Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Busy June days

In my former working life, I was a high school teacher. Today, I watched the group of kids I taught in grade 9 graduate. Or at least walk into the auditorium. There's a tradition at that school whereby teachers (the ones not sitting on the stage for commencement ceremonies) applaud the grads as they walk into the auditorium, and I was able to join them. D and my young charge E were with me (E graciously waited in the stroller, plied with Cheerios). Because the students had to pause every now and then as they filed in, a few of them asked me if I had two kids now, and I'd pat my belly and say that I would soon enough. D was very excited to clap for all of them, and she smiled the whole time.

It was amazing- I hardly recognized some of the students! Actually, when I was navigating our stroller into the school, a tall gangly kid opened the door for me, and I didn't realize until later that he was a student of mine three years (and about a foot) ago. I taught over a hundred of the kids graduating today, and coached a dozen more in volleyball, so it was really neat to see them almost all grown up. I wish we could have stayed around for the reception afterwards, but the girls were getting tired and overexcited.

We were there for about an hour and a half altogether, and most of that was spent visiting with former colleagues. I got to catch up a bit with my old department (Immersion & Geography), and they all got to see how much D has grown and changed! We hadn't been there since Hallowe'en, when she wore her little lion costume, which is the school's mascot. My mentor was there with her three daughters (she's on mat leave until the winter), and three of the girls who supply taught when I first worked there are now pregnant as well!

It's just about time for bed now; we have another big day ahead of us tomorrow. The royal couple will be arriving at Rideau Hall tomorrow, and my mom, D and I will be joining the throngs of proud Canadians to welcome them. I'm hoping that, because it's a Thursday and not a holiday, it won't be too crazy, but you never know. I still have to pick out what we'll be wearing, and hopefully I'll remember to take and post pictures here!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sun, fun, and Sandbanks

We just got back from our first camping trip with D, and it was a resounding success! I suspected as much, given that for the past couple of months, she has been entreating me daily with pleas of "outside, Mama, outside?" I doubt she understood when I explained to her that this weekend, we would be outside ALL of the time, or that she would get to see both my sisters and a puppy. But oh man, was she ever excited about everything!

Some of the logistics of camping with a toddler were a bit challenging:
1. We forgot to pack her playpen, so she slept with me for the first night. Normally, it might be okay (we do still nap together a couple of times a week), but she rolled around like crazy and woke us both us a bunch of times. Thankfully, my sister and her boyfriend brought up my parents' spare playpen with them on Saturday, and D slept through the night in that.

2. She got very dirty from playing at the campsite and on the beach, which was great, but we didn't have a bath, so either Hubby or I would put on our bathing suits and take her for a shower. I was glad to have a washcloth and her tear-free shampoo, and we brushed her teeth at the same time! It was probably way easier than lugging a baby bathtub around and filling it with water, anyway.

3. For meals, we brought her booster seat (best 12.50$ I ever spent, especially since she's used it daily since the age of six months), which we were able to strap to the picnic table. It's all plastic, so we could wipe it off after dinner and leave it out overnight.

4. Diaper changes were all disposable, as were wipes. When her bum got too sandy, we'd walk to the bathroom to give her a wash. We had a swim diaper for her, and I like this one even better than last year's, which was a pull-up (and on clearance for 6$). This year, we got her one with velcro tabs, and it works really well. In the old one, if she pooped, it was messy to change. With the new one, it's a cleaner and quicker process. Plus it looks so cute with her tankini top! (see below)
5. Grandma got D some sand toys (see above) at the local Stedman's, and those went over tremendously well! We didn't bring her anything to play with, only her Lambie and blankie for bedtime, and three books for the car or quiet time. Hubby used his iPhone to play her a few Sesame Street videos on Youtube if she was fussy, much to my chagrin! It did calm her down...

