with dave was a little rough. it made me confused and wonder "what the hell? things were going so smoothly when i was alone but i enjoy having dave around much more. what can i learn from this? what can we change?". i kept trying to figure it out, and then i realized that it had to do with our roles of what we bring into our relationship and our family dynamic. this information wasnt new to me, more like a "duh" moment, but at least it gives me more context and understanding and ideas for how to make things run more smoothly in the future.

i think it comes down to, for me, big-picture vs detail people. im sure there are all kinds of blends when it comes to couplings, but dave and i are fairly strongly in one camp or the other, can you guess who is who? you can see it in our jobs: a phd typically has lofty questions that they want to answer and often their career direction and the kinds of problems they want to solve are formed and managed by themselves. there is no requirement for being organized however, just a burning desire to puzzle away at something, endlessly, until you look up one day and see the path that your work has taken you on behind you. at least i think thats how it works for those types. i cant say for sure because for me, with a masters degree, im often in the role of helping a phd-type accomplish answers to those lofty questions...you want to know if your summary measure for health inequalities produces useful and interesting results, give me the data and i will get on that! i break it down into action steps and attack each step and assess and tweak and troubleshoot. i love the details, but i freeze up at the idea of having to come up with the framework on my own. no thanks. this big picture v details example not only applies nicely to our jobs, but it also explains our roles in our relationship with each other and as parents.

generally, to my mind, big picture people are warm and comforting and creative. they provide a special nuance and atmosphere to life that i find very appealing. it often feels like once theyve made up their mind they can just will something to be so, like magic. left to their own devices, even those who are really bad at planning can often end up with what they wanted and are happy with the path that took them there. now this "magic" may indeed involve stress, and/or a form of planning that is unknown to me, but its a mystery to me all the same.

on the other hand, detail people, at least to me, seem colder. i guess this comes from dissecting every whimsical thing down to its working parts, asking all the questions, teasing out all the mysteries in the curiosities until the thing goes a little limp. but to me, that process is comforting. ive never felt that my asset was warmth, or fun, or energy. my assets lie in getting shit done, putting a plan into action, making a dream into a reality, taking the hand you are dealt and figuring out the best way to get through it. this is why its so easy for me to default to dolling out advice instead of just giving a hug and a "youre awesome, youll figure it out"...my default is to attack a problem with solutions. i think this drives dave insane sometimes. its quite hard, for anyone, to understand a "type" that is motivated and driven in a way that is so different from your "type".

i found from my week alone with X that we could fulfill the days duties with great precision and ease, but perhaps fewer laughs and less liveliness than usual. thats what dave provides, the light to my dark, the inspiration for my drive, flow when i am blocked, and warmth where i am cold. i am not a lemming but im also not creative, sometimes i need his vision to help me cut a path through the trees. im good at dodging obstacles and plotting a course, but without him i have a hard time deciding which forest to enter in the first place. this is why ive really never struggled with the idea of following him along his career. im a strong female, im not giving away my path in life in order to help support him. the path is ours, we move together as one, hopefully as a well oiled machine. he is the compass that points us in the right direction, and i am the engine that gets us to where we are going.

11 November 2012

Single white female

dave headed off to finland sunday afternoon until late on saturday. thus, a week of single parenting.

in essence, dave went off to begin the new phase of his career by attending a three day long meeting in finland. i stayed behind with X in order to hold down the fort. in the end, things went well for both of us.

this was only my second single parenting stint ever. the last time was when dave went, ironically, to sweden for a job interview when X was 7 months old. that didnt go horribly, but for some reason i kept expecting the days leading up to the solo week to be filled with dread or terror. not so. i had prepared as much as possible by making a meal plan, grocery shopped for all the non-perishables of that meal plan, and thought of activities to keep us entertained each day. i was also lucky enough to secure daycare for every morning of the week. having a few hours each day to myself to accomplish grown-up work was very helpful and refreshing.

