Monday, 30 December 2013

Treats of the Week - Anyone know where the last week went?

Well, if you're anything like me your days are completely mixed up, you've eaten entirely too much food, your house is in a constant state of disaster and you're in that special stressy spot that comes with paying post-Christmas bills.  Christmas was pretty great with Vivian this year, but the last couple of days have been filled with the stress of a locked-out bank account (finally sorted out today), and what is probably a cracked rib from too much coughing (there isn't supposed to be sharp, stabbing pain in your side when you cough or sneeze, right?) anyway, here are the bright spots to close out 2013!

  • I gave my friend Dan some tips on Boxing Day shopping to help him out with a story in the London Free Press.  I didn't think much of it - just passing on some info to help out a friend.  Apparently everyone in my family and everyone who knows my mother still reads the newspaper though, since I was inundated with congratulations and my mom yelling at me for not telling her about it.  You can find it here - but I assure you, it isn't a big deal.  If I had had my shit together I would have had some more blog posts last week to make use of the extra traffic, but oh well.
  • I didn't really do much Boxing Day shopping though (the whole locked bank account thing kind of put a damper on things) but I did score some Christmas wrapping paper for next year at Target, as well as a couple of $5 t-shirts.  
  • Vivian did really well on Christmas - I think she only had one tiny meltdown on Christmas Eve.  It's strange to say, but it's really nice not to yell at kids at Christmas.  It's a stressful time of year for everyone, but Vivian, Blair, and all my mom's kids did a really good job of keeping it together.
  • So far, the Christmas presents have all been hits.  You know how usually after Christmas there's that one gift that you got for a kid that ended up being kind of a dud?  It looks like that's been avoided so far.  Vivian has been really into all of her new stuff, which definitely makes it all worthwhile.

  • I was a humbug and took the tree down pretty much right away - I couldn't deal with the mess any longer.  It's so nice to get things rearranged and organized - some deals on storage containers at Canadian Tire have helped too!
  • My mom got me a bunch of Twisted Peppermint stuff from Bath and Bodyworks for Christmas - including the candle.  I'm not a big candle person, but this one smells so freaking good!  
  • There are "Best of 2013" lists everywhere - I love it.
  • A fridge full of holiday meal leftovers.
  • My mom and I took the kids to see Frozen again (it was Vivian's third time seeing it) and she was completely into the movie the whole time.  No squirming, no whining, no talking.  She was IN IT.  As soon as she woke up this morning she was asking to see Frozen again, so we might have to see it once more tomorrow for a New Year's Eve treat.  They had better release that one on DVD soon.  Oh, I also managed to catch the Rapunzel cameo in Frozen this time - you can check it out here if you missed it.
I sincerely hope that 2013 brought all good things to you.  And if it was less than ideal, then I hope that 2014 will be better!

Monday, 23 December 2013

Treats of the Week - Almost Time

Happy Christmas Eve-Eve!  I hope everyone is ready to enjoy the holidays and gets to spend some time with their families!

  • I'm done work until January 2nd and I'm SO GLAD.  Things worked out really well for me that I was off work for 3 weeks with the surgery, then back to work for 3 weeks, and now off again for the holidays.  I've been fighting a ridiculous cold for the last couple of weeks though so I'm definitely glad to have some time to just sit around and relax.  Maybe I'll even be able to get rid of this cough if I'm lucky.
  • I saw American Hustle on the weekend, which was pretty damn awesome.  It's one of those movies that has a whole bunch of people in it that you don't realize from the initial trailers.  Amy Adams' sideboob totally deserves an Oscar.
  • The Early Bird is one of the yummiest places in all of London - I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch there on Saturday!  A Double Ducker Sandwich with Poutine, can't ask for much more.

  • I have come to the point where I'm just deciding that it's time for Christmas.  No more stressing, no more shopping.  I'm outta time and money, which means it's time for Christmas!  There was one last thing that I wanted to try and pick up for someone, but I wasn't able to find it in town so they're getting a, "Hey, I couldn't find this thing, so I'll just give it to you later." I'm at that point.
  • This week's episode of SNL with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake will be living on my PVR for the foreseeable future.  I loved the episode - it was so great!  I'm mad though, something happened to my feed so I ended up missing the first part of the "Baby, It's Cold Outside" sketch.  Boo.
  • I've already been soundly spoiled for Christmas this year - but I'll do another post on that later.
  • Is there a better ego boost out there then getting a great new profile picture?  No, there is not.
If you're celebrating something over the course of the next week, I hope you have a wonderful time!  And even if you're not celebrating anything, I hope that you can still enjoy the statutory holidays!

Thursday, 19 December 2013

What will be under the tree for Miss V, and some other stuff

Holy cow, somehow it's almost Christmas!  I did pretty well again this year by picking up things over the last few months and just tucking them away (mostly stocking stuff, her stocking is out of control this year!) so I didn't have too much of a last-minute shopping panic when it came to Vivian stuff.  She's still in a ridiculously easy phase - she just likes everything.  Plus, she hasn't really grasped the whole concept of Christmas yet, so her demands were easy to keep in check.  Here's a little rundown of the main stuff that will be waiting for Miss Vivian on Christmas morning.

(I just linked to Amazon for the most part because it's easy.)

The only thing that she actually asked Santa for?

Clawdeen Wolf.  Vivian is super into Barbies and Princesses, and is just starting to get really into My Little Pony (a couple of ponies might have found their way into her stocking) and she's just on the verge of liking Monster High.  For whatever reason, she really likes Clawdeen.  She always talks about how she's a wolf and has ears.  If you ask her what Santa is bringing her, this is what she says.

However, Mommy has asked that Santa bring her these,

She's been getting pretty into the whole idea of baby dolls lately, so her big Santa present is this high chair and doll bed, along with a Cabbage Patch baby doll and a little diaper bag of accessories.  I actually found these two Melissa & Doug pieces at a Winners for an awesome price ($44 each!) so I couldn't resist!  They're awesome quality so they'll definitely be a toy that will be around for the long haul.

This was supposed to be a birthday present, but when the dollhouse ended up coming for her birthday from Grandma, I thought it was best to hold off on this until Christmas.

I swear, I should just buy everything by Melissa & Doug.  My friend Amanda was getting one of these for her daughter and suggested I take a look at it as well.  I'm so glad she steered me to it, because it is AWESOME!  Again, it's wood so it will be around for a long time.  It's got loads of room for characters to move around in different rooms and it folds up so that it takes up (slightly) less space.  Even with it closed it still leaves a courtyard area in the middle though, so it's really versatile.  Vivian is really into smaller sized dolls (like the MagiClip princesses) so this fits them perfectly!  She also has a bunch of princess sets like these that will work well in it too.  (For some reason, they're kind of hard to find on Amazon.  You can find different sets at Walmart for like $15 each though - they're really great.)  It would work well with the Little People too.

There's a story in my family about how my brother Brent asked for a logging truck for Christmas one year, and that's all that he wanted from Santa.  Of course, this was in the late 80s or whatever, so it wasn't as easy as jumping on Amazon and having one delivered to your door a couple days later.  The logging truck proved to be quite elusive.  So when I saw this bad boy at a Winners, I knew I had to get it for Vivian.

Bruder is a great line of trucks - really great quality.  They're usually stupidly expensive too - I think at Mastermind they're like $70 each.  I found this at Winners for $30.  Who says the princesses can't go for a ride in a truck sometimes?

