Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas decorations

We're heading to Saskatoon for Christmas, but we still pulled out our decorations (the little tree is out of reach on our counter). And yes, we listened to Christmas music in November.

You guys, I'm really into Christmas. Thankfully, the babies like Christmas music and Christmas lights, and the roommates are into Christmas decor. Michael has even listened to the Chieftains Christmas album, the Bells of Dublin, without complaint. It's a Christmas miracle!

Friday, November 16, 2012

9 months (teething edition)

9 months
We only snapped one photo this time around. Here's a happier photo for the grandparents out there:

Pirate shirt

Friday, October 19, 2012

Whole 30 finale

Michael and I finished the Whole 30 diet on Tuesday, but we're reintroducing the missing foods S-L-O-W-L-Y. So far, I've had a variety of dairy products (we started with strawberry ice cream), a glass of wine and some coconut flour and honey in these Paleo Pumpkin Bars (my roomie added dark chocolate to the recipe - delicious!). Thankfully, my stomach seems happy with these foods. Next week we'll try some grains and see what happens. As far as wheat goes, I'll start with a pastry from Fol Epi, because pastry flour has less gluten than regular flour, or a pizza from Prima Strada, because their imported Italian flour is also light on the gluten. Eventually, tentatively, I'm going to start making sourdough bread, because fermented foods are good for your tummy. I'm especially excited to try Chad Robertson's Tartine Country Bread. I have a few favorite bakeries, and Tartine is one of them. If I actually stick to this plan, I'll let myself invest in the Tartine Bread cookbook.

Yes, you can see that I've got plenty of schemes regarding how and when I'll be eating wheat again, but don't be deceived. I'm pretty sure our diets will never be the same because there is no doubt that we feel better eating this way. Our digestion has improved and we both lost over 10 pounds. Even though that wasn't the point of the exercise, it's a telling outcome.

Sticking to the diet became a little easier as time went on. We planned ahead so the cooking didn't seem as onerous, and we found we had to eat less as our cravings adjusted -- thank goodness because our grocery lists have been pricey. One of the resources that helped us through the whole experience was the cookbook Well Fed. We feasted on shepherd's pie (with yams instead of potatoes), meat balls (think pork, pineapple and coconut flakes) and paleo pad thai (spaghetti squash instead of rice noodles - you get the picture). We also ate a million eggs for breakfasts and snacks. Sadly, after the first couple of weeks, I discovered that I have a sensitivity to nuts, though I have to conduct some experiments to find out if some are worse than others. I do like my almond butter, after all.

Phew. Well, I think I've captured the broad points without getting into too many personal details. Let me know if you want to know anything else...

Monday, October 01, 2012

Half way there

You guys, I haven't cheated. Er, I accidentally ate a small potato in some chicken soup from Alderlea Farm, but other than that, I've stayed true to the Whole 30 diet for the last 15 days. You want to know how? Michael. I would have quit 10 times over if it wasn't for 1) Michael organizing our meals and 2) Michael convincing me to keep going even though I wanted to eat ice cream to comfort myself during some tough days with Lady Clara. That second bit has been the biggest challenge, by far. That, and a poorly timed break from coffee (to see if it helps with Clara's sleep).

Physically, I'm still feeling good. I'm totally satisfied by our meals, and I can fit into a lot of my pre-Clara clothes (well, the some of the tops will have to wait until I'm done nursing). I'm not really worried about the next 15 days, but I'll have to deal with Thanksgiving and some out-of-town visitors; I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Whole 30

So! I'm on my fifth day without grains, dairy, sugar, legumes (including peanuts) and alcohol. Michael and I are doing the Whole 30 diet, which means it'll be 25 days before we eat those foods again. And even though I'd love a piece of toast with peanut butter or a banana muffin with a slice of cheese, and even though Michael would love a bowl of chocolate peanut butter ice cream or a cup of creamy coffee, we're feeling really good. I'm doing this thing because I have a sneaking suspicion that gluten is a problem for me. Truth be told, I'm sort of sad that I'm feeling so good, because I don't want it to be a problem. I want to continue frequenting my favorite bakery, you guys! But if I can improve my physical and emotional health by eating differently, I'm going to do it! For 30 days. And then we'll see.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Gonna get along without you now

