Thursday, 31 March 2011

Say What?

I wanted to write a little post as a shout-out to my friend Kevin.  Kevin is a good friend, but one that I've never met.  He and I first "met" on the LOST message boards a few years ago, and stay in touch through Facebook for all kinds of "did you watch this show?" chats and whatever other nonsense we have going on.

Recently, Kevin's started his own blog - "Wiki Wiki What", and you should check it out!  It's full of rants, lists, and short stories.  Check out his Friday the 13th inspired short story, and his ongoing saga of Jesus Murphy.  He has a blog contest going right now to decide the title of his next chapter (I won the last contest - thanks for the $10 Timmie's card, Kevin!)

Kevin was also nice enough to send me a V for Vendetta poster last week, which I can't wait to hang in our somewhat finished basement.

So go check him out - he's been much better at posting regularly than I have been lately!

Monday, 28 March 2011

"Finishing" the Basement

It's becoming rapidly apparent that we need to do something about the basement.  As Vivian gets bigger, so do her toys and our upstairs living room is just not going to cut it.  Jagger's not totally on board with this idea, but I just keep reminding him that before he knows it, Vivian will be going after the cords on the TV and that shelf of alphabetized BluRays are going to end up getting scattered all over the floor.

Living room with no room to live.

So, I have a plan in place to "finish" the basement.  Obviously, finishing it the way we want to is just not in the cards for us right now.  Me not working means that cash is tight (like, tighter than my pre-pregnancy jeans) so we're going to have to be a bit creative with what we do.

I'm excited about it though - I need a good project, and this should be just the trick.  My plan is to make good use of the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store and Kijiji to make the space as useable and friendly as possible to last us until we can finish it properly.  That will leave us with a more spacious upstairs living room that can be more of a playroom for Vivian

The basement is a pretty big space, so I'm not talking about finishing the whole thing, just the area that we would be using the most.

This is the part of the basement that I see being the rec-room type area.  Couch, TV, chairs, you get the idea.

This part of the basement that I have earmarked for a bar in the future, but for the short term I see a card table and chairs and hopefully a ping pong table.

We're lucky that the area is already drywalled and primed, so it's not like we're starting with concrete walls or anything.

Eventually I want to put in built-in bookcases along this wall...

And build a long cabinet/counter area overtop of that weird little cabinet on this wall...

My plan is to get it ready over the next 2 months.  By that point, Vivian will be 6 months old and will hopefully be sleeping in her own room, which would put the playpen back in the living room.  Between the playpen, vibrating chair, swing, exersaucer and whatever else she might be playing with by that time, we just won't have the room for the two couches, big TV and giant coffee table that currently reside in the living room.

Don't worry piles of books and CD's.  You'll have a home one day.

If you have any thoughts on how to do a slapdash version of finishing a basement, let me know!  Or if you're getting rid of any furniture, let me know!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Vivian Vendredi - Turned a corner?

Last weekend was rough.  Vivian decided she only wanted to sleep in bed with me, which led to me trying to put her back in her own bed four or five times a night, only to end up with her back in bed with me.  We were both exhausted, she was crabby beyond belief and I was starting to think I was losing it.

My mom suggested that I try just giving in to her.  Let her sleep all night beside me if that's what she wants, let her nap on me if that's what she wants.  Just get some sleep.  So, we spent a couple of days sleeping on the bed in the office together and things seemed to get better. 

Then on Wednesday she spent the whole day at my mom's.  She was a totally different baby when I got back.  Mom thinks Vivian just all of a sudden realized that there are other people in the world than me, and it's okay if I'm not there.  She was napping, she was playing, she was happy. 

Since then things have been going really well.  She's been napping on her own (!!) sleeping better at night (!!!) and taking more formula from a bottle.  I'm not so sure how I feel about the last one.  It seems like she needs it though, so maybe I'm just not enough for her right now.  I'm not ready to stop breastfeeding altogether, but we're definitely giving her a few bottles a day to help get it through and it really seems to be making a difference.

Did the day at mom's change her for the better, or was she just on the verge of turning this corner anyway?  I'm not sure what the real answer is, but I'll take this happy baby over the crabby apple she was last weekend anyday.

Monday, 21 March 2011

What the crap.

If there's one thing that I really, really can't stand, it's this.

A big ol' pile of reusable grocery bags.