as for how we filled our days, well, we just took it easy and i watched to see what she wanted to do. blissfully, she was super focused on reading, basically to the exclusion of other kinds of playing, so we read a lot of books and visited the library most afternoons. even when she played on her own it was to read books to herself or her animals, or to unload her bookshelf. i didnt have to get too creative.

there were two days when she took no nap, but it worked out. also, she had some pretty terrible night sleeps the first few days after dave left, waking up a bunch without knowing what was bothering her. that wasnt awesome, but again i managed, better than i would have if dave were home in fact. it was kinda weird actually. the only flare ups of my temper/patience with X occurred in relation to a new behavior she discovered...that of devilishly giggling while running around throwing things off of shelves, counters, dressers, and/or into dirty tub water. as these satanic occurrences usually do, i was thrown off guard and didnt know what the best course of action was, but by the time dave was to arrive home i had figured it out.

basically, the week passed relatively quickly, relatively easily. i kept waiting to feel overwhelmed or to be dying for dave to come back and relieve me, and that just never came. now, i was very glad to have him back, and i definitely do not want to be left alone for longer than a week, but im glad to know that even with no help, i can manage just fine, for a while, without dave.

actually in some respects, i felt more content and calm than i had in previous weeks. i thought about why that might be. i realized i have been too bored and perhaps idle lately, just waiting for the move to come. i think the anxious waiting is what was previously killing my afternoons with X. i was antsy and indecisive and so ready for dave to come home each night. but with dave gone we pleasantly passed our time doing nothing much at all. the difference was that i always had to solve the puzzle of how to take care of everything our day required without any outside help. i had to keep up on X, the house, cat, car, food supply, dinner prep, cleaning, work, and myself. it meant consciously running through a check list multiple times a day to fit all the pieces into the puzzle before time ran out. ive always loved the challenge of organizational time management (yes, im a freak) and i think thats what did it for me. it certainly cured the boredom, and i think thats what made me more calm and content during the week. as usual, i think X was then able to absorb the more chill vibes i was putting out.

so, what was dave up to while we were in halifax?...

-getting there flights (halifax-boston-london-helsinki): his check-in in halifax wasnt too smooth because they couldnt book his luggage all the way through to helsinki (they could only book it to london). his flight to boston was a bit delayed. then, in boston, his flight was an hour delayed. this was going to cut in to his time for re-checking his bags in london. but, when he finally landed in london, it was discovered that his bags were in fact still in boston but they couldnt do anything about it until he landed in helsinki to file a claim. in london (where he waited out another small delay), he also got an email that his hotel couldnt process his credit card. so now he was without bags and possibly without a hotel when he landed.

not to worry though, the heros in this story are from finland. when he landed in helsinki, the customs people said that they saw his residence permit card had been approved (that was FAST! its been like 2 weeks) and when he exited the terminal, he found his colleague, pekka, was unexpectedly there to pick him up. then he had another surprise, pekka had booked dave in to a room in töölö towers (where we are going to stay in january). this was an excellent thing because the hotel dave had booked himself still couldnt process his credit card. so, it all, kinda, worked out well in the end. i mean, dave had to buy a toothbrush and toothpaste and his luggage arrival day was unknown, but at least he was safe and taken care of on the finland end. now he just had to prepare for his talk the next day.

-work. poor guy couldnt sleep the first night he was there, before his big talk (he arrived on monday afternoon and was to give a before-lunch talk on tuesday). by my estimates he may have peetered off to sleep around 3a (local time) after traveling the whole day before! then, his alarm didnt go off and he woke up 25 minutes before he had to get on a bus (needing to eat and shower, with no time for practicing his talk some more). he ended up saying his talk felt too full and rushed, but im sure it was fine because he's always overly critical of himself.

after his talk was out of the way, he got to meet some new colleagues who will be starting with him in january. they are actually people who would be natural collaborators for him so its awesome that they will all be starting together and can hopefully support and motivate each other during times of stress. he may even have secured himself some early 2013 travel to sweden and norway to gives some talks and make further connections...kind of a "hello, nice to meet you, i just arrived in your neck of the woods and this is what i do. wanna team up?" tour. to me, this is so cool. hearing these tidbits from dave (well, more like pulling them from him), i felt like an academia groupie. i just find it so fascinating and alluring, clearly.