Clara's soundtrack has been quite diverse since she was born (and before, I guess), but some favorites have emerged. She & Him has proved to be particularly pleasant baby music, and perfect for sing-alongs. My folks were recently in town to help me out while Michael was in England for school stuff, and my mom and I found ourselves in the car singing along to "Gonna get along without you now." I didn't realize that it's a song that's been covered by a bunch of people, including Leslie Gore, which is the version my mom knows. I couldn't find that one, but I found some other amazing versions to share.

Teresa Brewer (1952):

The Trixies (1963):

Skeeter Davis (1964):

Viola Willis (1985):

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Bill Cunningham

Even though I can't go to the movie theatre anymore, I've seen a couple of great rentals recently. (To be fair, I can go to matinées on Thursday afternoons for special Stars n' Strollers (!) screenings, but I've yet to be impressed with my options.)

Most recently, we watched Bill Cunningham: New York, which fits perfectly with my tentative plan to watch movies that are good for my soul. It was so tender!

Here's the trailer:

When I saw a cameo of Bill Cunningham in the Girl Walk // All Day music video (which I finally finished watching a few days ago), I almost cried. You can see him at 2:50 in the clip below.

What an interesting man. I highly recommend that you watch this documentary.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I'd like to see both of these movies in the movie theatre, but I don't think that's going to happen. Clara hasn't taken a bottle, and we just don't feel like forcing the issue.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Treat yourself!

We took a little holiday. We went to Vancouver for a change of scenery and to introduce Clara to some friends. It felt very luxurious after these first few months of being a family, so we treated ourselves accordingly.

Before we left for Vancouver, I found myself in front of Cold Comfort's van at Moss Street Market. It was time to try the bacon & buttermilk ice cream sandwich. It was good (the macaron cookies were perfectly chewy), but I have plans to show up early for that salted caramel offering next time the weather cooperates with market day.



In Vancouver, we enjoyed lunch and a peanut butter sandwich cookie at Acme Cafe, where the staff made eyes at Clara and even offered to hold her. If you enjoy a Pirate Cookie (which are only available in Canada), you'll fall in love with these homemade treats.


We went to Le Marché St. George three days in a row. Vancouver coffee shops have nothing on Victoria coffee shops (Habit, Discovery Coffee, The Parsonage, Caffe Fantastico), but this neighbourhood corner store is pretty competitive. It has delicious pastries and coffees, along with tempting housewares and foodstuffs.




Three words: Treat. Yo. Self.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Art by Modern Genes

I bought these prints by Modern Genes for Clara's bedroom, which doesn't exist yet because she sleeps in our room. The first one is her sign under the Chinese horoscope, and the second, called Victoria Love, celebrates her birthplace.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Luck of the Irish

I bought a ticket for this lottery yesterday. I've had tentative plans to buy tickets from a hospital lottery for a long time, because, you know, the chances of winning something are pretty good, right? Whenever I buy lottery tickets, I'm convinced that I've won (I haven't), and I have the same feeling this time around. I mentioned this to Michael, and it reminded him of a great This American Life episode, Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time, which features this story:

It was two months into the tour, and the cast of Riverdance had been performing eight shows a week. They decided to pool their money for the Mega-Millions lottery. Lotto fever gripped the cast. They started to genuinely believe they would take home about $2 million each, and quit Riverdance the next day. They took the stage the night of the drawing and pulled off their best performance ever, "For the Lotto!," trying to direct their energy towards the win. An hour later, at the hotel bar, the numbers came in. 

Anyway, the draw for my lottery is on May 27. I'll let you know the results.