I know they're better for the environment and whatever, and they are super handy to have around, but really?  Do they have to look like such crap all the time?  This isn't even all of my bags - there's a bunch in the basement holding our CD's, and a pile more in the garage just sitting out there.

My question is this - what do you do with yours?  Do you have an unsightly pile like I do?  (I know you're jealous) or do you have a lovely cabinet for shoving them out of sight?  I can't figure out what to do with mine, I don't have a nice closet or cupboard for them in the kitchen, so they just end up shoved here.

Stupid bags.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Vivian Vendredi - In the wild...

Join us as we attempt to capture something very rare on video.

Here we have an excellent specimen of Vivian (screamingus maximus) in her natural habitat as she attempts to roll over - a rite of passage for any young cub.

There!  She's done it!  Remarkable!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Mini time zones?

You know what drives me crazy?  Clocks.

I hate setting clocks, everything ends up being slightly different.  I've come to expect this, that when I set a clock in the kitchen, it's going to be a couple minutes different from the clock in the bathroom, or the office, or the bedroom.  That's fine.

What I don't like is when clocks that I don't set are completely different.  I believe that electronics that maintain their own clock should have an accurate time, but it never seems to turn out that way!

Case in point - currently, my DVR says it's 12:17, my laptop says it's 12:13 and the PS3 says it's 12:58.  I have no idea what is the problem with the PS3, but the time on it is way off.  I've tried to change it, but all you do is enter your time zone and then it sets the clock.  For some reason, it's always like 45 minutes off.  So weird.  My Blackberry does the same thing - it's usually about 8 minutes fast.  I can't confirm that right now though, because it's dead and I don't feel like charging it just for a blog post.

Stupid clocks.  The only clock I like to run fast is the clock in my car.  I usually try to set it like 6-7 minutes fast so I get places a bit early.  The trick though is to get someone else to set it ahead for you so you're not totally sure how fast it is.  Otherwise, you just drive somewhere thinking "Oh it's okay, the clock is 7 minutes fast."  You can't set it too fast though, otherwise it's too obvious.  This whole tactic drives Jagger crazy.  He's the type who listens to the CBC all the time and sets his clock precisely when they do the whole buzzer thing at 1:00 to indicate the exact time.  Dork.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Just what I needed, more TV shows...

Since I've been off work, I've been watching a lot of TV that I never usually watched simply because of time restraints.  It seems like every couple of days I'm adding something new to the DVR to keep me entertained while I'm trying to entertain Vivian.

Some time ago, I wrote a post about how I was trying to get into The Big Bang Theory.  It's such a popular show and I just wasn't getting it.  I tried to watch it and be entertained by it, but just wasn't getting into it.

I've since changed my tune.

I continued to watch it on a weekly basis, but just wasn't quite on board with it yet.  What really changed my mind was Christmas.  See, there was a Christmas Day marathon of The Big Bang Theory and I really got sucked in.  Nothing like watching a marathon to make you a true fan of the show.  The theme song had might as well be a Christmas carol to me now, it's so linked to Christmas in my mind.  Now I'm watching it almost every day (yay for reruns!) and eagerly waiting for new episodes every Thursday.  I don't know how I took so long to get invested in the show, it really is super entertaining.

I had a similar experience with How I Met Your Mother.  Another show that a lot of people love, but I just never could get on board with.  In this case, there was a New Years Day marathon that sucked me in.  I've determined that these shows really work better as marathons than individual episodes.

Hooray for new shows!  Have you fallen in love with any new shows lately?

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Offbeat Home

I've been a big fan of the Offbeat empire for awhile now.  It started with Offbeat Bride when I was planning the wedding, then soon after they introduced Offbeat Mama.  While I still love both of these sites and check in on them several times a week, it's the newest one that's really stolen my heart.

Offbeat Home has just been introduced and it's awesome.  Like really, really awesome.  There's all kinds of  tours of unique, fantastic homes and lots of wonderful advice.  So far, my favourite posts include ideas on how to display your comic books and action figures.  This is real life decorating.

Don't get me wrong, I love the fancy "what you should aspire your home to be" decorating sites too, but Offbeat Home seems so real and accessible.  I just love it.

If you're looking for something to browse through and kill some time, I definitely recommend any of the Offbeat sites!

Monday, 14 March 2011

What happened to all the mutts?