Last year I talked about getting Vivian a Busy Book and it's proved to be awesome for her.  Phidal books has a huge range of interactive books that work really well for Vivian.  She still has a hard time sitting still for a whole story, but she can really focus on something different like the characters in the busy books, or the magnets in the bubble magnet books.  They seem to be everywhere now too - I've seen them at Chapters, Walmart, Target, Toys R Us, but I still like Winners the best.  I got her a few different ones, and seem to find them at Winners for like $8 each.

I think that this year Vivian might be old enough to start getting into Playmobil.  A few months ago, Mastermind Toys had an awesome promotion on Playmobil stuff where you basically got $40 of free stuff for spending $60.  I stocked up on a bunch of these travel case sets to kind of get her introduced to things, and then I got a bigger pony farm set.  So she will be getting a nice variety - a school set, a fairy set, a pony set, plus she got the Christmas set earlier to get her pumped for Christmas.  I really love the hotel that they have now, and I love how it's so easy to build and expand on everything.  

Beyond that it's a lot of more generic stuff - Play-Doh, a Barbie, some puzzles, books, stuff like that.  I also wanted to share a couple of other toys that I love just in case you were still looking for something for a little one on your list!

Vivian is really into the princesses and Barbies, but she also really likes Lottie dolls.  I love them too - they're smaller than a Barbie doll because they're supposed to be a child.  Because of that, they also have more of a child's physique.  The clothes are really great - instead of being that really coarse, cheap feeling fabric like most dolls, they have soft clothes with a lot of great textures.  Vivian has two - this ballerina one, and a music festival one (who has a furry little vest, it's adorable).  They have really soft hair too - not the kind that becomes a knotted mess immediately.  They have a nice range of dolls too, not just the typical roles.  There's a karate doll, a robot girl, equestrian, lighthouse keeper, some really cute, different stuff.  They also come in a really cute box that hardly even needs to be gift wrapped.  I have gotten Vivian's from Mastermind - they make awesome little gifts!

This is my new favourite gift idea for kids, so I had to share.  You know how you always see those big cardbord castles and playhouses that you put together and then kids can decorate them?  And you think, "Oh yeah, that's cool.  It's pretty cheap too, I bet the kids would love that.  But ugh, then what am I going to do with it?  The stupid thing is huge, and they're probably just going to tear it apart."  Enter the Miniature House.

It's super cute, super cheap (under $10), and is small enough that you can shove it under a bed or in a close when the kids aren't playing with it.  I got one for Vivian in the summer and she thought it was awesome putting it all together and then taking her time painting and colouring it.  Once she was satisfied with the decorating, it became a fun house for her dolls to play in.  It was lots of fun, and then when it starting looking a little beat up I didn't have any hard feelings with chucking it in the recycling bin.  It makes for a super easy gift too - just grab a house (they're flat-packed so they're easy to wrap) and some art supplies (which are clearly sold separately) and you've got a nice little present for someone.  I thought it would even be fun to decorate them for the different seasons - you could do a haunted house at Halloween or a cardboard gingerbread house at Christmas.

That's the main stuff that will be taking over my house by this time next week.  Let me know if you have any other suggestions - even though I really don't need to buy anything else!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Treats of the Week - The Christmas Tree and stuff...

I have been slowly dying of a cough for the last five days or so, but here's my best attempt at coherent thoughts.

  • Got the Christmas tree up - in all of its tacky, ball-filled glory.  Vivian was deeply interested for about 10 minutes, followed by complete and utter disinterest.

  • I finished wrapping my Christmas presents and put in my final Amazon order over the weekend.  Just need a few more gift cards and I'm done!
  • I went to see Dallas Buyers Club on the weekend and it was really fantastic, definitely recommend.  Being in the company of some awesome ladies made it all the better!
  • And I FINALLY got to make my first Victoria's Secret purchase!  Divine!
  • I had my 6 week follow-up with the surgeon and have been given the go-ahead to lift things again.  This is a good and bad thing.
  • While wandering around Chapters (technically, the new Indigo in London, which is complete chaos) I was stopped in my tracks by this little book cover.

  • I was coughing so badly in court today that a defendant came up at a recess to give me a mint.  I'm pretty pathetic these days.
  • Vivian has been pretty into My Little Pony these days, and I have to say I don't really mind snuggling in bed and watching an episode or two with her before bedtime.
  • I tried McDonalds poutine, which basically tastes like self-loathing.  For reals though, it isn't bad, it's just that the fries aren't quite sturdy enough to hold up to the gravy/cheese curd weight.
  • Watching Sherlock and eating white cheddar popcorn.
  • Having someone make you soup when you feel like a pile of garbage.
  • I came across this flamingo Christmas lawn ornament at Canadian Tire, so it's pretty safe to say I'm going to be stalking it come the Boxing Day sales.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Outfit of the Day (and Night)

I'm not really one for cute pajamas - I'm more of a sloppy t-shirt and giant jogging pants kind of person.  But when my surgery was scheduled I figured I would be spending a lot of time in pajamas so I had might as well get some cute ones.  I also wanted to make sure that my PJs would be easy to access for bandage changing purposes.  I had originally wanted some old man style button-down pajamas, but ended up not being able to find any that I liked that weren't crazy expensive.  While shopping with my friend Jeannette she found these nightshirts at Target and they are so awesome that I had to tell everyone!  I've talked my friend Amanda into getting some too - I'm starting a revolution.

So they're nothing fancy, but they're super comfortable and they were nice enough that I felt dressed when company would come to visit, instead of just slobbing around in random clothes.  They are even nice enough that I've ventured out to the store in them before.  Not that I have any qualms about going out in my usual sloppy stuff, but I feel like when I'm out in these pajamas you can't really tell that they're pajamas.  I got this plaid one and another one with birds on it, which Vivian thinks is pretty funny.

The nightshirts aren't super long, which I love.  I was worried that a nightshirt would end up being more like a nightgown, but these are kind of tunic length.  I got some cheap pairs of leggings to wear with them and they're awesome.  It's super comfortable, and nice and warm.  The sleeves are easy to roll up or down if I need to as well.  I'm excited to have them for Christmas morning too, yay for cute Christmas pictures!

Nightshirt - Target
Leggings - Joe Fresh
Slippers - Sorel

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

What's the deal with this Elf on the Shelf?

I'm sure by this point most people know about The Elf on the Shelf.  If you don't know exactly what it is, I'm quite sure that you've seen someone posting about it on Facebook.  It's a holiday tradition that seems to have really caught fire in the last few years.  Basically you have this Elf who hangs out on a shelf or wherever else and can report to Santa each night.  So you put the Elf somewhere different while the kids are asleep and it turns into a big game in the morning to find the Elf.  It's cute, it's fun, kids lose their shit over it.

So this is our first year with our sad little nameless Elf (Vivian hasn't quite caught on to the concept of naming him yet).  And I've been getting away with being pretty lazy with him.  See, the kind of unwritten law of the Elf on the Shelf is to pose him in increasingly elaborate situations.  For reals - jump onto Google or Pinterest real quick and see what some other people do.  Marshmallow snowball fights, snow angels in flour on the kitchen counter, baths in the sink - it can get intense.  Don't get me wrong - that's all awesome.  Kids go crazy for elaborate setups like that.  

I get off easy this year.  Vivian has no benchmark for this whole Elf on the Shelf thing.  So she thinks it's pretty hilarious when the Elf does basic things like this...

She doesn't realize that there are some people who have an Elf who will gift wrap the toilet.  Seriously.  There are people who have done that.

Like I said, that's all awesome.  I'm sure next year I'll have to step up my Elf game.  But here's my question - what do you do with these elaborate setups?  I mean, part of the Elf's story is that you're not supposed to touch him or his magic will go or something.  So do you have to leave these setups out all day long?  What if you need to use your counter or whatever?  Doesn't your kid lose it if you try to move the Elf?  Or do you wait until they've left for school/daycare and hope that they forgot about it by the end of the day?  This is a legitimate question.