UPDATE: I didn't win ANYTHING. BUT, I bought a ticket for another local lottery. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Favorite thing: Smooze fruit ice

Our roommate, Jen, introduced Smooze fruit ice to us last week. I've only tried the coconut and pineapple version, and I'm in love. What a healthy, refreshing and delicious treat. And probably easy to make?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Top TV

You guys, I barely watch movies anymore. There isn't much time for TV, either, but we carve out time for these favorites (they're that good):

It's about "a group of 20-something women in New York and their adventures in post-collegiate floundering."

Why I like it: I've only watched two episodes, and I'm just really excited that this show exists for young ladies. Actually, I'm excited that it exists for everyone. Some people don't like it, but this (really long) editorial explains why they're wrong. You can watch the first episode on YouTube. (Thanks for that, HBO.)

It's about family dynamics more than it's about parenthood, per se. The family in question includes four adult siblings, their retired parents and their children.

Why I like it: It's honest and endearing.

New Girl 
It's about four roommates living in L.A.

Why I like it: The characters are unique for such a standard sit com premise, and the writing is top notch.

Game of Thrones
It's based the books by George R.R. Martin that I read when I was pregnant.

Why I like it: I like fantasy, yo, and I get to revisit the books by watching the series, even though some of the plot points have been adjusted and I'm always a little confused.

Downton Abbey 
As Saturday Night Live says, "it's about a bunch of honkeys who live in a church, or maybe it's a museum - either way, they don't got WiFi!"

Why I like it: Michael and I didn't expect to get hooked on this British period drama, but we did, just like the Internet said we would. I'm a fan of the pace, which I attribute to a story-telling style that lacks manipulative American tactics.

It's about the American gold rush and anarchy. 

Why I like it: The dialogue in this show is unbelievable: Shakespeare meets the wild west. Three season's worth of DVDs kept me company while I got used to breastfeeding Clara, and she may or may not have picked up some colourful language in the process.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Reading list

Last night we watched Hey, Boo: Harper Lee and 'To Kill a Mockingbird'. Now I have plans to read it again, and I also have plans to get my hands on a copy for Clara because, as Anna Quindlen says in the documentary: Scout is one of those those rare figures in literature, similar to Anne of Green Gables and Jo in Little Women, who hasn't gone over to "the dark side of being a girly girl." I'm not sure if I would put it in those words, but I do want Clara to have punchy role models. I've already got the beautiful cloth bound edition of Little Women, below, so now I need Anne of Green Gables and To Kill a Mockingbird. Any other suggestions for Clara's library?
UPDATE: It seems that most of the people who read this blog link to it through Facebook. As a result they tend to leave comments on my wall. That's cool and all, but I'm not sure if I can search my Facebook archives, so all of the awesome suggestions will be buried on my timeline. In addition, those who aren't friends with me on Facebook miss out. Want to know my favorites from those comments? Here they are: The Golden Compass, Pippi Longstocking, Matilda (which we just received as a gift from our buddy Zoe T), The Secret Garden, Are you there God? It's me, Margaret, The Diary of Anne Frank, Alice in Wonderland and The Paper Bag Princess.

And if I need more ideas, a friend recommended this list, which suggests 80 books for young ladies, starting with picture books.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

4 days

For those of you who didn't see the news on Facebook, here she is! Introducing Clara Jane Riley Bowen:She was born 7lbs, 11oz via caesarean on February 15 at 9:52pm. We're still at the hospital, but we're hoping to head home today or tomorrow. All of us are happy and healthy, and we're feeling the love from all of our wonderful friends and family. xoxo

Monday, February 13, 2012

41 weeks

Today I put my hair up in the most impractical style in hopes that the baby would take that as a signal to come already. It hasn't worked so far.

Monday, February 06, 2012

40 weeks

Waiting for a baby to arrive is a strange business. At least the weather has been lovely.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Girl Walk

Well, watching Bridesmaids didn't help me go into labour, so I'll continue with my private dance parties instead.