-finland impressions. he said the daylight hours and the weather reminded him of the blah halifax weather days of november-may. the neighborhood around töölö towers was very pleasant and easily accessible to other parts of the city, there was a nearby grocery store and the accomodations were spartan but quite adequate. he said it reminded him of the place we stayed at when we first arrived in rennes.

-welcome back. dave got home from his helsinki-NYC-toronto-halifax travel day at 1a sunday morning. X stirred when he got home and whined until i told him he should just go in and say hi. she sat up, stretched her arms wide, said hi and hugged him. she said a few excited things and then settled back down and went back to sleep. too funny. she was also very sweet to him during pancake time the next morning.

06 November 2012

Re:election day

same president, different country experiencing it.

so, this year, as last presidential election, we voted absentee. it was a bit of a hassle but certainly worth it. leading up to it we watched oodles of jon stewart on the daily show and checked in with friends back home about how the race was really feeling within the country. it just feels so weird to be outside the u.s. around election time.

as usual, election day was filled with anxiety, everyone is always at a fever pitch. and this time i was alone (dave was in finland). that night, at first, i just dinked around after X went to bed and took care of necessary things...but then i found myself on cnn and slate watching the election. by this point in the night people on both sides are typically glued to news outlets for the same purpose, and in a way, it really is a time where i feel like all of america is joined together, collectively holding our breaths, watching the results come in, trying to stay up all night...prolonging the twisted pajama party.

i remember growing up, election night always meant the tv was on and my dad was in the family room, talking to the tv (really this was most nights). for him it was as exciting as the superbowl. but what i dont remember is politics being something we were "taught". in my memory, my parents never directly told us who they voted for, or what we should care about, or otherwise shaped our political opinions. if you had made me label my parents, i would have been inclined to say democrat was a fair assessment but they hadnt labeled themselves as such in front of us. and i really appreciate that, now. of course our environment probably wasnt neutral, but there wasnt a parental pull that was meant to steer us before we could do it ourselves. but i remember being excited to register to vote when i turned 18. i remember my dad driving all the way to UM for my first election so he could drive me back home to vote in my precinct. it was a special day.

that being said, it was interesting to see how invested in our politics and election and obama the french had been 4 years ago and it was just as interesting this time around to see how invested in our election and obama the canadians are. as i understand it, once they are "of age", all canadian citizens are eligible voters (there is none of this voter registration crap like in the u.s.), yet they are fairly apathetic (maybe 60% voter turnouts) when it comes to their own country. but somehow, they seem to care a lot about our election outcome. experiencing two presidential elections abroad now, its been powerful to feel how much the world cares (a shit ton) about our leader. they (the world outside the u.s.) are affected by our choice of leader almost as much as we are, but we are the few privileged enough to VOTE for that person. i dont think i was as shocked by the french caring about obama because they are so openly liberal, but canada seems as divided down the middle as we are, and they dont even care as much about their own goings on, but they CARE about our outcome. i think for me, this is where the pride of being an american comes in to play the most. whether we are getting shit right or not, we still have the world looking to us, what we do matters, and having a say and having an insight into the riddle that is america and its history is an invaluable gift that i feel most strongly around election time (as much as i hate the negative energy around the whole event). i see that america is worth fighting for and worth supporting. i just hope that obama will continue chipping away at his duty to serve the people, all the people, in a way that is respectful and beneficial for all.