So please, let me in on the secrets.  How do you have an elaborate Elf on the Shelf without it taking over a large section of your house?

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Very Vivian - Happy 3rd Birthday to Vivian!

Vivian turned 3 on Sunday and we had a great weekend!  She's such a funny little girl, it was awesome to have such a fun weekend all focused around her.

On Saturday we headed out to see Dora in Sarnia.  A thrill for the parents, let me tell you.  But the kids had a blast - Vivian was pretty pumped since her Elf brought her a little Dora doll that morning to take to the show and she got a new Dora shirt to wear.  She had a lot of static cling to deal with though!

Since the Dora show was really her party, we kept her actual birthday pretty low-key.  That day my mom had rented the gym at an arena so that the kids could just run around and play.  We did this a couple times last winter and it works out really well.  A couple hours in a big open gymnasium where kids can just run wild and be as loud as they want to be can do wonders on those cold winter days!  The kids got to run wild and then went out for public skating before heading back for some cake at Grandma's house. 

Present-wise, the big hits were Play-Doh (I don't know why I bother to buy her anything else, this kid is crazy for Play-Doh) and the dollhouse.

Instead of Santa bringing her a dollhouse like I had originally planned, Grandma ended up getting her one for her birthday.  We went with the KidKraft Magnolia Mansion from Costco and Vivian loves it!  I'm super happy with the quality of it - she'll be playing with it for years!

Of course she was completely spoiled by everyone.  Her birthday felt like a practice run for Christmas, she had so much to open!  But how can you not spoil a sweet face like this?

Monday, 9 December 2013

Treats of the Week - Closing in on Christmas

Now that Vivian's birthday is over, Christmas is in full swing around here!  I'll do a post about how Vivian's birthday went at some point this week.  Until then, here are some treats!

  • I've maxed out on my EI and CPP contributions, which means there's been a little extra on my pay cheque lately.  Not a whole lot, but it's nice this time of year.  I like to joke that it's the only bonus I get at Christmas!
  • We put up the tree at my mom's place yesterday, which is always fun.  It was even more fun this year though since there were two little kids (B and A) there who have never had a Christmas tree before.  They are going to lose their little minds on Christmas day, I can't wait!
  • I've gotten a head start on wrapping presents - not much, but it's something!  I've gotten Vivian's stocking all wrapped up.  I always insist on everything being wrapped in a stocking!
  • This week's episode of Scandal was so crazy town bananas I can't even get over it!  My jaw was hanging open before the credits had even finished rolling!
  • Vivian has been in skating lessons and she's doing so well!  Hopefully in a couple of years she'll be on the ice playing hockey, ringette, or doing figure skating!
  • We had the first shrimp ring of the holiday season at my mom's yesterday, and now I basically want to have one at every meal.
  • Burger King poutine, especially when it's brought to me so I don't have to leave my couch.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Before and Afters

Can I just say that this whole surgery thing has resulted in some of the strangest social interactions of my life?  I know people mean the best, but it's so weird right now.  People will see me and if I'm wearing a coat or a hoodie or something I basically feel obligated to pull it back so people can get a good look.  People say, "You look great!" which is awesome, but I know what they really mean is, "Hey your boobs look great!" It's all super nice, don't get me wrong - just also super awkward.  A friend of mine at work said I should just wear tight shirts for the next couple of weeks to just get it over with, which is probably good advice.

I know people are curious, so I threw together a few before and after shots.  I actually took a lot of before shots, but now I've been too lazy to take many afters.  It's been fun seeing how things fit me now.  I actually expected to have to get rid of a lot of clothes, but things just fit me differently now.  They fit me correctly now.  It's amazing to think of how uncomfortable I used to be, and I just took it for granted.  I'm definitely enjoying how things are looking now - although I know that I need to improve my posture.  A lifetime of slouching is a hard habit to break!

Befores are on the top, afters are on the bottom!

That's about 4 pounds of difference there.  You can't really tell in these pictures, but my favourite part is that I actually have a flat area for necklaces now.  Seems weird, but before I basically had cleavage up to my collarbone, which isn't exactly the best for a fun chunky necklace.

I haven't gone out shopping for anything new yet, but I'm anxious to see what I can wear now!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Treats of the Week - December has arrived

Today was my first day back to work, and hopefully also the first day of really being back to the blog.  I'm feeling better, so hopefully things start falling back into the old routine!  Here are some treats!

  • Mom and I took the kids to see Frozen yesterday and it was awesome!  The kids loved it - I couldn't believe how good they all were through the whole thing.  The animation was beautifully done, and I really liked how they gave the whole "true love" idea a bit of a twist at the end.  Now Vivian is obsessed with it, so that changes up the wish list for her birthday and Christmas!
  • I watched the new Sarah Silverman HBO special and it was delightfully inappropriate.
  • Having some of my mom's homemade soup for lunch on my first day back to work.
  • I went to a trivia night at a friend's place on Friday and it was so much fun!  We played 80s trivia, which was a little hard for this poor little '82 baby.
  • My friend Amanda and I had a chance to get together while I was still off work.  Our girls are the same age and are playing really well together right now, so it was so nice to just let them play while we got to sit and visit!
  • Santa dropped off an Elf on the Shelf for Vivian on the weekend.  She thinks it's pretty funny so far, although I don't know how much she understands it.  We still haven't gotten around to naming him yet, and I'm already getting tired at the thought of having to find a place to put him every day.  But hey - that's what we do for kids at Christmas.

  • Also hanging out in that picture with the Elf is "The Blondes" by Emily Schultz.  It was a book club pick, and I'm so sorry that I missed the meeting to discuss it because I really, really loved the book!  Unfortunately I had a sick Vivian to deal with, so there was no meeting for me.  I would highly recommend the book though!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Very Vivian - 10 Days Away From Home

That's how long Vivian ended up spending away from her own bed while I was recovering from my surgery.  She spent a full week at Grandma's house and she did SO WELL.  She's been really awesome through the whole surgery process - but she's starting to get a little sick of the whole thing.  She asks me every day - "Mommy, you still sick?"  The other day the conversation was, "Mommy, you still sick?  You still have owies?"  "Yeah, honey.  Mommy's still sick."  "Yeah, you go to the doctor tomorrow.  He'll make you better."  She's also totally figured out that Mommy can't pick her up, so if she doesn't want to do something, there isn't really much I can do about it.  So that's been fun.

But anyway - her time away.

I take Vivian to my mom's place basically every Sunday.  I get to hang out with my mom, Vivian gets to hang out with L, and I get out of having to cook supper.  Great news all around.  So she's super comfortable there, and since my mom does foster care, there's an extra toddler bed that Vivian can sleep in.  This definitely made things easier.  I didn't want to send too many things along with her, but I did make sure to send her quilt that she sleeps with every night, along with a couple of stuffed animals that she really likes.  My mom helped by sticking some pictures of Vivian and I together by her bed so she could say goodnight to me.  She called me on the phone almost every night, which really helped us both.  It broke my heart to hear her ask about coming home, but I knew she was having fun and was doing okay.  My mom also kept her super busy - she had dance lessons and skating lessons, and was going to a daycare the whole week.  Keeping her busy and involved in new things definitely helped to keep the tears away.  She also had a special treat to help her get through the week - Froot Loops.  This kid is crazy for Froot Loops, and I don't buy them often because she wants to eat the whole box.  But my mom let her have them as much as she wanted, so that was her "special thing" for the week.