I want a dog.  Not right now (that would be crazy) but sometime in the next few years, I want a dog.  So, when I'm bored I'll often spend time browsing on Kijiji looking at pictures of puppies and wondering what kind of dog we might end up getting.

Growing up, the best dogs we had were always mutts.  At least a little bit.  Black lab/flat coat retriever, Australian shepherd/German shepherd, doberman/rottweiler, rottweiler/German shepherd.  The mixes seemed to keep them even-tempered and smart.  There wasn't inbreeding, and usually they were free.

What happened to mutts?

Now on Kijiji it seems like any dog that should be a mutt just has a new name slapped on them.  Puggle, Malshi, Shorkie, Bernadoodle,'s crazy!  Just because two random dogs get together and have a bunch of puppies doesn't mean you can then invent a new name for them and then charge $600 a pop.  It's ridiculous

Whatever happened to people having a random litter of puppies and just giving them away?  Is that a complete thing of the past?

Friday, 11 March 2011

Vivian Vendredi - Big Week

This has been a pretty big week for little Vivian.

On Sunday she rolled from her belly to her back.  Of course, she hasn't done it again since and there's no video proof of this.

On Tuesday she turned three months old.

On Wednesday she giggled for the first time and got some upgraded sleeping arrangements.  She had outgrown her little bassinet and had to be moved up to her bassinet in the play pen.

She's had a busy week.

It's so funny to see how quickly she changes - and how suddenly she'll do something new.  It really does help to make up for all those long days and nights I have with her.

This has been a bit of a rough week for me.  The weather's been crappy, I'm brokety broke broke broke, there's so much that I want to do but Vivian continues to be her challenging self.  Last weekend she seemed to be having a growth spurt - eating every 2-3 hours during the day, waking up every 3 hours at night.  It was like having a newborn again.  She also still needs constant interaction.  She's not happy to just play on the floor with some toys, she wants me to hold her and play with her.  She always wants to talk to me, stare at me, climb on me.  It's nice, but exhausting.  I feel terrible, but I often have to just put her down and let her scream so I can get something, anything accomplished.  She's not one to "cry it out" either - she'll scream and scream and scream for 15, 20 minutes with no signs of slowing down before I give in and pick her up again.

Anyway, it's been a bit of a rough week.

But then she giggled.

Totally out of the blue, while we were playing on the couch, she just giggled at me.

And suddenly, things seemed better.

Thursday, 10 March 2011


Sorry for the lack of blogging this week - it's been kind of a rough week.  Crappy weather, challenging Vivian, feeling a little down and not so creative.

I'm a big pretzel fan.  Especially the big soft pretzels.  I'm a big fan of any kind of food that's a big treat - something you can only get in certain places at certain times.  I'll go to pretty much any sporting event if there's a soft pretzel waiting there for me.

Next to the soft pretzels, my next favourite kind are Rold Gold Honey Wheat Braided Twist pretzels.  I used to eat them all the time in university.  Then I couldn't find them anymore.  I managed to find some in the States at Target once a few years ago, but then I couldn't even find them there.  It seemed that my perfect salty and sweet snack had vanished off the face of the earth.

Then one day while at Walmart I saw this...

Could it be?  A generic brand of my favourite snack?

It was.  And it was awesome.  Even better?  The usual price is like $1.67, and sometimes they go on sale for $1.  It really is the little things.

Any favourite snacks or small victories in your world this week?

Friday, 4 March 2011

Vivian Vendredi - Hair Club for Babies

It's occurred to me that some people might not know why I call these entries "Vivian Vendredi".  "Vendredi" is French for Friday, which is why I post on Friday.  What can I say, I'm a sucker for alliteration.

Vivian's hair has been falling out like crazy.  It's amazing, every morning when I get her out of her bed there's hair all over her sheets.

She's got the funniest little hair line - kind of like a reverse Friar Tuck look or something.

I rotate what side she sleeps on at night, so at least she's balding evenly instead of one big bald patch or something. 

You can see all of her dark newborn hair there compared to the lighter new hair that she's been growing in.  Mom and I had to give her a little trim last week because her little baby mullet was getting out of control and the hair over her ears was gross.  (Yeah, I call my baby gross)

It's so funny seeing how quickly her looks change, even with her hair.  So far it's looking like she's going to be pretty fair.  I'm sure one day very soon she'll have very pretty hair, but for right now she kind of looks like a baby George Costanza.