01 November 2012


halloween this year wasnt a bust, it just felt a bit...empty.

we had tried and failed to have a local kid costume party. a bad cold/flu was sweeping through town and kids and parents were either sick or recovering and we werent going to be able to have more than 2-3 families here (as opposed to 6-10 families). so, the costume party fell through. and then there was the knowledge that halloween doesnt really occur in finland. :( oh, i guess its starting to catch on, but if its not already an engrained part of childhood then it probably will never elicit the traditions and energy that halloween in the u.s. did for me. i guess thats fine for X since halloween candy is rampant with milk and soy, so its not like she could ever fully enjoy the sugar shakes.

anyway, we did do a few fun things. the morning of the canceled halloween party dave made spooky ghost pancakes. and on devils night i made a dessert of dirt-n-worms (X-friendly of course). it worked out reasonably well. she gobbled it up. then we carved pumpkins. this year, as last year, she wanted nothing to do with reaching inside and scooping the guts out. lol.

(tired after pumpkin carving; daycare halloween)

and then halloween night...hurricane sandy arrived that day so we had alternate driving rain and sprinkles as we hit our one block of houses. after that we were wet and Xs bag was full. she was nervous going from house to house at first, but by the third house she was happy to say "trick or treat!" loudly. some people talked to her and she was happy to respond. it was really cute. she went as pippi longstocking. it worked out pretty well. the freckles were adorable.  back at home, i gave her some candy we had in the house just for her: a gummy worm, a square of chocolate, and several minutes with a stick of rock candy.

(serious pippi; sweet pippi; serious about sweets pippi)

October move out check list

things we did in october as part of our "move out" check list:

1. got nutmeg her expensive ass surgery. she is totally devoid of anal glands now (no complications thankfully). youre welcome animal. we are also working on a temporary home for her in michigan, with plans to come back for her and bring her to live with us in finland. i guess we cannot rid ourselves of that beast.

2. had two goodbye dinners with daves colleagues and friends isabelle and djordje (one dinner at their place and one at ours)

3. dave sold his bike to a vintage cycles enthusiast...that made him happy

4. i updated Xs canadian passport so that we have an official document with photo ID of her that is actually current (her previous canadian passport had her picture as a 2 month old, her u.s. passport still has her picture as a 3 month old).

5. did our finnish residence card paperwork at the embassy in ottawa

29 October 2012

Fish otta wa-ter

to ottawa for our finnish embassy appointment.

funny story, we thought we could take care of our finnish residence cards in town since halifax has an "honorary consulate of finland"...a nice, convenient way to start ourselves off in the government paperwork/moving jungle. right? heres the part where i laugh manically like a mental patient. convenience was not to be the case here, though im trying not to let it set the tone for this whole huge move. three months before our move-to-finland date we contacted said honorary consulate and were informed of the bad news. we had to go to an actual embassy because we needed to be fingerprinted. this could occur in ottawa, new york, or dc. since flights to the u.s. from halifax are the price of a kidney, we were SO grateful that ottawa was even a choice for us. we took it. and lucky we did (frankenstorm anyone?). we still had to book last minute flights for three, and two nights in a downtown hotel to make it happen, on top of paying the price of the residence permits (you dont even wanna know what they cost). but i digress.

our appointment was on a monday afternoon so we flew in saturday night to get settled and benefit from the slightly cheaper flight prices. our hotel was a modified apartment suite with full kitchen so we could have some comforts of home. dave and i had been to ottawa twice before: roadtripping in the summer of 2003 and on the way to ski at mt tremblant in the winter of 2004. i like ottawa, its a very subdued, friendly capital. seems like a parallel universe compared to dc. anyway, we were staying in an area south of where we had been both previous times, so i was looking forward to seeing a new part of the city and to exploring it in its fall color glory. the city did not disappoint.

our relatively short flight was kind of a challenge. doing travel over dinner and bed time seemed a bit too much for X (normally we have try to just do one or the other). it took a lot of concentrated effort on everyones part to remain calm, but there were no shit fits on the plane so that was good. we chose to bus it from the airport to town, so when we finally arrived and got X down...we were STARVING. dave acquired some indian take out for us and we gorged on that and tried to get some sleep (i say tried, because i never get sleep when i share the bed with X the wiggle worm).