When I went back to mom's to see her (instead of bringing her home right away I stayed at my mom's with her for a weekend first to ease myself back into it) I brought her a present for being so good while mommy was sick.  L was awesome with her and was really good about sharing his toys so I brought him a present too.  It took a few tries to get her to understand about my "owies", and it was hard to get comfortable to snuggle with her, but eventually we got settled.

Here's our reunion - I wanted to record it thinking it would be so damn cute and sweet, and it's pretty much true Vivian fashion.

She's been so sweet - handing me my drink from the coffee table, asking if I'm okay, giving me lots of gentle hugs.  While it would have been somewhat easier for this to have happened when she was a bit older and could understand things a bit better, I'm glad it all happened when it did.  I should be able to pick her up again by Christmas, so that's a nice timeline to have.

It's nice to know that she is capable of spending so much time away from me - but I'm not anxious to do it again!  I miss that crazy face when she's not around.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

How it all went

I certainly hadn't intended on taking this much time away from the blog, but between trying to heal (which is harder than I thought it would be), fighting with a stupid computer, attempting to stave off a cold, and dealing with a puking Vivian, it's been a busy couple of weeks.  Tomorrow will be 3 weeks since my surgery and in general I'm feeling pretty good.  To be honest, I thought that I would be feeling much more like my old self at this point, but I'm still finding I have limitations.  I still get tired pretty quickly, and I find that if I do any lifting (which I know I'm not supposed to do, but I'm stupid and stubborn) I can definitely feel it.  Still feeling super tender and bruised, but that's probably my own fault.

In any event, I wanted to get the whole "how it all went down" post out there before I forget a lot of it.  I promise the blog will be back to normal soon - it won't be all boobs all the time over here forever!

The way the hospital works was that I had to call in the afternoon before my surgery to find out what time I'd been scheduled in for.  I was lucky and managed to score the first slot of the day, which meant I had to be at the hospital for 6:15 a.m.  I was told at my pre-admit appointment to be prepared for a lot of waiting since the first surgery isn't until 8:30 a.m., and that I was welcome to bring a DVD player or tablet or something if I wanted to watch a movie.  So I showed up prepared with my little DVD player and the first season of Happy Endings along with Clue - nothing like a little Tim Curry to take your mind off surgery.  I ended up not even having time to take it out of my bag though - things moved so quickly!  Once they got me into my robe and settled in to a bed, I got my IV put in (which, by the way, was much better than when I had an IV when I was in having Vivian.  Now they don't leave the needle in your hand anymore, it's just the tube, so it was much more comfortable.)  Before I knew it my surgeon came in to say good morning, and a few different nurses checked in on me.  One of the nurses along the way came to get my surgical bra too, since it was put on me immediately after my surgery.  Then my surgeon came back armed with a Sharpie to get me all marked up.  Sadly, it was a black Sharpie and not the traditional red that you see in movies and on TV.  It was pretty interesting how she measured things out from my collarbone and drew all of the lines.  My mom took a picture for posterity sake - it's so weird to look back on it now.  Dr. Marignani was amazing through the whole thing - my mom couldn't believe how nice and friendly she was.  She even complimented me on my purse and was happy to answer any questions either of us had.  Next thing I knew it was about 7:45 and they were ready to wheel me in to the OR.

In typical fashion, a few things happened that would only happen to me.  On the day of my surgery there were a bunch of kids in getting tubes put in their ears and their adnoids taken out - must have been the ENT surgeon's regular day or something.  So as they were wheeling me to the OR there was a poor mother handing off her little boy for him to go for his surgery.  We had been talking to her in the waiting room and it was his second time getting tubes put in and he was also having his adnoids out.  Poor little boy was crying as he was taken away, and of course the mom was just standing in the doorway, helplessly watching him.  My heart was breaking for her, and the nurse had to gently ask her to move out of the doorway.  She stepped aside and they pushed me through - but because of the delay the automatic door timed out and started to close on my gurney.  My hand shot out to try and shove the door open, which is a ridiculous thing to worry about on your way to an operating room.  We pulled up to the OR and I had to walk into the room to get to the table.  I'd been warned beforehand that I would be asked what my name is and what procedure I'm having done as the final check to make sure they have the right person.  As soon as I walked in the nurses said, "Okay, what's your name and what are you here for?"  Because I'm an idiot I said, "I'm Ashlie Hawkins and I'm here for a breast reduction.  And uh, I feel like I should say I'm an alcoholic or something too."  Fun fact - jokes do not go over super well in the OR.

So on to the table I went and they started to strap my arms down.  I was trying to stay calm when I felt a large, heavy piece of fabric get laid across my legs.  I could hear some kind of metal clanking on it and my first thought was, "Holy shit, there's a giant roll of like Dexter tools on my legs.  That's messed up."  As soon as I thought it, a nurse said, "Okay Ashlie, I'm just going to strap your legs down too."  Then I went ahead and said, "Oh good, I was really worried that you just put a bunch of Dexter knives on me or something."  Puzzled nurse - "Uh, no.  We don't really put things like that on you."  So I'm 0 for 2 for jokes in the OR.  At this point they must have just decided they were done with me because I remember being told that I would start to feel a bit loopy, then the ceiling tiles started to move, then I was gone.

Next thing I know I'm in recovery.  I can remember being somehow curled up on my left side and feeling someone rubbing my arm and asking me to move to my back.  I can hear my name being called over and over again and asking me to respond but all I can do is cry.  I'd been warned before that people react in a lot of different ways when they wake up from anesthetic.  Some people are sick, some people are angry and come out swinging, and some people cry.  I'm apparently the crying, hyperventilating, shaking kind.  I had a nurse on either side of me trying to calm me down, but I just kept crying.  They told me it was okay, I was in recovery, and the crying was just from the anesthetic.  I couldn't stop, and when I tried to take a breath I would hyperventilate and couldn't stop shaking.  They gave me a warm blanket to stop the shaking and asked me what my pain was at.  The pain was a burning type of pain, and I'd been told before not to low-ball the pain level when they asked me.  So I said a 9, and they gave me a bunch of morphine.

That was at around 11:00 a.m. - and I left the hospital at around 4:00 p.m.  The time in between is fuzzy - I kept waking up long enough to have some ginger ale and a cookie so I could take a pain pill, then would fall back asleep.  Some nurses talked to me and checked on things, and one explained what would happen with my home care, but I don't really remember how it all happened.  I know I felt really badly that my mom was just sitting there waiting while I kept falling back to sleep.  I knew I was in a different bed than where I had started and was worried about where my things were.  I didn't even realize it was happening, but soon there was a wheelchair outside of my little area and it was time to go home.

The rest of the night, and to be honest the next few days were basically me waking up long enough to have a snack and a drink and a pill then head back to bed.  I had drainage tubes in, which are ridiculously gross and uncomfortable.  I was lucky though and had them taken out less than 2 days after surgery.  On the whole I felt pretty okay - just things change when you're recovering from something like that.  Things like "I'm hungry" or "I'm tired" turn into "I need to eat" and "I need to rest".  I did a whole lot of shuffling around the house, just doing laps since I was told that the more I moved, the better I would heal.

On the Sunday following surgery we got concerned that there was an infection since one of the VON nurses had warned that if we saw any signs of puss to get straight to the hospital.  That was the day that I tried to take a shower by myself (it didn't go super well) and noticed some yellow and green discharge on one of my bandages.  I knew I wouldn't be able to sit in the emergency room for hours at a time, so my mom called to hospital to see what kind of wait we would be looking at.  They called Dr. Marignani and she came right to the hospital just to see me.  She checked me out and said that it was totally normal, and that if I'd made it to the third day post-op without any problems then I was basically out of the woods.  I couldn't believe that she came all the way in just to see me - and on a Sunday afternoon.  I really can't say enough good things about her.