6. Bedtimes were later than usual and wake-ups earlier, since we were sleeping outside. There's not much that can be done about that. We'd put her down once it was dark, and by sunrise, she was up and at 'em. On Friday, she didn't nap, but we managed to get her to sleep for an hour during the day yesterday and today. Hugely helpful in this endeavour was a baby backpack with a metal frame that we could carry her around in and set down once she fell asleep. Unfortunately, it got backed over by the van (D was clearly not in it at the time!), and didn't have the best ergonomic design besides; Hubby and Grampa both popped a rib out of place carrying D around in it. We're going to look into replacing it; Hubby prefers it to the wrap. Note: the picture is not from the campground; we went into town on the Saturday afternoon.

7. Other random, helpful things: Crocs were the only footwear we bothered to bring, not wanting to be constantly searching for tiny misplaced shoes. The fit over her footie pyjamas, so she could toddle around in the morning before breakfast. Clothing-wise, I had checked the forecast and packed accordingly. She went through four sets of clothes over the course of the weekend, not including her preferred attire of a bathing suit. We also had lots of sunscreen, and although we brought bugspray, we didn't have to use it!

On the way home, we stopped at my aunt and uncle's to have lunch and to pick up my Grandma, who stayed with them for the weekend. It was great to be able to wash our hands again and use proper bathrooms. I love camping, and I also love coming home from camping! Overall, we had a great time outdoors with family, and what more could you ask for on Father's Day weekend?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Amazing rhubarb recipe

Last week, I picked my first rhubarb crop of the year. I used 2/3 of it to make a pie (that night) which was finished within about 24 hours. (I had help- guests, not Hubby and D). The remaining third languished in the fridge until today, when it was transformed into the greatest homemade muffins I believe I've ever had. I still think pie is the best way to showcase rhubarb (even if you cut it with strawberries), but if you only have a few stalks, this is a close second. Do yourself a favour and check out the recipe. I made it this morning with two toddlers playing at my feet.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Starting the week off right

Due to some baby-free time this weekend, I've been able to accomplish something extraordinary (for me): start off my week with a clean house. I'm a messy person by nature, as evidenced by piles of clutter on pretty much every surface, and I struggle to overcome the chaos when the fancy strikes me. This weekend, it struck twice.

First, my parents came to pick up D around 10:30 on Saturday morning, as Hubby and I had a wedding to attend; the venue for the ceremony and reception was about 45 minutes away, and we were glad to be able to stay late without worrying about transferring D from my parents' house to ours. (We did the same thing for another wedding at the same venue a few weeks ago, and it went beautifully.) Hubby was a groomsman, so he was getting ready with the other guys. My ride was due to arrive at 1pm, which left me two and a half hours to get myself ready, eat lunch, and do a little housework. We'd had company the night before, and because I wanted to talk to my guests rather than clean, the kitchen was a wreck. Our bedroom was a bit of a disaster, too, with laundry and odds and ends lying around. I cleaned up both areas, and then still had time to have lunch, dry my hair, and get dressed.

This evening, D went to bed earlier than usual due to a very short nap, so I seized the opportunity to vacuum the main level and mop the kitchen. I find it really difficult to do both when she's up and about, and although D hasn't been freaked out by it yet, the vacuum is pretty loud. As for the kitchen floor, I try to get it mopped once every couple of weeks, really just whenever it's too sticky for my bare feet. I sweep up debris on a daily basis, but a good mopping does wonders. If I'm feeling particularly ambitious (which I wasn't today), I'll mop the powder room and entrance way, or the upstairs bathrooms. Speaking of bathrooms, while I finished mopping the kitchen, Hubby asked if there was anything on my mental to-do list that he could help with. I was very grateful for his thoughtfulness, and suggested he clean our ensuite. Maybe tomorrow I can tackle the walk-in closet, and then our whole room will be tidy!

And now my week is off to a fresh start! They're forecasting rain from now through Thursday, so if we're going to be indoors a lot, it's just as well that the house is clean.

(D loved being outdoors for much of our days last week. This is on our front porch, where we spent a lot of time, and plan to continue!)