-did breakfast in our apartment room. lovely. then X and dave swam at the hotel pool. i hadnt had the pleasure of seeing her swimming enthusiasm in a while. she LOVES it. the smiles and excitement coming off of her were a sight to behold. she was jumping off the edge to dave over and over and over. eventually we had to tell her pool time was over, or else im sure she would still be there today. back in the room when her swimming high wore off, she was a total tv vegetable. since we dont have tv at home, we all tend to flock to it for the novelty that it is for the first day or so. then we are all kinda done with it.


-walked to a nearby grocery store for lunch items. just a handful of blocks south of parliament hill, we were in the downtown residential area of ottawa. regular, happy people were out doing their weekend things. the beautiful streets were lined with nice brick buildings, iron gates/fences, and bright fall leaves.

-after lunch back at the hotel, there was no sign of a nap coming on soon, so we decided to go to the canadian museum of nature before it got too close to closing time. what a lovely museum. it was large (5 floors) with spacious rooms, interesting touchable exhibits, and kid-specific areas in each section...really well thought out with nice details. X was a bit manic because of the lack of nap so she went kinda fast through most areas, but she did find things to stop and take interest in. she especially loved the kid-section of the bird room, it was a pretend vet clinic for birds. so cute. and then we spent the rest of the time in the lowest level...the live bug room. to cap off the visit, i bought her a plain rock candy from the gift shop (she was allowed two bites). and she finally conked out on the walk home.

(moose tiles in entryway; bird clinic)

-for dinner we grabbed some sri lankan take out while X had odds n ends from the grocery store. 
-before bed, we found ourselves again going down to the pool. X jumped and jumped and tried to paddle and swim on her own, until again, we had to tell her it was time to go. good activity for wearing her out before bed though!

-X woke up and the first thing she asked about was going swimming. lol. she went 30 minutes straight just jumping in. she wasnt even bothered when her jumps landed her in over her head (literally). and she doesnt freak out or get detered from trying again.
-after swimming and bathing and eating lunch in the room. we checked out and headed to our most important task:
-our embassy appointment at 1:30p. other than their office feeling like a sauna, it went well. oh, and their computer system wasnt liking me or something...i had to submit my fingerprints three times. the lady was nice though. she confirmed, like all other finns ive spoken to, that october and november are suicidally depressing (suicidal being my word). im so SO glad we didnt chose to arrive in august and plunge into their crummy late fall. january may be brutal for a short while, but then we will start climbing out of that hole.
-after our appointment ended (at 3:15p!), we were in constant motion toward the airport. we got back to the hotel to collect our luggage. we walked to the bustling bus station at the u of ottawa, did the 30 minute bus ride, and finally arrived at the airport. once through security, we realized we didnt have Xs dinner with us (we packed it in our checked bag. smart). i had to locate an alternate in the airport. not easy. i acquired: special K cereal, apple juice, and a banana. thankfully i always bring other snacks too. ugh. but, we were glad our flight got off at all as all flights to dc and nyc were canceled due to hurricane sandy. we were SO lucky we didnt have to go to the embassys of finland in the u.s. for this appt. we landed and had some fog, rain, and wind to contend with but we were finally home. and i was exhausted. X was a bit hard to wrangle again (due to only a short nap on the bus). also, my stomach really hurt. i was glad to be home.

*link to full album of pics from the trip
**i realize the blog title has the negative meaning of being in a situation that you are ill-suited to, so this doesnt really apply to X in ottawa, but the fish and water and using the name ottawa to link those two...it was cute alright. go with me.
***i originally was going to feature frankenstorm in relation to this trip because i was thinking our big move was going to feel like a hurricane (this was even before sandy had formed off shore). i kept thinking "this is the calm before the storm" and that this trip was going to be like experiencing the first outer bands of the storm coming in with other levels of chaos to come as the 'real storm'. but this analogy falls a little flat since actual lives were lost in hurricane sandy and many people are dealing with far more challenging things than we will during this move. so, i will knock those dramatics off and simply wish the hurricane survivors the best and i hope they can find peace enough to enjoy the holiday season.