Hopefully next week I'll be able to report that she's rolling over - she did it last night in the tub, but I think the slippery tub did most of the work for her.  She's lazy like that.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Just crazy enough to be interesting

Since Vivian was born, I've had a lot of people comment on how calm I am and how normal I've stayed.  Apparently people think that I've avoided being one of those crazy first time parents who can only talk about their baby.  This is very flattering, but sadly it's just not true.

I'm plenty crazy.  I just try to hide it.

In the interest of the blog though, I thought I would share some of my crazier habits.

  • I'm obsessed with Vivian's clothes.  For some reason, I could spend all day sorting through her clothes.  At one point, I had her sleepers organized into four categories.  Did you catch that?  Four categories of sleepers.  (Sleepers that were hers, sleepers that were hand-me-downs, sleepers that were fleece, and sleepers with zippers)  This makes sense to me, but to other people, I'm sure it sounds completely insane.
  • I like to finish an entire package of diapers before opening another one.  Seriously, some days I'll only have two or three diapers and instead of just opening the next package that's waiting in the closet and refilling all of my changing stations, I'll cart around those last couple of diapers to wherever I'm going to change her and do so until they're all used up.  Once I found a couple of diapers in a diaper bag that I'd forgotten about and was kind of upset that I'd missed them.  Crazy.
  • I've gotten really into Pampers Gifts to Grow points.  Basically, Pampers products have a code on them and you enter them at their website to earn points.  So far, I have over 800 points because I scour the internet for bonus codes that get released from time to time.  I spend an excessive amount of time looking for these bonus codes and was really kicking myself when I missed a few around Christmas.  My goal is to save up enough to get the Jeep umbrella stroller, which is like 4700 points.  Seriously, if you don't collect the points and use Pampers stuff, send me your codes!
  • I can't stand to sleep on my left side right now, because sleeping on my left side would mean I would have to turn my back to Vivian.  I'm well aware that I could still hear her on my other side, but I just can't get comfortable that way.
  • I cut up all of my food as soon as I sit down even if Vivian is asleep or someone else is holding her.  Invariably, I end up holding her or nursing her while eating, so I try to cut up all my food right away so I can eat one handed.  My mom assures me that I will probably continue to do this for the rest of my life out of habit.
  • When Jagger rolls over in the middle of the night, I automatically start digging through the covers because I think Vivian is in bed with us and I'm worried Jagger's going to roll over on her.  It takes a few minutes for me to realize she isn't even in the bed.  I'm told this isn't unusual, so I don't feel too badly about it.
  • If I get up in the night to use the bathroom, I have to touch Vivian in her bassinet before I get back into bed just to make sure she's still there.
I'm sure there's a dozen more wacko things I do that I don't even realize, but that's what I've got for now.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

From House to Home

A year ago today, I held the key for our house in my hand for the first time.  It's hard to believe that it's been a year already, especially when you consider how little work we've done on the house so far.  Like so many things, it's so easy to get caught up in wanting the best and overextending yourself.  Sure when we moved in I had grand plans for finishing the house in the way we wanted it, and sure I would love to have furniture that matches and is actually new and not secondhand, but we're just not there yet.  Two weeks after moving in to our house, we found out that we would soon have someone new living here.  That definitely changed our plans for what we would be able to do with the house.

I know a lot of people wouldn't find our house appealing.  It's not huge, it doesn't have that modern open concept thing going for it.

 Our living room has too much furniture in it (we're couch people!)...

 Our kitchen table has only been eaten at once, and the dishwasher is broken...

 The office is composed almost entirely of free furniture...

 Vivian's room isn't exactly a room for a little princess..

Our bed is never made...

 The bathroom desperately needs a new shower curtain liner...

 And the basement...

Well, the basement just kind of is.

But that's all so temporary.  We're planning on being in this house for a very long time.  So I'm okay with things being not so perfect.  Sure, I still watch HGTV compulsively (I think Sarah 101 is recording as I write this) and I still have a giant binder full of house ideas for the future, but I'm not hung up on it. 

We have a roof over our heads that doesn't leak and a home we can be proud of.  This is going to be the home where Vivian will take her first steps.  The driveway where she'll learn how to ride a bike.  The backyard that's just begging for a dog.  The office that will one day be a room for our second child.  I'm willing to overlook the temporary imperfections for now.

And that's okay.