I've started watching the Girl Walk // All Day video for inspiration. You should probably watch it too, even if you aren't pregnant. It's 71 minutes long, so maybe you want to start with the trailer?

Official Trailer: Girl Walk // All Day from Girl Walk // All Day on Vimeo.

Monday, January 30, 2012

39 weeks

After an excruciating chiropractor session that had me sweating, my back is feeling a little better. As a result, I've been busy doing more chores than I should be doing. Today I scrubbed our window sills with a toothbrush. This is how I nest. It's a slight improvement from the nesting that happened in my first trimester; I organized all of my photos and music on my computer. It's called electronic nesting, friends.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

38 weeks

Remember when I said that this pregnancy has been kind to me? Last week? Perhaps I should have held my tongue. My back has been extremely sore for days, which means I can't move very quickly anymore. Strangers stare at me as I totter down the street. And then last night I had a muscle spasm in my calf. Not fun, friends. It's not fun for the person sharing your bed either, because you'll probably wake him up and ask him to make it stop. Actually, I wish I had been so calm.
But I'm not really complaining. I get to rest at home now that I'm done work, and so far, it's awesome. I just have to be strategic about my trips up and down the stairs. And I have to restrain myself from cleaning odd corners of the house. It's harder than it sounds.

Monday, January 16, 2012

37 weeks

Three weeks to go until the due date, and I just want to take a moment -- before everything gets crazy -- to acknowledge that this pregnancy has been kind to me.

Oh sure, I've had my share of ailments. My nose has been stuffed up every morning for the past seven months. I was nauseous for two months during the first trimester, though I avoided throwing up for the most part. My thighs go numb if I'm standing or walking for too long, and that's been happening since November. I've had heart burn, but not as bad as some. My feet just started swelling a little in recent weeks. And yes, I have stretch marks on my belly.

But overall, pregnancy has been a pleasant experience. I've been sleeping well. I've only taken a couple of sick days, and that was for exhaustion more than anything else. I haven't had any crazy cravings, and my appetite hasn't let me down (though I had to avoid beef and leafy greens in the early days). I've sidestepped colds (touch wood), and I've only had a couple of headaches. Not bad.

These days I have a hard time getting comfortable, and I'm quite emotional. I had a good cry on Saturday after hearing the song Glory for the first time. We had a miscarriage just over a year ago, so Jay-Z's lyrics really struck a chord. I think it's monumental that he acknowledges the fear that accompanies pregnancy, especially after miscarriage. Jezebel thinks so too.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

36 weeks

We're in the home stretch, friends. I'm done work on January 20! I can't bend over very easily! I get really grumpy when I haven't eaten enough! I get overwhelmed when the hospital tour guide provides too many details about the delivery room (why do I need to know where the IV bags are?)! And even though I've been pregnant for eight months, I'm still sort of surprised that we're going to have a baby. Woah.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Tentative Plans

I have a few tentative plans for 2012. They're pretty modest for obvious reasons (i.e. I'm having a baby), but this is usually the case for me anyway.

Last year I planned to go to lure myself to the gym with the promise of a sauna afterwards, I planned to print and frame family photos, I planned to take care of my knives and I planned take advantage of my benefits with regular massages chiropractor appointments. I've done all of these things, to a certain extent, so I'm happy to strike them off the list.

This year I plan to be more mindful of the movies I watch, I plan to learn how to use my new camera (an Olympus PEN E-P3) and I plan to take a break from the Internet every now and again. Maybe one day a week?

For the movies, I'm going to use Johanna Schneller's Twelve 2011 movies that moved spirit and soul as a starting point. I was already a fan of the list when I saw that Beginners was included. It was my favorite movie of 2011.

Since reading the list, I've already watched and The Trip (on new year's eve) and Win Win (on new year's day), so I'm off to a good start. They were great, by the way. But not as good as Beginners.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year

We're really looking forward to 2012, friends.

(P.S. You can find links our past holiday cards here.)