As the days went on things got easier and easier.  It took a good week before I could make it through a shower without feeling like I was going to faint, and it took a good 10 days before I stopped feeling dizzy altogether.  I feel like I healed pretty quickly - at this point I only have one bad spot left where my incisions intersect.  (My incisions are basically shaped like an anchor, curved at the bottom, then a line straight up with a circle on top.  The point at the bottom where the curved part and the straight part meet seems to be having trouble healing.)

Before my surgery I had been worried about how I would deal with it mentally.  Depression after any surgery is common, but depression after this particular surgery is very common.  It's a huge loss of identity for me, and I was worried about not being able to recognize myself afterwards.  Now that I can wear a normal bra I feel like I still look like myself in clothes - like a better version of myself.  I look slimmer and more proportionate, and I'm amazed at how differently clothes fit me.  When I'm looking in the mirror without clothes things still feel a bit foreign though.  Even though I know I'm far from flat-chested, they still look so small to me.  I know it's because my perception was so skewed for so long, so it's a hard adjustment to make.  I keep reminding myself of all the things I'll be able to do now (I can't wait to golf!) and that definitely makes things easier.

It will still be at least another month or so before the swelling all goes down, but at this point I can definitely say that I'm glad I had it done.  The relief on my back and shoulders was immediate.  Before my surgery I couldn't spend more than about 6 hours at a time in bed without my back hurting.  I thought it was just because I have a shitty old mattress, but now it doesn't hurt when I wake up in the morning.  I used to have to crack my lower back after walking around a store, but that doesn't bother me anymore.  I was out the other day and had to use the restroom and realized that that was a time when I would normally have to spend time in a stall readjusting myself - moving straps, pushing things up, just generally trying to get comfortable.  I don't have to do that anymore.  I can look in a mirror and look at my face before looking at my own chest.  I can walk around and feel like I blend in.  I bought a bra on clearance for $3 the other day.  This is a whole new world.

I can't wait to be able to do a jumping jack.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Treats of the Weeks - Post-Op

So last week was a write-off.  I kept thinking about writing a quick blog post, but never quite had the energy to get around to it.  No shame in a little time off!  The good news is that I'm feeling much better this week - still sore and tired, but I'll do a whole post about how things went later.

I just wanted to get a post up to thank everybody who has been helping me out.  My family and friends have been amazing, even my Grandma who nearly killed me with kindness.  She means well.  So to everyone who has wished me well/sent me cards/called/texted/commented/liked/visited/brought me food, etc - thank you.  To my closest family and friends who have been taking such good care of both Vivian and I - THANK YOU THANK YOU, I don't know what I would have done without you all.

Other awesome things that I can remember through my Tramacet-filled haze of the last week?

  • Tramacet definitely gets a shout-out.  Even though it made me tired and lightheaded, it was really there for me when I needed it.
  • Also, ginger ale is basically a miracle.  
  • My surgeon and the hospital were really awesome - I was the first surgery of the day, so things moved really quickly.  I had great nurses, and I really can't say enough nice things about my surgeon, Dr. Marignani.  She even came all the way to the hospital just to see me a couple of days after my surgery because I was worried I might have an infection.  She was definitely worth the wait.
  • You guys - I actually bought bras at Walmart.  This is a huge deal for me.  I got 4 for $40.  Just cheap sports bras for now, but you had better believe I've been doing a lot of online browsing at Victoria's Secret!
  • I have already managed to enjoy American Horror Story - both Murder House and Asylum.  Now I have to wait for Coven to come out on DVD since stupid Bell doesn't carry FX.  I'm also currently burning through Orange is the New Black.  So glad to have good TV to watch while I'm camped out on the couch!
  • Vivian did so well being away at Grandma's house for a week - she and L are now extremely close.  They talked on the phone today, which is basically the most adorable thing ever.
  • Vivian has had this weird, stubborn thing about saying "I love you".  Even though I knew she could say those words, she would never say them back to me.  I guess she was just saving them for when they counted, since she finally said it to me on the phone while she was at Grandma's house.
I'm sure there's a lot that I've forgotten, but to be honest my memory hasn't been awesome this week.  I actually locked myself out of my bank account the other day because I forgot my own PIN.  So that's been fun.  The computer also doesn't seem to want me to upload any pictures at the moment, so that's not happening.  I'll post all about how the surgery went and stuff soon though!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

My Last Day

Today is my last day.

My last day of constant back pain.  My last day of having red, angry dents in my shoulders and suddenly feeling like cold water was dumped down my arm from having a strap hitting a nerve in a weird way.

The last day of seeing someone look, then look again, then nudge their friend so that they can look too.  The last day of constantly worrying about how things look - are they high enough?  Too high?  Spilling out?  Top too low?  Am I making someone else uncomfortable?  The last day of feeling like I look 50 pounds heavier than I actually am.

After tomorrow there will be no more franken-bras.  I won't have to sew or pin or otherwise modify a bra just to get it to fit somewhat properly.  I won't have to order bras online and hope that they fit.  I won't have to go to a specialty shop and pay $150 for a single bra.  After tomorrow I'll be able to walk into any regular lingerie store and buy bras right off the shelf.

Today is my last day of feeling unbalanced.  Of feeling like I'm always on display in some manner.  Of immediately dismissing a dress or a shirt because it's something I "can't wear".

Today is my last day.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

The Timeline

I thought I would post about the length of time and the number of appointments it took to get to the point of having my surgery for anyone who is interested or who might be considering having a breast reduction done.  It has been a bit of a long process - so it might be good to ask early!