25 October 2012

X files - 2.5 Years Old - Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you dont

had some big successes this month (during which we felt totally awesome) and some days where we felt totally bat shit crazy. i think ive given up on the pendulum ever stopping swinging. but i have noticed ive been able to tell myself during the bat shit times "hey, just get through this moment, assess what you can change to make things more smooth in the immediate future, and move on without looking back" and i can at least keep moving without feeling like "alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day". and during the wonderful times, ive been trying to remind myself to just enjoy the little slice of nice.

obsessions: eating like a dog (no hands), identifying old v new asphalt/cement, having her cars (aka us) talk to her during ALL daily activities, putting all kinds of things (not food) in her mouth (driving me ABSOLUTELY insane)
good books: wild child, the tomten, im tickled pink, super grandpa, melvin might?, emily and daisy, princess sylvie, children of the forest, dexter bexley and the big blue beastie, down the road, hilda must be dancing, horace and morris but mostly dolores, one witch, do you know pippi longstocking?, dandelion, planes, trick or treat on monster street, zoozical

(the rare daytime nap in bed; driving cars on the sidewalk; running around the playground)
(upside down; serious about carrying her chalk around to make an impromptu road for her cars; off-roading cars at the park)

(downward dog; silly faces with papa; balance bike action)

X-citing developments:
1. dentist. she sat on daves lap during his dentist appointment and watched all aspects of his cleaning. afterward, the dental hygienist looked at Xs mouth and teeth and said everything looked great. hooray! she seemed to like the dentists office and was very curious about everything, so that was good.

2. wonder week/dayz. im just going to keep calling them wonder weeks because these brief time periods of strife always make me wonder if ive lost my sanity. they make me wonder if an alien has invaded my kids body. they make me wonder if i could possibly be the worst parent in the world. and then, just like that, it makes me wonder if it was all a bad dream. it makes me wonder if i truly have lost my mind. damn i hate those days. we had more than our fair share this period.

3. sleep. so i mentioned having short naps again and a nap routine last time. ha. gone. she will agree, most days, to a nap at around 3p or 4p (for between 15-30 minutes, depending on how crappy she slept at night). but, they usually require a stroller or car ride. thankfully it doesnt seem to affect her bedtime or her ability to get to sleep by herself. i dont know if the change is day care related or if she is trying to have a growth spurt or fight off germs or all of the above.

also, for bedtime, i switched from talking about all the things we did that day to telling her something(s) i was impressed by or appreciated about her behavior that day, and something that she (and/or i) need to work on (based on what happened that day). then i give her a hug and kiss and say a few things and step out of the room, slowly close the door, stay nearby for a few minutes. and she is asleep! all by herself. freedom!

4. physical. she has been working on:
- balancing on one leg
- jumping really high
- balance bike skills. hooray! only 6 months belatedly using of her birthday gift.
- yoga poses she can do: downward dog, cobra, bridge, cat, cow. i noticed her doing these one day and wonder if they are doing them in day care or if i have done them in front of her at some point and she remembered.

5. personality. she:
- likes riding in or pulling luggage around the house
- likes to sit and watch the activities of a street. the cars/buses/trucks/people/dogs/etc and the sounds and things going on.
- took greater interest in building with blocks these past two months
- appears to have acquired the genetic trait of whacking people when excited about something. my mom does it, i do it, X does it. even though i dont have anyone that i whack around here, she still somehow acquired this trait. bizarre.
- immediately crunches hard candy. just like me. no patience.