  • Summer 2001 - My mom took me to the doctor to talk about a breast reduction because she thought it would be the ideal time to have it done.  It was the summer between high school and starting university, so she figured it would give me a bit of a fresh start so that I wouldn't go to university as "The girl with the big boobs".  While it would have been the perfect time, I wasn't mentally ready to let go of that piece of my identity yet.  The doctor could tell that I wasn't psychologically ready for it, so the idea got shelved.
  • December 2010 - Vivian is born, and I do my damndest to nurse her.  At that point I was wearing a 38J and it was way too small.  I couldn't find a nursing bra that was comfortable and supportive enough, so I wore a regular underwire bra and just slid the strap down my arm to give me enough room to do what we had to do.  It was extremely uncomfortable for both Vivian and I, so I ended up only nursing for six months instead of the full year that I had hoped for.
  • January 2012 - I was becoming glaringly obvious how uncomfortable things were for me.  Going to swimming lessons with Vivian, playing with her on the floor, running around in the yard, everything was an uncomfortable effort.  I didn't feel like she was getting the best of me, and I felt like I was ready to really talk about having the surgery.  I didn't feel like I was going to have a second baby, and I felt like even if I did it was worth the risk of not being able to nurse them.  I had an appointment with my family doctor to talk about a consultation with a plastic surgeon, and got my appointment.  It was for May 2013.
  • May 2013 - Almost a year and a half later I was finally sitting in the surgeon's office.  There was a bunch of paperwork to fill out (including putting down what size I would like to be after the surgery.  I was only slightly disappointed that it didn't include any computer imaging programs since I was totally expecting it to be exactly like that scene in "Singles").  She explained the surgery to me and took some measurements and pictures to be sent to OHIP for approval.  At this point I'm wearing a 34HH, and she only has to take one look at me to say, "Yeah, you're not going to have any problem getting this approved."  She tells me the wait will probably be 9-12 months, which sounds fine to me since I'm still worried about Vivian being old enough for me to do the surgery.
  • June 2013 - I get my approval letter in the mail.  OHIP will be covering the surgery - so grateful that this is an option.  The letter states that it could be a 1-2 year wait, and that I'll get a phone call about 3-6 months before to let me know when it's been scheduled.  I put the letter aside and hope that I'll hear back about it before the end of 2013, but don't get my hopes up.
  • October 22, 2013 - I get a phone call from the surgeon's office.  There's been a cancellation, and there's an available spot on November 7th if I want it.  I ask if I can get back to them by the end of the day and begin frantically emailing people to figure out if this is even a possibility.  Can I get the time off work?  Can I get help with Vivian?  Am I actually ready to do this?  While I wasn't sure how I felt about it at first, once I started getting other people's reactions to it (Along the lines of 'This is an amazing opportunity and you absolutely have to just go with it, everything will work out fine.') I called the office back and said I would take the appointment.  But first - three more appointments to get through before November 7th!
  • October 23, 2013 - I'm back in the surgeon's office first thing in the morning.  Because it has only been about six months since she'd seen me last, she didn't bother with new measurements or anything.  We went over the surgery again and I confirmed my "after" size.  I'd initially written down that I would like to go down to a D or DD ish, realizing that there isn't exactly a template that she'd be following.  She said that that's exactly where I should be, and that most women come in wanting to go down to a B or a C and it's just not feasible in most cases.  It's all about being proportionate, and she bluntly stated that I would look ridiculous any smaller than that.  
  • Later in the day on October 23, 2013 - I also managed to get in with my family doctor for my pre-op physical.  Nothing too crazy - just getting weighed, measured, examined, just to make sure I'm physically fit for surgery.  Got my form filled out and away I went.
  • October 29, 2013 - Happy birthday to me, it's time for my pre-admit at the hospital.  Got myself all registered in case I have to stay overnight (the surgery only takes about 2 1/2 hours, so I should be able to go home the same day unless there are any problems), have the surgery and recovery explained to me again, and have some blood taken.
So that's it - all of the boxes have been checked, forms have been filled out, surgical bra has been purchased, all set to go.  I don't think it's really hit me yet, and I'm actually feeling relieved that I had such short notice.  If I had been given the 3-6 months notice that I was supposed to originally have, I think I would have stewed and stressed and worked myself up about it to the point that I may have considered backing out.  I'm terrible at overthinking things, so this short timeline is forcing me to just go with the flow and get it over with.

Tomorrow I call the hospital to find out what time my surgery will be taking place, then it's really all set to happen!  Thank you all again for all the well wishes and positive thoughts - it's much appreciated!  And now, some Superbad.  Because of course.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Treats of the Week - Feeling those positive vibes

So many treats this week!  Between my birthday and lots of words of encouragement about my impending surgery, I am feeling those positive thoughts and it meas a lot.  Thank you, everyone!

  • Vivian went to a swimming birthday party for her buddy Ellyot on the weekend and judging by the way she was screaming, "I'm a mermaid!  I'm Ariel!" I think it's safe to say that she loved it!
  • I went out for some Five Guys (yum!) and shopping with my friend Jeannette and got to introduce her to the most amazing things in the world - jeggings from Maurices.  They come in straight sizes, and plus sizes, are ridiculously soft, comfortable, and flattering.  Plus they're cheap - $34 a pair.  I'm loving mine!
  • Vivian made out like a bandit from trick or treating, which means I've been enjoying stealing her candy.  A big thank you to whoever gave her a full-sized Wunderbar!
  • I basically want one of everything from Buy Me Brunch.
  • The SNL with Kerry Washington hosting was a great episode - I loved the cold open and thought she did an awesome job all the way through.
  • I'm a big fan of the Dollar Spot at Target - especially since they have these Ariel socks that Vivian is obsessed with on for 50% off - she now has about 8 pairs of Ariel socks.  How could I not when they were only 50 cents each?
  • I got an ice cream cake from Marble Slab for my birthday - the best ice cream cake there is!

  • And I got my special birthday dinner from my mom - Poor Man's Pizza!

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Very Vivian - Pumpkins and Mermaids

Cue the obligatory Halloween blog post.

I love carving pumpkins, but I haven't done so for a couple of years now.  We're never here on Halloween since we go to my mom's to trick or treat, so it seems silly to carve a bunch of pumpkins for an empty house.  I still wanted to do something pumpkin-related with Vivian though, so I went for the easy option and got some mini pumpkins and set her to work painting.


She thought it was pretty great, and it was definitely an easy way to go about things.  We made up a bunch of different ones - a kitty one, one with her name, some more traditional jack o' lanterns, and some abstract ones.

Holiday parenting requirement - fulfilled.

Then it came time for the trick or treating.  I got her a mermaid costume from Old Navy on sale for $8.  She wasn't really into it at first, so I figured if nothing else it can be a new addition to her dress-up clothes.  Once she realized it was a mermaid costume, she insisted on having Ariel hair.  So Target came to the rescue with an official Ariel wig, which looks lovely on the package, but is actually a tangled mess in real life.

 She was pretty into it.

Blair was a bumblebee and L was Scooby Doo.  They were all SO EXCITED for trick or treating - it really made it fun, even though it was wet and crappy out, which therefore required layering coats under costumes.  We only hit up about 10 houses, but that was plenty for this crew - they have more than enough candy, even after I finish with the pillaging.  

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Under the Knife

So.  I've been trying to write this blog post for the last week or so but couldn't quite figure out how to get it down.

Here goes - I'm having a breast reduction.  And it's happening last week.

It's something that's been in the works for quite some time, but I didn't think it would actually happen for at least another 6-12 months.  Then I got a phone call last week saying there had been a cancellation and I could have it done on November 7th if I wanted the appointment.  After some frantic emailing and organizing of schedules and whatnot I decided to just go for it.  So far I'm feeling very excited/nervous/overwhelmed.  I've never even had a cavity filled, so the idea of anesthetic and stitches and recovery seems very strange to me.  It's definitely time to get it done though - and I wish I'd done it a long time ago.  I have a lot more that I want to say about the whole thing, but I thought it might be best to break it down into a few different posts instead of having one giant word vomit post.  I realize that this topic might not appeal to everyone, but I wanted to get it out there for a few reasons - to have the process out there for anyone else who might be considering it (I'll do another post outlining all the different appointments and steps I had to take), and to have a record of what I was thinking for myself to look back on, and even for Vivian to look back on one day.  It's my biggest fear that she might have to have this same surgery one day, and I want her to be able to see what I was thinking as I went through it, instead of having to listen to me babble about it 20 years later or whatever.

So yeah.  It's been a crazy week.  And next week is going to be even crazier.  Then it's three weeks at home catching up on TV while I'm off work.  Feel free to comment with any questions, like I said I'm going to do some more posts about it leading up to the surgery next Thursday.  Of course I'm not the first person to go through this, but if I'm going to blog about all the other random things that I do, I might as well blog about this too.

Super fun birthday present for me, huh?

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Nothing Birthdays

Today is my 31st birthday.  It's been a great day, but I keep pointing out to everyone how this is such a nothing birthday.  I don't mean that it's a bad birthday, or even that it's a nothing birthday in the sense of "Oh I'm a parent, so I don't really get birthdays anymore," just that 31 seems like the most awkward, random number to me.

Consider this - when you're a kid, every birthday counts.  Even half birthdays count.  You're constantly wanting to be older, so every birthday is a huge milestone.  Then once you get into your 20s birthdays take on a whole new flavour.  You're an adult (or so I'm told) and you can make as big a deal as you want.  Want to go away for a weekend?  Go for it!  Throw a party?  Have fun!  Just get wasted on a Wednesday night by yourself?  Completely acceptable!  Sure there are some birthdays in there that aren't exactly milestones (I'm looking at you, 26, 27, and 28) but for the most part you're still young enough to pull off the whole "WOOOO, it's my birthday!" thing.

In my case I've had a few big birthdays in a row.  I made a big deal for my 29th birthday since I turned 29 on the 29th.  Then 30 is a big deal birthday.  But now 31?  It just seems wrong.  Like if I were ever going to lie about my age it would be just to make it into a round number, and not so much out of vanity.

I mean, come on.  We all know that in the card section there are certain ages that absolutely do not get their own special card.  It's generic Happy Birthday cards from here until 40.

It's weird being an adult sometimes.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Treats of the Week - Must be another full moon

This has been a crazy week.  One of those weeks where you just kind of have to shake your head and remind yourself that every day ends at some point - and if you're lucky it ends with a cold beer on a comfortable couch.  I've just been rolling with it though, and things are looking up!  Here's the goods from the past week.

  • Just because I needed another show to watch I've been watching Vanilla Ice Goes Amish on the DIY Network.  I enjoyed his Vanilla Ice Project (he's a contractor now if you weren't aware) and now he's living in Amish country and learning their methods of construction.  It's actually really worth watching - he's very respectful of their process and lifestyle and you can tell he really wants to learn.  Word to your mother.
  • I've been dying to see Blackfish since I first saw the trailer a few months ago, and it was on CNN this week.  It was really good, but good in that awful kind of way that documentaries can often be.  
  • Because of my pizza being late last week, Dominos sent me a coupon for two free lava cakes - my favourite dessert!  Jenn and I put it to good use during a visit this weekend.
  • I got treated to an awesome early birthday dinner of all-you-can-eat sushi, which is always fun.  I love filling in those little sheets and just having food brought to you continuously like you're royalty.
  • Power tools as birthday presents!  Maybe I'll finally finish that dresser one of these days...
  • Vivian and I were fixing the hair of her princesses the other night when she randomly decided that she wanted pony tails too.  She's always had a meltdown when I've tried to put her hair in any kind of pony tail, so this was a big (and adorable) deal!

  • I finally got a new cell phone this week - a Sony Xperia J.  It's okay, nothing too fancy.  I basically only use my phone as an alarm clock and to text anyway.  This was cheap and easy, so hopefully it pans out!
  • Actually going to bed before midnight this week - I am ready for the time change, I've been exhausted lately!
Hope everybody is ready for Halloween!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Very Vivian - Pumping Iron

Back in August, I finally decided to get an appointment for Vivian to see a pediatrician.  After trying so many different things with her and still seeing a lot of issues it seemed like the right call.  We were very lucky to get in with a great pediatrician very quickly - it was two weeks between the referral appointment with our family doctor and the appointment with the pediatrician.

The initial appointment with the pediatrician ended up being a little intimidating.  Basically I went through a run-down of Vivian's history to let them know what the main issues were that we were dealing with.  I walked out with a handful of paperwork and information to set up another series of appointments for Vivian - hearing test, vision test, bloodwork, urine samples, and psychological assessments.  It was overwhelming and a bit confusing until I understood what the process is.  Basically my understanding is that public health right now is all about being proactive and casting a wide net.  The way I was going about things by looking into issues that could turn into something else later, but also could very well be something that she grows out of, is the way they want to handle things now.  It becomes much more difficult to effect positive change if you wait until a kid is older and things are more set in.  This way we can shape Vivian along the way and give her any assistance that she needs.

The whole idea of casting a wide net is interesting too.  Whereas it used to be more that you would list characteristics of your child and a pediatrician would look at them all and then maybe rush a little too quickly to diagnose and label them, now they are all about the process of elimination.  So by sending Vivian for so many tests we can eliminate what isn't going on with her, and then see what we are left with.  I'm really pleased with this method (even though it is a lot of work) because I don't want to see her be misdiagnosed as being ADD or something and being prescribed something that she doesn't need.

So first up was the bloodwork - which was quite the ordeal.  My biggest recommendation if you ever have to take your own kid for bloodwork is to bring a stroller.  It was awful getting her blood drawn, and I just had to strap her into the stroller and wheel her screaming out through the hospital.  I have no idea how I could have gotten her out of there without the stroller.

Anyway, the results of her bloodwork came back to reveal that she's anemic.  This was something that I suspected because of a few different things that she was doing.  What's the number one symptom of anemia that I kept seeing listed?  Irritability.  It was so good to find out that this was one of the things that's been going on with her because it is such a simple problem.  She now gets an iron supplement twice a day and so far it seems to be really helping!  It's easier to redirect her when she's upset, and I haven't been seeing the massive meltdowns that used to be a weekly occurrence.  Since she got rid of the bottle her eating habits have improved a lot too, so that could all work itself out too.

Up next are hearing and vision tests.  I'm hoping that she clears everything else and it ends up being just the anemia that was causing such a problem.  It's amazing the things you can find out from some bloodwork!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013


**Warning, the following is a rambling and overthought mess.  I apologize in advance**

With Vivian's birthday and Christmas looming only a couple of months in the future (and the pile of presents in the basement slowly growing) I've lately been toying with the idea of a playroom.

I've never really embraced the idea - it always seemed a bit silly to me for a couple of reasons.  One, Vivian has toys in her room, toys in the living room, and toys in the kitchen.  Does she really need a whole playroom when the whole house is kind of a playroom?  And two, would she even use one?  Or would she just be dragging things out to the living room the whole time anyway?

But as she gets older she is playing independently more and more.  She'll play with dolls in her room, or get out her cars in the living room and play quietly by herself.  And as many times as I've rearranged the living room, I've never quite been happy with it because there's constantly a toy to work around.  So would a playroom be worthwhile?

The office is a small room - only about 9'x9'.  I'm not currently doing much work at home, so it wouldn't be devastating to lose the space - plus there's plenty of room in the basement (even if it does remain a bit unfinished).  I do love having a space for a desk, but the office tends to just be a place for everything that doesn't quite have a place anywhere else.  It's awesome having a room that basically just serves as a drop zone, but like I said, I could just as easily set up a place for that in the basement.

It wouldn't be hard, really just a matter of rearranging some furniture.  I just don't know if it would be worth it - at least not at this age.  I mean, it would be a playroom right between her bedroom and the living room.  Is that excessive and ridiculous?  Or is it nice to be able to just close the door on a room full of toys at the end of the day?  Do kids play more independently when they have a designated space?  Or is she just going to be dragging me in there or dragging toys out all the time anyway?

So tell me - do you/did you have a playroom?  Was it worthwhile?  I mean, she's just one kid.  So it isn't like there's stuff everywhere or anything, but I'm curious to hear people's opinions!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Treats of the Week - She's on a horse

Cold weather is making me lazy.  These lists might only be about food soon.
  • My mom and I took the kids to Kusterman's  yesterday for a little fall fun.  It went better than expected - which is to say there were only minor upset with the kids, and everyone seemed to have a great time.  It was one of those places that is a nice size for kids to run around without having to worry about them constantly, although it is also one of those places where I realize how much other parents are generally assholes and their kids are generally jerks.  Vivian got to ride a pony and took it VERY seriously.  And yes, I wish that woman wasn't in the picture, but I didn't want to stand around and take a bunch of pictures like every other parent there.  One pic and moving on!