6. language/learning.
- she is starting to ask "why" all the time. lovely!
- by car/bike/stroller/walking, she can often tell you which street we are on without an adult mentioning it. and, if we are within a decent radius of home she can tell you which street(s) you need to turn on to get home, and she can give alternate routes too. sometimes we take her on a whole new route and she can still recognize familiar streets even if we enter them in novel ways.
- she has taken to saying "shit" (it sound like "sit") when she is frustrated. we ignore it. she also says crap as in "um, theres a pile of crap over here". these two words really arent offensive to me and she uses them correctly, and since we dont react to them they arent over used. im not sure what place they will have in her future vocabulary or how much i will curb them.
- we have had to work on conversation interrupting with her. she likes to be heard and included, all the time. she will scream or yell or repeat loudly what we say if she wants to talk. we are working on changing this!
- she is learning to distinguish left from right.
- in a stack of pancakes, for example, she ignores the one on top in search of the biggest one. lol.

- she conveys complex actions: while on a walk one night she said, "when i get up to queen st, i will give each of you a hug".
- she has been telling us stories lately: "when i was a little kid i planted some seeds, but i wasnt careful and i fell off a cliff. i had to get stitches. the boo boo went away but i still have a scar", "jack the blue horse went in to the woods with the blue princess...", "when i was a little kid some robbers came to steal my highchair, but i took it back...'im a strong girl like you, pippi longstocking' (sometimes she tells these stories to imaginary characters in the room)"
- dave was telling her at dinner that people in finland like to wear light blue clothes. he went on to say that women in france wear black clothes and black sunglasses. without missing a beat (and coming out of nowhere) X said, "just like sara. is sara from there?" (sara is her babysitter). its crazy to me that she heard this information about france for the first time, scanned her memory and knew that sara wears a lot of black and has black sunglasses and then tried to put the two together.
- when sara was getting ready to leave one day, X said "im not going to let you go" and then she put her feet on top of saras feet and said "now you cant go".

7. self-care.
- she can put her shoes on
- she is learning to put her shirts on (and take them off) and pull her pants down and up. socks also seem a passing interest.

momma mentionables:
1. daycare. it took her about 1.5 months to be okay getting dropped off at daycare (and by okay i mean only whimpering or making a sad face). she really showed us she has a hard time with change. there was lots of screaming/wailing before i would leave. after a while, the goodbye at daycare really was too lengthy (i would try to read a book with her before leaving) and resulted in too much crying (including sobbing "im going to cry all day"). so, we switched tacks and have a short but heartfelt goodbye and all has been much better. she is so content whenever i come to pick her up, it makes me feel so right about it.

at first, she had the hardest time with the very gregarious, loud, fast-moving, little boy there and was aggressive toward the littler kids in the first weeks...but with patient, gentle guidance from the daycare woman, that has stopped. now that she is comfortable with each childs personality and behavioral tendencies i can see that she is much happier knowing what to expect in her environment.

2. reclaim. with daycare i think i found a way to happily achieve more balance. i can work during the day much more easily now and have my after-dinners and nights free. i feel like i can reclaim more of myself for me now. im carving out time to exercise (a little), to modify our eating habits, to just relax watching videos/reading. im actually feeling a sense of laze-about boredom on some evenings. im sure if i had more friends or family around i would be able to fill my time out more fully than i do now, but it is what it is. if we werent about to move, id be inclined to take a night class or join a book club. but that just seems futile right now. so, i'll busy myself with ticking things off our to-do list and enjoying some quiet time to myself. harried times are right around the corner.

3. clothes. im feeling SO, so antsy to get back to my full wardrobe in michigan storage. ive traveled with this small collection of clothes (one and a half drawers and a dozen-ish hangers in the closet) for far too long (4 years!). i want to wear other things for a while. im also feeling a need to slightly redirect my style to include more stylish activewear and less sweatpant/fleece type things. i have totally played into the mom stereotype of not wearing nice clothes anymore. to be honest, extreme casual was my style before, but never this sloppy. i need to add leggings (dear god) and more yoga pant-type things so that i can actually look like i have a body, which will, in turn make me feel like a have a body. i dont need to tent myself in pajamas all day, but im really digging moveable, comfortable clothes instead of stiff, tighter corduroys which currently take up a bulk of my dresser space. so, part of this upcoming move will be SO greatly appreciated because i can rejuvenate my "style". ha. looking forward to it.

4. no smug. ive been feeling for a while like i should declare how totally clueless and inept i feel most moments of my life, as a parent and otherwise. on occasion it comes to my attention that things i write here may come across as know-it-all-y or smug. it would be foolish on both our parts to interpret things like that, cuz i dont know shit. as if i didnt know that before, lately ive had the overwhelming sense that that is even more true now than before. i think there are quotes about how knowing that you dont know things indicates wisdom. i like that idea, but i in no way mean to backhand compliment myself. no, i just feel clueless. in the parenting realm, at least, im feeling a sense that this cluelessness has actually finally allowed my head and my heart to fully agree that parents really are just doing their best...for themselves and for their kids, and that there is, indeed, more than one way to skin a cat (ive loved that phrase since high school anatomy class). my heart really believed it before, but my head would cloud over and numb out the true weight of that sentiment. anyway, im interested to see what i can learn from wallowing in this sea of not-knowing-ness. may i become prune-y with wisdom. ha.

5. blood type diet. we are dabbling in this since dave saw mention of it on his beloved mgoblog. its not a diet in the sense that you do it to lose 5 pounds. its more like a way of eating and living healthy thats most compatible with your blood type. at first it sounded horoscope-y to me. but theres actually a lot behind it and the suggestions in the "live right for your type" book just make sense to me and my body. as i was reading it was i like "interesting, ive always felt like stress affected me in that way" or "indeed, that kind of exercise has always made me feel worse instead of better". the food suggestions have also been interesting, though they are so numerous that we recognize we cant just switch over in a week. we made a little list to post on our wall of things to try to increase and decrease in our daily food choices, and it will evolve from there. one day we may find ourselves fully following the "diet" but for now its more of a sign post. i have type A blood and there do seem to be things that really are "type A" (this line of thinking/research is where that organizationally anal label came from), and dave is type O and there really are things that make sense about him in that.

21 October 2012

Moss 'n mushrooms

had a lovely fall walk in the woods today.

to combat the sinister boredom that has enveloped our weekends of late (the terrifying calm before the storm i say), we decided to get back to long lake and take a walk to enjoy the fall colors. the weather was 60+ degrees (no jackets!) and not raining (a weekend staple recently). we were basically all alone in the bright colored woods following the beautiful path riddled with moss-covered rocks and tree roots and tons of mushrooms along the way. breathing in the pine tree and wet leaves scent was intoxicating. im glad we got out.

(she opted to climb over the fallen tree rather than go under; examining the tree felled by a beaver)

09 October 2012

Thanks for all you gave us canada

canadas thanksgiving day. we salute you!

since it will be crunch time for us around american thanksgiving, we did canadian thanksgiving this year instead. 14 lb turkey, gravy, sweet potato casserole, and stuffing. X was very patient with us as we hung around the house all day and danced around the kitchen. i contributed the sweet potato casserole and acted as repeated clean-up crew. dave did the rest. we managed not to piss each other off in the kitchen, despite the minuscule amount of countertop. i thought that was a big win.

and the major bonus for preparing such a huge meal for 3 people was that X seems to be in the middle of a growth spurt. she woke up almost an hour early asking for a snack. then we had a hearty breakfast, then she wanted a snack before lunch, then she ate a big late lunch, snacks in the afternoon, and then ate an adult size helping of thanksgiving dinner. light meat, dark meat, with and without gravy, stuffing and sweet potato casserole. i also made warm apple cider and she guzzled that and milk. i think next time people see her she will be the size of a kindergartener.

lastly, i'll take this opportunity to thank canada for being our home for the last 3+ years. you served as our stepping stone from our student selves into our adult/family selves and we thank you for being so hospitable. also, we thank you for being a lovely, beautiful, and safe place to introduce our daughter to the world. thanks for all the memories.

(a little pre-meal boulder climbing at point pleasant park; cliff climbing; victorious!)
(marshmallowing the sweet potato casserole; watching papa carve the turkey)