  • I've been falling asleep to old episodes of How I Met Your Mother lately, which is always delightful.  Even more so when a baby faced Joe Manganiello makes an appearance.
  • I watched Mike Birbiglia's "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend" on Saturday night and was completely blown away.  I watched his "Sleepwalk With Me" a couple months ago and thought it was cute, but this special was brilliant.  It's almost less of a comedy special and more performance art.  He isn't afraid to have silences and unfunny parts, and has this way of weaving a story that makes you forget that he's gone on a giant tangent before pulling it all back together.  It was hilarious and beautiful and heartbreaking.  It's on Netflix, so check it out if you are looking for something to watch!
  • Cheese croisants - the unsung hero of Tim Horton's.
  • Late night pizza deliveries - especially when they're unexpected and free!
  • Finding some awesome Christmas deals at Winners
  • Two weeks without any major meltdowns from Vivian!

Friday, 18 October 2013

They really thought of everything

So the other day I was standing in Vivian's room folding some laundry and was just kind of absent-mindedly looking at that map on her wall.  It's really so covered in things that I'm constantly finding something new.  So I'm standing there and start thinking to myself, "Wouldn't it be funny if they put really terrible things on the map?  Like the locations of oil spills and stuff.  Hahaha, that would be funny.  They could even put that great Pacific garbage patch on there.  Oh I'm just so clever and hilarious."

Huh.  There it is.  That map is really extensive.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Very Vivian - When and Then

Vivian is a very stubborn kid.  Always has been, always will be.  When she gets an idea in her head, it can be really difficult to talk her out of it, which leads to tantrums and meltdowns.  And Vivian's meltdowns are not to be trifled with - they're not just a tantrum, they can quickly turn into a 45 minute inconsolable episode that leaves us both exhausted.

So obviously I try to do as much as possible to keep her from melting down.  But then you end up walking a fine line between keeping her happy and turning her into a spoiled brat.  To help with this, I've been using a lot of "When/Then" phrases with Vivian.  My mom suggested it first, and the OT has also recommended it.  See, apparently kids don't really listen to you (shocking, I know) so they usually only hear the last thing that you say.  So if Vivian says that she wants a cookie and I say, "No, you can't have a cookie until after dinner" she'll freak.  All she hears is "No" and something about dinner.  But if I say, "When you finish dinner, then you can have a cookie" all is well.  She hears and understands that she can have a cookie, so she's happy.  Instead of a screaming monster, I get a "Okay, mommy" and that's that.  IT'S MAGIC.  

First/Then works well too - "First dinner, then a cookie".  Simple, to the point, and keeps everyone happy.

Not exactly rocket science, but it's a little piece that's fallen into place lately that's really been helping Vivian.  She's been making a lot of progress lately, it's been so great!

I don't really have a new picture for this week, but here's a video of her watching her favourite videos on YouTube.  Just the usual stuff, people opening Kinder eggs.  Nothing weird about that.  Her vocabulary has come so far - she likes to sit and narrate the video now.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

About those new fall shows...

Now that we've had a few weeks with the new shows, I thought I would check back in and let you know how I'm enjoying all those shows - and which ones have been cut loose.  The axe has already fallen on a couple of shows, so I figured I should get it out there!


Betrayal - I've watched the first episode and wasn't totally wowed.  It's pretty meh so far.  I've got another couple of episodes sitting on the PVR, and while the legal aspect of the show has me somewhat intrigued, I won't necessarily be disappointed if it ends up being cancelled.

Hello Ladies - Pretty much what I was expecting, in a good way!  It's hilarious and awkward and everything Stephen Merchant should always be.


Almost Human - Hasn't started yet

We Are Men - Cancelled after two episodes for pretty obvious reasons.  While the cast was good (Jerry O'Connell, Kal Penn, Tony Shalhoub) the whole show was just pretty dated and not-funny.

Sleepy Hollow - A huge surprise for me - I had pretty low expectations going into this one, but I'm loving it now.  It's fun and creepy and goofy - they really hit the right combination with this one.  If you haven't started watching it, it's worth picking up.

Mom - Another big surprise, I definitely didn't expect much from this traditional multi-cam sitcom, but it's actually pretty cute.  It's funny without being over the top and makes for good comfort food-type viewing.

Hostages - This is currently piled up on my PVR.  I tried to watch the first episode one night, but it was too late and I fell asleep.  That's not to say it wasn't good - what I saw definitely seemed good.  This just might end up being a show that I record the entire season and then binge my way through it later.

The Blacklist - When this show was being advertised before the fall season, all the focus was put on James Spader, and rightfully so.  He's definitely the main draw, but what keeps me coming back is Megan Boone, who plays Elizabeth Keen.  She's definitely the Clarice to Spader's Hannibal Lecter - you really root for her and she's interesting enough to keep you invested.


Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - So far I'm liking the show, but not completely loving it.  I really like that they seem to be taking their time with it and really building it though (a luxury no doubt, because of all the studio support they've had)

Dads - Well, I made it through the pilot episode and cut it loose after that.  It's not often I do that, but I just found the pilot so racist and un-funny, I couldn't tune back in.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Pretty much what I was expecting, the show is starting to really find its feet at this point.  It gets some laughs out of me, but it isn't necessarily what I look forward to on Tuesday nights.

The Goldbergs - I keep expecting this show to just become awful and I'll stop watching it, but there's something that keeps bringing me back.  It's even made me laugh out loud a couple of times, so maybe I'm a fan?

Trophy Wife - I'm really enjoying this show, it's funny and sweet, and that house is fantastic.  I mean, that kitchen alone is killing me.  Michaela Watkins is a total scene stealer - love her.

Lucky 7 - Another one cut after 2 episodes.  I had them both saved, then after I heard it was cancelled I tried to watch the pilot and got bored halfway through.


Back in the Game - Another one that I'm liking, but not loving.  It's cute and James Caan is really entertaining (and how is that man 73 years old?!) so I'll keep up with it.

Super Fun Night - Interesting thing with this show, the first episode they aired was not actually the pilot.  It was meant to be the second episode, which might explain why it felt a little thrown together and didn't give us much exposition.  It was a tough episode to get through, but I thought the second episode that aired (which is actually the third episode of the series) was a huge improvement.  I don't know why they won't just let Rebel Wilson use her real accent, but I'm going to keep watching this for as long as it's on the air.

Ironside - I have all the episodes recorded, but haven't gotten around to it yet.  I haven't been hearing very good things about it though, so we'll see what ends up happening with it.


Once Upon a Time in Wonderland - I thought the pilot episode was really great and set us up for a fun season.  Mixing in the Aladdin characters with the Wonderland characters we know was a really fun idea and keeps it in line with the other Once Upon a Time.  I just wish they would fix Jafar's hair...

The Millers - I barely made it through the pilot episode, but gave it a second shot.  After that though, I was out.  It was just too cliched for me.  I'm sure it could be a perfectly nice show for the right audience, but I'm just not a part of it.

The Crazy Ones - I know a lot of people were concerned about the Robin Williams aspect of this show (myself included), but I'm finding with each passing episode they seem to be using him more and more sparingly, or at least toning him down a bit.  I think the cast is working together really well and is walking the line of zany/sincere pretty well.  Plus, James Wolk is just oh so dreamy.

Sean Saves the World - I gave it two episodes to make me laugh and it failed.  I wanted to like it, but I just couldn't find anything in it that was worth tuning in for again.

Reign - Hasn't started yet

The Michael J. Fox Show - Who doesn't root for Michael J. Fox?  You show me someone who doesn't like Michael J. Fox, and I'll show you an asshole.  You just want the best for him.  I don't think this is a perfect show (I find it really lags in some points) but it's very sweet, and I really hope it gets better.


Dracula - Hasn't started yet

What have you guys been into for the new fall season?